Friday, August 19, 2016

The New Syrian Front

Syria conflict: Government jets 'bombs Kurds in Hassakeh'. The regime is blaming the Kurds for this development, saying that the clashes result of Kurdish take-over effort. This could indeed be true, marking a rare occasion for the regime in this regard.

Considering their growing alliance with the United States, and their recent string of victories against the Islamic State, the Kurds were bound to become more assertive when it comes to governing Hassakeh and Qamishly – the two major Kurdish-majority cities in Syria where Kurds, represented by PYD, the Syrian branch of the totalitarian PKK, still have to govern in partnership with the Assad regime. There has always been tension between the two sides, and the occasional flare, but violent clashes have started taken place at shorter intervals over the last 12 months.

On the other hand, considering that the Obama administration is unlikely to come to the rescue of its Kurdish allies even at the cost of undermining its only anti-IS force on the ground, the Syrian Democratic Forces, where Kurdish fighters make up the majority, the move could be inspired by a Russian desire to simply embarrass the administration and undermine its presence in the northeastern region, where Russia seems to be contemplating the establishment of another military base for itself. As Russia’s designs in Syria grow, the presence of America and other NATO partners is bound to become too bothersome, even if their focus remain on fighting IS.