Regardless of the justifications Turkey offers for its invasion of northeast Syria, it is a clear violation of Syria’s sovereignty and carries grave implications.
Threatened for a long time, Turkey’s military invasion comes at a time when Syrian government forces were making steady progress against foreign backed terrorists.
The terrorists had been holed up in a small rump in Idlib province and would surely have been completed routed had it not been for such foreign support.
After three days of military operations, Turkey’s defense ministry said on October 12 its forces had taken control of the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ain although the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has disputed this.
The border town has been under the control of US-backed Kurdish militants, YPG.
“As a result of successful operations within the scope of ‘Operation Peace Spring’, the town of Ras al-Ain to the east of the Euphrates has been brought under control,” the Turkish defence ministry wrote on its Twitter.
Turkey’s target is the Kurdish armed group YPG that it says is closely aligned with the terrorist group the PKK operating in Turkey.
Ankara wants to prevent the Kurds from dominating both sides of the border and linking up because it views them as a threat to its security.
Turkey’s aim is to capture a swath of Syria territory measuring 30 km by 110 km inhabited largely by Kurds.
Two towns—Ras al-Ain and Tal Abyad—are the primary focus of Turkey’s invasion. They have come under heavy bombardment, forcing tens of thousands of civilians to flee.
Launching artillery and air strikes, there have been civilian casualties with some estimates putting the number at 50 on both sides.
While Turkey wants to prevent Kurdish militants residing in another country (Syria) from linking up with Kurds on its soil, it has little trouble supporting and maintaining militants inside Syria.
On October 12, the Turkish-backed militants claimed to have cut the 712 Road that links Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain. A militant spokesman claimed 18 villages have been captured in the advance.
Syria’s official news agency SANA reported from Hasakah that Turkey had also cut off an international highway linking the province in the far northeastern corner of Syria to Aleppo.
The Turkish invasion was launched following a telephone conversation between Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan and his American counterpart Donald Trump on August 6.
After he spoke to Erdogan, Trump said he was withdrawing US troops, illegally occupying Syrian territory, from the border with Turkey. The US maintains an airbase at al-Tanf in Syria, again in clear violation of the latter’s sovereignty and international law.
The Western corporate media went into a breast-beating frenzy about the US “betrayal” of Kurds.
The media also talked about the thousands of Daesh terrorists held by the Kurds that could now escape from captivity.
They could keep their powder dry. SANA reported that US forces had whisked out 80 foreign Daesh prisoners held at al-Shadadi prison south of Hasakah to Iraq.
The West, especially the US is not and has not fought ISIS terrorists; they are the West’s creation to be used against countries they wish to destabilize.
Unfortunately, the Kurds’ political and military leaders have always made poor choices and allowed themselves to be used by unsavory foreign powers.
These include such countries as the US, Israel, Britain and a host of others.
When it became clear that Trump had given greenlight to Nato member Turkey to invade northeastern Syria, the Kurds turned to Damascus for help.
Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad in an interview in Beirut on October 10 ruled out any talks with the Kurds.
“The armed factions betrayed their country and committed crimes against it. We will not accept dialogue with those who became hostages of foreign forces. There will not be any foothold for agents of Washington on Syrian soil,” Mikdad said.
The government in Damascus, however, has been placed in a difficult position. Its forces do not have the capacity to take on Nato-member Turkey.
Syrian armed forces with help from allies like Hizbullah, Iran and Russia have barely managed to contain and gradually defeat foreign terrorists flooding the country.
In addition to controlling the Kurds, Turkey wants to transfer some of the estimated 3.6 million Syrian refugees on its soil to this area.
Having used them for eight years, Turkey no longer wishes to look after the Syrian refugees. Resentment of Syrian refugees has grown especially in Turkish border towns like Sanliurfa.
If successful in this transfer, the refugee resettlement project would give Turkey a permanent base inside Syria because Ankara would be involved in administering their affairs under the pretext of protecting them.
It may even lead to Turkey occupying this area that used to be part of the Ottoman State before the colonial division of the region a century ago.
The incursion into Syria is fraught with danger and will only add to further destabilization of the region to the benefit of imperialists and Zionists.