U.S., Russia reluctant to deter Turkey's 'low-level' attacks in Northeast Syria

Analysts say superpowers prioritize cooperation with Ankara over stopping bombardment.

Analysts believe the U.S. and Russia do not want to put more pressure on Turkey to stop it from conducting "low-level" attacks on northeastern Syria, the North Press reported.

John Rossomando, geopolitical analyst and expert on the Middle East told North Press that the U.S. and Russia avoided being involved in Turkey's recent attacks, and the international policy in northeast Syria has focused on creating "a largely stable governance area and keeping ISIS at bay in the wake of its destructive reign."

On Oct. 5, Turkey launched many airstrikes, artillery shells, and drone strikes against 28 infrastructure facilities, 150 residential areas, and 34 military sites, including 21 locations of the Syrian government forces, seven farmlands, three factories, a school, and a hospital, according to the Monitoring and Documentation Department of North Press.

Turkey views the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as an arm of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which prompted the current Turkish attacks on northeastern Syria, according to Rossomando. He further said the U.S.' main interest in the region is to keep ISIS under control.

Meanwhile, Calvin Wilder, senior analyst at New Lines Institute, noted the U.S. views cooperation with Turkey "as a very high priority" and was reluctant to put pressure on Turkey "to change its behavior in Syria, since that could alienate Erdogan and make cooperation on other priorities harder."

Wilder explained that if the U.S. plays the role of "mediator" between Turkey and the SDF, it would "complicate the U.S.-Turkey relationship in ways no one in Washington is willing to commit to." Russia's priorities in Syria depend on cooperation on certain levels with Turkey.

Wilder added that the U.S. and Russia have pressured Turkey to stop it from conducting primary new military operations in the region. Still, they are not "willing to apply the amount of pressure on Turkey to prevent these lower-level drone strikes and artillery attacks".

The analysis suggests the superpowers are treading carefully with Turkey, reluctant to jeopardize strategic interests even as civilians in northeast Syria bear the brunt of the bombardment. Periodic attacks on the SDF appear tolerated to maintain Ankara's cooperation on broader regional objectives. While stability and counterterrorism are cited as priorities, protection of local communities in the crossfire does not seem to factor highly in policy calculations.

News Code 159280

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