Turkey masses troops for attack on Kurds in Syria?

Turkey is massing troops near a town in northern Syria held by a Kurdish-led force backed by the US, a war monitor and Turkish media have said.

The buildup comes despite Ankara saying it would delay a promised offensive in eastern Syria in the wake of Donald Trump’s surprise announcement on Wednesday to withdraw US troops from the country, which it welcomed.

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has vowed to dislodge the Kurdish militia, which Ankara sees as an extension of the insurgency within its borders. The US has worked with the militia to drive Islamic State out of Syria since 2014, and the alliance had soured relations between Ankara and Washington.

A deal reached in June according to which US and Turkish troops would patrol the area around the Syrian town of Manbij allayed some of Turkey’s fears, but Ankara says the US and the Kurdish militia failed to live up to their end of the deal and that it will launch an offensive against it. Turkey already has troops in north-western Syria and has backed Syrian fighters there clearing towns and villages of Isis militants and Kurdish fighters.

The Turkish IHA news agency reported on Sunday that a Turkish commando unit had been sent into Syria overnight.
Erdogan can't be trusted to honor even a short-term agreement.  His war against the Kurds could spark a wider war with Syria and Russia and possible Arab states.  NATO should tell him that it will not defend Turkey in such an event.


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