Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Syria's Kurds Reassured by US Protection, Russian Recognition

Syria's Kurds Reassured by US Protection, Russian Recognition

Monday, 1 January, 2018 - 09:00
This file photo taken on November 09, 2017 shows US Defense Minister James Mattis delivering a press conference during the second day of a Defense Ministers Meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels. JOHN THYS / AFP

Commander of the People's Protection Units (YPG) Sipan Hemo welcomed the statement delivered by the US Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, saying that Washington will defend the Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces against any attack waged by the Syrian government and prompted by Iran.

According to Hemo, the phase following the defeat of ISIS in east Syria is a transition from military victories to political recognition from the US-led coalition and Russia.

During his visit to Moscow, Hemo was informed by some Russian officers that the Kurdish self-administrations will call for a Syrian national dialogue congress in Sochi, which will gradually establish a federal Syria. His visit came as a response to an invitation from Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu to celebrate the victory against ISIS.

Syrian Democratic Forces, whose mainstay is People's Protection Units, succeeded in establishing balance between two international coalitions. It first liberated regions in the east of Euphrates from ISIS, with the support of the US-led coalition. Then, it formed a joint operations chambers with the Russian army in Deir ez-Zor.

Based on information provided for Asharq Al-Awsat, the Russian generals entrusted with the Astana process and preparing for the congress in Sochi affirmed that the self-administrations of north Syria will be invited to the congress. This would irritate Ankara which opposes the presence of any party close to People's Protection Units or the Democratic Union Party in the congress.

“The Russians are holding a tactical cooperation with Turkey to ensure success in Sochi. Therefore, they won’t send official invitations but will invite only the self-administrations,” reported sources.

As for Washington, Mattis said: “There is currently a demarcation line between areas controlled by the US-led coalition, mainly in eastern Syria, and those controlled by Syria and its Russian allies in western Syria. It's a mistake to cross that line.”

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