In the midst of the ongoing armed conflict, are neighboring countries allies or enemies?
Syria has been a topic of conversation around the world for a while now: the country’s living situation, the refugees, terrorism. Syria’s neighbor, Turkey, has someway or another, been part of all the events that have happened in Syria lately. Even though Turkey has been tangled up in its own mess this summer, Turkish officials have been closely following the refugee situation and the Syrian war.
Turkey had a rough summer with the coup attempt, the terrorist attack and all the other political complications those kind of events tend to bring. The night of Aug. 24, Turkey shocked the world by announcing they were starting a military operation in Syria with the purpose of clearing the borders. The operation was meant to fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The operation was conducted by the Turkish Military and the Syrian Rebel Forces, including the Free Syrian Army, who go by the name of “Operation Euphrates Shield” because of their geographical location.
The operation first hit ISIL forces with some pretty hard blows. The Turkish Army and the Free Syrian Army’s first target was the city of Jarablus. The city has been a really important strategic location since it has been under the rule of ISIL for a while. Located right by Turkey’s border, the military believed that ISIL’s ruling the city posed an alarming potential danger to Turkey.
Before the attacks started, the Turkish government ordered the town of Karkamis, a Turkish town that shares borders with Jarablus, to evacuate the town until further notice. The day after the notice, they started targeting and hitting ISIL settlements throughout Karkamis. The Turkish Military brought in about 40 tanks and about 2,000 Free Syrian Army members to be part of this operation.
The battle in the city lasted about 14 hours, until the Free Syrian Army announced that the city was cleared of ISIL settlements. ISIL flags were taken down and replaced with Syrian Revolution flags.
Even though they have been heavily involved in the refugee process and talk, this was considered Turkey’s very first ground intervention in Syria since the civil war started in 2011. The operation is still going on today. The Turkish military has announced that about 900 kilometers of ISIL settlements have been taken under control. The army has been hitting strategic locations to clean the areas of ISIL and other government enemies. Throughout this process, Turkey has been taking measures to keep the Safe Zone protected from any attacks.
A total of 764 targets have been hit by 3,159 missiles since the start of the operation. Around the world, there has been different reactions to Turkey’s involvement in Syria. The Syrian government condemned the operation stating that the Turkish government was just replacing ISIL by other Turkish-backed terrorist organizations. On the other hand, some countries have supported this operation because it is believed it has prevented more refugees running away from the country.
Syria’s armed conflict has become even more intricate. It has now created more division than ever before. All of the parties involved in the conflict, regardless of their position, do not cease to create more violent conflicts. More updates about the Syrian War will be posted.