Therefore, Erdoğan wants to invade northern Syria

Therefore, Erdoğan wants to invade northern Syria

On November 13, a bomb detonated on Istanbul’s main pedestrian street Istiklal and several people were killed. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blames the Kurdish YPG militia, which he considers to be an offshoot of the terror-labeled PKK guerrillas. But the Kurdish groups deny any involvement. After the deed, Turkey has begun bombing targets in both Syria and Iraq, and Erdoğan has threatened to shortly launch a new ground offensive in northern Syria. Turkish border towns have been hit by artillery shelling from the Syrian side.

Turkey’s previous incursion into Syria

Several times in the past, Turkish troops together with Syrian rebel groups have attacked Kurdish-controlled areas in Syria. In 2019, Turkish forces entered Syria after then-US President Donald Trump said US forces would leave the area. The offensive was condemned by a number of international actors. After negotiations with both the US and Russia, the result was that Turkey took over areas that were previously under Kurdish control.

The story of how IS was driven out of Kobane

Kobane has been singled out as a possible target for an upcoming Turkish invasion. The Kurdish militias now described as terrorists by Turkey were central to the battles against IS in Kobane in 2014. It was also the first time that the US and the international coalition against IS began aerial bombardment of the terrorist group’s positions in Syria. Today, the Kurdish-dominated self-government holds thousands of imprisoned IS terrorists and their families in prisons and camps. When Erdoğan now again threatens an invasion, the Kurdish forces say they must pause their battles against IS.

The great power game in Syria

Northern Syria is a place where both American, Russian, Turkish and Syrian armed forces are present. Erdoğan therefore cannot enter with troops in northern Syria without some kind of negotiations with, above all, Russia. Since Turkey has the defense alliance NATO’s second largest army, the game in northern Syria is also very sensitive for NATO and the US.

Hear why Erdoğan sees the Kurdish groups in Syria as a constant terrorist threat and how he is trying to eliminate them.

Cast: Johan Mathias Sommarströmcorrespondent in Turkey, Cecilia UddénMiddle East Correspondent and Katja Magnussonformer correspondent in Turkey

Program manager: Olle Wiberg

Introduction: Johar Bendjelloul

Technician: Maria Stillberg


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