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The road to Manbij

will the Kurds cause a conflict between the US and Turkey?

The US military will not leave the Kurdish city of Manbij in Syria, despite Ankara’s demands. This was announced on Monday by the head of the Central Command of the US Armed Forces Joseph Votel. In Ankara, in turn, stressed that the Turkish army will not stop in Africa: the Kurds will be persecuted to Manbij and even to the territories located to the east of the Euphrates. RT understood how the disagreement over the Kurdish issue could affect the dialogue between Turkey and the United States.

US troops are not going to leave the city of Manbij in Syria, controlled by the Kurds, said the head of the Central Command of the US Armed Forces Joseph Votel in an interview with CNN. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, in his turn, noted that the Americans should stop the supply of weapons to the Kurds, whom Ankara considers terrorists, and immediately leave the area of Manbij.

Recall, the operation “Olive Branch” against the Kurdish armed formations of the Democratic Union Party and the People’s Self-Defense Forces (SNA) began on January 20. The main goal of the Armed Forces of Turkey is the city of Afrin, home to at least 1.5 million Syrian Kurds.

Chavusoglu stressed that the operation of the Turkish army “Olive Branch” will not be limited to the attack on the position of the Kurds in Syrian Africa: Turkey will fight terrorism to the end.

“We will be in Syria until we are finished with terrorism, until it is exhausted. And then we will transfer these territories to their real owners. The calls to limit the operation to Afrin for us are not valid. No matter where the terrorist threat comes from, whether it be Sinjar, Kandil, Manbij, the Euphrates, we will fight and destroy it, ” – the Turkish media said.

Formerly, Ankara has repeatedly expressed its displeasure with Washington, accusing it of supplying weapons to the People’s Self-Defense Forces. In the opinion of the Erdogan administration, both the SNC and the Democratic Union are directly linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which in Turkey is recognized as a terrorist organization.

“Washington does not have to cooperate with terrorist organizations to realize its goals in the region. … It is puzzling that a country that for many years (like Turkey) is a member of NATO, indirectly or openly supports armed groups that threaten the borders of the alliance. Such an approach is unacceptable, “Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on January 25.

The President of Turkey and the country’s top leadership are stepping up their struggle for control over all Kurdish territories, Gevorg Mirzayan, an associate professor of the political science department at the Financial University under the Russian government, said.


“Now the parties raise the rates for negotiations on the fate of Manbij and the rest of the Kurdish territories. Erdogan can not simply step back because of the internal political situation in Turkey. If he said that he would clean the entire territory of Syria from the Kurds, he must do it – otherwise he will have serious internal problems. Or he must sell the refusal of this sweep. But the Americans have nothing to offer him in return, “Mirzayan said in an interview with RT.

The choice in this situation for the American side is small, the expert explains. Mirzayan believes that, most likely, the US military will simply strengthen the defense of its positions in Manbij, hoping that the Turkish Armed Forces will bypass the city.


“The United States, in turn, are in isolation. They have already surrendered the Afrinian Kurds and announced the cessation of their supply of weapons. And if everything continues in the same spirit and Erdogan will continue to press, the US will either have to remove the military from Manbij, or leave them, counting on the fact that the Turks simply bypass their base,” – he said.

Direct confrontation is unlikely.

Mirzayan believes that a direct clash between the US and Turkish military is not ruled out, but only in the worst case scenario.

“Theoretically, this is possible, but the parties will do everything possible to avoid this. If there are clashes between the two NATO allies, this will be a very, very bad signal. Reports that several US military personnel were killed in the course of Turkish strikes have already been thrown into the network. Naturally, the parties deny this, so as not to create a precedent, “the expert concluded.


A new round of the conflict in Syria was provoked by contradictions in the attitude of the NATO allies towards the Kurds: Turkey considers them terrorists, and the United States as colleagues in the fight against the ISIS, said Stanislav Tarasov, a political analyst and expert on the problems of the Middle East and the Caucasus.

“The statement by the head of the US Central Command is not unexpected. Recently, Washington has been under pressure from Turkey and Erdogan personally, who demanded that they decide: they act in this conflict as allies of Turkey or as its opponents. … Everything is built on paradoxes – the Turks consider the Syrian Kurds to be terrorists, while the US are their partners, “- said Tarasov. Also on the topic “Olive branch” in the border with Syria, the province of Hatay. The expert believes that Turkey will not be able to press on the Americans, since Washington is determined to secure a Syrian bridgehead from which it will be possible to develop a successful offensive against Iran. “This bluff will not succeed because the Americans clearly denote their position. They are not going to leave Syria and confirm that their military presence in this country is of a long-term nature. They need a Syrian bridgehead for a further possible operation against Iran. Turkey will be forced to somehow get out of this situation,” – he explained. Stanislav Tarasov believes that an armed conflict between the US and Turkey is unlikely, but their confrontation is growing.

“A direct confrontation is unlikely, but indirectly it is already taking place. But the Turks will not dare to enter into a clash with the Americans, as this will mean the disintegration of NATO. Turkey gave the status of an irreplaceable partner in the Middle East to US, bearing in mind that Iran and Russia are strengthening in this region, “the expert concludes.

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