Turkey may have to rethink Syria strategy after U.S. policy shift - report

Shifting U.S. policy in Syria could force Turkey to rethink its strategy in the conflict, Arab News said on Wednesday.

New U.S. President Joe Biden is reprioritising the defeat of the Islamic State (ISIS) through support for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Arab News said.

The policy is a break with that of former U.S. President Donald Trump, who ordered a partial withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria in October 2019.

The U.S. pull-out precipitated a Turkish military operation against the SDF, which Ankara regards as a security threat for historic links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Turkey has repeatedly threatened to launch a new assault on the SDF, and Turkish-backed Syrian militias continue to clash with the group.

But the Biden administration’s renewed support for the SDF has made a new Turkish attack unlikely, Arab News said.

“There have been a lot of statements from Turkey about their advance into the area because of the terror threat,” the news outlet cited Navvar Saban, a military analyst from the Istanbul-based Omran Center for Strategic Studies, as saying.

“it is crystal clear that such an advance will no longer happen,” Saban said.