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MAY 2021

Syrian Kurdistan: From “Olive Branch” to “Fallen State”

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Syrian Kurdistan: From "Olive Branch" to "Fallen State"

Kurdish fighters raise flag of PKK leader in centre of Raqqa

Written by Maksim Alexandrov; Originally appeared on warsonline.info; Translated by AlexD exclusively for SouthFront

Not long ago in Washington at the Institute of National Strategic Studies of the National Defence University the round table on “The Multimodal Threats in the Kurdish Region” took place, a continuation of the “NATO and Regional Military and Political Alliance in 2018” Council.

The organisers of the meeting, taking place on April 9 to 11, were the Institute of National Strategic Studies, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), the intelligence community and the commanders of the Special Forces of the US. The main agenda of the event was focused on clarifying the conceptual and analytical foundations of American policy in the framework of topical issues of the “Kurdish question”, the problem of improving the coordination of regional allies, as well as military and political modeling of crisis systems that fall under the topology of “fallen state”.

“Today, the USA, as never before, is faced with the destructive position of the Syrian regime and its allies, the Russian Federation and Iran. We met qualitatively new challenges and hybrid threats to freedom and democracy in Syria (SAR)”, with these words the special representative of the Department of Military and Political Modeling began his presentation, specialist in the field of pre-emptive analysis and the Greater Middle East of the Agency for the reduction of military threats Ray Ross.

During the discussion, experts highlighted the most complex structure of the problems that cause the revision of operational resources, and as a consequence, reducing operational sustainability and “window of response” to the crisis situations. First, such challenges include the issue of harmonisation of positions and approaches.

As an empirical base, analysts cite examples of the destructive positions of the Turkish Republic regarding the “united Kurdish space”, the inconsistent/punctual nature of the work of the UK, France and Germany in providing and preparing the Kurdish militia after the October operations in Iraq’s Kirkuk. During the meeting, the coalition failed to ensure prompt withdrawal of 140 Bundeswehr instructors and 30 specialist of the Special Aviation Service of the British Armed Forces.

Second, comes the imbalance of the asymmetric military and political education within the framework of the international coalition. The fragmentation of Kurdish troops and militia (YPG) during the events related to the referendum on the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan and the subsequent military and political crisis, the split of the Peshmerga and other Kurdish armed groups controlled by Erbil; the growth in popularity of the Movement for Change or “Goran”, are a ready counter-rally against ex-President Massod Barzani’s block, the “Democratic Party of Kurdistan” and the “Patriotic Union of Kurdistan”.

As a result, there is a curtailment of the potential of “Kurdish National Councils” in the Syrian Kurdish Supreme Council, in other words, the growing influence of the Democratic Union Party of Salih Muslim, supporter of the autonomy within the SAR, and the national Councils of Western Kurdistan, which may cause a potential strengthening of Moscow’s and Iran’s positions in the region.

The disagreements between the Kurdish and Arab (Sunni, 23 movements) ethnic and religious components are, in particular the revolt of the Arabs in Syria’s Raqqa, armed conflicts within “independent” groups in North-Eastern Syria, caused by both “humanitarian” and military-political aspects, systemic shortcomings of the previous presidential administration to unite the projects of the “Kurdish Zone”, “Syrian Democratic Forces” and the “Free Syrian Army”.

The data formed the need for duplication of “territorial formations” by independent structures, the creation of Kurdish security forces that are not included in the YPG during the last year. Along with this, it allowed partial substitution and assumption of the contingents of the Arab countries in the area of responsibility of the Alliance. Preliminary rounds of talks with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are now been held.

“The newly formed security forces, along with the implementation of substitution approaches are certainly a guarantee for stability and security in the North-East of Syria”, stated Ray Ross.

Third, the current problems required operational support for the concept “Balance of deterrence and engagement”, as described in previous submissions.

Thus, according to analysts, the greatest actual problems are:

  1. Security in the North East of Syria;
  2. Containment of Ankara;
  3. Exclusion of the growing influence of Damascus, Moscow and Tehran;
  4. Revision of the allies system, accompanied by a “balance of deterrence and engagement”.

Thus, the methods to achieve a “balance of deterrence and engagement” through the support and expansion of special measures aimed at the integration of non-system actors of the military and political process are of greatest interest. “We conduct constant monitoring of the military-political process and its dynamics. It has already been six months that we monitor the escalation of the conflict in the north of Syria, which we repeatedly inform our allies, Turkey and other countries. Today within the framework of the modeling, we understand the need to involve all parties in the settlement process. Potentially, it may include the Kurdish Workers’ Party and the Democratic Union”, said the representative of DTRA.

