Written by Nasser Kandil,
The Turks want an unrealistic solution for Idlib, through dismantling Al Nusra front to isolate what they consider an extremist minority from a majority that can be included within groups that can work under their control and through organizing their domination on Idlib as the Democratic Forces of Syria, in order to be able to negotiate with the Syrian state on the military withdrawal in exchange for a political partnership. What do encourage the Turks are the long relationships with Al Nusra leaders throughout the war and their control over the military and the logistical facilities which are needed by Al Nusra to move.
The Turks show that they do not want and have no interest especially currently to collide with Russia, Iran, and the Syrian state. But they seek to avoid the fall of what they consider as the cards of presence in Syria, most importantly the military presence in Idlib and its protection to be as the Kurdish presence; a final negotiating card on the future of Syria. Therefore, the seeking to create a semi Kurdish example in the eastern of Euphrates forms the essence of what they seek for.
The first obstacle that faces the Turks is the structural dispute between the armed Kurdish groups and the armed groups in Idlib. The Syrian governmental acceptance of a certain privacy of the Kurds stems from an ethnic national lingual structure that allows asking for some privacy under the ceiling of Syrian unity, while the acceptance of it in Idlib forms a beginning of the division of Syria and it is impossible, because it means an acceptance of Turkish Muslim Brotherhood canton outside the borders of the united Syria, this worth a war with Turkey if necessary.
The second obstacle that faces the Turks is that the structure of Al Nusra front and the structure of the armed groups managed by Turkey form political and ideological titles that lead to hostility to the Syrian state as a priority, they have a project that is contrary to the project of the civil state, the hostility to the Syrian state is their only issue especially because their gathering was an outcome of the gathering of those who refused to have settlements with the state and they preferred to depart to Idlib than to accept them, while the essence of the gathering of the Kurdish groups is related to legal and administrative demands from the Syrian state, and their hostility to the Turks and to the affiliated armed formations as Al Nusra and ISIS forms a collective priority that makes them closer to the Syrian army in general. This explains the non-interruption of communication and cooperation despite the troubles and the difficulties that have accompanied their relationship.
The third obstacle that faces the Turks is that the practical seeking to apply this perception; the dismantling of the armed groups in Idlib cannot be applied peacefully, and applying it through the military pressure can lead to uncontrolled movement. The confrontations of Al Nusra with the group of Ahrar Al Sham which was a Turkish project ended with the end of Ahrar Al Sham while the goal was the opposite. There are many evidences that show that in every confrontation with Al Nusra, the opposite groups are affected rather than it, because it expressed strongly the original project on which these groups formed. This is feared by the Turks and they hesitated because of it in any initiative, for fear that any security operation that exerts pressure on Al Nusra can end with putting Idlib under the full control of Al Nusra instead of the relative control and the fragmentation of the groups associated to Turkey.
The only way to end Al Nusra is the military operation which is prepared by the Syrian Arab Army and putting the other armed groups between either to fight with Al Nusra or to accept the settlements with the Syrian army. Turkey is in front of two options too either to facilitate this task and to cooperate for its achievement, or to disable it, it has to choose and to know the consequences of both options after the end of the operation.
Translated by Lina Shehadeh,