With new talks with Russian and Iranian officials seeking a ceasefire, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted that there would be no change to Turkey’s ongoing attacks against the Kurdish YPG.
Erdogan insisted that Turkey would remain committed to attacking the Kurdish YPG, “starting in Manbij,” and that they would attack every single YPG-held territory across Syria, pushing them outright out of northern Syria.
Turkey invaded Syrian Kurdistan in January, attacking the Afrin District, which they’ve since taken. The YPG, however, holds some 25% of Syrian territory, and a lot of that is Kurdish territory with US ground troops embedded within.
The US and Britain both have troops in Manbij, the next target, and France is also believed to be considering sending some. In attacking the city, Turkey is risking direct military confrontation with other NATO members.
Erdogan’s comments suggest he is willing to start such a confrontation, but he’s been saying that for months, and actually risking such a major fight is another matter entirely. With more US troops in Manbij on the front line, the question of whether Turkey is going to start this fight is likely to be answered very soon.