Reflections

In Syria, Turkey's Best-Laid Plans Go Awry

Mar 6, 2017 | 23:21 GMT
Ankara's loss in Manbij could be Moscow's gain.

After the Turkish government spent weeks touting its plans to take the Syrian city of Manbij, Russia confirmed an unexpected deal to turn the city over to loyalist forces, complicating Ankara's plan.

(DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The saying goes that all's fair in love and war. Turkey learned that lesson firsthand last Thursday when the Manbij Military Council announced that it had struck a deal with Russia to hand control of the villages in western Manbij over to loyalist forces. For weeks prior to the revelation, officials in the Turkish government had been touting their plan to seize Manbij and had even started moving forces toward the city after they captured al-Bab. And just hours before Russia confirmed the deal on Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was still adamant that Turkey would take Manbij and drive the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) out of the city. Russia's arrangement with the Manbij Military Council, however, will seriously complicate that plan....

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