Border clashes with ISIS late last month got Turkey to announce a formal policy shift toward a more directly anti-ISIS position. They offered a pair of air bases for the US and other coalition warplanes, which the US have just now begun using.
Turkey’s recent focus on wars with the Kurdish PKK, however, have raised questions about whether they are really going to do much against ISIS. Turkey insists they are, however, saying today that the “comprehensive battle” against ISIS will be carried out “soon.”
Turkey is envisioning the creation of a “safe zone” carved out of ISIS and Kurdish territory inside northern Syria, but questions about how big this will be and whole will actually run it remain unanswered. Likewise, Turkey has ruled out ground troops, so the idea that it can be created at all remains highly speculative.
Whatever the Turkey-US alliance intends for northern Syria, however, they are keeping many of the details to themselves. That’s not sitting well with Syria, which insists national sovereignty demands they be given at least some role in coordination of the anti-ISIS fight. The US has repeatedly ruled this out, and Turkey has been overtly hostile to Syria for years now, so it seems unlikely.
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