Published On: Sun, Feb 18th, 2018

Is there a possibility of confrontation between Turkey and the USA in Manbij

Is there a possibility of confrontation between Turkey and the USA in Manbij

USA Tanks in Manbij, Syria –

Since the beginning of the war in Syria one of the most dangerous/critical conflicts has been on the agenda recently: The risk of a clash between Turkish and American troops in Manbij. Just to review briefly, Turkey claims the YPG (pro-Kurdish armed groups) in the south of Turkey is the continuation of PKK, Kurdish terror organization operating in Turkey and thus a major threat for the security of the country. The USA on the other hand insists on supporting YPG in northern Syria stating this group has worked together with USA to destroy ISIS in the region. This is another way to express said group is supposedly under USA protection – in Manbij, at least.

Turkey has expressed strict determination not to allow any kind of a Kurdish establishment such as a state in the region and wowed to clean the region from all terror groups to incude YPG. It has also declared it will proceed further to Manbij to end a YPG existence there on which occasion the risk of a clash with the USA forces in Manbij emerges.

If we go back in time, Turkey started its offensive operation on Afrin in January to get the Kurds (YPG) out of the region. Ankara seems to insist on expanding the Afrin attack to Manbij, about 60 miles further east after maintaining control of the region to the west of the Euphrates river.

The USA on the other hand also seems to be determined not to leave Manbij as clearly expressed by military officials in the region. In fact the USA officials have made a statement saying “We are proud of our missions here and we want to make sure that everyone knows that. You hit us, we will respond aggressively. We will defend ourselves”.

Despite this tense situation and harsh/challenging statements an actual armed clash between two Nato allies does not seem to be very likely. The only threat would appear if two “very” hostile groups in the region, that is FSA (Free Syrian Army) on the Turkish side and YPG that has partnered with the USA manage to play their cards in a very dangerous manner to worsen the tense atmosphere between two allies and ignite a further and actual clash between them. As to how this would be possible the answer is both allies unluckily have to cooperate with their partners which are locals in the region and are certainly in need to depend on their guidance, even if at times.

In fact, if one of these groups manages to start any provocative offensive against the other hostile group strong enough to badly harm either of the parties and worsen relations this could be a triggering move to put the troubled region in a truly undesired situation. The best solution to prevent it would be to start a solid and sincere cooperation (and even a joint operation group and center) between to allies not to give way to a misunderstanding or provocations that could ignite further trouble.

Let us only hope and pray both allies stick to logic and  an unfortunate situation as explained above never comes true.

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