Russia, Turkey, Iran eye dicing Syria into zones of influence


Turkey and Russia agree on proposal toward Syrian ceasefire, Anadolu says


By Andrew Osborn and Orhan Coskun | MOSCOW/ANKARA
Syria would be divided into informal zones of regional power influence and Bashar al-Assad would remain president for at least a few years under an outline deal between Russia, Turkey and Iran, sources say.

Such a deal, which would allow regional autonomy within a federal structure controlled by Assad’s Alawite sect, is in its infancy, subject to change and would need the buy-in of Assad and the rebels and, eventually, the Gulf states and the United States, sources familiar with Russia’s thinking say.

“There has been a move toward a compromise,” said Andrey Kortunov, director general of the Russian International Affairs Council, a think tank close to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

“A final deal will be hard, but stances have shifted.”


The big losers in a tripartite partition of Syria (and Iraq) will be the Kurds and the Sunni Arabs. Best thing the U.S. could do right now is to quickly put together a Sunni Arab/Kurdish coalition to seize and control the center in eastern Syria and western Iraq; the ostensible purpose being to bring down ISIS, but the secondary reality being to preserve territory for the Kurds and Sunni Arabs. Sunni Arabs don’t want to be ruled by Turks notwithstanding that the latter are Sunni, any more than they want to be ruled by Iran.


Large numbers of Sunni Arabs have been fighting for Assad from day 1.


Because foreign powers arbitrarily dividing the Middle East has always worked out so well…


Well it sure beats the alternative, which is chaos, civil war and refugee crises.


Partitioning Syria into zones of interest for competing powers is likely to ensure that those problems continue to exist.


Sure, and virtually all of his enemies are.


The agreement by Russia & Turkey isn’t all that surprising.

The Obama admin displayed minimal conviction in Syria but still got the US involved by sending in a few forces to train rebels - or arranging weapons/ammo drops in rebel areas {I suppose hoping they alone acquired them.}

And even with the ceasefire the bloodshed and military operations (from multiple countries) will continue.

Erdogan wants Manbij liberated from Kurdish militia forces. Russia may not object.

VOA also notes some issues,

Turkey’s political leaders have repeatedly called on the YPG to withdraw all its forces from Manbij and retreat back to the eastern side of the Euphrates River, warning any forces that remain will be targeted. Free Syrian Army elements backed by the Turkish military are only a few kilometers away from Manbij and have declared their intentions to take the city.

“It’s going to be a fierce battle in Manbij,” warned Ertugral Kurkcu, a senior parliamentary deputy with the HDP, Turkey’s main pro-Kurdish party. “They (the YPG) are very much concerned if they leave it will be very difficult to come back in the near future. And the second issue is more important: it is their homeland, so why should they leave? And they are the major force who fought IS.”

Dilemma for Washington

It is not only the Kurds in Manbij who oppose the Free Syrian Army (FSA) taking the city. Christian and Arab elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces that hold the city have also voiced opposition. The prospect of such a clash is a nightmare scenario for Washington, which would have allies on both sides of the fight, said former diplomat Selcen.
“For [the] U.S. there is a conflict if [the] CIA-backed FSA (Free Syrian Army) forces get into open military confrontation with the Pentagon-covered YPG forces," he said, noting that the U.S. is focused on the fight against Islamic State. "And the most efficient element today in the fight against ISIL are the Kurds,” said he, using an alternate acronym for Islamic State militants.

Washington has repeatedly told its allies to stay focused on the war against the jihadists. But the Turkish military continues to send more reinforcements into Syria, ahead of what many predict could be a major offensive. Analysts suggest the strategic Syrian town of al-Bab, which is under IS control, could also be the target of such an offensive.

The Kurds have been supporting the fight against ISIS in Syria. And Kurdish militia were some who were needed to liberate Raqqa (the so-called capital of IS).

The battle of Raqqa should be a critical priority for Russia, Turkey and the US – yet, this admin failed in its role as a leader. This may cost the Kurds dearly.


