On October 8, after long-lasting threats against the Syrian Kurds, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered a military campaign codenamed Operation Peace Spring in northeastern Syria. On the same day, Turkish aircraft bombed the headquarters of People's Protection Units (YPG) (banned in Turkey) in the city of Ras al-Ain (al-Hasakah province), that are part of the Pentagon-allied Syrian Democratic Forces. Almost simultaneously the Turkish territory opened heavy fire on YPG positions outside the city of Tell Abyad and the village of Ayn Issa (Raqqa province).
In the afternoon, the ground phase of the operation began. The advancing Turkish group mainly consists of armed formations of the Free Syrian Army, which are part of the so-called National army of Syria created by Ankara. By the end of the second day of the offensive, the troops reached the outskirts of Tell Abyad and partially laid siege to the town. The opposing Kurdish forces have not yet offered any heavy resistance and are retreating southwards.
The military and political leadership of the Syrian Kurds has announced a full mobilization of the male population to confront the "Turkish aggression", as well as its intention to seek help and political support from Syria and Russia in order to stop hostilities.
Most countries have condemned Turkey's Operation Peace Spring in Syria. In the coming days, an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council devoted to the events in Syria will take place in New York at the initiative of a number of Arab and European states. There is no doubt that Ankara's actions will be condemned by the international community, with the resolution to contain a demand for Turkey to stop the war. However, its leadership is unlikely to follow UN recommendations.
Official Washington was notified in advance of Ankara's plans during a telephone conversation between Recep Erdogan and Donald Trump, and before the hostilities began, the US military were evacuated from the border zone. The American President limited himself to a social media statement that Turkey's military operation was a "bad idea". Some US senators urged the government to impose tough financial sanctions against Ankara.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned against an escalation of the conflict. At the same time, he stressed that Turkey is in a life or death situation and has a lawful basis to be fearing for its security.
Syria had made harsh statements, calling the operation a "flagrant violation of international law" and declaring its determination to resist the invasion by fair means or foul. The military-political leadership of Iran reacted in an extremely negative way to the actions of Turkey, accusing the latter of aggression and got its military and militia formations fully operational. The command of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps urgently brought additional special forces units to the province of West Azerbaijan and set about conducting a military exercise in proximity to the border with Turkey.
Moscow takes a restrained position on the latest developments in Syria. Recep Erdogan, on his own initiative, has in advance informed Russian President Vladimir Putin of the operation's zero hour by phone. The Russian leader was sympathetic to the plans of his Turkish counterpart, urging him to carefully analyze the consequences of a military operation in Syria and prevent a situation that would disrupt efforts to resolve the crisis in that country.
Russia's mild reaction is quite justified: the disarmament of US-oriented illegal Kurdish formations (about 40 thousand fighters) meets the interests of Syria, Russia and Iran. Created under the auspices of the Pentagon and with its logistics assistance, the Kurdish People's Protection Units were designed to ensure the implementation of US plans in Syria. Along the way, the Kurds have significantly expanded the territory of their control, including all the areas of oil and natural gas production – the Syrian economy's key financial source.
Aided by the United States, the ruling circles of the Syrian Kurds have set an unvarnished course to separate the controlled region from the state. All the attempts by the Syrian and Russian leaders to convince the Kurdish politicians of the fallacy of their intentions proved unsuccessful, although at the occasional talks in Khmeimim, Moscow representatives explicitly specified to their counterparts the obvious unreliability and harmful consequences of the Kurds' unilateral loyalty to Washington. Official Damascus also failed to convince the Kurdish leaders of their policy's fallacy.
Sooner or later, the issue of disarming the illegal groups in North-Eastern Syria would be on the agenda of the final crisis settlement. This problem could be solved by peaceful means, if not for the US military presence in the country and continued American support for the Kurds. But this kind of "concern" seems to have lost its geopolitical significance. "The Moor has done his duty, let him go"...
There is no doubt that Turkey, in cooperation with its Syrian allies, will keep fulfilling the task to neutralize the military infrastructure of the Kurdish forces hostile to it in Northern Syria. The dangers of US intervention are negligible: Washington will never sacrifice its allied relations with the country, the most powerful military force on NATO's southern flank. Even despite its temporary military-political and economic partnership with Russia. Keeping the northern part of Syria under control, Turkey will not allow Iran's instituting control in this area with its far-reaching plans to assimilate the Syrian north for access to the Mediterranean Sea. And this is in the best military and political interests of the United States, Israel and the leading Arab countries of the Middle East.