29 Jan

With Operation Olive Branch carried out by Turkey in Afrin, a region of Kurdish majority on the border with Syria; the Syrian crisis is further complicated by the complexities accumulated over the past years of violent conflict, which did not reach yet the square of politics and positive dialogue between the regime and the opposition parties. According to the multiple interventions and the multifaceted objectives, cards were mixed up and interests collided at the expense of the Syrians and at the expense of achieving a peace that would end the ongoing conflict. Despite the length of the crisis, solutions are yet to be crystalized, considering the Syrian regime’s rigid stance, that has been reinforced by Russian military support, Iranian forces, and Lebanese Hezbollah militias. This has opened the appetites of other powers to join the conflict with conflicting agendas, most recently the Turkish intervention, with an announced goal of protecting its borders, but apparently that is going to be through the incursion into the Syrian territory and clashing with the Kurds.

Although olive branch symbolizes peace in contemporary human culture, the Turkish government has decided to use it as a name of a military operation involving warplanes, tanks and heavy artillery used against villages and civilian communities in Afrin. Analysts believe that this intervention would have been understood if it was taken place during ISIS’ control over the same area before its collapse and withdrawal under the impact of the military operations by the Kurds to liberate their areas. Therefore, the current intervention under the pretext of imposing a buffer zone is only to complicate the crisis and to create security and military problems, taking into consideration the sensitivities between the Kurds and the Turkish regime.

In any case, the Turkish military move in the Syrian Afrin appears to be pouring oil on a burning fire that cannot afford to take more, as much as it needs to be extinguished and avoiding its repercussions and wounds. From the daily news we can see that the Syrian issue has become a recurring theme, in which repeated contents of the mutual clashes between the regime and the opposition to the regions and rural areas and suburbs, with the Assad regime’s retention of having far more bloodiness, since it is the only side that is using warplanes and dumping explosive barrels!

Apart from the dualism of the regime and the opposition, which in turn contains divergent and ideologically different factions in the goals, objectives and perspectives towards the future of Syria, there is also the Iranian presence armed with sectarianism, which mobilizes its followers with religious slogans to justify its presence alongside the Lebanese Hezbollah militia. Simultaneously, there is the Russian side, its military bases and its war planes, which has the same bank of targets of the regime, both sides say they are targeting extremist armed groups, but the civilian victims are not immune from targeting. And not to forget the American role in Syria with its own calculations and interests. And the Israeli role, which reached the point of striking targets inside Syria!

Thus, there is nothing new in the Syrian scene after all that time. After all the displacement, fleeing and destruction, there is no indication of any breakthrough for the conflict or any looming of agreement that puts the basic principles for stopping the war.

There is no doubt that the recent developments regarding the Turkish intervention targeting the Kurds of Syria, will provoke additional repercussions, especially that the Turkish side has made this move without any consideration to the cautions of intervening in other sovereign state, not to mention the historical tension inherited with the Kurds who mobilize and consider that standing against the Turkish interference as an opportunity to show their strength. But the result is more Syrian casualties from all directions.

It is strange that all rounds of negotiations on the Syrian crisis have not come up with results reflected on the ground, except for the withdrawal of some fighting groups from one place to another. Negotiators may have more details and commitments that have already reached, but this remains words stuck in the air and does not guarantee the termination or resolving the long-standing conflict and does not lead to what would safeguard the security, stability and unity of Syria. Talks about negotiating rounds on a future constitution for Syria before stopping the fighting is overpassing the reality and ignoring the real consequences of the conflict and the resultant powers and external interference that controls the Syrian scene.

Al  Mezmaah  Studies & Research Centre

29 January   2018