Ill-planned operation in Syria could land Turkey in quagmire: Turkish analyst

TEHRAN, Dec. 30 (MNA) –Turkish Political analyst Semih Idiz believes that any ill planned military operation by Turkey in Syria can land Ankara in a quagmire.

After President Trump said he would withdraw all US troops from Syria, Turkey's president on Dec. 21 delayed operations against Kurdish forces in

Major players in and around Syria have started positioning their forces as discussions get under way on how to proceed once US forces vacate the country and their fight against the last remnants of the ISIL.

Turkey vowed on Monday that the fight against ISIL would not be slowed by the US withdrawal from Syria, where Ankara-backed groups reinforced their positions around the potential flashpoint town of Manbij.

While Ankara considers PYD and YPG as terrorist groups, these Kurdish groups have been US close partners in Syria in the US alleged fight against ISIL.

To know more about the opportunities and threats of the US withdrawal from Syria for Turkey we reached out to Turkish Political analyst Semih Idiz.

Commenting on the opportunities created by the US withdrawal for Ankara, Idiz said, “Turkey will have strengthened its hand against the YPG Kurds in northern Syria because the group, which Ankara considers to be a terrorist organization, will not have the direct backing of a powerful western country. Even if it continues to secure covert support from the US the situation is not the same for it without the presence of American boots on the ground.”

Referring to the possible threats to Ankara resulted from the US withdrawal, he said, “Although Turkey has secured an advantage, Ankara also knows that it has to tread cautiously because the prospect of a Turkish military operation east of the Euphrates brings up questions which have yet to be answered. The most important one is the reactions of Russia and the Syrian regime.”

He added, “There is also the added problem that France has said it will not follow the US lead and pull out of northern Syria, so Turkey will have to also manage the European side of the equation too. In addition to this there is the fact that President Trump has effectively tasked Turkey with fighting the Islamic State. President Erdogan said Turkey can do this, but faces risks that it cannot afford to minimize.”

Touching upon the potential consequences of the Turkey’s military operation in northern parts of Syria and Saudi Arabia’s destructive regional policies, the Turkish analyst noted, “The bottom line is that an ill planned and hasty operation by Turkey could land it in a quagmire where it is not only fighting the YPG and the ISIL, but also risks confrontations with the Syrian regime or French forces. As far as your question about Saudi Arabia, it is unlikely that we will see Saudi forces along the Turkish border. The dialogue between Riyadh and Damascus is a long way from bearing fruit and Omar al Bashir’s intervention will not change the situation much, given the present alignment of factors in the region.”

Interview by Payman Yazdani

News Code 141006

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