Recently, the Russian Foreign Ministry has again intensified its negotiating efforts aimed at returning the Syrian Kurds of the Rojava Autonomous Region to the Syrian Arab Republic. Several Kurdish delegations have already visited Moscow, it seems that appropriate negotiations were held with Assad’s entourage. It is difficult to judge the results of these measures so far, but the following lies on the surface.
If we discard the propaganda verbal husk around this idea, such as “we need to preserve a single Syrian state”, “prevent the separatists from destroying it,” “remove US troops illegally located in the northeast of the country,” and so on, then it all comes down to to persuade the Kurds to return under the control of Damascus the entire northeast of the SAR, where agriculture is well developed and the country’s main oil and gas fields are located.
This becomes especially relevant in the context of the continuing restrictive sanctions of the West against the Assad government, the coronavirus pandemic, the financial and economic crisis, which is also reflected in the ability of the main sponsor of Damascus in the person of the Iranian Ayatollahs to allocate more and more billions of dollars to support the Syrian security forces and foreign Shiite mercenaries. (Hezbollah, Afghans, Pakistanis, Iraqis, Yemenis, Palestinians).
These financial injections of the ayatollahs in the amount of $ 8 to 10 billion a year are becoming more and more burdensome for Tehran and once already provoked widespread pro-tests of ordinary Iranians in dozens of Iranian cities.
However, there are many pitfalls in the implementation of Moscow’s idea of strengthening the Assad regime through the peaceful return of the country’s northeastern provinces under the control of Damascus.
First, Assad cannot organically abandon the ideology of Ba’athism – Arab nationalism on the verge of chauvinism, which does not allow any federation or autonomy of ethnic minorities on the territory of the SAR. Traditionally, the ruling clans of the Arabs hate the Kurds, since they are the indigenous people of these places with a thousand-year history, in contrast to the newcomer Arabs.
Secondly, the Arab-Alawite clan (close in faith to the Shiites), which at one time seized power in Damascus, does not want to share power with the Kurds and Arabs of the Trans-Euphrates, the overwhelming majority of whom profess Sunni Islam.
Thirdly, it is unlikely that Assad’s sponsors, the Shiite fundamentalists in Tehran, will allow the creation of even a cultural Kurdish autonomy in Syria, since in their country they solve the Kurdish problem exclusively through violent assimilation. Arrests and executions of Iranian Kurds in the Islamic Republic of Iran are reported weekly.
Fourth, the Syrian Kurds themselves today do not have a consensus on the issue of possible integration with Damascus. Still fresh in the memory of the Kurds is the genocide and deportation of their ancestors during the time of Hafez Assad, the massive deprivation of their Syrian citizenship, of all rights and freedoms, the betrayal of the young Assad, when in a panic in 2012 he withdrew all government troops and security forces from the north of the country, leaving the Kurds without protection and weapons in fr-ont of the advancing gangs of the “Islamic State”.
And, if the Democratic Union Party (PDS) is still trying to conduct a dialogue with the Syrian authorities through the mediation of the Russian Foreign Ministry, then the Kurdish National Council (KNU) cooperates more with the Syrian armed opposition. The PDS is based on the ideology of A. Ocalan and uses the symbols of the Turkish PKK, from a position of strength dictates its terms to all residents of the Rojava Autonomous Region.
This party is considered in Ankara to be affiliated with the PKK terrorist group and for this reason has become the target of more and more attacks and attacks from the Turkish security forces. Caught, as it were, between “two fires” (Ankara and Damascus), the PDS prefers a possible alliance with Assad, but taking into account its own interests.
The KNU is the umbrella organization for many of the traditional Kurdish political and social organizations in Western Kurdistan. As stated above, she cooperates with the opposition to Assad and Iraqi Kurdistan. Its disadvantage is the small number of its armed forces.
Thus, today there are no preconditions for the integration of the Kurds into Assad’s Syria. This proposal of the Russian Foreign Ministry is doomed to failure in advance. The return of the Kurdish “prodigal son”, as in that biblical parable, is impossible in today’s Syria. The maximum that Assad can go to is to put into practice the right that he had previously promised to 300 thousand Syrian Kurds to restore the Syrian citizenship that was taken from them under the father of the current president. It is quite obvious that no one will let the Kurds into the power and security structures of the SAR.
Moreover, it is likely that the hypothetical transfer of the Kurds to the jurisdiction of Damascus may be accompanied by the disarming of Kurdish militias, another campaign of persecution of Kurdish activists, the banning of all Kurdish political and public organizations, communication in the Kurdish language, etc. Damascus today cannot offer the Kurds anything other than further forced assimilation within the framework of the unitary state – the SAR.