Turkey’s gamble on Syria pays off
Istanbul, Oct 18 (AFP/APP): A US-brokered ceasefire to end the Turkish offensive on Kurdish forces in Syria is a victory for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan but could be short-lived without an agreement with Damascus ally Russia, say analysts.
After US Vice President Mike Pence held talks with Erdogan on Thursday, the NATO allies announced a five-day suspension of the Turkish operation and the withdrawal from border areas of a Syrian Kurdish militia viewed by Ankara as “terrorists”.
Erdogan won his key demands to sweep Kurdish fighters away and set up a “safe zone” that is 32-kilometres (20 miles) wide but whose length is yet to be defined.
The Turkish leader wants the area to extend eventually to 444 kilo meters.
But whether the agreement holds depends on negotiations with Russia, which provides critical backing to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.
“Turkey looks like a short-term winner because of the fact that Ankara was able to break the YPG-US ties,” said Soner Cagaptay, director for Turkey at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
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