Turkey Invades Syria After Killing 17 in Drone Strikes

Full offensive could begin 'at any time'

A flurry of Turkish drone strikes in and around Kobane continued apace Tuesday, with at least 17 reported killed so far. This includes three Syrian soldiers and an unspecified number of Kurdish militia members.

That’s just the start of the Turkish action, as following the strikes, Turkish military forces crossed the border and started taking up positions inside northern Syria.

Turkey has been threatening a new round of offensives against the Kurds, saying it could begin “at any time.”

This would be just the latest in years of Turkish invasions of Iraq and Syria, almost always centered on going after Kurdish groups. Warnings from local mosques and social media warned residents not to leave their homes, and reiterated the view that the Kurds are in “terrorist organizations.”

Turkey’s problems with their own Kurdish minority and the Kurds in neighboring nations are driving much of their policy. At the start of the Syrian War, Turkey was on good terms with the Assad government.

Yet Turkey chose to back Syria’s rebels, believing a win by Sunni Arab rebels would leave a stronger state looking to tamp down Kurdish autonomy. This left Turkey heavily backing Islamist factions in north Syria to this day.

The war didn’t turn out in Turkey’s favor. The survival of Assad has made him a natural ally to the Kurds, as both are fighting what rebels remain. Turkey is still keen to fight the Kurds and reduce their territory in north Syria.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.