What will Turkish operation against Kurds in Syria achieve

What will Turkish operation against Kurds in Syria achieve

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Ankara’s readiness to eleminate all terrorist groups east of the Euphrates, but Turkish strikes against Kurdish YPG caused negative reaction in Washington, which said that “attacks in the north-west of Syria, especially in conditions when American troops may be present in the area, cause serious concern." Vestnik Kavkaza's columnist Mamikon Babayan analysed Ankara's operation against Kurds in Syrian territory.

Today experts often say that war in Syria is almost coming to an end. In final stages of this multi-year confrontation, it's important for all forces that are involved in hostilities to take positions that are most advantageous for themselves. That's why Turkey is determined to carry out military operation in Syria in the shortest time possible in order to protect itself from possible terrorist threat from Kurds.

Thanks to America's support, Kurds firmly entrenched in Raqqa, as well as in the east of Deir ez-Zor and Manbij, expanding their presence in Hassek and other neighboring provinces. Destruction of militant's strongholds near its border becomes a primary task for Turkey. After Syrian war ends, many of them will try to return to Turkey and continue their terrorist activities. Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to oust armed Kurds from the east coast of the Euphrates in order to prevent the return of the Kurdistan Workers' Party to Turkey.

Turkish presence in Syria is dictated solely by Ankara's interests, and Turkey has made considerable efforts to ensure that international reaction to the ongoing hostilities in Syria is stable. In October, Istanbul hosted summit with participation of the Russian Federation and the EU, at which Erdogan discussed Turkey's future actions and received guarantees of non-interference in anti-Kurds operation from other states. Erdogan wated to find common ground with Russia, France and Germany, while the US didn't attend this summit, because for Ankara, Kurdish militants are terrorists, a factor of instability and separatism in the region, while the US still support them.

As for Russia, its position remains neutral, since Moscow has no obligations before Kurds. Russia doesn't need new conflicts with Ankara, which remains its most valuable Middle Eastern partner. Moscow gradually minimizes Russia's activity in Syria, preferring not to expand it to areas that are far away from Russian military bases, including eastern shore of the Euphrates. Russia is satisfied with agreement reached between Damascus and Ankara, especially since Kurdish provinces are responsibility of the coalition, led by Washington.

Difficult situation at the front pushes Kurds to negotiate with Syrian army. Turkey won't be able to remain in Syria for a long time, but Kurds can't fight on two fronts. Coalition with Damascus seems to be more acceptable scenario for Kurds. After all, absence of separatist intentions would be enough for Assad. Especially after cleaning out the north, Turks will have to leave.