[Marxism] Turkey Begins Ground Assault on Kurdish Enclave in Syria

Anthony Boynton anthony.boynton at gmail.com
Mon Jan 22 10:16:34 MST 2018

*Turkey Begins Ground Assault on Kurdish Enclave in Syria*

New York Times by Carlotta Gall <https://www.nytimes.com/by/carlotta-gall> Jan.
21, 2018

ISTANBUL — Turkish troops crossed the Syrian border into a Kurdish enclave
on Sunday morning, beginning a ground assault against American-allied
militias there, in a clash of interests between the two NATO allies.

The Turkish incursion over United States protests not only underscores
Washington’s lack of influence with Ankara, but promises to complicate
relations with the Kurds, who have provided the ground troops for the
United States-led fight against the Islamic State militant group, often
called ISIS or ISIL.

With ISIS now in retreat, the Trump administration finds itself in a
difficult position, searching for a way to maintain relations with the
Kurdish groups without alienating Turkey, which considers them terrorists
and a threat to its territorial sovereignty. The Trump administration’s
plan of helping build a Kurdish border security force in northeast Syria
has been criticized by Ankara.

“The U.S. has tried to walk a very fine line in Syria, depending heavily on
the Kurdish rebels in the fight against the so-called Islamic State, while
not rupturing the already strained relations
Turkey and the U.S.” said Ali Soufan, a former F.B.I. counterterrorism
agent who is now chairman of The Soufan Group

“As the battlefield shrinks in Syria, the line has become near impossible
to maintain, and the U.S. will likely have to either dramatically scale
back its support of the Kurdish rebels — which would be seen as yet another
U.S. betrayal of the few groups that have consistently supported and helped
the U.S. in Syria and Iraq — or risk indirect and even direct conflict with
Turkey, a fellow NATO member.”

The assault also highlights the deepening ties between Russia and Turkey.
That relationship has recovered from the nadir it hit in November 2015,
when the Turks shot down
Russian fighter plane over Syria. Analysts say that Moscow, which controls
the skies in the area, almost certainly had to give the go-ahead for the
Turkish assault on the Kurds.

Full story here

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