I think there will be problems in the future in Russian Federation. The Muslims have vendetta, so
sooner or later Putin’ gov.has to pay.
Money, weapons later by a boomerang will go to the other side, because its not possible to fight terrorism by creating terrorism. We remember how once small Chechnya by a boomerang responded to the security of Russian citizens, many years in the decade of war in Chechnya the residents of Russian cities did not feel safe, and the Kurds as it known not less militant than Chechens.


It appears US air power is now being offered to Turkish troops.

U.S. allows air support for Turkish troops in Syria, opens up to Raqqa role against Islamic State

The U.S.-backed coalition in Syria for the first time is providing air support for a Turkish offensive against Islamic State positions, increasing the prospect that American commanders could allow Ankara to play a role in the coalition’s drive against the terrorist group’s de facto capital of Raqqa.

The air operation near the northern Syrian town of al Bab, just over 100 miles west of Raqqa, was announced days after the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, claimed responsibility for a New Year’s shooting spree at an Istanbul nightclub that left 39 people dead and scores injured.

U.S. commanders leading the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria publicly declared in November that their forces would not back Turkey’s drive to al Bab. Command officials said the Turkish offensive was detrimental to the coalition’s battle plan in Syria.

Coalition commanders are focusing their support for the Raqqa offensive being led by the Kurdish-Arab paramilitary coalition dubbed the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF.

Giving Ankara’s long history of clashes with Kurdish separatist forces, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has refused to acknowledge the SDF’s Raqqa operation, which kicked off in October. Turkey’s incursion across the border is in part aimed at containing the Kurdish forces’ gains.

“We believe that all of the operations in Syria against [the Islamic State] should be coordinated very closely between all the parties that are involved. [Al Bab] is something that they’ve decided to do independently,” Air Force Col. John Dorrian, the top coalition spokesman, told reporters during a November briefing in Iraq.


$50 says this ends with the US bombing the US-backed Kurds.


This admin put the United States in a terribly awkward position of covert warfare and conflicting sentiments. It is a bit unnerving that the US and Turkish have different evaluations of which armed groups are terrorists.

Hopefully the Trump administration returns to more clear objectives. In such times, it is good to avoid creating more enemies.


Weird. The Turks offered to knock out ISIS three years ago if the U.S. would do this. In the meantime, the U.S. has been, in effect, the Iranian Air Force, fighting for the Iranian-led Iraqi “government” forces. It’s a little unclear how the USAF is going to be the air force of both Turkey and Iran at the same time.


I am still astounded the US has been put in a position of aiding the Iranian forces and militias. It’s not as if Iran is going to leave Iraq once ISIS is expelled. Who knows what that Country will look like in 20 years?


is this reminiscent of Germany divided up after WWII between Britain, France, USA and Russia? or was it Berlin? My history is rusty!


Right now, it’s looking like a division among Assad, Turkey, the Kurds and Iran, with a restive Sunni Arab population occupied by one or the other of them.


Both Germany and Berlin were divided among the four Allied nations after the Second World War.

Germany itself was divided originally into three zones - an American, a British and a Soviet. The Americans and British ceded territory to France to form a fourth French-controlled zone.

Berlin, although lying wholly within the Soviet sphere, was similarly divided between the occupying powers.

By 1949, the American-British-French zones had all been joined together to form one huge “West Germany” with a parliamentary, democratic system of government that was aligned to NATO. It was sovereign in most respects, except for a few important areas reserved to the Western Allied Powers. The Soviet zone was transformed later that year into “East Germany”, a formally sovereign Communist one-party state that was in practice a puppet regime of the Soviets.

Berlin was divided into “East” and “West” zones. East Berlin was declared the seat of government of East Germany.

West Berlin, unlike West Germany, did not gain sovereignty. It stayed under Western Allied occupation. The Americans, British and French remained the ultimate authorities in charge until 1990.

I don’t remember any of this, of course, having been born in the 1990s after all this Cold War business :smiley:




This is like the US vs USSR and their proxy wars during the Cold War. Except instead of between rival nations, it’s in-house: Uncle Sam vs Uncle Sam. :whacky:

So will Jimmy Carter try to broker a peace between DNI and SECDEF?

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