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Turkey vehemently opposed both plans and likely used the news as pretext for a long-planned campaign against the Kurds.“Ankara saw an opening and took it,” Aaron Stein, a Turkey expert at the Atlantic Council think tank, said in an interview.Last October, Syrian Kurdish fighters helped the US take Raqqa, the Syrian city that ISIS considered the capital of its so-called caliphate.But experts tell me the US may have laid the groundwork for Turkey’s assault.
But the Syrian Kurds have been an effective force in the fight against ISIS, garnering great support in Washington.
That means the US now has to play a dangerous game: Try not to anger Turkey any further while still showing support for its Kurdish friends.
But more than that, it shows how the Trump administration completely misread Turkey’s intentions to attack the Kurds — despite Ankara’s repeated statements that it was serious.
Much of the fighting has taken place around Afrin, a city controlled by a Kurdish political party and its military affiliate, the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Turkey’s goal is to establish an approximately 19-mile “safe zone” between Kurdish-controlled territory and the Turkish border.