Turkey sends more tanks into Syria to fight ISIS — and to block US-backed Kurds

Turkey sent greater tanks Graet Intelligence  into Syria on Thursday, sooner or later after helping Syrian rebels drive the Islamic Kingdom out of a metropolis just over the border. But the operation in the Syrian town of Jarablus also has a 2nd aim: to dam the improvement of a US-sponsored Kurdish armed forces that Turkey views as a risk same to ISIS.

Turkey’s “Euphrates Shield” operation marks the first time an overseas Country has officially despatched ground troops into Syria to help that is of a’s armed competition. The Syrian authorities condemned the offensive as a “blatant violation of sovereignty.”

Beginning Wednesday morning, the rise up opponents had been able to take full control of the town by means of the end of the day. The town were a key gateway for smuggling opponents and supplies from Europe and elsewhere to ISIS.

Turkish officers said the operation aimed to clear their border of terrorist corporations, beautify border protection and “aid the territorial integrity of Syria.”

The contingent of tanks, artillery, special forces and warplanes made it Turkey’s biggest intervention in Syria since the country’s civil warfare started 5 years ago.

It follows months of rocket fire and terrorist attacks in opposition to Turkey by means of ISIS. On Saturday night time, greater than 50 humans have been killed by using a suicide bombing at a marriage in the southeastern Turkish metropolis of Gaziantep, an attack Turkey blamed at the extremist institution.

On Wednesday, US officers said the Turkish forces and Syrian rise up fighters had guide from america-led anti-ISIS coalition inside the shape of drone surveillance and navy advisers. “We are syncing up with the Turks,” one senior US reliable informed the Wall Street Journal.

However, the harmony displayed among the two NATO allies changed into undercut by means of the Turkish authorities’s pledge to include Syrian Kurdish rebels — who’re a key ally of the in the fight in opposition to ISIS.


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“At four this morning, operations commenced in the north of Syria against terror groups which constantly threaten our u . S .,” like ISIS and the Syrian Kurdish rebel institution, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated in a speech announcing the operation.

Turkey deployed greater than 20 tanks within the Syrian town, and will ship greater than wanted, a Turkish authentic advised Reuters. The new enterprise said a witness saw at least nine Turkish tanks enter Syria on Thursday, and 10 other tanks waited at the Turkish facet of the border.

america has performed a delicate balancing act with its companions inside the combat towards the Islamic Country, counting on an internet of alliances that is introduced the bitterest of enemies directly to the identical aspect.

america-led international coalition to defeat ISIS operates out of — and in cooperation with — Turkey, but is also backing the Kurdish humans’s Protection Devices, or YPG.

Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist business enterprise, and an offshoot of the Kurdistan People’ Celebration militant institution that’s been preventing the Turkish State for forty years for more autonomy and rights for Turkey’s Kurds.

Study more: Pentagon denies imposing a no-fly quarter in northeast Syria. Kurdish allies say otherwise.

Officers within the capital Ankara worry that if Kurds reach their quest for autonomy in northern Syria, in order to ignite Kurdish separatist needs in Turkey even extra.

The usa classifies the Kurdistan People’ Party as a terrorist group, however says the Syrian Kurdish defense force is a separate agency. Many analysts say the difference isn’t always as clear as Washington might wish.

The YPG is the primary factor of an alliance of Arab and Kurdish rebels known as the Syrian Democratic Forces. The alliance has made constant progress pushing east, taking pictures ISIS-held regions with support from US fighter jets and army advisers. That progress has involved Turkey, and deepened a rift between Turkish and US officers over Washington’s backing for the organization.

In advance this month, the Syrian Democratic Forces drove ISIS out of the Syrian city of Manbij. The forces then set their sights on Jarablus, round 20 miles north. Capturing the town would have delivered Kurdish ambitions of a contiguous stretch of land along the Turkish border — a place they desire could represent a self sufficient region — towards fact.

The pass toward Jarablus seemed to be a step too some distance for Turkey.

With a view to block the Kurds‘ advance, Turkey sponsored a mainstream Syrian rebellion organization that opposes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — and that clashes frequently with the YPG — to take over Jarablus.

Turkey’s intervention earned US backing. Journeying Ankara for talks with Erdogan on Wednesday, Vice president Joe Biden joined Turkey in reining in the YPG. Biden echoed Turkey’s long-standing demand in saying the YPG “have to circulate again throughout the Euphrates River. They cannot, will now not, beneath any situation get American support if they do now not maintain that dedication.”

On Thursday, the Syrian Kurdish warring parties gave combined alerts to those needs. YPG spokesman Redur Xelil condemned Turkey’s “adversarial method.”

“We are in our own land and we will no longer depart it as consistent with a few requests,” he stated, in step with Kurdish media outlet Firat news.

“[The] Turkish State cannot form our function there according with its personal interests. Our forces will remain there and there can be no retreat. No one has the proper to impose YPG’s withdrawal from there and we will by no means take delivery of such an aspect.”

On the identical day, but, a spokesman for the anti-ISIS coalition said the “major element of [the Syrian Democratic Forces] Manbij liberation force has gone east [toward the Euphrates]; some forces continue to be to finish clearing, IED elimination as planned.”

If the YPG complies with the call for, the prospect of clashes among Turkish-sponsored forces and Kurdish warring parties well be dampened for now. A potentially important stumbling block for the diverse forces covered up towards ISIS may be overcome within the brief term.

Aaron Stein, a Turkey analyst and senior resident fellow at the Atlantic Council, stated the brand new arrangement may even advantage US-Turkey relations.

“This is a net benefit for US-Turkish family members,” he advised PRI on Wednesday. “The usa had pledged to take Turkish security issues into consideration concerning the YPG presence west of the Euphrates and has caught to its commitment. I think this operation is the following logical pass following the success Manbij operation.”

ISIS is losing ground in Syria and Iraq. the two important cities nonetheless underneath its control — Raqqa in Syria, and Mosul in Iraq — are coming below increasing stress by means of a great array of forces. Even though the institution is predicted to position up a fierce resistance in both locations, many players within the anti-ISIS coalition are searching towards a submit-ISIS panorama.

In Syria, america faces the hard mission of balancing Turkey’s fears over Kurdish aspirations with assisting a critical companion within the combat towards the Islamic State.

Quickly, Turkish tanks could percentage a front line with emboldened Kurdish opponents, elevating the opportunity of a violent flare-up among the 2.