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Turkey's Operations in Northern Syria: A Visual Anthology

1 MIN READJan 28, 2018 | 17:17 GMT
Smoke billows from Afrin.

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)
Editor's Note

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.

Turkish tanks sit near the Syrian border on Jan. 24.

After days of bombarding Kurdish positions, Turkish forces and their Syrian rebel allies began a ground invasion into the northern Syrian region of Afrin. Dubbed Operation Olive Branch, the invasion targets the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) that control the region.

(OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gives a speech on Jan. 26.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gives a speech on Jan. 26. The YPG are central to the U.S. strategy against the Islamic State. Now Washington is afraid of a clash between its military and Turkish-backed forces.

(ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A soldier stands in front of Turkish army tanks preparing to enter Syria on Jan. 21.

A soldier stands in front of Turkish army tanks preparing to enter Syria on Jan. 21. The majority of the advancing forces have come from north of Afrin, though rebel forces have launched their own assaults from the east. 

(BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
A Turkey-backed Syrian rebel fighter launches a drone.

A Turkey-backed Syrian rebel fighter launches a drone in the Afrin region, near the Turkish border. 

(OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP/Getty Images)
Parts of the Kurdish town of Jandairis in northern Afrin were badly damaged by fighting.

Debris from fighting covers the Kurdish town of Jandairis in northern Afrin on Jan. 24. The YPG has rushed to reinforce their defenses in the area, as Turkey ramps up its military campaign.

(AHMAD SHAFIA BILAL/AFP/Getty Images)
Syrians who fled Jandairis arrive in Afrin city Jan. 25.

Syrians who fled Jandairis arrive in Afrin city Jan. 25.

(GEORGE OURFALIAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Syrian women attend a funeral for civilians and military personnel killed during the operation in Afrin.

Syrian women attend a funeral for civilians and military personnel killed during the operation in Afrin. The most difficult terrain is concentrated around the current front lines. If Turkey and its allies accomplish their initial objectives, they will have an easier task advancing farther.

(GEORGE OURFALIAN/AFP/Getty Images)
An SDF member stands guard in Raqqa.

A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces stands guard in Raqqa in October 2017, after taking the city from the Islamic State. The YPG forms an integral part of the U.S.-backed forces battling the Islamic State.

(BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
SDF members in Manbij in March of last year.

Members of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces prepare to deploy to the outskirts of Manbij in March 2017. Turkey's operations could extend into Manbij, east of Afrin, but that move would not be accepted lightly by the United States. 

(DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Smoke billows from Afrin.

A Syrian rebel fighter stands north of Aleppo and watches smoke billow from Afrin.

(NAZEER AL-KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)

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