The Turkish military’s leadership has seen substantial reshuffling in the past few days, but the focus seems to be the same: fighting Kurds. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan today suggested that such a move could be happening in Syria very soon.
Turkish forces within Syria have been trading fire with the Kurdish YPG for weeks, and Erdogan insisted in comments over the weekend that Turkey could never leave “the separatist organization” active in either Syria or Iraq going forward.
“We know that if we do not drain the swamp, we cannot get rid of flies,” Erdogan insisted. With much of the YPG committed to fighting ISIS in Raqqa, they might be more vulnerable to a Turkish push now, though this would likewise risk ruining the US-backed Raqqa invasion.
It is this concern that has driven US policy in Syria, trying to calm Turkey as much as possible, and to position US forces in areas that would complicate any major Turkish offensives, by risking them getting US troops in the process. Still, both sides believe war is inevitable, and the US efforts are only going to hold off that fight for so long.
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