Why did Ankara send troops to the north of Syria

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) — M60 tanks, M113 armored personnel carriers, trucks, artillery and air strikes – Turkey deployed significant forces to the Syrian border and launched a military operation, which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was ready for on Sunday. About the objectives of the new Turkish invasion.

Security zone

Erdogan calls the operation the creation of the so-called 30-kilometer “security zone” in northern Syria, where it is planned to resettle about two million Syrian refugees who have moved to Turkey due to the war. To this end, the military intends to clear large areas east of the Euphrates from the Kurdish self-defense forces.

Turkey news
Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard ### FREE Community Edition ### on 2017-02-12 16:11:51Z | | Lÿÿÿÿ

Recall that Turkey considers the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) a terrorist organization and considers its presence on its southern borders as a threat to national security.

At the same time, the PKK and the Kurdish “Syrian Democratic Forces” are long-standing allies of Turkey’s NATO partner, the United States. For several years, Americans trained the Kurds in warfare and equipped them with weapons. Washington has repeatedly stated that they consider these formations as a legitimate force in Syria.

In August, Ankara and Washington seem to have agreed to establish a focal point for joint operations. However, Erdogan later said that if the United States dragged on with the formation of a security zone, Turkey itself would launch an operation against Kurdish forces controlling the region.

Turkish forces in Syria news
File AFP

In Washington, they reacted nervously. President Donald Trump even threatened to “destroy the economy of Ankara” if the Turks go beyond what is permitted in Syria. Previously, Pentagon spokesman Sean Robertson emphasized that “any uncoordinated Turkish military operation would cause us deep concern, as it would damage our mutual security interests in northeastern Syria.” And influential Republican Senator Lindsay Graham spoke about his readiness to submit a bipartisan bill on sanctions against Ankara and the suspension of Turkey’s participation in NATO.

Formally, Washington does not support the cleansing of the north of Syria from the Kurds. But most likely, it will not interfere. Erdogan recently announced the withdrawal of US troops from bases in Kurdish territory, and the Pentagon officially informed that it would not participate in the military operation of the NATO ally.

On the other hand, Trump confirmed that Washington will not stop supporting the Kurds. “Maybe we are in the process of leaving Syria, but we have in no way abandoned the Kurds, who are special people and wonderful fighters,” the head of state noted. “In the same way, our relations with Turkey, a trade partner in NATO and trade, are very good.

Turkey has a large Kurdish population, and it is well understood that we had only 50 soldiers left in that part of Syria and they were relocated, any senseless military operations of Turkey will be destructive for their economy and their very fragile currency. We help the Kurds financially and with arms.”

Tangle of contradictions

However, the Kurds themselves, from such “moral support” of the US president on Twitter, are probably neither hot nor cold. Mustafa Bali, SDS spokesman, has already threatened Turkey with “total war”. And the commander of Kurdish formations, Mazlum Abdi, in an interview with NBC, urged the Americans to influence Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops and did not rule out that if the military operation begins, he will cooperate with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In addition, he veiled threatened to release captured ISIS fighters, explaining that the troops guarding captured terrorists were forced to relocate to the border in anticipation of an attack.

Tanks of the Turkish army news
File AP

On the afternoon of October ninth, the autonomous administration of territories in northeastern Syria declared general mobilization in connection with the threat of Turkish invasion. “We urge all our institutions and administrations, all our people to go to the border with Turkey to fulfill their duty and to resist at this special historical moment,” the administration’s press service said.

In turn, the SDF Coordination and Military Operations Center requested the international community to introduce a no-fly zone in northeastern Syria to ensure Kurdish security.

At the same time, both Kurds and Turks do not take into account the position of official Damascus. The legitimate Syrian government does not recognize the autonomous administration in the north-east of the country, which controls the territories east of the Euphrates River, and their military wing is SDF.

Damascus previously held several unsuccessful rounds of negotiations with the autonomous Kurdish administration, although the Syrian authorities have repeatedly condemned the occupation policy of Turkey in northern Syria.

Syria news
Combined Joint Task Force – The U.S. and Turkey conduct a convoy during a joint combined patrol in Manbij, Syria, Nov. 8, 2018. Turkish and U.S. military forces conduct joint combined patrols to ensure security and stability in the region. The coalition remains united in a long-term, whole-of-government effort including international efforts to build regional stability, representative governance, humanitarian assistance, and economic progress. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Zoe Garbarino)

Russia believes that the parties to the conflict need to agree. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking of a possible Turkish operation in Syria, said that all problems in the north of the country should be resolved through dialogue.

“We have repeatedly voiced our position on what is happening in northeast Syria, including in the Syrian-Turkish border region. And our position is unequivocal, based on the need to solve all the problems of this part of the Syrian Arab Republic through a dialogue between the central the government in Damascus and representatives of the Kurdish communities that traditionally live in this territory,” Lavrov said at a press conference.

The politician added that Russia will facilitate the beginning of a substantive dialogue between the Kurds and Damascus, and emphasized that Moscow had contact both with the Kurdish side and with representatives of the official government on issues of resolving problems on the Turkish-Syrian border.

In turn, the Iranian Foreign Ministry warned Turkey against a military operation. The head of the Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Republic Mohammad Javad Zarif emphasized that actions against the sovereignty and security of Syria would not benefit Ankara.


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