Turkish operation producing more sectarian hatred in Syria

Posted: 10/11/2019 by editormary in Assad, Politics, Refugees, Resistance, War
Tags: , , , , ,

ergogan map

Scattered and disconsolate thoughts
WRITTEN by Fouad Roueiha, translated by Mary Rizzo

The US green light for the Turkish operation in northern Syria is a disaster and yet another demonstration of how damaging the divisions between Kurds and Arabs have been, actually serving the interests of others, rather than to those of people living or who have lived in Syria. The Kurdish forces, the YPG and YPJ of the PYD party, have been the backbone of the “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) sought by Washington and used for the purposes of not having to deploy American boots on the ground in the fight against ISIS. A battle that took place without regard for the local populations (see Raqqa, razed to the ground by US bombing) and which handed over large Arab-majority territories to a force perceived as Kurdish nationalist (not wrongly) and therefore as foreign, as if it were an invasion. Emblematic was the entry of the SDF into Raqqa after its “liberation”: no Syrian flags, many flags of the most powerful Kurdish party and enormous portraits of its ideologue Abdullah Ocalan. On the other hand, the military collapse by the Arab anti-Assad militias, increasingly becoming hostages to the “sponsors” and therefore quarrelsome and competing with each other, crushed by the enormous weight of the Russian air force and Iranian ground troops and other allies of Assad, has pushed whoever remained standing either to embracing Al Qaeda (in some of its recent incarnations) or becoming factually under the auspices of Turkey.

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This situation has already led to a huge polarisation between Syrian Arabs and Kurds, especially with the increase of cooperation between Kurds and the regime on the one hand, with the Turkish invasion of Afrin (and consequent deportations of Kurds) on the other. The Arabs now speak of the Kurds as “separatist militias” (which is only partially true) and the Kurds speak of Arab forces as “jihadists in the service of Turkey”, here too, only partially true.

The feared Turkish invasion of northern Syria to the Euphrates, to create a buffer zone and free it from “terrorism” (as Ankara defines the Kurdish forces), will produce the forced displacement of Kurdish-majority areas, which will be repopulated by Syrian Arab refugees currently hosted in Turkey and which Erdogan hopes will be loyal to him. We are talking about poor people who have lost their homes who will be allowed to leave the hell of the refugee camps to settle in the homes of poor people like themselves, expelled to make room and leave the government in Ankara alone. The PYD and its militias are likely to turn to their “least worst” enemy, namely Assad, and their traditional Russian ally, in recent years betrayed for those states that have now dumped them, attracting hatred, not concerned about the rest of the Syrian population, as there were not enough barbed wire to divide the communities that make up the Syrian people. The only moments when Arab and Kurdish forces cooperated fruitfully against common oppression were the peaceful demonstrations of 2011 (looked down upon by the PYD, which then prevented it from continuing) and the Battle of Kobane in which also battalions of the Free Syrian Army participated (looked down upon by Erdogan, who also had the historical rivals of the PYD/PKK participating, namely the Peshmerga of the Iraqi Kurdish leader Barzani).

This will inevitably produce more sectarian hatred and tensions, seeds that will transcend generations by building a fence of mistrust and resentment between Arabs and Syrian Kurds that will remain in people’s common memory.

PS.
If Turkey will really create this “safe zone”, then it too, like Russia and Iran, will be one of the occupying forces in Syria that will have under their control much larger portions of territory than those occupied (and now almost annexed) by Israel in the Golan Heights.

 

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