By Mehmet Ersoy
Ankara, The Operation Olive Branch in northern Syria started last week. In recent days the Afrin region became a possible hotbed of a full-scale conflict between the Turkish troops aided by the armed fighters of the Free Syrian Army and the US-backed Kurdish units which had been dominating the area. The operation started with shellings and airstrikes of the Turkish artillery and AF and later grew into a full-blown invasion.
According to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, one of the incentives for Ankara to invade Syria was a possible threat of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), characterized as a “terror army”, which could initiate an offensive on the territory of Turkey. Quite peculiar is that this army is armed with equipment supplied by Washington, and trained by American military instructors who still may be in the ranks of the SDF.
Recently, there emerged footages showing a downed Turkish helicopter and a damaged tank both hit with shots of US-made weapons.
Obviously, this brought to the agenda a possible direct confrontation between Ankara and Washington and urged the presidents of the two countries to exchange rather harsh statements regarding the crisis.
(Mehmet Ersoy is a freelance journalist based in Turkey. He specializes in the Syrian conflict, US foreign policy and refugee crisis in Europe)