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Demystifying Syria - Crosstalk discussion on Turkey, US, Kurds and Syria

The discussion in this video opens up new topics on the confusing situation with US 'withdrawal' and Turkey incursion in Northern Syria. Particularly interesting is Marwa Osman's framing of why Turkey would want to move Syrian refugees into Northern Syria. She thinks that Erdogan (Turkey's President) has a problem with all the Syrian refugees living in his country because his people resent the presence of this large number of non-Turkish people. If Erdogan can move these refugees into an area he is trying to clear of Kurds in northern Syria, then he can put the Syrian refugees there. Many of those refugees now have Turkish papers. This would have the further benefit for Erdogan's purposes in that, once Erdogan will have moved so many people there, he will more or less control the area with their presence, since he will be organising their settlement and deployment. Video discussion with Ammar Qaqqaf, Marwa Osman, Mike Raddie and Peter Lavelle.

Stateless Kurds

Most Kurds have Syrian citizenship, but some do not. Syrian citizenship is modeled on French law, generally requiring a demonstration of cultural affinity - such as speaking the language. Children born in Syria must demonstrate Syrian paternity; it is not enough to have a Syrian mother. After 1945 there was a diaspora of Kurds from Turkey to Syria. The Syrian government in power during the transitional period between the fall of the UAR and the coming into power of the Baath government, was worried by this inflow from Turkey, which has long had designs on Syrian territory. In 1962 this government held a Syrian census of Kurds in the North requiring proof of residence in Syria from 1945. According to my source on this,[1] there were many illiterate Kurds in the area, without much engagement with the government, so they might not have understood the requirements, if they knew they were being made. 120 stateless Kurds resulted.

During the war in Syria that began in 2011, the United States and other NATO countries cultivated politically ambitious Kurds for their own purposes. Now they have dumped them and many Kurds are fleeing towards the parts of Syria held by the Syrian Government.

Many terrorists remain in the area, including ISIS. It is feared that Turkey will use such fighters to achieve its own ends. Erdogan, who is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, is thought to want to establish a caliphate along the lines of the old Ottoman Empire.[2] Part of such a caliphate would involve redrawing the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement borders to bring Northern Syria into Turkey.

Any incursion by Turkey into Syria risks being used by the United States and NATO to their own ends, which are destabilisation and power over oil reserves in the region.


[1]"The Stateless Syrians," Tilburg University, Switzerland, May2013. Note that this work was funded by Open Society Foundations, which is a multi-million dollar political engineering program that funds mass migration.

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