Lebanese journalist and writer Elias Harfoush said in an article in Asharq Al-Awsat that with the end of wars, or nearing the end, comes the time of reaping the fruits. History does not mention free participation in wars, nor armies that donate combat outside their borders for free. Syria, an open arena for armies and all kinds of interventions, offers many opportunities for many to invest in. A long list, from small and large countries, regional and international, has dipped its fingers in the bleeding Syrian wound, and partnerships exist around the harvesting table. A Turkish-Russian-Iranian partnership, under the title of “guarantor countries”, without one clarifying what the three countries in Syria, with the exception of their different interests in some stations, always agree that the Syrian theater is an acceptable field for settling the accounts of each party in a way that serves its interests.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey who raised the voice since the beginning of the Syrian war claiming to defend the interests of the Syrians against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, today is among the former to reap the fruits of this war, if not on their head. Erdogan, who did not fail in his speeches, is now the first spectator to crush this opposition at the gates of Khan Sheikhoun.
Today, Erdogan is interested in another issue: the fate of the border region in northeastern Syria, although it is not supposed to cause concern, because it is far from the raging areas of conflict in Syria. But it is "unfortunate" that the people of this region that they are Kurds, and thus arouse Erdogan concern because of its borders, and accuses them of being loyal to the PKK. Hence the project, which the Turks call the “buffer zone”, In an attempt to open the way for their army to intervene, and establish an area inside Syrian territory, which can reach a depth of 30 km, and negotiations are underway between Turkey and the United States, as an "ally" of the YPG, the Kurdish majority, which controls this region Kurdish border forces fought to defend them against ISIS and the Syrian regime army, including Kobani (Ain al-Arab), al-Qamishli, and al-Hasakah
Although President Donald Trump has already promised Erdogan to agree to this region since last December, negotiations have been stalled due to conflicting interests of the two countries from the Syrian file, especially after the Turkish-Russian rapprochement that was the air defense system of missiles «S-400» Russian one of his most prominent manifestations, as well as Turkish-Iranian coordination, which Washington is concerned about this rapprochement with Tehran by a senior member of NATO.
There is, of course, disagreement in the two countries' view of the goal of establishing a buffer zone; Washington wants a joint US-Turkish protection for it, and its promise is to protect the SDF and YPG from Turkish army attacks. The aim is to prevent these forces from being present in them, and to make them a "corridor of peace," as they call them, for the return of Syrian refugees, whom Turkey is complaining about, having declared that its doors are open to them.
There is, of course, a clear Turkish project on the “safe area”, no similar US project, and no clear US strategy on the region, as well as on the Syrian situation in general. Erdogan's project plays on Turkish traditional sensitivities towards the Kurds, and tries to employ them. Washington is not interested in the Kurdish question positively or negatively. It is concerned with two things: confronting ISIS, which the Kurdish "units" were active in confronting it, and confronting the Iranian presence in Syria. Washington promises that Ankara is not enough guarantee in this confrontation. SDF is the surest; in the eyes of the Americans, these forces are organized and militarily active.
Erdogan is benefiting internally from buffer zone after his recent failures, most notably the loss of the Istanbul mayoral battle. The deteriorating economic situation is beginning to worry the Turks about the size of the Syrian refugee population, which exceeded 3.5 million refugees. The establishment of the buffer zone offers give two opportunities for Erdogan: to expel Syrian refugees from Turkish territory and to bring about demographic change in the border areas, at the expense of the Kurdish majority living there.
An important investment phase is now available to Erdogan from his involvement in the Syrian conflict. What needs to be monitored is the extent to which the United States can curb the Turkish president's project, preserve the interests of its proven allies in fighting the Islamic State terrorist group, and provide a minimum level of security in their areas of control.
The reaction of the Damascus regime, which rejects the safe area, is the last thing that can be stopped, because it is the least influential voice in the Syrian scene.