What is Turkey Doing in Syria?

04/04/2020 Syria (International Christian Concern) – Despite the increasing number of challenges Turkey is facing domestically, Ankara continues to grow its military involvement in Syria. The month of March concluded with multiple reports of the Turkish army shelling areas known to be predominately Christian. Some injuries, but no casualties, were reported. Earlier in the month, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had reported that 6,000 fighters from Syrian factions affiliated with Ankara were deployed in rural areas around Tell Abyad.

Turkey has invested heavily in their military operation inside Syria, both through their own direct involvement and by strengthening various factions (many of whom belong to extremist groups). Most analysts point to three reasons for why Turkey has prioritized this involvement: natural resources, the elimination of a new self-administration by Kurds on their border, and the continuation of genocidal policies directed at minority groups. Indeed, the areas which were impacted by the recent artillery shelling were historically populated by those who survived the Ottoman-era genocide towards Christians a century ago. The generational memories of this trauma continues to persist, and these historical wounds are made deeper by Syria’s ongoing civil war.

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