Turkey's Intricate Web Of Friends And Foes
Turkey, ISIS, Bashar al-Assad, the Kurds and the U.S. have one another in their metaphorical, and literal, crosshairs. We sort friend from foe.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend — or so they say. But in the Middle East, the enemy of your enemy is probably also your enemy. At least that's the case in Turkey.
To summarize: Turkey is fighting Kurds, who are fighting ISIS, which is against Turkey, both of which (along with the U.S. and many Gulf states) would like to see Syria's Bashar al-Assad out of power. Confused? We'll break it down.
After months of pressure from the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS, Turkey announced it will take a more active role in the campaign. (Video via U.S. Central Command)
Turkey is now targeting ISIS positions in Syria. But in northern Iraq, it's also targeting the Kurdistan Workers' Party — also known as the PKK.
What's the connection to ISIS? There isn't one, really. Turkey and the PKK are longtime foes and until recently, were caught up in a conflict that killed tens of thousands of people. Both Turkey and the U.S. label the PKK a terrorist organization because of its history of targeting civilians. (Video via Claudio von Planta / CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
To complicate things, the PKK works with the same Kurdish militias, who are not only fighting ISIS in Syria but are backed by the U.S.
And, as if things weren't confusing enough, there's another key player here: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Syria and Turkey are regional rivals.
This means Turkey and ISIS — also rivals — are essentially on the same side of the conflict in Syria. Both want to oust Assad, but not if Iran and its proxies can help it.
That's to say nothing of the myriad Syrian rebel groups who also want to see Assad go — some of whom Turkey backs but the U.S. is far from friendly with.
This video includes an image from Getty Images and music from Brenticus / CC BY 3.0.
US launches airstrikes in Syria after drone kills US worker
The exchange threatens to upend recent efforts to deescalate tensions across the wider Middle East.
Saudi Arabia frees American imprisoned over critical tweets
The Florida man, who made comments criticizing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was arrested in 2021 when he arrived in Saudi Arabia to visit family.
20 years after Iraq war, this former Army medic is still reeling
Sergio Alfaro kickstarted his dreams of working in medicine by being an Army medic, but what he experienced in Iraq changed his path forever.
Inside a Boston monastery, 9 nuns are contemplating their futures
A monastery in Boston is closing after nearly 90 years. Nine nuns, ages 60 to 92, will be moving to a much smaller compound.
How natural disaster clean-up falls on cities with limited federal aid
Some natural disasters have communities cleaning up for months or years, often on their own dime.
White powder found in parcel addressed to Manhattan DA's office
Police say a package with white powder was located in the mail room for the building that includes Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg's office.