Over the past week, there have been some new developments in the Syrian civil war. Now, Turkey, which shares a border with Syria, has become more involved in the conflict, which has placed it at odds with the United States.
Last week, Turkey informed the White House of plans to invade northern Syria to attack terrorists in the region. In response, President Donald Trump decided to remove the 50 US troops that were stationed there. This decision set off a heated argument about American involvement in Syria.
Turkey’s Involvement in Syria
Unfortunately, shortly after invading Syria, Turkey did attack the Kurds, killing hundreds. Trump imposed sanctions to harm key members of the Turkish government. Economic sanctions are policies designed to harm a person, country, or organization through their finances. They can mean banning certain institutions from doing business with the target or raising taxes in a way that makes it impossible for the person receiving the sanctions to do business.
Recently, Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Turkey to work out an agreement regarding the violence with the Kurds. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to halt attacks against the Kurds for 120 hours. This ceasefire agreement is intended to give the Kurds a chance to leave the area to avoid suffering any more casualties.
In exchange for the agreement, the United States pledged to refrain from imposing further sanctions on Turkey’s government. If a permanent agreement is reached, the US will also revoke the existing sanctions.
What Will Happen Next?
Predicting how things will turn out in Syria is pretty much impossible, and the situation with Turkey and the Kurds is no different. While hostilities on both sides continue, it becomes less likely that a permanent ceasefire agreement can be reached. But the question of US involvement seems to be the overall issue at hand.
When President Trump was running for president in 2016, he promised that if elected, he would stop America’s involvement in “endless wars.” He was referring to the conflicts in Syria and Afghanistan, where our military has been fighting for 20 years. Many Americans have grown weary of having our military embroiled in wars that do not affect our nation. A lot don’t even know why the US is still present in these nations. They believe that we are putting our soldiers at risk for no good reason.
On the other hand, there are those who want the US military to remain in Afghanistan and Syria. These individuals believe that having a presence in these areas will prevent bad actors like Iran and Russia from obtaining more power and influence in the Middle East. When it comes to Syria, they think our military is essential for ensuring that the situation does not get worse. They believe that if the United States pulls its troops out, terrorist organizations like the Islamic State (ISIS) will regroup and begin carrying out more atrocities.
The latest confrontation between Turkey and the United States will likely not be the last. As long as US soldiers are present in the region, it is inevitable that our interests would be at odds with Turkey’s. Even worse, it is not clear when the fighting will stop on all sides. But it is clear that this is a problem that the White House will have to grapple with in the years to come.