Have Kurdish Groups Embraced Putin’s Aerial Warfare?

October 1, 2015

Interesting article on the Kurdish position viz Russian air strikes. According to Middle East Eye, the YPG (which is fighting for the revolutionary democratic experiment in Rojava) has welcomed Russian airstrikes against IS targets.

Idriss Nassan, the foreign minister of the Kobane enclave, told Sputnik TV in Russia that the Kurds would welcome any assistance, military or otherwise, from pretty much anyone.

“We want it from Turkey, we want it from Russia, and we want it from the United States” he said, adding that “We are ready to co-operate with anyone who fights against IS.” Tellingly, Nassan also backed Russian strikes against non-IS groups such as the Al Nusra Front.

This will be seen as stretching the unity of the Free Syrian Army even more thinly – as both the Kurds and Al Nusra are nominally members.

It also suggests that we should be cautious about assuming that Kurdish groups will oppose Russia’s pro-Assad intervention. However, the Kurds themselves are deeply divided on political and strategic lines.

If the Russians, Iranians, Hezbollah and government forces were serious about wiping out IS as a purely anti-terrorist exercise, the Kurds would be on firmer ground, but in this case, as I’m sure they know, the enemy of their enemy is certainly not their friend.

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