Sources close to the pro-U.S., separatist Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militias have revealed concerns among their leaders that the administration will give a “green light” to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime to occupy “specific” militia-controlled areas in northeastern Syria. The concession will come as part of the recently agreed “strategic mechanism” between Washington and the Turkish regime.
In statements to al-Watan, the sources did not rule out that the military operation of the Turkish occupation army could begin at any time. This move would take advantage of Russia’s “preoccupation” with the special operation in Ukraine. In exchange, Ankara would make “concessions” that serve U.S. interests in the same issue.
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The sources predicted that the Turkish military operation will be “limited” at first and that it will focus on the area of Ain Issa in the northern countryside of Raqqa. This focus reflects the area’s strategic importance in linking the areas of influence of SDF militias to each other. The plan will monitor Moscow’s reaction, which had initially prevented the operation following Erdogan’s threats in early October to invade those areas.
According to the sources, the recent intensification of Turkish drones and raids against the positions and leaders of the SDF militia forms part of the new military strategy of the Erdogan regime. This development may be a prelude to the start of a Turkish military operation, after resolving points of disagreement with the U.S. in this regard. The deal contemplates exchanging mutual interests with Washington in light of developments in the Ukraine war.
The sources expressed their convictions, after hearing from militia leaders, that the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden gave the Erdogan regime a “mandate” to launch a military operation. This occurred when Victoria Nuland, the U.S. State Department adviser in charge of political affairs, visited Ankara on April 4 and 5. Specifically, the deal was struck during Nuland’s meeting with Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Ambassador Sedat Unal and Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin. The meeting involved launching the Turkish-American Strategic Mechanism, pursuant to the “understanding” reached during Biden’s meeting with Erdogan last October in Rome.
The sources noted that the U.S. mandate falls under the policy of “counterterrorism,” given that it does not affect Washington’s joint efforts with the SDF militias to fight the terrorist organization ISIS. These efforts recently resulted in increased military reinforcements for the so-called “international coalition” forces, allegedly led by Washington, at the Omar oil field and Conoco gas field bases in the eastern Deir ez-Zor countryside, east of the Euphrates River. They have also included many military exercises on Friday, following rocket attacks that occurred last Thursday, during which four U.S. soldiers were wounded.
On the concessions planned by the Turkish regime to the U.S. administration, the sources indicated that the deal intends to involve Turkey in sanctions against Russia in Ukraine. This would involve Ankara abandoning the so-called policy of “relative neutrality,” forcing Turkey to engage in the Ukrainian war directly. Specifically, Turkey would sell more Bayraktar drones to Kiev and not facilitate investment opportunities for Russian businessmen seeking to avoid U.S. and Western sanctions. In exchange, Washington will strengthen its defense relations with Ankara by delivering Fourth Generation F-16 multirole fighter jets, as the first step in this direction.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.