After the withdrawal of the US and other NATO forces from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s seizure of cities across the country in a very short period of time, the situation in Central Asia has changed. This change is also expected to particularly affect Middle Eastern countries, where there are organisations that have a similar mentality to the Taliban.
Syria, where the war has been continuing for ten years, and also Iraq are countries that will be affected. Turkey has increased airstrikes in northern and eastern Syria in recent days and, for many political analysts, Turkey has been taking advantage of the ‘developments’ in Afghanistan, where public attention has been focused in recent days.
As a result of the increasing attacks, the US Embassy in Syria has stated that Turkish airstrikes in northern and eastern Syria are alarming, and it has urged Turkey to respect the ceasefire decision.
“The US is deeply concerned with the intensification in airstrikes and shelling in northern Syria in recent months, leading to dozens of civilian casualties and displacements. We call on all sides to respect the ceasefire, protect civilian populations, and work toward a political resolution to the conflict as outlined by UN resolution 2254,” it stated.
As the attacks continue – despite the ceasefire – the statements coming from the Syrian Government regarding decentralisation have also taken on added significance.
“Decentralisation achieves a balanced development among different Syrian areas,” said Bashar al-Assad on 14 August, during a meeting with the new Syrian cabinet. He added that “there is now an opportunity to move from centralization to decentralization.” A senior US delegation has also reportedly been engaged in meetings in northern Syria recently.
A key figure in the region, the co-president of the Executive Council of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), Îlham Ehmed, spoke to the Mesopotamia News Agency (MA) about Turkey’s recent attacks, the role of the United States and Russia, Assad’s statements and other developments in the region.
“There could be wider attacks in the upcoming days” by Turkey, she said, noting that “stability in the region” was being “targeted by Turkey.”
Ehmed expressed the view that not only Turkey but also Russia and the US are also responsible for the attacks because they have remained silent, despite the deal made between these countries.
“However, Turkey says that, ‘Although I have made a deal with you, I will attack again.’ In the agreement with the United States and Russia, Turkey should not dare to carry out those attacks. But Turkey makes up excuses for the attacks. Forces such as the United States and Russia can sometimes use Turkey’s aggressive stance to force the Autonomous Administration and QSD forces to do what they want. That’s why we don’t see these countries as being distant from these attacks. Russia, in particular, is responsible for this,” she said.
Ehmed noted that the current situation in Syria is based on a ceasefire “but it does not mean the war will not re-emerge.”
“Clashes have restarted in Deraa. Such clashes can take place in Idlib as well. There may also be large-scale protests over economic problems in areas controlled by the Syrian regime. There may be attacks in our region like Turkey’s attacks,” she said, but all these clashes will not cause a ‘big war’ in the country as happened in the past.
“They want Syria to stay in a Cold War. In this way, the Syrian state is gradually weakening. It’s falling apart from the inside: after a certain period, the aim of establishing a new administration in Syria can be strengthened. It could be through a general agreement in Damascus. That possibility stands out. After all these wars, no one is keen on a great war again.”
Commenting on the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s statement regarding ‘decentralisation,’ Ehmed pointed out that the decision to strengthen local people and move towards a decentralised system had actually been taken in 2012 but had not been realised.
“If Damascus wants negotiations, we, as the Syrian Democratic Council (MSD), are opening the door to negotiations. This is our call. Syria is in a general crisis. That includes us, but the Syrian regime is going through the deepest one. The regime needs this. What they are doing now is trying to create tensions between autonomous governance and society, and this will not serve the regime. The best way for the Syrian regime is to accept this reality. The existence of the Kurds is now undeniable.”
Ehmed also addressed the debate over the status of northern and eastern Syria. “It is also a matter of the Syrian Constitution. It needs to be resolved with Syria. The UN needs to be directly involved. If they come out and state that AANES should play a role in resolving the Syrian crisis, there will be no obstacles left,” she said.