Is Turkey gearing for a new military operation in Syria?
Back in June, Erdogan announced a new Turkish military operation that would target regions of the Syrian-Turkish border controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which Turkey views as an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. These areas include Kobane (Ayn al-Arab), Tal Rifaat, and Manbij (PKK).
The West, Russia, and Iran have all opposed Turkey’s plans, so even though the operation appeared to be near at the time, it has not taken place.
Following Sunday’s tragic bombing in Istanbul, people are now speculating as to whether Erdogan would follow through on his threat.
The PKK and the People’s Protection Units (YPG), whose forces mostly make up the SDF, are implicated in the attack that left six civilians dead on Istiklal Avenue, one of Istanbul’s busiest and most popular tourist destinations, according to Turkish authorities. The SDF is supported by the US, among others, in the war against ISIL, despite the fact that the PKK is a group that has been labelled “terrorist” by Turkey, the US, and the EU (ISIS)
The reported confessions of the alleged bomber have strengthened the case of those in Turkey who have been calling for a military intervention.
She is apparently a Syrian Arab from Deir Az Zor who claimed to have received two months of YPG training before committing the deadly attack in Manbij, another target of any upcoming Turkish military campaign.
Despite historical evidence to the contrary, the PKK has denied the incident and asserted that it would not target civilians.
PKK sympathizers worry that Ankara will instead use the attack to defend its eagerly anticipated military campaign in Kobane.