As Turkey Advances, Syrian Army Moves to Confront Invasion

Kurds report negotiations underway with Assad government

The Turkish military and its rebel allies are reporting more progress, and are advancing deeper into northern Syria. Though they previously promised to keep the offensive confined to 30 km from the border, there is growing concern that they’ll move further ultimately.

In reaction, the Syrian Army has begun deploying further north to potentially confront the Turkish advance. Though Syrian state media did not say where the Syrian troops were going, subsequent reports put them in Kobane and Manbij.

In Aleppo Province, the siege of Kurdish Kobane by ISIS was a major issue earlier in the war, and being right on the border it’s well within Turkey’s war goals. Manbij, a bigger and more important city, would clearly be a high priority for Turkey and its rebels, but falls at least partially beyond the 30 km safezone, meaning it’s a grey area how far Turkey will actually go.

Syria had already said they were intending to resist Turkey, but had suggested they weren’t interested in working with the Kurds, terming them “agents of Washington.” This seems to have changed, however, with recent reports that negotiations have been held on a Russian airbase inside Syria.

Though US arms have turned the Kurdish SDF into a substantial faction, it doesn’t seem likely they could seriously resist a Turkish invasion. Though the Syrian military is potentially in a better position to slow them down, it seems inevitable that both sides will want to coordinate amid this big conflict.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.