Moscow (GPA) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned of the United States’ dangerous position with the Kurds and Washington’s plan to occupy Syria.
Lavrov’s exact words on Tuesday were that the US is acting in “dangerous way” in Syria as indicated by their likely “course to create a quasi-state.”
Lavrov was, of course, referring to the US support for the PKK-founded-YPG-turned-SDF/future border force, the best western-backed proxy in Syria which gained support during the war against the Islamic State. Yet now that the war against IS is over, not only are the Kurds not allowing the forces of the Syrian Arab Army back into northern Syria, but the large US force that has built up in SDF controlled territory shows no signs of leaving.
Obviously, the presence of US soldiers is a violation of the sovereignty of Syria, making it against international law. Yet this war is also illegal by US law as well as a war on Syria was never officially declared and the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed after September 11th only covers targets associated with Al Qaeda.
Lavrov went on to warn that these “unilateral steps” by the US were getting in the way of efforts by countries such as Russia, Iran, and Turkey “to achieve a common understanding.” Instead, Lavrov believes the US is making an attempt to partition Syria and their level of commitment to that plan is what caused them to propose the “border force” and is now preventing them from ending support for the Kurds.
Russia has “raised these questions multiple times” with Washington according to Lavrov, but he says Moscow has “not received a coherent answer besides a general motto ‘Don’t’ worry we’re for the territorial integrity of Syria.'”
“In reality, it looks otherwise though,” Lavrov continued citing the fact that “Autonomous, independent from Damascus governing bodies are being created in this territory, money keeps flowing there to keep them functional. Law enforcement, created there, is receiving weaponry.”
Lavrov Urges US to Rethink Kurdish Ties
Lavrov also warned that besides the US plans to partition Syria, the unconditional support for the Kurds is foolish for a host of other reasons, primarily relations between the US and NATO ally Turkey. “We all know Turkey’s attitude towards Kurdish militia units,” he said, noting that “this position is reality” and that for the US to completely ignore the concerns of Ankara “is unwise, to say the least.”
Lavrov went on to say that this “unwiseness” and inability by Washington to think of their Turkish ally’s position has already shown to produce devastating results as evidenced by the current conflict in Afrin.
Yet Lavrov went on to express his fear that the US seems determined to stay in Syria a long time, “if not forever,” since Washington’s stated goal is to ensure that “there is a stable political process there that should end with the transition of power that would be acceptable to all, that is, regime change.”
James Carey is an organizer based in Detroit, Michigan, founder of Geopolitics Alert, and an experienced analyst on Middle Eastern affairs with a particular focus on Turkey. He also covers topics ranging from Latin America and Asia to Europe. You can also hear James in his weekly podcast; The Left is Dead which he co-hosts with investigative journalist Jake Anderson.