So the Turks have crossed into Syria. This everybody agrees upon. What remains completely obscure are the real goals of this operation.
I won’t give the answer here simply because I don’t have it. But let me share a few pointers nonetheless.
- Russian sources report that such an operation would have been unthinkable without a tacit agreement from Russia and Iran.
- Russia’s reaction has been a tepid “concern” while off the record the Russians seemed to be perfectly aware of what is taking place.
- Turkish F-16 have been flying close-air support for the Turkish ground forces.
- US A-10s have been seen operating south of the Turkish forces.
- Absolutely nobody has expressed any concern about the Russian air defenses or interceptors, least of all the Turks
- The US has tried to declare a mini no-fly zone over its forces operating in northern Syria; objections have been tepid again
- At the same time, the US appears to look away from the fact that the prime target of the Turkish operation are the US’ Kurdish allies
- Daesh forces seem to have abandoned Jarablus are now on the run
I might be mistaken here, but I get the strong feeling that the Syrians are not really upset by this Turkish operation and that there are many indirect indicators that Russia, Iran and the USA might well all have given their green light to the Turks. If so, then the main victim of this will be the Kurds who will not be able to create a unitary Kurdish zone of control in northern Syria.
If that is indeed the goal of the Turkish operation, then all the panic about a “Turkish invasion” are premature.
Let’s give it all 48 hours and see what happens, okay?