07/26/2018 (Thu) 00:16:31
As it stands Syria is partitioned into Russian (loyalist territory), Turkish (Greater Idlib, Jarabulus and Afrin) and American (al-Tanf and the left bank of the Euphrates) zones, and no Syrian faction can act outside of its zone. But there are several unanswered questions:
-Greater Idlib isn't under total Turkish control, with half of its jihadis (mostly rebranded al-Qaeda remnants) defying the Sultan. The whole area is in chaos, with nonstop assassinations and rebel infighting sometimes escalating into field warfare. Will Turkey begin another military operation to impose order, or, alternatively, is there enough of a power vacuum for the SAA to seize more ground?
-Erdogan's relationship with Russia has wildly fluctuated between friendship and hostility over the past years, and could very well warm up once more. Could he come to the conclusion that holding onto that slice of Syria isn't worth it and negotiate its handover to Assad?
-Although America's hawk lobby desires a permanent presence on Syria, could Trump decide to keep true to his promises of not having boots on the ground and thus abandon his foothold in the country? If so, there are three possible scenarios: violent Turkish takeover, violent loyalist takeover or negotiated transfer of territory to Damascus. A negotiated transfer of territory to Ankara is impossible because neither Erdogan nor the PYD would be willing to come to terms.
A federalization of Syria would only happen with scenario #3. The PYD has been stating for some time that they are no longer separatist and just want decentralization, whereas Ba'athism is still committed to Arab dominance and unitary rule. Any steps towards decentralization will happen as a synthesis of these two positions, which would only happen in the event of negotiations between Damascus and the SDF.>>18077
"Core" ISIS territory still exists in that tiny sliver of land on the Euphrates, and the SDF have shown absolutely no haste in their fight against it, perhaps because its continued existence is a perfect excuse for America to remain in Syria.