The turmoil in Turkey following the failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is likely to benefit Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, according to the analysis of an Arab intelligence official speaking to Breitbart Jerusalem.
On Friday night, when the coup seemed to make headway, the Arab news media reported that celebrations were held in pro-Assad strongholds in northeastern Syria, as the political demise of one of the central backers of the Syrian opposition, chiefly the Islamists involved, seemed imminent.
Erdogan survived the coup, to Assad’s chagrin, but the source said that Turkey has started revising its Syrian policy.
“It’s not only a revision of the geopolitical situation and Assad’s fate, but also a revision of the equilibrium between domestic and foreign policies,” he said.
“The economic boom, Erdogan’s main generator of support, has steadily been on the decline, and the elites, mainly the state media, attribute that to reckless diplomatic escapades that led to the breakdown of the ceasefire with the Kurdish rebels and repealing some of the support it had given the Islamic State, that in turn morphed into a retaliation in the form of terror attacks on Turkish soil. These hurt the economy, especially the tourism industry.”
The official estimated that in the aftermath of the coup attempt, Erdogan and Prime Mnister Binali Yildirim will shift their focus more on domestic affairs and less on an expansive foreign policy that, the official opined, would raise the ire of the international community.
“That’s why Assad is set to gain from the attempted coup, albeit a failed one. Because Turkey looks set to withdraw some of its support from rebel groups, a crucial variable as a key battle for the capture of Aleppo looms,” he added.
On the eve of the coup, Turkey seemed less adamant to see Assad leave, the source added, “and now this change of policy is going to be complemented with less support for his opponents.”
Moreover, the source said, Russian-brokered negotiations between Turkey and Syria on the Kurdish issue have been underway, and if Assad now accepts Turkey’s demand to cut ties with Kurdish rebels, both Assad and Turkey may stand to benefit, because the prospect of Kurdish sovereignty will be relegated to the back burner.
“The key question is what Russia’s position on this is,” the source said. “The Russians have their own interests, and they will make or break any development.”