January 16, 2019
A Turkish ‘Security Zone’ In Northeast Syria Is A Bad Idea
U.S. President Trump wants U.S. troops to leave northeast Syria. His National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tried to sabotage that move. Trump came up with idea to hand northeast Syria to Turkey, but soon was told that Turkey would fight the Kurdish YPK/PKK who the U.S. armed and used as proxy force against the Islamic State.
Turkey has no interest in fighting the Islamic State or in occupying Raqqa and other Arabic ethnic cities along the Euphrates. Its only interest is to prevent the formation of an armed Kurdish entity that could threaten its soft southern underbelly. It thus came up with the idea of a “security zone” in Syria that it would occupy to keep the Kurds away from its borders.
But that border strip is exactly where the major Kurdish settlements are. Ayn al-Arab, in Kurdish ‘Kobane’, and many other cities along the border all have largely Kurdish populations. These would certainly fight against a Turkish occupation. Turkey also wants to control the Manbij area west of the Euphrates.
Russia will not allow Turkish control of more Syrian land:
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday the Syrian regime must take control of the country’s north, after calls from the United States to set up a Turkish-controlled “security zone” in the area.
“We are convinced that the best and only solution is the transfer of these territories under the control of the Syrian government, and of Syrian security forces and administrative structures,” Lavrov told reporters.
“Syria affirms that any attempt to target its unity will be considered as a clear aggression and an occupation of its territories as well as a support and protection for the international terrorism by Turkey,” [an official source at Foreign and Expatriates Ministry] said.
Turkey moved enough troops to its border to launch an invasion but the risk for its economy is high. There are local elections in March and the Turkish President Erdogan does not want to upset them by jumping into a quagmire.