Russia continues to expand its influence in the Middle Eastern region, especially in what remains of the Syrian state. Today, parts of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, along the Turkish border have declared they will be trained by Russian troops.
“An agreement was signed between our units and Russian forces operating in Syria that will train us in modern military tactics,” YPG spokesman Redur Xelil said, reported AFP. “This is the first agreement of its kind, although we have had previous cooperation (with the Russians) in Aleppo city.”
Turkey considers the Kurds and the YPG “terrorist” groups. Russia seems to be walking a fine balancing act between making friends with Turkey, to pull them away from NATO’s orbit, and in assisting Turkey’s sworn enemies. The United States military, which assists certain YPG fighters who engage the Islamic State, says the units Russia will be training are not those American supports.
As the Islamic State recedes from northern Syria and Iraq, the Kurds are becoming more influential in the region. This trend is the most likely reason Russia wants to get involved, to attempt to dictate what happens on the Turkish border and in any new Kurdish territory that might arise. Russian President Vladimir Putin is showing now sign of making the same mistake President Obama did after American forces won the battles of the 2nd Gulf Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, by staying engaged in the area and attempting to influence future events and alliances.
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