Turkey is preparing a military offensive against the U.S.-backed Syrian Kurds, Turkish state-run media sources say. “We will start our operation in a few days to liberate areas east of the Euphrates River from terrorist organizations,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared in a speech in Ankara Wednesday, referring to the presence of Kurdish forces in neighboring Syria.

Kurds, fighting alongside the Assyrian Christians, had played a key role in liberating large parts of Syrian and Iraqi territories from the Islamic State.

Turkey’s sudden military incursion to the east of Euphrates poses a risk to some 2,000 U.S. troops stationed in that region. “Unilateral military action into north-east Syria by any party, particularly as U.S. personnel may be present or in the vicinity, is of grave concern. We would find any such actions unacceptable,” the U.S. Defense Department spokesman Commander Sean Robertson said.

The BBC reported the impending Turkish intrusion in the northeastern Syria:

Turkey is set to launch a military intervention in northeastern Syria to combat U.S.-backed Kurdish rebels it regards as terrorists, drawing a stern warning from the Pentagon and signaling new tension between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies.

Turkey will launch a new operation against US-backed Kurdish militias in northern Syria “in the next few days”, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says.

The move, which he said would focus on territory to the east of the Euphrates river, risks confrontation with the US.

America’s support for the Kurdish YPG forces has strained relations with Turkey, which considers the YPG to be part of a terrorist group. (…) The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) currently controls large swathes of the north-east of Syria on Turkey’s southern border.

The military aid to Kurdish and Christian Assyrian forces has been part of President Donald Trump’s strategy of destroying the Islamic State’s strongholds in Syria and Iraq. The U.S.-backed campaign saw the ISIS flushed out of more than 90 percent of its territory gained under the Obama presidency. Defeated on the ground, the Islamist terror group has lost control of most of its oil fields, a major source of its revenue.

Turkey’s Islamist regime, on the other hand, has a checkered past when it comes to dealing with ISIS and other Islamic terror groups. The Erdogan regime makes it no secret of its ideological affinity to jihadi groups operating from Gaza to Kashmir. According to the intelligence assessment made by the German spy agency BND in 2016, Erdogan’s Turkey is emerging as the “central platform of activity for Islamist groups in the Middle East.” Under Erdogan’s watch, the country became a conduit for Islamists seeking to join the caliphate in Syria and Iraq. As early as 2013, some 30,000 foreign fighters crossed over from into Syria via Turkey, building the core of the ISIS fighting force.

Erdogan’s regime feels bolstered by billions of dollars pouring in from the European Union. In 2016, German Chancellor Angela Merkel cut a $3 billion deal with the Turkey in return for vague promises of halting the wave of illegal immigrants crossing into Europe. Far from being content, Erdogan has been pressuring Brussels to accept Ankara into the EU and open Europe’s borders to some 80 million Turkish citizens by giving them visa-free entry.

Turkey, a NATO member, has long ceased acting like an ally to the West. The regime is more interested in undoing the legacy of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, and reviving the Ottoman caliphate in its place. By attacking the Kurds in Syria, Ankara is trying to destroy the only native-born fighting force capable of taking on the armed Islamists in the region. Any vacuum left by a Kurdish retreat is bound to be filled by Islamic terror groups.


[Cover image via YouTube]