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Oct-15-2015 23:03printcomments

What Goes on among Supporters and Opponents of Assad in Syria? (II)

In part two we discuss the role of the Kurds and the perspective of recent developments affecting the crisis in Syria.

Assad supporters
Photos of Assad supporters courtesy: english.al-akhbar.com

(ALWAGHT / SALEM, Ore.) - Groups and counties pursuing their own goals in Syria are deepening the crisis there. In this article we are just trying to give you a better understanding of developments in Syria.

In the first part of this series, we discussed the conditions of the supporters and opponents of Bashar al-Assad. In this second part, we are going to discuss the role of the Kurds and the perspective of recent developments affecting the crisis in Syria.

The Kurds

In war-torn Syria, the Kurds have played a positive, patient role. As in the initial days of the Syrian crisis, despite decades of the suppression of the Kurds in Syria, they decided to play a neutral role, and chose a different path.

They declared an autonomous region in three Cantons of Afrin, Kobani and Jazira. They also announced that they were not at war with Bashar al-Assad or anti-Assad groups and are just trying to form an autonomous region of their own.

Meanwhile, as the ISIS extremist forces entered the battlefield in Syria and made efforts to seize geo-strategic areas on the border with Turkey.

ISIS forces laid siege to Kobani and conducted frequent attacks on the city. The four-month siege of Kobani encountered the heroic resistance of the People's Protection Units (YPG) which inflicted a humiliating defeat on the ISIS terrorist group.

At the present time, the Kurds have the upper hand among other actors in Syria. They have have received support from the West and the US-led coalition in the framework of airstrikes against ISIS positions and in this way, the coalition forces have contributed to the strengthening of the positions of the Kurds.

They are currently devising a strategy to win back Tripoli from ISIS; a plan supported by the US-led coalition forces.

On the other hand, among the friends of Assad, the current government and Russia, have supported the positive role of the Kurds in the fight against ISIS. The Russian government recently stated that the Kurds should receive logistical support.

The Kurds are trying to assume a positive role so that they can secure the support from the West and Russia in joining the three Cantons, allowing them to and take maximum benefit from the current situation in Syria. But historically, the positive conditions for the Kurds are short-term, and the Kurds cannot rely on long-term support of the West.

So they continue to fight ISIS using support from the US that they know will at least help in the current battles against the ISIS terrorist group.

Future Events

When looking at the friends and enemies of Bashar al-Assad and the neutral rule of the Kurds against Syria's government, we get a good grasp of the vague and complicated situation in Syria.

It appears there is a strong cohesion and a clear goal among the friends of the Bashar al-Assad which has led to quick and clear performance. The friends of Assad aim to strengthen his positions and keep him in power. The friends of Bashar al-Assad include Iran, Russia, Iraq and Hezbollah.

The main complexity of the issue lies in the ranks of the enemies of Bashar al-Assad. On one hand, the Western countries made an attempt to strengthen the positions of "moderate parties"; however, the US plan to train the moderate opponents of Assad failed.

The Western countries waging and funding this conflict impacting Syria, seem to lack clear objectives.

Neither do they take a serious stance against the ISIS, or fully equip the anti-Assad groups. Turkey, as a major player in the Syrian crisis, has failed to persuade the West to overthrow Bashar al-Assad, remaining silent about ISIS. However, Turkey has made ​​efforts to promote cooperation with the ISIS forces.

Turkey has to deal two main problems about Syria.

On one hand, Turkey sought to overthrow Bashar al-Assad, and has paid a high cost failing to do so. On the other hand, Turkey has dealt with the issue of the Kurds in Syria and the creation of an autonomous Kurdistan on its borders.

To counter the Kurds, with support of the West and the international community, Turkey has targeted the positions of the PKK, the mother of Syrian Kurds, as the military wing and political party of the Kurds in the Kurdish areas of Turkey and Iraq;

Turkey has also resorted to political and judicial means to undermine the Kurdistan Democratic Party as a legitimate political party. The mobilization of the Turkish government and army against the Kurds have had unpleasant domestic and regional consequences.

The ruling AK party has met with widespread criticism. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia, known as the state sponsor of extremist movements in Syria, (concurrent with the new king’s ascending the throne and subsequent developments), has adopted pragmatic policies, and makes attempts to be an active player in regional crises and counter Iran, Bashar al-Assad and the Shiite movements.

It is quite difficult to predict the future of Syria, but it should be noted that there are certain tactics among the friends of Bashar al-Assad to adopt a unified strategy to keep him in power.

On the contrary, one can see the split and division among the enemies of Bashar al-Assad - their goals and strategies, that make the upcoming trends more ambiguous for those countries and groups. The only clear point about the Syrian crisis is the fact that all active movements in Syria are the enemy of ISIS except for Turkey, which has not adopted any official policy against it.

Meanwhile, some of these groups have made ISIS a pretext to strengthen their own positions. While Bashar al-Assad holds out much hope that his presidency will survive the presence of the ISIS terrorist group, others say he should not remain in power.

At this point, one can perceive the importance of presence of Iran and Russia in hoping for a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Syria.

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