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    Russia's Anti-Daesh Campaign Led to 'Defeat' of Turkey's Policy in Syria

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    Turkey had it all mapped out in Syria but Russia's military campaign aimed at defeating Daesh and other terrorist groups in the Arab country has upset Ankara's plans. This "near-total defeat" of Turkey's Syria policy, as Business Insider described it, will have major implications with regard to Ankara's relations with the Kurds.

    The ruling AKP party is essentially at war with its own Kurdish population. In addition, Turkish forces occasionally conduct air raids against Kurdish militants in Iraq and Syria. In late October, Turkey launched airstrikes against Kurdish fighters in Syria because they crossed west of the Euphrates River. Ankara has long said that crossing the Euphrates is a "red line."

    A sniper from the Democratic Forces of Syria takes an overwatch position at the top of Mount Annan overlooking the Tishrin dam, after they captured it on Saturday from Islamic State militants, south of Kobani, Syria December 27, 2015
    © REUTERS/ Rodi Said
    A sniper from the Democratic Forces of Syria takes an overwatch position at the top of Mount Annan overlooking the Tishrin dam, after they captured it on Saturday from Islamic State militants, south of Kobani, Syria December 27, 2015

    Over the weekend, Kurdish fighters and Syrian Democratic Forces pushed Daesh out of the strategically important Tishrin Dam located on the Euphrates some 56 miles to the east of Aleppo. The operation dealt a "huge blow" to the terrorist group, which used the dam to transport weapons, fighters and supplies between its stronghold of Raqqa and the Syrian cities of Manbij and Jarablous, the media outlet explained.

    "But [Daesh] was not the only loser. The operation was also a major affront to Turkey," Business Insider noted. "So far, however, the Turks' response to the weekend incident has been relatively muted."

    Fighters from the Democratic Forces of Syria prepare themselves ahead of what they said was an offensive against Islamic State militants to take control of Tishrin dam, south of Kobani, Syria December 26, 2015
    © REUTERS/ Rodi Said
    Fighters from the Democratic Forces of Syria prepare themselves ahead of what they said was an offensive against Islamic State militants to take control of Tishrin dam, south of Kobani, Syria December 26, 2015

    Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu tried to reframe the victory in the Tishrin Dam as an achievement of Arab force, not Kurdish fighters.

    Ankara's reaction could indicate that the ruling party has "accepted the inevitable," former Turkish MP Aykan Erdemir said. "A harsher response on Davutoglu's part would have been an admission of failure to guard his 'red line,'" the media outlet quoted Erdemir as saying.

    Meanwhile, Kurdish fighters in Syria are expected to cross the Euphrates again as they continue to advance towards the city of Azaz.

    "Turkey had been using Azaz as a corridor to funnel weapons and aid to the rebels it supports in Aleppo, but Russia's entry into the fray has dramatically limited Ankara's ability to change facts on the ground. That is perhaps one major reason why Davutoglu has tried so hard to reframe the Kurdish victory as an Arab one," the media outlet noted.

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    Russian aerial campaign, Kurds, Syrian conflict, geopolitics, Daesh, Turkey, Syria, Russia
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