Turkey launches incursion into Syria against America's Kurdish allies

Operation Peace Spring has the stated objective of pushing Kurds off their border region

Connecting Vets
October 09, 2019 - 10:27 am
 Turkish soldiers stand guard on the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria on October 09, 2019 in Akcakale, Turkey.

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By Jack Murphy

President Recep Erdogan of Turkey has announced that military operations have commenced in northern Syria against America’s Kurdish allies in the fight against ISIS.  Operation Peace Spring has the stated objective of preventing, “the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area.” 

In his tweet, Erdogan lumps together the Kurdish PKK which is active in Norther Iraq and Southern Turkey, with another Kurdish guerrilla group, the YPG which is active in Syria.  The PKK has waged a decade’s long conflict against the state of Turkey for their independence and human rights. From a Turkish point of view, all of these Kurdish groups are terrorists.

Operation Peace Spring comes on the heels of a phone call just days prior between Erdogan and President Trump.  Afterwards, Trump announced an abrupt policy shift in the disposition of US Special Operations troops stationed in Northern Syria with the YPG militia.  American soldiers had been stationed on the border between Syria and Turkey as a “security mechanism” which ensured that Turkey would not invade, lest they be at war with American troops, and placated America’s NATO ally on the other side of the border by providing an American rather than Kurdish face to the security arrangement.

Trump’s announcement, made via Twitter on Sunday, caught the Department of Defense off guard but commanders began pulling US troops off the border with Turkey on Monday.  While DOD and the White House did not expressly endorse Erdogan’s invasion into Northern Syria, the withdrawal of troops and dissolution of the previous security mechanism appears to offer tacit approval and is seen as a betrayal of America’s erstwhile Kurdish allies.

While Turkey claims that the Kurds want to establish a terror corridor on their southern border, the Turkish military kept open the Jarabulus corridor running in-between Kurdish held areas in Afrin and Kobani throughout the Syrian civil war, a corridor in which arms and Jihadist foreign fighters flowed from Turkey and into Syria.