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“A very important and high-quality step”: what are the prospects for Russian mediation between Syria and Turkey

2019-10-23T08:57:46.078Z

At noon on October 23, units of the Russian military police and the Syrian border service are being deployed outside the zone of Operation Source of Peace on the Syrian side of the Syrian-Turkish border. The forces will facilitate the withdrawal of Kurdish formations and their weapons 30 km from the border. This is stated in the memorandum following negotiations of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, this will lead to the completion of the Turkish operation "Source of Peace" in Syria. However, for this it is necessary that the Kurds fulfill their obligations and leave the region, the minister emphasized. According to experts, these agreements take into account the interests of all parties to the conflict, which distinguishes it from the agreement between Ankara and Washington.



Starting at 12:00 on October 23, units of the Russian military police and the Syrian border service are being deployed outside the zone of Operation Source of Peace on the Syrian side of the Syrian-Turkish border.

Such an agreement was reached during negotiations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

A joint Russian-Turkish patrol will also begin to a depth of 10 km from the border to the west and east of the operation area "Source of Peace". The exception will be the city of Kamyshly.

Kurdish armed groups will have to go deep into Syrian territory 30 km from the border. To do this, they were given 150 hours.

These agreements will lead to the end of the military operation "Source of Peace". This was stated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov following the talks of leaders.

“She is stopping. Everything will depend on how the agreements are implemented, including on the withdrawal of forces and means of the Kurdish units, the so-called CBS (Kurds. - RT ), ”he said.

As Lavrov noted, the return of Damascus control over the Syrian-Turkish border will also help the Kurds themselves.

“We have long spoken and emphasized that the solution of the problem related to the Kurds, their aspirations, their aspirations is impossible without regaining control of the Syrian Arab Republic and the legitimate government of Syria over the entire length of the border. An important, very high-quality step has been taken in this direction, ”the minister said.

These agreements take into account the interests of all interested parties, says Konstantin Blokhin, an expert at the Center for Security Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

“The negotiation process went on for six hours, which means that the parties discussed each step in detail,” he said in an interview with RT. - The interests of all parties are taken into account. This is the only way to negotiate. ”

American involvement

At the same time, the Russian-Turkish memorandum was criticized by the State Department. Special Representative for Syria James Jeffrey said about the many "holes" in the Russian-Turkish agreements. He believes that Moscow has taken on “vague” obligations.

"Does she (Russia. - RT ) have effective methods to achieve the departure of the SNA (" Self-Defense Forces "- RT ) from these areas, I do not know. We made the SNA leave, ”he said.

In response to this, the Kremlin recalled that the United States actually betrayed the Kurds, forcing them to remain on the border with Turkey without their support.

“The United States has been the closest allies of the Kurds in the past few years. As a result, the States abandoned the Kurds and, in fact, betrayed them. Now they prefer to leave the Kurds at the border and almost force them to fight the Turks, ”said Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for the Russian president.

According to him, if the Kurdish armed groups do not withdraw their forces from the Turkish border, then "then the Syrian border guards and the Russian military police will have to withdraw."

“And in fact, the remaining Kurdish formations will fall under the rink of the Turkish army,” Peskov emphasized.

Recall, on October 17, the American delegation led by Vice President Michael Pence held talks in Ankara with representatives of Turkey. Based on their results, a temporary ceasefire was launched - the Turkish Armed Forces stopped shelling and stopped at occupied positions, while the Kurds had to leave about 32 km (20 miles) deep into Syria from the border within 120 hours. The parties also agreed to create security zones in Syrian territory adjacent to Turkey.

In this case, almost immediately began to receive reports of violations of the ceasefire. Mutual accusations were brought forward by both Kurds and Turks. Despite this, Washington announced that the agreements were being implemented. And on Wednesday, October 23, Pence stated that the Kurds had left the security zone.

The agreement between Turkey and the United States is one-sided, political analyst Yuri Svetov noted in a conversation with RT. According to the agreement, a number of obligations are imposed on Ankara, and official Damascus is completely excluded from the dialogue on the situation in its own country.

According to Svetov, the Russian-Turkish memorandum is more thought out and takes into account the positions of various parties, including the legitimate government.

“The agreement with the USA was in the nature of Turkey’s obligations and that’s it. And here we are talking about the fact that Russia is participating in the fulfillment of the obligations that Turkey has assumed, and above all, in the fact that the Russian military police will participate in the implementation of this implementation. The second (very important circumstance) is that the Syrian army, which obeys the legitimate head of state, will also take part in this. The agreement between the Americans and Turks was as follows: events take place on the territory of a sovereign country, and the authorities of this country are removed from this, ”the political scientist explained.

“Efficiency will be shown by time, but the fact that it is more thoughtful, more balanced and complex is absolutely accurate,” said the expert.

Oncoming traffic

Recall, on October 9, Turkey launched Operation Source of Peace in northeastern Syria. Its main goal is to neutralize Kurdish militias known as the "Self-Defense Forces" (YPG). Ankara considers them terrorist structures associated with the Kurdistan Workers Party. The latter is waging a sabotage war against the Turkish security forces in areas that directly border the Kurdish-controlled part of Syria.

  • Turkish troops in Syria
  • AFP
  • © Aref TAMMAWI

Kurdish units united in Syrian democratic forces previously enjoyed US support. On the part of Syria controlled by them east of the Euphrates River, bases were located with the US military. However, even before the start of the Turkish military operation, the United States began to withdraw its military from attack. President Trump said he did not want to protect his Kurdish allies from NATO allies - Turkey. The Pentagon later announced the withdrawal of 1,000 US troops from Syria.

