Having apparently gotten Saudi Arabia on board with the idea, Turkey is now seeking broader international support for the idea of a ground invasion into northern Syria, arguing that it’s necessary to stop the “brutal Russians” and to beat back the Kurds from the border.
Interestingly, when the Saudis were talking up invading last week, it was couched as a way to fight ISIS. Turkey’s own talk of a ground offensive, which President Erdogan insists is the only way to “stop the war,” is being presented wholly as about fighting the Kurds and keeping them from taking territory from ISIS.
Though Erdogan insists the Saudis and some unnamed EU nations are on board, it’s not clear to what extent that’s the case, as the Saudis and Russians are in the midst of key economic efforts, and probably don’t want to suddenly be at war with one another. Turkey’s government, by contrast, seems to be itching for a war with Russia.
Erdogan insists that Russia is plotting to install the Kurds along the Syria-Turkey border, displacing ISIS and other Islamist rebels. While Russia has backed the Kurdish YPG to some extent, the group is also heavily backed by the US, much to Turkey’s consternation.