Turkey has Boots on the Ground Seizing ‘Designated Targets’ in Syria
On the second day of its new offensive in Syria, Turkey’s Defense Ministry tweeted that its commandos were “continuing to advance east of the Euphrates,” indicating that Ankara had committed more than just air power and artillery to its fight against Syrian Kurds. Turkey says it wants to create a “safe zone” just inside Syria for the resettlement of refugees from the eight-year Syrian civil war, but experts says its goal is first and foremost to remove the Kurdish YPG militia, which has taken up positions near the border with Turkey. Ankara says the YPG is providing aid to Kurdish separatists inside Turkey. The overall Kurdish-led authority in northern Syria says Turkish artillery damaged a prison where captured Islamic State personnel are incarcerated, calling the prisoners “the most dangerous criminals from more than 60 nationalities” and saying that if they escape, it would be a “catastrophe.” Kurdish Peshmerga forces were at the center of much of the fighting that stripped ISIS of its Syrian strongholds, and has been overseeing many captured fighters and their families.