Profits Of Saving A War In Middle East: US Approves Turkey’s Invasion Of Northern Syria

When the war reached Afrin district in Syria, Turkey announced the beginning of “Operation Olive Branch”, the name of their military assault on Kurdish Syria, while the Kurdish residents of the region described it as a “curse” that could consume the city and spin the Syrian conflict into a new dangerous direction.

Turkey government claimed that Syrian Democratic Forces(SDF), and their leading Kurdish force the People’s Protection Units or YPG, pose an existential threat to Turkish national security.

Since the cross-border shelling of Afrin begun, the clashes that have followed Turks’ incursion into the border enclave have killed dozens, many of them unarmed civilians, wounded several hundred women and children, and led thousands of locals and displaced refugees to flee south and east. The families find themselves central to the unstable phase shaped by feuding global powers determined to stake their interests in what remains of the country.

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A senior official in Afrin, Hifi Mustapha said that they cannot identify an exact number of casualties. “So far 60 civilians, mainly women, and children, have been the known victims, as a result, schools have closed and there is fear among [people].”

“The civilians who wish to flee are allowed, they can go to regime-held territory; however they face a lot of humiliation on checkpoints on the way. [The regime] talks of Syrian sovereignty but are behaving like Afrin is not even a part of Syria. America like the rest, [it] is chasing its gains. The insurgents in Afrin will eventually come back and bite them if they do not help us in this battle.”

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The US and the UK are standing by Turkey, their NATO ally. Since 2015, the UK has sold Turkey £330m-worth of arms. It is listed as a ‘priority market’ for arms exports.  US arms trades with Turkey are running at an annual figure of $1.5b.

The UK Secretary of State Boris Johnson supported the Turkish assault, “Turkey is right to want to keep its borders secure.” he said.

The US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also defended Turkey’s actions.

“We recognize and fully appreciate Turkey’s legitimate right to protect its own citizens from terrorist elements that may be launching attacks against Turkish citizens and Turkish soil from Syria.” He also denied the notion that the U.S. would do anything to stop Turkey. “I don’t think you’re going to find two NATO allies facing off at all,” Tillerson added.

Read More: US Senator: Trump Risks Putting U.S. On Path To World War Three

“The silence of the Nato members is unacceptable when one of their members is killing civilians by the dozens,” said Ilham Ahmad, the co-chair of a local Kurdish political group, the Syrian Democratic Council.

“By staying silent, they are making a big mistake. The US and Europeans have to remember if it wasn’t [for] the SDF and YPG forces, ISIS wouldn’t be on the verge of total collapse in Syria and the region.” Ahmad added.

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“The Kurds have been a strategic ally of theirs, unfortunately they [the US] seem to be restrained by their relationship with Turkey.”  Mohammed Hassan, another Afrin local said.

“They are telling the Kurds: ‘Use the weapons we provided you with [in northeastern Syria]’. Erdoğan claimed his operation will take seven days, but he is facing fierce resistance. It will take much, much longer than that.” he added.

Earlier this week, Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad said in an official statement: “The brutal Turkish aggression on the Syrian town of Afrin cannot be separated from the Turkish regime’s policy from the first day of Syria’s crisis, which was essentially built on supporting terrorism and terrorist organizations, whatever their names.”

In January, the US stated that it was creating a 30,000-strong “border security force” comprised of the SDF in Syria. Turkey, however, condemned the plan and the US publicly shift ground on its supposed strategy. This fuels the fact that the US greenlit Turkey’s invasion and has done nothing to prevent it from going forward.

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