Syrian Kurds Battle Extremist Fundamentalists

In a potentially very bad sign for the Syrian Revolution, Agence France Presse Arabic reports that in the town of Ra’s al-Ain in the province of Hasaka on the border with Turkey, heavy fighting has been raging between local Syrian Kurds and an invading force of Muslim fundamentalist Arabs that deployed tanks and artillery against them. The Kurdish forces claimed victory, saying that they had captured a tank being used by Jabhat al-Nasr (Succor Front), which the US considers a terrorist organization with ties to the Iraqi al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia. The Kurds, who either actively or passively oppose the government of Bashar al-Assad, are bitter that the opposition should have captured a tank and then used it against them instead of against the ruling Baath Party. The fundamentalists accuse the local Kurdish party, a branch of the Kurdish Workers Party, of being pro-Assad, which they deny.

Aljazeera English reports on the Syrian Kurds:

Meanwhile, on Friday, two bombings took place in the southern city of Deraa, with another explosion in Aleppo in the north. It was not clear who was responsible for these explosions, with both sides pointing the finger at each other.

!2 officers, including a colonel and several captains, defected on Friday. It is not a good sign for the regime if the colonel and and majors want out.

9 Responses

  1. For anyone unclear about what’s gone before, what’s happening now, and what’s to come: link to aljazeera.com The logic is sooo, ah, compelling, right? “What we did was not wrong. If the Communists had succeeded, our country would have been altogether different.”

    As just one example.

    No doubt (Uganda, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraganakifanistan, China, pretty much everywhere… e.g., link to tomdispatch.com)

    Where are the peace-makers, the peace-creators? Where does reconciliation come from? Or is that just another myth, that obscures our human nature and insulates us from ever having to behave differently?

  2. This sort of incident is at least partly a consequence of Turkish support for the rebels. The Turks want to have a free hand to resolve the Kurdish Question.

    Since the Iraqi state had now been weakened, the Kurds are no longer necessary to the Western Bloc. Therefore they have been sold to the Turks in exchange for Turkish help in weakening Syria and eventually Iran.

    If ever the West desires to weaken Turkey, the Kurds will no doubt come crawling back for whatever help they can get. There are no consequences to the West for their betrayal of the Kurds. The Kurds can be picked up, dropped, then picked up again, whenever they might prove useful.

    • What “betrayal of the Kurds” are you talking about?

      The problem with this theory, Roland, is that the West has not been working with the al-Nusra Front. In fact, the U.S. has been trying to keep weapons out of their hands, and has declared them to be a terrorist organization.

  3. I thought that both the squashing of the Succor Front and the question of Kurdish autonomy were things that would be dealt with after the defeat of the regime. But the Succor Front stupidly wants to bring the Kurds into the civil war. The opposition will lose some support because of this. The Kurds have been preparing to defend their autonomy in a post -Assad Syria. Some foreigners may think it’s worth backing the Kurds in order to keep the extremist fundamentalists at bay.

  4. I don’t think the FSA and SNC should be getting on our case about the al-Nusra front anymore, or vouching for their good faith.

    Sure, fine, they’re terrific soldiers – a lot of good that’s going to do the revolution if those terrific soldiers are off beating up the Kurds.

    • The FSA and SNC are fearful that Syria may plunge into a civil war if al-Nusra is not co-opted into a united front.

      While the Free Syrian Army has coordinated attacks on the Baathist forces with al-Nusra and has praised their effectiveness as fighters, it is clear that neither side trusts the other. It has been said that when Free Syrian Army fighter pass by al-Nusra positions, the Jabhat al-Nusra troops disengage the safety devices on their firearms.

      It is clear that al-Nusra’s plans in a post-Assad Syria are to impose Sharia law and have a Salafist-controlled Islamic state – these are Islamic extremists. The Syrian National Coalition is composed of Christians, Communists, feminists and chaired by a moderate Muslim – very secular in orientation. Syria is far more secular than Iran or Iraq and it is unlikely that al-Nusra will ever see its goal of an Islamic fundamentalist state.

      The U.N. or U.S Armed Forces may eventually have to intervene should Jabhat al-Nusra decide to militarily oppose a post-Assad regime in Damascus. Another post-Saddam Iraq-like situation could develop where Americans and other Western nations may think: “Those Baathists were not such bad guys after all – they neutralized militant Islamic extremism and kept internal peace.”

  5. This is troubling and hope the Kurdish community prevails now and post-Assad. A link to an interview with Nusra Front, and a disturbing conclusion at the end.

    link to bbc.co.uk

    The FSA and the opposition have to get their act together if they don’t want to be undermined in their fight against Assad’s regime and end up losing support from the International Community.

    Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s ideological dictatorial monarchs support for Arab Sunni Islamist militants may end up causing an Afghanistan redux. They should be held accountable and need to rein them in. If there’s a Turkish connection, then clearly they’ve disappointed and share responsibility.

  6. Doesn’t anybody realize that the Turks are in a position to pressure their Syrian rebel dependents to do things that are more in the Turkish interest than in Syrian interest?

    Or do you think the Turkish gov’t has been operating purely out of altruism, without any power-political agenda?

    Can’t anybody see the carrots and the sticks? The Turkish gov’t offers oil and gas deals to the Iraqi Kurds, while sponsoring Syrian rebels to attack Syrian Kurds.

    If the Syrian Kurds are forced to play the “strange bedfellow” with Assad, from the Turkish perspective that’s all good:

    a) a tougher fight makes the Syrian rebels more dependent than ever on Turkish aid. Good.

    b) the eventual downfall of Assad will drag down teh Syrian Kurds with him. Better still!

    c) raging fights involving Kurds near the Turkish border, or even across in Turkey, might move Turkish public opinion to support open Turkish intervention in parts of Syria. If the Syrian gov’t tries to retaliate, then NATO is forced to support Turkey. Better and better!

  7. Who constitutes the several hundred fighters of Jabhat al-Nusra? Are they primarily Syrian citizens or Iraqis? Why would they accuse Kurds of being pro-Baathists? Who is arming them? Who is directing their activities?

    The disturbing aspect of al-Nusra’s assault on the Kurds is that is destroys the united front the Syrian National Coalition and Free Syrian Army are trying so desperately to establish to topple Assad. So does the terror organization designation by the U.S. State Department against al-Nusra; that designation has little or no practical effect on the group as the U.S. has no control over financial entities or organizations that may be aiding al-Nusra. The Syrian National Coalition chairman has tried to get America to rescind this designation – and it is clear why; to isolate al-Nusra is to place it in a position where it will be a hindrance to the other anti-Baathist forces in Syria.

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