Turkey Attacks Kurds in Syria, Realigns Stationed Forces
Turkey over the weekend conducted a realignment and a minor offensive in northern Syria, pulling back from several bases and launching an attack on Kurdish forces in neighboring areas. On Friday, Turkish-trained Syrian rebel troops clashed with troops from the Kurdish YPG, shelling and seizing parts of the central Ain Issa town which overlooks the crucial M4 highway. The YPG forces, who fought and defeated ISIS in Syria with the backing of United States’ air support, are fighting for independence and are deemed a terror group by Ankara. Hours earlier, Turkey completed an evacuation of seven military outposts in the region which were surrounded for months by Syrian government forces, with a source insisting to Reuters the move was simply “about changing location.” Ankara currently has deployed close to 15,000 troops in northern Syria along with several thousand Syrian rebels it backs, after last year launching an incursion against the Kurds that ended with two separate cease-fire deals— one with Washington which backed the YPG, and the other with Moscow which backs Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.