The Turkish military’s incursion into northwestern Syria creates a new dimension in the years-long crisis in Syria and highlights the conflict is “nowhere near ending,” an international affairs and security analyst told Sputnik.
The Turkish operation is nothing short of an effort to "cleanse" the Syrian city of Afrin from ethnic Kurds, security analyst Mark Sleboda told Sputnik.
"Turkey was candid," US Defense Secretary James Mattis said Sunday regarding Ankara's plan to lay siege to the US-backed Kurdish militia in Afrin. "They warned us before they launched [the airstrikes that] they were going to do it," Mattis told Reuters on a flight to Asia January 20.
Mattis did not disclose Washington's stance on the Turkish operation, except to point out that Turkey was the only NATO member with an ongoing insurgency inside its borders. "Turkey has legitimate security concerns," he said.
"The low-hanging fruit of ISIS [Daesh] has largely been defeated," Sleboda told Radio Spuntik's Loud & Clear on Monday, but the seven-year long crisis in Syria is "nowhere near ending."
The situation has resulted in a "three-way Mexican standoff," Sleboda said. The major parties consist of the allied Russian and Syrian governments; Turkey and aligned proxy groups including "what was once the Free Syrian Army, Ahrar al-Sham and Al-Qaeda's iteration, Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham, HTS;" and finally "the US and its proxy, the Syrian Democratic Forces," the analyst explained.
A recent plan to build a 30,000-strong "border force" to defend territory held by US-supported and Kurdish-led forces in Syria enraged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Turkish leader vowed last Monday that Turkey would "strangle" any such group "before it's even born," Reuters reported.
"Evidently, the Russian and the Syrian governments went to Afrin and said: ‘If you'll raise the Syrian flag, allow the Syrian Army in and recognize that we're your government… then we can protect you.' The Kurds said no," Sleboda explained. "That was basically the green light Turkey needed" to start its military operation, he added.
Analyst have have pointed out how quickly the US left the side of Kurdish fighters who have "proven their effectiveness" in helping to "shred [the Daesh] caliphate in Syria," according to Mattis' description of the Kurds on Sunday.
"I can't get my head around how helpful Kurdish fighters were against [Daesh] compared to the Free Syrian Army and especially Turkey," Max Abrahms of the Council on Foreign Relations said Saturday, adding that the "Free Syrian Army has teamed up with Turkey to crush the Kurds in the name of counterterrorism. They should call this Operation Irony."
Abrahms also observed the intriguing development that "Turkey wasn't pro-ISIS enough by allowing foreign fighters unfettered access in and out of Syria, so now Turkey is trying to destroy the best fighting force against ISIS."
Years of heavy investment in military equipment and technology in China’s People’s Liberation Army have resulted in a new electronic warfare aircraft that will be deployed for projecting power in the East and South China Seas, according to recent Chinese media reports.
"The main role of the electronic fighters is to obstruct the enemies' electronic jamming devices — for example, radar — to temporarily or permanently, if powerful enough, cover the surveillance devices and to hide our combat platforms' track," Song told the Global Times.
In 1999, a PLA officer described the 2.8 million-person military as being similar to a boxer plagued with "short arms and slow feet," in a RAND Corporation analysis of China. At the time, Beijing's army was described as "indisputably not a ‘peer-competitor' of the United States."
Since, China's leadership has invested an unprecedented level of resources into its navy, air force and general military technology capabilities. Nearly a decade later, China's military capabilities had advanced to become "anything but ‘short' or slow,'" due to new top-of-the-line Russian aircraft, surveillance assets in space, a sizeable inventory of ballistic missiles and an improving naval force, according to a study published for the US-China Economic and Security Review commission.