Turkey Vows to Expand Syria Offensive East to Iraq Border

Escalation Virtually Assures US Troops Will Be Involved

One week into the Turkish invasion of Syria’s Afrin District, the war against the Kurdish YPG looks to be expanding precipitously, with President Erdogan first announcing he’d extend the war to Manbij, and now all the way east to the Iraqi border.

This suggests Turkey’s war against Syria’s Kurds is likely to span the whole of YPG territory, which at present is about 25% of all of Syria. That war will include Turkey’s allies, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which Turkey tends to install as de facto rulers in places they’ve seized.

More importantly, this escalation all but ensures Turkey will be in an military confrontation with the US, as all of America’s troops deployed in Syria are in YPG territory, embedded with the Kurds, who they consider allies.

The US has no presence in Afrin, which has forestalled this confrontation, but efforts to try to prevent direct clashes will have to be massive if Turkey indeed intends to invade all of YPG’s territory, and the Pentagon’s intentions not to withdraw from Syria mean some sort of substantial deal would have to be made on accommodating the permanent US occupation force.

This is, however, in keeping with long-standing Turkish positions on their war in Syria, that they could not allow the YPG to retain territory on their border. Hopes this would be limited to Afrin were never reasonable, and Turkey was virtually certain to be escalating the war, as it now has.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.