Since the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been pivoting the once staunch NATO allied country toward its neighbors Russia and Iran. However, there are inherent tensions between the Turks illegal under international law de facto zone of occupation in northern Syria and Moscow's client in Damascus. Yet it appears that it's the Trump Administration, seeking 'leverage' on behalf of its Israeli and Saudi allies through proxy forces building in Syria, that's forcing Erdogan to finally put his cards on the table against NATO.
The Assad government wants the Turks out of their country, but Damascus and its Russian patrons wish to prevent a Kurdish state backed by the Americans -- who cannot be easily dislodged -- without risking a much larger conflict. Now with Washington declaring a 30,000 strong 'border security force' aka an American occupation supporting proxy army led by Ankara's YPG Kurdish enemy, the Turks are indicating forceful action, through shelling Afrin. It isn't clear despite Erdogan's fiery rhetoric and blaming the Americans for the situation just how far his troops intend to go into Syrian Kurdish areas. The rumors (which are being spread by pro-Russian sites like Southfront) that the U.S. is supplying the Kurds with MANPADs capable of shooting down Turkish helicopters and or lower flying jets may prove the last straw for Erdogan.Read More