Is the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)’s sudden support for Syrian President Bashar Assad an excuse for Turkey to invade Syria, or a risk so great it might convince Turkey not to launch a planned incursion to create a buffer zone?
Since PKK commander Murat Karaylian’s recent comments, promising to turn “all of Kurdistan into a war zone” if Turkey invades, the speculation about a Turkish ground invasion of Syria has centered entirely around the Kurds.
A complicated situation made moreso – Turkey is accusing Assad, a long-time Turkish ally, of using the PKK as an auxiliary wing against the rebel forces. Yet Turkey’s backing of the SNC and FSA rebel factions was in many ways a cynical effort to tamp down calls for Kurdish autonomy in Syrian Kurdistan by replacing Assad with a more populist Sunni Arab faction.
In many ways, the PKK’s insinuation into events is exactly what Turkey wanted, a direct Kurds versus Sunni Arabs battle. Yet the Turkish-backed rebels are losing the civil war quickly, and the oft-threatened direct Turkish invasion threatens to make the PKK violence inside Turkey itself dramatically worse, a risk it seems they can ill afford to take.
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