With Russia Joint Patrols, Turkey Rethinking Observation Posts in Syria

Turkish sources: No need for new military operation

In this week’s new Russia-Turkey deal on northeastern Syria, the agreement will see Turkey and Russia carrying out joint patrols within the safe zone. US-Turkey joint patrols were initially part of the plan months ago, but the US ultimately backed out of that idea, and had subsequently suggested the whole operation was up to Turkey.

Turkey responded to the US plan by announcing 12 observation posts would be built to keep an eye on the Kurds. With the new deal with Russia, Turkey’s security sources say they are re-evaluating the observation posts, and might not need them anymore.

There really may not be a need for any observation posts with the joint patrols plan. If Russia is participating in the patrols, the two nations will have enough patrols to keep the area covered. Russia’s talks with the Kurds are sure to help.

This deal stands in contrast to what Turkey was getting out of the US, where US forces were making everything about the safe zone as complicated as possible, and Russia is trying to offer cooperation with Turkey in return for some likely concessions in Syrian government-controlled areas nearby. This more conciliatory approach is likely why Turkish sources are saying they no longer need any more military operations.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.