President Joe Biden ‘s administration is seeking to strike the right balance in dealing with NATO ally Turkey, as it threatens a ground offensive against U.S. partners in Syria while simultaneously playing a key diplomatic role in the middle of Russia’s war in Ukraine. After authorizing four cross-border ground offensives into Syria over the past five years, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly threatened this year to launch a fifth in response to what he sees as a persistent presence of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northeastern Syria. These warnings increased earlier this month after a suicide bombing blamed on the group rocked Istanbul, killing six and injuring dozens more on the iconic Istiklal Avenue. Ankara responded by launching “Operation Claw-Sword,” a sweeping campaign of hundreds of airstrikes against largely Kurdish-held positions, including those maintained by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Pentagon-backed militia in control of much of northeastern Syria, as well as other Kurdish positions allegedly tied to the PKK in neighboring northern Iraq. Turkish officials view a number of Kurdish-led groups, including the SDF and its People’s Protection Units (YPG), as arms of the PKK. Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu went as far as… Read full this story
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