Prof. Gabriel Sawma: Political pressure stopping new Turkish military operation in northern Syria for now

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Though Turkey has been trying to enhance its diplomatic ties with Europe, the U.S., and Russia to gain approval, or at least acceptance, for a renewed invasion of northern Syria, political pressure has so far prevented a new military operation.

In an interview with North Press Agency, Syriac professor of international law and former advisor to U.S. President Donald Trump Gabriel Sawma stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin likely considers any military incursion in Syria as an unnecessary complication to the security situation in the country, especially at a time when the Russian invasion of Ukraine is struggling. So there is a de facto Russian veto in this regard, he explained.

“It seems that President Erdogan needs a green light from Russia to take such a step,” Sawma said.

At the end of August, there is another opportunity for the Russian and Turkish parties to meet, at the Black Sea resort of Sochi, to discuss the issue. 

In July, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned once more that Ankara would start a fresh military campaign in northern Syria following his meeting in Tehran with Putin and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

Sawma also indicated that the Turkish escalation was taking place at a time when negotiations of Sweden and Finland joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) were underway.

The U.S. warned Turkey, through Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken, against any intervention in Syria, according to Sawma.

Regarding the Iranian stance on the issue, Sawma said that Iran opposed the plan and considered it “harmful” to both Turkey and Syria.