MUHAMMAD ABAN / NEWS DESK
Why the Turkish state launched an attack on the areas east of the Euphrates
No doubt that there is a deep desire to the Turkish state to thwart any attempt to end the Syrian crisis which would prolong the war. The Turkish state has tried to resort to the official intervention in the Syrian affairs and confront the north-eastern of Syria which is claimed to be as a source of threat to its national security; thus, the Turkish state has adopted the direct intervention after the failure of its agents among the extremist Islamic groups to pass their agendas and colonial ambitions. The Turkish state has supported the armed groups on the Syrian territory during the past seven years, and the biggest and most prominent support was the support of IS by facilitating the entry of IS leaders and elements through its territory to the interior of Syria.
The terrorist IS mercenaries who were grasping out their last breath in the last pocket in the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor were saved by the attacks launched by the Turkish state which enabled them to control several points that they had lost in the previous battles. The attempt to revive the organization was through drawing the attention of the Syrian Democratic Forces to a new front.
In conjunction with the progress made by the terrorist IS by controlling several sites liberated by SDF in the countryside of Deir ez-Zor, the Turkish state reminded of the agreement held between the US and Turkey on the need to expedite the implementation of Manbij agreement which includes conducting joint patrols between US and Turkish forces along the dividing line between the areas under the control of Manbij Military Council and the areas controlled by the mercenaries of the Euphrates Shield supported by Ankara.
This agreement demanded by the Turkish state over the past months enabled it to ensure the evacuation of the People's Protection Units and the Syrian Democratic Forces from the city of Manbij, north-east of Aleppo. This apparently does not satisfy the Turkish state because its desire is to penetrate into the city and bring the groups linked to it which Washington has not discussed about yet.
Turkey's ambitions to destroy the project of north-east of Syria
The Turkish state tries through launching attacks and threats from time to time to foil any project in the north areas of Syria to implement its colonial project in the area. The operation launched by mid-2016 which managed to occupy the cities of al-Bab, Jarabulus and Azaz enabled it to cut off another part of the Syrian territory.
However, Turkey's desire did not stop until it offered several offers to participate in the battle of al-Raqqa. However, the International Alliance led by the United States insisted on the participation of the Syrian Democratic Forces in the battle of liberating al-Raqqa. This provoked a state of anger in Turkey that led to launching attacks on the Syrian-Turkish border.
There is no doubt that the Turkish efforts in Syria at the present time concentrate on thwarting any project launched from the areas of North and East Syria. This was obvious through the statements made by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently on his occupation of the Syrian-Iraqi border in order to reach his colonial objectives in the area.
The Turkish attack aims to get more votes in local elections
After several rounds of special operations of the Turkish occupation within the Syrian territory through the alliance between the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Turkish Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) headed by Dawlat Bahceli, Erdogan was supported by Turkish nationalists; however, the disputes between AKP and MHP led to the AKP's attempt to gain more votes in the Turkish parliament by trying to increase the popular grassroots and win the votes of the nationalists.
The Turkish state follows a sensitive approach where it intends to start an operation or a political competition. After conducting such a step, it would conduct a questionnaire among the Turkish people about this step, through which it seeks to gain the support.
Th11is matter, which was declined after the cutting off the relations between AKP and MHP that prompted Erdogan to enter into major labyrinths that negatively affect the future of the Turkish state, including the urgency to end Erdogan's settling ambitions.
The speedy attempts of the Turkish state to turn the balance of powers in the Middle East to its favor and put pressure on both Washington and Moscow through the threat from time to time to hit the US strategy by strengthening its relations with Iran and opening the way for the refugees to head towards Europe. On the other hand, the Turkish threats towards Russia to close its strait and airspace to the Russian planes and ships in addition to stopping the purchase of weapons from Russia come under the policy of protecting the Turkish national security which both Washington and Moscow are going on in order to maintain the balance of the powers in the area.
The American position towards the attacks on North and East Syria
After the recent attacks launched by the Turkish state on the areas of the presence of the US forces and the statement of the Syrian Democratic Forces on the cessation of the military operations in the governorate of Deir ez-Zor against IS, the US International Alliance in the Middle East issued an official statement explaining its concern about these attacks on the area of East Euphrates. In addition, it pointed out in a statement the need of focusing on the main objective which is fighting against the terrorist IS.
