Analysis: Shadow theater in the Syrian war - M5 Dergi
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Analysis: Shadow theater in the Syrian war

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As the Syrian civil war is a matter of influence for many states and terrorist organizations, this shadow puppetry is bound to come to an end soon

The shadow puppetry in the Syrian war is about to end. As it is well known, the Syrian civil war has been ongoing as a war of influence and proxy of many states, multinationals and international institutions, and terrorist organizations, that is, dozens of different elements.

The Syrian people had no other desire than to live a better life in a democratic environment with the Arab Spring. However, the countries that intervened from outside tried to consolidate their stores or colonialism on Syrian territory taking advantage of this opportunity instead of fulfilling the desires of the Syrian people.

The United States gathered a group of Syrian friends from nearly 60 countries. Initially, it seemed they were managing the system change in Syria through this initiative. However, the U.S. and some other elements, like the Europeans, could not calculate the influence of Iran on Syria.

Iran’s targets

It was a lucky period for Iran. Because former U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration wanted to include Iran in the world system. However, the Democratic Party leaders in the U.S. have never really understood the Iran problem. The Democrats have never realized Iran’s ultimate targets. Nevertheless, they tried to extract an Iranian empire from the process in their control.

The U.S. had already seized Iraq. Then it entered Syria and landed troops in Yemen. However, during former U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, Iran could have slightly refrained. Thereupon, Iran ensured the entry of Russia into Syria. On the other hand, the Bashar Assad regime and the PKK agreed to prevent Türkiye’s support to the region.


The control of the PKK terrorist organization later passed into the hands of the U.S. under different names, which originally Iran and the Assad regime of Syria jointly organized against Türkiye. When we look back on the 10-year struggle, Türkiye’s moves against the PKK terrorist organization, the Daesh terrorist organization, and some specific problem areas were more about maintaining its border security.

Friends or foes?

It’s been 10 years. The shadow theater is over. In other words, it is becoming obvious who are Syria’s friends, enemies, oppressors and who is the terrorist organization. Most likely, the influence of Türkiye and Russia on Syria will increase in the coming period, and the influence of the U.S. and the PKK on Syria will wane.

In this retrospective decade, it has been clear that the conventional U.S. power that scared everyone is no longer deteriorating. During this time, Russia landed in the Mediterranean. We all realized that European states no longer have a multiplier effect in the Middle East. We also became aware that Iran is not a country that wants peace and stability in Syria. During this time, Türkiye fortified its power. It has restored its deteriorated presence in the Mediterranean, the Caucasus, and the Middle East, and its political influence on the world stage has reappeared as a regional power with effects at the global level.

It is not difficult to guess the moves of the U.S. after the end of the shadow theatre and when the real struggle begins. We can say that the apocalypse has already broken out for the PKK today. Because if the Syrian state maintains its territorial integrity and unitary structure, the PKK will not have a land or a state.

From now on, Iran’s attitude will shape the region. The regional balances will be determined by Iran’s position, whether it will go against Russia and what kind of stance it will take against Türkiye.

It might be hard to believe we shall most likely be talking about U.S.-Iran cooperation in the coming period if Iran accepts and desires that the instability in Iraq, for example, is created by the continuation of instability in Syria. Iran knows that the U.S. is a remote power, and for Iran, such a remote influence is far better to be active in Syria rather than a Türkiye nearby.

Iran will be very much disturbed by the expanding influence of Türkiye. So, Iran can partner with the Americans, as it did with the Russians. Türkiye shall have to pay attention to Iran’s role in the near term to protect Syrian territorial integrity and improve Syrian-Turkish relations.

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