Syrian conflict: Kurds becoming an increasing factor in the region

Kurds are becoming a bigger trigger in Syria and across the region, including Iraq and Iran, President of the International Strategic Studies Association, Gregory R. Copley, told RT. He added that Saudi Arabia is an “unfortunate” player in the Syrian war.

Copley’s comments come after Al-Qaeda-linked Islamists kidnapped at least 120 Kurdish civilians from a village in Aleppo province near the border with Turkey, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

RT:In addition to this kidnapping, since the beginning of December, 51 Kurdish civilians have already been abducted in Syria. Is this now becoming a trend?

Gregory R. Copley: It certainly is and the Kurds are a big factor and will become a bigger factor, not just in that area of Syria, but across into Iraq and Iran of course. And this is causing a huge problem not only for the Kurds themselves, but for Turkey in particular because this whole escalation against the Kurds is part of what is going to backfire with Iran’s attempt to mobilize the Kurds against Turkey. I think we are going to see this as part of a much bigger trigger.

RT:It seems that the opposition has been targeting ethnic and religious minorities in general; we saw the situation with the nuns being kidnapped as well. Why do you think this might be the case?

GC: There is no question that the Sunni extremist groups, which are largely funded and fed through Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, are trying to rid Syria of all of the minorities who essentially have depended on the Alawite government for their protection over the past decades. So the objective is to drive out as many supporters of the Alawite government as possible to reduce the traditional and historical makeup of Syria, so that you are left basically with Sunni extremists, as we saw them attempt to do in the past.

RT:In the international community there is some movement to try to curb the situation in Syria. Is it possible that the rebels have taken these type of actions in order to sabotage the Geneva-2 conference?

GC: There is no question about that at all and in fact, Saudi Arabia itself I think played an unfortunate role in this because it regarded not only the Geneva-2 talks, but also the whole overarching US response to the end of the Syrian civil war in a sense, which is that the US is now seeking a rapprochement with Iran. So Saudi Arabia regards all of this as antithetical to its interests. And as a result is determined to reignite the war in Syria. It is pouring money, it is pouring fighters, they talk about 50,000 extra fighters to go in there from abroad. So these are not Syrian fighters for the most part. This is an externally funded, and externally armed, and externally manned war to try and transform the Syrian situation. So Saudi Arabia sees it as a critical juncture in this war because unless it removes Syria from Iran’s grasp, Iran at the end of the day will emerge dramatically stronger than ever before in the Persian Gulf and in the region, especially if it does a deal with the US. In fact, the Iran-US deal in some ways could serve to get Iran free from its dependency on Russia as well. So Iran would be a much more independent player, one which Saudi Arabia regards as a threat. Saudi Arabia might be too late, but they will pour a lot of money, manpower, and weapons into this war. This will actually incur the wrath of Iran even further. And Iran is already retaliating against Turkey in this regard. Turkey’s role in starting and fueling the war in Syria, particularly against the Kurds, is now being seen in Tehran as an act of war by Turkey against Iran, so Iran will respond to this.