Inside Story

How will new front in Syria war impact US-Turkey ties?

Turkey launches air and ground attacks on US-backed Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.

Inside Story began this year asking whether 2018 would see the end of the war in Syria that has lasted nearly seven years. Recent events would suggest the conflict is instead changing course.

Turkey has launched air raids in the north as a direct response to the US decision to back a border security force in the region.

The force, mostly made up of Kurdish troops who helped get rid of ISIL (also known as ISIS), would control the northern part of Syria. Neither Russia nor Syria are happy about the announcement, but Turkey feels particularly threatened.

It has vowed to “strangle the force before it is even born”. And it’s with that aim that Turkey launched the offensive on Saturday, first targeting the city of Afrin.

But what are the implications of what Ankara calls its Olive Branch operation?

Presenter: Hashem Ahelbarra


Sinan Ulgen – chairman of the Centre for Economic and Foreign Policy Studies

Guney Yildiz – visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations

Richard Weitz – director at the Center for Political-Military Analysis at the Hudson Institute