Iranian Diplomacy | Kaveh L. Afrasiabi: Turkey’s military incursion deep inside the Syrian territory is a direct violation of Syrian territorial sovereignty and integrity and follows the impossible mission of crushing the Kurdish opposition groups and creating an extensive buffer zone along the vast Turkish-Syrian border that, overtime, can only mean an overstretched Turkish military and a perpetual quagmire.
To be completely successful, Turkey’s gambit would need to cover all three Kurdish enclaves and not just Afrin, which in essence means that we might be witnessing the beginning stage of a widening war that is, simultaneously, beneficial to both the anti-government Syrian rebels enjoying their new Turkish-made sanctuaries as well as the defeated ISIS terrorists, the remnants of whom are presently held in reserve by certain outside powers meddling in Syria, in light of the fact that the Syrian Kurds have been at the forefront of fighting ISIS since 2014; their impressive gains might soon be washed away as a result of a power vacuum in the aftermath of Turkey’s (misleadingly titled) Operation Olive Branch. That title serves well only when the invading party has a political and diplomatic solution in mind and not just a “crushing blow,” to paraphrase the Turkish military leaders.
Without doubt, part of the blame for this unfolding military drama exacting civilian lives falls on the shoulder of the Kurds who rebuffed Damascus’s bid to include them in a decentralized federal system, opting instead to throw their lots with their US protectorate power and, in essence, becoming overambitious, thus forgetting their own sad history of how they have been repeatedly abused by the world powers in the past. Today is no different, notwithstanding the US’s ploy regarding a 30,000 border patrol hoax that was generated to lay the ground work for Turkey’s invasion, i.e., a definite plus for NATO.
As expected, this has adversely impacted the delicate and on-going peace process, with several Kurdish groups boycotting the Sochi talks, which is supposed to build on the impressive gains of the Astana rounds .It remains to be seen what, if anything, can be achieved at these talks, given the torpedo-effect of the Turkish onslaught that has given a new lease of life to the Free Syrian Army that is presently acting as an auxiliary force for the Turkish army. This may well spell doom for the peace talks and herald the beginning of the end of the tripartite Iran-Russia-Turkey partnership for peace if Turkey does not stop transgressing Syrian sovereignty.