Why Turkey Sees Ukraine War As A Chance To Target Kurds In Syria

Turkey

Turkey TurkeyIn recent days, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to launch a new military offensive against Kurdish-controlled areas in northern Syria. Turkey sees the Russia-Ukraine war as a chance to target Kurds in Syria.

In July, Russia, Turkey and Iran talked about Syria at Tehran’s summit. The three leaders: the Turkish President, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, said they will work together to improve the situation in Syria, which has been engulfed in a civil war, backed by foreign regimes, over the past 11 years. Russia, Turkey and Iran also vowed to continue their cooperation to “eliminate terrorists” in Syria.

Turkey also said it is determined to clear the terrorist group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, also known as the P.K.K., from Syria because terrorists pose the threat to peace in the country. The PKK is listed as a terror organisation by several of Turkey’s allies.

Turkey wants to target Kurds in Syria

The Turkish president sees an opportunity to pursue his strategic goals. Erdogan wants to create a 30-kilometre-wide buffer zone in Syria and push back the Kurdish militia YPG. Erdogan reportedly sees YPG as an extension of the PKK, the guerrilla movement based in southeast Turkey and northern Iraq. Europe has already classified them as terrorist organisations.

If Erdogan launches the new offensive against Kurdish in Syria, he risks opening the next conflict within NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation).

In 2019, Turkey conducted a broad air and ground assault against Kurdish militias in Syria.  Turkey also launched a string of offensives against Kurds in Syria over the past six years.

Earlier, Turkey’s presence in Syria already led to tensions between Turkey and its Western partners because the YPG was the most important ally of the U.S. in the fight against the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) terrorist organisation.

Recently, the U.S. Defense Department’s Middle East officer, Dana Strou, opposed the Turkish operation in northern Syria. Many French parliamentarians, especially from the political left, also slammed Erdogan’s “policy of war” against Kurds in Syria.

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