Erdoğan losing more ground than gained in Syria offensive  - Kathimerini

Turkey’s military offensive in Syria, while providing some gains to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has led to the country’s increased dependence on Russia and has boosted the international sympathy for Kurds and their leaders, Greek newspaper Kathimerini said on Friday.

While gaining some territory in neighbouring Syria, Turkey is losing ground on much more significant fronts, the newspaper said.

Turkey launched a military offensive in northeastern Syria on Oct. 9, just days after the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump announced that it was pulling U.S. troops back from the area. Turkey has faced widespread international condemnation over its offensive, which aimed at pushing Kurdish forces Turkey deems as a threat away from its border with Syria.

The operation has been followed the U.S. House of Representatives resolution recognising the Armenian genocide by the Turks in 1915, in a move that united the fractious political system of the United States against Turkey, it said. On the same day, the House agreed, almost unanimously, to impose sanctions on Turkey.

Meanwhile, there has been an increasing wave of sympathy for Kurds, who have spearheaded the U.S.-led war on the Islamic State (ISIS) in the region for years.

The military leader of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), General Mazloum Kobani, is now sitting at the negotiation table with both Americans and Russians.

Trump supporter and outspoken critic of Turkey’s presence in Syria, U.S. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has said Turkey is risking severing its already damaged ties with Washington with its ongoing aggression in Syria. 

At home, Erdoğan has managed to win support for his offensive across the political spectrum, increasing his approval rating in the process. 

While tensions with the United States may favour Erdoğan in domestic politics, Kathimerini said, Turkey has lost a great deal of political capital in Washington.

The Turkish military and Turkey-backed Syrian rebels currently control the region between southeastern Syrian towns of Tel Abyad and Ras al Ayn, where Turkey says it will establish a safe zone and resettle Syrian refugees in Turkey.

The offensive ended after Turkey and Russia agreed last week to establish a wider buffer zone starting from northwestern Syrian town of Manbij and stretching to Syria’s border with Iraq.