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Turkey's march on Manbij stalled by wall of reality

The United States and Russia don't appear to be on the same page as Turkey in Syria, despite Ankara's expectations, which hang in the balance.
Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighters hold an ammunition belt near the city of Afrin, Syria February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi - RC14862D45C0
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Turkey’s Syria adventure is heading into deeper uncertainty, facing obscure American and Russian moves and the bitter realities of the field. The idea was to finish the operation against the Kurds in Afrin quickly and march on to Manbij. Then, Turkey's military planned to cross to the eastern side of the Euphrates River and deliver major blows to the main body of the Kurdish "democratic autonomy" in areas like Ras al-Ain and Tell Abyad, where Kurds do not have ethnic majorities.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is determined to put an end to the de facto Kurdish autonomous body in Syria. However, Syria upped the ante this week by agreeing to send its supporting militias to back the Kurds in Afrin.

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