Self-reliance is Syrian Kurds’ only defense against possible Turkish invasion – US analyst

QAMISHLI, Syria (North Press) – The Kurds in northeast Syria can only rely on themselves through creating internal unity and building strong bridges with their peers in Turkey, Iraq and Iran, said Irina Tsukerman, a US national security analyst on Sunday.

She added that the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) cannot rely on US or any other state in light of past betrayal. “Russia, US, and other countries have all proved unreliable allies who were willing to sacrifice the security of the region [northeast Syria] for cooperation by Turkey, Assad, or other considerations.”   

In an exclusive statement to North Press, Tsukerman said that Erdogan supports the Muslim Brotherhood in the region, but “he has made the Kurds in Syria a scapegoat, while covering for ISIS and even allowing the importation and sale of Yazidi slaves.”

She noted to the economic crisis Turkey is going through saying that its relations with Russia has done nothing to restore Turkish economy. 

Tsukerman assured that the US can offer financial, economic, and business incentives to Turkey in exchange for closer and more effective counterterrorism cooperation on US terms, which would include “protection for Kurdish allies in exchange for greater role on other security matters of interest to Turkey.”

But, Tsukerman continued, what US cannot do is to give a pass to Erdogan’s human rights abuses and cover for Islamist extremists in Idlib under the claims of “national security concerns”, especially since all these issues have only become a concern for Erdogan after he broke down peace negotiations with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) inside Turkey largely following the economic mismanagement that caused his popularity to plummet.”

“It needs to hold Erdogan’s government accountable for giving cover to terrorists. If Turkey expects to have its interest heard it needs to be fully cooperating on counterterrorism matter – and perhaps can be given a role in coordination with the SDF on anti-ISIS alliance – but only if Erdogan is held accountable to keeping to his word,” the US analyst stressed.

She indicated that Biden administration has treated Turkey’s role in the region and its relationship with Russia as a side matter, despite the fact that it is Turkey’s complex relationship with Moscow that is at the heart of weakening and dividing NATO, holding some of the NATO members hostage to Erdogan’s demands, and preventing Turkey from taking a clear side with NATO against Russia on the matter of the Ukraine invasion.

“Biden continues to ignore all security issues in Syria, including a potential opportunity to oust Russia, focusing on anti-ISIS fight that is also not being resolved at least in part due to Turkish obstructionism and due to other competing security concerns.”  

“For that reason,” Tsukerman added, “I am doubtful this administration’s [Biden] actions will resolve in any clear policy, much less from stopping Turkey from committing new abuses in NE Syria.”

She confirmed that Turkey’s attacks in NE Syria are exacerbating security issues and damaging US relations with its allies, “but Biden seems to have given up on that area altogether; even the fight against ISIS seems more symbolic than credible.”

Bases on that, Irina Tsukerman concluded that the Kurds’ self-reliance is the only defense against indecision or change of strategies by external strategic allies. 

Reporting by Hadeel Oueiss

Editing by Jwan Shkaki