Syrian rebels put their own aims aside to fight Turkey’s battles


The Syrian rebel commander stared at photographs of his fighters on the hilly frontline at the Kurdish enclave of Afrin, their pickup trucks stalled in the mud after a torrential downpour of rain. “It’s going to be a tough battle, maybe five or six months,” he said. “[But] we have nobody except Turkey.”The image of the soldiers bogged down in a fight against Kurdish militants captured the central predicament of the Syrian rebel fighters, about 10,000 strong, who are spearheading a battle ordered by Turkey.

Abandoned by all other international allies and very nearly defeated, Syria’s armed opposition now finds itself waging a battle against Syrian Kurdish militias on behalf of Ankara, a patron that in recent months has pursued geopolitical and national security interests that are far more important to it than the opposition’s aim of ousting the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad. It highlights the rebels’ deep dependence on Turkey, their one remaining benefactor, and the powerlessness of Syrians to determine the course of a civil war that has now lasted nearly seven years.(theguardian)…[+]