By Dr Jan Best de Vries:
The predominantly Kurdish district Sheikh Maksoud in Aleppo is since half a year under attack from rebels who have the blessing of Mr Erdogan because they fight against the present regime of Mr Assad and against the Kurds. The YPG and YPJ units in Aleppo have over the last four years kept a strict neutrality in the conflict because it is their sole task to protect the civilians in Sheikh Maksoud against aggression from all sides. Recently the Americans have made the mistake to think that they may use the women and men of the SDF, including as well as Kurds many Arabian soldiers, as cannon fodder on the ground in their airborne actions against IS in Manbij across the Euphrates, but at the same time, in order to please Mr Erdogan, they can forbid the SDF to cross the Euphrates and come to the rescue of the from-all-sides threatened district of Sheikh Maksoud in Aleppo.
From a military point of view, the SDF, henceforward being without American air support across the Euphrates, has to make a corridor between Manbij and Sheikh Maksoud through territory still occupied by IS and leave Raqqa for what it momentarily is, the capital of a Salifist caliphate whose wounded soldiers have been nursed in Turkish hospitals during the last four years. Raqqa will now undoubtedly fall to Assad’s Arabian Syrian Army, Iranian Pasdaran and Lebanese Hezbollah, all the way supported by Russian jets. This is a small prize for the NATO alliance between a still strong USA and a Syrian-territory-annexing Turkey, but a great loss for a democratic Rojava and the rest of the democratic world.
The distance between the northern district of Aleppo Sheikh Maksoud and Rojava’s district Afrin is comparatively small (just have a look on the map of Syria). Another truce, mediated by the Russians again between the Syrian regime and the administration of Rojava, may guarantee that without further warfare Afrin can be connected with Rojava’s other districts Kobane, Jazira and Gire Spi…, at last.
Dr. Jan Best de Vries is an archaeologist and historian, decipherer of the so-called Byblos Script from Aleppo and Alalakh (‘How to Decipher the Byblos Script’, Aspekt Publishers 2014, ISBN978-946-153-420-0)