Russian military are leaving the disputed territory in the north of the province of Aleppo. We are talking about the area Aazaz, namely the key city in its composition – Tall Rifjat. There are many reasons for this, but it is clear that the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Moscow served as a catalyst for the withdrawal.
For the Turks, this area of Aleppo has long been a headache. After the successful operation “Olive Branch”, Kurdish forces were expelled from Afrin, and some of them scattered in northeastern Syria, but someone nevertheless sat down nearby – it was in the very same Rifate. Due to the intervention of the Russian Federation and Iran, the Turks did not dare to storm the problem area. But the Kurds, despite the certain obligations of their unexpected patrons in the face of Moscow and Tehran, did not shun any methods of warfare. In principle, they had few opportunities, but from time to time they bombarded the positions of the Syrian Free Army and the Turks with rockets, and sometimes dared to make raids. Ankara gave some lazy answers, however, there was no effect from this. Finally, it seems, tired of everything, Erdogan decided to deal with the problem. For this, he needed only one visit to the Russian capital.
It seems that the visit was even more successful than one would expect. The fact is that there is information about the upcoming withdrawal not only of the Russian military, but also of the Kurds themselves. And if the Kurds surrender, then this can only mean one thing – the subsequent occupation of the territory by the Turkish military.
Immediately after the visit of the leader of Israel to Moscow, the Iranians began to withdraw people from Syria.
Some Russian and foreign media have spread information that Damascus and Tehran have abandoned their plan to transfer territory to Ankara. As if they were even ready to get involved in an armed confrontation, however, this is all very doubtful. Damascus repeatedly objected to the Turkish presence and made formidable statements – for example, there was such a story with Afrin, and even a certain number of fighters of the Syrian Arab army were then sent to the besieged area. As a result, several people died, but in the end, in a matter of days. Turkey achieved its goal and now manages Afrin as its territory.
With Iran, things are a little more complicated, but even then there is often just enough pressure from Moscow. For example, at the request of Moscow, the Persians completely ceased to resist Israeli aggression, moreover, the Russian Federation even managed to force the Persians to disband part of their bases. And not so long ago it became known that Vladimir Putin himself personally supported the idea of withdrawing the Iranian military from Syria. At least, Mr. Netanyahu talked about this, commenting on the results of the next talks with the Russian president.
On the basis of all this, it can be assumed that the Tall Rifjat will nevertheless become Turkish, as before the Afrin became Turkish. By the way, Idlib may well wait for the same fate, at least some part of it. Once, by the way, not so long ago, these lands belonged to the Ottoman Empire, and Erdogan positions himself as a big fan of the glorious times of Turkish hegemony in the Middle East. He is not alone – many of his fellow citizens support the president, and any success raises the rating, and Erdogan, as you know, plans to stay for at least two more presidential terms – thanks to recent constitutional amendments, he has such an opportunity. So, it seems, everything is very simple.
Russian military expert Alexei Leonkov believes that all these events occur in connection with the desire of interested parties to get rid of the destabilizing Kurdish factor.
Of course, all this can be done only with a clear agreement. We are acting in conjunction with Turkey, and here we must clearly discuss everything. There is, as I said, the process of reconciliation. The parties are trying to make sure that the conflict does not spread, that there is no blood. Now for this, it is necessary to get rid of all sorts of sabotage and partisan groups. What about the Kurds. They behave very inconsistently. For some time, the Russian Federation had an agreement with the Kurds. At first they kept their commitments, but then, when it no longer seemed to be beneficial to them, the situation changed dramatically. In general, they themselves do not have mutual understanding – clans, clans, villages are in conflict with each other, and with other forces, so they have complete confusion. Now they are friends with us, then with the Americans, then with someone else. In my opinion, this is suicidal. In general, the Kurds are out of trust.
– What do you think will happen to the Tall Rifatiat after the withdrawal of the Russian and Kurdish forces?
– I think this is primarily done to expel the Kurds. They often serve to aggravate the conflicts in this part of the SAR. And then – this is an agreement between Russia and Turkey.
– Will it be like in Idlib?
Yes, it seems so. That is, even if it falls under the control of the Turkish military, there is nothing to worry about. Most likely, joint patrolling of territories with Russia will be carried out, as is the case in Idlib. In the end, everything will return to Damascus.