Russia Issues Firm Warning to US About Using the Kurds As Pawns in Syria

Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov declared that the United States is “playing with fire” with several of its actions on the Iraq-Syria border. He specifically cited the US’s efforts to support separatist militants connected to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and incite separatism.

Lavrov said during a press conference in Baghdad with Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, that the US “fosters separatism among locals of Kurdish-populated regions in Iraq and Syria. It is playing with fire.”

He continued, “Americans encourage Kurdish separatism one way or another and ignore other matters, including the territorial integrity of Syria.” Lavrov warned that such an approach “exposes other countries in the region to ensuing dangers and threats.”

Security conditions have been deteriorating in the areas that the US-led SDF holds in Syria’s northern and northeastern provinces of Raqqah, Hasakah, and Dayr al-Zawr as the US-backed militants have conducted raids and arrests of civilians in the area.

Locals have constantly complained about the SDF’s raids and arrest campaigns, which have disrupted business activity and have had a negative impact on their quality of life. 

On top of that, residents have blamed these US-sponsored militants for stealing crude oil.

Local councils connected to the SDF have been accused of financial corruption. Reports indicate that these officials have been embezzling funds sent by donors, not providing services, and not fulfilling basic needs.

Lavrov said that Russia continues working on negotiations within the Astana in order to peacefully settle the Syrian conflict. He still believes the peace talks have a useful purpose.

“We consider Iraq’s observer status at the Astana talks, with Iran, Russia and Turkey acting as the guarantor states, to be very useful. We will continue our interactions and welcome participation of Iraq as an observer. Jordan and Lebanon also play the same role,” Lavrov stated.

The Russian foreign minister also talked about the “vital importance” of protecting bilateral economic ties with Iraq against “illegal sanctions” that the United States and its allies have imposed on Russia due to its military incursion in Ukraine. 

Lavrov claimed that Russia had already invested around $13 billion in Iraq, arguing that Russian oil companies have not been compensated due to the Collective West’s punitive measures.

The US is clearly overstretched with its vast military presence in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. This leaves it vulnerable to potential military reversals and protracted conflicts that could bleed it dry financially. 

Now, more than ever, the US must roll back its military presence abroad in order to prevent a very predictable case of imperial overstretch. 

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