Overnight Wednesday into Thursday, Turkey cut short a Kurdish offensive against ISIS forces around Afrin, when warplanes entered Syrian airspace and attacked the Kurdish troops, killing 200 of them by Turkish estimates. Since then, Turkey has not let up on the attacks.
There were reports of fighting on the ground between the Kurdish YPG and Turkish-backed rebels, and at least 90 Turkish rockets hit the area around the Kurdish fighters, aiming to push them back and allow the rebels to seize more of the northern Aleppo Province.
Turkey has insisted it intends those rebels to control the entire border, and has further warned Kurds aren’t allowed west of the Euphrates River. This is doubly problematic for Afrin, which is both along the border and well west of the Euphrates, despite being a Kurdish area for centuries.
Though the US has heavily backed the Kurds in fighting against ISIS, they’ve shrugged off the reports of huge Kurdish death tolls in Turkish attacks, with the Pentagon insisting they retain “very close” ties with Turkey, and the State Department flat out refusing comment, saying they don’t get into “day-to-day operations” in Syria.
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