PKK in Syria: A Hedge Against Turkey or a Provocation?

Assad Welcoming PKK Operations, Experts Say

With both nations deploying tanks along their mutual border and tensions soaring, attention is once again being brought to the operation of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters inside Syria, and how this impacts their already frayed relationship with Turkey.

Experts see Syrian President Bashar Assad increasingly allowing PKK sites in his country, and even welcoming them as a possible hedge against Turkey’s ongoing backing of the various Syrian rebel factions.

The PKK have played up this role in recent months, threatening to turn Turkish Kurdistan into a “warzone” if Turkish forces invade Syria. Given how much the PKK has escalated the fight against Turkey in recent months, exactly how much more they can do is unclear.

And indeed, as the PKK escalates inside Turkey, Turkish officials have been hinting at using their presence as yet another excuse for invading Syria, reflecting the double-edged sword the group could be for the regime.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of