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Reports that ISIS have been defeated in al-Bab may superficially being joy to many readers. But the reality is far from good.
In scoring a strategically important victory against ISIS, Turkey and its band of jihadists called the Free Syrian Army have replaced a barbaric terrorist group who seeks the death of the Syrian Arab Republic with the second largest army in NATO, complete with a modern air force. Turkey like ISIS, seek the destruction of the Syrian Arab Republic, one way or another. They are illegally occupying the territory of Syria. One illegal occupier has been replaced by another, vastly more powerful occupier.Crucially, the Turks didn’t even kill most of the ISIS fighters, instead allowing them to peacefully leave al-Bab.
Added to this is the presence of the Free Syrian Army who implement ISIS style techniques to terrorise local populations, especially Shia’s Muslims, Christians and those leading a secular lifestyle.
To put it another way, would a country, part of whose territory was under occupation, rather have it occupied by a gang of savages with some tanks, armoured vehicles and crude missiles, or by a NATO army that is only second in size to that of the United States?
Thus far, Russian diplomacy has avoided the very real possibility of the Turkish armed forces and the Syrian Arab Army engaging in a direct clash, but now that Turkey occupies al-Bab, there is once again a renewed chance that such a clash could take place.
Russia’s diplomatic hands are fuller than ever in this respect.
I have no doubt that eventually ISIS will be defeated and disappear. But Turkey is a large state and is not going anywhere. The question is, where are they going in Syria? If they do not leave Syria, it means that things have got a lot worse for Syrians, not better.
UPDATE: An ISIS suicide bomb has killed 41 people in al-Bab. Erdogan’s bloody hands now have even more trouble to content with.