Syrian protests in Turkish-controlled region endanger Russian interests

Syrian protests in Turkish-controlled region endanger Russian interests
Syrian protests in Turkish-controlled region endanger Russian interests

Türkiye is home to 3.2 million Syrian refugees. Tensions between them and the natives led to the closure of the border crossing The door of the worldwhich separates both countries. A decision that was taken days after the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the possibility of resuming diplomatic relations with Damascus.

Last Sunday, a Syrian national was detained by Turkish citizens and handed over to security forces after having sexually abused “a girl” who claims “to be his relative.” The Ottomans, in response, “damaged Syrian homes, workplaces and vehicles, property.” The result was 475 individuals arrested.

The Syrian retaliation came days later. Hundreds of Syrians demonstrated in Ankara-controlled regions in the Kayseri region. The protest led to clashes with Turkish policewhere seven people died. Turkish Interior Minister, Ali Yerlikayareacted and remembered that the xenophobia is not allowed and that it is unacceptable for citizens to “attack their environment without taking into account public order, security and human rights.”

Protesters gather with the flag of the Syrian opposition in Bab al-Salameh, rural Aleppo, Syria.


During the Syrian civil war, Turkey deployed a series of ground and air operations, with the intention of protecting its interests in the country and in Kurdistan, to prevent the creation of an independent Kurdish state on its southern border. In addition to helping in the creation of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to end President Bashar al-Assad and with its authoritarian regime -simultaneous with the Arab Spring-.

Both the rivalry between civilians and the possible reconciliation of both states worries Russia, an actor that has important economic and geopolitical interests in Syria, located between Europe and the Persian Gulfwith direct access to the Mediterranean Ocean. For Russia, it represents the opportunity to return to being the great power of years past, as well as to balance the power of NATO, an organization to which Turkey belongs.

Russia leaves crumbs

Since 1970, Moscow has a naval base in the Syrian city of DurableSituated on the coast, the port was used during the Cold War for warships en route to the Black Sea to reload cargo or undergo repairs, but the Kremlin had a limited military presence.

When the Arab Spring When Russia arrived in Syria in 2011, it was careful to keep its relations with Bashar al-Assad and the Kurds at bay. “Al-Assad’s forces and the Kurdish militia are the only ones really fighting ISIS and other terrorist organisations in Syria,” Vladimir Putin told a UN assembly in 2015, the day before he intervened militarily in the country.

Two years later, in 2017, Moscow and Damascus signed a treaty to increase Russian influence in Tartus for 49 years. The agreement allows them to expand their naval base and grant jurisdiction to Russian warships in Syrian waters and ports.

Andrei Krasov, Russian commander, said that the strategic location of the port is used to enable his country to “strengthen its position in the Middle East” as a peacemaker with a mission to ensure global security.”

Russian homesickness

It is clear that Russian ambition goes beyond Support Damascus and win the war against ISISits ultimate goal being to reestablish its former global position.

The relationship with the Kurds has not happened ‘just because’. This group has played and continues to play an essential role in the Syrian conflict: they face ISIS (also in Iraq) and receive support from the United States.

Eurasian Research Institute He explains that the alliance with the Kurds allows Moscow to return to the region permanently as a powerful player, which “influences Turkey’s policy, counterbalances the United States y weakens Turkish-American and Turkish-NATO relations“.

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