A boy waves to Turkish tank convoy driving into Syria from Karkamis in the southern region of Gaziantep. AFP / BULENT KILIC
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As Turkish troops ostensibly hunting Daesh (ISIS) fighters shelled a U.S.-backed Kurdish militia inside Syria Thursday, analysts warned that Ankara's alliance with the West is at stake. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden tried to patch up ties with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government this week, but the conflict in Syria has forced Washington into a delicate balancing act.On the ground, the U.S. strategy relies on using the Kurdish YPG militia backed by American special forces advisers and coalition air power to take the fight to Daesh.This week, Ankara sent troops and allied Syrian rebel fighters to seize the Syrian border town of Jarablus from Daesh fighters.But Erdogan also aimed to deny it to the Kurds, who have advanced across the Euphrates River into the region as the dominant faction in the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. Now Turkey is demanding the Kurds retreat across the river, announcing Thursday that its military had begun shelling YPG positions north of the town of Manbij, which the Kurds seized this month.
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