Turkish armed forces have just crossed into Syria with US air support. But this was not an operation focused on pushing Daesh (Isis/Isil) out of the border city of Jarabulus, as some sources have insisted. Amid suggestions of ethnic cleansing against Kurdish citizens and a lack of clashes with Daesh fighters, Turkey’s aim appears to be another entirely. Under the domestic cover of responding to a recent anti-Kurdish terrorist attack (in which suspected Daesh sympathisers killed 54 civilians), Turkish tanks rolled into Syria on 24 August. The assault had been many months in the making. Reports stated that almost no clashes with Daesh took place in Jarabulus. The group apparently knew the attack was coming, and had evacuated the city days before. There were, however, clashes between Turkish forces and the multi-ethnic pro-democracy forces which had liberated Manbij (a city to the south of Jarabulus) from Daesh just days before – after a long and hard-fought battle. Turkish shelling allegedly killed 49 civilians in Kurdish-majority neighbourhoods in Jarabulus, encouraging over 3,000 civilians to flee to Manbij.
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