At times like this when something unusual happens, there are common answers people living in this geography can give to the question of “Why such a thing happened?”
When something unusual happens, most people think of the same thing.
I am referring to the attack carried out yesterday in Syria’s Manbij which killed four U.S. soldiers and injured three.
When we first heard about this attack, most of us probably asked whether this was another act to influence U.S. President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. soldiers from Syria.
I want to draw your attention to one point regarding the upcoming days.
Some black propaganda centers, which have been trying to associate Turkey with the Daesh terror organization from the beginning may start a new smearing campaign against Ankara by using this attack. Especially those who try to confuse U.S. President Trump may resort to such a method.
Trump himself numerously stated that Daesh is a project.
He articulated this and went as far as saying that his predecessor Barack Obama and his elections rival Hillary Clinton had established this terrorist organization together.
Moreover, he repeated this claim even after he got elected as president.
Now this question comes to mind:
Since Daesh claimed responsibility for yesterday’s attack, how will this affect Trump’s decision to withdraw?
Under normal conditions, since this attack was carried out in Manbij’s city center, and since there is no other entity other than U.S. soldiers and terrorists of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), who are still present in the city under U.S. s protection, there are no other parties to hold responsible for negligence or weakness. Furthermore, under normal conditions, the only sensible thing to do in the face of such an attack is to quicken the withdrawal process.
However, in northern Syria where one can tell the good from the bad with any certainty, it is not possible to say that everything happens within a frame of rationality.
We see that the news of an attack in Manbij came right after the “safe zone” discussions.
Turkey has responded to Trump’s suggestion to establish a safe zone and said, “We can do this” at the highest level.
President Erdoğan’s statements on Tuesday can be also understood as “If we can’t do it, we won’t let anybody else do it.” It is obvious, therefore, that there is a hidden meaning in those words.
Ankara, as has been the case for many recent issues, is engaging in “open diplomacy.” Meaning that it is playing with its cards out in the open and is not hiding its position and stance.
We can tell that Ankara resorted to this method in order to pressure Washington, who knows full well that it cannot make any fundamental decisions regarding any issue, including the safe zone, without Turkey’s approval.
On the other hand, the northeastern Syria plan presented by Ankara through the article written by Erdoğan for the New York Times provides an excellent perspective for a solution. Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın’s following words may give an idea about this context:
“We, together with the Global Coalition against Daesh, can do this without giving terrorist organizations any chance or grounds, and in a way that prevents civilian causalities within the framework of Syria’s territorial integrity and political unity. Therefore, if we eliminate this terrorist organization here, we can implement this plan more easily on legitimate grounds by putting local actors into action. This is the message that we have given to our U.S. counterparts.”
Against the destructive outcomes of the operations carried out by Russia and the Damascus regime in Aleppo, Hama and many other Syrian cities; and the operations carried out by the U.S. and YPG terrorists, especially in Raqqa on the one hand, and the improvements made for the normalization of life and the fact that cities were protected in the places Turkey carried out its operations on the other, we have a good example for what is going to happen in the east of the Euphrates.
How will the U.S. react to the idea that a 32-km-deep safe zone suggested by Trump will be controlled by Turkey?
Yesterday, Chief of General Staff Yaşar Güler had a meeting with his American counterpart Dunford in Brussels.
The Americans probably explained to Güler what they mean by safe zone and how they approach a safe zone under Turkey’s control.
We need to be cautious at this point.
It is both early and difficult to tell that when the U.S. proposed the idea to establish a safe zone, it meant that it will be established in the way Turkey wants it to be set-up.
As a matter of fact, if there wasn’t any pressure coming from Ankara, the Americans would probably be working on a United Nations Force deployment in that region to protect the YPG against Turkey, as was suggested yesterday by the PYD’s so-called spokesperson Aldar Halil.
Since Ankara says that “it can only happen if it’s under our control”, what will be America’s next move?