Sources following up on the situation in areas under the influence of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militias and the U.S. and Turkish occupations in northeastern Syria, suggested that Moscow and Washington will maintain their “separate paths” policy for those areas, notwithstanding the events taking place between the two rival countries in Ukraine.
In statements to al-Watan, the sources predicted that the aggravation of positions on the war in Ukraine will not translate into changes on the power map, and established boundaries, which have remained steady east of the Euphrates River since the ceasefire took effect, back in October 2019. This continuation will likely continue despite the deliberate, controlled military build-up of both the United States and Russia in the region, which does not amount to escalation or confrontation—at least in the foreseeable future.
According to the sources, this likely outcome is due to the stability of the U.S. administration’s strategy in Syria and the northeastern regions of Syria. The strategy focuses on supporting SDF and fighting ISIS, in addition to the humanitarian issue. In a sense, these priorities do not affect the current agreed boundaries, regardless of the repercussions of the war in Ukraine and the conflicting positions of Moscow and Washington. Indeed, the two nations consider that the paths of both issues are isolated and separate from each other—in principle—despite the natural interdependence of the future for the “understandings” on the Syrian issue and the path of changing the situation in Ukraine. Which logically should change the power dynamic locally and internationally.
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Moscow, despite the escalating western sanctions imposed on it, does not perceive a trade-off between Ukraine and Syria, with both countries falling within Russia’s various spheres of influence. Russia considers the two countries as an extension of its fundamental national security. Syria’s geopolitical and military weight in the east Mediterranean, which benefits the Kremlin, adheres to the Sochi, Astana, and Constitution Debate Committee processes—each of which seeks to find a sustainable solution to the crisis in Syria, which will soon enter its 12th year.
It is therefore in the interests of the United States and Russia to adhere to their “consensus” on northeastern Syria. Specifically, this requires that the countries “prevent clashes” and reduce the aspirations of Turkish regime president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to expand the areas that he occupies. It also applies to the northwest regions of the country, which are governed by the requirements and obligations of the extended UN resolution on “cross-border” and “cross-line” humanitarian assistance. According to the sources, these factors apply regardless of the events that are taking place or could develop, in Ukraine
To confirm this viewpoint, the sources pointed to the concluding comments of Western and Arab country representatives when they were hosted in the U.S. capital last Thursday. In a statement, the representatives affirmed their commitment to a political solution to the Syrian crisis; they welcome the briefing of UN Special Envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen on the Steps- for-Steps proposal, which is aimed at maintaining the understandings in force between the United States and Russia toward the various Syrian regions.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.