19:14 GMT +318 November 2019
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    Turkish army tanks take position near the Syrian border (file photo)

    You Shall Not Pass: Turkey 'Wants to Control 100Km Corridor' on Syrian Border

    © AFP 2019 / BULENT KILIC
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    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the military campaign on the border with Syria is meant to free the town of Jarablus from Daesh, but Ankara's true goal involves retaining control over a 100-kilometer-long corridor that will help Turkey to assist radical groups in the war-torn Arab country, analyst Stanislav Ivanov told Izvestiya.

    "The Turks are saying that they are ostensibly bombing Daesh targets to keep this corridor. In reality they are conducting airstrikes against Syrian Kurds," he said. "This campaign is primarily aimed at retaining control over this stretch of border to provide assistance to anti-Assad groups, particularly in Aleppo."

    The corridor that Ivanov mentioned stretches from Jarablus in the east to the Syrian city of Azaz in the west, located 32 kilometers (20 miles) north-northwest of Aleppo. The international community has long urged Turkish leadership to seal the area that radical groups, including Daesh and al-Nusra Front have used to resupply and rearm, but Ankara is apparently not interested.

    "Turkey cannot allow this stretch of border to be sealed. Should this happen, the balance of power in Aleppo could shift in favor of Damascus-led forces and the Kurds, not the pro-Turkish groups. If the Kurds take this corridor under control, they will link their enclaves and create an autonomy" in northern Syria, the analyst explained.

    A destroyed building in the Bani Zeid district in north Aleppo
    © Sputnik / Michael Alaeddin
    A destroyed building in the Bani Zeid district in north Aleppo

    Experts say that the outcome of the battle for Aleppo, Syria's second largest city, could well determine Syria's fate. The city is partially controlled by the Syrian Arab Army that recently cut off supply routes to rebel-held areas.

    Alexey Obraztsov, a senior research fellow at the Higher School of Economics' Center for Asian and African Studies, said that questions remain as to what groups Turkish special forces deployed to Jarablus will back. "This could be Syrian Turkmen militias, armed anti-Assad opposition forces that do not call for the establishment of an Islamic state. The situation is extremely complicated," he told RT.

    Obraztsov also mentioned that it is impossible to say which groups are moderate and which are not, but it is easy to name the one force that Turkey will never support.

    "Turkey's operation is not primarily targeted against Daesh, but rather against the Kurds. Ankara reasonably assumes that if the Kurds combine their forces in northern Syria, the conflict will spill over to Turkish regions mainly populated by the Kurds," he said.

    Gumer Isayev, head of St. Petersburg-based Center for Contemporary Middle Eastern Studies, shared these sentiments, telling RT that Erdogan views Syrian Kurds joining forces with their Turkish counterparts as a nightmare scenario.

    A fighter from the Kurdish People Protection Unit (YPG) poses for a photo at sunset in the Syrian town of Ain Issi, some 50 kilometres north of Raqqa, the self-proclaimed capital of the Islamic State (IS) group during clashes between IS group jihadists and YPG fighters on July 10, 2015A fighter from the Kurdish People Protection Unit (YPG) poses for a photo at sunset in the Syrian town of Ain Issi, some 50 kilometres north of Raqqa, the self-proclaimed capital of the Islamic State (IS) group during clashes between IS group jihadists and YPG fighters on July 10, 2015
    © AFP 2019 / DELIL SOULEIMAN
    A fighter from the Kurdish People Protection Unit (YPG) poses for a photo at sunset in the Syrian town of Ain Issi, some 50 kilometres north of Raqqa, the self-proclaimed capital of the Islamic State (IS) group during clashes between IS group jihadists and YPG fighters on July 10, 2015

    The analyst added that Daesh should not be viewed as a mere pretext for the Syrian invasion. The radical group was once a reliable supplier of petroleum products and a force capable of containing Kurdish fighters, but has since turned into a major security threat for the country.

    The United States backed Turkey's operation in Jarablus despite the fact that US troops have relied heavily on the People's Protection Units (YPG) and Peshmerga in their anti-Daesh efforts in Iraq and Syria.

    'Washington wants as many players to be dragged into the Syrian conflict as possible," because the US is not supporting a particular group embroiled in the fighting, he said. "In this context, the US is quite comfortable" with the current landscape.

    In this file photo Daesh terrorists are seen after placing their group's flag on a hilltop at the eastern side of the town of Kobani, Syria
    © AP Photo / Lefteris Pitarakis
    In this file photo Daesh terrorists are seen after placing their group's flag on a hilltop at the eastern side of the town of Kobani, Syria

    Vladimir Avatkov, head of the Center for Eastern Studies, International Relations and Public Diplomacy, also told RT that Turkey is not merely interested in cleansing the border region of Daesh.

    "Clearly, Turkish troops will provide assistance to certain influence groups. It has been common knowledge that Ankara wants to support 'moderate' armed groups in Syria. There is an entire layer of interests," he said.

    Ivanov went further, saying that "radical Islamists" and Turkey cannot be enemies. "Erdogan will support them in their fight against Bashar al-Assad until the end," he added.

    Related:

    Turkish Strikes in Syria 'Massively Complicate' Ankara's Relations With US
    Kerry Assures Ankara That Syrian Kurds Start Retreating East of Euphrates
    Turkish Operation in Jarablus Was 'Coordinated With US, Russia'
    Turkey-Backed Free Syrian Army Takes Control of Jarablus
    Tags:
    Syrian Kurds, military operation in Syria, Turkish Kurds, Kurds, military operation, Syrian conflict, border, Operation Euphrates Shield, Daesh, Jarablus, Azaz, Turkey, Syria, United States, Aleppo
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