Jump to content

Turkey Threatens Another Syria Invasion


Recommended Posts

Another day, another diplomatic crisis for the Biden administration. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin worked the phones with Turkish officials in Ankara, trying to stave off a full-scale incursion by Turkish forces into northern Syria. And separately, James Jeffrey, a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey, was in Ankara to meet with Hulusi Akar, Turkey’s defense minister, in person.

Having a Pentagon chief dial up his Turkish counterpart hasn’t exactly stopped the United States’ NATO frenemy from wreaking havoc on Syria before, where around 900 U.S. troops are still based to help the Pentagon-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) (most of them Kurdish) fight off the remnants of the Islamic State. See 2019, when U.S. troops stood aside at the order of then-U.S. President Donald Trump, allowing a Turkish incursion into Syria.

“An invasion into the Kurdish areas of Syria and the direct targeting of elements of the [Syrian Democratic Forces] will do just that,” said Mick Mulroy, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense during the Trump administration. “Turkey has an absolute right to defend itself, but if it is attacking our partner [by] force, it needs to produce evidence that they were involved. If they cannot, the U.S. should insist they cease those operations.”

It’s already clear how disruptive another Turkish attack into Syria could be. Last week, a Turkish airstrike hit less than 1,000 feet from where U.S. forces are based in al-Hasakah. But stopping a Turkish incursion at the same time as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces a sagging lira, skyrocketing inflation, and a war on the other side of the Black Sea with Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine could be a different matter from three years ago.

“There is no doubt that [the Islamic State] will benefit more than anyone else from this Turkish offensive,” SDF commander Gen. Mazloum Abdi said on Monday, as the group prepared to reposition forces away from the Islamic State fight to deal with the possibility of a Turkish onslaught.

Erdogan already used a rally of his Justice and Development Party to brag about the strikes into Syria that Turkey has carried out in recent days and a possible ground invasion to follow, making former officials worried that the window for diplomacy may be closing. “I think we’re late to it,” said Jonathan Lord, a senior fellow and director of the Middle East security program at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington think tank. “He has already politically walked himself out onto the branch.”

If the Turks do push for an incursion, then it might look a lot like the combination of airstrikes and ground invasion from 2019. The only difference, with strikes already wounding guards at the embattled Islamic State prison camp at al-Hol and knocking out power stations, is that it could be even more devastating, experts said.

“The stakes are a little bit higher,” Lord said. “Already, we’ve seen Turkish strikes target in and around al-Hol and killing guards. A breakout from al-Hol would be incredibly problematic. The strikes, by displacing people, by destabilizing the area, create problems on their own.”



Link to comment
Share on other sites

U.S. troops Saturday resumed joint patrols with Kurdish-led forces in northeast Syria days after they were stopped amid Turkish threats of a new ground incursion into the war-torn country.

A patrol consisting of four American armored vehicles and one for the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces was seen leaving a U.S. base near the northeastern town of Rmeilan in Hassakeh province. The patrol was driving northeast toward another U.S. base near the border with Iraq, reports WP. 

Possible the same patrol, a few days ago: 

Edited by Contrarian
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Power is getting to Erdogan and why people should not rule more than a few years: 

Turkey warned Greece that a missile could hit the Greek capital unless “you stay calm,” further escalating its rhetoric against Greece.


Edited by Contrarian
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Unfortunately, your content contains terms that we do not allow. Please edit your content to remove the highlighted words below.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...