Turkey will have to destroy Syria’s Afrin to capture it - analyst

The demographics of the Kurdish-held Syrian town of Afrin mean that Turkey will have to destroy it if it wants to end resistance to its rule there, Syrian-origin American analyst Hassan Hassan wrote.

“The assault is particularly perplexing because its stated goal of expelling the militants and controlling the city appears too far-fetched,” he said.

“Any observer familiar with the demographics of the city and the militants defending it will conclude that such a scenario is inconceivable. If Turkey intends to continue the operation until the end, the only conceivable scenario is complete destruction of the city, rather than a military victory that ends the People’s Protection Units (YPG) insurgency.”

One of the likely real objectives behind the operation is to create a security belt along the border with Turkey, Hassan said, keeping the YPG at bay.

Another is to force the U.S. government to take Turkey’s concerns more seriously by becoming a serious actor within the Syrian civil war, he added.

However, the operation so far is not going as well as Turkey had hoped, Hassan said.

“Despite the hard-to-defend terrain, a large number of rebel forces backed by the Turkish army captured anywhere between three to five percent of the territory,” he said.

“Even though the largely empty terrain constitutes most of the Afrin geography, the Turkish-backed forces have so far made meagre military progress.”