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Russia backing Kurdish forces in Deir ez-Zor: military

By Rudaw 4/12/2017
YPG and Russian flags on display during a joint press conference in Deir ez-Zor on Sunday. Photo: YPG
YPG and Russian flags on display during a joint press conference in Deir ez-Zor on Sunday. Photo: YPG
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Russia is coordinating military movements on the ground with Kurdish forces and overseeing the formation of a political council to govern eastern Deir ez-Zor after ISIS, according to a Russian military statement. 

Russian Maj. Gen. Evgeniy Poplavsky attended a meeting with 23 delegates of the Committee for Governance of the Eastern Territories of the Euphrates in al-Salihiyah, Deir ez-Zor on Sunday, Russia’s Ministry of Defense stated. 

The delegates represented “all the ethnic and religious groups residing east of the Euphrates River.”

Poplavsky told the gathering that tribal militias were completing operations against ISIS east of the river, under coordination by Russia. 

Following the meeting, the Kurdish armed force YPG announced that ISIS had been defeated in the rural areas of Deir ez-Zor province east of the Euphrates. The YPG, fighting under the SDF flag, had led the offensive with US and coalition backing. 

Russia has been backing the Syrian regime, which ran a parallel military operation against ISIS across the river. 

The two sides came briefly into conflict with Russia warning the United States in September that they would target the SDF if provoked. 

Russia’s Ministry of Defense, however, stated on Monday that its air force carried out 672 sorties in support of tribal and Kurdish militias in Deir ez-Zor province. 

Russia is also assisting local authorities to establish a governance committee in Deir ez-Zor and “create favourable conditions for returnees and to deliver humanitarian aid,” according to the military statement. 

Mahmoud Nuri, co-chair of the governance committee, reportedly told Poplavsky that “Kurdish militia were always ready to ensure security for the Russian servicemen on the eastern shore of the Euphrates.”

The YPG has been a key ally of the US-led coalition in the war against ISIS in northern Syria. The United States has, however, indicated it will alter its support for forces in Syria as the focus shifts to stabilization. 

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is being propped up by Russia, has indicated that he wants to take control of the quarter of the country that is under SDF control, saying he will target those who want to “divide and weaken states.”

He made his comment in November after a meeting with Ali Akbar Velayati, foreign policy advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader. 


kurt basar | 5/12/2017
Kurd's are unfortunately became unpaid soldiers of the fortune these days in Iraq & Syria, hunted critters in the Turkish terror & Islamic Iranian's cruel states. The Iranians & Turks who are occupiers & dividers of the Kurdistan since year 1516, have no mercy toward the Kurd's, who are noble but suffering at the hand of these savage barbarians, who are cruel medieval dungeoneers of the Kurdish nation without any shame or remorse.
FAUthman | 5/12/2017
Quite a situation developing here!The Kurds seem to be forming alliances with both the US and Russia. With US they have been working closely to defeat ISIS and now to form a post ISIS security structure, and with Russia too they are forming alliances (read the article). Meanwhile Assad and Erdogan are not pleased and are threatening military intervention!
xthat | 5/12/2017
Russia the only stabilizing power in Syria, with its focus on the Eastern Territories of the Euphrates, have effectively remove the Kurd's from Turkey threats, leaving Assad 'military' to Israeli air strike's.
Dryasiulia | 5/12/2017
Imagine you're going to be arrested and held captive. Which forces would you choose to capture you if you had a choice?
FAUthman | 5/12/2017
US/Russia cooperation can bring incredible good results for Rojava and eventually for Syria and the entire Middle East!, and will put the likes of Erdogan and Assad (Iran too) in their place rendering them harmless to the defenseless Kurds and others. Without it there will not be peace in the Middle East!

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