10 October 2019 10:51
Get the biggest daily news stories by email Subscribe Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Could not subscribe, try again later Invalid Email Q. Why is Turkey attacking Kurds in North-East Syria? A. Because it views Syrian Kurdish fighters as terrorists who support other Kurds who have launched attacks in Turkey. They also prefer their old enemy Syria to be unstable, and peace has broken out lately. Q. Why should Britain care?
A. Because the Kurd-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces were trained by British and US troops to defeat Islamic State and they lost 11,000 comrades in brutal fighting. Crucially, because IS could attack the UK again if the Kurds are beaten by Turkey, since it is their SDF force that stood between us and the terrorists. Q. Is the violence contained? A. It's a very dangerous time because Turkish troops have been backed by Syrian rebels, some of whom served in extremist groups. Anarchy in North-East Syria could let IS surge back into action, sparking attacks in Europe. While Iran and Russia supported Syria's Assad regime, Turkey was quietly helping IS by turning a blind eye to illegal border crossings. Q. What can be done to stop it? A. Donald Trump has threatened to hit the Turkish economy if President Recep Erdogan's troops go too far, which they no doubt will. The West must lean on Turkey to show restraint and stop turning what is already a kind of proxy war into something far worse. Q. How significant is Turkey's attack in a war that has seen unsurpassed levels of horror? A. It is hugely significant and the timing is terrible. An uneasy peace had broken out in Kurdish-controlled North-East Syria and the IS terrorists had been almost contained. Sleeper cells are at large but have remained quiet. Turkey's action could be the signal for a new awakening of terrorism in the region, stretching across into Europe. The Syria-Turkish border, now more in tatters than ever before, has been a main conduit for terror in Syria thanks to Turkey turning that blind eye. Just to complicate things further, Turkey is a member of NATO.