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Turkey Will Be Unable to Further Advance in Syria Without 'Consensus With Assad'

© AP Photo / Mursel Coban / Turkish troops in Syria. File photo
Turkish troops in Syria. File photo - Sputnik International
Despite the achievements of Operation Euphrates Shield, Turkey's foray into Syria alongside FSA troops, it was terminated due to Ankara's failure to clinch an agreement with Damascus, Turkish political analyst Mehmet Ali Guller told Sputnik.

A Turkish soldier on armoured military vehicle patrols the border between Turkey and Syria, near the southeastern village of Besarslan, in Hatay province, Turkey, November 1, 2016 - Sputnik International
Why Erdogan Terminated Euphrates Shield Operation in Syria
In an interview with Sputnik Turkey, Mehmet Ali Guller, a Turkish political analyst, suggested that in spite of several highlights, Ankara wrapped up its large-scale military campaign in northern Syria due to its failure to reach a consensus with Damascus.

Last week, the Turkish National Security Council announced that Operation Euphrates Shield which was started with the goal of ensuring national security, preventing the threat from Daesh and the return of Syrian refugees to their homes, has been completed successfully.

"After the operation in al-Bab, Turkish armed forces were directly or indirectly surrounded by the forces of the United States, Syrian Army and units of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD). In this situation, the only thing that the Turkish Armed Forces could do was to retreat," Mehmet Ali Guller said.

He recalled that at the very beginning of Operation Euphrates Shield, Russia decried it as illegitimate for not having been coordinated with Syrian authorities. However, the Turkish government stubbornly refused to arrive at a consensus with Syrian President Assad on the matter.

"Sending direct and indirect messages, Moscow reminded Ankara that there was no requisite agreement with Damascus on the operation, making it clear that Turkey would not be able to continue it. As soon as such a situation developed, the Turkish army was forced to complete the operation," Guller said.

Turkish forces and members of the Free Syrian Army are seen at the al Baza'a village on the outskirts of al-Bab town in Syria - Sputnik International
Why Now? Turkey's Decision to Stop Euphrates Shield Op Raises Questions
He emphasized that "until Turkey chooses the path of compromise in relations with Syrian authorities, it will unable to move further to Syrian territory, since Russia, Syria and Iran will not allow Ankara to do so."

"At the same time, the search for interaction with the US on this issue automatically means Turkey's readiness to put up with the existence of the PYD, supported by Washington," according to Guller.

"This situation poses a serious dilemma for Ankara. Actually, it means that Turkey will have to accept the US conditions regarding the participation of the Kurdish People's Self-Defense Forces in the Raqqa operation or stick to Russia's demands, namely, to clinch a deal with Damascus," he said.

On August 24, Turkish forces, supported by Free Syrian Army rebels and US-led coalition aircraft, began a military operation dubbed the Euphrates Shield to clear the Syrian border town of Jarabulus and the surrounding area from the internationally-condemned terrorist group Daesh (ISIS/ISIL).

The campaign was the first Turkish incursion into Syria, however Turkish forces had earlier attacked Kurdish positions in Syria from its side of the border.

The operation has been widely criticized both by the Syrian Kurds and Damascus, who have accused Ankara of violating Syria's territorial integrity.

A Turkish military armored vehicle drives in the northern Syrian rebel-held town of al-Rai, Syria January 5, 2017 - Sputnik International
What Could Prompt Turkey to Launch Operation Euphrates Shield 2.0
The military intervention was also aimed at preventing Kurdish forces from moving further west and linking areas they control into a single border region.

The Turkish military and the Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army liberated the cities of al-Bab and Jarabulus as part of the campaign, creating a buffer zone between two Kurdish-run regions in northern Syria.

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