Assessments

In Syria, Turkey Will Pay the Price for an Imperfect Buffer

Oct 14, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
This photo shows fighters with the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army gathered near the Turkish border in northeastern Syria on Oct. 11, 2019.

Fighters with the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army gather near the Turkish border in northeastern Syria on Oct. 11, 2019. Turkey has long sought to establish a buffer zone in Syria to protect itself from the effects of that country's civil war.

(ANAS ALKHARBOUTLI/picture alliance via Getty Images)

The Turkish military is moving into Syria's northeast as Ankara chases its strategy of expanding a buffer space between Turkey and Syria's civil war. But while Turkey will succeed in building up this buffer zone from Afrin in the west to Iraq in the east, it will also pay a price. Turkey's actions will increase tensions not only between it and Syria and Syria's Russian and Iranian backers, but also between it and the United States, the region's former protector, and Europe. Meanwhile, an insurgency by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) will complicate Ankara's bid to establish a truly safe zone for Syrian refugees and Turkish security interests....

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