The Asayish (Kurdish police) began its aggression against the pro-government militia force the National Defense Force (NDF) on 16th of August when it launched an RPG attack at a checkpoint without provocation. This was not the first provocation the Asayish have committed against the NDF in Hasakah in Syria’s northeast. This has been a long ongoing issue for well over a year with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) doing very little to control the situation.
In fact the YPG had encouraged the Asayish’ aggression against government forces in Hasakah.What transpired were on and off battles lasting days and even including Syrian government airstrikes culminating the United States to boldly state that Syria could not conduct airstrikes within its own sovereign skies without risking a confrontation with the United States who heavily backed the YPG-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Although on the Twitter-sphere I was attacked consistently by the YPG zealots, what has transpired since the expulsion of the NDF and Syrian Arab Army (SAA) from Hasakah?
Firstly, ISIS have led a very successful campaign against YPG positions in the southern portions of Hasakah province.
Secondly, Turkey have begun an aggressive campaign with its Islamist proxies to expel the SDF from the western portions of the Euphrates in an operation named “Euphrates Shield”.
Effectively, since the Asayish and YPG began its aggression against government forces in Hasakah city, the greater repercussions have seen them lose areas of southern Hasakah to ISIS and their campaign to connect Afrin canton to the rest of what the Kurds wrongfully term “Rojava” be destroyed by Turkey’s intervention.
Over a month of fighting ISIS in Manbij in which the SDF lost hundreds of militants, it was only announced today that the YPG will be withdrawing from Manbij leaving only the Arab members of the SDF in the town. Although the YPG have claimed these militants have withdrawn to their bases, it is yet to be seen to what degree the Euphrates Shield operation has contributed to this decision. Latest reports have shown that ISIS have committed attacks against YPG forces south of Manbij today.
It is well established that the Turkish regime have been engaged in a low intensity conflict with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the country for decades and that the YPG are just an extension of the PKK in Syria. It is no conspiracy that a Kurdish northern Syria constituting of Hasakah to Afrin is desired by the YPG and intolerable to Ankara.
This aggressive pursuit to statehood and the fracturing of the Syrian state explains the Asayish’ provocations with YPG blessing and support against Syrian government forces. However, the arrogance of the YPG would have blinded them to see that a double prong attack from ISIS in southern Hasakah province and Turkey and its Islamist proxies from northern Aleppo province was to be anticipated. Focusing all its energy in expelling government forces that consistently desired and sought a ceasefire with Kurdish forces exposed YPG forces to an ISIS and Turkish-led attack.
However, whilst YPG supporters were celebrating this victory over government forces, the YPG’s biggest backers, the United States, warned the YPG yesterday from advancing west of the Euphrates and to withdraw completely back to the east side of the river. US Vice President Joe Biden stated that Kurdish forces “must move back across the Euphrates River. They cannot, will not, under any circumstance get American support if they do not keep that commitment.” Effectively the “Marxist” anti-imperialist YPG had been betrayed by their biggest ally and largest imperial power the world has ever seen, the United States. This ideological contradiction is often overlooked and forgiven though by the trendy Western-leftists who continuously to unsuccessfully attempt to justify the hypocrisy.
Today Biden continued to reaffirm Turkey’s Syria commitment by announcing that the Turks are prepared to stay as long as it takes to defeat ISIS. However, YPG and PKK spokespersons have continually claimed that the purpose of the Euphrates Shield operation is to defeat the YPG and not ISIS. This is a fair speculation, however the YPG must question why their aggressive pursuit for statehood at the cost of Syrian unity is completely unraveling.
Although a potent and effective fighting force that has had many impressive victories against ISIS, the YPG have been completely inept on the political spectrum and understanding geopolitics. Foolishly they assumed they could march their away across northern Syria without any repercussions because of their alliance with imperialist Washington who are are operating illegally in Syria. They were soon stabbed in the back with Washington favoring to appease Ankara who have been warming their relations with NATO-rival Russia.
The refusal of Biden to allow the YPG to connect its Afrin canton to its areas of control east and just west of the Euphrates demonstrates a Washington backstabbing the YPG and no longer pursuing a policy of a united “Kurdistan” in Syria.
Effectively, the YPG sought for a short term gain in its statehood pursuit by expelling pro-government forces in Hasakah at the cost of losing villages in southern Hasakah to ISIS, swathes of territory in Aleppo province to Turkey and its Islamist proxies, and the imperative town of Manbij that the Arab members of the SDF will struggle to hold onto when ISIS decides to push for it again.
Its short term gain will mean its plans for the long term have been dealt a shattering blow. The shortsightedness of its arrogance has meant its slow contraction for its push to Afrin canton, and the YPG only have its self to blame for their predicament. Rather than being cooperative with government forces who have always attempted to maintain good relations with them, they have always sought to undermine them.
Turkey’s intervention in Syria makes no difference to the Syrian government as the land being taken by the Turkish Islamist proxies is just transferring it from one enemy’s hand, to another. But it has blocked any attempt for the YPG to create a “Rojava”. The Syrian government may have been willing to support the YPG against this double pronged aggression it now faces as it has done in the past where it provided arms and air support to the YPG, but it is unimaginable this could transpire when one considers the aggression the Asayish and YPG committed in Hasakah against the NDF unprovoked.
The above map by newsmap.pl shows YPG areas in yellow, the green shows the areas that the Euphrates Shield hopes to gain, and the dark colour is ISIS.
The Afrin canton lies to the west in yellow and as demonstrated, if the Euphrates Shield is successful, it will block attempts to unify “Rojava”.
As said by Chris Tchaik, it is the YPG’s inflexibility and arrogance with Damascus that has made Erdogan’s dream of a buffer zone be realized with the blessings from not only Washington, but Moscow too.
You can follow him on twitter: @oulosP