US commander Lt. Gen. Paul LaCamera has issued a statement on Sunday warning the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that the US intends to sever all military assistance to them if their fighters partner with either the Syrian government or Russia.
This is clearly intended to preempt an SDF alliance with the Syrian military, which was a policy under negotiation virtually the day the US announced its planned withdrawal from Syria. Syrian forces intended to help the Kurds resist a Turkish invasion.
Syria sent its army to help the SDF resist the invasion of Afrin District in 2018, and has sent forces to Manbij preparing for a Turkish strike there. The US clearly wants to avoid Turkey facing any such joint resistance, since the SDF has a number of US arms.
Yet sooner or later, this is a choice the Kurds will have to make, as they say they intend to be an autonomous region within Syria, and that implies them having a formal relationship with the Syrian government, even if the US objects.
Though the US is putting out the offer of more aid after the US pullout as a way to keep the SDF reliant on them, this clearly cannot last forever, and at some point, a post-war Syria will require the Kurds, or the US, to move on from this relationship.
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