Monday, February 26, 2018

Turkey Clears First Hurdle in Northern Syria’s Afrin

By Elizabeth Teoman

Key Takeaway: Turkish forces and Turkish-backed rebels seized the final stretch of the Syria-Turkey border in Afrin from the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) on February 26, 2018. The seizure of the border accomplishes the first of five assessed Turkish operational objectives in Afrin. The next two assessed operational objectives are to isolate Afrin City and secure ground lines of communication to the border. Turkey deployed additional forces to Syria including Turkish Gendarmerie and Police Special Forces on February 26 to continue its advance despite a U.N. demand for a nationwide ceasefire in Syria. The Institute for the Study of War assesses that Turkey also seeks to seize the Mennagh airbase in future operations and to establish a new forward line of troops with pro-Bashar al Assad regime forces southeast of Afrin City.