Erdogan Must Go: As Kurds Turn to Damascus, Turkey’s Op Loses Relevance
AP Photo/ Opinion18:32 27.02.2018Get short URLEkaterina Blinova
If the Kurds come back under the roof of Damascus, the Turkish military campaign in northern Syria will lose its relevance, political analyst Ghassan Kadi told Sputnik. Commenting on the liberation of East Ghouta, the analyst agreed that it may develop according to the “Aleppo scenario.”
If the Kurds have given up the idea of creating a sovereign entity in northern Syria, then Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan no longer has a justification to proceed with his Olive Branch operation in Afrin and Manbij, political analyst of Syrian origin Ghassan Kadi told Sputnik.
“It has been reported that Syrian Arab Army (SAA) units have entered Afrin and were greeted by locals brandishing posters of both President Assad and Kurdish leader Ocalan,” the political analyst noted, adding that the recent event seems to have “all the hallmarks of a national Syrian reconciliation.”
It could mean that the Kurds “have inadvertently dropped the idea of an independent state,” he highlighted.
On February 22, residents of the Kurdish-held Afrin greeted pro-Damascus militia, waving flags of the Syrian Arab Republic and portraits of Bashar al-Assad.
READ MORE: ‘Afrin is Syria!’: WATCH Syrians Welcome Pro-Gov’t Forces Amid Turkish Op
Two days later, a Kurdish security source told Sputnik that the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had reached an agreement to cede control over Manbij to the SAA, which is reportedly due to enter the city in the coming days.
“If Erdogan refuses to see this reality, yes, he could be asking for direct clashes with the SAA and even a limited war,” Kadi emphasized. “I continue to believe that a full-scale war is not on the agenda of either Turkey or Syria.”
Meanwhile, Turkey continues to push ahead with its Olive Branch operation, which was launched on January 22 and aimed at preventing the Kurdish militia from creating a full-fledged foothold in northern Syria. Ankara views the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) — the backbone of the US-backed SDF — as an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), outlawed in Turkey.
The UN’s Saturday decision to implement a 30-day ceasefire in Syria by no means affected Ankara’s determination to proceed with the military campaign.
On February 25, pro-Turkish forces reportedly seized a major part of the Kurdish town of Jindires in Afrin. The next day, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag announced that Ankara is going to deploy its police special forces in the region.
In light of a looming threat of Turkish-Syrian clashes, it is Russia who can mediate the situation, the political analyst believes.
“Russia may be able to allay [Erdogan’s] fears and convince him that the Kurds will be put back under the roof of Damascus and that an independent Kurdish state is no longer on the Kurdish agenda,” Kadi suggested, “The Syrian Kurdish issue is a local one, Erdogan has to understand this fact and leave.”
According to the analyst, “Erdogan has always been a wildcard, and with ‘allies’ like him, Russia doesn’t need enemies.”
AP Photo/ Lefteris PitarakisTurkish Army soldiers prepare their tanks next to empty shells at a staging area in the outskirts of the village of Sugedigi, Turkey, on the border with Syria, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018
SAA Likely to Use ‘Aleppo Scenario’ While Liberating E Ghouta
Meanwhile, Russia announced a five-hour daily truce in Eastern Ghouta to evacuate civilians from the embattled city.
“At 9 am on February 27, a humanitarian corridor was opened for the release of civilians from the zone of de-escalation,” Russian General Viktor Pankov reported Tuesday, adding that jihadists “launched intense shelling and not a single civilian has come out.”
The situation bears a striking resemblance to the SAA’s liberation of Aleppo, where terrorists used civilians as a human shield to guarantee their own safety. In view of this, it is possible that jihadists will try to flee along with the civilians or be evacuated by Syrian government forces, as was done in Aleppo.
“If the East Ghouta Jihadis are allowed to leave, they can only go to Idlib,” Kadi said. “The non-Syrian ones cannot go ‘back home’, because their homelands don’t want them back. If they go to Idlib, this will only complicate the upcoming clean-up of Idlib as Idlib has been the sink hole of such previous exoduses.”
According to the analyst, there is no doubt that some of them “will find escape routes using the humanitarian corridor.”
“Some will even disguise as veiled women as we have seen in the past,” he noted. “But eventually, and as they are beyond rehabilitation and unwanted anywhere, they will probably opt to fight until they die.”
No Plan B: US-led Coalition’s Plan to Destroy Syria ‘Has Failed Abysmally’
The truth of the matter is that “the initial American-NATO/Israeli/Saudi/Qatari/Turkish plan to destroy Syria has failed abysmally,” the political analyst stressed. “That coalition did not have a plan-B back then and it still doesn’t. When they had open borders and bottomless funds and amassed a great, well-funded force, they failed.”
Although they may try to regroup forces during the 30-day truce, any attempt to beef up their presence on the ground “will now fail because they are under the watch of Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and a much leaner and more lethal SAA,” he pointed out.
“America’s presence in Syria is mainly to generate chaos and gain time in the hope time will be for its advantage. The coalition has since fallen apart, but the truce gives what is left of it a little window of time and hope; no more no less,” Kadi concluded.