The situation in northern Syria has been complex for years, but never moreso than now, with troops from the US, Turkey, Russia, and Syria, along with Kurdish YPG forces and rebel Free Syrian Army forces all clustered into close proximity of one another around the city of Manbij.
Manbij, which was taken by the YPG from ISIS last year, is Turkey’s next would-be target in northern Syria, and all the other countries have deployed in a way deliberately designed to block Turkey from such an invasion. As they meet with Russian and US officials, it’s clear they are none too happy.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim described it as “unfortunate” that their allies were choosing to ally with the Kurdish YPG against ISIS. Turkish officials have long maintained that there is no difference between the Kurds and ISIS, and that both are equal terrorists to be wiped out.
Though Yildirim conceded that it was inevitable Turkey would have to coordinate with both the US and Russia on its actions in Syria, much of the point of Turkey’s August invasion of Syria was about attacking the YPG, and with Turkish forces seemingly blocked from attacking Manbij, it’s likely they’ll try to hit Kurdish towns elsewhere instead.