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Operation Olive Branch: Turkey's incursion into Syria explained

28 Janvier 2018

Turkish jets could not operate over Syria's northwest without both Russian Federation and Syria agreeing not to use their powerful anti-aircraft missile systems against them.

An "Operation Olive Branch" Twitter handle is also being used to provide updates on the campaign.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he spoke to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who, he said, had suggested the formation of a "30 km security line" inside Syria, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Turkey has said the operation will be brief but so far the YPG has said that Turkish backed forces have not succeeded in taking any territory in Afrin. It would be backed by 2,000 US troops, who would remain there indefinitely.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's president, announced the move late on Wednesday as a Turkish military assault on the city of Afrin, in northwest Syria, continued for a fifth day.

Turkish leaders have threatened to expand their drive against the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to other border areas, a move that could put Turkish troops in direct conflict with US forces and their Syrian Kurdish allies. From Erdogan's point of view, all Kurds are bad Kurds. Abandoning allies so publicly and so fast is a great way to make sure no one trusts you in the future. According to reports by Iran's Press TV, Baqeri said that Turkey must give assurances that it does not crave for any part of the Syrian soil.

"The whole world knows Daesh (ISIS) is not present in Afrin", senior SDF official Redur Xelil said. For the United States, the YPG is a key ally against both Islamic State jihadists and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces. As a reminder, this region has been under siege by the Syrian regime and allied militias since 2013.

The phone call came after Turkish forces, accompanied with the Free Syrian Army fighters, launched a military operation into Afrin against the YPG which Turkey deems as the Syrian branch of outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Turkish troops and the Syrian fighters have been trying to take the summit of Bursaya Hill, overlooking the eastern approach to Afrin town.

"Their presence has been to ensure the stability in Manbij", he said of US troops.

"Russia is an important supporter of the Kurdish cause", Yasar Yakis, a former Turkish foreign minister, wrote for Ahval news site.

"We can not make the same mistakes that were made in 2011, when our premature departure from Iraq allowed al-Qaeda in Iraq to survive and eventually morph into ISIS". Turkey has just bought $2.5 billion of Russian arms so he has some reason to hope. It suspects the Kurds of wanting independence in the long-run and does not recognize the autonomous cantons they have set up in northern Syria.

The Syrian Kurds are also lying.

"The continuation of the crisis in Afrin may lead to re-strengthening of takfiri-terrorist groups in Syria's northern areas and once again fan the flames of war and destruction in this country", Qassemi added, using a traditional Arabic term for "apostate" to refer to Kurdish separatists.
But of course they have links.

In other words, Putin, like Trump, will risk losing the good faith of the Syrian people who support the central government of this nation. And there is no final outcome: the leading players change from time to time, but the game never ends.

Operation Olive Branch: Turkey's incursion into Syria explained