Turkish armed forces have moved towards Jarabulus, ostensibly to take the Syrian town from the Islamic State. But - at the same time - the assault seems calculated to prevent the Syrian Kurdish forces from creating a statelet in northern Syria, what the Kurds calls Rojava. These Syrian Kurds in alliance with Arab and other fighters had - as the Syrian Democratic Forces - seized Manbij. This opened up the possibility to push for a contiguous Syrian Kurdish region.
No wonder that the Syrian Kurdish leader Saleh Moslem responded to the Turkish assault harshly, "Turkey is in Syrian Quagmire. Will be defeated like Daesh' - Daesh being the acronym for the Islamic State. The harsh words between Erdoğan and Moslem suggest that this is part of Ankara's anxiety about the spread of Rojava. Russia has suggested to Turkey that it would not support a Kurdish enclave on the Turkish border. US Vice President Joe Biden is in Turkey now. He will surely be massaging a lot of hands.
In today's The Hindu, I have a report on Turkey's rebalancing between the West and Russia-Iran. The Syrian conflict has certainly crossed into Turkey - with the recent, grotesque bombing in Gaziantep by the Islamic State as an example. That Turkey now says that Assad may remain for a transitional period is a major shift in its position. You can read my report here.
In today's Alternet, as a twin piece, I look more broadly at the question of the Syrian war and the question of 'action' - what 'action' can the West, in particular, take to untangle the conflict as UNICEF chief Anthony Lake asks? The answer is not more military force. I speak with Syrian economist Omar Dahi and others about the question of a divided Syrian society and the prospects for a dial-down of violence. You can read my report here.
The art around this message is by the Turkish/Kurdish painter and journalist Zehra Dogan, who was arrested after the 'failed coup' of July. She is one of thousand arrested by the government - most of them unjustly.