Turkey wants global support for its "olive branch" offensive


Following meetings with Russia, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would not back down from the original plan to oust Kurdish fighters, a close ally of the United States, from Afrin. Recently, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington, DC intends to maintain an open-ended presence in Syria, not only to fight ISIL and al-Qaeda, but also to counter the influence of Iran, one of the strongest allies of the Syrian government.

Tillerson also indicated in his speech that regime change - once official us policy under Obama, until it wasn't - remains the goal in Syria - just a more distant goal.

Immediately following the U.S. announcement, now denied by the Secretary of State, Turkey had threatened to commence a military operation against the establishment of a new terrorist force along its border with Syria.

It is true that in earlier stages of the Syrian civil war the regime was fighting less against IS than against other Syria opposition groups, mostly as a reflection of geography and of who posed an immediate threat to the more heavily populated regime-controlled areas in the western half of the country.

"The Afrin operation will end when it reaches its goal like the Euphrates Shield did", Erdogan said while addressing an awards ceremony in Ankara on Monday.

Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist organisation and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decades-old insurgency in Turkey's largely Kurdish southeast.

"Ankara fears that, effectively, a leftist Kurdish statelet deeply hostile to Turkey will be formalized on their southern border", he said. Perhaps most notably of all, Turkey will not be enlisting the help of the United States to accomplish their mission, instead choosing to partner with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Russian Air Force.

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"We will discourage economic relationships between the Assad regime and any other country - Once [President Bashar al-Assad] is gone from power, the U.S. will gladly encourage the normalization of economic relationships between Syria and other nations", he went on.

Erdogan has also pledged to drive the Syrian Defence Forces from the eastern town of Manbij, which lies in a much larger area of northern Syria controlled by the SDF.

Afrin would be a "quagmire from which the Turkish army will only exit after suffering great losses", said a statement from the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces umbrella group.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has said Turkey wants to create a 30-kilometer (20-mile) deep "secure zone" in Afrin.

The violence has left 40,000 thousand civilians, soldiers and armed fighters dead, costing the country hundreds of billions of dollars.

The Turkish army said it was taking every precaution to prevent harm to civilians. Akar said Turkey respects Syria's territorial integrity and would remain committed to the negotiations between Iran and Russian Federation regarding Syria. Additionally, up until December of 2017, the US Government is also known to have directly funded/armed the Kurdish YPG inside Syria - the same group both Turkey and the rebels are now trying to take out.

When Putin sent troops into Syria in 2015, his US counterpart Barack Obama predicted they'd end up in a quagmire.