Kurdish forces recapture Ras al-Ayn as President Trump threatens to wipe out Turkish economy

We could say that things are developing as expected in the conflict between Turkey and Kurdish forces in northern Syria. As expected because barelyHas Congress returned from its annual retreat? that President Trump has made a reversal of position that only he knows about. So, while on Sunday he ordered the forces present in the region to withdraw, and leaving the Kurds to their own devices, here he ordered, thus overtaking the Senate, sanctions against 3 Turkish ministers, therefore the Ministers of Defense and the Interior, the 50% increase in customs duties on Turkish steel imported into the United States, and an arms embargo, that is to say, not much ready, exactly what American parliamentarians wanted to enact. At the same time, he dispatched his Defense Secretary, Mark Esper, to ask NATO to take sanctions against Ankara, while the conflict has already displaced, according to the UN, more than 160.000 people, including 70.000 children.

Also as expected since the Turkish offensive now seems to be stalling against the Kurdish forces, reconstituted and re-organized, who were apparently able to gather close to 60.000 men to face the forces of their adversary. According to the Tass agency, Kurdish forces reportedly led a violent counter-offensive against regular Turkish forces and the paramilitary militias accompanying them in the town of Ras al-Ayn, which they eventually recaptured in fierce street fighting. It seems that the Kurds were surprised by the declarations of President Trump which gave the start to the Turkish attack, and that they had therefore not mobilized their forces near the border with Turkey, this explaining the rapid progression columns from Ankara in the first days. But once the forces were assembled and reorganized, they were able to resume the fight with the efficiency attributed to them, to force the Turkish elements to withdraw from Ras al-Ayn, but also to mark time against Kobane.

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American forces leaving Syria sometimes encountered convoys of Kurdish or Syrian forces heading towards the combat zone.

As expected because Russia seems to be maneuvering to be the big winner of this crisis, by deploying, according to the Washington Post, forces between the Turkish lines on one side, and those of the new alliance between the Syrian government and the Kurds on the other. By proceeding in this way, without officially taking part, Moscow is indicating to Ankara that it intends to return to the status quo on the border. At the same time, it seems that Russian diplomats are trying to negotiate an agreement between Syrians and Kurds to guarantee a security zone along the Turkish border, in order to give President Erdogan an honorable exit from this conflict which began on very bad basics. In addition, the de facto Alliance between the Syrian government and the Syrian Kurds could allow the negotiation of a satisfactory status concerning the Kurdish population of Syria, while ensuring the territorial unity of the country, and putting an end to Turkish claims over the north of the country.

As expected, finally, because the attempt to put in place a European-wide response with a strict arms embargo against Turkey was blocked by the opposition of Great Britain which, if it does not appear today as a major exporter of weapons systems to Ankara, compared to Rome or Madrid for example (both of which were ready to validate the embargo), such a decision would condemn participation of BAe and Rolls-Royce to the TFX program, with potentially effects on the Tempest program.

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Kurdish forces were able to mobilize their reserves to face the attack from Turkey

The course of events will depend above all on President Erdogan's determination to continue this offensive at all costs, for fear of losing the credibility and strong popular support that he has found in public opinion since the start of the military operation. . If it cannot, naturally, give in to American threats, it can, however, seize the exit door only with Moscow ajar, to justify an agreement guaranteeing the security of its nationals against the PKK which would not, in fact, no direct territorial link with the Kurds of the YPG. That said, even if this hypothesis were verified, which would probably be the best possible case today, the tensions which have arisen between European countries, the United States and Ankara cannot be erased quickly, if at all. they could be in the medium term.

PS 15/10/19 at 20:30 p.m.: everything is definitely going very quickly in this file. The British have announced that they will suspend arms exports to Turkey. As for China, according to the JDD, it seems to align with Moscow's positions on this issue. To be continued …

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