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One of the triggers for Turkey's Afrin operation was the U.S. announcement on Jan. 14 that it would create a Kurdish force of 30,000 to secure Syria's border with Turkey and Iraq in areas held by the Kurds.Furthermore, the threat of direct clashes between the United States and Turkey is ever-present. Although Erdogan had initially announced a swift operation in Afrin, he later declared that Turkey would continue eastward to the YPG-controlled town of Manbij. The town has been a thorn in Erdogan's side since Turkey failed to capture it during Operation Euphrates Shield in March 2017, when the United States sent U.S. Special Forces to Manbij to protect its Kurdish allies. According to Kurdish leaders, the ultimate aim of Russia's decision to allow Turkey to enter Afrin is to push Kurds into the "arms of the Assad government," thereby ostensibly withdrawing their dependence on the United States.Domestically, Turkey's incursion risks reigniting the latent flame of Kurdish terrorism. Despite the Turkish government's official emphasis that the incursion aims to bring peace, Turkish-Kurdish relations are at an all-time low after the 2012 peace process with the PKK failed and military operations in southeastern Turkey killed around 200 Kurdish civilians in 2015 .
Preserving Kurdish autonomy
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