The news coming out of Munich, is that a “Syrian ceasefire within a week” has been agreed. However, with UN special envoy Steffan de Mistura preferring to call it a “cessation of hostilities”, it is with bated breath that we should await the implementation of that agreement. Indeed, as it is looking increasingly likely that a week might be just enough time for Damascus and Russia to complete a great deal of their still unfinished business, it could be that there will be a reaction before the so-called “cessation of hostilities” comes into effect.
Of course, “reaction” is hardly the right word and, as mentioned a couple of days ago, there is evidence to suggest that Turkey is already preparing to send troops into Syria. Moreover, that this will happen looks all the more likely when we consider the news that Kurdish fighters have taken Menagh airport, a former military air base close to the Turkish border. Yes, there is evidence to suggest that the Kurdish YPG is still actively looking to create a contiguous Kurdish belt along the Turkish border and in doing so it is, like Damascus and Moscow, creating facts on the ground.
These are the facts that should worry us for, while the impending deployment of troops from Saudi, Bahrain, and the UAE, which will “range from a small token force operating alongside an estimated 50 US special forces in Syria” , might seem laughable, they might lend some sort of “international coalition” credibility to a larger military operation supported by the West and undertaken by Turkey. That is why, it is not only the advances made by the Kurds and Syrian army over the next week that will be decisive, but also how Erdogan and, perhaps more importantly, the Turkish military react to these advances.