Turkey wants a secure strip of territory, 10 km (6.2 miles) deep, on the Syrian side of its border, including the town of Azaz, to prevent attempts to “change the demographic structure” of the area, Deputy Prime Minister, Yalcin Akdogan, said on Wednesday.
To do this, Turkey will have to occupy Syrian territory, against the wishes of the Syrian government.
Such a move will greatly anger, and impact the plans of:
- The Assad regime
- Iran, especially the IRGC
- The Russian government
All of the aforementioned will see the setting up of the suggested security zone as a plan by the Turks and the Saudis to create a safe and immune zone where they will be able to help to the anti-Assad opposition forces. And this will create all sorts of dilemmas for them. Should they risk engaging the Turks militarily, or watch the Turks enter Syrian territory near Aleppo where the Assad opposition forces have been losing ground to Assad and his allies.
There is also the Kurds. The Turks are worried that they are carving up a state for themselves on their border, and this is a red line for them.
With today’s announcement, we are entering an even riskier and possibly even more violent stage in the Syrian civil war. We thought it can’t get worse? We were wrong.
The Turkish state TRT explains Turkey’s concerns in details (in English)