The Foreign Policy said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has no choice but to reconcile with Syrian President Bashar al Assad.
The American magazine published a report analyzing the situation that the Turkish president is facing, describing it as “weak situation”.
According to the Foreign Policy report, Erdogan needs to work with Assad, after more than a decade, during which the Turkish president focused individually on overthrowing him.
The Foreign Policy referred to Russia’s attempt to push the two leaders to meet and resolve their differences, stressing that this matter won’t be easy, because Assad requires that all Turkish military forces leave Syria, before any meeting.
According to the Foreign Policy, by the year 2022, it became clear that Assad would continue to rule Syria, and this fact was confirmed by Damascus’ return to the Arab League, and this matter put Erdogan in an uncomfortable position, as he was forced to reconcile with Assad, after he tried hard to overthrow him.
This is mainly because Russia is urging the two sides to make peace, and because Erdogan has no other choice.
On the other hand, not withdrawing Turkish forces from Syria means that Assad won’t meet Erdogan, which largely reflects the comfortable position that the Syrian president knows he is in.
There are not many motives, as Assad has to please Erdogan, and the latter has little leverage.
According to the Foreign Policy, the Turkish president is in a more difficult position than allowing him to dictate terms, about what the new normal will be between Ankara and Damascus, and he needs to work with his Syrian counterpart if he wants to make progress.
In Türkiye, most people believe that the time has come for Syrian refugees to return to their country, given that the fragile economy suffers from high consumer inflation, low wages, and growing discontent among the population.
The issue of Syrian refugees is at the heart of this anger, with many blaming Erdogan and his policies for accepting millions of refugees.
And this very point provides Assad with an opportunity to put pressure on Erdogan, as the cooperation of the two presidents on the return of refugees will have a price, which is the Turkish army must leave northern Syria.
And if Erdogan is interested in what is potentially a publicity stunt to return a symbolic number of refugees, he will need to withdraw troops from Syria and withdraw supporting the Syrian opposition, mainly the Syrian National Army, which is the military body that is under full control of Türkiye.
The Foreign Policy added that Türkiye won’t be allowed, under any circumstances, to maintain a military presence on foreign lands, without the consent of the Syrian government.
Thus, Turkish forces leave Syria is only a matter of time.
Should Erdogan agree to do so now, in consultation with Assad, it could allow Ankara to strike some kind of deal, which would see a symbolic number of refugees repatriated.
According to the Foreign Policy, doing so would be tantamount to an explicit admission of the abject failure of the entire Turkish strategy in Syria, and it allows the opposition to raise some difficult questions, especially about what has been accomplished in Syria.
The Syrian president, on the other hand, isn’t the only one who has a problem with Ankara’s behavior in Syria, as Washington recently imposed sanctions on two groups of Turkish-backed militias.
According to the Foreign Policy, the US government, without naming Türkiye by name, sent a strong signal that it was fed up with Ankara’s continued actions in Syria.
Therefore, and according to the Foreign Policy, all that means that Erdogan will most likely have to back down from his ill-conceived and fruitless policy in Syria.
Meanwhile, more and more actors are calling on the Turkish president to back down from his firm military stance, especially since Moscow would like Syria and Türkiye to work on resolving their differences, and Washington would like Erdogan to stop supporting the militias in Syria.
In conclusion, Erdogan would like to be able to tell his audience that he has acted on the refugee issue and neutralized the Kurdish threat.
At the end of the day, that the only way to achieve all these desires is for him to abandon Syria militarily.