Kurds, eternal left behind

Editorial. Abandoned by the West, the Kurds had to put themselves under the protection of Russia to avoid being slaughtered by Turkey in northeastern Syria. An alliance that leaves a bitter taste.

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Food distribution in Iraq's Bardarash camp, home to 6,900 refugees, 21 October 2019. LAURENCE GEAI FOR "THE WORLD"

Editorial of the "World". Dropped by their Western allies, the Kurds are once again in the position of those left out of history. The sudden announcement of US President Donald Trump to withdraw US special forces from northeastern Syria has put their backs on the wall. In order not to be massacred by the Turkish army and its customary Syrian substitutes for abuses, the Kurdish forces had to place themselves under the protection of the Kremlin and the regime of Bashar Al-Assad, with whom they have always maintained their relations.

This alliance tastes bitter. The bitterness of rotten tomatoes that residents of Kamechliyé, a predominantly Kurdish city in the far northeast of Syria, threw on US armored vehicles leaving for the Iraqi border on 20 and 21 October.

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For more than four years, Kurdish forces have been the brave arm of Westerners in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) organization. Supported by their American and French allies, these valiant fighters have paid a heavy price (more than 10,000 combatants) to fight against the self-proclaimed "Caliphate". Without them, IS head-cutters would still be rife.

The Kurds were our brothers in arms, but it was yesterday. As a thank you, Donald Trump released them in a jiffy, justifying his flip-flop by a fabric of nonsense: "They are worse than the IS," "They did not help us in Normandy," "They have enough sand there to play".

The incompetence of Westerners has a face, that of Havrin Khalaf, 35, Kurdish and militant civil society. The young woman was summarily killed on October 12 by Syrian auxiliaries of the group Ahrar Al-Charkiya, allied with the Turkish army. From her vehicle, the young activist, who was not armed, was dragged by the hair before being shot several times in the face and back by the Islamist thugs in Ankara's pay.

On the roads of exodus

The region was one of the few areas in Syria where there was relative peace between the different ethnic and religious communities (Kurds, Yezidi, Assyrian, Arab). In two weeks, the Turkish incursion has caused death and destruction in this territory, pushing 200,000 people on the roads of exodus. A six-hour meeting between Russian presidents Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on October 22 in Sochi was enough to put an end to it.

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The victory goes to Mr. Putin, who is more than ever a key player in the region after having managed to calm the warlike ardor of his "friend" Erdogan. With his Ottoman nostalgia, he dreams of being a vigilante of Sunni Islam, able to make the regions east of the Euphrates "To their natural owners", the Arabs and especially the Syrian refugees from Turkey (3.6 million), whom he burns to send home, an unachievable project that he feeds to gain points from his Islamic-nationalist electorate.

Above all, the triumph is total for Bashar al-Assad. As the main cause of the Syrian tragedy, he is now considered by all parties as the incarnation of the least evil. The skilful opportunism of the Kremlin master could help to get out of a difficult situation. It will not be enough to bring about a political solution in Syria. Bringing back a bloodthirsty regime can not be the cornerstone of the reasonable order that any leader should seek to promote. Unable to offer a convincing alternative to Putin's offer, Americans and Europeans have withdrawn from the game. They will have no say in the future of Syria, they will just be solicited for its reconstruction.

The world


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