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Monday, 27 June 2022
Russia is using Erdogan’s threats to blackmail Kurds
zara saleh


The strategic town of Ain Issa that controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and well-known as the political capital of the Kurdish autonomous administration, has recently become the centre of tensions. Aiming to take advantage of the US presidential transitional period, Turkey has increased its attacks in the area of Ain Issa since November perhaps to repeat the previous scenario of occupation of the mainly Kurdish region of Afrin in 2018. On the other hand, Russia as the main guarantor of the cease-fire agreement between Ankara and Moscow as a part of the Sochi deal in 2019, now is trying to exert pressure on Kurds to hand Ain Issa over Assad's regime.  


Recently, after several meetings at the Russian military base in Ain Issa between the Syrian Democratic Forces and Russian officials, they have been reached a deal to set up three joint observation points with the Syrian army presence as well to monitor the previous cease-fire. Despite the deal should have to prevent any Turkish attacks on Kurds, Russia continues the plan of blackmailing Kurds by using the Turkish threats. Russian officials have warned the SDF that the serious danger of Erdogan's threats with the so-called Syrian National Army's jihadists. To avoid Afrin's scenario, Moscow has suggested SDF pull out from the area of Ain Issa and to hand it over to the Syrian regime.


Arguably, Russia was not satisfied with that deal due to the rejection from the SDF to withdraw from Ain Issa, and even they refused the Russian offer that been mentioned to be similar to Qamishly and Hsakah’s model. Qamishly's model leaves the security square control and the airport to the Syrian government, while the city remained under the control of the Kurdish forces. There is no doubt that Russia is trying to take control of the area of Ain Issa, Kobane, and Raqqa and to ensure the Syrian regime's gains by repeatedly using Turkey's threat. Moreover, Putin will never allow the Turkish army to invade that area and taking control of further territory.


Erdogan might fail to take advance in his plan in Ain Issa. however, Turkey's phobia towards the 'Kurdish state' and Erdogan Ottoman's ambition is serving Putin's strategic plan in favour of the Syrian regime. For Erdogan, if the Kurdish-controlled areas could hand over to the Syrian government still considered a success. The Russian overtime game, ultimately, seems will end without any success and they both, Moscow and Ankara, expect a tough relationship with the new elected US President Joe Biden in terms of their strategy in Syrian. Whereas, Kurds are more optimistic, and they believe that things will make difference with Biden's administration.    


Zara Saleh