Impact on Issues

Bashar al-Assad government decision regarding the further Turkish military actions regarding the Federation of Northern Syria and the Kurds (critical uncertainty)
Iran position considering a Turkish military action in Syria against the Federation of Northern Syria and the Kurds (critical uncertainty)

➚➚ ➃  Turkey acting militarily against the Federation of Northern Syria in Afrin

➚ ➚    Iran influence
➚  ➄ Syrian future

➚  ➃ Israel perception of threat

➚  Middle East Tension

➚  Russia influence trial
 U.S. influence trial

Turkey President Erdogan old the parliamentary group of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Oct. 24 that:

“Our operation in Idlib is nearly complete. Ahead of us is Afrin. These are threats to us and we will never make concessions to such threats.”

For previous and other signals check the

Horizon Scanning Board

Turkey has repeatedly insisted that it would not allow a Kurdish polity to form on its southern border. Turkey has already started positioning troops, which entered Syria near the Bab al-Hawa border crossing on 15 October, as seen previously.

Furthermore, many regional and international factors are likely to embolden a Turkish actions against the Kurds in Syria. First, we have the so far victorious operations against the Kurds in Iraq, carried out by the Iraqi government and supported by Iran, notably through the IRGC Quds. Relatedly, we have the currently excellent  relationships between Turkey and Iran both regarding the Kurds in Iraq and considering the Gulf crisis.

Related

Towards Renewed War in Syria? The Kurds and Turkey

“The Middle East Powder Keg and the Great Battle for Raqqa

The Battle of Raqqa, the Kurds and Turkey

At War against the Islamic State – A Global Theatre of War

Third, we have the international generalised laissez-faire regarding the Kurdish-Iraqi dispute then conflict, with the notable exception of Israel which alone stood by the Kurds, where the whole international community showed that their primary concern was to have to face the least possible turmoil, and that they would bow to the stronger side, even with little pretence of dialogue and negotiations.

It is thus likely that Turkey will see little restraint in attacking Afrin and in doing militarily its utmost to thwart any further development of the Kurdish-led autonomous polity within Syria.

As previously, the answer of the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad will be critical. The position of Iran, an ally of the Syrian government, which is clearly becoming a rising influential player in Mesopotamia, will be as critical.

Israel is very likely to pay a heightened interest to the evolution of the situation. As operations move closer to its territory, it may consider with less leniency inaction by regional and non-regional powers, such as Russia or the U.S.. A key uncertainty here would be too the relationships between Israel and Turkey and the trust between the two countries.

Turkish military’s Idlib operation almost completed, next is Afrin: Erdoğan

ANKARA The Turkish Armed Forces’ (TSK) operation in Syria’s Idlib province is almost complete and the next military offensive could target Afrin, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, referring to the canton of Syria under the control of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). “Our operation in Idlib is nearly complete.

About the author: Dr Helene Lavoix (MSc PhD Lond)

Dr Helene Lavoix, PhD Lond (International Relations), is the Director of The Red (Team) Analysis Society. She is specialised in strategic foresight and warning for national and international security issues. Her current focus is on Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Science, and Security. She teaches at Master level at SciencesPo-PSIA.

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