Why Syrian Kurds Prefer Moscow to Washington?

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SHAFAQNA – The Kurdish Democratic Union Party which is the largest political umbrella for the Syrian Kurds, opened its first European representation office on Thursday, 11 February in Moscow, a move that does not seem to please Washington and Ankara.

Syrian Kurds opened their office in Moscow while over the past two years, especially during Kobani siege by ISIS militants, Washington greatly aided the Kurds through airstrikes. The US aids have also remarkably increased over the past few months and even the US officials and experts have repeatedly asserted that the People’s Protection Units, the military wing of the Democratic Union Party are the best and most reliable forces for the US on the ground, and the United States can count on them to defeat ISIS terrorist group.

Nevertheless, the relations between the US and the Syrian Kurds have been facing major challenges. Washington has been closely collaborating with Turkey on Syria, while Ankara has staged an all-out war against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has very close ties with the Syrian Kurds; the complexity of the issue increased when the US put Kurdistan Workers Party on the list of terrorist groups.

Democratic Union Party is well aware of the contradictions in the US behavior and the fact that the US support for the Syrian Kurds is not serious. Last month, the US Vice President Joe Biden during his visit to Ankara, described the PKK as a terrorist group and stressed that this group, the same as ISIS, is a threat for Turkey. It was clear that the position of the US Vice President did not please the Syrian Kurds.

Turkey, as an important member of the US-lead collation in Syrian crisis, has placed the West, especially the US, under pressure so that they have to choose between the Turks and Kurds. This policy of Turkey has made ​​the US to reluctantly go towards the Syrian Kurds.

On the other hand, representatives of the Democratic Union Party, due to opposition of Turkey, were forced to leave the Syrian peace negotiations in Geneva. While the Kurds were forced to leave the talks, the US did not support them against Turkey. Moscow insisted that the Kurds should attend the negotiations. Accordingly, the relations between the US and the Kurds lack a solid framework and remain unreliable.

Taking these contradictions into account, the Syrian Kurds are worried that the US, under pressure of Turkey, may leave them alone. That is why they are more inclined towards Russia rather than the US. After the liberation of towns of Nubl and al-Zahraa in western Aleppo, the Kurdish groups took advantage of the opportunity and advanced to areas controlled by rebels backed by the United States, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

On the other hand, the Kurds and Russia share one important thing and that is hostility towards Turkey. Since the day a Russian warplane was shot down by Turkish air force, the support of Moscow for the Kurds has significantly increased. Thanks to Russian support for the Syrian Kurds, they have advanced to some areas in northern Syria which Ankara regards them as its red line. On the other hand, Russia has ensured the Syrian Kurds that it is a more reliable ally than the United States.

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