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After the Liberation of El-Bab Turkey Faces a Serious Dilemma

Umit Bektas / Reuters

After long clashes this week the Turkish army finally entered the Syrian town of El-Bab. Now Turkish operation in Syria aims to capture Rakka, the capital of ISIS, and to liberate city of Manbij from Kurds. However, analysts do not exclude that Turkish ground operation in Syria can be completed here, in El-Bab, as the further advance in the direction of both Rakka and Manbiji can cause a confrontation with Russia or the United States. It should be noted, that till now Moscow “avoided” to comment the Turkish military operation in northern Syria. This, as well as the Russian-Turkish joint air strikes against ISIS positions in El-Bab, shows that during this time, "The Euphrates Shield" operation had a quiet support of Russia.

As experts emphasize, instead, in Aleppo's liberation Russia received support from Turkey, which has serious levers of influence on the armed opposition. But now the advance of Turkish troops to Rakka assumes clashes with Assad troops, ie, with Russian interests.

The Turkish advance towards Manbij also contains some difficulties. Although US President Donald Trump in a telephone conversation with Erdogan announced that the United States supports Turkey's efforts to fight terrorism, as well as to initiate the establishment of safe zones in Syria, the new American administration, unlike the previous one, is cooperating only with the Kurdish forces in Syria. Therefore, the United States does not like the promotion of the Turkish forces to Manbij, ie, the Kurds. This is confirmed by Trump, who in his telephone conversation with Erdogan underlined that the US supports Turkey's advance to Raqqa.

So, Turkey stays at the crossroads. Experts believe that in any case if Turkey continues its advance, will choose the option to move to Manbij, because Ankara believes the Kurds are more dangerous for it than terrorists ...

 

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