I have held my peace over what is happening in northern Syria since last weekend, generally considering who is right and who is wrong. It is time to state my case.
It has been two years of a kind of stalemate or deadlock in Syria since the Russian aided, legitimate (and only) Syrian army – the SAA – with its tribal and other local allied militias, defeated IS and other insurgents, herding remnant dissidents and terrorist groups into the Idlib province and realising that there was not much they could do about the unwanted presence of US and coalition forces north and east of the Euphrates.
The US coalition of course, realising that the tide had turned against them with Russia’s entry into the conflict and with both their chosen mercenary allies (groups of Syrian dissidents under the banner of the Free Syrian Army and also the Islamic State and al-Qaeda terrorists) facing defeat, abandoned both of them, choosing to make a display of destroying the city of ar-Raqqa and claiming that as some sort of defeat of IS but in reality it was the slaughter of thousands of innocent Syrian civilians from the air. The US then settled for becoming a festering sore in the side of Syria by taking up with a new terrorist mercenary consort in the form of Kurdish groups (mainly enemies of US ally Turkey) and renaming them as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). At the same time denying about one third of the Syrian territory to its legitimate government by occupying it with Kurds.
This was a situation that was never going to last.
The major part of its territory now cleared of terrorists, the Syrians looked next at clearing out the Idlib nest of vipers – and didn’t that cause a renewed ruckus among Western media, siding with terrorist scum and doing their best to halt any progress. We are in a temporary lull there right now.
Turkey, meanwhile, was growing ever more impatient with the US inaction to deal with what Turkey sees as a terrorist force (the US new SDF ally) camped along much of its border with Syria. Threats didn’t move the US, so action was necessary. We now see that in motion.
Who is right, and who is wrong here? It depends very much on who’s eyes you are looking through.
My own view is that everybody, every participant in this arena, is in the wrong, except for the legitimate Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian people and their legitimate armed forces, the SAA. But ‘right’ doesn’t always, in fact seldom does, outweigh ‘might’. And so Syria suffers the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune from all those ranged against her. It is unjust, but it is what it is.
The folk who are most in the wrong are not the terrorists. They have what they believe to be legitimate causes (many of them at least) to fight for. Whether those causes are just or unjust is beside the point. So, who is in the most wrong? In my view it is the US led coalition (which includes Israel), who are there simply to play their own unfathomable game for very nebulous reasons, the major one, or at least the major proclaimed one, being to ‘fight terrorism’. No greater untruth has ever been made.
Turkey, a US ally – through the NATO alliance – has, nominally at least, joined with Russia and Iran, both perceived as enemies of the West (justifiably or not – I would say not), in declaring the intention of guaranteeing the territorial integrity of Syria through all of these difficulties. And yet Turkey, still declaring that intent, has invaded northern borders of Syria this week (having quietly done so further to the western end of that border over the past two years). Turkey has taken under its wing what was the dissident FSA mob, renaming it as the NSA – National Syrian Army. It seems that no modern military can operate without its mercenary militia component now. Turkey, I would say, is trying to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ now through this invasion – dealing with its own terrorist problem and breaking the stalemate in Syria (which Russia seemed incapable of doing) – and I think I am happy about that – with reservations. It all depends on the way things grow from here – and that as yet is an unknown.
And what of Russia? I am personally very grateful, on Syria’s behalf, for what Russia has done and continues to do in this conflict. But, the situation that Russia has engineered up to the end of 2017 was never going to settle matters. It was always going to erupt again at some stage. The uneasy calm, broken briefly by Syrian advances made in Idlib, and the stalemate I mentioned before, has now been shattered, possibly irreversibly. There will be winners and there will be losers.
I just hope that Russia, Turkey and Iran hold strong to their stated guarantees, and that Syria remains intact and its people safe. I don’t much care about what happens to any of the other players.
Oh, by the way, I could have chosen any number of related articles to share with this story. I chose this one from TASS because to me, brief as it is, it makes the most sense of all of them.