Erdogan's Boundless Greed in North Syria
Nowadays, Erdogan's greediness is directed to invade the town of Ain Issa in northern Syria. If Erdogan succeeds in his current endeavours, he will later head to the cities of Kobane and Manbij. The goal behind this is to undermine legitimate Kurdish aspirations within the new coveted Syria, the federal and decentralised state.
For several months, Turkish forces and their affiliated Syrian factions have shelled different sites controlled by Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) around the town of Ain Issa. The purpose is to launch a new incursion against SDF and to take over the administrative capital of the Kurdish-led self-administration of north and east Syria.
Turkey’s president strives to take advantages of the remainder days of Trump’s time in the White House to attack SDF and to eliminate its administration. There are two fundamental reasons behind Erdogan’s intention to perpetrate another assault against the Kurds in Syria. The first reason is Trump’s previous-proven indifference about the destiny of Kurds and SDF. The second is Erdogan’s sensation that U.S President-elect, Joe Biden, will kerb his aggressive and colonial agendas in Syria, Iraq, Libya and eastern Mediterranean. Thus, Erdogan appears to be in a race against time.
Another factor that encourages Erdogan to launch a new offensive against Kurds in Syria is Turkey’s multi-involvements in many hot areas in the world alongside Russia. This, in turn, helps Erdogan to bargain with Russia over many pending issues inside and outside Syria. Subsequently, to sign dishonourable deals with Russia at the expense of the Syrians in general and the Kurds in particular. On this basis, many reports recently referred to some Turkish military withdrawals from several points around the city of Idlib. These military moves have done in the context of some concealed understandings between Russia and Turkey about many reciprocal issues including the town of Ain Issa.
However, so far, winds blow counter to what Erdogan's ships desire. The lucrative game playing by Turkey on the chord of Russian-American discrepancies in Syria seems to be reaching to an end. furthermore, American and Russia's use of Turkey against each other in Syria is approaching the end because Turkey has become a real threat against the interests of both superpowers in Syria and elsewhere.
For these reasons and others, Russia asked the U.S-backed Kurdish-led SDF to fully withdraw from the town of Ain Issa and to hand over the whole area to Al-Assad regime control. But after SDF rejected Russia’s proposal, then, Russian officials signed an agreement with SDF a few days ago that allowed Russian army to set up three military positions around Ain Issa to halt shelling from Turkish-controlled side.
On December 9, former special envoy for Syria, James Jeffrey, explained to Al-Monitor that Russia does not want an expanded and prolonged Turkish military presence in north and northeast Syria. Seemingly, this point will constitute a common ground between Russia and U.S during Biden’s presidency. Meanwhile, the ongoing Turkish threats to launch new assaults against SDF push Kurds to seek help from Russia. This, in turn, strengthens Russia’s presence in Kurdish-controlled areas.
Russia’s recent military prevalence in the town of Ain Issa might stop Turkey’s greediness for a while. However, it is unlikely to prevent Erdogan from doing everything in the future in order to weaken the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria and its military wing, viz., SDF. Turkey considers the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to be linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Turkey classifies it as a terrorist group.
The issue of protecting the town of Ain Issa in northern Syria from a possible Turkish invasion will form the first challenge for President-elect Biden with respect to the Syrian dilemma. It is also possible that there will be better coordination between Russia and U.S during Biden's era aiming to curtail Turkey's malign role in Syria and in the entire region. This, in turn, will benefit the Kurds in Syria and safeguard them from Turkey’s terrorisation at least for the present and for the foreseeable future.
By: Jwan Dibo