The stance of international actors regarding the issue of northern Syria, or with its more familiar name east of the Euphrates, has become more distinctive over the last week.
Let’s start from Turkey:
After September 2015, when Russia came to the ground with full force, Ankara, which revised its priority in Syria as eliminating the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) threat, wants to proceed on its path with two alternatives.
We may define these alternatives as follows:
1- Ankara wants to have control over the “Safe Zone” which was brought to the agenda after Trump’s suggestion and planned to be 32 kilometers deep and 450 kilometers long.
2- It’s also considering the option suggested by the Russian President Vladimir Putin within the framework of the “Adana Convention” which entails that the Assad regime eliminates the PKK/YPG.
The US still hasn’t given up on its strategy to subdue Turkey
The U.S.’s attitude, on the other hand, is to build barriers to prevent Turkey from reaching its targets.
Nor do they want Turkey to control the proposed safe zone, or for Assad to come down on the PKK/YPG.
When a common synchronized approach was developed within the framework of the “Adana Convention” after the three-state summit held in Sochi by Turkey, Russia, and Iran, Washington immediately created obstacles.
The U.S. Special Envoy on Syria James Jeffrey said, “This is not going to be an abrupt, rapid withdrawal but a step-by-step withdrawal. We won’t let the Assad regime take over after we leave.”
With these statements, they were also trying to tell Ankara to forget about the “Adana Convention” issue.
The U.S. is also far from meeting the demands of Turkey in the safe zone issue.
It has now become obvious that, while withdrawing its 2,000 soldiers, the U.S. wants a coalition formed by European and some Arab countries to take its place in Syria.
In either case, it seems that they are continuing to subdue Turkey or to put it mildly, they want to continue ignoring Turkey’s sensitivities.
As for Russia and Iran;
Russia and Iran are ready to cooperate with Turkey, however…
We can see that in the Syrian issue Russia and Iran have a common understanding.
Of course, there are some exceptions to this.
For instance, the fact that the Russians kept the S-400 air defense systems off while Israel was bombing Iran’s positions in Syria bothers Tehran, which suffered great losses in these attacks.
Of course, this disturbance is not being visibly portrayed “to avoid being humiliated in the eyes of everyone.”
However, this doesn’t mean that both countries backtracked from their common approach with regards to fundamental issues.
The aim of both Russia and Iran is to empower the Assad regime and establish its influence over the entire country once again.
We saw this in the Sochi summit held last week.
A similar approach of these two countries which also concerns Turkey closely concerns the east of the Euphrates River.
We may explain it in our words in short:
“Let Assad establish his influence over the region against the PKK/YPG threat as a part of relieving Turkey’s anxieties, and let it be sorted out.”
Hence, the Damascus regime, which got the message, started to make declarations right after the Sochi summit rejecting the autonomy demands of the PKK/YPG terror group. Of course, at this point we still face two problems regarding the east of the Euphrates:
1- Since the U.S. declared to the entire world that it is not going to allow the survival of the Assad regime, how is all of this even going to happen?
2- Even if there is such a possibility, is Damascus really willing to confront the PKK/YPG? Even if they are, do they have the power to do so?
As you can see, uncertainties and problems no one knows how to solve, and dead ends are out in the open.
This is what they call the Gordian knot.
For now, there is no sign suggesting that Turkey can get out of this without putting the military operation plan into effect again.
Unless the delicacies of diplomacy provide us with a bright idea which no one has never thought of, this is just the way it is.