Turkey was right: SDF is slick rebranding of PKK – academic

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are just a slick rebranding of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and Turkey has rightly pointed out that, by partnering with the group, the United States has emboldened a terrorist organization, writes Bessma Momani in the Globe and Mail.

The international community turned a blind eye as the SDF expanded its control in northern Syria, to also include Arab, Turkmen and Assyrian-dominated towns, Momani, a professor at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Ontario, Canada, said in an editorial.

But, Turkey now faces a quagmire in the area of Afrin, where the population, predominantly Kurdish, will resist fiercely in its towns and mountainous countryside. The campaign will not be brief, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has asserted, Momani said.

The Kurds in Afrin will be aware of the destruction and civilian casualties imparted on settlements in southeast Turkey during the government’s decades-long war with the PKK, she said.

If or when the Turks forge on to Manbij, which is not predominantly Kurdish, Turkish troops could come face to face with U.S. soldiers, which number hundreds if not more, unless diplomatic resources are deployed correctly, Momani said.

“With a gutted U.S. State Department and few other options on the ground, the next move by the United States will be telling. Make no mistake, the Turks have been consistent in warning of SDF's roots, but we chose to ignore them.”