Syria Update: Turkey Is Blowing the Hell Out of It and the Russians Are Cheering

Everything you knew was going to happen is happening in northern Syria. Everything the president* should have known was going to happen—or, at the very least, vaguely care about happening, had he a shred of either intellect or humanity—is happening. Turkey is blowing the hell out of northern Syria. The Russians are cheering. The Iranians are thrilled. And the Kurds, sold out by another American president, are running for cover. From The New York Times:

Civilians were reported to be fleeing the border towns of Ras al Ain and Tel Abyad, which were being pounded by airstrikes and shelling, Reuters reported. “There is a huge panic among people of the region,” the spokesman, Mustafa Bali, wrote.

Turkey’s long-planned move to root out United States-allied Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria accelerated rapidly after President Trump seemingly gave a green light in a call with Mr. Erdogan on Sunday. The operation has sparked fierce debates in Washington and could open a dangerous new front in Syria’s eight-year-old war. Earlier Wednesday, the Syrian Democratic Forces had mobilized and warned of a “humanitarian catastrophe” as Turkey massed troops near the countries’ border for an incursion it said would begin “shortly.” New violence between Turkey and the United States-backed Syrian Democratic Forces pits two United States allies against each other in ethnically tinged battles, leaving Washington in an awkward position.

Photo credit: < - Getty Images
Photo credit: < - Getty Images

To say nothing of a moral quagmire.

For its part, the Syrian Democratic Forces said the area was “on the edge of possible humanitarian catastrophe” because of the looming Turkish incursion. “This attack will spill the blood of thousands of innocent civilians because our border areas are overcrowded,” the group said in a statement.

For those of us opposed to whatever the hell the country has been trying to accomplish over there since 2002 (and the foundational blunder beneath all of this is the invasion of Iraq, into which this country was lied by the previous Republican administration, a prominent member of which was last seen hanging out at a Cowboys game last weekend), the president*'s lame-ass assertion that his flea-on-a-griddle foreign-policy blunder that coincidentally benefits his business partners in Turkey, and his god-alone-knows-what in Moscow, comes as a particularly revolting element of the story.

Photo credit: < - Getty Images
Photo credit: < - Getty Images

The idea that this is some sort of profound geopolitical shift for which we should all be grateful is like being handed a beautifully wrapped Christmas package that's also dripping with blood. And it's also an acknowledgement that there's a new sheriff in town. From Reuters:

“We view positively Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s statements about the matter of dialogue between the self-administration and the Syrian government and we look to Russia having a role ... as a supporter and guarantor,” the Kurdish-led administration said in a statement. The Syrian Kurdish-led administration said its long-held position has been that the best way to resolve the Syrian conflict is via Syrian-Syrian dialogue, it said.

Everything makes sense and nothing makes sense. Welcome to the nightmare.

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