Kurds want to keep their conquest in Syria
Syria’s Kurds have vowed to “resist to the end” any attempt to wrest back control of the 25 per cent of the country they now control after their victories over Islamic State.The Syrians and their Russian allies have been concentrating on removing the last of the rebel forces to the west of the territory claimed by the Kurds. Once the rebels are defeated the Assad regime will probably turn its forces toward the Kurds. They also will have to deal with the Turkish despot and his ethnic hatred of the Kurds. The Kurds are a more cohesive force than the rebels and they have been well supplied by the US, but they would need US support to survive a coordinated attack. I fear they might not get it, especially if Trump tries to appease the Turkish despot.
Their war-hardened troops, backed by the US, have taken control of vast swathes of northern Syria — and as the bloody civil war that has pulverised the country rolls remorselessly towards its conclusion, some fear their grip on the new territory means it will be impossible to turn the clock back to the pre-war consensus.
“We are rebuilding our own army to be ready to deal with any threat from anyone who wants to invade the cities we liberated alongside the coalition,” said Abdul Qader Effedili, 41, deputy commander of the 50,000-strong Kurdish-led SDF. “The Turks, Iranians and the regime would be happy to take everything we have gained back from us. We are trying to stabilise the situation, not create further war, but we must be ready for what happens next. We have the will and ability to protect everything we have liberated.”
Surrounded by mostly hostile neighbours, including Turkey, Iran and the regime forces of President Assad, the Kurds are gambling on US support to sustain the autonomous region they now control. The Times interviewed a number of key figures within their political and military institutions in northern Syria last month, all of whom stated that the continuing presence of US troops in the area was essential in preventing a new phase of war.
With Isis reduced to a few units trapped in pockets of desert in the east of the country, and Syria’s rebel movement now a spent force, the Kurdish-led SDF and Syrian regime army have become the last forces standing in a bloody war that has claimed the lives of more than 400,000 people.