Regional and international developments have forced many countries in the region to reconsider their political objectives. Considering the urgency of the events, it seems to be necessary to re-evaluate what is happening and will happen in Syria again since the military map is about to take its pre-final form. The situation in eastern Syria is expected see a new trend after traditional fighting ends there. However, the security situation in the region will remain complicated if Washington continues to support the People's Protection Units (YPG) militia, the Syrian arm of the PKK, an armed group classified as a terrorist organization by NATO that wants to dominate the geographic area where Arabs are the dominant ethnicity of the total population.
In Raqqa, Arabs make up more than 93 percent of the population; in Hasakah, more than 75 percent; in Deir el-Zour almost 100 percent; the rest is a mix of Kurds, Turkmens, Assyrians, Armenians and others. While the scene west of the Euphrates seems more complex, Idlib's fate is still awaiting a final decision. Despite Russian-Turkish mutual understanding, the region is still facing a major humanitarian crisis, and it still needs a solution. Idlib and nearby areas will be at the forefront of this agenda. The broken American promises to Ankara made the latter change its attitude toward Washington, which had promised to withdraw the YPG terrorists from the occupied areas east of the Euphrates and Manbij, where Arabs are a majority. Instead, it sent more U.S. troops to protect the YPG there.
It is no secret the misinformation the United States offered to its strategic ally Turkey was designed to buy as much time possible until the separatist project Washington is preparing to divide Syria is complete. This project will most certainly be copied in the other countries in the region, whether Arab or not, especially those that have an ethnic overlap between their populations.
It is clear today that Turkey will not give up the S-400 deal but may postpone its deployment. During this period, it can ask the United States to hand over and deploy the Patriot missiles, and then examine the situation, perhaps as part of a test to rebuild confidence.
The failure of the United States to abide by its previous commitments has made it the cause of the problems and tension with Turkey. It did the opposite of its commitments, especially when it came to the area east of the Euphrates and in Manbij. Therefore, Washington's request now that Ankara abandon the purchase of the Russian-made S-400 system and replace them with the American-made Patriots raises many questions about trust in the U.S.
The failure of Washington to implement the Manbij agreement leaves millions of Arabs east of the Euphrates to an unknown fate and as possible targets of war crimes, according to Amnesty International. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the U.S. still considers the YPG/PKK its allies. Therefore it is not possible that Turkey will sever its relations with Russia. It needs to cooperate with it, especially in the area west of the Euphrates. The Adana agreement, if re-applied, would be another step to stop the American project in Syria.
It can be said that Turkish military moves in Syria, namely Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch, were a result of Turkish-Russian rapprochement. Russia understands the interests of Turkey in the northern regions of Syria, which are similar to the interests of Russia in eastern Ukraine. It is not difficult to recognize that whoever supports the Turkish position against the PKK will have the best relations with Ankara.
Unfortunately for Washington, the presence of any armed groups opposed to Damascus in Syria does not serve Moscow, which means the Turkish military operations in Syria please Moscow.
Both Turkey and Russia need peace in the region. This is a major point of convergence, in addition to the economic and energy sectors, which have become the basis for political cooperation between the two countries. The continuation of the war in Syria brings more losses of Russian soldiers, as well as the spread of terrorism, separatism and instability in Turkey and in the region on a larger scale.
The complexity and difficulties facing Turkey in Syria mean that all players, including Ankara, need to cooperate in the region. Without consulting one another, it is impossible to achieve anything. Whether via conflicts or agreements, regional stakeholders should organize their methodologies, goals and priorities.
* Researcher in Russian and Turkish affairs, political adviser
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