The Kurds abandoned by the Americans turned to Damascus for help. The parties agreed to coordinate actions for a "joint rebuff to the aggressors." It has been stated that the Syrian Arab army intends to take control of the Turkish-Syrian border east of the Euphrates.

From the very beginning of the new Turkish military operation in Syria, official Damascus condemned the actions of Ankara. President Bashar al-Assad described her as aggression.

“The Turkish invasion is an aggression in all international respects, and the Syrian people have the legal right to resist the occupation forces by all available means,” the head of state said.

Syria's official news agency SANA announced the country's intention to confront Turkey with "all available means." Syrian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Walid Muallem accused Ankara of "expansionist intentions", noting that her actions threaten a "political settlement" and prolong the Syrian crisis.

From time to time, media reports about skirmishes and mutual shelling of Turks and Syrians from the conflict zone.

So, on October 15, the Arabian television channels Al-Hadath and Al-Mayadeen reported that the YPG, with the support of the Syrian army, tried to contract the positions of Turkish troops in the city of Ras al-Ain. The next day, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that two Turkish soldiers were killed in the area of ​​Manbij during shelling by the Syrian Arab army.

On October 17, SANA reported that the “Turkish aggressor” launched an artillery attack on the city of Kamyshly, which had previously come under the control of the Syrian government army. On the same day, the Kurdish NPA reported intense clashes between Kurds and Syrian government forces near Ras al Ain.

#Breaking
North-Press reporter: Fierce clashes between the #SDF and government forces, and armed opposition groups on axes in Ras al-Ain / Sere-Kaniye amid intense ground and air shelling pic.twitter.com/mC8aEZ3BzP

- NORTH PRESS AGENCY (@NPA_SY) October 17, 2019

Russian mediation

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu believes that Russia's participation will contribute to the implementation of the Adan Agreement. This agreement, concluded between Ankara and Damascus in 1998, gives the Turkish forces the right to conduct a military operation if the Syrian government does not cope with the Kurdish formations.

“The Adan agreement is valid. But the problem is that even if the (Syrian. - RT ) regime has a desire to fulfill it, it has no possibilities. So Russia in this situation will assume the role of mediator and will contribute to the implementation of the agreement, ”he said.

At first, Operation Source of Peace Russia took a restrained position, urging Ankara to act "commensurate with the situation." At the same time, Moscow is actively advocating for the establishment of contacts between Ankara and Damascus and seeks to prevent the emergence of a major armed conflict.

On October 14, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu held talks with Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar. The next day, the Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for Syria, Alexander Lavrentyev, said that our country would “not allow” a clash between the Syrian and Turkish troops.

In turn, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed on October 16 that Moscow seeks "to encourage the achievement and implementation of the agreements between Damascus and the Kurds, as well as to facilitate the establishment of cooperation between the Syrian and Turkish authorities to ensure security at their joint border." It is worth noting that negotiations between the legitimate Syrian government and the Kurds took place on the territory of the Russian military base in Khmeimim.

  • Syrian army soldiers greet people in the city of Ain Issa, Raqqa province
  • Reuters
  • © SANA

As Yuri Mavashev, director of the Center for the Study of New Turkey, noted in an interview with RT, Russia already has positive experience that can help prevent small skirmishes between Turks and Syrians from developing into a full-scale clash.

“Since 2016, there have been intensive contacts both between the general staffs and the special services of Russia and Turkey,” Mavashev said in a conversation with RT. - Russia is helping to ensure that the military in Syria and Turkey do not collide on the ground and in the air as a result of various incidents. And they were possible throughout the conflict in Syria. "

Prospects for normalization


From the point of view of the HSE teacher Grigory Lukyanov, Russia, as the only country that “enjoys the confidence of both Damascus and Ankara,” can contribute to the process of normalizing relations between two neighbors.

“No other power can boast of such a position. Therefore, in this situation, the negotiation process, although it may be delayed due to a number of objective difficulties due to intractable contradictions, but seems inevitable, ”Lukyanov said in a conversation with RT.

In particular, the expert believes, although Damascus accuses Ankara of aggression objectively, it was the Turkish offensive that contributed to the fact that control of the official Syrian government in the territories occupied by the Kurds was restored. And this cannot but satisfy the legitimate authorities of Syria. In addition, no one wants to get involved in a war with each other.

Therefore, the expert does not exclude the possibility that after some time, if Moscow “interacts in every way and strengthens the atmosphere of trust that was established in the framework of the Astana process,” Turkish-Syrian relations may even return to the situation before 2011. Then between the two countries were quite friendly relations.

  • Reuters
  • © Sana

Moreover, in Turkey itself Erdogan is increasingly pushing for this. In late September, Turkey’s largest opposition party, the People’s Republican Party (NPP), held a conference on Syria, at which the head of the NPP, Kemal Kılıçdaroлуlu, called for direct relations with Damascus.

“In Turkey, the attitude towards Syria has fundamentally changed, the Turkish position calls on President Erdogan to establish direct contacts, including with Assad,” Yuri Mavashev notes.

According to experts, both the Western countries (the USA, Great Britain, France) and the militants who enlisted in the formally pro-Turkish Syrian national army can impede the normalization of Turkish-Syrian relations conducted by Russia.

“There are no guarantees that some of these groups will not revolt and will not arrange acts of violence that can undermine confidence in the negotiation process,” the political scientist believes.

At the same time, for Russia, the establishment of working contacts between Syria and Turkey can lead to the strengthening of international prestige and trust from other countries in the region.

“If the intermediary role is played successfully, then Russia’s authority will certainly grow,” explained Grigory Lukyanov. - Already now we are observing that there is an effect, they are listening to the opinion of Russia, initiatives are being taken. This is a good resource. ”

Source: russiart

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