By CAMERON KROETZ
The Syrian Civil war has been raging since 2011 and with it has come the creation of countless rebel groups, some of which fall under the category of jihadist terror organizations such as the so-called Islamic State (Isis). This civil war has devastated the region, killing over 470,000 people and creating over 4.8 million refugees. The war began with the main concern being the belligerence of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but now the main threat is Isis. Isis has caused extreme devastation and terror worldwide in attacks such as those in Paris and Brussels, but Turkey has been forced to endure countless deadly attacks. With many attacks occurring on Turkish soil and an attempted coup in July, the Turkish government decided they must do something to show their might and put an end to the attacks.
Turkey’s military mounted a NATO-backed full invasion of Syria on August 24th. Their first goal was to rid the Syrian town of Jarablus on the Turkish border of Isis fighters; the Turks and their allies liberated the city on August 29th as their Kurdish adversaries to the South liberated the southern portions of the city. The Kurds, an ethnic group that lives in northeastern Turkey, northwestern Iraq, and eastern Syria, are backed by the U.S. but are seen as an insurgent group by the Turkish government. The Turk-Kurd conflict proves to be a conflict when it comes to American-Turkish relations. While the liberation of Jarablus pushed Isis away from the border, it has created another issue between the Kurds and Turkey.
On the 3rd of September, Turkey sent more tanks across the border to assist Syrian rebel groups in pushing Isis out of eight key villages in the north of Syria. As well as ridding the area of Isis fighters, the Turks pushed back Kurdish forces which they see as terrorists; Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced the successes of the operations by saying, “Thank God, today, from Azaz to Jarablus, our 91km of borderline with Syria has been entirely secured. All the terrorist organizations were pushed back – they are gone.” As Turkey pushed Isis out of the north, Syrian Government Forces began an assault on Aleppo, a city that has been held by rebels for two years. Syria is still in turmoil, but with Turkey’s advance in the North, Isis is now losing ground and stability is becoming more achievable.
The war in Syria is nowhere near over, but there is hope. Russia and the United States are currently attempting to broker a ceasefire between the rebels and the government of Syria while Isis continues to lose ground. President Obama is going to attempt to discuss possible solutions to the conflict with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit in China. There may be peace yet in Syria.