Turkey and US, two allies locked about al-Bab tks to William Lambton

The nodus emerged at Manbij. On Aug. 12, the Kurds took the city, which is 35 kilometers from the Turkish border and just opposite Gaziantep’s Karkamış, from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). They began to march toward al-Bab, which is 50 kilometers to the west, in order to unite the Afrin and Kobane cantons. Exactly 12 days later, on Aug. 24, the Turks entered Syria unilaterally from Jarablus. The Americans did not expect it. Focusing on the Raqqa operation, Washington was calculating that the Kurds would unite the cantons first, then close the access of Raqqa, which is 130 kilometers east of Manbij, to the Turkish border and then would march toward Raqqa. This plan was broken because of the Jarablus operation. The United States did not support the Turks’ entry into Syria for this reason.

However, when the Turkish forces began to clash with the People’s Protection Units (YPG) four days after their entrance to Jarablus, America intervened and stopped Ankara. Then America set a new position in order to make a deal about a buffer zone, and make Turkey move toward the west rather than toward the territories which the YPG had taken hold of. In this way, the U.S. began to support the Euphrates Operation, which started at Jarablus, both from air and land.

The problem is that this plan did not work either because the Turks did not settle for the buffer zone, despite an agreement to reduce it to a maximum depth of 20 kilometers from the border after closing the 98 kilometers of the Jarablus-Azez line, which is under ISIL control. Turkey tried to create the same facts on the ground as Jarabulus by entering Dabiq, opposite Kilis, 20 km from the Turkish border. Turkey passed through Dabiq and began to advance toward al-Bab, which is geographically opposite Kilis’ Çobanbey village, 30 kilometers from the Turkish border.

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