It has been more than three months since Turkey launched its most recent offensive against the United States’ Syrian Kurdish partners who lead the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Tens of thousands of people have been displaced by the fighting, and dozens of civilians have died. US forces have redeployed and Russian and Syria regime forces have stepped in to fill the vacuum. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to expand military operations in northeastern Syria, all the way to the Iraqi border. An atmosphere of fear and quiet defiance prevails in northeastern Syria or Rojava (western Kurdistan). Mazlum Kobane, the famously calm commander of the SDF, is doing his utmost to navigate these stormy waters, seeking on the one hand to balance relations between Russia, the United States and the regime while trying to unite the Syrian Kurdish political parties.