Turkey’s march on Manbij stalled by wall of reality

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.

As for the United States, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson‘s Feb. 16 visit to Ankara somewhat improved relations with Turkey — relations that were heading into an abyss because of issues like Fethullah Gulen, the trial of an Iranian-Turkish businessman in New York and the Pentagon’s alliance with Syrian Kurds against the Islamic State (IS).

Read more at https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/02/turkey-united-states-syria-manbij-bargain.html