The hopes of the Trump administration to use the Syrian Kurds as a wedge against the government of Bashar al-Assad in Damascus may be rapidly fading.
The liberal Lebanese newspaper Elbalad [The Country] reports that the Autonomous Administration of the Kurdish-majority Afrin region of northern Syria, which is under attack from Turkey, has called on the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad in Damascus to defend the country’s borders from the “brutal Turkish aggression,” affirming that Afrin is an inseparable part of Syria. The Kurds, organized by the Democratic Union Party and its paramilitary the People’s Protection Units (YPG) said that the Turkish invasion, launched last Saturday, aims at grabbing another piece of Syrian territory through the occupation of the district of Afrin.
The Kurds called on the Syrian state to undertake its responsibilities of sovereignty with regard to Afrin and to safeguard the borders of the country from the attacks of the Turkish occupier, something it has not done so far despite the announcement by Damascus that it would send troops to man the frontier.
The communiqué said that the People’s Protection Units had spent the last six years fulfilling their national duty to safeguard the district against the attacks of terrorist groups and preserving of the integrity of Syrian territory and its national institutions.
The some two million Syrian Kurds in the north and northeast of the country have been a wild card for decades. They were discriminated against by the Arab nationalist Baath Party, the tattered remnants of which still huddle around al-Assad in Damascus, on the grounds that Kurds are not Arabs and so not full citizens of the Syrian Arab Republic unless they are willing to learn Arabic and give up their ethnic identity. The Baath Party is as racist as the KKK. In fact, in the 1960s, the Arab nationalist government in Damascus just removed citizenship from 100,000 Kurds, who later grew into a million.
When the attempted revolution broke out in 2011, Bashar al-Assad went up to Hasaka in the northeast and offered to restore citizenship to the Kurds if they would back his government instead of rebelling. The Kurds showed little interest in the offer. For them, the outbreak of revolution was a chance to stake their claim to a federal Kurdish ethnic province,