A Turkish Army Force tank is forwarding march in operation olive branch.

Operation Olive Branch of Turkey

International Relations

What is the reason of the operation?

As it is known, Syria has some internal conflicts in its own management. While Bassar al-Assad is trying to control his land, many divided groups also tries the same. One of them is PYD that is (Democratic Union Party) in Syria. PYD is a political side of Kurdish people. On the other side we have also YPG (Populist Protection Units) in Syria which is armed wing of PYD. There are also DAESH terror group in that region which tries to control also Iraq and Syria territories by triggering different kind of actions. Among those terrorist groups we could say Olive Branch Operation aims to eliminate those terror groups primarily.

Some states are in that region by act and also try to protect Syria’s territorial integrity. Russia and China mostly would like to protect its integrity, since an internal conflict has been occurred. And USA aims to fight with DAESH in that region. In this case, United Nations allies organized a few air attacks against that terrorist group on those territories but none of them implement a land operation. Because to make something, it could cost more than finance such as loss of own citizens in operations with prestige and etc. Finally, USA made some statements that it would help and train YPG against DAESH. However, they defend their ideaİ; they claimed that it is very innocent idea to use YPG against DAESH on land operations.

Beyond the Border

Map of Operation Olive Branch

As far as we know, YPG is also wing of PKK indirectly. Because PYD is a deployed wing of PKK in Syria which makes YPG also a wing of PKK directly. Turkey, expressed its concerns on that issue many times to USA and that situation makes each state such a polar. In this case, we have to determine that there are many different news about what kind of war crimes PYD/YPG did or what kind of unlawful interventions occurred by them to the region’s people. There have been many news about USA’s aid to PYD/YPG units in international media outlets, although USA refused them all each time. So, Turkey warned its ally USA many times about that subject.

Map Image is taken from: https://www.trtworld.com/mea/turkey-s-afrin-operation-the-latest-updates-14443

How did the operation begin?

The region beyond the border of Turkey is dangerous even it is Syria’s territory, as Syria can not control it and govern it. Each time Turkey blamed USA by making aid to its enemies PKK, it refused all accusations and advocated that it just help other ingredients except for PKK and defend also its weapons are not gonna use against Turkey. However, USA is sure with that idea and believe, nobody can be sure especially for a group even it has some directly connections with PKK.

Finally, USA decide to create a border power to protect borders against DAESH militants and terrorist activities; but it forgot something that you can not destroy your enemy by another enemy. Probably USA confused, because as we all the simpliest discipline that “enemy of enemy is mine friend” is not available in that scenario. By right, Turkey warned one more time that it does not want any terror groups in or beyond its borders, furthermore there are many attacks came from other side of the border in history. That is how Operation Olive Branch started. Turkey said it a few times as a warning but nothing changed, but all states respect its actions on that issue. So, in the night of 20th of January, Turkish jets flew beyond the border and started to bomb YPG targets, Operation Olive Branch has started.

How has the operation been progressed?

Operation Olive Branch has started by Turkish jets’ bombings in first night. After bombing all the targets for a while they let Free Syrian Army forward through Afrin. Then, Turkish Army Force entered the region and started to take region’s villages one by one. We could see Turkey has a few point to forward march according to map above, so there will be probably a few hallway to enter the region and take control. As understood, Turkey has taken control of villages where they pass through and left FSA (Free Syrian Army) members as guards in the village.

International Reactions

Some states decided to stay neutral against Turkey’s operation at the beginning while some’s not. France call NATO for United Nations Security Council immediately in the frame of Operation Olive Branch. Turkish diplomats are also doing their best to explain the real and transparent ways of operation. They contact with everybody and try to use every diplomatic channel to be honest. On the other hand, NATO made a statement by remindering that every NATO member has a right to protect its borders. Turkey, informed all of its allies and seems like know how to play the game by obeying all the rules.

One of major actors in the region, Russia, claimed that the USA tested Turkey’s passion and limits. Therefore, Turkey chose that option olive branch as last but without any hesitation in international arena. At the beginning; the USA was not so soft agains the operation but after a while they have made soften their ideas by expressing that they have also respect agains Turkey’s concerns in the region. Syria sees that action as intervention to its internal issues and tries to show dissatisfaction. But, we know it also can not govern its some regions where operation is occurred. Turkey also made some statements about their concern and targets; as we understand, they are not planning to stay in those lands. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that they are not interested in stay in those lands. Their main target is just to clean region from terrorist activities.

What is expected at the end of the operation?

In the short term, we could not make clear assumptions in that scenario. But, in the long term, if everything goes well and without any contrariety, Turkey will probably clear the area it would like to. After cleaning it will probably provide safety and security in that region and after all would turn back to its borders. To prevent the second time like that scenario, sides may make an agreement on that issue by a resolution like cleared zone, safe-secure hallway or other options.

We know some states were colonial or aimed different gainings in foreigner landings, but Turkey has a cleared history for that. Furthermore, it may sound ironical but with its name, operation olive branch reflects its focus. Olive Branch is a symbol to show everybody they are doing something for peace, that is really an important point.

Cover image is taken from: http://trthaberstatic.s3-website-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/resimler/828000/829164.jpg

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