The Turkish General staff announced that with the occupation of al-Bab, which began at the end of August 2016 the operation “Shield of the Euphrates” has achieved its objectives.
1. The announcement coincided with the final liberation of al-Baba from the militants of the Caliphate, which, after several months of successful defense, all withdrew from the city in order to avoid a complete rout. As an epilogue to the battle for al-Bab, which lasted 4 months, today the Turkish troops and they control the FSA militants took Cubicin and Bzaah. These cities also failed to recapture in the numerous attempts to storm occupied and they were only after the militants retreated to the East.However, the result is obvious – albeit with serious delays, the Turkish army and under its control, the militants managed to resolve political leadership tasks. Errors in planning operations and training of mechanized units, will certainly be seriously studied by the Turkish military, and some org.conclusions followed even after the first failed assault on al-Baba. The war in Syria for the Turkish army started out as an easy walk, but alifatici and Kurds fairly quickly explained that one of the strongest armies of NATO here will find something to surprise.Burned-out M-60 and “Leopards” around al-Baba more than clearly demonstrated the consequences of underestimating the enemy and over-optimism.
2. A notable point is the lack of mention of Raqqa and Manuja the statement Hulusi ACAR. Earlier, Erdogan and other senior Turkish officials repeatedly stated that the objectives of Turkey are al-Bab, Manbij and raqqa. Now the main goal was announced only al-Bab. Remaining under SDF Manbij and raqqa, were deduced for brackets of the current military-political tasks as the situation is not entirely conducive to the implementation of ambitious goals.To take Manbij, it is necessary to carry out a direct invasion on the territory Rozhava that may require entry into the fray 2-3 and 4-5 mechanized infantry brigades (for the current group, there is no guarantee of military success that showed the battle between the SDF/YPG and FSA in the district of tal-Rifat) and will create serious problems in the relations between Turkey and the United States. The same applies to the assault on Raqqa.To step on it with North is possible only through Kurdish territory (which is already deployed some U.S. military bases, and has several hundred U.S. military), and the corridor along the southern shore of the Euphrates will soon slam the Syrian army is continuing nastuplenie to the North of Dayr-Hafir. Russia recently even proposed to Americans a joint operation to capture the capital of the Caliphate. For Turkey in these hands no space, which is largely herself to blame, because for too long working on al-Bab.However, we cannot exclude the possibility that finished with the Caliphate in Northern Syria, Erdogan more tightly engage the Syrian Kurds, the expansion of the territory which was the main motivator of the entry of Turkish troops into Syria. Alternatively, possible participation of Turkey in some American or Russian operative schemes, which will be the subject of negotiations between Erdogan with the Kremlin and Washington, where he will tend to expose themselves more valuable ally than the Kurds.
3. About the location of Turkish troops in Northern Syria, they are of course now it won’t go, but Russia and Iran, of course, will not demand the withdrawal of Turkish troops, as the Turks are actually cut off Afrin from Rozhava and block plans to establish a Syrian Kurdistan and hold a part of the “green” fighters that unleashes Assad’s hands for operations in other areas. Turkey in exchange gets the ability to significantly influence the solution of the Kurdish question and retains the right to vote, in the discussion of postwar Syria.In one form or another, Turkish influence in the triangle Azaz-Dzharablus-al-Bab will continue at least until the end of active hostilities in Syria and the adoption of a new Constitution. At this stage, the Turks are planning to establish a peaceful life in controlled areas. Future plans will apparently agreed to during the upcoming visit of Erdogan to Moscow to discuss how the political settlement and the possible plans of joint action against the Caliphate and the overall military-technical cooperation (including supplies of Russian systems s-400).
Overall, despite the numerous errors, delays, excessive losses, and chaotic throwing, the operation “Shield of the Euphrates” was a Turkey quite successful and allowed her to get out of a very sticky situation in which she was at fault Erdogan. Problems in its implementation will be forgotten, and the result will remain.
Of course, for the opportunity to embark on the road to reform, Turkey had to pay significantly, and Erdogan’s apology was not the most valuable element of payment for the right to visit in Northern Syria. Erdogan had to accept the fact that Aleppo, the “green” will be taken away and that he would have to hold the part of the rebels, while Assad and his allies will win a major battle of the war. He also had to promote the surrender of the enclaves in Central Syria, as well as to facilitate the disengagement of the “moderate” and “immoderate” of terrorists, doing something actively supported the United States.Ultimately, Erdogan is under pressure of circumstances was forced to abandon the policy, which he held from January 2011 to July 2016. All this has led to a serious rebalancing of power in favor of Assad and the Russian-Iranian coalition. The shield “of the Euphrates” was an important step on the way of correction committed by Turkey mistakes, but it would be naive to think that this will solve all internal and external problems of Erdogan.