The Syrian conflict is not meant to turn into a “forgotten war”


Iran and Turkey have seen new opportunities to expand their influence in the region, Israel is betting on attention, even contrary to US interests. © Illustration by IA Rosbalt

Against the background of what is happening in Ukraine, everyone has somehow forgotten about Syria, and in the meantime the military-political processes there are also developing very fast.

The previous day, the US State Department said it was opposed to a possible new Turkish operation in the country. The State Department said in a statement that the White House was “extremely concerned” about possible military action in northern Syria.

Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a new military operation against the Kurds, now in northern Syria, following a cabinet meeting. Its goal is to create a 30-kilometer security zone along the common border. It should be noted that earlier the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Turkey Hulusi Akar arrived at the Turkish-Syrian border and Turkey announced a new military operation on the border with Syria. Its time and scale are not announced.

The question as a whole is how the Russian military operation in Ukraine has already influenced and will continue to influence the positions of the main actors in the Middle East region – Turkey, Iran, Israel. And so is Russia itself, as the media increasingly suggests that its military presence in Syria may be reduced due to the withdrawal of some troops.

Nature does not tolerate emptiness, much less political nature. Therefore, even if Russia’s partial withdrawal will automatically strengthen Iran’s position, which is fighting in Syria mainly through the hands of a representative, the Lebanese group Hezbollah, which is controlled by it.

As for Turkey, it is expanding its influence not only to Syria, but also to Iraq, where Ankara has already launched a military operation against local Kurds. And now the Turks are preparing a “second line” – against the Kurds in northern Syria.

“It is clear that Turkey will now put pressure on it. “The Russian troops, the Air Force and the units that serve them are declining there, and that is also obvious,” Alexander Shumilin, head of the Europe-Middle East Center at the European Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said in a statement. for Rosbalt.

At the same time, according to him, “there is still no immediate threat to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the parties are acting within the framework of previous models.” “All eyes are on Ukraine and now there is full balance in Syria,” he said.

Another regional power – Israel, according to Shumilin, “sails more with Russia, but in moderation.” We are talking about the fact that the Israeli air force continues to carry out air raids on Syrian territory.

At the same time, the government of Naftali Bennett continues its cautious policy towards Moscow. As it became known on Thursday, Israel banned the supply of anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, produced in Germany with an Israeli license. Even a request from the United States did not help – Israeli Defense Minister Amir Eshel rejected it, saying his country “will only supply non-lethal military equipment to Ukraine.”

This position is explained by the fact that the supply of anti-tank missiles to Ukraine “may lead to the fact that Russia will harm Israel’s security interests in Syria.”

Orientalist Vladimir Sazhin, in an interview with a Rosbalt correspondent, described the situation in the region as follows: “between these states, since their interests in Syria are somewhat different.”

According to the expert, “Russia’s presence there has somewhat normalized the contradictions between these states.” The possible withdrawal of the Russian Federation from there “is very worrying for Israel, since the reinforcement of Iran in Syria is not entirely in the interest of the Jewish state.”

“Tensions in Syria will increase,” Sazhin predicted. “Including this, it will happen because the Americans are not in the hands of Syria now.” At the same time, he said, the United States remains deeply concerned about Ankara’s actions against the Syrian Kurds and therefore wants Turkey to “slow down this operation.”

Alexander Zelenin

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