Turkey invades Syria to attack ISIL and Kurds

Sky News:
By mid-morning Turkey had shelled 81 targets 294 times in the Syrian city of Jarablus.

Two F16 jets were flying close air support to Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels as Turkish tanks and mine-sweeping vehicles moved in, as operation Shield of the Euphrates got under way.

This is the biggest military muscle move on the ground by a NATO partner in the region since Syria's civil war broke out.

As ever in the multiple conflicts raging over the same landscapes in the region, the operation has a multiple aim.

First is the task of ridding the border town of the so-called Islamic State.

The second and, for Turkey, the more important mission, is to make sure that its allies in the FSA - Arabs to a man - take the town and not Kurd forces from the YPG (People's Protection Forces).

Ankara is allergic to the notion that two large swathes of Syrian territory in the control of Kurds which are separated by the Euphrates could be joined up.

Doing so would mean that the entire border between Turkey and Syria would be in Kurdish hands and, in Turkey's view, inevitably form part of a growing Kurdish entity with demands to statehood.

The international coalition fighting the so-called Caliphate has joined the air campaign in Jarablus.

This is a clear sign that, even though the YPG are the coalition's closest ally on the ground, NATO has recognised that Turkey has profound concerns that need not only acknowledging but giving in to as part of the wider campaign against the Islamist death cult.
The Kurds have a much stronger case for statehood than to the Palestinians that Turkey supports.  If Turkey had acted responsibly and joined in the effort to defeat ISIL early on, the Kurds would not have been put in the position of having to fight ISIL, to begin with.

I get the feeling that Erdogan is trying to give what is left of his army something to do outside his borders.


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