Turkey, Kurds Both Claim Violations, But Ceasefire Holds

Clashes reported in Ras al-Ayn, calm elsewhere in safe zone

A five day US-proposed ceasefire in northern Syria, that neither Turkey nor the Kurds appeared totally on board for, remains almost entirely intact. That’s not stopping both Turkey and the Kurds from claiming near constant violations.

The claims of violations aren’t entirely unfounded. There has been fighting reported in Ras al-Ayn, and both sides are saying that’s the other side’s fault. On top of that, some ISIS detainees got loose, and while Turkey claims to have caught them, they’re both saying their brief freedom was the other side’s doing.

Neither side seems to expect this ceasefire to hold beyond the end of Tuesday, when the five days is up, and both sides are trying to position the failure so as to be the other side’s failure. Turkey’s President Erdogan is already threatening to return to crushing the heads of Kurdish terrorists if the Kurds don’t withdraw as demanded.

With the ceasefire having greatly reduced violence, the Kurds are also withdrawing in large numbers from the “safe zone,” and it seems at least possible they’ll be out by the deadline, meaning Turkey would need another excuse to start the offensive again.

If that happens, claims of ceasefire violations will probably figure prominently, and Turkey’s interest in taking cities subsequently ceded to Syria’s government are also liable to be a source of tension in the safe zone.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.