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The conflict in Syria does not seem to be nearing its end despite the diplomatic efforts to find a solution for it. Every participant in the standoff is undertaking actions to pursue their interests, and many of them evidently are in conflict with one another.
Israel and its never-ending fight against the ‘Iranian threat’, as usual, appears to be in the middle of it.
On January 31st, along the separation line of the Golan Heights, a Syrian Arab Army (SAA) post was attacked by unknown gunmen. They came from the Israeli-occupied side, and a loud explosion followed. No casualties were reported, and it is possible that Israel was behind it, since the IDF has done raids such as these in the past, including twice in 2020. According to pro-militant sources, the IDF operation was carried out to deter purported Iranian forces in the area.
Israeli media reported that several months ago that in Damascus itself, an unnamed “Western Intelligence Agency” carried out a raid the headquarters of Iran’s Quds Force Unit 840. While the report remains questionable, at minimum, it can be considered as a direct threat to Tehran and Damascus.
In Northeast Syria, a severe conflict appears to be in the making, as US President Joe Biden seems to want an extremely negative outward scenario in order to reverse the limited involvement approach of Donald Trump. Soon, MSM may get a new ‘war for democracy’ to cover, so, the population can focus less on what is transpiring inside the US.
The US-supported Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) appear to be the prime candidates to lead the situation towards critical mass. Hillary Clinton, and her daughter Chelsea are already moving with propaganda preparations: a Kurdish soap opera, focused on the lives and struggle of Kurdish women who fought not only against ISIS, but also fought for their liberty and their rights.
The Kurdish “freedom fighters” also fight against Turkey and reject a political settlement with Damascus.
Still, the SDF is now emboldened, it has support from the US, and little else in the region, except the poison hand of “friendship” from Israel. If all hell breaks loose, however, it is dubious whether or not Tel Aviv would come running to help.
This, however, does not stop the Kurdish leadership from employing harsh approaches to suppress local discontent with its anti-Syrian approaches. Just recently in Al-Hasakah, a pro-government protest was democratically put down by live fire and killings by the SDF’s “freedom fighters”.
It is an open secret the SDF-controlled area is in fact run by the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) “shadow government” and the SDF itself is full of PKK members, including the SDF commander in chief himself. This creates conditions for a continuous fight against the Turkish forces, and provides additional motivation for the SDF rejection of a political settlement with the Damascus government.
The Kurdish leaders are happy to receive weapons and funds from the US in exchange for loyalty to the project of the dismantling of the Syrian state.
Emboldened by the supposed support from the US, and the recent large deployments that have been carried out, the SDF and co. have recently become more active in their attempts to hinder the interests of Damascus, Russia and Iran.
The SDF’s mismanagement of the situation is further evidenced by the permanent tensions with Arab locals in the controlled areas and the deep humanitarian problems in SDF-run camps for displaced persons, including those affiliated with ISIS members. There are about 27,000 children in the SDF-run Al-Hol camp, where families of ISIS members and supporters are held. ISIS activity has seen an incredible increase in 2021, and the terrorist group would be more than content with “adopting” these young recruits.
With the new administration in Washington, the wind is blowing towards an incredibly violent scenario. The resumption of the ‘active’ policies to ‘deter’ Russia, Iran and the ‘Assad regime’ by playing the Kurdish card creates conditions for a further destabilization of Syria’s northeast. In some scenarios, the situation could swiftly descend into complete chaos.
To avoid this scenario, Kurdish leadership needs to remember that they are short on allies in the region and adapt a more constructive approach towards a political settlement with Damascus. Otherwise it is “highly likely” that dark clouds are soon to come on the horizon and the SDF card will once again become a small coin in the Big Middle Eastern Game.