Kurdish self-defense forces in Africa are doomed. They are doomed from the moment they linked their fate with the United States, and Turkey became their enemy. Even after that, their defeat was only a matter of time and a convenient moment that Ankara would choose to destroy the enclave of its long-standing enemy ...
"Shield of the Euphrates"
The destruction of the Kurdish enclaves in northern Syria became the official doctrine of the Turkish government immediately after the failed coup in the summer of 2016. The invasion of the Turkish army in August of the same year, codenamed "The Euphrates Shield", was intended to prevent all Kurdish territories from becoming one and, if possible, reject the Kurdish military formations beyond the Euphrates.
And they also inflicted the most important blow that upset the defense of IGIL in northern Syria, which in the future allowed the SAA to conduct a series of brilliant offensive operations that ended with the occupation of the entire western bank of the Euphrates (which Damascus and Moscow could not have dreamed of the year before).
In 2016, the Kurdish problem of Turkey was only partly resolved. The Turkish forces were bogged down in the battle for the El-Bab, which they unsuccessfully stormed for almost six months. This, as well as the US demarche, which then made it clear that they would defend their Kurdish allies until the end, cooled the plans of Ankara, and they hastened to pretend that they were satisfied with what has been achieved.
In some ways, Russian partners helped them to preserve their image in front of their population, creating security zones between pro-Turkish and Kurdish units, which allowed Erdogan not to answer the question of why the Turkish armed forces could not crush the Kurds.
At this the first stage of the Turkish "aggression" in Syria was over. Yes, Ankara was forced to retreat, but this did not force her to cancel her plans.
Preparation of the operation to solve the “Afrin Question”
Almost immediately after the end of the battle for El-Bab and the conclusion of a temporary truce with the Kurds, Turkey began to prepare a new operation. For her part, it was logical to continue solving the Kurdish issue, clearing the enclave of Afrin from their influence, which, as a result of the battles of the end of 2016 - beginning of 2017, found itself almost completely isolated.
On three sides, it was surrounded by Turkish forces, and on the fourth, the Idlib enclave. Only a small part of Afrin communicated with the government territory through which he received humanitarian supplies, and military equipment was supplied by the United States through the Mining airfield, which Kurdish forces managed to capture as a result of the summer and autumn fighting of 2016.
Meanwhile, clouds over the enclave began to thicken rapidly. By the end of the winter of 2016-2017, Turkey was able to take full control of the Idlib enclave, and the plan for a new operation against the Kurds began to loom rapidly in the Turkish General Staff.
His main idea was to use the almost complete environment of Afrin and absolute superiority in forces, and especially in heavy weapons, to create pressure on Kurdish troops from all sides at once. Thus, pro-Turkish forces will deprive the Kurds of their only advantage - actions along internal operational lines. Forced to defend their territory immediately and everywhere, Kurdish troops will not be able to maneuver reserves, and their resistance will immediately turn into a focal, which the pro-Turkish forces, with the support of the Turkish regular army, quickly suppress.
In general, by the summer of 2017, Ankara had finished all preparatory operations and was just waiting for the right moment to strike. Its main new “partner” in the region, Russia, was categorically opposed to conducting an operation against Afrin until such time as the Igilov troops were crushed (IG prohibited in the Russian Federation). And this happened only in the last days of December 2017.
By this time, Turkey, due to the “Annusrovsky” (“An-Nusra” banned in the Russian Federation) coup lost control over Idlib and was forced in October 2017 of the year to declare an ultimatum to the militants. Either they give up the northern part of the province so that Turkey can continue to keep Afrin surrounded, or she threatened them with war. As a result, in the middle of October 2017, Turkish troops entered Idlib and, without meeting resistance, again took up their positions opposite the Kurds.
So, by the beginning of the 2018 year, the preparation and the prerequisites for the beginning of the operation against Afrina had been fulfilled.
Problems of the USA. Why does Turkey carry chestnuts for Russia?
The United States is now in the Middle East, one problem follows another. In general, they did not manage to realize their strategic plans for 2017 year:
Break through the corridor from Raqqah to Jordan and “liberate” most of Syria, linking all the enclaves under their control in Syria.
Simultaneously with Idlib's Turkish ultimatum in mid-October 2017, another pro-American protégé in the region, Iraqi Kurdistan, received an ultimatum from Iran and Iraq and was forced to clear Kirkuk and a number of strategically important territories.
Do not have time to forget these troubles, as there was a new one. Damascus, taking advantage of the "random" appearance of ISIL gangs on the territory of the idlib enclave, began a military operation against local militants. Thus, one of the main US strongholds in the region also came under threat. And now another problem has emerged, albeit a long-awaited problem ...
In fact, the US has no choice. To help their Kurdish allies in Africa, they already can not do anything after the single line that connects them, Mining airfield, was put out of order. They did not dare to put their authority on the line, realizing that in this case the defeat in Africa could turn into a catastrophe for them in Syria.
The East is a delicate matter, and if you made a promise to protect an ally and did not fulfill it, then tomorrow everyone will refuse you.
That is why Washington chose to retreat in this completely losing situation and leave the Afrintsy one on one with the Turks. Kurds can now rely only on Assad's help. That is, they can accept his authority and declare himself a territory under the control of the government. It was on this morning 20 January hinted to them by the Turks and it was this option that was offered to the local leaders of Moscow. But the Kurds responded with a proud refusal, after which the ground part of the Turkish operation began.
It was beautiful, but stupid. Even taking into account the weak enough for one of the best NATO armies, Turkey outstrips Afrin by orders of magnitude, which means that the long one will not last. So, as a result, he will be forced to ask Moscow for help, which she has long been trying to achieve.