Posted by Joshua on Friday, October 26th, 2012
Aron Lund from Sweden writes: (See his excellent Syrian Jihadism)
I saw your latest post on Aleppo. Big things going on, but the situation in Kurdish Ashrafiye may have been misreported. The PYD/PKK is insistent that it remains in control of Ashrafiye, with no FSA or government presence at all. They blame the regime for indiscriminate artillery fire on the area which killed 15 people, and have put out a harsh statement on this.
But PYD also says that its YPG militia had previously stopped the FSA from entering. According to them, a 60-man FSA force moved into a part of the neighborhood and opened fire on government forces from there. This threatened to draw counter-fire on Ashrafiye, and PYD would have none of it. So YPG put up roadblocks and pushed the FSA out, “with no significant fighting”. It now claims to have Ashrafiye under total control, as before, and urges citizens to remain calm and not flee the neighborhood.
How that squares with FSA claims to have negotiated passage through Ashrafiye to attack gov posts is another story. The army’s shelling of the area was almost certainly intended as punishment for FSA activity in Ashrafiye, and it does seem likely that the FSA group would have had to secure YPG permission before going through, if that’s indeed what happened.
PYD statements seem to be playing to both sides. On the one hand, they blame the regime for the killings (which also included Arab and Turkmen casualties). On the other hand, they clarify that the PYD ban on rebel fighters in Kurdish neighborhoods remains in force, and that the YPG is prepared to fight any intruders. This is presumably a way to save the de facto non-belligerence pact they’ve had with the army, and avoid Kurdish casualties if and when the situation in Aleppo unravels. So in political terms, they’re restating Kurdish neutrality, and telling everyone involved to take their war elsewhere.
best, Aron L.
Here is a quote from his report Syrian Jihadism
“The Syrian civil war is a sectarian conflict – among other things. It is also a conflict along socio-economic and urban-rural lines, a classic countryside jacquerie against an exploitative central government, albeit internally divided by the country’s religious divisions, which cut across other patterns of identity and loyalty. Then there is a political dimension to the struggle, with Bashar el-Assad’s loyalists battling to preserve the current power structure against demands for democratization and economic redistribution. And, last but not least, the conflict has transformed into a proxy war for influence among several regional and international powers, adding another layer of complexity. ” Aron Lund
My cousin in Syrian al-Jadide (سريان الجديدة) posted 7 hours ago that the FSA entered the neighborhood. An hour later she posted that the Syrian Army intervened and the FSA left.