Syria’s military has responded to reports that Turkish warplanes killed 200 Kurdish fighters in northern Syria strikes with a statement condemning Turkey for “blatant aggression” and waning them against launching any further attacks inside Syrian airspace.
“Any attempt to once again breach Syrian airspace by Turkish warplanes will be dealt with and they will be brought down by all means available,” the statement from Syrian general command warned. The Syrian government has long complained of Turkey and other US coalition members violating their airspace, but this is the first explicit threat to do anything about it.
It could be shrewd timing on Syria’s part, as the Kurds are reeling following the huge Turkish airstrikes around Afrin, and the US, the normal go-to ally for Kurdish officials, is going out of its way to back Turkey on general terms. The Kurds have long seen themselves less as part of the ongoing rebellion in Syria as part of their own faction trying to secure relative autonomy within Syrian Kurdistan, which is also a main reason Turkey opposes them.
The combination of the Kurds not being part of the Arab nationalist or Islamist rebellions and their focus on resisting ISIS takeover has long positioned them separately from the other factions in Syria, and while they’ve sparred with the Syrian government on occasion over specific areas, they haven’t been at overt war with them, meaning Syria’s willingness to stand up for them against Turkish attacks could be very welcome indeed.
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