After Putin declared war on Ukraine, Western countries began imposing sanctions on Moscow, but these sanctions have not affected Russia significantly or even isolated it internationally, since there are pivotal countries that refuse to participate in these sanctions, but rather they have negatively reflected on them, which led to the emergence of a dispute among EU countries about the feasibility of sanctions on Moscow, which may affect the conflict between the West and Russia in Ukraine. Therefore, the US began to pressure OPEC, especially the Gulf countries, to increase production and reduce global oil prices, and to find new ways to transport gas to Europe, whether through North Africa or through the Middle East. Turkey may be a major player as a transit point for transporting gas to Europe, in addition to its geopolitical position, which increases the effectiveness of Western sanctions against Russia. From here, Turkey began to exploit Russian-Ukrainian war to achieve its ambitions in Syria. Among these ambitions is to win international approval for settlement projects in northern Syria under the pretext of returning one million refugees to areas which are theirs, and to win the Western green light for a new invasion into Syria’s north. All of this is part of the implementation of its colonial scheme.
The US recent decision to lift sanctions on the Autonomous Administration regions may be an initial step to find a way to transport gas and oil from southern Kurdistan (northern Iraq) passing through northern Syria and Turkey towards Europe. This step, if implemented, will be objected by Turkey, Russia and Iran, because such a step will grant the Autonomous Administration a kind of economic independence and could eventually lead to its political recognition. Turkey may not allow the region’s gas and oil to pass through its territory unless it wins a green light to take control over northern Syria at a depth of 30 km. By lifting sanctions and allowing foreign companies to invest in the region, the US may aim to push Turkey to threaten the region in order to collide with Russia, and it really started to move to prevent the economic revival of the region, as it increased the pace of destabilizing the region by intensifying its drone attacks and terrorizing the people of the region, in addition to increasing the frequency of bombing in order to prevent foreign companies from entering the Autonomous Administration areas. Turkey is also taking advantage of the request of Finland and Sweden to join NATO in order to win international legitimacy for its settlements in northern Syria, and to gain the Western green light for a new military operation in the Autonomous Administration areas. The West’s need for Turkey in their conflict with Russia on the Ukrainian arena may give it the green light, which is what Erdogan is betting on. In a televised speech, he said, “We have made our preparations, completed our plans for the operation, and have given the necessary instructions,” adding that the attack may begin “as soon as possible, today or tomorrow,” adding, “We will carry out this operation on the ground and from the air,” noting that it will take place east of the Euphrates.
The American green light may not include the entire north and east of Syria with a depth of 30 km at the present time, but rather certain areas outside its control in order to satisfy Turkey and create Turkish-Russian differences. Therefore, the area between Girê Spî (Tel Abyad) and Jarablus, i.e. Kobani, may be the target area at the present time, in order to link the areas occupied by the Turkish army in Serêkaniyê (Ras al-Ain) and Girê Spî (Tel Alyad) with the so-called Euphrates Shield area. This region has come under Russian influence after the last US withdrawal in 2019. Will Russia allow Turkey to launch a new invasion in exchange for Turkey to not involve in the Ukrainian war or at least take a position of neutrality in the Western-Russian conflict? Or will it work to bargain the targeted region with those in southern countryside of Idlib, the M4 Highway specifically the region among Saraqib – Ariha – Jisr al-Shughur?
Russia may prevent Turkey from carrying out any new military operation, since Turkey is a member of NATO, and the areas controlled by Turkey are indirectly considered areas of Western influence. The Russian goal at the present time remains to preserve its relationship with Turkey and not allow the West to influence this relationship, which may have a negative impact on it in the Ukrainian crisis.
In this context, it is possible for the US to grant the green light to Turkey to carry out a new invasion of northern Syria, but this light will be linked to the Ukrainian crisis and Turkey’s relationship with Russia, since the US and European countries have so far failed to bring Russia to its knees, but the sanctions it imposed on Russia are now being negatively reflected on it. Therefore, it has become necessary for the West to lure Turkey to its side in its political and economic conflict with Russia.
As for Russia, it is fully aware that Turkey is not able to get out of the Western mantle and that it will not remain neutral for long regarding the Ukrainian crisis, especially that Turkey supports Ukraine militarily through providing it with drones, and that Turkey’s occupation of more lands will create future crises with it. Therefore, it has two options, either to bargain one area for another, or force the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to allow the regime to return to northern and eastern Syria on the pretext that this will prevent Turkey from invading the area. The Turkish policy becomes clear, especially with regard to the Ukrainian crisis.
Finally, in all cases, the region remains vulnerable to Turkish threats or bargaining at the expense of the peoples of the region, and all of this is related to the goals and interests of the major countries. The option of resistance and unifying the national ranks towards Turkish ambitions remains the only option and standing in the face of the Turkish occupation state which intends to establish and expand a belt on its southern border consisting of its loyalties. This resistance may lead to the prevention of the displacement of the people of the region like what had happened in Afrin, Girê Spî (Tel Abyed) and Serê Kaniyê (Ras al-Ain) after the Turkish invasion.