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Monday, 23 May 2022
Zakharova's fears of Kurdish autonomy in Syria
zara saleh


In the recent Russian troops' attempt to expand their presence across the Kurdish region in north-eastern Syria, the local population strongly rejected any presence of Russia's military bases in the area.


When a Russian army patrol tried to enter the village of Ain Diwar, Derik, Rojava (northeast Syria), they were stopped by the villagers and a Kurdish woman angrily pointed the Russian commander and said "what do you want from the Kurds? We don't want you here". This scene has been repeated in several villages and areas that been Russia’s targets to create new bases or military points in the Kurdish self-Administration region and wasn’t the first time Russian troops have faced protests by local Kurds as a message of lack of trust.  


Maria Zakharova, the Russia Foreign Ministry Spokesman again has stressed her concern about the situation in north-eastern Syria, on Thursday 22 October, and she said "Obviously, there is an American attempts to divide the Kurds from the Syrian State through feeding the Kurdish separatists tendencies". Arguably, Zakharova considered the US position as a threat to Syria's unity and sovereignty due to the supporting the creation of a "Kurdish state or autonomy" in northeast Syria that led by the Syrian Democratic Forces. Moreover, the Russian diplomats including Sergey Lavrov, the Foreign Minister has repeatedly drawn attention to this issue by accusing the United States of supporting the Kurdish autonomy in north-east Syria.


In contrast to that and as a result of the Russia-Turkey agreement in October 2019 which should end the Turkish attacks on Kurdish areas, Moscow has allowed Ankara to occupy the Kurdish border towns of Ras Al-Ayn and Tel Abyad, following a partial American troop  withdrawal from few military bases in border areas between Turkey and Syria.  Added to that, in Kurdish region of Afrin, Russia has sold it to Turkey as deal for exchange to Eastern Ghouta and left again the Kurds at the mercy of Turkish army and its allies of the Syrian opposition militias and jihadists.


Consequently, the Russian positions and its steps towards the Kurds has aroused a doubt about "Moscow's mission" and the way how to protect the "Syria’s unity and respect for its territorial integrity and sovereignty" as Zakharova has mentioned in her last briefing speech while she was blaming and accusing US of dividing Syrian territories by supporting the Kurdish "separatists". However, Moscow's fail to play the role of guarantor actor between the Kurds and Assad's regime and to bring both sides to the table, has increased the Russia concern and fears about the US influence in northeast Syria.


Simultaneously with that, the US is driving an initiative for Syrian Kurdish unity negotiation with general Mazloum Abdi, the leader of Syrian Democratic Forces. Besides that, the American officials two months ago has declared the US oil company has reached a deal with the Kurdish authorities in northeast Syria to develop and export a crude oil in the areas under the Kurdish control. In this case, the US has left about 500 troops in northeast Syria to protect the oil fields in the area and preventing ISIS to re-emerge again according to American officials. That is why the tensions between Russia and the United States has significantly increased in last months and before the American Presidential election results that might have an important impact on Russian-American relationship including upcoming Syria's fate as well.


Zara Saleh