New clashes between pro-Turkish militias in Syria

Meanwhile, France and Greece strengthen their position in the Mediterranean to block Ankara's interests in the region
Combatants supported by Turkey in Syria

AFP/BAKR ALKASEM  -   Combatants supported by Turkey in Syria

Turkey has a lot of problems in the Middle East. Its militias financed in Syria, where they are fighting the government of Bachar al-Asad, have begun to clash with each other. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), an "armed struggle between the 'Al-Hamzaat' factions and the 'Al-Sultan Murad' Division" has been monitored this weekend in the rural area of Ras al-Ain, located in the north of Al-Hasakah province. 

Although the details of this battle are not yet known, the London-based organization recalls that tension within the Ankara-supported ranks erupted on April 27, when the 20th Division and 'Ahrar al-Sharqiya' clashed "fiercely", also in the rural area of Ras al-Ain. 

In addition, the residents of the area have also begun to pressure the units to withdraw, as they "demanded the demilitarization of the city and that the military presence be relocated to the countryside", at a time when "the city is witnessing widespread discontent due to the practices of these factions" in the framework of Operation 'Spring of Peace', launched by Turkey last October in northern Syria with the aim of eradicating the Kurdish militias.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's military campaign in Syria is also encountering other obstacles. The latest comes from France's decision to hold talks with Kurdish parties in the northwest of the country of Al-Asad, "a move that is likely to rub salt into the wounds caused by growing tensions between Turkey and France over Libya and Syria," as analyst Sinem Cengiz explains in Arab News. According to the publication Rudaw, the French delegation that visited Syria met with "representatives of the parties that form the Kurdish National Alliance, and then with members of the Democratic Union Party, which Ankara considers a terrorist organization.

The goal, according to the analysts cited, is that "if France succeeds in uniting the Kurds [in a common front], it will seek to use the credit it receives for this achievement not only to influence post-war Syria politically, but also to confront Turkey over its increased presence in Libya". 

But Erdogan's government not only has to face up to Paris' interests now, an enemy of recent times, Greece, has also made a move on the geopolitical chessboard. Athens recently decided to re-establish diplomatic relations with Syria with the appointment of Tassia Athanassiou as special envoy, who was already ambassador to Damascus between 2009 and 2012, a mission that was suspended that last year when the war broke out. "Her appointment, which observers interpreted as highly strategic, is an indication that Athens wants to normalise relations before the talks on post-war Syria [...] The move is expected to further tip the balance of power in the eastern Mediterranean in Athens' favour," explains Cengiz. 

It should be recalled here that Turkey and Greece - the latter representing the European Union in general - have had their relations soured by Ottoman interests in the gas reserves of the western Mare Nostrum. In fact, on 20 April, Ankara began to drill in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus, which caused blisters within the Community's orbit.