11:27 GMT31 October 2020
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    Clashes between the Syrian Army and Syrian Kurdish militia left 18 dead in northeastern Syria last week. Speaking to Sputnik, Syrian Democratic Council chairman Rezzan Hiddo said tensions between Syrian government forces and Kurdish militia seem to exist only where US forces are present.

    Last Saturday, 11 Syrian government troops and seven Kurdish militia members were killed at a checkpoint in central Qamishli, the de facto capital of the self-proclaimed Kurdish autonomous region in Syria's northeast. The clashes led to a rare spike in tensions between Damascus and Kurdish forces amid warming relations and months of fruitful negotiations.

    Speaking to Sputnik, Rezzan Hiddo, a former advisor to the YPG militia and chairman of the Syrian Democratic Council, the political wing of the Syrian Democratic Forces, said the clashes were highly suspicious.  

    "The Syrian military and Kurdish self-defense groups have been living in peace for years in Aleppo and Afrin. There have never been any clashes in these areas. But in the al-Jazira area [northeast Syria], where a US military contingent is stationed, a regular escalation of tensions has been observed," Hiddo said, speaking to Sputnik Turkey.

    "The latest incident in Qamishli gives one cause to think that the US is trying to frustrate the negotiations between the Syrian government and the Kurds," the politician added.

    Hiddo emphasized that the tensions in the Qamishli area following last week's clashes were "not in the interests of either the Kurdish people or the Syrian government."

    "These tensions only play into the hands of those forces who do not want to see stability and peace in Syria. It's notable that the incident in Qamishli took place against the backdrop of active negotiations between Damascus and Kurdish representatives. This indicates a desire by some forces to hinder the successful conclusion of this process. The US is not happy with the success of this dialogue. While they don't step out against it officially, in practice they strive in every possible way to interfere, because an agreement between the parties and settlement in Syria is not in Washington's interests," Hiddo said.

    Last month, the Syrian government reportedly declined a secret US proposal on the withdrawal of US forces from Syrian territory in exchange for the withdrawal of Iranian advisers, intelligence sharing on terrorists, and a share of the spoils from Syrian oil sales. Washington has continued to justify its presence in the country by saying it is assisting the Kurds in the fight against Daesh*, even though the terrorist group has been almost completely liquidated in Syria.

    *Aka ISIS, aka ISIL, an Islamist rival to al-Qaeda, which conquered large swathes of Iraqi and Syrian territory between 2014 and 2016 before being pushed back by Iraqi and Syrian forces and their allies.


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    clash, tensions, Syrian Army, Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Rezzan Hiddo, Syria, US
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