Turkish tanks, backed by US air strikes, have swept into northern Syria and attacked Kurdish YPG forces. The YPG has previously been supported by the US in the battles against Islamic State (IS).
The Turkish government is determined to prevent the emergence of a Kurdish area in the north of Syria. They want to stop the Kurds connecting two cantons of Kurdish held territory along its border. Turkey has also moved against nearby areas controlled by IS to stop them falling under Kurdish control.
Turkey has declared that Kurdish forces must not cross to the west bank of the Euphrates river. When the YPG-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces group drove IS out of Manbij, west of the Euphrates, the Turkish government and the US warned them to retreat immediately.
The Kurds agreed, but Turkey took the opportunity to attack them, and the US decided to back the Turkish assaults rather than the Kurds.
However, this raises doubts about whether the YPG will play the role the US has allotted it of assisting the assault against the IS centre of Raqqa in Syria.
Turkey is pursuing a vicious crackdown against its own Kurdish minority, who suffer oppression and denial of their cultural rights. It fears that a Kurdish-controlled zone along its border could strengthen the PKK Kurdish guerrillas inside Turkey.
The conflict in Syria is now being shaped by the influence of the various imperialist powers. Turkey’s incursion into Syria was preceded by a visit to Moscow by Turkish President Recep Erdogan. Turkey has cleared reached an accommodation with Russia, following earlier tensions that saw the Turkish downing of a Russian fighter jet over Syria last November. The imperialist powers, whether Russia, Turkey, Iran or the US are all jockeying to advance their own interests.
Imperialism offers no hope to the Kurds or the people of Syria.
Modified from Socialist Worker UK