“Syria’s Kurds make their own pitch as Arab states court Assad”

Syrian Kurds, whom Bashar al-Assad once labeled “traitors” and “collaborators,” now seek a new peace with the Syrian government.

As Arab governments and Turkey seek to mend fences with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the country’s Kurds have unveiled a new initiative to make peace with Damascus, saying that Western governments opposed to normalization should not stand in their way.

In a nine-point declaration made public on Tuesday, the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration in North and East Syria (AANES) affirmed its commitment to Syria’s territorial integrity and said that it was ready to “meet and hold dialogue with the Syrian government and all Syrian parties for consultations and discussions to provide initiatives to find a solution to the Syrian crisis.” It emphasized that such efforts would not be at odds with floundering UN-led efforts to end the conflict. However, the document emphasized that “the solution to the Syrian crisis must be sought inside the country” — in other words, the Syrian Kurds would not be taking their cues from Western governments. Those lines were clearly intended for Assad, who accused the Kurds during a visit to the Kremlin last month of “working for a foreign power” and labeled them “traitors” and “collaborators.”

Since 2018, when Turkey invaded the mainly Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northern Syria, part of an escalating campaign to roll back Kurdish gains, the Syrian Kurds have been in talks with Damascus. Russia has been driving the reconciliation, saying that only peace with Assad can spare them from further Turkish attacks. Assad and Russia want the Kurds to scotch their partnership with the United States. Turkey wants America to do the same, insisting that their fledgling statelet poses an existential threat to its national security.


Comment: Hallelujah! If Assad’s SAA and the Kurdish YPG/YPJ can finally start working together, I’m pretty sure they can mount a credible defense against both ISIS and Turkey. Will it mean Russia will gain more influence as ours necessarily wanes? Sure, but why is that a bad thing?

The article goes on to explain all the moving parts in this move and there are many. As they finally embark on this path, the Rojava Kurds should keep in mind the sage words of Keith Richards and Mick Jagger.

You can’t always get what you want

But if you try sometime you’ll find

You get what you need



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29 Responses to “Syria’s Kurds make their own pitch as Arab states court Assad”

  1. d74 says:

    Yes, Hallelujah!

    The political influence of the US should be small and not try to involve the Kurds in US disputes with other countries. Various reports show that this is not a sure thing, but I have confidence in Brett mcGurk. He is the diplomat who understands the Kurds in the region best. He seems to have a great authority in his field and he is courageous.

    There is still one obstacle: the Syrian side with their claim of Arabness, folkloric and outdated in a country so diverse in ethnicity and religion.

    • Billy Roche says:

      The Kurdish nation, and yes that is what it is, lives in Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. Gasp, they want to be independent, free, and sovereign; how quaint. Ukrainians ONLY have to fight Russia, but to achieve independence Kurds have to fight 4 countries. They are brave, persistent, and long struggling. I never liked the Stones, but TTG’s comments about getting what you need is worth a listen. What the Kurds can get is autonomy. “Kurds affirm loyalty to our liege lord, hail Assad. We will protect Syria from ISIS and the Turks b/c we are part of the fabric of Syria. Oh, and now leave us alone”. It could work and be a great model for Iraq’s Kurds.

      • d74 says:

        They DO NOT want to be independant.

        They are Syrians and want to remain so.

        They want some internal autonomy and to keep their anti-capitalist, Green, and especially tolerant (inclusive) system for all ethnic and religious components of AANES.

        I believe that one of the thorny issues will be the future of their armed forces. They have shown themselves to be very successful and courageous against Isis (well done publicity did not harm them; it was justified). To incorporate them and thus disperse them in the Syrian Arab army would be a big loss for everyone. A solution, which comes from the French colonization, would be that these armed forces play the role of a border guard. This is what happens in very small areas. Ypg, Ypj and Syrian arab army guard the border side by side.

        I forgot to mention it: all this relies on the northern neighbor. Let him stay in his conquered and occupied areas and nothing can happen.

  2. Leith says:

    Not surprising. The SAA and the YPG have worked together before – in Manbij, in Qamishli, in Hasakah, in the Kurdish neighborhoods of Aleppo City, and against Turk proxies in Kobani, Ayn Issa & Tell Tamer.

    D74 is correct. The obstacle is not with the Kurds, it is Assad. He should accept. The Kurdish and SDF underground spy networks in northern Idlib would be extremely beneficial for Syria. But like his father he would sell them out to the Turks in a heartbeat if it was advantageous to him.

