On January 15, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that Turkey considers the new force to be a “terror army” that should be strangled before it is born, and openly threatened military action. According to the Turkish leader, final preparations are underway to strike the Kurdish-led forces in the Afrin region of northern Syria and an operation could start at any moment, regardless of the presence of the US military stationed there. Turkey sent more hardware to the Syrian border after the US decision to create the border force was announced.
This is a very serious development that comes after several years of friction. Last summer, the US promised Turkey it would take weapons away from Kurdish militias after the defeat of the Islamic State. The promise was broken and has already been forgotten. Washington also promised repeatedly that it would leave Syria following the defeat of the Islamic State, but in late 2017, the US announced it would stay.
The Syrian government has also condemned the plan, calling it a blatant encroachment on the integrity of the country. On January 15, state television reported that the government is determined to drive out the US from any involvement in Syria. It has also been criticized by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who said that the US may be pursuing a policy to partition Syria.