Turkey’s President Erdogan responded to the announcement of the US intention to train a 30,000 strong Syrian Democratic Forces to man the Syrian borders with Turkey and Iraq with increased threats of destroying the Kurdish dominated SDF.
“A country we call an ally is insisting on forming a terror army on our borders,” Erdogan said of the United States in a speech in Ankara. “What can that terror army target but Turkey?”
“Our mission is to strangle it before it’s even born.”
Turkey views the YPG unit which make up the majority of the SDF as an extension of the PKK which Turkey and most countries have labeled a terrorist organization. However, the US views the SDF as essential to destroying ISIS and stablizing Syria.
Erdogan has utilized the Kurds equal terrorist card numerous times to justify attacking them in Syria and elsewhere. Yet, the truth is the opposite. It was Erdogan and his family who helped to create and protect ISIS through financial assistance, safe passageways, and emergency medical treatment.
Turkey views the rise of an autonomous Kurdish region in Northern Syria similar to the one in Iraq as an existantial threat. After all Turkey has occupied the heavily Kurdish areas of South and Southeastern Turkey for centuries. There are 20 million Kurds in Turkey.
All of this has driven Erdogan to prove that he is indeed serious. Reports from Nusaybinden, Turkey, which borders Afrin have claimed armored vehicles and soldiers now entering the Kurdish controlled area. Afrin is an isolated enclave and lies to the West of the main SDF areas. Yet, this first push if successful could very well lead Turkey to try for the main center of the SDF further to the East.
With the SDF becoming a main pillar of Washington’s proxy coalition against Iranian expansion in the region, it is hard to see the Trump administration continuing to turn a blind eye to Erdogan’s behavior.