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Iraq & Syria Airstrikes Dip 30% Since June: Turkey & Russia Complications

…The Turkish impact is “definitely mixed,” said Peter Haynes, a retired Navy captain now with the Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments. “It is a blessing in the short term, as far as moving ground troops into Syria to root out ISIS. But in the middle term, at least, it is far more mixed.”

“As the Turks push deeper into Syria, I would expect more incidents of Turkish forces essentially attempting to keep YPG forces at bay and restrict their movements,” Haynes said, “which would include artillery fire and perhaps airstrikes on YPG forces — some of which, it should be remembered, have US SOF (Special Operations Forces) embedded as advisors.”

“All of this puts the United States in a precarious position,” Haynes said, caught between a crucial NATO ally and its most successful Syrian proxy, whose political goals are violently incompatible. Meanwhile, as Turks and Kurds stare warily at each other, Daesh has holed up in urban areas where it’s much harder to target — at least, as long as you’re concerned about civilian casualties, a consideration which doesn’t hinder Russia…

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