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17.05.2017 - 14: 13

Erdogan and Syrian Kurdistan: the process becomes irreversible

The US administration's decision to put the militia of Syrian Kurds a new batch of weapons and military equipment plunged Turkish leadership in shock. When Donald Trump's predecessor in the White House the issue of US military supplies to Kurdish "People's Protection Units» (YPG) has been one of the most painful points in the relations between the two NATO allies. With the arrival of Trump in Ankara were expectations that Washington will go to meet the wishes of the Turkish side and would reconsider its alliance with the Syrian Kurds to the east of the Euphrates. However, these hopes have collapsed in one day - 9 May, when representatives of the US Department of Defense announced the replenishment of weapons arsenals Arab-Kurdish coalition "Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). As part of this coalition a leading role continue to play YPG. Therefore, the decision of the US administration can safely bring it into an asset Syrian Kurds who control the north-eastern regions of Syria and leading a successful attack on the "capital" of the terrorist group Daishev ( "Islamic state", IG, LIH) in Raqqa.

The shock of the Turkish military and political leadership was due to several factors. 25 April the Turkish Air Force struck a powerful air strikes on positions YPG in the Syrian province of Hasaka. Reaction Trump administration was very hard: step of the Turkish authorities in Washington have called absolutely inappropriate. Ankara has warned of the consequences in the event of a repetition of such air raids. To the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government left after that unresolved questions, 9 May Pentagon made its resonant statement about weapons supplies to the Kurds.

Their nomenclature of the American side has not been disclosed. Sources in the military and diplomatic circles in the US reported that YPG fighters, as "the most effective force in ground operations against the IG" in the direction of the RACC, will receive small arms, 120-mm mortars, light armored vehicles. In this case, the absence of podcherkivaotsya the American side plans to arm the coalition SDF missile and artillery systems and missiles of class "surface - the air."


American soldiers with Kurdish fighters YPG in the area Darbas Hasaka province

Blow 25 April, Erdogan tried to create for themselves a more comfortable field for future negotiations in the Turkish-American summit, and ran, in fact, to the opposite effect. The bitterness of the pill has been strengthened by another nuance that made the Turkish leader and his team seriously worried. Before the visit of Erdogan 15 of May in the United States and talks the next day with a group of Turkish President Trump trustees conducted consultations with American partners. Working contact was made before the application Pengagona of supplying weapons to the Kurds. Among the persons participating in the discussions were mentioned, in particular, the press secretary of the head of the Turkish state and the chief Ibrahim Kalyn Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT), Hakan Fidan. Classified US military on May 9 was for Turkish negotiators "cold shower". Apparently, the White House thus made it clear to the Turkish emissaries and Erdogan that Ankara will not be allowed to engage in dialogue with Washington on an equal footing, especially with the assistance of some US pressure resources.

The need to "put in place of the Turks" has arisen from the administration Trump even for one important reason. Turkish leader "Unknown" in the objectionable Americans formats stabilization of the situation in Syria. 3 May Erdogan goes to a meeting with Vladimir Putin in Sochi. On sleduyuy day in Astana signed by the tripartite agreement (Russia, Iran and Turkey) on the de-escalation of the Syrian areas. Ankara obviously decided to do something to demonstrate to Washington as it geoopoliticheskih available alternatives. Talk about the acquisition of the Turkish army Russian air defense systems S-400 game highlighted Ankara's jealousy Washington.

However, as noted, the actions of the Turkish authorities pushed them in an even more difficult situation. The calculation was made on the field for the expansion of trade, together with the United States and Russia. However, the segment 3 - 16 of May (between Erdogan talks with Putin and Trump) room for maneuver on the issue of Syrian Kurds in Ankara has been narrowed to a minimum. Americans clearly given to understand that the Kurdish YPG remains their most trusted, while able-bodied partner "on the ground" in Syria. Russians after May 3 Turks actually send the same signals, but against the Kurds in the north-west of Syria - in the valley of Afrin, on which the Turkish Armed Forces and allied Syrian "moderate" insurgents unsuccessfully trying to fall for several months. In the district of Afrin Kurdish Russian flags hung out here periodically "illuminates" the military Special Operation Forces and the Military Police of the Russian Federation Armed Forces. Both the US and Russia are given to understand Turkey about the futility of its attempts to persuade the two powers to give the Kurdish militia Syria, Ankara recorded in "terrorist organization", to be torn apart.

An important bar, complete the picture of the current residence of the Turkish government is shocked by what he heard and what he saw on the "Kurdish dossier" from Washington. The starting point of his first foreign tour Trump chose the Middle East. However, after the first host of the new US leader won not Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, where Trump will arrive three days after talks with Erdogan - 19 of May. The only Middle Eastern member of NATO on the map tour Trump is not at all. Moreover, a few hours before the start of multi-day trip Trump in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Israel) and in Europe (the Holy See, the NATO summit in Brussels, and G-7 Sicily) Turkish president is actually called "on the carpet" to the White House.

Erdogan, at every step, and in the details on the conceptual level, the United States weighed a "slap in the face" for the other. But he was forced to accept, tolerate and still trying to find some points of support in building relations with the administration of Trump. Washington analysts before meeting today Trump Erdogan and delineate an approximate circle "sdelochnyh circuits" between two Allies (1). In the first position in these schemes appear on the Kurds, and at once in Syria and Iraq. It is assumed that the subject of the transaction may be the exchange of reciprocal concessions in Turkey and the US in the areas of Syria and Iraq Sinjar Raqqa.

