Sultan Erdogan Pulled Trigger on Syrian Offensive Unilaterally, Did Not Warn U.S.
When Turkey invaded northern Syria last week in an attempt to "cleanse the border of ISIS," most commentators and observers assumed that the operation was coordinated with the United States. In fact, the U.S. itself said so, declaring that it was the result of U.S.-Turkish coordination.
Well, apparently not so much:
But behind the scenes, cooperation between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization partners broke down at senior levels, according to officials on both sides. The two countries weren’t as aligned on the operation as their public statements indicated.
While the White House was preparing to consider a secret plan to have American special forces join the Turks, Ankara pulled the trigger on the mission unilaterally without giving officials in Washington advance warning. When clashes started between Turkish and Syrian Kurdish fighters—who are directly backed by U.S. Special Forces—the Pentagon issued unusually blunt calls for both to stand down.
According to U.S. officials, the original plan was to first make sure that Kurdish forces in the region had left the area. Then, and only then, would Turkey, supported by U.S. special operations forces, launch a massive operation.
Instead, the Turks went in when they deemed the time right, without warning the U.S. beforehand. Before Hillary Clinton could say "what difference does it make?" Turkey wasn't only fighting against ISIS, but also against Kurdish forces supported by the U.S.