One of the recent developments that has worried the Kurds in Iraq and Syria is that the United States may withdraw from the Kurdish areas of Iraq and Syria after the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan, leaving the Kurds alone in the face of various threats.
Alex McKeever, an expert on Syrian Kurdish issues, believes as there are differences over the US presence in Afghanistan and Syria, it is unlikely that 900 US troops will leave Syrian-controlled areas soon.
About the situation of the US presence in Syria and Afghanistan, the analyst told Kurdpress that "I don't think the Afghanistan case is particularly relevant to the US presence in northern Syria as the scope of US involvement was so different. This was a long running war in which the US was engaged in developing and supporting the local government; the same one that crumbled as soon as the withdrawal was announced. The 20 year war in Afghanistan had become increasingly unpopular with the American public due to its longevity and the difficulty Americans had in understanding why the US remained there. In Northern Syria, the US presence is much more limited which counter intuitively means that the American forces are more likely to remain."
"Furthermore, the AANES is much more capable, less corrupt, and possesses more local legitimacy than the Afghan government did. While Turkey is a much more dangerous opponent than the Taliban, I find it very hard to believe that the AANES and the SDF would crumble the way the state and military did in Afghanistan," he said about the possible collapse of the Kurdish-led administration in northern Syria after the possible US pullout from the region.
About the reason behind Turkey air strikes in northern Syria and Iraq, McKeever added "I am not sure what this current uptick in Turkish military strikes on Kurdish targets in Syria and Iraq means exactly. However, I think, for the time being, these are seen by Turkey as an alternative to full scale ground invasion."
He further stated that the US is not serious in confronting Turkey over the Kurdish issues, he stated: "I can't speak to the specifics of how the Biden administration views the Kurdish political conflict between the KDP and the PKK/PYD, but in general I think that Biden, like the American foreign policy establishment overall, wishes to avoid further American confrontation with Turkey and will not prioritize Kurdish concerns over this relationship. Perhaps if the domestic situation in Turkey continues to worsen and the country's ties with NATO and the US further degrade this will change."
McKeever blamed Damascus for the failure of its talks with the Kurds in northern Syria and the Syrian central government is not ready to recognize the rights of the Kurds and stated: "The AANES and Damascus are unable to reach an agreement because Damascus will not budge in its negotiations. The regime does not see any discussion of creating a federal system in Syria as tolerable."
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