If the Middle East were a high school dance, then Kurdish militia People’s Protection Unit (YPG) might be the prom queen, juggling Russian, US, and European affections. Now reports of Kurdish and Russian officials meeting in Moscow this week might entangle those relationships even more.
Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah reports Asya Abdullah, the leader of the YPG’s political arm, is meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Russian capital this week to discuss ramped up coordination in the fight against Daesh (ISIS) in Syria. This isn’t the first time the YPG’s weighed in—the group stated its readiness to cooperate with Moscow last month following the arrival of Russian airstrikes in Syria.
But Russia’s not the only major power courting the Kurds. They’ve also been a key Western ally in both Syria and Iraq.
Reports earlier this month claimed the US would be sending direct weapons shipments to the YPG after failed campaigns to train Syrian rebels, while the Czech Republic said it’s considering shipping more arms to the Iraqi peshmerga. Abdullah also met with French President Francois Hollande in February to discuss how France could further aid the YPG in its efforts.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s ultra-vocal opposition to the growing cooperation with Kurdish groups in the region seems to have done little to tide the support. But the question still remains— will the YPG be able to continue alliances with both the West and Russia when both sides have such contradictory goals?
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