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US focus of ire as Turkey threatens Syria‘s Kurds

Syrian Kurdish leader says Turkish intentions unclear.
Denis Doyle/Getty Images
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Will Turkey mount yet another military incursion against US-backed Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria “at any time, any moment,” as the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been threatening for some time? The threat seemed to subside as Erdogan came back “empty handed,” as Al-Monitor contributor Fehim Tastekin put it, from last week’s summit in Tehran with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. However, Erdogan seems unfazed and Syrian Kurdish leaders are growing increasingly bitter at perceived Western indifference to their plight. 

Indeed, the question of when or if a Turkish invasion would take place seemed almost moot when three Kurdish women fighters were killed in a July 22 Turkish drone strike outside the city of Qamishli near the Turkish border. The victims included revered commander Salwa Yusuf, better known by her nom de guerre “Jiyan Afrin,” who served a critical role in the battle against the Islamic State. On July 24, Ankara announced that it had “neutralized” Sahin Tekinagac, who it described as a “local leader” in Kobani who was on its most wanted list, in yet another drone attack carried out by Turkey’s national spy agency, part of an ongoing campaign to decapitate senior and middle-ranking Kurdish military cadres in Syria and neighboring Iraq. 

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