News Analysis: Turkish offensive in Syria raises concerns over revival of IS militants: experts - The Libyan Report

News Analysis: Turkish offensive in Syria raises concerns over revival of IS militants: experts

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-11 06:04:58|Editor: yan

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by Mahmoud Fouly

CAIRO, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- The latest Turkish assault on the Kurdish-controlled areas of northeastern Syria has raised concerns that the defeated Islamic State (IS) group could revive terror activities in the region, said Egyptian experts.

Turkey started its massive offensive on Wednesday in northern Syria, targeting the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which allied with the U.S. forces in defeating the IS group in the area.

The Kurds in northern Syria view the recent withdrawal of U.S. troops from the area ahead of the Turkish offensive a stab in the back and a green light for Turkey to launch attack.

"I expect that the assault would lead to the escape of a large number of detained IS militants to reorganize themselves somewhere in Syria or Iraq, and so we may soon see a severe wave of terror in the region," said Hassan Abu Taleb, an expert and consultant at Egypt's Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (ACPSS).

Suffering several years of deadly terrorist operations by a Sinai-based group loyal to the IS, Egypt was among the Arab states that slammed the Turkish move for undermining regional security and stability.

"I believe that IS militants would regain some power to become a tool for ruining the region and many of them might infiltrate into Egypt's North Sinai, Libya and Yemen," Abu Taleb told Xinhua.

He warned that the IS militants will be a tool, even if indirectly, for Turkey to fight against the Kurdish-led SDF and cause disorder in Kurdish areas, which may eventually lead to division of Syria.

"Ankara is carrying out this assault to establish the Turks in northeastern and northwestern Syria as part of Turkey's policy to expand its influence in Syria and Iraq," the ACPSS expert said.

He noted that the big powers involved in Syria's civil war didn't move to stop Turkey, which was like a green light for the latter to advance.

The Turkish move was condemned by several Arab states as well as the Arab League (AL), which will hold an emergency meeting for Arab foreign minister on Saturday to discuss the issue.

The AL warned in a statement on Wednesday that the Turkish strikes might cause deterioration of humanitarian and security conditions in Syria, incite more conflicts, and "allow the IS to restore some of its power."

Abu Taleb predicted that at best the AL meeting will issue a statement of condemnation and rejection of the Turkish offensive in Syria.

He lamented the weakness of the Arab nation which he said lured Turkey to expand its influence and control lands in Arab states like Syria and Iraq.

Turkey's move is believed to aim at limiting the power of the Kurdish SDF allied with Turkey's Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey.

U.S. President Donald Trump faced bipartisan wave of criticism for his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria ahead of the Turkish offensive.

Justifying the pullback, Trump said hours after Turkey launched the assault that his administration helped the Kurds with money, ammunition and weapons, and "now the Kurds are fighting for their land."

The U.S. president added that the Kurds "didn't help us in the Second World War; they didn't help us in Normandy as an example."

Hamdy Bakhit, an Egyptian lawmaker and a retired military general, said Trump's decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria was like "a green light for Turkey" and that his later remarks didn't prove otherwise.

He described the situation in Syria as "a complicated scene" that involves political understandings behind closed doors based on interests.

The security expert warned that the Turkish offensive could lead to the revival of inactive IS militants and become their springboard to spread in nearby areas in Syria and Iraq or reorganize their elements in other places like Egypt and Libya.

"A country's aggression against another surely poses a threat to regional peace, security and stability," Bakhit told Xinhua. source