Middle East

Turkey, Kurds and the Syrian mess

Yesterday CNN carried an article as to how government forces are retaking Idlib province and that the rebels have no place to go as Turkey has closed its borders. Turkey on its part warned the U.S. that the deployment of an American-backed, Kurdish-led force in northern Syria along the Turkish border could force them to choose sides. Ankara is outraged over the United States’ confirmation they are creating a 30,000-strong border force with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to secure the Rojava borders.

This puts the entire western strategy in Syria in a complete mess. In Iraq western governments have already lost out to Iranian influence. The way Baghdad re-established its control over Kurdish occupied oil fields has already taken away precious revenue for any possible Kurdish homeland. The Turkish stance can take away the last forces loyal to Washington, completely out of the picture.

Turkey has steadily built up its forces on the Syrian border near Afrin canton in northwestern Rojava, northern Syria. As per AHNA, there are already reports of clashes with Kurdish, causing material damage.

The bone of contention is almost a century old demand for a Kurdish homeland that was set aside by the victors of first world war, thereby dividing the ethinic community in Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran.

While Syria and Iraq had given relative autonomy to the Kurdish lands, Turkey viewed the Kurd movement to be secessionist and has clamped down on the movement. Turk Kurdish group YPG on its part has taken up arms against the Turkish state for over four decades with intermittent ceasefires.

In the recent war against ISIS, US found an only ally in Kurds, who fought the Islamist group on frontlines instead of supplying it the same arms.

Now that ISIS is all but defeated and Syrians, Iraq move in to establish control, the battle hardened, armed to teeth Kurd militia are sure to become a problem for Turkey.

With this background the US to further arm the groups in hopes of dividing Syria was always going to cause problems with Turkey.
Now that turkey has taken its complain to NATO, the Ankara’s ties with Washington are strained beyond measure.

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