Division between Russia and Iran, the two major allies to the Bashir Assad regime in Syria, could cause a geopolitical nightmare for Putin, with the sticking point being this, what to do with the Syrian Kurds?
With the map of Syria’s conflict decisively redrawn in President Bashar al-Assad’s favor, his Russian allies, Iran included, want to convert military gains into a settlement that stabilises the shattered nation and secures their interests in the region – a prospect the Israeli government strongly objects to.
A year after the opposition’s defeat in Aleppo, government forces backed by Russia and Iran have recovered large swathes of territory as Islamic State’s “caliphate” collapses……
Russia is serious about accomplishing something with the political process, but on its own terms and turf, said senior International Crisis Group analyst Noah Bonsey.
“I am not sure they have a good sense of how to accomplish that and to the extent that they seek to accomplish things politically, they may run into the divergence of interests between themselves and their allies,” he said.
The Syrian Kurdish question is one area where Russia and Iran have signalled different goals.
While a top Iranian official recently said the government would take areas held by the U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led forces, Russia has struck deals with the Kurds and their U.S. sponsors.
“From the start of the crisis, there’s been a difference between the Russians and the Iranians and the regime,” said Fawza Youssef, a top Kurdish politician. The Russians believe the Kurds “have a cause that should be taken into account”.
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