According to data received from the source “occupying a high position” in the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) since November 2017, personnel changes have begun, accompanied by an intra-party conflict. With the beginning of the Turkish operation “Olive Branch” the group “Will to Freedom” stood out, actively cooperating with the YPG troops, coordinated with the United States and its allies. The unit, numbering up to 5000 personnel, advocates for the change of the party’s leadership course and the formation of the “common Kurdish space”. “However, we must work to ensure that this organisation does not engage in destructive activities on Turkish territories”.

In addition, in the ranks of the PKK, according to intelligence, in December last year a “right-oriented core” was formed, which began the extradition of previously left in Afrin intra-party opponents of the “new forces” with Salih Muslim. “The United States have actively watched this process, today we have a unique opportunity to unite these PKK platforms into a new, powerful force that can affect the entire region. These processes are very complex, but positive for national security”, commented Ray Ross.

During the talks held at the end of December 2017, between the “new forces” and the Democratic Union Party, the parties could not agree on “extradition”, but agreements were reached in exchange for the deployment of seven training camps in North Africa in exchange for full support from the “right forces” in the PKK.

The personnel trained at these facilities were intended for deployment on the neighbouring Turkish territory. However the Turkish side took these processes as a strengthening, an attempt to unite the Kurdish Workers’ Party and on January 20 launched the army operation “Olive Branch”, which ended with the capture of the city of Afrin and the division of the canton into Turkish and Syrian-Russian areas of responsibility.

During the Turkish operation, with the support of the US, talks were held between the YPG and the Afrin security forces on the limited material and technical support, as well as sending a number of volunteer units subordinate to the military council of Manbij. Also, the “special contact mission” guaranteed full support in the case of coordination of the Afrin security forces, the dissolution of the HPX battalion and the “Desert Scorpion” brigade.

De facto, this process should be seen as providing an alternative resource base, aimed at the involvement of the security forces and councils of Afrin in the structure of the YPG and the expansion of cooperation with the International coalition, i.e. the removal of Iran and Russia from the northern province of Aleppo. However, cooperation between Moscow, Tehran and Ankara did not allow the formalisation of this union.

At the same time, analysts noted that the division, the failure of “involvement”, allowed to restore the balance of forces in the “Kurdish zone”, since after the military and political crisis caused by the “collapse” of Iraqi Kurdistan and the departure of Masoud Barzani as President, the “Democratic Union Party” significantly strengthened its position, “threatening the integrity of the Syrian Kurdistan”. However, after the division of Afrin, its potential, through natural processes, decreased, opening up new opportunities for the American side and the security forces that were created.

Thus, turning to the conclusions, we can say that the American side is now involved in the processes of operationalization of the concept of “containment and engagement”, considering factor projects of unification of multidirectional forces through the chaos of existing crisis systems and territorial associations. The growing military presence in the area of Al-Tanf, and the disparate information of the transfer of Arab-Kurdish troops to the area, could potentially mean the unification of the YPG, the security forces and the new Syrian Army into a single structure.

With the completion of operation “Olive Branch”, an extensive media company was launched to discredit the positions of Moscow, Tehran and Damascus in resolving the “Kurdish issue”.

In mid-March 2018 in north-eastern Syria, a “Syrian popular Resistance” was formed, advocating the liberation from occupation by a coalition led by the United States.

On April 15, 2018, the Department of Military and Political Modeling of the US agency for reducing military threats adopted the programme of development of the north-east of Syria, labelling this territory as “fallen state”.

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  1. as says:

    In short the US need to somehow enforce a deterrent and containment to Ankara where it failed to do so to Syria because the tripartite cooperation of Moscow, Damascus, and Tehran while at the same time somehow uniting Kurdish forces that do not see eye to eye.
    I’m quite surprised that they specifically raised concerns towards Ankara. Somehow Erdogan preemptive move worked against the usual cancerous color revolutionists.

  2. Joe says:

    Again just one question …. who gave these organisations or countries permission to do what they want .

    Hello, Assad is winning not losing and these countries are losing. Funny countries though in my personal opinion.

    Assad only need his allies’ support and go for military option , it would be over pretty soon and these countries again would flat footed.

    Just cannot see how they can stay …. unless Assad and allies are all chickens worse than Houthis.
    who fought the best of air force money can buy and holding.

    My personal opinion.


    1. Barba_Papa says:

      These countries don’t need permission. Pff. that’s only for their enemies.

