The Turkish reports alleging that the Kurdish-allied Syrian-Armenian militia “Nubar Ozanyan Brigade” is fighting in Azerbaijan on the side of the separatists prompt questions about exactly how Damascus regards this armed group, but if Syria’s official statements pertaining to the US-backed “Syrian Democratic Forces” umbrella organization under which those fighters operate are any indication, then everything suggests that it presently considers them traitors although their recent military adventure might end up being their “saving grace” which could pave the way for “reconciliation”.
Are Syrian-Armenian Mercenaries Fighting In Azerbaijan?
Most of the world never heard of the “Nubar Ozanyan Brigade” (NOB) until recently when Turkish reports alleged that this Kurdish-allied Syrian-Armenian militia was dispatched to Azerbaijan by Yerevan in support of the separatists fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh. To those who only have a casual understanding of the region’s complex dynamics, it might have seemed like pure propaganda since few were probably aware that there was even such a group in the country to begin with, let alone allied with the US-backed Kurds. Many are already familiar with most Syrian Armenians’ patriotic support of their government, especially since it stands for their constitutionally secular state and has sacrificed plenty in defending religious minorities such as themselves from Takfiri terrorists. That’s why these reports were probably dismissed by all non-Turks who came across them, but that’s a huge mistake since the NOB veritably exists even if its illegal presence in Azerbaijan has yet to be independently confirmed, and its activities in Syria are curious enough that they deserve a closer look.
The “Nubar Ozanyan Brigade’s” Founding Statement
The NOB was established in April 2019 in US-occupied Northeastern Syria in response to Turkey’s latest military intervention at the time. Their official founding statement declares in part that the NOB’s formation “is a step towards organizing the unorganized strength of the Armenian people in Rojava and to defend them and the Rojava revolution. The Kurdish, Arab, Syriac and Assyrian peoples in the Rojava revolution have formed their self-organizations, brigades and regiments. It was a shortcoming and a need for the Armenian people to do the same. We as the Martyr Nubar Ozanyan Armenian Brigade feel this burning need and base ourselves on the military, ideological, cultural and social aspects and on learning our mother tongue to never experience a genocide again. To that end, we will organize more and increase our self-organization to grow our revolution.” Quite clearly, they’re a militant ethno-nationalist group with an extreme left-wing ideology considering their support for the “Rojava” project, which also makes them fiercely anti-Damascus too.
Syria’s Official Condemnation Of The SDF
The Syrian government has taken a very strong stance against the “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) umbrella organization under which the NOB operates. For example, the country’s official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) information outlet reported in May 2019 less than a month after the NOB’s formation that “Syria called on the Security Council to shoulder its responsibilities by working to stop the attacks and treasonous actions of the SDF militias, which are backed by the US and some Western states.” This was echoed by Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Maqdad’s comments about the SDF in October 2019, who said that these “armed groups had betrayed their country and committed crimes against it. We won’t accept any dialogue or talk with those who had become hostages to foreign forces…There won’t be any foothold for the agents of Washington on Syrian territory.” President Assad also predicted “popular resistance” to the US if it doesn’t leave Syria during his interview earlier this week with Sputnik, which also implies a grassroots rebellion against its SDF proxy groups.
Treason Is Treason Regardless Of Whoever Commits It
Since Damascus officially regards the Kurdish-led SDF umbrella organization as “treasonous”, “backed by the US and some Western states”, “hostages to foreign forces”, and “agents of Washington on Syrian territory” which are provoking “popular resistance” from the patriotic locals, it can naturally be understood that it also holds this opinion of the Kurdish-allied Syrian-Armenian NOB militia too. Syria isn’t the “racist regime” that its enemies spent years portraying it as and therefore isn’t ethnically selective in accusing its citizens of treason. Whether of Kurdish, Armenian, Arab, and/or any other ethnicity, those that collude with occupying US forces like the NOB does through its membership in the American-backed SDF are considered traitors. It wasn’t just coincidental either that the politically radical minority of Armenians in Syria decided to ally with the Kurds since there’s a long history of the Armenian ASALA and Kurdish PKK terrorist groups cooperating with one another. This is just the latest manifestation of their alliance, which was forged under the cover of “Neo-Marxism”.
Armenia’s Inadvertent Admission
It should be pointed out that since Syria doesn’t exert sovereignty over the northeastern corner of its internationally recognized borders, Damascus shouldn’t be held responsible for the NOB’s activities, but that still doesn’t mean that they didn’t actually travel to Azerbaijan in support of the Nagorno-Karabakh separatists. According to an article from “The Armenian Weekly” in October 2019, “While the Armenian government has announced its readiness to take in Armenian refugees from Rojava, it is yet unclear how many have taken them up on the offer. Armenian repatriates from the region have proven to successfully integrate in the past. For the 29 Armenian families who resettled from the Qamishli area to Artsakh’s Kashatagh District in 2012, for instance, acclamation to a rural lifestyle and experience in agriculture was an asset for them as well as for their adopted communities. Thanks to them, Artsakh will soon be exporting olive oil.” Since the Armenian government can resettle refugees in occupied territory, it also obviously has the capabilities to transfer NOB fighters there too.
It’s unclear whether Syria is aware of Armenia’s likely ties to the NOB “agents of Washington” on its territory, let alone what might be the South Caucasus country’s illegal dispatch of this militia to universally recognized Azerbaijani territory in order to fight against its government, but that wouldn’t automatically mean that Damascus would disapprove of this even if it did. It would be strategically cynical for Syria to hold such a stance since Turkey illegally dispatched foreign armed groups to Damascus’ universally recognized territory during the course of the ongoing nearly decade-long war, but if a variation of the reverse happened whereby Syrian armed groups were sent to fight against a Turkish ally and happened to inflict devastating losses against them in a way that impeded the effective execution of Ankara’s regional policy, then the scenario can’t be ruled out that Damascus might be interested in “reconciling” with them as a “reward”. All potential moral, ethical, and legal qualms about this aside, as they say, “all’s fair in love and war”, and Syria and Turkey are unofficially at war.
Officially speaking, while President Assad recently accused Turkey of rekindling the formerly frozen conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh by sending anti-government Syrian terrorists there, he gave no indication that he’s aware of the Turkish reports alleging the presence of the Kurdish-allied Syrian-Armenian NOB militia fighting on the side of the Armenian separatists. There’s likely much more credibility to those reports than many in the Alt-Media Community might feel comfortable admitting since the NOB veritably exists as one of many proxy groups operating under the SDF umbrella, the latter organization of which Damascus officially condemned as “treasonous”, “backed by the US and some Western states”, “hostages to foreign forces”, and “agents of Washington on Syrian territory”. Even so and for as strategically cynical as it may be, Syria might tacitly approve of this development if turns out to be true despite playing no role in it since it could represent an indirect way to pay Turkey back for the war that it unofficially waged on the Arab Republic for almost a decade already.
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This article was originally published on OneWorld.
Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
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