Turkey's Operations in Northern Syria: A Visual Anthology
1 MIN READJan 28, 2018 | 17:17 GMT
A Syrian rebel fighter stands north of Aleppo and watches smoke billow from Afrin, where Kurdish People's Protection Units are facing off against Turkish and Turkey-backed fighters.
(NAZEER AL-KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
In Stratfor's 2018 Annual Forecast we wrote that military activity in Syria this year would center on the Kurds. This past week that forecast was confirmed, when Turkey launched an offensive against Kurdish groups in Syria's Afrin region, knowing that Russia and the United States would disapprove. The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) that Turkey is fighting are central to the U.S. strategy against the Islamic State, and Russia had invited Kurdish groups to Syrian peace talks in the pragmatic hope of stabilizing the country enough so it could withdraw from the conflict. With its incursion into Syria, Turkey has thrown a wrench into both of those strategies.