After IS collapse, Syria government deals with US-backed Kurds

Express News

By Associated Press|Released: 10th November 2017

This frame grab from video provided Wednesday, Nov 8, 2017, by the government-controlled Syrian Central Military Media, shows a tank firing on militants’ positions on the Iraq-Syria border. The United States and Russia are nearing an agreement on Syria for how they hope to resolve the Arab country’s civil war once the Islamic State group is defeated, officials said Nov. 9. (Syrian Central Military Media, via AP)

BEIRUT: With the fall of the Islamic State group’s last considerable fortress in Syria, Iranian and Russian-backed Syrian soldiers now rely on take on with their primary competitor, the U.S.-backed forces holding big oil fields and tactical area in the nation’s north and east.

The complex map puts U.S. and Iranian forces at close distance, standing simply throughout the Euphrates River from each other, amidst numerous hotspots that might turn violent, especially in the lack of a clear American policy.

There are currently indications.

Iran threatened recently that Syrian soldiers will advance towards Raqqa, the previous IS capital, which was up to the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in October, raising the capacity for a clash there. The Kurdish-led SDF likewise manages a few of Syria’s biggest oil fields, in the oil-rich eastern Deir el-Zour province, an important resource that the Syrian federal government likewise states it will reclaim.

The SDF likewise deals with uneasyness in an Arab-majority town it freed in 2015, a possible indication of things to come in other locations that the Kurdish-dominated forces manage in their self-rule location in northern Syria, now about 25 percent of the nation’s area.

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The concern now is whether the United States wants to challenge the soldiers of Syrian President Bashar Assad and Iranian-backed militiamen. The Kurds are looking for a clear American dedication to assist them protect their gains. American authorities have actually stated little of their strategies and goals in Syria beyond basic declarations about continuing to reject IS safe houses and continuing to train and gear up allies.

Throughout a conference today with Ali Akbar Velayati, the consultant of Iran’s supreme leader, Assad stated his war protested terrorism and versus strategies to partition Syria, a direct referral to Kurdish goals for an acknowledged self-governing zone in the north. He duplicated that his federal government prepares to restore control of all Syria.

Federal government triumphes “have foiled all partition strategies and the objectives of terrorism and the nations sponsoring it,” Assad stated.

4 U.S. authorities stated Thursday the U.S. and Russia are nearing a contract on Syria for how they hope to deal with the Arab nation’s civil war when IS is beat. If clinched, the offer might be revealed by President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin after a conference in Vietnam on Friday, they stated.

The United States has actually hesitated to hold an official conference in between the leaders unless they have a substantive arrangement to reveal. The authorities weren’t licensed to go over the considerations and asked for privacy.

With its collapse in Boukamal on Thursday, the Islamic State group has no significant area left in Syria or Iraq. Its militants are thought to have actually drawn back into the desert, east and west of the Euphrates River. The group has a little existence near the capital, Damascus.

The Euphrates now stands as the dividing line in between Syrian federal government soldiers and the SDF in much of Deir el-Zour province.

Federal government forces and their allies, consisting of Iranian soldiers and fighters from the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, manage the western bank. They hold the provincial capital and a number of little oil fields.

The Kurdish-led force, together with American soldiers encouraging them, is on the eastern bank. They hold 2 of Syria’s biggest oil fields, almost a lots smaller sized ones, among the biggest gas fields and big parts of the border with Iraq. They state they are figured out to keep the federal government from crossing the river.

Iran’s Velayati stated the United States existence intends to divide Syria. “They have not and will not be successful in Iraq and they will likewise not prosper in Syria,” he stated throughout a check out to Lebanon last weekend. “We will quickly see the Syrian federal government and popular forces in Syria east of the Euphrates and they will free the city of Raqqa.”.

The United States union decreased to talk about Velayati’s remarks, stating “it would not be suitable to talk about speculation or report by any 3rd party.”.

Washington has actually watched out for Iran’s increasing impact in the location and its efforts to develop a land passage from Iran throughout Iraq and Syria to Lebanon. For weeks, the union stated the SDF meant to press to Boukamal. Now it is unclear exactly what the United States will do.

To prevent frictions in the congested battleground, the US-led union stated it preserves contacts with Assad’s ally Russia.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis acknowledged today that allies have actually pushed for a clearer U.S. policy in Syria. The top priority was to obtain the U.N.-sponsored peace talks back on track, he stated, providing couple of information.

” We’re aiming to get this into the diplomatic mode so we can get things figured out … and ensure (that) minorities– whoever they are– are not simply based on more of exactly what we’ve seen” under Assad, he stated, obviously describing making sure some sort of lodging to Kurdish aspirations.

The talks, set up for Nov. 28, have actually currently been challenged by Russia, which looks for a larger function. Moscow required intra-Syrian speak with chart a political procedure and welcomed the dominant Kurdish party that forms the foundation of the SDF, the very first such international invite. A date for the Russia talks has actually not been set.

Yezid Sayigh, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, anticipated the Syrian federal government will utilize military pressure to reach a worked out option with the Kurds amidst absence of proof that the United States has any “dedication to engineering political modification in Syria or certainly has a Syria policy at all.” In a post recently in the Al-Hayat paper, Sayigh stated Russia is the most likely arbiter in between Kurds and the federal government.

Ilham Ahmed, a senior political leader with the political arm of the SDF, stated indirect talks with the federal government have actually happened however there are no indications of a modification in their position.

” A clear position from the union can avoid conflict,” she stated.

Ahmed rejected reports that the federal government required the Kurds return Arab-majority lands that SDF control, that include Raqqa. She acknowledged oil fields can be a significant bargaining chip.

” The oil fields play 2 opposite functions. They can be an efficient method to settlements. They can likewise be the cause for a brand-new war if they decline the option,” Ahmed stated.

Over half of Syria’s oil wealth is based in Deir el-Zour. Syria had actually shown oil reserves of 2.5 billion barrels, and the market was a pillar of the Syrian economy prior to the dispute in 2011.

The Kurdish-led SDF deals with the problems of attempting to run Arab-dominated locations. With US-backing, the force looked for to ease any Arab locals’ worries of Kurdish supremacy by forming joint regional councils and choosing Arab and Kurdish authorities.

This week, the SDF-held town of Manbij saw demonstrations by Arab homeowners versus obligatory military conscription enforced by the SDF. Hundreds were quickly apprehended, inning accordance with Mohammed Khaled, with activist-operated Aleppo 24.

Ahmed explained the demonstrations as “made” by the federal government and Turkey, which sees Kurdish goals as a risk.