Syria; Out of Sight, Out of Mind

By Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Tue 23 August / Aug 2016. 12:00 AM - آخر تعديل في Tue 23 August / Aug 2016. 11:11 PM
  • Fahed Khitan

Turkish politicians exaggerate when they say the Syrian conflict is opt to resolve within the next 6 months. The current events unfolding on the diplomatic and military levels are emergent to temporary interests of regional influencers, mainly Turkey and Iran, in hand with Russian interests in the area.

Ankara is worried the Kurds will soon expand their national aspirations, and is terrified of the prospects of a Kurdish province at its borders. Tehran share the same fears and concerns of the Kurdish surge, and is just as worried over Kurdish insurgencies in Iran.

Russia realises Turkey’s weakness, and did not hesitate to exploit the Kurdish card to pressure for security and intelligence cooperation to contain the threat of ISIS, especially since ISIS has begun to operate inside Turkey.

In the background, there is a massive bundle of economic between the two countries that cannot be wasted, particularly in light of recent US and European positions from Turkey and Russia.

In a direct address to these factors, Ankara took a renewed pragmatic approach to the conflict in Syria, forgoing their strict stance from Assad’s regime.

On the other hand, striking the Kurds in Hasaka will not hurt the Regime, so long as it insures Turkey’s neutrality in the decisive battle for Aleppo.

Everything unfolding in the field now confirms the prioritisation of interests and how they now govern the positions of conflicting parties in Syria more than ever. Nothing of interest for the Syria or the Syrian people. And it is not so unlikely, given, that Tehran welcomes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with arms wide open, soon, in the manner Russia did just weeks ago.

Statements by the Turkish president on a nearing political resolution in Syria, by which Ankara would agree to Assad’s survival to preside the state for the transitional stage is nothing new. Turkey knows that the Geneva process was designed around this. Turkey knows that the solution; albeit permanent or temporary, is no longer available, at the moment.

Washington is in the heart of the Syrian conflict; diplomatically and militarily. But the dialect of interests control the American approach in Syria. Soon, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs will meet his Russian counterpart, not to coordinate efforts for political resolution, but to place the final touches on the military cooperation plan and joint operation against ISIS in Syria.

Washington’s interests in Syria, for the short term, lie in the annihilation of ISIS, which comprises a cross-border threat. Their support for the Kurds in Hasaka falls in line with the effort to support a strategic partner and ally in the war on ISIS, and it is unlikely that the US will flip against them when the job is done.

All political efforts and military operations are dedicated to contain the percussions of the Syrian crisis and its perils, not to settle it at root.

Moreover, the foreign support for factions fighting in Syria, has now fallen under the mercy of these terms. Washington supports those who fight ISIS, and Turkey funds factions against the armed Kurdish militia. Tehran in hand with Moscow, opening air bases for strikes to weaken the opposition fighting the Syrian regime, and does not mind supporting those converging against the Kurds either.

We face an unstable game with no fixed rules; alliances change, as benefactor interests do. Syria, with all its tragedy, is out sight, and out of mind.