The rate of Turkish drone attacks against Kurdish regions is increasing, says a new issue brief published by the Washington-based organization JINSA. At least 23 Turkish drone attacks have been launched against “Kurdish targets” since August 1, 2021, states the brief. This includes Turkish attacks in North and East Syria against AANES government officials, children, and civilians. The brief outlines actions Turkey is taking toward a military buildup in Turkey-Syria border areas to prepare for an attack against Syria and assesses the risk that Turkey will wage a large-scale invasion in the near future.
The brief, entitled “Turkey Prepares for Possible Offensive Against U.S. Partners in Syria,” was released on November 5, 2021. The brief continues that “This marks an escalation of Turkey’s drone operations in Syria and Iraq. It has launched at least 910 manned and unmanned airstrikes against Kurdish targets so far in 2021 compared to 851 in all of 2020.”
It states: “Turkey appears to be planning a new military incursion against five Kurdish-controlled areas in northeastern Syria. Turkey’s use of drones will likely be a crucial element in any new offensive. Since May 2021, Turkey has significantly escalated the frequency of its drone strikes against Kurdish targets in Syria and northern Iraq that it claims are members of terrorist organizations. However, Ankara’s growing aggression in northeast Syria against U.S.-partnered Kurdish forces undermines U.S. counterterrorism operations and regional stability as well as likely helping Assad and Russia consolidate their power in the area.”
The report concludes with recommendations to the US government, including: sending a “strong public warning” to Turkey not to invade North and East Syria, denying military sales to Turkey, conducting air superiority patrols over the airspace it controls, display the US flag during joint patrols with the SDF, and other recommendations.