Iran and Russia, as supporters of the Syrian government from the outset, along with the Damascus government, have identified the United States as an occupier force in northern Syria, stressing that it must withdraw from northeast and east of Syria as an occupier supporting terrorism.
A glance at Turkey’s mistakes in Syria
The history of Turkey’s intervention in the Syrian crisis goes back to the beginning of the crisis in 2011, when Recep Tayyip Erdogan, then Prime Minister and leader of the Justice and Development Party, announced the launch of the so-called Free Syrian Army following the unrest in Syria in June of that year.
In March 2012, the Turkish government, with the support of the United States and certain Arab regimes, established a “Joint Command of the Syrian Revolution” with the aim of organizing the new so-called Free Syrian Army and expanding its cooperation with groups that had a history of terrorist acts in Syria.
Turkey’s misestimations continued in Syria so that Erdogan announced that he will apply military rules 10 km deep inside the Syrian soil following reports that a RF-4 reconnaissance plane had been shot down over the Syrian airspace and territorial waters on June 22, 2012, according to news reports. Erdogan also brought the Free Syrian Army and some terrorist groups, including the Nusra Front, which has carried out terrorist acts in Syria under his support.
On November 24, 2015, the Ankara government resorted to the same unilateral proclamation, shot down a Russian SU-24 aircraft and called on NATO to counter Russian actions in Syria. But Moscow insisted that Russian air operations had been carried out under the Protocol to Prevent Russia-US Air Incidents on Syrian Airspace. For the same reason and due to Ankara’s miscalculations NATO refused to stay behind Turkey.
Repeating Mistakes or Learning from History?
Now Turkey has again decided to pursue the following stated objectives in northeast Syria, regardless of the consequences of its previous interventions and claiming that it has no prospects for Syrian territory:
– Preventing the terror corridor, another name for the Kurdish autonomous region in the region;
– Preparing 140 villages and 40 settlements in the region and returning one to three million displaced Syrians from Turkey to the area, under the protection of Turkish military and intelligence and the so-called Jaish al-Watani (National Army), with emphasis that the United Nations, the European Union and the international community should bear the expenses of these settlements in northeast Syria.
– According to Turkey’s proclaimed plan, the creation of a so-called safe zone means expanding the occupied Syrian territory east of the Euphrates. The withdrawal of “People’s Defense Units” armed group and the Syrian People’s Defense Forces and Democratic Forces down the assumed line of 30 kilometers deep into Syrian territory means both the creation of a small Kurdish state on the eastern Syrian Euphrates and the western Iraqi border. Thus, it can be concluded that Erdogan’s insistence on such a region is tantamount to stepping into the swamp of the Syrian crisis and the practical breakdown of the neighboring country.
However, the implementation of the Adana Agreement between Ankara and Damascus (ratified in 1998) is considered a good capacity as an alternative plan to create a safe zone in northeast Syria. The agreement that year kept the two countries out of an imminent war. Ankara had at that time deployed forces on the Syrian border and threatened war. According to Appendix Four of the Adana Agreement, Ankara was granted the right to chase members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party deep up to five kilometers north of Syria. On the contrary, the implementation of the agreement means Ankara’s recognition of the Syrian government’s legitimacy.
International Concern about Turkey’s Decision
In a televised address on Monday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the deployment of Turkish troops in the border areas, saying the operation could begin any time.
The United Nations has said it is preparing for the worst conditions, expressing concern over another wave of bloodshed and mass displacement in Syria. The European Union has also warned that civilians will again fall victim to military attacks.
While Russia has urged Turkey to respect Syria’s territorial integrity; and the Islamic Republic of Iran has also opposed possible military action by Turkey inside Syria, France has also voiced concern over any military action in northeastern Syria which may have serious humanitarian consequences. The French Foreign Ministry said: “Any unilateral action could have significant humanitarian consequences and would not bring about the conditions necessary for the safe and voluntary return of the refugees to their areas of origin.”
The White House, in a statement, made it clear that it would stand by its allied action in NATO.
Repeating the Mistake of Trusting America
The forces that have trusted the United States in Syria over the years have also been caught by surprise as a result of this new event. Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the so-called Democratic Syrian Forces, said the US decision would destroy trust and cooperation between the two sides.”
The forces also said in a statement that they would stand against the Turkish invasion.
Meanwhile, Syrian Kurds say Turkey’s goal is to weaken their status in the region by changing the region’s population makeup by returning predominantly Arab refugees.