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What Turkish raid on Syrian Kurds means for Ankara-Washington ties

Turkey's decision to launch airstrikes on fighters for the Kurdish People's Protection Units in Syria could have a major impact on Washington's efforts to balance relations with Ankara.
SANLIURFA, TURKEY -  OCTOBER 19:  (TURKEY OUT)  A fighter jet flies above the Syrian town of Kobani on October 19, 2014 in Sanliurfa, Turkey.  Kurdish fighters in Syrian city of Kobani have pushed back Islamic State militants in a number of locations as U.S. air strikes on ISIS positions continue in and around the city. In the past month more than 200,000 people from Kobani have fled into Turkey. (Photo by Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images)
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Turkish jets pounded US-backed Syrian Kurdish-led forces during the early hours of Oct. 20 in an apparent attempt to prevent them from establishing a long-coveted corridor to link up territories under their control in northern Syria. The Turkish attacks follow sustained threats from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to take further action against the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which are closely linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

The airstrikes will likely further complicate Washington’s efforts to balance its relations with Turkey, a key NATO ally, and the YPG, which remains the US-led coalition’s most effective partner against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria. The YPG’s continued attempts to expand its territory in defiance of US warnings to stay put have not helped.

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