If Turkey will actually undertake the military operation, it will definitely be geographically limited. Erdogan is unlikely to launch a full-scale offensive in all directions, risking getting bogged down in the fighting and leading to the death of a large number of civilians, provoking international sanctions against him.
The Syrian Kurds are likely to be defeated and go underground.
Instead, if they manage to obtain the support of the Syrian government forces, they can fight longer, making the Turkish offensive more costly. But in this case, the Kurds will have to give Assad oil and gas fields and Arab lands in the provinces of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, which they seized from the ISIL fighters in 2016-2017.
Turkey’s third invasion of Northern Syria in recent years will once again unfreeze the conflict and open up new opportunities for the war parties to agree among themselves.
Russia will get a chance to reconcile the Kurds and Damascus, and subsequently, conclude an agreement on the distribution of zones of influence in the North with Ankara. This will finally marginalize the USA position on the Syrian chessboard.
And Turkey will get what Erdogan was heading for – its own Afghanistan.
Iliya Kusa, the UIF expert on international politics and the Middle East issue
First published: Eurointegration