  3. klove and light says:

    lol…what a stupid short sighted article..sorry dude…….talking about kurds be it ypg.pkk or what ever….I guess mr Alexandrov forgot the one most important single fact………WITHOUT US/nato/zionist-israeli help…be it satelllite images,intelligence,air-support,ground support,political support,money support,weapons support the kurds would have 0 zero to say either in iraq or syria…..dont forget how it all got started….with the us/nato no fly zone for over a century in northern iraq and the business dealing with zionist israel, be it heroin trade or oil trade!!

    Believe one fact too. As soon as the SAA gets s-300 and operational…..the kurds will pay the ultimate price in syria and iraq.Some will call it genocide.I call it even payback time.And rest a sure(just as Assad said”they are traitors, we will fight them to the END”), not alot of male kurds over the age of 14 will survive.
    As far as iraq gos…its just because of the great honourable iranian general that the kurds got a bypass FOR NOW.Take a wild guess what the general told the iraqi kurds that they would carve in with practically no fight…..yes you´re right on….he told them ” u wanna play hardball for the zionists and nato?then we´ll bury each and every one of you including your dogs and cats!”…..it worked…and really fast too!

    1. Joe says:

      As i have said in the past … Iran is the real power in Syria .. not even Russia which may back off facing Nato . No Iran..

    2. Agree. Only please write YPG, instead of Kurds. Because most Kurds don’t agree and don’t follow the often gruesome YPG.

  4. AlexanderAmproz says:

    The basic question is how to steal all the Middle-East Wealth
    while playing billiard with all different Cultures and Religions to destroy them definitely,
    alike the GB/US Empire ever did.

    Peoples and Environment have not only Zero value for them, but are an embarrassment !

    1. klove and light says:

      your hegel quote is spot on…just the kurds should have read it.they did´nt.now they will have to live with the consequences.and please dont forget….who helped the kurds the last centuries against the turks?who let them live and prosper?it was the allewite ruling people including Assad from syria.and now they work with the devil.sorry brother..but they deserve just one thing DEATH! you can never again trust these people…never…and believe me,,, the syrians know that…and they are so “horny” already to take them on.Who wouldnt after that behaviour of high treason.

      1. AlexanderAmproz says:

        In 1847 when the “Jesuits” initiated a Civil-War in Switzerland,
        luckily the Government chose a wonderful “Humanist” General.
        He said “The war has to be short and Honorable”
        It last 3 weeks, 100 stubborned Dead !
        Guillaume Henri Dufour

        Today it’s 26 different identities, 4 Languages, and two main Religions
        strongly united, every minority and Environment is appreciated and protected…

        Alike in any advanced Countries, Atheism is prevalent.

        22% of the resident Population is Foreigner, 61% in Geneva,
        never seen or heard any problem the last 60 years.

        I do believe, the Mandatory Free Public School better quality than the Privates,
        and almost Free excellent Universities helps a lot for stability

      2. John Mason says:

        Assad gave every Kurd in Syria citizenship a few years ago and instead of being grateful and defend their country they turned Judas. What is surprising is that Assad hasn’t taken away their citizenship, any other less compassionate leader would the minute they turned on Syria and joined forces with the enemy.

        1. Temam Machmud Gase says:

          As i already said, Kurds must uproot Turks otherwise they will have No peace in future.
          Kurds must be given Atom-bombs in order to destroy motherfukker turks.

          1. Shahna says:

            Go drown yourself in a bath of lead somewhere!
            Give the Kurds atom bombs!! – What next?

          2. Jasonovich says:

            Kurds if they can’t live in peace with the Turks and the Arabs, then I suggest they all fuckoff back to Northern Iran whence they came.

          3. ranger says:

            Kurds are TRAITORS to their Benefactor! Instead they listen to SATAN and Deception. They Deserve to DIE!!

  5. Iona four says:

    Crap Long live Kurdistan.Out with the Turkish Mad Dogs and the crooked FSA.

  6. Serious says:

    What kurdish regions ? Most of cities under SDF are arab cities.

  7. Serious says:

    Kurdistan is only an excuse to occupy Syria, especially non kurdish Syria. And, like kurds make very good dogs, they are used to occupy Syria just like the saudi family is used to occupy arabs in Saudi Arabia.

  8. Ahmet Karaca says:

    Without permission from Ankara , they’re God willing will not fly a single bird in that region. It’s only with co-operation with Ankara that will there a long lasting peace in the region .
    You all make calculations and presume a lot of things…But don’t you forget: the rule of the jackal is until the wolf arrives…We will see what the future brings.

  9. Serious says:

    In the picture, you can see kurds raising non syrian flags but raising a poster of a turkish kurds in Raqqah (an arab syrian city).

