Turkey has allegedly suspended its plans to launch a new military operation in northern Syria against Kurdish militias, following pressure against it from Russia and the United States.
According to anonymous diplomatic Turkish sources, quoted by the outlets the Syrian Observer and The New Arab, as well as local Turkish press, Ankara has decided to suspend the potential military operation it was planning for northern Syria, at least for a while.
Despite Turkish media continuing to propagate support for the operation and the Turkish army ready to proceed, the sources allegedly said that “Ankara has suspended operations for the time being.”
Following a shelling attack into Turkish territory from the northern Syrian region of Azaz last month, which killed two Turkish police officers, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the country had lost its patience with the Kurdish militia, the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG), and will launch a new military operation against it.
Since then, talks have been under way throughout the past month, with Russia and the US—which back the YPG and its affiliated militias—reportedly applying pressure on Turkey to cease the plans for its operation.
If the reports that the military operation’s suspension proves to be true, it would come only weeks after the Turkish parliament extended the deployment of its troops to Iraq and Syria for another two years. Many also see a new Turkish offensive against the Kurdish militias as inevitable, putting into question the permanence of such a suspension.
If Ankara insiders are correct, the administration has realized that its maneuvering room in Syria is limited unless it gains the backing of Russia, or US. Turkey’s relationship with both superpowers is in dire straits. Putin is angry at Turkey for supporting Ukraine as well as mindful of her rising influence in Caucasus, on the back of Azerbaijan winning decisive victories against Armenia, a client state of Russia.
US Congress still clamors for additional CAATSA sanctions on Turkey, which may materialize if Turkey decides to jointly develop a home-growth jet fighter with Russia.
Turkish pundits had claimed that Erdogan and his nationalist ally Mr. Devlet Bahceli of MHP need a victory in Syria to keep nationalist votes in the alliance, with sagging poll support from other constituencies. The news suspension, if verified is also a victory of sorts for the main opposition party CHP, which defied tradition and its own patriotic wing to vote the down Syrian military campaign motion.
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