What Happened: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey will postpone a potential military operation in the Euphrates River valley after he spoke with U.S. President Donald Trump, Daily Sabah reported Dec. 20.
Why It Matters: Erdogan is signaling an easing of tensions between the United States and Turkey over Syria after the Trump administration's decision to withdraw from the country, which decreases the chance of accidental confrontations between U.S. and Turkish forces or its proxies. However, as Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) redeploy to meet a potential Turkish invasion, the Islamic State will have an opportunity to regroup along Syria's eastern border with Iraq.
Background: Turkey has been threatening an operation within territory currently controlled by the U.S.-backed SDF. A potential Turkish operation would have increased the risk of accidental confrontations between Turkish units, or its proxies, and U.S. forces that are stationed in the region.