Last week, the Turkish Army, along with the Free Syrian Army (FSA), dislodged ISIS from Jarabulus, a town on the Syrian-Turkish border.
In the subsequent days, Ankara continued to push for in-roads in northern Syria, but in the process had come into armed contact with the Syrian Kurdish forces, particularly the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
With Turkish support, the FSA and a number of smaller Syrian rebel groups have taken a number of villages from the Syrian Kurdish forces in the area. These villages include Ain al-Baida, Amarna and Yousef Beq (Al Jazeera). The FSA is operating with Turkish Air Force air support.
The FSA has reportedly set its sights on Manbij, which the YPG had recently captured from ISIS (Al Jazeera). Although Turkish air support is expected, analysts are unsure if the Turkish Army will deploy its own forces further south.
The recent spate of clashes had effectively been between two key U.S. allies: Turkey and the YPG (and Syrian Democratic Forces or SDF generally). Acknowledging the YPG and SDF’s value to the cause against ISIS, U.S. officials have publicly called upon Turkey and YPG/SDF to stop clashing (The Globe and Mail).
On the other hand, Turkish officials are not letting up on their desire to frame the Syrian Kurdish forces as terrorist entities (Reuters). The Turkish European Affairs Minister, Omer Celik, said: “No one has the right to tell us which terrorist organization we can fight against.”