As Donald Trump ordered US forces to withdraw from Syria, Turkey quickly moved in to fill the void, putting in application a plan that had long been in the works—ethnically cleansed all Kurds from its southern border. In his obsession to eradicate Kurdish communities along the Turkish border, whether in Syria or in Iraq, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, rolled his tanks over Northern Syria. Having Turkish army in the north, the Syrian army in the south, the Kurds once again have fallen victims to superpower rivalries.
The Syrian army—for now—will be confined to sending verbal rebukes to the Turkish invasion. After all, Assad is now on the verge of reconquering all his country’s territory as the Kurds have invited his army to come to the rescue. Thanks to Russia, its benefactor, and Erdogan, estranged friends and now adversaries of convenience, Syria will ultimately regain control of its own northern border. Russia has leverage over both Turkey and Syria. The Americans? In this political chess game, it’s impossible to influence the theater of war without having your infantry division on the ground.
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