  3. cobo says:

    I have very little knowledge of the technicalities, but isn’t this an attempted return to the old status quo that never worked before? The brief look that I took into understanding the Kurds, years ago, left me thinking that the kurds’ worst enemies are each other. Among the Kurdish power centers there is no, or maybe there is now (?), cooperation and sense of unity as there is in Ukraine.

    • Billy Roche says:

      I am guessing, sort of, on population numbers but 2MM Syrian, 6MM Iraqi, 3MM Iranian, and 15MM Turkish Kurds all experienced in fighting for existence would be a formidable nation. Add in about 15MM Kurds in diaspora and you have a Kurdish nation. A nation always at odds w/one another. “Get your ship together or I’m gonna dig in it”. Said the Sargent. “We can’t” said the Kurds. “We just don’t do that”.

      • TTG says:

        Billy Roche,

        The various Kurdish factions never thought or worked as one. I doubt they ever will. I started my intelligence career in an SMU working with Kurds in Iraq. The two major factions back them were the Barzanis and the Talibanis. They couldn’t stand each other and couldn’t agree on who was their enemy besides each other, Iraq or Iran. Flash forward almost 20 years later and there was another shooting war between the Barzanis and the Talibanis. The Rojava Kurds of Syria are focused on Syria, not the Kurds of Iraq. Even the Kurds of Turkey, with whom they are much closer related, are not their real concern.

  4. Frankie P says:

    The rapprochement between Assad and the Kurds would result in a quick exit of ALL US troops from the national territory of Syria, another desirable outcome. The US neocons who now have a chokehold on foreign policy will not be happy with this; no, that’s an understatement, as they will oppose it with such vigor that they may even create “events” with ISIS attacks, etc. to provide reasons for the US continued deployment. They understand that if Syria is able to expel the American troops, Iraq will be close behind, and the desires of the Iraqi Parliament and people to see the end of US troops in their nation without invitation will come to fruition. This will leave free transportation of goods (including weapons) along the arc of the Shiite Crescent, from Iran to Lebanon. In addition, a Russia-brokered peace between the Kurds and Assad could well see the Kurds performing some kind of border control functions. This would free up a large number of SAA troops, and Assad still wants to reclaim Syria’s territory in the south, namely the Golan Heights.

    The error of thinking of many Americans on this blog is that the positive ramifications that they (and I) see from this rapprochement, while being good for the ME and American interests, will NOT be seen as such by the people who run US foreign policy. These people have different interests, with the highest priority given to the security and interests of Israel.

    • My sense, with the recent leaks, is the bureaucracy of the state is realizing the neocon interests have led them up a dark alley and a split is occurring.
      Consider how much Hersh’s story on Nord Stream was buried, but with this kid, it seems the NYTimes and Bellingcat are leading the way. What gives? Maybe it really was some kid got a line on everything, but if the powers that be disapproved, it would not be front pages news on the NYTimes.
      I think there is some serious damage control going on behind the scenes and who and what gets cast overboard, only time will tell.

      • TTG says:

        John Merryman,

        Hersh’s story offered no real proof and only made as much news as it did because of his reputation. No smoking gun. The Discord Leaks offers real documents, something all media can really sink its teeth into. If the leaks were just rumors, there’d be no story or continued coverage.

        • TTG,

          I certainly agree there is a lot coming out in these leaks. More than is comfortable for some people.
          If you don’t want to use Hersh as an example, it does seem a large amount of effort was spent in ignoring and getting Europe to ignore the Nord Stream explosion.
          So why wasn’t there a similar effort to sweep all of this under the rug? As it is, it seems every possible scrap is being drug out and hung out. That looks interesting to me.
          Consider that while there are powers that be, they have various power bases, so when those bases start pulling against each other, say between the various ideologies, economic interests and the bureaucracies that both support and use them, the cracks go all the way to the top. Simple physics. It seems to me there is a crack going to the top in this situation.

          • TTG says:

            John Merryman,

            “So why wasn’t there a similar effort to sweep all of this under the rug?”

            The administration tried to stop the leaks from being spread over social media and failed. This kind of thing spreads like wildfire. Hersh’s story was largely ignored because it was boring without some kind of smoking gun proof. If the Nord Stream explosion happened while Germany was still getting gas from them, I’m sure it would not have been ignored. As it was, no gas was coming through before the explosion and no gas was coming through after the explosion.

          • LeaNder says:

            I basically agree, TTG, but wonder what the hell made you add this:
            … and no gas was coming through after the explosion.

          • TTG says:


            I meant no change.