    Go tell to people that SDF is not syrian, they will not understand a damn thing, especially those stupid arabs who are giving their lands because they are to stupid and to violent to try to understand.

    Arabs are like cats. When a cat is injured and you try to treat him, the cat doesn’t want and go after you and try to scratch and bite you.When you say arabs and sunnis that they are completely mistaken, they go after you and insult you thinking they know best. After that, they loose everything and start killing each others.

    The same apply for Americans. When you say that they are terrorists and israeli salves, they start irritating and start searching for excuses.

    Americans and sunnis have a strong appetite for violence. That’s why they make very good goyim.

    1. Temam Machmud Gase says:

      Raqqa will be a kurdish city.
      Arabs can go to HELL where they are expected since long long time.
      Arab and Jews are similarly sick and created a lot of trouble for others in the last 3000 years. They are expected in the HELL we must send them to HELL as fast as possible.

      1. as says:

        As if Kurds weren’t jews or arabs. Lol.

        1. Serious says:

          kurds are like arabs and jews. Same shit.

      2. Serious says:

        kurds are shit.

        1. Ahmet Karaca says:

          Many kurds are my brothers but YPG or PKK or any other terrorists are being killed in Northern Irak . In Membic are now patrolling Turkish soldiers. We will erase you all from the face of the earth fucking son of a terrorist, wait and see….

      3. The Latin Mass says:

        kurds are terrorists that want the Dome of the Rock in rubble. That is what the kurds signed up for in supporting the zionists. So kurds are a “death to Islam” kind of tribe.

      4. Ahmet Karaca says:

        We Turks are sending PKK terrorists like yourself to hell, after we fuck them ….

  10. Pareggiamoiconti says:

    ” labelling this territory as “fallen state”.”

    Looks like this is what they originally intended to do for entire Syria…

  11. Temam Machmud Gase says:

    Ich habe mehrere mal geschrieben die Kurden müssen Kern-Waffen bekommen und endlich das Volk vom Hüren(und Hürensöhnen) nämlich Turken vernichten.
    Turken können sich wie Prostitutes verkaufen das haben sie güt gelernt.

    1. Ahmet Karaca says:

      Bringe deine mutter damit ich von dier einen bruder mache.
      Bring your mother so ı can make you a brother.
      Apporte votre mère que je peux te faire un frère.
      Breng uw moeder opdat ik u een broer maak.
      Ananı getir ki sana bir kardeş yapayım.
      Your fucking PKK terrorist.

  12. frankly says:

    Perhaps its the translation but this article does not inform, he seems to want to make himself quasi important with technical gibberish. I do not like the way the Kurds highlight the women among the combatants. Did the PR groups tell them Western audiences would respect this. What is the reality when they actually fight, they serve lunch?
    On another note read an excellent article about the decay of law written by Canadian lawyer Christopher Black, a quote.

    “International justice is dead, and swings from a tree, lynched by the NATO powers and their allies. World peace lies on the ground covered in blood, her throat cut from ear to ear. Freedom of speech and association are on the run, pursued by the hounds of propaganda, government, mass media intimidation and outright censorship and the risk of world war is now ever present. Yet the people, aside from a few groups and individuals, a mass drugged by propaganda and the struggle of their daily lives, say nothing, do nothing against these criminals to bring them under control,

    And so there is only one certainty; that these wars will continue until the imperialism that drives it is defeated. But to do that the capitalist system itself has to be brought down and since there is little chance of that happening any time soon the matter will be decided by war, and a world war, beyond anyone’s imagining or comprehension.”

  13. Shahna says:

    We [USA] met qualitatively new challenges and hybrid threats to freedom and democracy in Syria (SAR)”,
    Be nice if those pharts would stop carrying on about freedom and democracy…..
    There is no freedom in bombs and death is the only truly democratic institution.

    …I wonder if those E/Syria Kurds have realised their ally is about to gift them to the Saudis?

  14. Great Monkey King says:

    Off the top of my head. This is a propaganda piece. How do we justify continued US involvement in syria?

    “Today, the USA, as never before, is faced with the destructive position of the Syrian regime and its allies, the Russian Federation and Iran.”

    Our competitors are there.

    “During the Turkish operation, with the support of the US, talks were held between the YPG and the Afrin security forces on the limited material and technical support,” including an offer for vacation training in North Africa. To people living in the third world conditions this is not something to scoff at. However, the PKK realize all support from the US is a double edged sword.

    We have built up ties, including, the “new forces” and “right forces” factions within the PKK. As per nationalist Kurdish aspirations we should agree to a “common Kurdish space”. In other words, not full, “national” sovereignty. Why? Because they’re a “failed state”

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