Turkey’s Erdogan Rules Out Ceasefire, Syria Offensive Will Continue

Erdogan demands Kurds disarm and flee from the area

Fighting in Syria remains centered on Ras al-Ayn, where Kurdish forces continue to try to defend the town despite a major invasion by Turkish forces and Turkish-backed rebels.

Though for the most part the predicted “all out war” hasn’t come to pass, efforts to talk Turkey down from its invasion aren’t working either. President Erdogan ruled out any ceasefire with the Kurds, insisting the only option was for all the Kurds to disarm and flee from the area Turkey now claims.

Moreover, having previously insisted that he didn’t have any problem as such with the Syrian military entering Manbij, a city in Syria’s Aleppo Province, Erdogan’s spokesman was now declaring it a “dirty deal” by which they ended up there.

Manbij was controlled by the Kurds by way of a US-backed offensive against ISIS. Last weekend, the Kurds made a deal with the Syrian government to cede Manbij and Kobane. This was intended to put Syrian Army forces in defense of the area, while Kurdish fighters defend further east.

The Erdogan government is largely signaling its disinterest in negotiation, saying they intend to push on with the invasion “with or without world support.” In public statements, they continue to present the offensive as an anti-ISIS operation, though Erdogan does at times seem to concede the point that he’s attacking the Kurds.

That’s not really an arguable point in the first place, as ISIS largely doesn’t exist anymore, particularly not in the area being invaded. Turkey, on the other hand, has a long-standing problem with the Kurds, and has been threatening an offensive in this area specifically to expel Kurds from the border area.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.