This did not affect the decision of the Syrian Democratic Forces, which announced that it stopped the campaign of the battle to defeat terrorism in the Eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor and headed to the Syrian-Turkish border to protect it from the Turkish attacks, prompting Washington's move towards finding a radical solution to Turkish attacks on the Syrian-Turkish border.
The policy adopted by Washington to deal with the situation was clear. It conducted a series of intensive meetings with both sides to try to calm them down.
Washington does not want to lose one of its allies in the Middle East and the main reason for its presence in Syria. On the other hand, Washington does not want to lose Ankara, which is a link between the West and the Middle East.
Therefore, the US position has been crystalized, which is to listen and discuss both sides to reach an ideal formula to stop the Turkish attacks on the north-eastern areas of Syria. Indeed, to supervise the Syrian Democratic Forces on their military campaign on the last pocket remaining of the terrorist ISIS in the Eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor.
The Strategic Importance of North and East Syria to Washington
The US has always sought to build its military bases in all areas of strategic importance in the world. Thus, the US has achieved its dream over the past 20 years to establish military bases under the pretext of fighting against ISIS on the Syrian land. This led to the strengthening of the relations between the International Alliance led by Washington and the Syrian Democratic Forces to fight against terrorism. The expansion of the American presence on Syrian territories is politically, militarily and economically important for the US
In addition, the areas where US forces are present in Syria account for 70% of the Syrian economy relative to its richness in the underground resources of newly discovered uranium and oil. Therefore, Washington is trying to keep its forces inside Syrian territory and in many ways bet on its survival in North and East Syria.
On the other hand, Washington will not allow any vacuum to let Russian or Iranian forces benefit alike. The statements made by Washington on how long it will keep its troops inside the Syrian territory until eliminating ISIS have been dispelled. As Washington felt the Iranian and Russian threat that might occur if its troops departed the Syrian territory, which will lead to the expansion of Iranian forces in particular and the establishment of a land bridge linking between Tehran and Lebanon, which will take place in areas of North and East of Syria, which are of geopolitical importance. This is a threat to US national security, one of the reasons why US forces do not leave the Syrian territories.
The Occupation of Turkey to Areas East of the Euphrates is a Threat to the US Presence in the area
With the onset of the Syrian crisis, Washington tried to rely on the armed opposition forces in terms of military, logistical and political support. Moreover, it even established training camps for them in Operations Room headed by Washington in Jordan and Turkey. However, Washington's hopes soon faded after the opposition failed to rein in the newly founded IS organization. The opposition forces slowly faded and even came to an end. However, Washington has relied on a new ally in the region despite Turkey's relentless attempts not to support the Syrian Democratic Forces, the majority of which are the People's Protection Units. Washington, however, relied on supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces and was able to liberate the city of Ain al-Arab (Kobanî) and then the city of Tel Abyed (Girê Spî), Manbij, al-Raqqa, al-Tabqa and now East of Deir ez-Zor.
This is what convinced Washington that the only ally capable of facing ISIS and destroying it is the Syrian Democratic Forces. Therefore, it has established several bases inside the control areas of the SDF and even made them supervise the protection of these bases, which the opposition supported by Ankara.
If the Turkish forces and its linked factions entered areas East to Euphrates, US forces will be in an imminent political and legal danger. In addition, these forces will not be able to provide the necessary protection for US bases in the Eastern Euphrates. In addition, it will be at risk of operations by Iran and the Syrian regime because these factions supported by Turkey are of strict Islamic structure and have been fighting over the past years with the terrorist ISIS
In sum, any step taken by the Turkish state in the occupation of the areas east of the Euphrates is a clear and direct threat to the US presence in the area. Because the Turkish occupation is a violation of international law, through which the Syrian regime and its Russian ally can take it out of the Syrian territory through submitting a claim to the United Nations. So if the Turkish occupation withdraws, the extremist factions will remain vulnerable to the Syrian Regime's attacks and its Russian and Iranian allies, and thus ending the American dream of being in Syria.