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Is Russia cozying up to Syria's Kurds amid rift with Turkey?

The United States has reportedly cautioned the Kurds not to fight Turkey in any potential escalation in Syria, but Russia appears to have moved closer to the Kurds, as suggested by Kurdish collaboration with the Syrian army in areas along Idlib’s boundaries with Afrin.
Russian and Syrian national flags flutter on military vehicles near Manbij, Syria October 15, 2019. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki - RC1E8CFB81C0
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The escalation in Idlib has left Turkey vacillating between Russia’s tough options and the United States’ enticing prodding, as it maintains its menacing posture to force the Syrian army’s retreat to now-defunct cease-fire lines in the rebel stronghold. Amid the standoff, the Syrian Kurds are becoming a key factor in both US and Russian calculations to sway Turkey’s attitude. 

The US administration is said to be considering options to back Turkey in a potential thrust in Idlib and, in a further move pleasing Ankara, has reportedly cautioned the Kurds to stay out of the conflict. Russia, for its part, appears to have unfolded the Kurdish card, albeit rather discreetly at this time, in a way that goes beyond reviving the dialogue between the Kurds and Damascus.

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