It is believed that Turkish drone strikes inside Iraqi Kurdistan nearly killed General Mazloum Abdi, leader of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Abdi was spared, but three US military officers in convoy almost died.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, has made no secret of his animosity toward the SDF, a reliable ally of the United States in the fight against ISIS (ISIS). The majority of SDF fighters are Syrian Kurdish, and without them, the Americans would not have been able to defeat ISIS. Erdogan considers the SDF a terrorist group since it is a spinoff of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting for independence for Kurdistan in Turkey since the 1970s.
Although there are institutional links between the PKK and the SDF, the SDF has not posed a security danger to Turkey. They want to stop the Assad administration from killing Syrian Kurds, and they want to combat ISIS. Up to this point, Washington has agreed to disagree with Ankara over Turkey’s alliance with the SDF.
Despite tensions between Ankara and Washington over the SDF’s continued relationship with the United States, those responsible for an attempted assassination of the SDF’s leader and the risk they posed to US soldiers must be held accountable. Close to a thousand American servicemen are mentoring SDF fighters as they continue wiping out what’s left of ISIS.
The White House must clarify to President Erdogan that attacks on SDF forces are not tolerated and that any harm done to American service members would be considered deliberate.
U.S. lives are at stake if Washington continues to play nice with Erdogan. It has been reported recently that Turkey has been supporting both the Ukrainian government and the separatists. Not only has it supplied Ukraine with drones, but it has also supplied weapons to Russian mercenaries, specifically the Wagner Group.
Washington’s efforts to appease Erdogan have not resulted in many concrete gains. The deeper one looks, the more evidence there is that Erdogan is actively sabotaging our interests.
Erdogan runs for reelection on May 14th.