13th Russo-Turkish war: the main perspectives

Author : Oleh Panfilov

17:17, 30 August 2016

13th Russo-Turkish war: the main perspectives

Author : Oleh Panfilov

Putin has only two options: go away from Syria with drums beating or take a resistance on the Syrian territory

17:17, 30 August 2016

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Erdogan Putin

Russians have just changed their attitude to Turkey, following the line of the party and the government. Soviet people have been enthusiastically chanting about Erdogan and desperately slung dirt at juicy Turkish tomatoes, peaches, and honey. Just few time ago, 86 percent of Russians demanded an apology. Then suddenly everyone became silent after Erdogan had flown to St. Petersburg, and Putin called him his friend. Russians just sighed and prepared their swimwear.

Related: Erdogan calls Putin ‘dear friend’

Wednesday morning, the Turkish troops crossed the border with Syria and plunged the city of Jarabulus. Operation Euphrates Shield, which is held in and around the Syrian border town of Jarabulus, is a battle fought by, according to the Turkish military′s official statement, the Free Syrian Army and allied rebel groups backed by the Turkish Special Forces as well as other armed units, against forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as well as against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). President’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin wrote: "Turkey is determined. Ankara will continue to make the necessary steps to ensure Turkey's border security and territorial integrity of Syria. By Wednesday evening, it became known that the Turkish air force destroyed 11 of 12 ISIS fortifications and allowed the oppositional Free Syrian Army to take several settlements, including Keklidzhe, three kilometers from the border, and the city of Jarabulus, 393 kilometers from Damascus.

Related: New "Erdogan's trump card"

US Vice President Joe Biden arrived to Ankara with the beginning of the operation. He stated that "the US is ready to give Turkey any support." Turkish Prime Minister Yyldyrym said that the talks with Biden resulted in agreement that the armed forces of both Kurdish parties - YPG (People's Protection Units) and PYD (Democratic Union Party) - will not be allowed in the territory west of the Euphrates. It means that almost two-thirds of the total area of Syrian will be monitored by the forces with the support of Turkey and the USA. Joe Biden reaffirmed this condition, saying that "military forces of Syrian Kurds should move away to the east of the Euphrates River, otherwise they will lose US support."
It turned out that the United States gave Turkey not only moral support. According to TV channel CNN Turk, American F-16 and A-10 attack aircraft inflicted airstrikes near Jarabulus in support of Turkish troops and military Syrian opposition. US Air Force were directly involved in military operations, and several localities along the Turkish border were released. There were no Kurdish units there; mentioning them at the press conference of the Turkish Prime Minister and the US vice president caused was just following the terms of the agreements. Apparently, these conditions were rejected by Putin during his meeting with his Turkish counterpart. Russia’s splash love of Turkey and Erdogan was a prelude to the relationships planned by Putin. However, the Kurdish issue is an old splinter for Turkey, and Turkey would never let the country that supported terrorist Abdullah Ocalan remove this splinter.

Related: Putin describes talks with Erdogan as constructive

Soviet Union and modern Russia have not just supported the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) and Ocalan with money and weapons, but gave political support as well. Turkey's most wanted man, the Kurdish separatist leader Abdullah Ocalan, asked Russia for political asylum today. The lower house of Parliament urged President Boris N. Yeltsin to grant the request. However, the resolution and requests of the State Duma were left without consideration.
The National Coalition for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces issued a statement supporting Turkey in conducting operations against ISIS. The statement underlines that the group consisting of units of the Free Syrian Army, with the inclusion of some military opposition groups in Aleppo, also participate in the battles. Moscow's reaction should show whether Putin knew about preparing the operation. In late afternoon, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a comment on escalating of tension in the area of the Syrian-Turkish border. It expressed concern about "what is happening in the area of the Syrian-Turkish border. First, the possibility of further degradation of the situation in the conflict zone, possible civilian casualties, and worsening ethnic conflict between Kurds and Arabs, is alarming."

Related: Clinton: ‘Putin is grand godfather of extreme nationalism’

We do not know what Putin and Erdogan discussed in St. Petersburg. According to the official notes, they talked about Syria only in general terms. We can assume that the Turkish president set a condition for rapprochement is the "Kurdish question" and simultaneously discussed this issue with the US f Vice President. Many observers, following their long-invented tale that Putin is a great strategist and experienced politician, were impressed by this turn of events.
Nevertheless, Putin has only two options: go away from Syria with drums beating, as in 1989 in Afghanistan, or take a resistance on the Syrian territory, threatening heavy losses in manpower and in technology. 13th Russian-Turkish war is doubtful, Russia cannot afford fighting against one of the most powerful NATO armies. It seems Russia is losing its chance as an international player. Meanwhile, Turkey pulls armored vehicles to the Syrian border. Heavy equipment is delivered from Istanbul and nearby provinces. The tanks will be delivered by rail to the border, and then - to the Syrian front.

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