Syria-Turkey crisis: Putin now owns this mess

Syria Turkey crisis Putin now owns this mess

Syria-Turkey crisis: Putin now owns this mess

Only a few hours later, airstrikes and artillery fire could be felt in northern Syria as the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces accused Ankara and its proxies of severe ceasefire violations.

The mood both in Washington and in the Middle East is that the ceasefire is not the real deal. It expires on Tuesday, October 22, the same day Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recip Tayyip Erdogan will meet in Sochi to discuss the future of Syria. It seems pretty clear: that’s when the world will find out that the real deal will be for the future of this volatile region.

It’s also clear that the future will, to a large extent, be determined by the Russian President. With Trump’s abandonment of the Kurds, America’s main allies in the fight against ISIS, and his de facto green lighting of Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria, the White House maneuvered itself out of the Syria equation. For better or worse, Putin now owns the military and political mess unfolding there.

Turkey's assault in Syria is a boon for Erdogan. Here's why

But unlike the Trump administration’s hectic efforts at last-minute diplomacy to try to end the bloodshed it helped unleash, Putin at least seemed like a man with a plan.

Russia immediately started negotiations with the Kurds and Moscow’s main ally, the Assad government, quickly reaching a deal to allow the Syrian military into Kurdish-held areas where Damascus has not had a presence for years in order to stave off the Turkish-led offensive. Moscow also quickly deployed its own military as a buffer to keep the Turks and their forces apart from the Kurds and Syrian government troops.

The move caused a good deal of chest thumping among Putin’s military: “When the Russian flag appears, combat stops — neither Turks nor Kurds want to harm us, so fighting stops thanks to our work,” a Russian army officer, Safar Safarov, was quoted as saying by Tass state news agency, as the country’s military police units began patrolling Manbij.

Russia’s high-risk game

Turkish-backed Syrian rebel fighters head to an area near the Syrian-Turkish border north of Aleppo on October 8, 2019.

With Russia’s new role as the undisputed lead nation also come grave risks. The situation in northeastern Syria is more than volatile. The Turks have made clear they will not allow a Kurdish military presence near their border. But Ankara’s ground force consists largely of Syrian rebel groups, many of them hardline Islamists whom the Kurds fear could unleash a campaign of ethnic cleansing against minorities in this diverse region.

To add to all this, Syrian government forces and the rebels allied with Ankara also have an ax to grind with one another after all the atrocities committed during the devastating eight-year civil war.

Moscow seems to understand the dangerous situation it has been propelled into with its new leadership role.

“We tried to draw attention for many years to the explosive policies of the USA and the coalition, headed for the collapse of Syria and the creation of quasi-state formations on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, pushing Kurds to separatism and confrontation with Arab tribes,” Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday as he addressed heads of security services.

Russian military police are now patrolling the line between Syrian and Turkish forces

The Kremlin is gravely concerned that Russians who fought with ISIS and other rebels groups could return to their homeland and cause instability there. From the moment Turkey launched its offensive in Northern Syria the Kremlin voiced extreme doubts about Turkey’s ability to keep a lid on the thousands of ISIS prisoners and their relatives that the Kurds had been guarding.

“There are areas in northern Syria where ISIS militants are concentrated and until recently, they were guarded by the Kurdish military. The Turkish army entered these areas and the Kurds left… Now [ISIS fighters] can simply run away and I am not sure that the Turkish army can — and how fast — get this under control,” Putin said last week at The Commonwealth of Independent States forum in Ashgabat.

Russia faced a sustained insurgency in Chechnya in the 1990s and prosecuted a bloody war there for several years. The last thing Vladimir Putin wants is for former Russian ISIS members to go back to the Caucasus region, possibly leading to the return of instability. At that same forum in Turkmenistan, Putin warned other leaders of the region to brace for the situation. “We are talking about hundreds of militants there, thousands when it comes to CIS countries. This is a real threat to us. How and where will they head?” Putin said.

“We need to understand this and mobilize the resources of our special services to cut short this emerging new threat,” Putin added.

All Syrian roads lead to Moscow

But despite all the dangers facing Putin’s high-stakes Syria gambit the Russian leader still seems to be in a position to possibly prevent the situation from blowing up even more than it already has.

Putin is on a victory lap of the Middle East

Russia has a devastating track record in the Syrian conflict. Human rights groups have accused Moscow of committing war crimes in its campaign to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The US says Moscow has systematically bombed civilian infrastructure, especially hospitals, and aided Assad in covering up alleged chemical weapons use by the Syrian military. Russian vehemently denies all these allegations.

And despite many US and European officials lamenting Moscow’s alleged lies and deception, pretty much all the countries and parties involved in the Syrian crisis seem to agree that Moscow is more reliable than Washington in this crisis.

NATO ally Turkey has been working with the Russians for years, despite the fact they back opposing factions in the Syrian civil war. Even arch-enemies Israel and Iran seem to agree that the road to making sure their interests are met runs through Moscow.

And when the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces — which were backed by the US and lost nearly 11,000 fighters in the war against ISIS — found out they’d been dumped by Trump and left to be invaded by Erdogan’s proxy force, they too went straight to the Russians because guess what: Moscow has been working with and talking to the SDF for years as well.

So it was never going to be the Trump White House that could try and broker a solution to the messy situation in northeastern Syria. If there will be deal it will be reached next Tuesday in Sochi by Putin and Erdogan — on their terms.

Syria-Turkey disaster: Putin now owns this mess

Only some hours later, airstrikes and artillery fireplace might be felt in northern Syria because the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces accused Ankara and its proxies of extreme ceasefire violations.

