Turkey Reportedly Sets Deadline for SDF Withdrawal from Northern Syria

Image copyright: Reuters [via TRT World]

The Facts

  • Al Jazeera reported on Wednesday that, according to a Turkish source, Ankara has urged Moscow and Washington to press the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to withdraw within two weeks from Manbij, Tal Rifaat and Kobane, in northern Syria.

  • Turkey has reportedly warned that failure to meet the deadline — which won't be extended — will result in a military operation against the US-backed SDF.

The Spin

Establishment-critical narrative

Turkey has been forced to conduct its own counterterrorism operations in northern Syria and northern Iraq because the US has continuously disregarded its NATO ally's security concerns. In order to fight IS in the region, Washington has provided military training and support to the PKK and its Syrian affiliate, YPG, despite designating it a terrorist organization. Turkey has no choice but to escalate action to protect itself.

Pro-establishment narrative

Turkey's obsession with Kurdish terrorism has dangerously escalated the situation in northern Syria, putting American forces at risk while also destabilizing the coalition's fragile control over IS. The SDF has no connection with the militant militia known as PKK and has been working with the US and coalition forces for years. This isn't what the US should expect from an ally and sets a dangerous precedent for other alliances.

Metaculus Prediction

Establishment split



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