The diminutive Erdogan despises President Trump, with that said he is adamantly against Trump’s Syria withdrawal plan which protects the Kurds. As the U.S. slowly withdraws from Syria, the Kurds, our foremost companion in the war against ISIS, will be left on their own; that is what the Wannabee Napoleon thought. He then would have full wave to “wipe them from the face of the earth.” Not gonna happen though.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser on Tuesday for setting conditions on a withdrawal from Syria, including protection for Kurdish fighters.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton said that the Trump administration would only pull troops out of Syrian territory once the Pentagon had formalized a contingency plan to shield US allies fighting there – including Kurdish forces who are in conflict with Istanbul – to protect against Iranian encroachment on Israel’s border.
Turkey’s defense minister said Thursday that Kurdish forces in Syria would be “buried” in their trenches in any Turkish operation to rout the fighters from the border, just one day after President Trump announced a withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country.
Speaking from the Qatari capital, Doha, Hulusi Akar said Turkey was preparing “intensely” for a military offensive east of the Euphrates River in Syria, where Kurdish-led forces have battled the Islamic State militant group.
The fighters have dug trenches and tunnels in the area in anticipation of the operation, Akar said, according to Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency.
“But whatever they dig . . . when the time comes they will be buried in the trenches,” he said. “Of this there should no doubt.”
DEBKAfile’s military sources add that the Turkish leader has been holding aloft his anti-American stance in the hope of clearing the way for a Turkish offensive against Kurds to go forward in northeastern Syria. This gimmick is unlikely to achieve its purpose in Moscow because Putin is just as opposed to his schemes as US President Donald Trump.
Indeed, Putin’s plan is for Russian and Syrian forces to take over the areas under US military control when the Americans leave. And, to avoid getting into a fight with the Kurds, to assure their cantons of autonomous rule, subject to the central Assad government in Damascus. Moscow has no intention of letting Turkey take control of northeastern Syria and certainly not to allow its army to sit on the Syrian-Iraqi border.
Erdogan should know by now where the Kremlin stands. Two weeks ago, he sent a high-ranking delegation to Moscow, headed by his defense minister and intelligence chief, in a bid to obtain the Kremlin’s consent for Turkish forces to go into northeastern Syria under Turkish air force cover. The delegation encountered a flat Russian refusal. The Turkish officials were moreover warned that if their air force attacked the Kurds, their planes would be shot down by Russian air defense batteries.
None of this adds up to a certainty that Moscow will reject Ankara’s proposal to revive the cooperation with Russia and Iran. The entire situation around the US troop pullout is exceptionally fluid. However, for now, Erdogan is locked in between the firm vetoes for his schemes from Washington and Moscow alike.