With Turkey having completed their occupation of Afrin District, and no deal in sight for the city of Manbij, where US troops have a presence, Turkish officials are once again beating the war drums. Officials are threatening even bigger attacks if the US doesn’t agree to a deal that placates Turkey.
According to Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey intends to drive all Kurdish YPG and other Kurdish forces away from the border soon if the US doesn’t come up with a plan to expel the Kurds from Manbij. He added this included Kurds in both Syria and Iraq.
The suggestion of targeting Iraq is recent, but comes just days after Turkey reached a deal with the Iraqi government allowing their military to carry out actions against border Kurdish factions inside Iraqi territory.
A few weeks ago, the US and Turkey agreed to try to resolve the Manbij situation without fighting. US officials never made it clear that meant expelling the Kurds, though Turkey clearly believes that is the case. Expelling the Kurdish YPG, the closest US ally, from a city it captured in a multi-month US-backed offensive is going to be difficult, and the US may ultimately be unwilling to do so.
Turkey, however, seems to be encouraged by their victory in Afrin, long as it took them, and eager to push deeper into Syria. They seem determined to do this even if it means direct military confrontation with the United States.