The movement in the South
The Turkish operation “Shield of the Euphrates, which began on 24 August, continued to develop in a southerly direction. The forces of the “Free Syrian army” (FSA) supported by Turkey has moved 10 km inland. As predicted by earlier experts, the opposition has faced resistance from Kurdish forces in the South from the border town of Jerablus. Lingering battles between the “Free Syrian army” supported by Turkish artillery, aircraft, heavy armored vehicles and Kurdish began in the towns of al-Bayda and Yusuf-Bike.
Forces on both sides parallel to the move to the West to the town of al-Bab. For the Kurds this town is crucial, as it will allow them to combine controlled areas in the East and West of the country. Turkish troops trying to prevent it. At the time of publication of the text of the city of al-Bab was under the control of the IG (banned in Russia). However, according to unconfirmed reports, the militants left the city and retreated deep into the occupied territories.
According to a senior lecturer in the Department of political science of the HSE, Leonid Isaev, al-Bab can become the scene of clashes between Kurds and Turkey. According to Isayev, Washington, which supports the Kurds, and the Turks, trying to prevent and trying to slow down the advance of the Kurds by diplomatic means.
As said Isayev, a variant in which the Kurds through al-Bab join the cantons are not fully satisfied with Turkey. “Pro-Turkish territories would be cut off from the rest of Syria and Turkey will lose in the impact on the Syrian conflict,” summarizes the orientalist.
Power and loss
The WSJ reports that in Syria at the moment are 380 soldiers of the Turkish special forces, 40 tanks and around a thousand Syrian rebels. Earlier, Reuters said on 5 thousand Syrian militants, acting with the support of Turkey.
Forces of people’s protection Units” is unknown. In addition to Kurdish and Pro-Turkish forces in adjacent to the Jerablus areas are the units of “the Military Council Manija” (a battalion of “the Northern sun” and “Army of revolutionaries”). The military Council adheres to the Kurdish position, but the units operate only in the area of the city and not move to the West.
According to a conservative Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak, during the operation “Shield of the Euphrates killed more than a hundred militants “Islamic state”. Losses from Kurdish and Pro-Turkish groups less. “The people’s protection units” have lost in four days of clashes more than 25 fighters. The FSA and the Turkish armed forces — two. Turkey during the offensive, lost three tanks.
Lavrov and Kerry agree
The Syrian issue was Central in the negotiations of the Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of state John Kerry. However, the solid arrangements, they failed to achieve. The meeting was held on Friday in Geneva. They meet regularly, last met on 28 July in Laos, and before that in Moscow on 15 July, after which spoke several times on the phone. The negotiations lasted all day. In Geneva, negotiators spoke for nearly 13 hours, but, as in previous meeting, has not announced the achievement of a final agreement.
At a press conference, Kerry has painted a gloomy situation of what is happening in Syria which started in March, the reduction of military action are not followed in practice. “We stand on the threshold of total war the Syrian regime and opposition groups,” Kerry said. — We’re standing around, Aleppo continues to be under siege and bombardirovschika regime and its allies, including Iran, Russia and Hizbollah. Only mode today forced the surrender of Derail after four years of brutal siege and continues to take territory in the suburbs of Damascus, which is in contradiction with the previously announced cease-fire.”
According to Lavrov and Kerry, they managed to bring closer positions, but to work out their proposals will have experts this week in Geneva.
According to Kerry and Lavrov, the conversation again went on already known items: the provision of access for humanitarian missions, the observance of the ceasefire, the disengagement of opposition groups supported by the United States, from terrorist groups, mainly Jabhat al-Nusra” (banned in Russia).
Lavrov said that the United States first gave Russia the list of opposition groups that support. The parties also agreed to exert pressure on its partners to eliminate the obstacles to the sustainable implementation of the cessation of hostilities.
Attitude towards Turkey
In Geneva, Lavrov and Kerry did not criticize Turkey for the Syrian operation. Kerry acknowledged that the United States has provided some Kurdish troops help, but at the same time Washington does not support an independent Kurdish initiative” (the creation of a Kurdish state). Both expressed the hope that all parties, including the Kurds, participated in the negotiations. “The Kurds need to remain part of the Syrian state, and Kurds must be part of the solution, not the factor that will be used to split Syria,” said Lavrov.
Now to negotiate an impact and start of the operation of Turkey and the new relations between Moscow and Ankara, the head of the Center for Arab and Islamic studies, Institute of Oriental studies, Vasily Kuznetsov. In his opinion, to expect at this stage of the conflict, the breakthrough agreement is not: now the conflict is largely determined on the ground, for example in Aleppo. If there success will be achieved by the Syrian authorities, the opposition will be in a worse position, and it will be to push, forcing it to return to negotiations, the expert believes.
The entire course of the Syrian conflict shows that each of the parties on the ground consider diplomatic efforts as a pause, which allows you to change the situation, says the expert. In his opinion, that’s the main problem: neither Moscow nor the Western partners do not sufficiently leverage on its partners inside the conflict.