first published on March 12, 2018 by Will
Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch into the Kurdish Enclave of Afrin has all but stopped the multinational Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve mission to defeat the Islamic State in Syria.
Kurdish YPG and YPJ units of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been abandoning the fight against ISIS as they head for Afrin to defend their fellow Kurds from the Turkish military and their jihadist proxy forces.
This stop in operations for OIR is quite counter intuitive as ISIS, who were on the cusp of defeat, are now retaking ground with offensive operations. In the past two weeks, the amount of Western airstrikes against ISIS in Syria has dropped by half. This drop in airstrikes is both the result of Kurdish fighters leaving the fight as well as strained relations between the US and Turkey reducing the use of Turkey’s Incirlik air base.
Turkey has claimed that the YPG and YPJ Kurdish forces in Afrin are terrorists, yet Turkey is arming and leading al Qaeda and Islamic State fighters in their operation against the Kurds.
The YPG/YPJ are a critical ally in the United States’ fight against the Islamic State. There is no fighting force that was more effective against ISIS than the Kurds, and had it not been for them, Syria and northern Iraq would still be in the grasp of ISIS.
The following video reportedly shows a Turkish T129 ATAK helicopter engaging YPG Forces in an Afrin orchard.