Is Turkey about to mount a full-scale invasion of Syria, to kill America’s Kurdish allies — with U.S. troops potentially caught in the crossfire?
Al Jazeera quotes Turkey’s dictator saying he will carry out a major invasion of Syria.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey will carry out an “air and ground military operation” east of the Euphrates River, prompting US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to warn of an “all-out war” to defend the region they control.
As the Wall Street Journal reports:
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U.S. officials are increasingly concerned that Turkey soon will mount a major incursion into northern Syria and trigger a clash with Kurdish fighters, a move likely to prompt the Trump administration to withdraw all U.S. forces from Syria to avoid a conflict.
A U.S. pullout would essentially end the fight against Islamic State in Syria, which U.S. officials still consider a viable terrorist network capable of staging attacks against the U.S. and its allies and interests despite having lost its so-called caliphate.
Turkey wants to resettle up to two million Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey in Syrian border towns that would be cleared of Kurdish forces known as the YPG, a group Turkey considers to be a terrorist affiliate of the Turkey-based PKK.
But while Turkey, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, views the Kurdish military organization as a terrorist group, U.S. officials credit Kurdish fighters with eliminating Islamic State’s territorial hold in Syria.