Focus Shifts to Manbij as Turkey Moves into Afrin Unopposed

Kurdish YPG Fighter, cc Flickr Kurdishstruggle, modified,


Turkish armed forces, in cooperation with their Free Syrian Army allies, moved into Afrin city on March 18, marking the ostensible completion of a 56-day-long military campaign.

In the end, resistance from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and pro-Assad volunteers who made it to Afrin was surprisingly tepid in the city center. There had been indications in both word and deed that the Kurds were going to shift toward a long, destructive, and bloody strategy of urban warfare against the invading Turkish forces. The city itself is a testament to the plan: it’s peppered with defensive tunnels, ditches, and bunkers that were erected long in advance of the attack. These structures were never even used.

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