In the shadow of a new escalation of civil war in Syria, three new challenges occurred, which would have an undeniable impact on the Middle East region. Firstly, the enlargement of Russian military intervention in Syria (within the involvement of Hamadan airbase). Second, the coalition forces have achieved to liberate the number of towns in Syria from the so-called Islamic State (ISIS). Finally, the third Turkish army has been involved in the conflict against the Islamic State.
Apparently, it is really difficult to estimate correctly the ongoing process in Syria, particularly to predict its long-term repercussions for the regional countries. However, it is safety to note that president Basher Assad will remain in power for next several years. The turning point of the process became an initiative of Turkish president R. Erdogan that aimed to rekindle the bilateral relations with Russia after the SU-24 jet scandal.
The possible appearance of Kurdish state along Turkish – Syrian border is a much bigger threat than Assad’s regime and, therefore, official Ankara immediately made certain changes to its Syrian policy by softening rhetoric towards Assad’s regime and stopping claim for his ouster. Sources believe that Turkey’s revolution of foreign policy implemented on the Syria crisis stems primarily from fearing Kurdish threats. One of the other reasons was that Turkey’s tenacious appeal on Assad leaving authority over the last five years had compromised Turkish national interest. The Turkish administration had always firmly believed that Assad’s leave from power is imperative for achieving stability in Syria. However, in fact, the fear of Kurdish state in Syrian territories may have push both Ankara and Damascus for a common opposition against Kurdish militia.
From Turkey’ point of view, Erdogan showed willingness and readiness to combat with growing Kurdish threat. He acted rapidly and implicitly, as he understands that the main threat to the integrity of the country, might be occurred by the unification of Syrian – Iraqi Kurdish militants alongside the border. Seemingly, Mr. Erdogan seriously intended to vanish the Kurdish dream. Therefore, a part of the rapprochement with Russia, Ankara is enthusiastically supporting the combat with the Islamic State, hoping to gain legitimacy in the eyes of the U.S (U.S condemns the Turkish campaign against PYD-YPG forces in Syria). However, Turkey benefited from the ongoing process, despite the failed coup attempt in July. The military operation coming soon after the mass purge in the army has highlighted how Mr. Erdogan secured the control of the military. Mr. Erdogan has achieved to strengthen his positions in the region through fighting at the same time with Kurds and the Islamic State, which means that even Bashar Assad remaining in power cannot threaten his positions.
In this regard, Kurds seems to be the only losers in this game. They lost the opportunity to gain independence, as well as, to consolidate the whole power from Iraqi borders till Aleppo. Obviously, the huge reliance of Kurds on the White House has not justified their dreams about the close alliance. Undoubtedly, the U.S support of Turkish military intervention in Syria, against ISIS (but in fact against PYD) will be the next catalyst in Kurdish – American relations. Washington’s attitude towards Kurdish militia is understandable. The Syrian Kurds have proved to be a most dependable fighting force on the ground against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria. After Russia entered the scene as a staunch supporter of the Kurds, the United States apparently became wary of a possible shift in the Kurds’ alliances. One of America’s most valuable allies in Syria could be lost to Russia.
It is worthy to seek for sinners inside of the Kurdish militant groups, which cannot succeed to gather alltogether under the common political umbrella in Iraq and Syria, while Turkish authorities push on the Western allies to drop support for Syrian Kurds. Turkey’s presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin has called on the U.S. to “revise” its policy of supporting Kurdish forces battling Turkish troops in Syria.
Although Ankara clearly notes that it will not allow Kurdish separate entity in northern Syria, YPG say they will not withdraw from the areas they have seized, namely from Manbij city. Reportedly, Turkey vowed to remain in Syria until the Kurdish forces followed through on their pledge to withdraw from Manbij, a strategic Syrian town on the western side of the Euphrates River that they seized from Islamic State earlier this month (cumleni iki hisseye bol). After Vice President Joe Biden publicly warned the Kurds that they were in danger of losing American support if they didn’t pull back, the YPG announced Thursday that it was leaving Manbij in the hands of its Arab militant allies.
Currently, Washington is working on the resolution plan that could prevent an extended confrontation between Kurdish militia and the Turkish army as by the losing one of its allies, the U.S would hand off potential ally against radical Islamists. Nevertheless, Syrian Kurds are still far from their long-awaited dream of independence, while for Turkey it is an opening to fulfil its desire to carve out a secured buffer zone in the north-west of Syria.
To sum up, there are two main consequences of the Syrian civil war. First of all, the U.S has lost their capability and desire to interfere in the endless Syrian conflict. The U.S influence in the region is going down day-by-day, even though it has recently achieved certain success against the Islamic State. On the contrary, Russia gains wide floor for further political and military manoeuvres aftermath Turkey’s position on Syrian crisis has changed. No doubt that without Ankara’s support it is nearly impossible to determine the destiny of the Middle East.