US President Donald Trump spoke on the situation in Syria on October 23, saying that Turkey has notified the United States that it will permanently cease fire in Syria. At the same time, Trump announced that it would lift the sanctions against Turkey. Just the day before, Turkey had just signed a memorandum of understanding with Russia on the ceasefire in Syria.
From October 9th, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the military action against Syria to start the “Peace of Peace”. Within two weeks, the situation in Syria has reversed several times, allowing the world to focus on the Middle East. During this period, the United States and Russia negotiated with Turkey respectively, and how has the situation in Syria changed?
On October 8, the United States suddenly announced the withdrawal of troops from Syria and said that “no support or participation” of the military operations that Turkey is about to conduct in northern Syria is actually a acquiescence. On the second day, Turkey quickly sent troops, codenamed “Peace Fountain.”
After Turkey entered the northeastern part of Syria, it immediately slammed its nickname from all over the world. In addition to the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the 22 countries of the Arab League and the British, French, German, Dutch and NATO have condemned it. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has even made a rare statement calling on Turkey to stop its military operations and return to the political settlement.
A week after the launch of military operations, Turkey’s impact on the Syrian Kurdish “People’s Defence Force” attack clearly exceeded expectations. This made Trump have to put on a tough stance again. US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on October 13 that the last US troops in Syria will move south and not leave Syria. Trump also threatened Erdogan in a letter that he could “destroy the Turkish economy.”
However, the situation reversed again on October 18, and US Vice President Mike Pence reached a “ceasefire agreement” in Ankara and Erdogan, Turkey.
But this did not completely resolve the differences between the two sides. Although the Turkish territories agreement expired, the Turkish Ministry of National Defense said that there is no need to further expand the scope of the eviction at this stage, but the two sides still have the momentum to be arrogant. On the one hand, Erdogan’s flight to Russia means that the Kurdish armed forces will not stop before they leave, and on the other side is US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s warning that the United States is “fully prepared” to use force against the earth.
In the end, after a six-hour negotiation between Russian President Vladmir Putin and Erdogan on October 22, the dust settled. Russia has reached a 150-hour ceasefire agreement with a total of 10 points of consensus. The two sides reiterated that the Syrian issue will be resolved under the framework of the Adana Agreement. The Russian military police and the Syrian border guards will jointly visit the Syrian-Syrian border.
At this point, the Turkish side said that the two agreements were not linked. On the other hand, after choosing to negotiate with Putin, they promised Trump a “permanent ceasefire” so that all parties can claim victory. But behind this, what is the real harvest of the United States, Turkey, Russia, and Syria?
After the storm, the overall situation remains
First of all, the final result of this operation is beneficial to the Syrian government. After Turkey sent troops, the Kurdish armed forces and the Syrian government forces reached an agreement, and the government sent troops to the front to help the Kurds jointly resist the Turkish offensive.
According to US media reports, Kurdish armed forces have reached an agreement with Russia to dissolve its “Democratic Army” and to include the “People’s Defence Force” (YPG), a basic force, in the “Fifth Assault Army” controlled by the Russian army. “The Fifth Army”). Government troops stationed in the Kurdish area, the Syrian presidential adviser even said that the Kurds did not have a reason for self-government, which means the return of the Kurdish occupation of the region.
In the end, the withdrawal of the United States has left the “rebels” in the eyes of the Syrian government unreliable, and Russia has helped Syria to curb Turkey’s expansion in the northeast region in a timely manner, which is good news for the Syrian government.
Second, Turkey has consolidated the gains made in the Syrian war. Looking back at the process of Turkey’s rapid dispatch of troops and rapid ceasefire, it is known that Erdogan’s ultimate goal is not to rekindle the Syrian war, but to achieve the withdrawal of the United States and protect its interests in Syria.
Turkey has already carried out cross-border strikes against Syria on several occasions, the first two occurred in 2016 and 2018 respectively. After the victory of the festival, Turkey itself has some bargaining chips.
According to the memorandum reached between Turkey and Russia, Russia recognizes Turkey’s “safe area” within about 30 kilometers in Syria. The Russian-Turkish army entered the border 10 kilometers after the operation began on the 6th. In March 2018, Erdogan and Trump had reached an agreement to set up a safe area on the northeastern border of Syria, 32 kilometers deep. However, after the real withdrawal of the US military, Turkey’s victory was truly consolidated.
Third, Russia has dominated the situation in Syria. Looking back at the changes in the situation in Syria over the past period, Turkey, Iran and Syria must seek support from Putin before making any decisions. This time Erdogan decided to stop the fire is an example.
Turkey needs to ensure that the Kurds withdraw from the “safe area”, and Syria needs to contain the Turkish forces in the northern region, which is inseparable from the assistance of Russia’s largest player.
This is the case in Syria, as is the situation in the surrounding areas of the Middle East. After Putin sent troops in Turkey, he visited Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. He was not only welcomed by high standards, but also signed several economic, trade and energy agreements favorable to Russia. To understand that the US strategy of withdrawing troops in Syria is to incite NATO and neighboring countries to fill the gap after the withdrawal of US troops, and this visit by Putin not only expands the influence of the Middle East, but also allows the world to see the failure of the US withdrawal strategy.
Fourth, the United States has achieved the goal of withdrawing its troops. It has saved the face to some extent with the ceasefire agreement, and it can be regarded as “seeking benevolence.” Trump’s attitude toward the withdrawal of Syria has changed many times. This is mostly due to the pressure of domestic political pressure and the goal of the White House’s withdrawal has not changed.
Trump’s claim to save many Kurds’ lives, protect Syria’s oil fields, and the Turkish ceasefire are his “credits”, which may be hard to convince opponents. However, it is undeniable that Trump is indeed bringing American soldiers back to the United States and realizing the withdrawal of troops to avoid “unnecessary” wars.
In fact, the situation in Syria today has been laid since Putin sent troops to Syria in 2015. The Turkish action forced the withdrawal of the US military and further combated the Kurdish armed forces. These are still the continuation of the victory of the Russian and Turkish countries in Syria. The future direction of the Syrian situation will still be promoted by the Syrian government and the three countries in consultation.