Foreign Policy Digital

Why is Turkey Fighting Syria’s Kurds?

Turkey’s president says Syrian Kurdish fighters are terrorists—but he’s a very unreliable narrator.

Almost everyone agrees that the chaos that has descended on Syria since last week—when Turkey invaded Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria after the Trump administration’s announcement of a withdrawal of U.S. troops—was the bloody aftermath of a betrayal. But just who stabbed whom in the back is up for debate.

Kurdish forces based in Syria say the United States abandoned them with no warning and no justification after years of cooperation fighting against the Islamic State. But Turkey says the U.S. decision to partner in the first place with the Syrian Kurdish forces—which it considers an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Kurdish

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