Turkish Forces Enter Syria — How Will Russia Respond?
21 January, 2015
Turkey has seized the ISIS-controlled town of Jarabulus, but faced no resistance, according to reports:
Eyewitnesses to the incursion reported that the Turkish forces have not encountered any resistance from ISIS fighters in the area. These reports once again raise the question of possible collaboration between Turkey and ISIS aimed at halting the advance of the Kurdish militias in north Syria.
The fact that Turkey faced zero resistance is suspicious, but even more troubling is Erdogan's level of desperation. The Kurds are slowly retaking northern Syria from ISIS. For Turkey this is an unacceptable reality. As Patrick Cockburn wrote earlier this week, "Turkey is getting close to the point where it has to become militarily engaged in the war for northern Syria or become a marginal player."
Stratfor also predicted a Turkish incursion into Syria. Earlier this week Stratfor wrote, "In what could be a sign of this intent, Turkish minesweeping vehicleshave started clearing mines along a section of the border near the Syrian town of Jarabulus, which the Islamic State controls."
But the big question now is: How will Russia respond? According to Stratfor, Russia has agreed not to interfere:
According to Stratfor sources, Russia and the United States have discussed the plan,and Russia has agreed not to obstruct Turkey's efforts so long as Ankara does not try to expand the buffer zone to the Mediterranean Sea — a stipulation Turkey has reportedly acquiesced to. Our sources also said liaison officers from Turkey, Russia and the United States will coordinate with one another to prevent cases of accidental fire or, in the event that they do occur, to avoid any escalation between Turkish and Russian forces.
Time will tell.
RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY: ISLAMIST REINFORCEMENTS COME TO SYRIA FROM TURKEY
“Unfortunately, in recent days, it’s especially noticeable that ahead of the planned start of the inter-Syrian negotiations in Geneva the activities of terrorist groups have intensified. Obviously, they’re trying to turn the tide in their favor on the battlefield,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said during a briefing in Moscow on Jan.21.
“While all parties involved pin their hopes on the start of a meaningful and… inclusive dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition, external forces continue to help militants in Syria, including terrorist groups, providing them with arms and ammunition,” the Russian official stressed.