Kurdish SDF Wants to Work With Syrian Govt to Resist Turkish Invasion

SDF would like Syria to use air defense on Turkish planes

The most enduring US ally in the Syrian War, the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are very publicly interested in resisting the latest round of planned Turkish invasions of northern Syria, saying they are open in coordination with the Syrian government’s troops to do so.

Turkey has repeatedly invaded northern Syria and northern Iraq to have a run at Kurdish factions, declaring them “terrorists” in both. The operations in Syria aim at the SDF’s parent organization, the YPG.

The most recent threatened Turkish operation seeks to establish a 30 km “security zone” within Syria. This is roughly in line with past plans threatened, mostly with an eye toward propping up Turkish-backed rebels in the area.

Syria opposes such raids because that “zone” becomes rebel territory, and the SDF oppose it because it’s carved out of their territory. SDF leaders suggest the Syrians would particularly help if they used air defenses against the Turkish warplanes.

The US-armed SDF are a formidable on the ground force, but were an auxiliary of the US in fighting ISIS, and envision the same role with Syria in resisting Turkey.

Turkey backed the rebels in Syria almost immediately at the beginning, envisioning the Sunni Arab-dominated rebels being more hostile to Kurdish autonomy, and leaving the YPG in a weakened position.

Ironically, Turkey’s pro-rebel position set Islamists up in north Syria, and when the US got involved, they backed the YPG in resisting those groups, leaving the YPG and the SDF as a stronger group than they likely were before the war began. Now, they may find themselves natural allies to Syria, and even further entrenched as an autonomous faction in northeast Syria.

Turkey, by contrast, has found its border far less stable for its involvement in the war, and its relationship with Syria broken. The rebels plainly aren’t going to win the war, and Turkey will have to deal with the Assad government they worked to undermine.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.