November 23, 2022

U.S. Calls for De-escalation as Turkey Threatens Ground Assault into Syria

Source: The Washington Post

Journalists: Karen DeYoung, Louisa Loveluck

The violence puts the United States in a bind. Its decision nearly a decade ago to back a Kurdish-led ground force in the fight against the Islamic State put it at odds with Turkey, and it has struggled ever since to balance commitments to both. The war in Ukraine has complicated things further, analysts say, as Washington looks to Ankara for support in Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO, isolating Russia economically, and bolstering a deal allowing the export of Ukrainian grain to shore up the world’s food supply.

“Ukraine being the overwhelming priority means looking for ways to keep Ankara onside, as U.S.-Turkey relations have grown increasingly fraught over time,” said Jonathan Lord, director of the Middle East security program at the Center for a New American Security and a former staff member on the House Armed Services Committee. “There’s likely little appetite for meaningfully engaging Erdogan on Syria, which often engenders a highly emotional response from the Turkish side, particularly if it puts Washington’s objectives in Europe at greater risk.”

So far, the Biden administration has carefully avoided being seen to take a side. “What we have said publicly is that these strikes, from all sides, risk our mission, which is to defeat ISIS,” Sabrina Singh, the Pentagon’s deputy press secretary, told reporters Tuesday.

Read the full story and more from The Washington Post.


  • Jonathan Lord

    Senior Fellow and Director, Middle East Security Program

    Jonathan Lord is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Middle East Security program at CNAS. Prior to joining CNAS, Lord served as a professional staff member for the House Arme...