Days after Trump’s announced imminent withdrawal of US troops from Syria, Turkey has started massing tanks and troop carriers on its southern border, preparing to move into the Kurdish autonomous zone of Rojava once American soldiers have left. Turkish forces are reported arriving in the border towns of Kilis and al-Rai, after Ankara’s foreign minister said they will push into Syria as soon as possible. Mevlut Çavusoglu told reporters Dec. 25 that “if Turkey says it will enter, it will.” He said the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan is “determined” to move against the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Kurdish militia that is the central pillar of the (heretofore) US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Çavusoglu also said Ankara and Washington have agreed to complete a roadmap on the status northern Syrian town of Manbij until the US withdraws. Under a June deal, Kurdish forces were to leave Manbij, in the western Euphrates valley, but delays have sparked angry reactions from Turkey.
Çavusoglu also had an implicit warning for France, that it should also remove its troops embedded with the YPG. “If France is staying in Syria to protect the YPG, that will neither benefit France nor the YPG,” he said, adding that Turkey would take its cues on the matter from Washington rather than Paris. (Daily Mail, The Guardian, PBS News Hour)
The Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists has issued a statement on the impending crisis:
The most immediate responsibility of Middle Eastern socialists should be to help organize actions of solidarity between Arabs, Kurds, Turks, Iranians and other populations to oppose Turkey’s planned military invasions and to continue to single out the connections between the attacks on the Kurds and the attacks on all the democratic and progressive forces opposed to authoritarianism and religious fundamentalism in Syria and the region.
Similarly, we need to reiterate our opposition to Assad’s despotic regime, religious fundamentalist forces and the interventions of all foreign states in Syria, which are all acting against the initial objectives of the Syrian uprising which was for democracy, social justice and equality, and against sectarianism and racism.
It remains to be seen if enough people will heed this call in time to avert the Arab-Kurdish ethnic war that could engulf northern Syria if Turkey invades Rojava