The temper each in Washington and within the Center East is that the ceasefire shouldn’t be the actual deal. It expires on Tuesday, October 22, the identical day Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recip Tayyip Erdogan will meet in Sochi to debate the way forward for Syria. It appears fairly clear: that is when the world will discover out that the actual deal shall be for the way forward for this risky area.

It is also clear that the longer term will, to a big extent, be decided by the Russian President. With Trump’s abandonment of the Kurds, America’s predominant allies within the combat towards ISIS, and his de facto inexperienced lighting of Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria, the White Home maneuvered itself out of the Syria equation. For higher or worse, Putin now owns the army and political mess unfolding there.

Turkey's assault in Syria is a boon for Erdogan. Here's why

However not like the Trump administration’s hectic efforts at last-minute diplomacy to attempt to finish the bloodshed it helped unleash, Putin no less than appeared like a person with a plan.

Russia instantly began negotiations with the Kurds and Moscow’s predominant ally, the Assad authorities, shortly reaching a deal to permit the Syrian army into Kurdish-held areas the place Damascus has not had a presence for years to be able to stave off the Turkish-led offensive. Moscow additionally shortly deployed its personal army as a buffer to maintain the Turks and their forces other than the Kurds and Syrian authorities troops.

The transfer brought about a great deal of chest thumping amongst Putin’s army: “When the Russian flag seems, fight stops — neither Turks nor Kurds wish to hurt us, so preventing stops because of our work,” a Russian military officer, Safar Safarov, was quoted as saying by Tass state information company, because the nation’s army police items started patrolling Manbij.

Russia’s high-risk recreation

Turkish-backed Syrian rebel fighters head to an area near the Syrian-Turkish border north of Aleppo on October 8, 2019.

With Russia’s new function because the undisputed lead nation additionally come grave dangers. The scenario in northeastern Syria is greater than risky. The Turks have made clear they won’t permit a Kurdish army presence close to their border. However Ankara’s floor power consists largely of Syrian insurgent teams, a lot of them hardline Islamists whom the Kurds worry may unleash a marketing campaign of ethnic cleaning towards minorities in this numerous area.

So as to add to all this, Syrian authorities forces and the rebels allied with Ankara even have an ax to grind with each other after all of the atrocities dedicated in the course of the devastating eight-year civil struggle.

Moscow appears to know the harmful scenario it has been propelled into with its new management function.

“We tried to attract consideration for a few years to the explosive insurance policies of the USA and the coalition, headed for the collapse of Syria and the creation of quasi-state formations on the jap financial institution of the Euphrates, pushing Kurds to separatism and confrontation with Arab tribes,” Russia’s overseas minister Sergey Lavrov mentioned Wednesday as he addressed heads of safety providers.

Russian military police are now patrolling the line between Syrian and Turkish forces

The Kremlin is gravely involved that Russians who fought with ISIS and different rebels teams may return to their homeland and trigger instability there. From the second Turkey launched its offensive in Northern Syria the Kremlin voiced excessive doubts about Turkey’s capacity to maintain a lid on the hundreds of ISIS prisoners and their relations that the Kurds had been guarding.

“There are areas in northern Syria the place ISIS militants are concentrated and till just lately, they have been guarded by the Kurdish army. The Turkish military entered these areas and the Kurds left… Now [ISIS fighters] can merely run away and I’m not certain that the Turkish military can — and how briskly — get this beneath management,” Putin mentioned final week at The Commonwealth of Unbiased States discussion board in Ashgabat.

Russia confronted a sustained insurgency in Chechnya within the 1990s and prosecuted a bloody struggle there for a number of years. The very last thing Vladimir Putin needs is for former Russian ISIS members to return to the Caucasus area, presumably resulting in the return of instability. At that very same discussion board in Turkmenistan, Putin warned different leaders of the area to brace for the scenario. “We’re speaking about tons of of militants there, hundreds in relation to CIS international locations. This can be a actual menace to us. How and the place will they head?” Putin mentioned.

“We have to perceive this and mobilize the assets of our particular providers to chop quick this rising new menace,” Putin added.

All Syrian roads result in Moscow

However regardless of all the hazards dealing with Putin’s high-stakes Syria gambit the Russian chief nonetheless appears to be able to presumably stop the scenario from blowing up much more than it already has.

Putin is on a victory lap of the Middle East

Russia has a devastating observe document within the Syrian battle. Human rights teams have accused Moscow of committing struggle crimes in its marketing campaign to assist Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The US says Moscow has systematically bombed civilian infrastructure, particularly hospitals, and aided Assad in overlaying up alleged chemical weapons use by the Syrian army. Russian vehemently denies all these allegations.

And regardless of many US and European officers lamenting Moscow’s alleged lies and deception, just about all of the international locations and events concerned within the Syrian disaster appear to agree that Moscow is extra dependable than Washington in this disaster.

NATO ally Turkey has been working with the Russians for years, regardless of the very fact they again opposing factions within the Syrian civil struggle. Even arch-enemies Israel and Iran appear to agree that the highway to creating certain their pursuits are met runs by Moscow.

And when the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces — which have been backed by the US and misplaced almost 11,000 fighters within the struggle towards ISIS — discovered they’d been dumped by Trump and left to be invaded by Erdogan’s proxy power, they too went straight to the Russians as a result of guess what: Moscow has been working with and speaking to the SDF for years as nicely.

So it was by no means going to be the Trump White Home that would try to dealer an answer to the messy scenario in northeastern Syria. If there shall be deal it is going to be reached subsequent Tuesday in Sochi by Putin and Erdogan — on their phrases.

Facts Source: https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/20/middleeast/putin-now-owns-this-mess-intl/index.html

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