The Turkish army launched an operation against Kurdish militias in Northern Syria, putting the region on the brink of a major crisis. Ankara is determined to end military action “promptly”, however, the onset of risk of developing into a long-term campaign, jeopardize Turkey’s relations with its key ally, of supporting the Kurds, the United States.
Despite the interest of Moscow in the participation of Kurds in the Congress of the Syrian national dialogue, scheduled for January 30 in Sochi, Russia did not condemn Ankara’s actions, limiting “expression of concern”. Held on the eve of visit to Moscow heads of the General staff and intelligence services of Turkey shows that Ankara’s actions have been agreed with the Kremlin.
The Syrian war becomes Kurdish
Official statement, which served as a signal to attack the positions of Syrian Kurds, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made on Saturday during the visit to the province of kütahya. “Anti-terrorist operation in’ afrīn is almost begun,” announced the Turkish leader, promising that after Afrin (West Syrian Kurdistan) military action will continue in another region controlled by the Kurds — Manbij.
Thus, the threat of the Turkish leader, a week ago who promised to “tear off the heads” of the Kurds in the new military action in Syria were not a bluff.
And yesterday, Mr. Erdogan expressed confidence that Ankara will be able to solve their problems quickly, avoiding protracted campaign that is fraught with serious losses.
In turn, Turkish foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that in Damascus sent a written notification about the beginning of military action in Syria. “We inform about the operation of writing the Syrian regime, as well as all parties, including the UN,” — said the Turkish Minister about the operation against the Kurds, not coordinated with the Syrian government. “The coarse attack of Turkey to the city Afrin cannot be separated from the policy followed by the Turkish regime from the first day of the crisis in Syria,” responded President Bashar al-Assad.
Details of enforcement actions are disclosed in the statement of the Turkish General staff. As can be seen from his posts, as part of an operation codenamed “Olive branch” a “will be neutralized militants of the Kurdistan workers party, “the people’s protection Units,” the party “Democratic Union” and the terrorist organization “Islamic state” (banned in Russia.— “Kommersant”)”. The “friendly population of Afrin would be liberated from the terrorists.”
In the unfolding of the ground operation against the Kurds along with the Turkish army involves units of the so-called “free Syrian army”. Recall that this part of the armed opposition coordinate with Ankara since the beginning of the conflict in Syria.
In the first two days — Saturday and Sunday — in the framework of operation “Olive branch” was involved more than 70 aircraft, while the Turkish military has reported about losing over 150 goals. The question of how far can it go Turkish attack remains open. According to a senior adviser to the President Erdogan of Ilnur Cevik, Turkish troops can move East of the Euphrates river in Syria to the border with Iraq.
Yesterday it became known about the first victims: the representative of the Kurdish self-defense forces in ‘ afrīn Birus Hasaka confirmed to Kommersant the death of 18 people, most of them civilians. “We are able to protect themselves,” he added.
Tell me who your Kurd
International reaction to the actions of Turkey conducting a military operation in Syria without an invitation of Damascus, shows that from the external isolation of President Bashar al-Assad in condemnation of Ankara’s actions this time will not be alone.
So, a strong protest in connection with actions of the Turkish army has expressed yesterday Cairo — one of the leaders of the middle East region. “The Arab Republic of Egypt expresses its rejection of the military operation pursued by the Turkish troops against the town of Afrin in the North-West of Syria, considering it as a new violation of its sovereignty and undermine efforts within the existing political decisions and efforts to combat terrorism in Syria,” warned the foreign Ministry of Egypt.
The first of the Western powers in the Turkish operation responded France: foreign Minister of this country Jean-Yves Le Drian yesterday called for “an urgent meeting of the UN security Council” and demanded a ceasefire.
The initiative of Paris met with stiff resistance from Ankara. “They say that France wants to convene an emergency meeting of the UN security Council. In this case, we will consider it in the way that France stands at the side of the terrorists, it will affect our relationship,” he said yesterday, the Paris foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Meanwhile, an immediate end to the Turkish operation yesterday asked the representative of the foreign Ministry of Iran Bahram ghasemi. Recall that together with Russia and Turkey, Iran is the architect and guarantor made in November last year in Sochi peace agreement for Syria, which provided the conditions for the completion of the military phase of the conflict and the preparations for the Congress of the Syrian national dialogue repeatedly postponed and is scheduled for January 30 in Sochi.