Turkish officials continue to complain about the growing territory within northern Syria held by the Kurdish YPG, insisting that they want Syria’s ethnic structure to remain unchanged, and Deputy Premier Numaan Kurtulmus insisting they won’t accept a “region of terror” controlled by Kurdish forces in the area.
The hope that a nationalist rebellion would tamp down Kurdish autonomy played a big role in Turkey’s early decision to back the rebels in Syria. Ultimately, this backfired, as Kurdish forces quickly consolidated their control over northeastern Syria, and have captured some of the surrounding area from ISIS.
Turkish officials have been increasingly complaining to the US about backing the Kurdish YPG, who they insist6 are “terrorists,” and insist that the Kurds must not retain any territory west of the Euphrates after the war.
But even this is looking problematic for Turkey, as east of the Euphrates, the YPG has continued to amass gains over ISIS, and the current US plan is to back a Kurdish invasion of the ISIS capital of Raqqa, giving them control over another large city and surrounding area in Syria’s northeast.
Though Turkey continues to reiterate its displeasure, it is unclear there is much they can do about Kurdish expansion in Syria, as embedded US troops are making a direct Turkish attack likely much too dangerous to contemplate.