Turkey Tests the Limits of the Cease-Fire in Northeastern Syria
Jan 15, 2021 | 18:53 GMT
A Turkish-backed fighter guards the rebel-held province of Aleppo in northern Syria on Nov. 17, 2020.
(BAKR ALKASEM/AFP via Getty Images)
Turkey’s gambit to undermine the U.S.-brokered 2019 cease-fire in northeastern Syria could strengthen its position on the battlefield, while increasing the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)’s reliance on Russia and the Syrian government. For weeks, the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) has been shelling the SDF-held strategic town of Ain Issa in northeastern Syria. Some nearby villages have fallen to Turkish-backed forces -- paving the way for a possible full offensive to take control of Ain Issa. The U.S.-backed SDF has called on Russia to set up observation posts west of Ain Issa to deter further Turkish-backed attacks, while the United States has stepped up diplomatic activity to negotiate a settlement between the SDF and Turkey to avoid further escalation in the area....