Isolating Damascus from the Kurds (and vice versa) seems to be a key component to the overall Turkish strategy, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made no effort to veil his intentions on this matter, as reported by Hurriyet newspaper last week.
Thanks to the siege, the YPG will have no room for bargaining with the Syrian regime.”
Last week the YPG announced, “After a month of our forces’ epic resistance to the Turkish invasion and the terrorist organization allied with it… we welcome the Syrian government and its army to perform its duty by participating in defending Afrin and protecting the Syrian borders.
The result was a deployment of Syrian National Defense Force Units who arrived in Afrin on the February 21 to help defend residents from the current siege being waged by Turkey.
Effectively abandoned by the USA, local Kurdish YPG reached out to Damascus for assistance, but conditions set forth by Damascus included returning Afrin to full Syrian administrative control.
Clearly, Turkey has an overall strategic overall objective, which could be to connect Jarablus to Manbij, to Azaz, to Afrin, and then finally to Idlib. This would give Ankara enough strategic leverage to dictate any number of terms going forward.
While the US and Turkey share certain prime directives in Syria, like removing Bashar Assad from power, other interests appear to be in conflict. However, both are enjoying a freehand within their respective comfort zones, especially the USA.
Turkey has also threatened that if the 60.000 Pentagon-backed extremist forces in the northeastern region are operating as part of SDF/YPG patrols, then they could also be targeted by the Turkish military.
What’s most interesting about Turkey and the USA is that where there appears to be a lack of coordination and a clear set of diverging interests causing the two NATO member states to cross their geostrategic wires – they are both enjoying the enduring benefits of operating illegally in a foreign country – under the subtle protection of NATO’s Article 5 framework.
The Kurds only really have two major areas where they hold an outright demographic majority – in Afrin and Kobani.
Given enough time, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its partners will clear many of the remaining terrorist pockets like East Ghouta, and will eventually move on to Idlib. When this happens, it is conceivable that the SAA could be deployed to Afrin, which could be a ‘win-win’ for Syria, and even for Turkey, who would have little choice other than to accept Syria securing its own borders.
For all parties, the current situation in northern Syria is simply unsustainable, and the continued illegal US presence in Syria will do nothing other deny Damascus and Ankara any chance to reach an accord and move ahead in stabilizing the borderlands.
When the music finally stops, and this game of musical chairs is over, someone will have to leave the game. And that will not be Israel, because in the meantime their troops are invading and occupying southern Syria.
RT.com / AA Magnum News 2018.