On Turkish-American Cooperation in northern Syria
On September 7th, the Turkish president Erdogan made an important statement on the results of talks with the US President Barack Obama at the G20 summit in China. According to him, Ankara is ready to accept Washington’s proposal for a joint operation to repel militants of the Islamic State from Raqqa . This statement implies a fundamentally new balance of power in the north of Syria, which poses a real threat to Russia’s plans in Aleppo, and to the political image of Moscow and to the success of the negotiations in Geneva.
Now, Turkish troops and their allies of the Free Syrian Army began an operation in northern Syria to control about 800 km2 from Jarabulus to Azaz cities. Despite Ankara’s statement on the fight not only against the ISIS, but also against the Syrian Kurds, since September 1st there was no fighting with the Syrian Democratic Forces. Kurds still have positions near Manbizh and are not going to retreat past the Euphrates. However, in late August, Turkey began the construction of a concrete wall along the border with Syria, controlled by Kurds. In our opinion, this event shows the impossibility of carrying out an operation against the Syrian Kurds and the possibility of the conflict’s escalation in the near future.
The Turkish offensive in the Jarabulus area are led troops of the Kurdish Democratic Forces of Syria who transfered from the south (from Ayn Issa), where they were preparing for an attack on Raqqa, over to the north, under US command. The representatives of the Kurdish leadership have already stated that the Turkish invasion was fatal for the operation.