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EHSANI2 @EHSANI22
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Thread on #Syria Following @realDonaldTrump Withdrawal Decision

Content Is Based On Conversations with Damascus And Other Very Well Informed Sources

Current situation is v fluid. White House’s decision caught everyone in the region off guard and unprepared. Game on mode now =>
2-Important to first establish that no substantive agreements have taken place between Damascus and Kurdish leaders since yesterday's surprise decision. Yes, there are channels of communication but those have existed for a long time and there is nothing new as of now
3-Important to also state the obvious & confirm that Damascus is keen to reach a deal with Kurdish leaders ahead of any potential Turkish move. The probability that Damascus reaches an understanding with Kurdish leadership is still far higher than a Damascus/Ankara rapprochement
4-Yesterday, I wrote that Syrian Kurds now have two options. Either deal with Damascus or flee to Iraq. In truth, they have a third option - to fight and lose for their cause. This is after all a hardcore ideological & now a more military group
5-Ever since this WH decided to "annihilate" #ISIS , Damascus made the strategic calculation that the U.S. would "sooner or later" leave #Syria after the terror group's defeat. Damascus leadership had watched the Iraq example when they arrived at this conclusion.
6-The Damascus calculation that US would leave Syria (no one knew exactly when but 0-5 years range was often mentioned) was instrumental in the way they approached Kurdish talks. This is perhaps in direct contrast with Kurdish leaders who seemed to believe in a longer US presence
7-Kurdish leaders may want Syrian Army Troops on border to prevent Turkey from entering but Damascus refuses to do so because it will help secure what is effectively a PKK autonomous zone which is the whole reason the Turks are keen on attacking it in the first place
8-Damascus will not send forces to protect PKK autonomous zone but would do so to protect a northeast that was reintegrated into #Syria w local leaders being elected locally under reformed local Admin law & Kurdish parties becoming purely political rather than military actors
9-Above has been message to Kurdish leaders even when the US was present. Now that the decision to withdraw has been made, it is up to these leaders to see the merit of embracing this strategy. As stated earlier, there are no credible signs yet that Kurdish leadership is ready
10-It is incumbent on WH to use its leverage to nudge Kurdish leaders to accept above path when it comes to their future relationship with Damascus. Failing to facilitate this Kurdish/Syrian State deal of course opens the door to a far worse outcome for US & region. Why? =>
11-@realDonaldTrump abrupt decision to withdraw is likely to embolden Erdogan and convince him that the light has now turned bright green for him to make his move into northern #Syria and to do another Afreen throughout Eastern Euphrates
12-On practical grounds, should Erdogan decide to send Turkish troops into northeastern #Syria , it is likely that host of Syrian Sunni Arab Armed groups will be his partners on this endeavor. Think #Idlib to the power of three now. Think of large sized incubator of AQ & Co
13-The WH must think of the two alternatives:

A-Nudge Kurdish leaders to accept a deal w Damascus (yes, its far short of the dream of an autonomous state)

B-Allow Turkey and its local partners to invade & annex a massive swath of land/incubator of future instability
14-Sadly, it was officials like Satterfield, McGurk, Tillerson, Jeffrey & Mattis who all politicized war against #ISIS by forcing mission creep that added rolling back #Iran & forcing Assad to the table to the mix of US objectives. @realDonaldTrump stopped this madness yesterday
15-Whatever the motivation was for the seemingly impulsive or at least abrupt decision yesterday, onus is now on the WH to pave the way for more stability in rather than more war and chaos. Even if one abhors Syrian leadership, fact is that it is here to stay.
16-By March, Syria's war will be 8 years old. Everything has been thrown at regime change. For good or bad, it refused to go away. It is time to accept this reality and start to glue the pieces together. This process can start with WH nudge to Kurdish leaders to open talks w Dam
17-Lastly, a comment on assertion by experts about certain reemergence of #ISIS (seen as an ideology that is unlikely to go away) -

Since When Is An Occupation By Foreign Forces The Remedy To Fight Radical Ideology? Surely, Such An Occupation Is More Likely To Induce Radicalism
18-Contrary to consensus opinion, it is not necessarily the case that Erdogan would reject the arrival of Syrian troops at the border following talks between Damascus and Kurdish leadership. To Ankara, this would be a far better option than an autonomous PKK zone
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