Turkey Set for Lone War as US Dismisses Idea of Reentry

Esper: I don't see any likelihood that we would be back

Turkey’s repeated escalations in Syria’s Idlib Province came at least in part with US officials endorsing them and the idea of confronting Russia. But as Turkey risks blowing this up into a whole new war, it’s a war that they’ll be fighting alone.

US officials are making clear they aren’t considering joining the war in any real way. Defense Secretary Mark Esper in particular said that “I don’t see any likelihood that we would be back along the border.

There were few reasons to think the US would want to get sucked back into a war in Syria, particularly one against Russia. This is likely why Turkey, in the recent flare-up, was trying to play this up as a fight against the Assad government, and not Russia.

That makes sense, of course, because Turkey’s military is in a decent position to fight a one-on-one conflict with war-weary Syria over Idlib Province. Fighting Russia is something else entirely, especially with the US not interested in getting sucked in.

Erdogan’s bellicose threats against Syria, however, are going to make it difficult for his military to keep this conflict limited. To hear Erdogan tell it, he is willing to risk everything over Idlib, and that doesn’t sound nearly so good if they are at serious risk of a big, costly war.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.