04:10 GMT19 February 2020
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    The Syrian ceasefire agreement reached at the Munich peace conference last week is a positive step, but actions by Saudi Arabia and Turkey may escalate the conflict.

    "The danger that the Syrian crisis will escalate beyond Syria is suddenly too real to be ignored any longer. A local war has already gone regional by no one’s design; the risk that it could turn global is now unacceptably high," journalist Patrick Smith wrote in his article for The Fiscal Times.

    Earlier, it was reported that Riyadh and Ankara were considering the possibility of a military intervention in Syria. This is bad news three times over, the journalist wrote.

    First, Saudi Arabia has so far expressed little interest in fighting its "ideological offspring," Daesh, and is mostly focused on regime change efforts in Syria. Second, Turkey’s involvement foretells more of the same, Smith noted.

    On Saturday, Turkish forces began shelling the positions of Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in the Aleppo region of Syria. Turkish forces bombed a village and an airbase that were recently re-captured by Kurds from terrorists.

    "For once, Damascus may have it right: On Saturday, the foreign ministry sent a letter to Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, asserting that the Turkish artillery campaign 'is direct support of terrorist groups,'" he wrote.

    Third, according to Smith, one of Moscow’s implicit goals in Syria is to make it clear for Washington that the era of regime change in the Middle East is over. No surprise that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev recently warned that a Saudi intervention in Syria risks a "new world war."

    The threat of escalation is clear. To avoid it the US should stop "indulging the Saudis and the Turks as they fight on the wrong side in Syria in the name of Sunni nationalism."

    Turkey risks undermining peace efforts in the region, former chairman of the NATO Military Committee Harald Kujat said.

    "The Turkish intervention has the potential to transform the Syrian conflict into a global catastrophe," he pointed out.

    "The whole idea of the Saudi invasion is absurd on the face of it," McAdams remarked, "because they claim they are going to invade Syria to get rid of ISIS [Daesh] and the terrorists. But everyone who has been paying attention knows [that] for years they [Saudi Arabia] have been backing and funding al-Qaeda and ISIS," Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity wrote.

    Western countries should have a more balanced attitude toward Russia’s policy in Syria because Moscow has come up with a plan to bring peace in the war-torn country he added.

    Moscow and Washington should overcome current tensions, at least for a while, for the sake of global security and stability. According to Smith, the Syrian peace process cannot be separated from the settlement in Ukraine and the United State’s recently announced decision to fortify Europe’s eastern borders with Russia.


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    terrorism, military conflict, talks, intervention, Daesh, Turkey, Syria, United States, Saudi Arabia
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