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"By August 2016, Turkey’s government felt impelled to order military operations 
that have led to Turkish control over large parts of northern Syria. 
Culminating with the recent assault on the Afrin region, the primary focus of 
these operations has been to prevent the YPG from seizing more territory along 
the Turkish border....

"In the first weeks of this intervention many analysts tried to establish 
whether the Turkish military had an exit strategy that would enable it to leave 
Idlib, Afrin and north Aleppo province once it fulfilled its goals. Yet 18 
months after the first Turkish tanks entered the Syrian city of Jarabulus as 
part of Operation Euphrates Shield it is increasingly clear that a swift exit 
from Syria is impossible....

"In northern Syria a partnership is therefore emerging between Diyanet 
officials and Turkish army officers who have become accustomed to governing 
large populations as part of a semi-colonial venture. With Turkey’s strategic 
dilemmas making a withdrawal unlikely any time soon, this network of Syria 
hands within Diyanet and the military is developing a vested interest in 
maintaining long-term control over Turkey’s unexpected empire in Syria."


I don't agree with the word "unexpected" in the title of this article.  Turkey 
has been determined to suppress the Rojava revolution from its inception.  
Initially it used various reactionary Syrian rebel groups to attack Rojava.  
When this failed Turkish troops were sent into Syria - first into the 
Jarablus/al-Bab area, then into Idlib, then into Afrin.

A full scale invasion of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria was 
deterred for a time by fear of the response of the US and Russia.

The US needed the Syrian Democratic Forces to fight ISIS, and therefore warned 
Turkey against attacking SDF controlled areas in north-eastern Syria.

Russia controls the airspace over north-western Syria.  This deterred a Turkish 
invasion of Afrin - until Russia and Turkey made a deal.

The Assad regime may not be entirely happy with the deal, since there is no 
guarantee that Turkey will ever leave the area it has occupied.  This may 
explain why a small contingent of pro-Assad militia has gone to Afrin to oppose 
the Turkish invasion.

Chris Slee

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