What will be the next step in Syria? - MEHMET ACET

What will be the next step in Syria?

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addressed the Syria issue during the public opening ceremony in Malatya the day before, conveying remarkable messages that deserves to be elaborated on. Let’s first underscore the following sentence:

"We are determined to aggrandize the dagger-blow, which we have jabbed at the heart of the terrorist formation project in Syria with the Operation Euphrates Shield, with new steps.”

I see the president’s awareness, based on both intuition and knowledge, regarding Syria, as a great blessing for Turkey.

If you ask the reason, I am among those who think that the developments in northern Syria may bring about near-term security threats for Turkey in the upcoming period.

The best defense is attack!

The U.S., after it completely closes off our southern border with a Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) state, wants to include some parts of Turkish territory in the “zone project” the moment it finds Turkey weak.

This is the issue I define as the near-term security threat, and I leave the magnitude of this threat to your high appreciation.

Our greatest advantage is the leadership of a president who sees this threat exactly as I describe it, and responds to it courageously, both by discourse and by action.

This new attack-based security approach, which we define as the "Erdoğan doctrine", produces results sometimes in the caves of Mount Tendürek and sometimes on the plains of al-Bab, and refuses to remain on the defensive, relieving Turkey.

I would like to remind those who still approach the Operation Euphrates Shield with the conformist idea: "What are we doing in Syria?” by giving examples of the profound terrorist incidents that we had experienced until the beginning of 2017, and respond by saying that “When you do not go to Syria, Syria comes to you.

Is the new step an Afrin operation?

While discussing the new steps to be taken in Syria, Erdoğan referred to the continuation of the Operation Euphrates Shield, which he likened to "a dagger in the heart of the terrorist formation project (PKK zone).

Then we can easily guess what "new steps" mean.

A new operation in the northern Syrian territory.

Where is the destination of this new operation?

Could it be the Afrin region which came on the agenda toward the end of June at the end of Eid al-Fitr?

Most likely.

Possibly.

The planned Afrin operation can be described as follows:

With an operation to be launched from Kilis with the Free Syrian Army (FSA), besieging Idlib by going all the way down from eastern Afrin, and thus, eliminating the risk that the PYD could threaten the gains from the Euphrates Shield Operation.

Could Trump being on holiday be a good opportunity?

Turkey chose the right time for the Operation Euphrates Shield.

During the November-January period when elections were held in the U.S. and the administration was a “lame duck.”

Cooperation with the Russians could be mobilized in this period.

And, thus,  "a dagger could be jabbed at the terrorist zone” as Erdoğan expressed.

Those who wrote this scenario in Washington told Ankara, and not in vain, "Do not go more than 20 kilometers, do not take al-Bab" in order to prevent this blow.

Only by these means could they save the zone project.

However, the liberation of al-Bab made things hard for the U.S.

When it was necessary, Turkey disregarded the severe objections of the U.S. and targeted the PKK and PYD with 40 aircrafts in Sinjar and Karaçok on the night of April 23, showing that “we may come overnight, all of a sudden,” as Erdoğan said.

He can do it again.

Moreover, the 17-day long holiday of President Trump, who has been overwhelmed by domestic debate in the U.S., may be a good opportunity for this.

McGurk’s fuss over YPG

When Trump called Erdoğan on June 30, those were the days when the mentioned Afrin operation  was “on the cards.”

We do not know the details, but Trump may have called Erdoğan to say "Don’t do this."

The day that phone call was made, the person known as “Lawrence” but written as “McGurk” was also in Ankara.

It could even be possible that he had made Trump call Erdoğan.

But can he do the same now?

Can he reach Trump and make him call Erdoğan again?

Unlikely.

Besides, Trump's telephone conversation with the leader of another country was recently leaked to a newspaper, and all details of the conversation were illegitimately published.

Now, in the middle of his holiday, of all times, Mcgurk will want Trump to cut his holiday short to call Erdoğan.

Is it possible?

I doubt it.

What I’m trying to say is, Trump’s long holiday may be a good opportunity to fortify the dagger’s blow in the terror zone in the north of Syria with a new step. 

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