A Further Complicated Syria in 2022
TURKEY - After a cabinet meeting on Monday, the President of Turkey announced that a new military operation would be underway in Syria, to stabilize logistics between 2 already Turkish-controlled areas. The operation will target Turkish efforts at resuming a 20-mile (30km) safe zone along the Turkish-Syrian border.
"We will soon take new steps regarding the incomplete portions of the project we started on the 30km deep safe zone we established along our southern border," - President Erdogan
He later stated that no further comments will be made until the operation begins and all preparations by all groups involved had been completed. The area targeted is controlled by the SDF, People's Protection Units, and a smaller Kurdish armed group known as the YPG. Turkey views the YPG as a splinter from the PKK or Kurdistan Worker's Party.
The SDF in comment stated that there was no strategic change in Syria and that Ankara was trying to undermine the stability in the region.
Since 2016, Ankara forces have launched 3 major intrusions into northern Syria, taking control of areas along the border in an attempt to stave off groups such as ISIS and the YPG. During the last such incident, human rights groups along with the UN called on Ankara to investigate possible war crimes in its controlled regions after thousands were displaced.
With a warning from the U.S. State Department, Ned Price stated that any new offensive in northern Syria would hurt, not help. It would also put at risk any and all efforts that had been put into action at thwarting ISIS.
Hossein Amirabdollahian, Iranian Foreign Minister, while visiting the Syrian capital of Damascus, has condemned the Israeli airstrike that struck a coastal Syrian village on the border of Lebanon and wounded 2 on July 2nd, and said that Tehran opposes any military operations by Turkey in Syria's northern region. The State-run news agency SANA stated that the Israeli Missiles hit chicken farms in the village of Hamidiyeh, south of Tartus. While in Syria, he intends to discuss relations between Syria and Iran and other regional affairs with Syrian officials.
The Israeli attack was the 1st since June 10th, which hit the Damascus airport and caused massive damage to the airport infrastructure, and left runways unusable. Flights just resumed not long ago, on June 23rd.
Iran supports the actual Syrian government, which is led by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and has sent thousands of fighters to assist the government in its 11-year conflict, which has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced half of the country's population of 23 million.
"We understand the concerns of our neighbor Turkey but we oppose any military measure in Syria." He said.
It is suspected that Ankara is taking advantage of the Ukrainian war to further his own Syrian goals as Turkey finally agreed to lift its veto against admitting Finland and Sweden into NATO if the 2 nations agreed to tighten the noose on groups that Ankara named as terrorist organizations and security threats, meaning the Kurdistan Worker's Party ( PKK) and its Syrian counterpart.
Israel, over the years, has staged many sorties over Syrian territory, in which Israel states they target Iran-allied militias such as Hezbollah, who are deployed in Syria to aid the government led by Assad.
Russia has also continuously aided in supporting with a military influence, the Assad government in Syria. It has been said, if it weren't for Russia, Assad would no longer be in power. It is also said that Putin is utilizing Syria to maintain a means of influence in the middle east region and to pursue his own economic and political needs.
While Israel focuses on the Iranian threat in Syria, it has been unable to tackle the Russian advance and thus becoming unable to move there. This has also affected Israel's diplomacy in Ukraine. The two fronts have become intertwined. As Israel continues to attack positions that are located within Russian-controlled airspace, the relations between Jerusalem and Moscow have deteriorated a great deal. Contributing to this divide, Israel is siding more and more with Ukraine and is set to take in more Ukrainian refugees, which will further complicate this relationship.
At a U.N. Security Council meeting today, Russia has agreed to continue its deliveries of humanitarian aid to northern Syria from Turkey, but only for 6 months instead of a year, as other officials were wanting.
The Main Factions of the Syrian Civil War
The Syrian Arab Republic, Iran, & Russia: The main government of the country of Syria, led by President Bashar al-Assad upon election, after the death of his father, Hafez al-Assad in 2000. The Arab Spring of 2011, which changed the Arab countries forever, caused the birth of the Syrian civil war. Various opposition forces from inside Syria, and from other countries have engaged in combat, for going on 11 years now. In 2017, al-Assad declared that there was no moderate opposition, and all opposition forces were jihadists, sealing his rule.
Salafi jihadist groups: include members of al-Nusra Front and Tahrir al-Sham are transnational and blend a mix of religious and political ideas and are based on the Sunni sect of Islam, seeking to establish a global caliphate, by returning to what they believe is true Islam laid out by Sayyid Qutb in the 60s.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant: a militant Islamist group with no real state affiliations, and was once part of the jihadist groups. The formation of Isis/Isil was out of concern that groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Nusra were not doing enough in Iraq and other countries and waged a more brutal war.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF): The official defending force of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES). This force, the AANES, was created out of an alliance that formed during the Syrian civil war. It is comprised of Assyrian/Syriac, Kurdish, & Arab forces. It also contains smaller forces from different ethnicities, such as Armenian, Turk, and Chechen Forces. Founded in 2015, it is led by a Kurdish military force called the People's Protection Units (YPG), and also includes parts of the Syrian opposition's Free Syrian Army. The SDF's mission is to create a secular, democratic, and federalized Syria.
Turkey's Issue With the SDF: The Syrian Democratic Forces have direct links to the PKK (Kurdistan Worker's Party) says Turkey, which is described as not only a political organization, but also a guerrilla warfare movement, which historically operated throughout Kurdistan, south-eastern Turkey, and Northern Iraq. The EU maintains that the PKK is a terrorist organization, but without due process. Their original mindset was a blend of revolutionary socialism and Marxism, seeking an independent Kurdistan. The PKK fought back against Turkey's suppression of the Kurdish population. It got to the point that if a person was arrested and imprisoned for anyone singing, publishing, or even speaking the Kurdish language. The PKK was created to combat this situation. Armed clashes have been going on since 1979.