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Apparently the Kurds have struck a deal with Assad's government.

The Kurdish-led administration in northern Syria said the Syrian army would deploy along the entire length of the border as part of the agreement.

This deployment would assist the SDF in countering "this aggression and liberating the areas that the Turkish army and mercenaries had entered", it said in a statement.

The move also "paves the way to liberate the rest of the Syrian cities occupied by the Turkish army such as Afrin", it added.

The deal represents a significant shift in alliances for the Kurds, after losing the military protection of their long-term US partners in the area.

I think the Syrian army is no match for Turkey without the Russian airforce (and navy) though.

Russia has implicitly condemned Turkey's invasion, but in rather non-specific terms. On Oct 12, Putin said:

“Everyone who is illegitimately on the territory of any state, in this case Syria, must leave this territory. This applies to all states,” Putin told state news agencies RT, Sky News Arabia and Al Arabiya in an interview, according to Reuters.

On Oct 15, the Russian position seems to have hardened a bit:

Russia called Turkey’s military incursion into northeast Syria “unacceptable” and said on Tuesday the operation had to be limited in time and scale, a rare broadside that suggests Moscow’s patience with Ankara is wearing thin. [...]

“We didn’t agree with the Turks any questions about their presence in Syria and we don’t approve of their actions,” envoy Alexander Lavrentiev told reporters in Abu Dhabi during an official visit there by Putin.

He said Turkish troops had the right under an agreement struck between Damascus and Ankara in 1998, the Adana pact, to temporarily push up to a maximum of 10 km (6 miles) into Syria to conduct counter-terrorism operations.

“But it doesn’t give them (Turkish troops) the right to remain on Syrian territory permanently and we are opposed to Turkish troops staying on Syrian territory permanently,” he said.

But has Russia given any sign they'll militarily support Assad's army move north against Turkey? That would basically mean war between the two countries, and I think Russia doesn't want that.

According to NYmag:

Russia has also reportedly agreed to establish a no-fly zone over northern Syria.

I'm not sure Turkey would agree with that, and if they don't how is that not going to lead to the two air forces fighting each other?

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Well, insofar it looks like Russia hopes the presence of its ground troops will give Turkey pause from pressing their attacks, at least in some areas:

The Russian military announced Tuesday that its troops are patrolling the Syrian-Turkey border town of Manbij, immediately backfilling a vacuum left by U.S. troops who departed on Monday.

Russian military police were patrolling “along the line of contact between the Syrian Arab Republic and Turkey,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement, and are “interacting” with Turkey, which last week launched a ground and air assault on U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria.

Some Russians posted videos of themselves in the former US base in Manbij, so this event seems real enough. However according to another source, these were just Russian mercenaries (at least in that video)

The man in the video was identified by Times of London reporter Tom Parfitt as Russian war correspondent Oleg Blokhin, known to be following the Wagner Group in northeastern Syria.

U.S. troops formerly based at the camp willingly left it to Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group, a Russian private military company who support the Syrian military operation, a SDF official near Manbij told Business Insider's Mitch Prothero.

There are also some photos of armored vehicles flying a large Russian flags in Manbij. I guess that makes more credible the claim of official Russian forces being present there.

Asked about this, Erdogan said he didn't mind the Russian presence, but still vowed to retaliate against Assad's army:

Asked about the deployment of Syrian forces to the northern town of Manbij, Erdogan, who has backed Syrian rebels fighting to oust Assad, said he was not bothered.

“The regime entering Manbij is not very negative for me. Why? It’s their lands after all. But, what is important to me is that the terrorist organization does not remain there,” Erdogan said, referring to the YPG.

“I told this to Mr Putin as well. If you are clearing Manbij of terrorist organizations, then go ahead, you or the regime can provide all the logistics. But if you are not going to do this, the people there are telling us to save them,” he added.

Erdogan also said that an attack from Manbij on Tuesday, which killed one Turkish soldier, was launched by the Syrian government, and that Turkey “made the regime pay a heavy price” in retaliation.

Also Haaretz more recently notes:

4:07 Russian forces reach area outside Kobani in northern Syria, the Syrian Observatory says

Russian forces have crossed the Euphrates river in northern Syria and reached areas outside the city of Kobani, pushing eastward with Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Syrian Observatory said on Wednesday.

The troop movement comes days after the SDF cut a deal with the Syrian government for army troops to deploy at the border following a Turkish invasion of northeast Syria last week.

The SDF could not be immediately reached for comment.

Kobani is definitely in the Turkish-claimed zone, right on the official border between the countries actually.

Anyway, it's not clear to me if Russia has enough troops on the ground to make a significant difference that way, given how long the border is. Also, Manbij is outside of the Turkish self-claimed safe zone (according to the map from that last article).

  • It seems like all is going to Adan's pact treaties, from a pre-war period - with Turkey allowed to make a counter-terrorists operations in 5km zone above border. Maybe, for now it is more, than 5km, but Turkey is not argued with Syrian territorial consistency – user2501323 Oct 16 '19 at 15:03
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No, Russia hasn’t said anything about helping Syria fight Turkey.

As always with wars, the outcome of the Turkish action is uncertain. But at this stage, it is clear that no one wants escalation. Moreover, opposing parties are aware that the US can change its mind tomorrow and leave troops on the ground after all.

So, what is likely to happen is that the Turks will enter Syrian territory over 10-20 miles and stop. This will ensure that Erdogan can claim victory at home and that no superpower needs to get involved. Besides, this won’t be much different from Turkish incursions that were already happening before the civil war. Assad might not be too unhappy to see the Kurds weakened as he otherwise would have had to negotiate some stronger form of autonomy with them. Dealing with the Turks about their safe zone in Syria might be easier than negotiating with the Kurds. Russia might not be too unhappy either, for the same reasons.

The big losers are likely to be the Kurds.

  • I mean, Russia has already deployed planes to the region to enforce a no-fly zone and the Syrian Army has already deployed to the North to defend against Turkish forces. You’re right about the outcome being uncertain, but I think the situation has already gone beyond this – divibisan Oct 14 '19 at 2:10
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    Apparently they've gone beyond that "10-20 miles", focing a complete US withdrwal except for one southern base. politics.stackexchange.com/a/46614/18373 – Fizz Oct 14 '19 at 2:12
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    "Besides, this won’t be much different from Turkish incursions that were already happening before the civil war." I will challenge that. Turkey war aim is to control a large strip of Syrian territory, cut the connection between Syrian Kurds and Turkish Kurds, and relocate 1M+ Sryrian refugees in Rojava. This goes far beyond the eventual incursion before 2012. – Evargalo Oct 14 '19 at 6:42

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