Following the closure of the remaining entry point that Syrian militant and rebel groups had into Aleppo’s east last month it seemed the regime might prevail in that key city.
Kyle Orton, a Middle East analyst and research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, also thinks that Assad is the lesser of two evils for the Kurds of Aleppo and that the PYD certainly believes it benefits most “from the pro-Assad coalition prevailing in Aleppo.”
“Perhaps the PYD has come to an accommodation with Assad or the Russians on linking up its cantons in the east with Afrin, and thus the crushing of the rebellion would be to the PYD’s advantage, at least in the short-term,” Orton told Rudaw English.
“But even in that scenario, it protracts the war – there will still be plenty of people not prepared to lay down arms even if the rebels are denied control of eastern Aleppo City – and it would cause great bitterness against the PYD and the Kurds more broadly if they collaborate in this,” he added.
Orton doesn’t think that the PYD is a proxy of the regime as some in the Syrian opposition have alleged, arguing that it’s a self-interested actor whose interests at present just happen to converge with those of the regime. However that convergence won’t necessarily be long-lasting as circumstances on the ground in Syria change.
“Another possibility,” Orton said, “is that the PYD has no such deal with the Assadists – or the Assadists break it – and once the pro-regime coalition suppresses the uprising in Aleppo, it moves to re-conquer Rojava.”
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