Syrian President Assad’s forces have until recently, avoided bombing the Kurdish fighters in Syria, instead forging a loose alliance with them.
The reason for this loose alliance is clear: Assad needs all the support he can get in terms of boots on the ground in his fight against those opposed to his government. The Islamic State (IS) is one of those groups that is a big threat to Assad’s power and the Kurdish fighters have been allowed to fight them while the government concentrates on fighting other groups.
But recently the Syrian government bombed positions of the Kurdish fighters. Why? Because the Syrian Government’s alliance with the Kurds is just a marriage of convenience.
Assad needs the fire power of the Kurds, but he doesn’t want to see the Kurds get so powerful that they can then push for an independent Kurdish country carved partly out of Syria.
In this little area, there is a shared interest between Assad and his arch enemy, President Erdogan of Turkey, who doesn’t want to see Kurds in Syria get so powerful that they can assist Kurdish separatists in Turkey.