Turkish Syria operation risks gains against ISIS, SDF commander says

A Turkish military operation into northeast Syria would put the gains made in the fight against Islamic State (ISIS) in danger, a commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said.

Turkish troops are ready to launch an invasion of northeast Syria, the Turkish Defence Ministry said on Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump gave the green light to Turkey following a weekend phone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

"If this decision is implemented, of course a fight is going to erupt between us and the Turks in the northern border," SDF commander Mazloum Kobani told U.S. defence news website Defense One in an interview.

A war with the Turkish army would create a security vacuum that would give ISIS breathing room, according to Kobani.

“This is going to jeopardize all the achievements we have made with the coalition against ISIS,” he said.

The SDF commander on Tuesday also said they were considering "a partnership with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, with the aim of fighting Turkish forces," Rojava Network news outlet reported.

The SDF, a Kurdish-led umbrella group of militias in Syria, was the primary ground force in the international campaign against ISIS. Turkey regards the SDF and its affiliates as terrorist organisations due to what it says is their links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decades-long insurgency on Turkish soil.