Turkeys use of troops for its own security in Syria may counter domestic insecurity.

 Turkeys use of troops for its own security in Syria may counter domestic insecurity.

Local time, October 10, 2019, in Jayland Penal on the Turkish border, Syrian city of Las Ain was shot by Turkish artillery.

Turkeys concerns

Turkey has two main concerns about Syria. On the one hand, Turkey is concerned that active Syrian Kurdish political and military groups in northern Syria, especially the Kurdish Democratic Alliance Party and its military groups, the Peoples Protection Force (YPG) and the Syrian Democratic Army (SDF), will establish long-term base areas in northern Syria.

After the uprising of the Democratic Alliance Party (LDP) in Syria in 2011, the Kurdish political and military groups in northern Syria gained a firm foothold as Syrian government forces continued to draw troops from northern Syria to return to central Syria, especially Damascus, to resist the attacks of Syrian rebels, which led to a political vacuum in northern Syria.

After the rise of the extremist organization Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria in 2014, Syrias Democratic Alliance Party (LDP) has become an important force in resisting the expansion of extremist organizations in northern Syria. At the end of 2014, the Democratic Alliance Party (LDP) and its Peoples Protection Force (PPF) successfully adhered to the Syrian-Turkish border town of Kobani, and subsequently launched a series of counter-attacks, which became one of the most important local forces against extremist organizations. Because of its great role in countering the IS war, the Democratic Alliance Party (LDP) has become the target of praise from the United States, Russia and European countries. The United States and Russia even allow LDP to set up diplomatic offices in Washington and Moscow.

In Turkeys view, between the Democratic Alliance Party (LDP) and the Kurdish separatist movement in southern Turkey, the Kurdish WorkersParty (PKK), is a set of people and two brands. Since Turkey defines the Kurdish WorkersParty as a terrorist organization, it also defines the Syrian Democratic League Party as a terrorist, so it advocates combating and containing it.

In 2017 and 2018, Turkey launched large-scale military operations in northern Syria codenamed Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch, driving Syrian Democratic Alliance Party military forces to the east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria. Since the second half of 2018, Turkey has repeatedly threatened to launch another large-scale offensive to completely eliminate the Democratic Alliance Party and its military forces in northern Syria.

Another concern of Turkey is how to accommodate up to 3.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, as well as the Syrian rebels and their families, who support as many as 100,000 people. Since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Turkey has underestimated the risk of war, believing that the Syrian opposition will soon win, so it has not foreseen a surge of refugees. In 2012, the then Turkish foreign minister, Davutoglu, also believed that Syrian refugees in Turkey in the future will never exceed 100,000 people.

However, with the continuation of the Syrian civil war, more and more Syrian refugees poured into Turkey, which caused tremendous economic and social pressure on Turkey. Therefore, Turkey has always hoped that the establishment of a self-dominated and controlled region in northern Syria will facilitate the return of Syrian refugees.

At the same time, the vast majority of Syrian rebels supported by Turkey are based in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib. For Turkey, how to resettle them is also a very difficult problem. On the one hand, these armed forces have a strong fighting capacity, and Turkey needs them to continue to fight against the Syrian government forces and open up new control areas in northern Syria; on the other hand, members of these armed groups often lead their families. If the future of Idlib Province is recovered by the Syrian government forces, or some control areas are compressed by the offensive of the Syrian government forces, then These members of the Syrian rebels are likely to flee into Turkey, which will also become an internal danger for Turkey in the future.

Therefore, for Turkey, the establishment of a buffer zone in northern Syria can help resettle the large number of Syrian refugees in the country and the Syrian rebels and their families supported by them. On the other hand, it will separate the Syrian Democratic League Party from the Turkish border and safeguard Turkeys national security.

Great Risks in the Future

Turkeys military action, although acquiesced by the United States, will also add risks to the situation in Syria.

First, Turkeys military operations are bound to cause huge casualties, resulting in tensions between Syrian Kurds and Northern Arabs. Historically, Syrian Kurds have repeatedly demanded the realization of cultural and political rights in northern Syria. After 2011, Syrian Kurds gradually occupied the strategic initiative of northern Syria, so they also hope to adhere to their own cultural and political views in the future political reconstruction of Syria.

Secondly, Turkeys military operations are likely to pose a security threat to Turkey itself in the future. After 2000, owing to the arrest and long-term detention of the leader of the Kurdish WorkersParty, Ojaran, by Turkey, the ideology of the Kurdish Workers Party changed greatly, from advocating the establishment of an independent state through armed struggle to realizing national autonomy through political means. As a result, the terrorist attacks launched by the PKK in Turkey have decreased dramatically over the past few years, and many Kurdish elites have turned to politics to influence Turkeys domestic policies.

But this strategy has suffered great setbacks in recent years. On the one hand, because Erdogans Justice and Development Party has been unable to meet Turkish Kurdspolitical aspirations for a long time, after 2015, it turned to other right-wing political parties to participate in the elections, and took the initiative to alienate the Kurdish political elite; on the other hand, after the failed military coup in Turkey in 2016, Erdogans government took the state of emergency as the state of emergency. Opportunities and constant attempts to restrain Kurdish political forces have led to the rise of Kurdish national consciousness and extreme emotions. In this context, if a large-scale Turkish offensive causes serious casualties to Syrian Kurds, it is likely to re-arouse the hatred of Kurdish groups that uphold the concept of violence in Turkey and ultimately pose a huge threat to Turkeys own security.

Thirdly, Turkeys military action may trigger a military offensive by the Syrian government and worsen Irans relations with Turkey. In the Syrian governments statement, Turkey is regarded as an illegal intruder, while the Syrian rebels supported by Turkey are described as terrorists. Whether it is Syrian President Bashar Assad, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mualim of Syria, or the statement of the Syrian Foreign Ministry, they all shout for the recovery of all Syrian territory, the expulsion of all invaders and the elimination of all terrorists.

Turkeys large-scale military offensive will inevitably require the support and cooperation of the Syrian rebels supported by Turkey, and it will also mean that the Syrian rebels will become bigger and stronger in northern Syria in the future. This is unacceptable to the Syrian government. Therefore, the Syrian government is likely to seize key areas in northern Syria to hinder or even counter the Turkish and its supporting anti-government forces. It should be noted that there has been a delicate relationship between the Syrian government and Syrian Kurdish groups. Even many Syrian opposition political groups believe that the Democratic Alliance Party is helping the Syrian government defend northern Syria. If the Turkish military operation lasts for a long time and goes too far into Syrian territory, it is likely to cause the Syrian government to fight back and further complicate the situation in Syria as a whole.

If the Syrian government is involved in the conflict, Iran, which has close ties with the Syrian government, must also make a choice. Unlike Russias insistence that the Syrian parties should start the process of political reconciliation as soon as possible, Iran has always hoped that the Syrian government can reunify the whole territory and get rid of interference from its neighboring countries. Therefore, after the Turkish offensive, Iran expressed its strong condemnation for the first time and began to assemble troops in the border area between Iraq and Turkey.

Turkeys military action is a unilateral attempt to change the pattern of forces in northern Syria. Although it has been acquiesced by the United States, it is likely to be strongly opposed by other parties concerned. If the Turkish military action cannot be ended in a short time, and the scope of the military action is too large and causes a large number of casualties, it will inevitably impact on the current tacit pattern of international and regional powers in Syria, thus stirring up the strength contrast of the relevant parties in the whole Syrian issue.

Source: Peng Mei News Responsible Editor: Li Zaixing_NBJS9026