US muscles in Syria to scare Turkey and Iran
The United States completed the construction of a third base in the Manbij region, where Turkey wanted to send its troops to oust Kurdish militias. US military presence could be a stronghold for attacking Iran.
The majority of the order of 15 US military bases, with the exception of Eth-Tanf, are on the territories controlled by the Kurdish militia in the north of Syria, east of the Euphrates River. The expansion of the US military presence worries the participants in the Astana format: Turkey, Russia and Iran, which are the guarantors of the four "de-escalation zones" in Syria.
In early May, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who repeatedly blamed Washington for trying to destroy Syria, said that the US is preparing militants against the government of Bashar Assad.
The same position is held by Iran, which considers any military presence without the consent of its allies illegal. Tehran is also concerned about the US alliance with the Kurds, whose number in Iran, according to various estimates, is up to eight million.
Turkey is the most worried, the only country that conducted an open military operation against YPG, in whose territories the US bases its bases. In January-March, the Turkish armed forces drove Kurdish militiamen from Afrin (Operation Olive Branch) to the north-west of Syria. Then they were preparing to go further - to Manbij. But, unlike Afrin, which the American coalition against ISIS announced outside its area of responsibility, the Pentagon provided the Kurds with clear guarantees for Manbij. Not only that there was sent military reinforcements in the face of three hundred US special forces, three months ago there began the construction of another military base.
In the new garrison in Manbije, shot by the photographer of the agency Reuters, the French military are also stationed, Sharfan Darwish, spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who is based on the Kurdish YPG, said. The US and French military patrol the front between the SDF and the pro-Turkish forces after Ankara launched the "Olive Branch". Darvish noted:
After the Turkish attack on Afrin and the increase in Turkish threats against Manbiju, the coalition forces built a base for monitoring and protecting the border (between the belligerents)
Turkey regards the YPG as a terrorist organization and the continuation of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, with which Turkey is fighting on its own territory. Erdogan's program is to clear the entire 800-kilometer border with Syria from Kurdish partisans, resorting to intervention in foreign territory if necessary. The activation of the US in the region and the lack of interest in negotiating with Erdogan are increasingly alienating Ankara from Washington.
The doctor of historical sciences of the Istanbul University Mehmet Perincek considers the new US military base in northern Syria to be more than just a threat exclusively for Turkey:
The new base of America in Manbij is not only against Assad, the territorial integrity of Turkey, but also against Russia and even China. After all, if there is an independent Kurdistan, it will become a foothold against the whole of Eurasia. Turkey, Iran and Russia should unite their forces not only against the terror of the fundamentalists, but also against the separatists "
During the last summit in Ankara, the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey in a joint statement spoke precisely of the fight against the "separatist agendas", hinting at the US plans for the collapse of Syria.
Strengthening the military presence of the United States in Syria is also relevant in light of the escalation of the Israeli-Iranian confrontation near the Golan Heights after the decision of Donald Trump to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran. The strong points in the Kurdish territories, in addition to the American bases in the Persian Gulf countries, are new Pentagon bridgeheads for attacking Iran.
Strengthening Americans in Manbij is unprofitable both for Tehran and Ankara. But does this mean that in case of Israel and the US strikes against Iran, Turkey will support its neighbor?
Realizing that the US plans are serious, and it's going to the situation with the final result, a deplorable result for Iran, Turkey can support these blows, because a year ago Ankara criticized Iran, saying that it is trying to turn Syria and Iraq into Shiite states .
The US has serious leverage over Turkey in the form of sanctions for the purchase of Russian S-400s and bypassing the American boycott of Iran, which could force Ankara to refrain from solidarity with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Perincek believes that among the main goals of possile US strikes against Iran is the intention to destroy the Astana format.
The United States and Israel have long wanted to spoil the Astana process, which prevents them from realizing their plans in the region. The attack on Iran is a continuation of provocations, such as the Khimataks in Salisbury and the Syrian Duma, called upon to split the alliance of Turkey, Iran and Russia.
"In the event of a war with Iran, Turkey should show its solidarity with it, since only in cooperation with Tehran Ankara can fight separatism and guarantee its territorial integrity" - summed up Perincek.
As Ankara will react, it is difficult to say. Turkey is a member of NATO, dependent on several aspects of the United States, but at the same time it is dissatisfied with Washington's alliance with the Kurds and the concealment of Fethullah Gülen in Pennsylvania. On the other hand, Ankara is in a situational alliance with Tehran in Syria and has close trade ties with the Iranians. History shows that alliances are verified not by words, but by concrete actions. The current tense state of Turkish-American and Turkish-Israeli relations suggests that the country on the shore of the Bosphorus today has no more incentives to help US and Israeli intervention against Iran than during the US aggression against Iraq in 2003, when Ankara refused to provide its bases to its NATO allies.