OPINION

Turkish and NATO flags fly side by side.

26/07/2017 - 19:31 0
Turkey publishes US forces' locations in Syria and paves way out of NATO

The Turkish Anadolu Agency recently published a detailed map and information showing locations where US troops are based in areas controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces in northern Syria. The agency revealed in its report locations for ten US centers (two airports and eight military bases), 200 US soldiers and 75 French special forces at a military location in the area of Ain Issa in Raqqa countryside.

There is no doubt that the angry Washington at Turkey's uncommon behavior will look at the disclosure of this information and the timing of its publication as a hostile step by Turkey. The publication of this map would jeopardize the security of these forces and impede the movement against ISIS. "The release of sensitive military information exposes Coalition forces to risks and disrupts ongoing operations for defeating ISIS," Pentagon spokesman Eric pahon said. Turkey, on the other hand, sees these bases as a threat to its national security, as these US military bases are seen as an enhancement of the Kurdish position in the region.

It seems unusual for a NATO ally to publish a report detailing the deployment of US forces during the active operations in a war zone, especially since the published information would cause a delay in the crackdown on ISIS, whose elements would actually stop moving in those areas openly. The information published by Anadolu also includes the locations of US bases used to capture communications between members of the organization who will inevitably change their communication methods.

Turkey, through this move, wanted to express its anger at US bases near its borders, which provide military support and political cover for Kurdish groups. Let alone that Turkey feels that Washington and Moscow are planning for post-ISIS in Syria, especially with regard to the division of the region without involving or taking into account Turkish interests. The Turkish newspapers close to the government, do not stop stressing the seriousness of the ongoing talks between Russia and the United States on sharing power in Syria, which would lead to the actual division of the country.

What worries Turkey more is the new shifts in US policy in Syria, especially after President Trump's recent decision to stop US intelligence programs supporting the Syrian opposition factions on whom Turkey relied to restrict Kurdish movements. In fact, the Trump administration abandoned the Syrian opposition after the establishment of ten US military bases in northern Syria containing airports, warplanes, missiles and tanks, that is, US is now dependent on its forces and does not need the opposition factions. The practical experience also has shown the Americans that the option to help the Kurdish forces is more fruitful because The Free Syrian Army and its associated structures are under the control of Turkey and it is not meaningful for the Americans to bear the costs.

The uncontrolled shifts in Turkish foreign policy toward its allies in NATO increase, and the publication of this sensitive military information is only part of this policy. Here we can point to the Turkish president's response to statements from Washington expressing US concern and asking for inquiries about Turkey's intention to acquire the Russian S-400 missile system. "Each country is committed to take specific measures for its own security and Turkey will take steps in the direction that would provide these security measures," Erdogan said. "We have had many meetings with the United States but failed to provide security measures and then we have made plans to buy S-400''. He added.

If the purchase of the S-400 system is genuine, can it be considered as a prelude to Turkey's withdrawal from NATO or to preempt its expulsion from NATO, especially since this Russian missile system is not consistent with NATO's air defense weapons and is likely to affect the effectiveness of the NATO missile system.


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