View from Jordan: Ominous signs in Syria’s Afrin



Turkey’s military intervention in the northern Syrian city of Afrin under the code name “Olive Branch” will certainly complicate the already complicated conflict in Syria.

Ankara has been threatening all along to strike at the so-called Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) deployed along its southern border with Syria and rejected, so it seems, all calls for restraint including by the US, its chief NATO ally.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been claiming for some time that the YPG poses a threat to his country’s security and wants to eliminate this danger once and for all. YPG has not made any military incursion into Turkey or threatened its security and stability and obviously is no match to the Turkish military mighty should push come to shove.

Yet President Erdogan is bent on preempting any such military intervention by the Syrian Kurdish force before it happens.

In retrospect, Turkey’s hands would have been stronger in its bid to neutralise YPG had this faction actually attacked a Turkish target within the country or constituted a real danger to the country. Till now YPG has not made any such attack or even threatened to do so.

Washington is on record as against any Turkish invasion of Afrin and its environs since it is the country that openly supports YPG in its fight against Daesh.

In this context, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that “we are keenly aware of the security concerns of Turkey,” but nevertheless called for restraint.

Russia seems to be ambivalent about the Turkish incursion for fear that this ominous development may undermine its bid to convene a successful peace conference on Syria in Sochi but does not want to aggravate relations with Ankara at this point in time especially when Ankara is a co-chair of the peace talks.

Damascus is also officially against the Turkish incursions and threatened to shoot down any Turkish military plane deployed in the Turkish operation against Afrin but Ankara insists that the Syrian government is privy to its military actions.

Under the circumstances a UN Security Council meeting on the situation is certainly warranted for fear that the fighting may escalate into uncontrollable proportions.


Categories: Arab World, Asia, Syria, Turkey

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