former american envoy syria says us wont defend kurds assad analysts disagree


Former American envoy to Syria says US won’t defend Kurds against Assad, analysts disagree


Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (L), SDF fighters. File photo

ARA News

Robert Ford, who served as envoy to Syria under former President Barack Obama from 2011 through 2014, said that the US “will betray the Kurds”.

“[The U.S.] will not defend the Kurds against Assad’s forces,” the former envoy told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

“What we’re doing with the Kurds is not only politically stupid, but immoral. Syrian Kurds are making their biggest mistake in trusting the Americans,” Ford said.

However, Washington-based analyst Nicholas A. Heras, Bacevich Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), told ARA News that the US will keep supporting the Kurds in Syria.

“All signs point to the US military planning to maintain a forward operating presence in Syria in SDF-controlled areas,” he said.

“My assessment is that the US military will be in Syria at least through 2021,” he added.

Aaron Stein, a senior resident fellow at the Atlantic Council, told ARA News it’s still too early to tell.

“The US hasn’t made up its mind yet about what to do if and when there are further clashes between the Assad regime and the Kurdish-led SDF, and what level of assistance the US will give to SDF held areas for reconstruction. The focus is now, narrowly, on counter-ISIS. Raqqa is going well, but ISIS remains in part of Syria, and I can see US forces remaining to take the fight to IS further down the river,” he said.

Sam Heller, a Beirut-based freelance writer, analyst and fellow at The Century Foundation, also said the US will continue to support the Kurds.

“I don’t think that’s likely, at least any time soon. It turns out it’s not possible to disaggregate the partner force you use to liberate eastern Syria from the Islamic State and the post-Islamic State order that keeps the Islamic State at bay – the capture force and the hold force are the same thing, you don’t get to just invest in one,” Heller told ARA News.

“The United States isn’t somehow committed to the ‘Northern Federation’ or a democratic confederalist project. But America can’t just walk away from the Kurds the day after defeating the Islamic State without inviting an attack on northeast Syria from all sides and, ultimately, undoing what it’s accomplished against the Islamic State,” he concluded.

Speaking to ARA News, official advisor of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Dr. Nasr Haji Mansour said the US should make clear what their policy is.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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