Syria in the shadow of the Ukraine War: Turkish sabre-rattling and Russian bargaining


  • Aron Lund

Publish date: 2022-11-25

Report number: FOI Memo 7984

Pages: 12

Written in: English


  • Syria
  • Turkey
  • Russia
  • Kurdistan
  • SDF
  • YPG
  • PKK
  • the Syrian conflict
  • war
  • non-state actors


Though overshadowed by the war in Ukraine, Syria remains a live conflict. In May 2022, Turkey, which already controls large border regions, threatened to attack two Kurdish enclaves in northern Syria. The Turkish government appears to have assumed that neither Russia nor the United States, who have partnered with the Syrian-Kurdish guerrilla, would seek to stop an attack, given Turkey's important role in the Ukraine War. Even so, these plans met with strong resistance, and Turkey has since found itself trapped in negotiations with Russia, which demands a lifting of Turkey's diplomatic boycott of the Russian-backed government in Damascus. This FOI Memo describes the Russian-Turkish bargaining over Syria, the situation around the Kurdish enclaves, and the conditions shaping a potential political thaw between Ankara and Damascus. In addition, it discusses possible future consequences for Sweden and Europe.