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The West didn't betray the Kurds

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February 22 · Issue #78 · View online
MENAroundup
MENAroundup
MENA Roundup is a weekly publication containing insightful articles on politics in the Middle East, focussing on Syria and Iraq. lars@menaroundup.com

Notions
  • The situation in East Ghouta is likely to escalate even more. Within the last week, pro-regime airstrikes and artillery fire killed at least 250 Syrians and wounded hundreds. There are many signs that the regime wants to crush the rebel enclave for good. Not only did it concentrate well-known fighting units and heavy weapons in the area. It is also Russia’s rhetoric that makes you prick up your ears: Russia said that the terrorists in the Ghouta were responsible for the situation and that the Aleppo scenario might be what the area needs. 
  • Meanwhile in northwest Aleppo, pro-Iranian militias loyal to the Assad regime entered the Afrin region. Turkey claims that artillery fire targeting the militia’s convoys pushed the groups back. Yet, pictures of Syrian flags in Afrin city and on several frontlines indicate that this is only half the truth. The question is why Turkey opposes the deployment of pro-regime units, considering that it initially welcomed a possible regime takeover as long as it would end the YPG’s rule. A corresponding question is why the regime presence is such limited so far. My take is that in addition to disagreements between the regime and Russia regarding a deal for Afrin, the regime is simply trying Turkey. 
  • In neighboring Idlib and western Aleppo, another war has erupted between the jihadists from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and a an alliance between Ahrar al-Sham and Nour al-Din al-Zenki. The two latter groups formed a new faction named Jabhat Tahrir Souriya (JTS) and pushed HTS out of the town of Marat al-Numan which is well-known for its resistance against jihadi groups. However, HTS has demonstrated its determination and capabilities in prior inter-opposition conflicts. Considering Turkey’s new observation posts in the area, I personally think that it is unlikely such fighting would erupt without Turkey’s blessing. So maybe this time, HTS could face serious problems.
Articles worth reading
Instead of articles that focus on details, I focus on pieces that provide an idea why the Syrian conflict has become such an internationalized mess.
Der Westen hat die Kurden nicht verraten Der Westen hat die Kurden nicht verraten
Syria's War Has Never Been More International Syria's War Has Never Been More International
Miscalculation and vulnerability simmer beneath the surface of the Syrian conflict Miscalculation and vulnerability simmer beneath the surface of the Syrian conflict
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