But perhaps the most important issue is the fighting-tested Kurds, who, after nearly two weeks of fierce fighting, still have to be uprooted from the border towns besieged by Erdogan`s army and his mercenaries. Erdgoan`s eyes are on the crucial area of Manbij, where, according to the Kurdish agreements in Damascus, there has been a new infusion of Syrian troops that strengthen the defence of the city. As a result, the “safe zone” is likely to remain in conflict for some time, which could damage Russia`s relations with the Kurds, the Syrian government and Iran, if Putin`s warplanes and helicopters begin to punish the Syrian Kurds as the cost of their new “win-win” partnership with Ankara. A big question, of course, is how long Turkey will remain on Syrian territory, given Erdogan`s stated intention to transfer about 1.5 million refugees from their current camps inside Turkey. The “safe zone” can also become a “safe haven” for anti-Assad forces, who are currently acting as Erdogan`s facilitators in Operation Spring Peace and advancing their own agenda, in contradiction with some of Erdogan`s commitments under the Sochi agreement. In addition, the fate of thousands of IS fighters remains under Kurdish guard, including hundreds of Damascus claimed to have been sent to Iraq by US forces. Will Erdogan take over the new prison, as the White House recently claimed, or will he instead recruit it to his army, as he has already done, according to various reports? Putin stressed the importance of preserving Syria`s territorial integrity and removing illegitimate foreign troops from Syrian territory. Putin then worked on the phone to get Assad on board. However, Mr.
Assad reaffirmed his staunch opposition to the Turkish military presence in Syria, his determination to use “all legitimate means” to counter the “invasion” of Turkey and ensure the return of masses of war refugees who, since the beginning of the Turkish operation Peace Spring, with the help of Arab deputies accused since then of committing numerous atrocities against the Kurds , commit some 250,000 people.