Since the outbreak of the civil war in 2011, a large part of Syria has come under the domination of terrorist organizations.
These organizations have not only harmed Syria they have also carried out terrorist acts in neighboring countries and triggered a wave of migration that has even shaken Europe.
One example is the PKK, which is recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union, and its Syrian branch, the People's Protection Units (YPG). The organization is led by Ferhat Abdi Şahin, codenamed "Mazloum Kobani," who ordered eight separate terrorist acts that killed hundreds of civilians in Turkey alone. This person is wanted all over the world with an Interpol Red Notice.
The other threat that terrorizes Syria and the entire region is Daesh. The notorious group, which carried out terror attacks that killed dozens of civilians and security officials in Turkey, has been on Ankara's terror list since 2015. And, since 2016, Turkey has been conducting cross-border counterterror operations one after another to clear its 911-kilometer land border from these terrorist elements.
Lastly, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), through Operation Peace Spring that it started with an implicit agreement with the U.S., eradicated the YPG/PKK from the civilian settlements it had invaded in northern Syria. Even the Damascus regime under Bashar Assad, which severed ties with Ankara in the early years of the civil war, expressed satisfaction with the on-ground operation, which would provide a suitable environment for the return of millions of Syrian refugees living in Turkey and European countries.
While these developments took place, the U.S. announced that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Daesh, the other major bloody threat in the Middle East, had been killed.
After U.S. President Donald Trump thanked Turkey for its contribution to the operation, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said: “The killing of the ringleader of the Daesh terrorist organization marks a turning point in our joint fight against terrorism with our allies. Turkey will continue to contribute to counterterrorism – as it has done in the past. Having paid the dearest price in the fight against Daesh, the PKK/YPG, and other terrorist organizations, we welcome this development. I am sure that a decisive struggle against terrorism, in line with the spirit of alliance, will bring peace to all of humanity.”
This picture, showing things slowly falling into place, is proof that the total fight against terrorism fought with legitimate players alone will be successful. However, if this improvement felt for the first time in eight years is not well appreciated, the cost of the solution will be very burdensome for all of us.
First of all, mistakes – such as supporting the YPG because it was in competition with Daesh in the field – need to be abandoned as soon as possible. After that, Turkey’s efforts on a safe zone that will enable the return of millions of Syrians, as the NATO country that has shouldered the biggest responsibility, should be implemented as soon as possible, without wasting any time.