The Middle East is in very real danger of destabilization.
Turkey is escalating a military campaign targeting armed Syrian Kurdish militias, spurring fears of a full Turkish invasion of Northern Syria.
Pentagon experts fear that such a development could lead to a renaissance of ISIS, or the Islamic State terrorist organization, according to Fox News.
NATO ally Turkish forces fired artillery at SDF targets in Amuda, Syria. The SDF is the only partner force the US has on the ground in Syria to fight ISIS. If the US loses this Kurdish ally, the fight against ISIS is lost. Turkey’s actions are jeopardizing the entire ISIS mission
— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) November 25, 2022
Turkey’s Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened this week to deploy land forces in the midst of an airstrike campaign that has killed hundreds of members of two armed Kurdish organizations, according to Fox.
“This is not limited to just an air campaign,” Erdogan said of the Turkish military’s actions in Syria.
Erdogan also made it abundantly clear that he will be discussing next moves.
“We will consult with our defense ministry and general staff and decide together to which our land forces needs to contribute, then take our steps accordingly.”
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Turkey has long opposed the armed Kurdish military groups that made up the frontline force facing ISIS.
Many armed Kurdish organizations support an eventual goal of an independent Kurdish state drawing territory from several nations in the region, including Turkey.
The Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units) militia is one of several US-backed organizations that administers a network of prisons in Syria where captured Islamic State terrorists are detained, according to Business Insider.
Turkey — itself a NATO member state — blames the YPG for an explosion which killed six in Istanbul earlier this month, according to Fox.
Kurdish military commanders reject claims of their involvement in the Istanbul bombing, pointing instead to the Islamic State as the likely perpetrator, according to Fox.
Pentagon press secretary Brigadier Gen. Patrick Ryder warned that Turkish escalation in Syria could endanger American service members in-country and lead to an ISIS jailbreak in a Wednesday Department of Defense statement.
“Recent air strikes in Syria directly threatened the safety of U.S. personnel who are working in Syria with local partners to defeat ISIS and maintain custody of more than ten thousand ISIS detainees,” Ryder warned.
The Pentagon representative called for “immediate de-escalation” between Turkish and Kurdish forces in the region, urging both sides to prioritize operations countering ISIS.
At its peak, the Islamic State controlled much of both Syria and Iraq.
The Islamist group gained a reputation as one of the most bloodthirsty terrorist organizations in modern history, carrying out crimes against humanity targeting its opponents and minority groups in its so-called “caliphate.”
The group’s territories were retaken during the Trump administration by Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.