The only hope for a no-fly zone to block Turkish attacks in northern Syria lies in a large, international solidarity movement, Italian journalist Benedetta Argentieri told Mezopotamya Agency.
But with Turkey’s partners and allies motivated by self-interest, the chance of a no-fly zone remains very slim, said the journalist.
Argentieri, who has been reporting on the conflicts in Syria and Iraq since 2014, noted the failure of widespread international campaigns to declare a no-fly zone over Afrin and Ras al-Ayn (Serêkaniyê) in 2018, when Turkey invaded the northern Syrian territories with air support from fighter jets and drones.
Pleas for the international community to step in and block Turkish air assaults in northern Syria have continued to this day, as Turkey continues to launch strikes in predominantly Kurdish areas of the country.
“Unfortunately, I don’t think this will happen,” she said, while noting that the Syrian autonomous administrations which govern multi-ethnic regions in northern Syria have every right to demand no-fly zones.
Turkey, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s second-largest military power, defied its NATO partners by launching a series of military operations against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northern Syria.
The SDF, the military wing of the autonomous organisations governing northern Syria, played a crucial role in the US-led coalition to defeat the extremist jihadist Islamic State (ISIS).
But Turkey, which counts the SDF as a terrorist organisation, has launched a series of cross-border military operations against the group, seizing a large swathe of territory in northern Syria.
The Turkish military has also continued air operations over SDF-controlled territories, including a number of lethal drone strikes.
The Democratic Union Party (PYD), a political party associated with the SDF, on Sunday called on the United Nations Security Council to close Syrian airspace to Turkish warplanes, Fırat News Agency reported.
The PYD said the Turkish state’s plans to change the demography of Syria had entered a new phase, adding that Turkish jets flying over Syria were a violation of international agreements.
The group also cited a Turkish drone attack in northeastern Syria’s Qamishli that killed four people, including two children, to show that Ankara has ramped up its attacks on Syria.
But calls for a no-fly zone have so far fallen on deaf ears due to Western countries’ economic and military ties with Ankara, according to Argentieri.
The last, slim hope for such a measure lies with the international public, she said.
“If there is a large movement of people, such as people taking to the streets, maybe this could happen. I don’t have much trust that the international community will stand up and do what is necessary,” Argentieri said.
The journalist noted that ISIS still poses a danger as it has been able to regroup, mainly in areas outside the control of autonomous administrations.
Argentieri added that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had been trying this year to gain the international community’s approval to launch a fresh military operation in Syria, but he had so far failed to do so. She also voiced her hope that people would express solidarity with Rojava.