Growing US Concerns as Turkey Escalates War on Kurds

Pledged War on ISIS Going Nowhere Fast

US officials are expressing growing concern at the Turkish military’s continued escalation of its war against Kurdish factions in the region, and believe they were sold a bill of goods when Turkey attacked ISIS and the Kurdish PKK within hours of one another then sought NATO backing.

The US had been desperate to get Turkey on board for fighting ISIS for some time and eagerly jumped on the Turkish call to action, which included giving the US access to a couple of airbases to bomb ISIS, on the condition they not use them to help the Kurds in northern Syria.

It seemed like everything the US was hoping for, but officials are now saying ISIS was a “bait-and-switch” tactic by Turkey to get the US to acquiesce to their war against Kurds, particularly in northern Iraq. Though US military officials have expressed anger at the way the war against the Kurds is being carried out, there seems to be no interest in the US changing its policy, and instead they wait for Turkey to go after ISIS.

That’s just not happening. Turkey launched some token strikes on ISIS in the first couple of days of border clashes, and there hasn’t been a peep on the border since. Even the much-vaunted “safe zone,” presented to the US as hurting ISIS, looks to be carved mostly out of Kurdish territory in Aleppo Province. The focus is entirely on Kurds, and to read the Turkish press, there is no war with ISIS.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of