Operation Olive Branch
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch, the military operation against the Kurd-administered enclave of Efrin (or Afrin) in northern Syria, on January 20, 2018.
Turkey says the operation aims to “neutralize the terrorists belonging to PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG” as well as Islamic State in northwestern Syria. There is no known ISIS presence in the area.
Turkey views the predominantly Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and its linked Democratic Union Party (PYD) political party which together control Efrin as extensions of Turkey’s Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought a decades-long insurgency mainly in Turkey’s majority-Kurdish southwest.
The YPG makes up the backbone of the U.S.-led Coalition backed Syrian Democratic Forces, the main U.S. ally fighting ISIS in Syria.
Mar- 2018 -29 MarchMiddle East
Turkey threatens to “take initiative” in Manbij ahead of ministerial meeting in Washington
Turkey will not hesitate to act if YPG members do not leave the Syrian town of Manbij, the country's national security council said, ahead of a meeting between Turkish and American ministersRead More »
19 MarchMiddle East
Erdogan says Turkey to expand military operation in Syria to Manbij, Kobane and Qamishli
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to expand Turkey's campaign in Syria to other Kurd-held territory up to the Iraq border, and again threatened a military operation against Sinjar in IraqRead More »
18 MarchMiddle East
Kurds threaten guerrilla campaign after Turkey takes control of Syria’s Efrin
Turkish troops and their allies took control of the Syrian town of Efrin, while mainly Kurdish militias said they would now switch to a guerrilla campaign to avoid civilian casualties.Read More »
6 MarchMiddle East
SDF fighters redeploy from battle against ISIS to defend Efrin
Coalition-backed Syrian Democratic Forces will redeploy 1,700 fighters from fighting ISIS to defend a Kurdish enclave under Turkish attackRead More »
From Hasakah to Manbij: How I got shot at by rebel snipers in Syria
When Wladimir Van Wilgenburg returned to Syria to cover the ongoing war in the north, he quickly found that getting access to the frontlines in Afrin and Manbij was more difficult than anticipatedRead More »
Feb- 2018 -28 FebruaryMiddle East
Turkey is using refugees to justify attacks on Efrin, Syrian Kurds say
Syrian Kurdish officials, including those opposed to the PYD, say Turkey is using refugees to justify its attacks on the enclave of Afrin and wants to use Operation Olive Branch to change the demographics of the regionRead More »
23 FebruaryMiddle East
Turkey says it struck a ‘terrorist’ convoy in Syria; Kurds say it was civilian
Turkey's armed forces struck a convoy it said was "carrying terrorists, weapons and ammunition" near mainly Kurdish Efrin in Syria, but Kurds say the it was civilian and carrying humanitarian suppliesRead More »
22 FebruaryMiddle East
Turkey says armed unmanned ground vehicles to be used in Efrin operation
Turkey's armed forces will use armed unmanned ground vehicles during its Operation Olive Branch in Efrin, Syria, a government department said.Read More »
21 FebruaryMiddle East
Turkey says forces aiding YPG are ‘legitimate targets’ after pro-regime militias enter Efrin
Turkey said it will consider any groups aiding the YPG in the majority Kurdish Efrin canton in Syria as "legitimate targets" a day after pro-government militias entered the enclave.Read More »
The Manbij Conundrum
The collapse, or eviction by military force, of the SDF from Manbij would have dire consequences for the stability of the SDF, and by extension, the entire US mission to build stability in the wake of the Islamic State in Syria.Read More »