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Turkey's route into Syria full of pitfalls, uncertainties

Despite its political and military significance, US President Donald Trump’s green light for Ankara does not make Turkey’s task east of the Euphrates River any easier.
Turkish military vehicles ride at the Bab el-Salam border crossing between the Syrian town of Azaz and the Turkish town of Kilis, in Syria January 1, 2019. Picture taken January 1, 2019. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi - RC1AD1B9E6A0

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been vindicated in his reliance on President Donald Trump. The US leader has given him the green light for a Turkish incursion into northeastern Syria to carve out the “safe zone” Ankara has been pushing for some time.

Ankara wants exclusive military control over an area 480 kilometers (300 miles) long and at least 30 kilometers (18 miles) deep in Syrian territory east of the Euphrates River. It aims to root out the People's Protection Units (YPG) — the US-supported Kurdish group it considers a terrorist organization and a security threat — from the region. Ankara also wants to settle the bulk of the estimated 3.6 million refugees Turkey has been hosting at great cost in the area.

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