Turkey Invades Northern Syria


Sedat Suna/EPA, via Shutterstock

Turkish armored fighting vehicles make their way into Northern Syria.

Lord Toussaint, Reporter in Chief

A crisis is exploding once more in the middle east. One involving the US, Syria, Russia, Turkey, the ISIS terrorist group and a group of people squeezed in the center, the Kurds. So, how did this begin and what’s happened so far.

Turkish forces launched a full scale invasion of Kurdish controlled Northern Syria on the ninth of October. The goal of the invasion has been to bring long term stability to the region and eliminate a threat to Turkish national security, by pushing back Kurdish forces from the border. This raises the question of wether or not a new humanitarian crisis may form in Syria. And if this lack of stability will allow for a resurgence of ISIS.

            The highly anticipated invasion on the part of the Turkish government came shortly after the withdrawal of US troops from Northern Syria. President Trump has called the invasion a, “bad idea.” However,  president Trump made it clear that he would not stand in Turkey’s way when he declared that he would withdrawal troops from the region. This lack of opposition to Turkey spurred outrage in the US from the president’s Republican allies and Democrats across the aisle.

Bringing permanent stability to Syria may not sound like a bad thing, but Turkey’s way of doing so is by eliminating terrorist forces in the area, and pushing back the Kurdish forces that control northern Syria. The Kurds are American allies that helped fight ISIS. Turkey views the Kurds in Syria as terrorists because they have supported political groups within Turkey that abdicate for higher levels of Kurdish autonomy within Turkey. The Kurds are an ethnic group which inhabit southern Turkey, northern Syria, and northern Iraq. Many Kurds wish to form a nation for themselves, and as a result, Kurds are hated by the Turks and are viewed as terrorists. This is why the US does not support the invasion.

Ten thousand ISIS fighters are being held prisoner across Syria by the Kurds. As a result of the invasion, Kurdish forces that had been previously guarding these ISIS prisoners were forced to leave their positions, to go to the front lines. This has already resulted in the escape of at least five ISIS fighter, and will undoubtedly lead to more. A bomb already exploded in the area and ISIS has claimed responsibility.

Turkey has urged others to join their initiative, but groups such as the EU have shown their disapproval of the military operation as well. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said the following in response during a speech in the Turkish capital Ankara. “I will say this once again. If you try to label our current operation as an occupation, our job becomes easier, we will open the doors and send the 3.6 million refugees to you.”

To make matters worse for Turkey, as a result of political pressure, president Trump has threatened to put sanctions of Turkey if they target religious and ethnic minorities. According to the White House, President Trump will sign an executive order that would allow the Department of the Treasury to sanction Turkish leaders. “We hope we don’t have to use them,” them being the sanctions. “But we can shut down the Turkish economy if we need to.”, said treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Will Turkey’s invasion prove to have more consequences than benefits for them? Will it start a new humanitarian crisis, in an already war ravaged region? Will it drive two allies apart? Will this lead to a resurgence of ISIS, and prolong an already gruesome conflict, into the next decade? How will this and all of the other chaos of the world, define the Middle East and the rest of the world of the 2020’s? Only time will tell.


Turkish President, Erdogan
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