War In Syria


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By Naveed Qazi | Editor, Globe Up Front


Syria is in a disturbing time. 


The most coercive retaliation in recent times were the Russian airstrikes which helped the Syrian army to capture the city of Selma, the resistant rebel capital. 


By now, the Syrian army, using Russian armour and tanks, is pushing north to seal its authority by coming close to the Turkish border, thereby further increasing enmities between the two countries. 

However, the Russian foreign ministry has declared: 'we have still not received convincing evidence of civilian deaths as a result of Russian air strikes’.



Three players namely Kurds, Syrians and Turks play a crucial part in the giddy politics vexing the region. Americans right now are tasking themselves as pacifiers by inviting restraint for all parties involved. The escalation between them has also agitated Russia to the point that many political commentators see these developments as the beginning of a new cold war between the Western powers (precisely NATO) and Russia, after the annexation of Crimea and conflict in Eastern Ukraine. 


Russia is trying to flank NATO which has the authority to launch offensive under its charter and there is also a chance of war between Turkey and Russia over cities of Aleppo and Latakia. Turkey currently is using ISIS against Kurds as a strategic resource in Syria. 

Many analysts believe that Turkey cannot send its troops inside Syria which almost looks like an offensive. The invasion of Kurdish canton of Kobani, where ISIS razed dozens of villages and executed hundreds of people, resulted in the migration of Kurds escaping the war and moving northwards. The pre-war population was 300,000, and after the attack, it swelled to 500,000.



2.2 million Kurds near the south of Turkey want to carve out an autonomous state. Car bombs and suicide attacks by ISIS have recently plagued the region. They have divided their claimed territory into three cantons which they call as 'Rojava', the Kurdish word for sun. The region has one of the most arable lands. The schools are run and salaries are given by Damascus based Assad regime. Medicines are transported amidst hostile territories from the Syrian capital and civil aircraft are also controlled from Damascus. 

In history, freedom of Kurds was rejected by the Arab leaders after Syria's independence in 1946. 

Syrians Arabised them. 

However, the present government in the disputed region is run by the militia who are currently promoting Kurdish cultural institutions on TV and radio stations. They also take pride in their secularism and gender equality. The movement is lead by Kurdish Democratic Union Party, and its military arm, the YPG in Syria. 



Soviets had supported the Kurdish cause in Northern Iraq and even in these times, Russia dispatched some two hundred military advisors to the Syrian city of Qamlishi in an attempt to secure an airport for its use.  Putin, with the help of Russian intelligence, is also trying to reconcile warring Syrian factions by identifying rebel groups and cutting a deal with them, on which Pentagon spent billions of dollars and failed.



Kurds were also recently used by Americans to fight the Daesh (ISIS), with the help of US air support. However, few had predicted, that Kurds would play a double game by appeasing both United States and Russia. Saudis have also joined in their goal of freeing the region of Daesh (ISIS) with US support.



There is an anti-Kurdish panic in Ankara. Quite recently, peace talks between Riyadh based opposition and Syrian government had happened and Kurds were excluded from the talks due to vehement Turkish opposition. 


The Turks have said that they want a no-fly zone to be established in the very area from Jarabulus to Azaz that the Kurds want to take from ISIS and other jihadis. Turkish officials in Ankara claim that the no-fly scheme would block the Syrian air force and create a haven for Syrian civilians escaping Assad’s attacks. The Kurds see the scheme as a device to permit the Turks to bomb any YPG fighters who enter the area.


Turkey always has seen Kurdish nationalists with contempt. Turkish artillery support in rebels towns of Allepo and Latakia has failed strategically as Syria's army and Lebanon's Hezbollah fighters have been fighting there. 



In February 2016, Turkish military and its armoured vehicles have been seen lingering around the Syrian border and are building trenches and concrete walls. The country is also providing military supplies to anti-Damascus militants thereby increasing volatility in the region. 

Even after five years, Syria has experienced war weariness and heightened anxiety in its politics. Only a coherent peace process can help the situation.















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