Supported by the United States SDF coalition and Kurdish YPG last week drove the terrorists from Daishev Tabka and the dam of the reservoir of the same name, "al-Assad" to 50 km west of Raqqa. Immediately following the Kurds announced the start dates for the decisive attack on the "Caliphate" capital - the first days of June. The Turkish army has remained aloof from the "Operation Wrath of the Euphrates," without achieving any increase of the role of the Arab component of the SDF, as opposed to the Kurds in the coalition, nor involvement in the assault Raqqa special forces of friendly third countries (Saudi Arabia and its allies in the Persian Gulf). To somehow equalize the losses associated with the expansion of Kurdish control of the zone to the south of the Turkish border and the inevitable raising soon the issue of creation of the Syrian Kurdistan to the east of the Euphrates, Ankara is trying to obtain from Washington the operation against "terrorists" of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Iraq's Sinjar.

After a series of massive strikes by Turkish aircraft main bases of the PKK in the Kandil Mountains north of the Iraqi Kurdistan a large part of the forces of Kurdish fighters and their commanders regrouped in Sinjar, occupy a favorable disposition close to the border with Syria. Turkey rooting PKK in the Iraqi province of Nineveh seems totally unacceptable. But without the visual signal from the Americans, as well as the background to the limit of strained relations between Ankara and Baghdad Turkish intervention in Sinjar risks turn out to Erdogan's next big trouble.

Among other things, the invasion of the Turks Sinjar spurs the presence of a limited contingent of their "military trainers" in the area Ba`shiqah north-east of the Iraqi Mosul. Battle for Mosul is close to its climax. Turkish advisors in "Ba`shiqah" camp, in defiance of the requirements of the government in Baghdad to return them home to continue a mission of training local forces against terrorists Daishev. Although the need for it for several months no. It turns out, only a hypothetical ground operation of the Turkish army in the Sinjar can extend presence in Ba`shiqah uninvited guests.

While Turkey's anger over the relocation of the PKK from Kandil west to the Syrian border, limited air strike 25 April and followed by a statement of the Turkish generals to resolve nedopustit create database "Kurdish terrorists" in Sinjar. Further behavioral model Ankara will depend on the outcome of Erdogan's talks in Washington. Meanwhile, right now, regardless of the receipt of the Turkish president the possible benefits after meeting with Trump, it seems clear that the Syrian Kurds succeed much. They became noticeably ahead of his Turkish opponent, even in what seemed to be superior to Ankara Kurdish and other forces in the region to order - game on the balance of interests of world and regional powers.

Several key players in Syria and the Middle East in general are interested in creating a "buffer strip" between the Turkish army and government forces in Damascus. In this role exclusively to areas under the control of the SDF and the coalition of Kurdish YPG. Will the future in these territories recognized by default, or take the form of "Syrian Kurdistan", now do not matter. The question is that of education, which will be called "the Federation of northern Syria," or in some other way, so as not to accentuate the Kurdish element in its foundation, already in excess there are serious grounds to claim a special status in the postwar Syria device.


control zone in Syria for April 2017 years

The terms of de facto Syrian Kurdistan, to the extreme displeasure of Turkey, expand and get more profound with the direct support of the United States. Russia and Iran - two Turkish partner to ensure the cessation of hostilities and the establishment of a de-escalation areas - are also looking at strengthening the Kurdish position in an extended "buffer strip" very positive. Saudi Arabia and Israel in this matter as a whole is neutral, however, and they, of course, because of their own interests, not abandon conservation in southern underbelly of Turkey in the years to come a powerful stimulus for the country.

Weapons supplied to the Syrian Kurds, and will continue to be sent, as the deployment of a successful attack on the RACC. The US military in the region, there is no alternative antidzhihadistskoy infantry, besides 25 thousand. militia YPG (SDF just part of the coalition, according to the Pentagon and US Central Command, about 50 thousand. fighters, about half of which is accounted for Kurdish YPG). Knocking Daishev of Raqqa and coming on the administrative border province of Deir ez-Zor, the Arab-Kurdish units can be partially mobilized for action against the last major stronghold of terrorists in the region - the city of Deir ez-Zor and the surrounding areas. But in the territory south of Raqqa, a "layering" for lying to the south of Deir ez-Zor, the limits of the future of the Syrian Kurdistan is unlikely to significantly expand. Kurds and their allies from the Arab tribes of northern Syria have yet to demonstrate effective control on the already rescued the "caliphate" lands.

Units Kurdish self-defense with the US and some Russian arms and military equipment will be transformed into a kind of paramilitary forces "Peshmerga" of Iraqi Kurdistan. It will happen in a matter of months immediately after the fall of the "capital" Daishev in Raqqa. From that moment, the process of creating in the region de facto Syrian Kurdistan will virtually irreversible.

In the upcoming talks with Trump were driven into the corner by all the Turkish leader is not able to play back the situation. Dubious look, and the chances of military-political leadership of Turkey to achieve in bargaining with the US administration substantial compensation. In the best case, Erdogan "roll the dice" in the form of extradition from the US of Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, who is accused by the Turkish authorities in the organization of a coup attempt in July 2016 years. Hope for other benefits "compensatory" properties, to somehow save face in the "Kurdish dossier" of Syria, the Turkish authorities do not have any good reasons.

(1) Soner Cagaptay, Reaching a US-Turkish Deal in Syria: Four Steps // The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, May 12, 2017.

A source: EADaily

Tags: Erdogan, the Kurds, Turkey, Syria, Middle East, USA, War, International Relations, Research, Policy, Trump

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