Some people are gamblers and others are just downright insane. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the President of Turkey appears to be shifting from political gambler to a completely insane autocrat. Turkey’s current invasion of the autonomous Syrian Kurdish enclave of Afrin has not only unnerved the United States, who is the main backer of the the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), but Russia’s Putin as well. Given the neo Cold War relationship between Russia and the USA, Erdogan has actually accomplished an astounding feet.
Due to the SDF’s American training and advanced weaponry, Turkey has found its operation harder than originally expected. Most leaders would stop after watching a number of their tanks get blown up in the first hours of combat, but this has made Erdogan more set on invading the Kurdish areas of Northern Syria. He claims that he will move South into Idlib as well as moving forces into the Kurdish heartland of Manbij which hosts a sizeble American base.
“We will rid Manbij of terrorists, as it was promised to us, and our battles will continue until no terrorist is left until our border with Iraq,” Mr Erdogan said this past Friday.
This maneuver alone brings Erdogan close to a direct confrontation with US soldiers who according to reports have not planned on moving aside for Turkey’s assault.
As far as the possibility of the US pulling its forces from the Manbig, General Joseph Votel, head of the United States Central Command, Speaking on CNN, said that withdrawing US forces from the strategically important city is “not something we are looking into.”
Yet Erdogan insists he is in the right as his Turkish forces are simply destroying “terrorists.” The question is whether Erdogan will actually make a move against US forces in Manbij. For the US, there has been no question that its position in the area is not only just, but necessary.
“Turkey knows where our forces are in Manbij, and what they are doing there, and why they are there –to prevent any kind of escalation between the groups who are in that area,” Dillon told Rudaw TV. “The Coalition will continue to support our Syrian Democratic Forces in the fight against ISIS. We have said this all along, and we have said this with the Kurdish elements of the SDF. We will provide them equipment as necessary to defeat ISIS.”
As if this was not enough, Erdogan’s move South to Idlib brings Russia into the mix. The following set of Tweets from Jenan Moussa, reporter for Arabic Al Aan TV gives over another one of Erdogan’s toughtless maneuvers.
7/ Due to nearby Russian bombing &Syrian shelling, witnesses on the ground now say that the Turkish military convoy has basically turned off its lights and is waiting in the area. We are trying to find out if they will turn back or continue advancing despite warnings. @akhbar
— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) January 29, 2018
With Russia appearing not to decide to move out of the way for Erdogan’s scheme to rebuild the Ottoman Empire, the die is cast for a very explosive expansion of the Syrian war.