Turkey and Syria: Normalization Or More US Involvement?

Turkey may want to normalize ties with Syria, but that in order to do this it needs to see Damascus cater to some of Ankara’s demands. In the long term Turkey wants to work with Russia and Iran, as well as Damascus to get the US to leave Syria.
Kurdish conflict

We continue our engagement process with the regime in a quadrilateral format without preconditions and in good faith. The Syrian regime should act in the same manner for this process to produce an outcome,” Altun said. Turkey says it backs the “territorial unity and integrity of Syria.”

Ankara also wants to “create necessary conditions for the voluntary, safe and dignified return of Syrian refugees and revitalizing the political process – which the regime has obstructed – continue to be among Ankara’s main priorities in Syria.”

The twin stories, of Turkey talking up ties with Syria; and Syria working on ties with Jordan show how Syria is now re-entering its traditional role in the region as a bridge between Turkey and the Arab states of the Middle East.

On the other hand, Turkey wrung concessions (interesting word choice, but, it’s Jerusalem Post) from Syria, such as the 1998 Adana agreement whereby Syria was supposed to expel the PKK and would let Turkey even chase Kurdish suspects into Syria.

In fact this is what Turkey entered Syria to do- Talked about this previously (censored site) and was loudly chastized for saying what should have been obvious. First covertly with proxies, than overtly with Russian understanding

I’ve talked repeatedly about the Adana agreement, which also includes Iran. Below are 2 reports from 2016 and 2019 that I moved here. Put Adana into the search bar and more information will come up

Kazakhstan said Wednesday it will stop hosting talks aimed at resolving Syria’s 12-year-old conflict

This apparently came as a surprise to one person, which may just indicate one person was caught unaware? I can’t say either way. Let’s continue on with the article

Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry said the talks have fulfilled their mission and that “the initial goals, including the creation of de-escalation zones, ending the bloodshed and reducing the number of casualties have been fully implemented.”

The ministry’s spokesman, Aibek Smadiyarov, cited Syria’s recent return to the Arab League and efforts to restore ties with Turkey as proof that the Astana talks achieved their purpose.

This week’s talks in Astana followed an improvement in ties between Syria and some Arab countries that once backed Syrian opposition groups fighting against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.

Lavrentyev said Syria’s return to the Arab League during the May summit in Saudi Arabia was an “important step” towards ending the conflict.

Representatives from the United Nations and Syria’s neighbors — Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq — attended the Astana talks as observers and expressed hope for a swift end to the conflict and the return home of millions of refugees living in their countries.

Turkey, Russia and Iran described the latest talks in Astana as “constructive” and said they discussed “preparing the roadmap for the restoration of relations between Turkey and Syria.

Which means the US better step up and aid their PKK proxies..

In particular, the leadership of the Autonomous Administration and its supporters nervously monitored the outcome and are seeking reassurances in the aftermath. Ultimately, there is a need for other interested parties, such as the United States, to encourage dialogue between these parties in order to deconflict the two sides and limit the likelihood of another conflict.

Since 2016, Turkey has carried out successive ground operations to expel Kurdish forces from border areas in northern Syria, and Erdoğan has threatened further incursions.

Ankara considers the SDF’s main group—the People’s Defense Units (YPG)—to be an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which it has designated as a terror group.

They are the PKK

On the military front, the SDF is concerned that Ankara could also intensify airstrikes on those forces’ military checkpoints or carry out another military operation in vulnerable areas located further from the SDF stronghold of Qamishli, such as Tal Rifaat and Menagh. There is also the expectation that Turkey will exert further pressure on Washington to reduce its support for the SDF and the Autonomous Administration. There is the suspicion that Turkey might also try to tighten its economic stranglehold on northeastern Syria and make a push to reach out to the Russians, Iranians, and the regime in Damascus to undermine the Autonomous Administration. (????)

The Turks have already reached out to the Russians and Iranians- as well as Damascus (Not sure who the target audience is for this piece, but, assuming it’s oblivious Americans?)

At this time, the SDF is looking to Washington and the international coalition’s presence in the eastern Euphrates and expecting more than mere symbolic support in times of danger. Otherwise, Washington’s partners might seek alternatives to rescue them from Erdoğan’s aggression over the next five years, making them vulnerable to overtures from Moscow and Tehran that seek to target Washington and the international coalition. In order to avoid such a major rift and to send a reassuring message to the population of that fragile war-torn region, the following steps should be taken to bridge the gap and provide effective solutions:

  • First, there should be an effort to relaunch negotiations between the PKK and Turkey. The Kurdistan Region of Iraq could be an entry point for starting negotiations due to its importance within Kurdish affairs and its good relations with relevant stakeholders in these discussions.
  • Second, mediation should be attempted in order to foster communication between the SDF and Autonomous Administration on the one hand and pro-Turkish Syrian opposition forces—or with Turkey directly—on the other. Establishing a line of functional communication will be necessary to resolve tensions and create the groundwork for pursuing mutual interests that could benefit both sides.
  • Third, there should be a greater focus on direct involvement with Russia to put pressure on the government in Damascus to push the latter to come to an agreement with the eastern Euphrates region and achieve a lasting constitutional resolution for that region. Incentives for doing so could include reducing economic sanctions on Damascus to encourage action.
  • Fourth coalition along the northeastern Syrian border with Turkey. Even if these checkpoints are only symbolic, they will provide reassurance to the population of that region that they will not be betrayed again and that deterrents are in place against any threat of another Turkish invasion.
  • Fifth, the leadership of this region of Syria should be encouraged to strengthen its economy, governance, democratic principles, and diverse representation within its administration. It should also be pressed to avoid becoming involved in any kind of raids that could give Turkey a pretext to engage in dangerous activity in this region.

3 replies on “Turkey and Syria: Normalization Or More US Involvement?”

PKK can always turn to Russia, if USA abandons them. Currently their positions from where USA removed themselves are now under Russia’s protection.

Apparently that behavior from Russia is why Turkey was making, Ukraine can enter Nato statement and prematurely letting azov batallion go before the end of the war.(Plus there is no written agreement of letting the azov batallion only go after the war according the Turkiye’s government)

Turkiye feels Russia is not upholding his part of the deal, thus this was a nudge of letting Russia know to uphold his part of the deal.

But I doubt Russia going to do anything about it, because Turkiye suspects that PKK member’s are fighting in Ukraine on the Russian side. Just like the Armenia – Azerbaijan Conflict where PKK were fighting on the side of the Armenia.


Hey Kaz

I’ve associated Russia with the Barzani clan. Less so with the PKK.
But not saying it’s not possible.
I’ve heard a few conflicting narratives about the why of Azov being released, most tied it to the grain deal?

As for PKK being in Armenia- I’d reported that at my other site. The PKK and the Armenians are very much allied. I was aware of that.

But haven’t seen anything to suggest PKK is fighting on Russia’s side in Ukraine, but, do know that their are so called ISIS fighters in Ukraine fighting alongside the Ukrainians- I’ve no doubt what so ever there are PKK in the ISIS mix.

I’ll keep a check on that.

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