Russian tanks now on Turkish (NATO) south flank

Photo by Samuel Penn on Unsplash

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has shown himself very understanding of the invasion during his visit to the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Casuvoglu. & #8220; I understand Turkey's legitimate concern with regard to the Syrian Kurds, but I am concerned that the Turkish offensive would overturn the victory over the terrorist group IS & #8221 ;, said Stoltenberg.

Stoltenberg is concerned that the tens of thousands of captured IS terrorists will use the chaos to escape from the prisons where they have been imprisoned by the Syrian Kurds.

NATO is in an unpleasant situation. The European member states are furious because US President Donald Trump previously seemed to have given the Turks the green light in Syria, although he now comes back to that. At the same time, Turkey is an important member state of NATO, although relations with that country have been very tense lately. For example, Turkey has chosen to purchase the Russian anti-aircraft system S-400 and not an American counterpart. 

In spite of the weather, the US now refuses to deliver new F-35 fighter aircraft to Turkey, even though they were ordered. President Trump is now also coming to his Turkish counterpart Erdogan with all kinds of financial and economic threats. Fanatic Republicans in American politics have apparently made it clear to Trump that he is relinquishing American influence in Europe and the Middle East to the Russians.

It has since become clear at the front that Russian units have taken positions in the area between the Syrian government army and the advancing Turkish troops. With support from Syrian rebels, the Turks are targeting Kurdish militias. Thus Kurdish militias prefer to hand over the territory they have conquered to Russians and the Syrian government army, instead of being destroyed by Turks or pro-Syrian Kurds.

As a result, in a geo-political sense, a change in power relations seems to be taking place: the United States is no longer the superpower that could possibly intervene militarily in the Middle East, but Russian President Putin has taken that place. The Russians already have their own air base in Syria, and a port on the Mediterranean Sea in southeast Turkey is getting closer.

Moreover, NATO is no longer exclusively opposed to Russians on the eastern (Polish) and northeastern (Baltic Sea) border, but now also on the southern (Turkish) outskirts of Europe.

Three days after the start of the Turkish offensive against the Kurds in Syria, 100,000 civilians had already fled in that country. That is stated in a report from the United Nations. Most people flee in cars & buses, buses, trucks or on foot from the border towns where fighting takes place to the south. A large number of them are taken care of in schools and other buildings.

They are not only afraid of the war, but also of possible atrocities by the pro-Turkish Syrian rebels who are advancing with the Turks. Many of these fighters are extreme jihadists and they have been guilty of violence against non-Muslims and other population groups in the past.