7 key things to know about the Turkish operation in Syria
Turkey launched a military operation against Kurdish fighters in northeast Syria on Wednesday, with air strikes hitting the border town of Ras al Ain. The operation could reshape the map of the Syrian conflict once again, dealing a blow to...more
WHAT DOES TURKEY WANT? Turkey has two main goals in northeast Syria: to drive the Kurdish YPG militia which it deems a security threat away from its border, and to create a space inside Syria where 2 million Syria refugees currently hosted in Turkey...more
HOW WILL THE KURDS BE AFFECTED? The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have spent years expanding its control across northern and eastern Syria, helped by the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State. A rare case of a winner in the Syrian...more
HOW FAR COULD TURKEY GO? The northeastern border region, currently controlled by Kurdish-led forces, stretches 480 km (300 miles) from the Euphrates river in the west to the Iraq border to the east. The immediate focus of Turkey's military plans...more
DO RUSSIA AND IRAN BACK TURKEY'S MOVE? Russia and Iran, the other two major foreign powers in Syria, strongly support President Bashar al-Assad - unlike Turkey and the United States which both called for him to stand down and supported rebels...more
WHAT IS THE WESTERN REACTION TO TURKEY'S PLAN? There has been no public support from Turkey's Western allies for its plan to settle 2 million Syrians - more than half of the refugees it currently hosts - in northeast Syria. A senior U.S. State...more
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ASSAD? While the territory in question is already outside Syrian government control, a Turkish incursion could mean the area switching from a non-hostile force - the SDF - to Turkey and rebels that have sought to topple...more
WHAT COULD THIS MEAN FOR ISLAMIC STATE? Chaos could present Islamic State with an opportunity to stage a revival and the SDF has been conducting operations against IS sleeper cells since capturing its final territorial foothold earlier this...more
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