Late last month, when Turkish officials started talking up the idea of invading Syria to weaken the Kurdish forces, it was seen as a done deal. It was believed Turkey would install its long-sought “buffer zone” in Syrian Kurdistan in a matter of days, but it never happened.
They are facing opposition from a number of sources, both domestically and internationally. Western allies who have been cozying up to the Kurds have made clear they opposed it, and Turkey’s political opposition has also insisted the government has no authority to take such a military action.
The biggest opposition, however, may have come from a surprising source, with Turkish military leaders making it clear they too very much opposed the idea of creating and maintaining a “buffer zone” inside Syrian territory with Turkish military forces.
Military officials were already expressing legal concerns about the talk of an invasion, and an emergency meeting was set up by the Erdogan government. Almost immediately thereafter, officials said there would be no “imminent” invasion of Syria.
The Erdogan government sees growing Kurdish power in northeast Syria as a threat to stir secessionist sentiments inside Turkey as well. Western nations, however, see the Kurds as their main ally against ISIS, and believe a Turkish invasion would benefit ISIS considerably.