Political analyst to ST: The so-called US-Turkish “Safe zone” means nothing in strategic terms

ST

The researcher in political and military affairs Basem al-Shihawi has underscored that there are both political and military reasons behind the terrorist organizations’ repeated drone attacks against Syrian military posts in Hama and Hmeimim airbase in Lattakia.

He told the Syria Times e-newspaper that terrorists groups holed up in Idlib province would never launch such attacks without Turkey’s permission.

“First of all, it is needless to say that terrorist groups in Idlib province are controlled by Turkey, and that they would never launch such attacks without it’s permission, this is a key point in order to analyse those attacks,” he said.

The researcher added: “Ankara wants those attacks to take place in order to blackmail Moscow politically since it demonstrates Ankara’s influence over terrorists, and Ankara hopes that the drone attacks will force Russia to yield to Erdogan’s demands regarding the awaited constitutional committee and other political goals in Syria.”

He made it clear that the military reasons for the terrorists’ drone attacks are to limit the Russian Air Force’s ability to conduct efficient airstrikes against Al-Qaeda affiliated groups, to hinder Hmeimim’s role in supporting Syrian Air force, to force the Russian military command to focus more on protecting its military base, and to put more pressure over Russian and Syrian anti-air defences.

“As for the continuous attacks being carried out by terrorists despite the de-escalation zone agreement, let’s all remember that the terrorists never abided by it, and this is the reason the Syrian army launched a military operation in order to liberate northern Hama in the first place,” al-Shihawi stressed.

He referred to the fact that suicide drone attacks never stopped since the very arrival of the Russian Air Force to Syria.

“Time and again the attacks became more intense as the terrorists not only started to launch more drones, but more sophisticated ones according to the Russian Defence Ministry who declared, after examining shutdown drones, that they are based on western technology,” the researcher stated.

Erdogan wants to achieve victory over the Kurds in Syria

Regarding the so-called American-Turkish “Safe zone”, al-Shihawi declared that besides being illegal, it means nothing in strategical terms.

“Considering the fact that this region is under American occupation with the help of the so-called ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’, Washington can give whatever promises to Turkey, but is that what Erdogan actually wants?”

He believes that Erdogan’s goal is not a “safe zone”.

“What Erdogan really wants, in order to secure his position against his political rivals inside Turkey and the unsatisfied Turkish military, is a clear victory over the Kurds in Syria, a victory that allows Erdogan to conduct a demographic change in northern Syria, planting pro-Turkey Syrian refugees all over the area, which is something neither Washington is able to give, nor Turkey is capable to achieve,” the researcher affirmed.

He concluded by saying: “The most important factor is neither of the above mentioned, the most important factor is the Syrian Arab Army and its allies that are getting closer from ending Idlib issue, and the moment Idlib is liberated, the occupied east and north will be the focal point for the Syrian Army, a game changer that is going to hinder all Turkish and American plans very soon.”

Interviewed by: Basma Qaddour

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