As Turkey has crossed a serious line despite objection from the international community, there is another battle happening within this struggle that no one seems to be noticing. The Free Syrian Army (FSA) is a CIA-funded, trained and supported militant group that has recently aligned itself with Turkey for the Purposes of taking control of (primarily) Manbij and Afrin in Syria.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are a large force that is primarily Kurdish in ethnicity that for the duration of the ISIS conflict, the DOD has used and backed as their front-runner in the war. These two groups are now fighting each other amidst the conflict between Turkey and the primarily-Kurdish SDF attempting to defend Manbij and Afrin at this very moment.
Most involved in the conflict can acknowledge that this has been a long time coming and anyone who has been paying attention to whom the United States has chosen for their proxy forces in regard to their respective alliances can tell you the situation was inevitable. Interestingly enough, the international coalition that was recently dropping bombs on ISIS has refused to step in and get involved. This is primarily because of Turkey’s NATO status but it’s still noteworthy in that nothing is being done to prevent the clashes from occurring.
As the Syrian Democratic Forces rally their troops in defense of their land, the Turkish Army will continue to push and employ the use of their allied Syrian Militias. The SDF is stronger than it was before the Islamic State rose and fell from power. This means it is anybody’s game and Turkey will have its hands full; the militias will probably get rolled over early on because they lack the experience, training and coordination that the SDF has.
Speculating on the victor is anyone’s guess. Regardless, history tells us that a shooting war in the Middle East will have implications elsewhere, and it would seem that ISIS was a warm-up for both sides.