Biden needs to shift U.S. policy on Syria’s Kurds - analysts

U.S. President-Elect Joe Biden should change Washington's policy on Syrian Kurdish armed groups to make room for cooperation with Turkey, Daily Sabah said on Tuesday, citing analysts.

The United States partnered with the Kurdish-majority People’s Protection Unit (YPG) militia and its political wing the PYD in northeast Syria after the Islamic State (ISIS) swept through the region and captured vast swathes of land for its so-called ‘caliphate’.

The United States’ support for Kurdish armed groups that Turkey views as offshoots of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting an armed insurgency against the Turkish state for four decades, set the foundations for a years-long rift between the NATO allies.

Such a move could eventually cause a break in ties, Hüseyin Alptekin, a researcher at the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), a government-linked think tank based in Washington, told Daily Sabah.

“However, if there is no insistence on the PYD, there is no reason why the Middle East policies of Turkey and Biden should not correspond with one another,” he said.

The departure of U.S. Special Envoy for Syria James Jeffrey and President Donald Trump’s firing of his defence secretary, Mark, Esper, indicate a fresh start for the Biden administration, Daily Sabah said.

“It is not very clear what the Biden administration’s Syria policy is going to be like since they have not been very vocal about it,” said Julien Barnes-Dacey, director of the Middle East and North Africa programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), according to Daily Sabah.

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