Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Turn of the Wheel in Syria

A great update from Michael Goodyear over as Small Wars Journal;
...with the sharp decline in power of the Islamic State following the fall of its de facto capital, Raqqa, Turkey has redirected its focus onto Kurdish forces in Syria. The capture of Afrin creates another power shift in Syria in favor of both Turkey and the Assad government, as well as possibly the Islamic State, at the expense of the Kurds but also the rebels.
...the Turkish campaign against the Syrian Kurds, has put the Kurds in full-scale retreat. The capture of Afrin has far-ranging consequences for each of the four factions.
The author gives a succinct summary of the state of play for the Kurds, Rebels, Assad, and the Islamic State. Good read.

What next? Well, life if complicated. We have a few thousand Americans on Syrian soil. The Turks have even more. We've fought alongside the Kurds for years - the same Kurds our NATO allies the Turks are fighting now.
The United States now must face the decision it has long refused to make: whether to support Turkey or the Kurds. There is no way around negotiating with Turkey during the remainder of the war and once a winner has finally emerged in the civil war.
The various stakeholders, both inside and outside Syria, must recognize this paradigm shift in local Syrian power and foreign influence when strategizing what to do next.
Tough nut. Turkey, as is its wont, has made it tougher.

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