Turkey: The Newest Combatant in the Syrian Civil War
August 31, 2016
It would appear the experiment is over. After dabbling in a policy of relying on a motley mix of friends and enemies to topple the Assad regime, Ankara seems to have now calculated that Damascus is at no risk of falling and that the status quo is unacceptable to Turkish interests. The result has been Turkish tanks rolling across the Syrian border to make good on an ultimatum for Kurdish forces to retreat east of the Euphrates.
Now Washington’s worst fears are being realized as Turkish tanks are fired on by Syrian Democratic Forces (made up predominantly of Kurdish YPG units) south of the border town of Jarablus, which itself fell quickly to a combination of Free Syrian Army and Turkish units.
Turkey’s entrance into the conflict is a potential game-changer in terms of the Syrian civil war, Turkey’s internal security, and Turkey’s relationship with the United States.