Over the last 36 hours, Turkey announced it has sent tanks into Syria to fight Islamic State (ISIS) and the Syrian Kurdish militia (People’s Protection Unit [YPG]) in the town of Jarabulus; this according to a televised speech by Turkey’s President Erdogan. The operation, which started with bombing sorties flown by Turkish fighter jets, was named “Euphrates Shield” and commenced only hours before Vice President Joe Biden’s scheduled visit into Turkey (VP Biden is the highest U.S. official to visit Turkey since the coup attempt on July 15th).
In his televised speech, President Erdogan was emphatic that threat of these “terror” groups like Islamic State and the YPG would be “diminished.” The YPG is part of the U.S.-backed campaign to rid the region of Islamic State and as a of a few days ago, the YPG took control of Hasaka, Syria, causing Turkish government officials to be alarmed.
The United States has recognized that the YPG have been on the front lines of the war on Islamic State and has lent its support to the Kurdish fighters who have been instrumental in pushing the terror group back; however, Turkey’s labeling the YPG as a “terror group” and its recent military offensive operation (‘Euphrates Shield) into Syria will undoubtedly leave Vice President Joe Biden in a very sticky situation when he visits with Turkish government officials.
The United States will need to step up and stop the Turkish onslaught against the YPG, which means all eyes will be on VP Joe Biden and what transpires over the next day or two for the sake of the Kurds and the YPG. Several Americans have joined the YPG in their ongoing fight against the Islamic State leaving no doubt that the stakes are high and the pressure mounting for a peaceful resolution to Turkey attacking the YPG in Syria.