        • Frankie P says:

          Hersh’s story was buried. It received little or no reporting from mainstream outlets. That in itself says something. By the way, Sy Hersh has a reputation and reporting integrity that makes his article super believable. You just don’t like it because it goes against your narrative. The fact of the matter is the US government is responsible for the largest single act of state terrorism against energy infrastructure in history. This is compounded by the fact that the infrastructure was a joint venture with large investments from our “allies”, Germany and France.

          • TTG says:

            Frankie P,

            I don’t have a narrative about the Nordstream explosion. I don’t know who did it. Given that those pipelines were already out of service, I could see the US being responsible for it. That way it didn’t cause any additional gas shortages in Europe. I can also think of plausable narratives about Poland or Ukraine being responsible. But those narratives would also be without proof, just like Hersh’s narrative.

        • TTG,
          My point isn’t that lots of information wasn’t coming out about Nord Stream. It was all over alternative media. Hersh was late to the party. My point is that it was hardly covered by the MSM, but they are first in line with coverage of these leaks. In fact, are the ones apparently digging it up, rather than just being given it by unnamed officials. To me, that looks funny, aka, suspicious.
          Maybe I’m a conspiracy theorist, but we used to be called heretics, back in the day. Sometimes it’s hard to ignore the holes in the plot.

          • TTG says:

            John Merryman,

            Hersh’s story was laid out in excruciating detail, so much detail that it left nothing for media investigators to dig up. With the leaks, investigators are still finding new things. That’s an incentive to continue covering that story. With Hersh’s story, what’s to add? Even stories debunking details of Hersh’s story aren’t being overly covered. The details are there and there’s nothing left for reporters/investigators to add. That’s the most reasonable explanation I can imagine.

        • TTG,
          I’m certainly keeping an open mind on it.
          Safe to say, we are living in interesting times.

      • Frankie P says:

        Sorry John.

        The bureaucracy of the state IS MADE UP PRIMARILY of neocons or those sympathetic to the priorities of the neocons. The common man in the US is well aware that the neocon interests have led them up a dark alley. Unfortunately, the government and the bureaucracy of the state cares not a whit what the common man in the US thinks.

        Is this even controversial?

        • That’s like saying all “Good Germans” were Nazis. Sometimes the mass of people are not totally defined by those leading them.
          When you have a country of hundreds of millions of people, forms of bureaucracy are inevitable. Where is the line between the local dogcatcher and Tony Blinken?
          My suspicion is that large chunks of that mob are starting to get worried. I would wager on it, but only what I could afford to lose. Time will definitely tell, one way or the other.

    • Leith says:

      Frankie P –

      Rapprochement is a long ways away. Iranian IRGC in Syria will be working against it even if Russia endorses the reconciliation. And Assad will not go along with any Kurdish autonomy.

      But even if it happens the Kurds have no say-so over the the blockage of the Baghdad-Damascus highway at al-Tanf. That roadblock is run by MaT (Maghawir al-Thawra), an anti-Assad Syrian Arab group that has nothing to do with the YPG or the SDF. Unfortunately it is supported by the US; primarily because of Israeli influence. The al-Tanf roadblock does not allow Iran weapons so the IRGC has to take the long way around, or ship them by air or sea. IMHO we should push MaT into rapprochement with Assad also. I would think it would be easy for Israelis to monitor and attack weapons convoys on that Baghdad-Damascus road. No reason they need our help in plugging up that route.

  5. Other than Zerohedge, Naked Capitalism and a few other financial sites, few seem to be giving much attention to the danger to the US of de-dollarizing world trade. Though Yellen did let it slip.
    That the effects will be much of those dollars pouring back in and not being able to sell treasuries abroad. Not only does the dollars reserve currency status give us economic control, it is a serious part of what ties this “melting pot” of a country together. Will the United States remain whole, if finance breaks back into local and regional currencies?
    What if, in some far off time, it is decided the greatest benefit of that upstart hegemon of the New World, was to make the countries of the Old World start working together?

    • cobo says:

      I expect, even though it flies in the face of a lot of current rabble rousing, that the nations of North America will realize their absolute interest in working together as a united hemisphere. The advantages for water and power and food and resources and industries and economic and cultural harmonization far outweigh the benefits of looking at our Latino brothers as “not us.”

      Then, with Mexico’s help, we can integrate the nations and peoples of the entire Western Hemisphere – then who gives a flop about what China is doing. Now, the way we’re heading is to drive a wedge between us and our neighbors. That’s in China’s interest just like keeping the Eurasian countries apart was in the interest of Britain and America.

      The hemispheres should trade and co-exist as mutual benefactors, cooperating across the oceans and into space. The criminal enterprises that seek to dominate the world’s populations need to become the losers. As an artist type I can speak like this. And I will continue to.

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