Russian game, Turkish opportunism and Iranian passivity in the north of Syria
What you should know about recent Turkey’s military activities in Afrin and south of Aleppo; hidden trade-offs, future of north of Syria
It is nearly three months ago in the article “The new level in Syrian war/ emphasize on Kurds’ situation and end of ISIS” that with finishing war against ISIS in east of Syria, it is Kurds’ turn to see how their lands are divided between fighting sides in Syria.
It is still observable that political agreements are shaping the military confront. Same as several months ago that the competition between east and west of Euphrates river in Deir al Zur is based on agreement between US and Russia.
Today the story of Abu Dohur confront is to fulfil Astana 6 agreement. So the final border of forces in “Idlib De-escalation zones” will be the Hijaz railway (which is the current border) or at most Aleppo-Damascus highway.
At this border inspection posts of all sides (Turkish-Russian-Iranian) are going to be established and a “Idlib De-escalation zones” will be sustained.
Recent incidents in Al Eis area in south of Aleppo which includes the artillery fire exchange between Moghawemat and Turkey, is caused by a nuance disagreement in details that Turkey wants to erect watch posts in Al Eis and east of Aleppo-Damascus highway but Moghawemat front is against it; the reason is that Al Eis is very close to Fuah Kafrya and to liberate Fuah & Kafrya the forces should pass through Al Eis.
This does not mean a determination or plan to reach Fuah & Kafarya in near future necessarily; but a pressure point and replacement plan to tell terrorists that occupying Fuah & Kafrya is expensive for them or consider it as Moghawemat reaching Idlib walls..
The fact that Turkish Army enters Al Eis again even with warning shots is due to green light from Russia, otherwise it would not be possible.
Nevertheless, the latest news approves Turkish watch post establishment in Al Eis. On the other side, during the last few days Suhail Hassan’s forces famous as “Tigers” are transported to east of Hama from Saraqeb front to finish the remaining ISIS militia in besieged region and liberate it entirely. This is also another sign of harmony between Russia and Turkey specially if we know that Hassan’s forces act under Russians’ complete intelligence.
On the other side, Turkey attacks Afrin and some observers consider it as a taken of Astana 6 and Sochi summits (Abu Dohur for Afrin). This Turkish occupation although not very unlikely but also was not agreed on in any summit (not in Astana nor in Sochi) and such audacity from Turkey would not happen without other sides’ (Iran and Russia) confirmation.
But the main reason that Turkey did such a move is nothing except the Russians’ game of power and passivity and indifference of Iran.
In simple words, Russia expects that by increasing the seriousness of Turkey’s attack, Kurds would give some privileges in other areas (such as Deir al Zur, Tabaqa, Raqa and Manbij…) and on the other hand Russia would prevent Turkey’s attack and Russian and Syrian flags in Afrin would be raised.
Iran and Syria did not dislike the plan or at least did not feel bad about it, since if Russians could not convince the Kurds to raise the central government, at least the load on the fronts in Idlib and Aleppo by forces led by Turkey would be reduced.
But the predictions were not correct. US pressures Kurds’ politicians in Syria and SDF commanders to oppose Syrian flag to be raised.
US objection was also very natural, since US doctoring is to divide and destabilize the region (specially using the Kurdish race) and in Syria to weaken Iran’s influence and Assad’s government, who is an ally of Iran.
Syrian Kurdistan also looks at US as their benefactor and is natural to order to fight back in Afrin and to call it a brave and epic resistance, even though they know it is doomed to be defeated !!
US political oppositions end when Turkey claim the operation is limited to Afrin only.
Another prediction which proved to be false is the reaction of Tahrir al Sham, who are in complete alliance with Turkey.
Now we just can sit and see how it goes, Does Turkey satisfy to a border band or wants to occupy Afrin completely and become neighbor of Aleppo, Nubl and Zahra (where is Iran’s base) or even to make a way between Azaz (Al Bab region) and Idlib?
It seems that the second plan to be more plausible which causes Iran to react and demand to stop the Operation Olive Branch and to get more serious by Turkish advances and on the other side Kurds in Afrin will get more logistic supports to stop Turkish Army…