Russia’s acknowledgement of the Turkoman community in northern Syria and its victimization by US-backed Kurdish forces is an important milestone that hints at how the tense situation in that part of the country might be resolved through Moscow’s diplomatic mediation in the future.
Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Maria Zakharova issued a strong statement condemning the efforts of the US-backed Kurdish forces in northern Syria to establish a “special administration”, declaring on Wednesday that:
“Regrettably, the situation in the eastern bank of the Euphrates is causing growing alarm. As a matter of fact the Americans rule the roost in this zone with reliance on their Kurdish allies. The efforts they exert to form in Transeuphratia some special administration that does not agree with Syria’s current constitution yield results that are far from positive. Such attempts to build a quasi-state annoy the non-Kurdish population – Arabs, Assyrians and Turkomans. The locals are particularly angry over the arbitrariness of the US-sponsored local security service.”
The four most important parts of what she said are that:
* Russia tacitly recognizes the diverse nature of Syrian society despite this being “politically incorrect” for Damascus’ supporters to do (who simply claim that “all Syrians are Syrian”);
* The “Turkoman”, an artificial label used to describe ethnic Turks who found themselves within Syria’s borders after World War I, veritably exist and a legitimate part of northern Syria’s society;
* US-backed Kurdish forces are committing crimes (possibly, as the author has previously warned, even ethnic cleansing) against the majority non-Kurdish inhabitants of the north;
* and that these American-approved actions are taking place as part of the Kurds’ efforts to carve out a “special administration” (US-backed proxy state) east of the Euphrates.
Each of the above points hints at the following policy observations that Moscow may have made:
* Double-layered (complex, asymmetrical) “decentralization” in the northeast is the only way to protect the rights of the region’s diverse inhabitants;
* Turkey has a legitimate “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) its ethnic compatriots there if it sees the need to do so, though Russia would likely advise against it at this time;
* Checks and balances need to be implemented in any forthcoming “decentralized” administration there in order to secure an equitable power-sharing arrangement between all;
* and the de-facto “partition” of Syria is already a fait accompli, the question is now all about “legitimizing” this in the “least bad” way possible that respects all indigenous communities.
Accordingly, the common thread linking together all of the aforementioned is that Russia will probably continue to “encourage” Syria to “decentralize” in accordance with the guidelines contained in the “draft constitution” that it first “suggested” in January 2017, as no other “solution” is politically viable.
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