With reports flowing out of Syria that regime forces are close to recapturing Damascus, the situation in the rest of the country remains fluid and chaotic. So why the fanfare over the successful Damascus operation? The recapture of Damascus gives the Syrian-Iranian-Russian axis the ability to easily funnel Iranian troops from Shiite areas in Iraq into Syria proper and even up to the Israeli border.
Given the agreement put into place between Russia, Turkey, Syria, and Iran over the four ceasefire zones literally places the border between Jordan and Syria, as well as the Israeli Golan under range of an increasing Iranian troop presence, it is understandable that Israel and even the US is highly reluctant to embrace the agreement signed in Kazakhstan.
With the creation of four safe-zones, the four countries that have signed on have virtually created a no-fly zone for US fighters. This has implications for two major spheres: Israel and Kurdistan.
Israel has been relying on tacit Russian allowances to fly over and strike shipments from Iran to Hezbollah. It remains to be seen whether Putin will continue to allow this. Given the fact Iranian troops are increasing their presence on Israel’s Northern border, an absence of this agreement puts Israeli security in jeopardy.
The Turkish ceasefire zones are all focused on forcing the US-back Kurds from the Turkish border. Without US -air support and supplies, the Kurds can be pushed back. Unfortunately they have been the best armed force in combating ISIS. With Kurds being threatened by Turkey, ISIS can and will grow in Northern Syria, after all it was Turkey that had been their original patron.
With Trump distracted in North Korea and domestic troubles, his team has been slow to react to what has become a fait accompli of near Russian-Iranian control over most of Syria. This not only imperils Israel and Kurdistan, but the broader Middle East.