With clear words that reflect the true situation over the past five years and the true intentions of the Turkish President, the American former chief of the fight against the Islamist state appointed by President Obama and who served under the current President, Brett H. McGurk “unravels” Turkey’s plans in Syria. It should be noted that this is a person whose arrest had been demanded by members of Erdogan’s AK Party .
More specifically, according to an article that Brett H. McGurk in the internationally renowned Foreign affairs magazine, Turkey since the US demanded assistance in dealing with ISIS in Syria in 2014, showed reluctance and denial.
Indeed, the US official point out in his article that President Obama has asked Erdogan repeatedly to control his country’s borders with Syria and to prevent ISIS moving to and from Syria via the Turkish border.
Faced with this Turkish indifference, the United States decided to work with the Syrian Kurds, and in particular with the YPG organization, which had earlier defended the border Kurdish town of Kobani against the ISIS attacks launched by Turkey.
Although according to the Americans, the YPG organization, which later evolved into the Arab-Kurdish military force SDF, had no direct relationship with the Kurdish PKK organization operating in Turkey, the US government received Turkey’s protests for the SDF and has for some time limited its logistical support to the Arab-Kurdish military force.
At the same time, the US tried to convince the Turks to work together to liberate Al Raqqah from ISIS, building on the forces of the Free Syrian Army that are allies of Turkey.
Ultimately, as the Americans appreciated, such a combined operation involving US and Turkish forces and the Syrian opposition would require the engagement of at least 20,000 US soldiers, leading the Trump administration to abandon the plan in May 2017.
As President Trump decided to liberate the city of Raqqah by strengthening SDF forces by providing them with the necessary equipment and supplies while enhancing the US forces on the Syrian border with Turkey in order to prevent any possible invasion by the Turkish Armed Forces into northern Syria, which is primarily controlled by the Kurds.
And while all of what Brett H. McGurk mentions in his article is pretty much common knowledge, the American former high-ranking officials reveal Erdogan’s real plan for the wider area of the Fertile Crescent, Syria, and Iraq.
According to Brett H. McGurk, the invasion of Turkey and its Islamic allies in the Kurdish Canton of Afrin has nothing to do with a real and immediate threat that the Kurds of this region may pose for Turkey, but with Erdogan’s ambitions to expand Turkey’s borders into Syria and Iraq.
According to Erdogan, the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923, has wronged Turkey on the territorial issue, since it severely restricted its area and set new and unfair terms in relation to Erdogan border. Erdogan wants to correct this mistake, this “injustice” by exploiting opportunities like in the case of Afrin, to extend Turkey’s border to what the Turkish president sees as the natural limit of his country.
According to Brett H. McGurk, the former US senior official has personally heard Erdogan say that Turkey needs a 400-mile “Security Zone” from the Aleppo area of northern Syria to Mosul of Iraq, the old Ottoman provinces in Syria and Iraq.
As Brett H. McGurk points out, in 2016 Erdogan deployed military forces in northern Iraq in the Mosul area without the permission of the official government of Baghdad, while new Turkish military forces did not deploy in other parts of Iraq due to the reaction of the United States .
The next step for Erdogan, according to Brett H. McGurk, is the expansion of the “Turkish Security Zone” he has set up in Afrin along the border with Syria at a depth of 20 miles, namely the creation of a 650 km long belt 32 km by displacing the Kurdish population from this region as he did in the case of Afrin where 150,000 Kurds have left their homes.
If the US let Erdogan implement this project, Brett H. McGurk concluded in his article, then the region would experience a new disaster with multiple consequences, since a Turkish invasion of northern Syria would result in displacement to the south and to Iraq of millions of Kurds, the dissolution of the SDF, the only credible, US-led military force in the region, and the creation of a vacuum that will be assaulted by extremist Islamic organizations such as ISIS.