Hours after lambasting the United States as “untrustworthy”, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has stated that the Turkish Army and by extrapolation its proxies, have no intention of attacking the Syrian Arab Army. He further stated that Ankara shares Syria’s goal of preserving the Arab Republic’s territorial unity. This is in-line with the commitment Turkey made as part of the Astana Group, when along with Russia and Iran, the three guarantors of peace vowed to uphold the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic.
Al-Masdar quotes Cavusoglu as saying,
“While they do not attack us, we do not need to consider them as our target. Up to this day, we have not taken such actions.
Damascus knows that the YPG militias (People’s Protection Units) want to divide Syria. Whereas Turkey and Damascus as well as the opposition forces are all support the territorial integrity of Syria within its current borders. We believe that the Syrian regime will not cooperate with terrorists”.
This comes shortly after Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated that the US is pursuing an illegal and counterproductive goal of trying to “divide” Syria. The aggregate effect of these statements means that as the two most vocal Astana partners, Turkey and Russia are speaking in a unified voice regarding US and by extrapolation, YPG attempts to divide the country. It is widely known that the US plans to implement its would-be partition of Syria by creating a Kurdish statelet based around the YPG-PYD. As Iran is also wholly committed to Syria’s territorial integrity, any imagined dispute between Iran and Turkey can also now safely be categorised as “fake news”.
The Turkish Foreign Minister is also correct in saying that Syria views any and all insurgents, militants/terrorists and secessionist movements as enemies of the Syrian Arab Republic. Previously, Syria openly condemned the SDF which is in reality a YPG dominated group controlled directly by the Pentagon. In this sense, while Syrian and Turkish officials are not openly speaking to one another, they too are nevertheless speaking with the same voice in this crucial area.
With reports that Turkey’s President Erdogan has arrived on the Syrian border to inspect his troops, it is becoming increasingly clear that Turkey and Russia are in close communication over Turkey’s anti-YPG Operation Olive Branch, as Russia’s military and intelligence is best suited to guarantee the safety of a high profile visitor like Erdogan to a hot conflict zone.
There will be no deal between the YPG and the Syrian Arab Army, nor will there likely be an accord between Ankara and Damascus. However, using Russia as a go-between, it would appear that Syria and Turkey are very much aware of one another’s mission, goal and possibly even troop movements.