Assad regime complains to UN over “violation of sovereignty" as American delegation visits SDF-controlled NE Syria

Dec 14, 2020

The Assad regime has submitted an official complaint to the United Nations Security Council over a visit in October by a delegation of American officials, headed by the Commissioner of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), to the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (‘Rojava’), insisting that this is a “violation of sovereignty”, although it’s not the first such visit by American and other Western delegations to the area, which is under the control of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

In a Tweet concerning the Assad regime’s condemnation of the visit, USCIRF Commissioner Nadine Mainza posted a copy of the complaint submitted to the UNSC by the regime’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Bashar Jaafari, with the words, “Assad Government condemns my visit to NE #Syria in official complaint to @UN Security Council saying "an American delegation led by Nadine Maenza...illegally entered the 7 km zone" mentioning mtgs & press conf in Dayr al-Zawr, Tapaqah & Raqqa. #Honored.”

The regime claims that the visit constitutes a "violation of Syria's sovereignty," which it says promotes "separatist militias", with the USCIRF visiting the area and confirming its support for the administration there in late October, with the regime further condemning the US for “subjectivity” in this matter.

On October 28th, Mainza held a press conference in Raqqa, in which she said: "I came to Syria as an independent official, and not as a state official. I am here to show that the American people stand with northern and eastern Syria," adding that the USCIRF is the government body responsible for making recommendations on US foreign policy regarding religious freedoms overseas.

Assad handed over much of Syria to PKK-affiliated Kurdish forces in 2012, following the outbreak of the Syrian revolution the previous year, with analysts suggesting that the regime saw this as a means of quelling rebellion there and preventing Turkey from supporting the revolution. The regime has worked intermittently with the PKK, providing training and bases for its forces, since the 1970s.
The US has supported the PKK-led Kurdish forces in north Syria since 2014, building a number of USAF airbases and US Army military bases in the ‘Rojava’ area. The SDF acquired its title in a 2017 ‘rebranding’ exercise by the US military, with General Raymond Thomas, then the commander of the United States Special Operations Command, explaining that this was intended to distance it from the PKK.

Despite the Assad regime’s latest complaint, the SDF last week reached an agreement with regime and Russian forces to establish three joint military observation posts in the town of Ain Issa in the Tal Abyad region of Raqqa.

The Arab News reported that the posts, which will be deployed in the strategically important town linking Aleppo to Al-Hasakah, will “monitor the ceasefire and violations of Turkish-governed zones in the region.”

Ain Issa is located on the M4 highway that connects northeastern Syria to the western part of the country.

According to reports from BAS News and other Kurdish media, the SDF has also deployed forces to assist PKK forces in Iraqi Kurdistan, who have recently formed a unit affiliated with the Iranian-controlled Hashd al-Shaabi militias; tension is rising in the Iraqi Kurdistan area, with the Hashd al Shaabi accused of launching attacks on Kurdish Peshmerga forces and carrying out ethnic cleansing of Kurdish villages.

Photo: A Syrian regime soldier holds up a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad and a Syrian national flag while another stands by a Kurdish YPG flag, in Ain al-Issa, Aleppo governorate, October 18, 2019 (AFP)