Small Wars Journal

At Volatile Syrian Front Line, U.S., Turkey on Opposing Sides

At Volatile Syrian Front Line, U.S., Turkey on Opposing Sides by Sarah El Deeb – Associated Press

Perched on a green hilltop, Kurdish and Arab fighters face a tense front line separating them from Turkish-backed forces in this part of northern Syria. Behind them, American troops drive up and down the roads. Their aim: Make their presence known to prevent bursts of gunfire from spiraling into a battle.

Down the hill and across a stream are the rival forces: Syrian opposition fighters. They have taken positions on a crossroads in the village of Halawanji and on rooftops with views up to the hill. Beyond them, on another hill, Turkish troops have a base, ready to back up their allies if needed.

This front line threatens to ignite at any time, with the militaries of two NATO members on opposing sides. The crowded terrain has become more combustible as Turkey ever more loudly threatens to push through these lines to attack the nearby Kurdish-Arab town of Manbij and other Kurdish-run towns further east. The presence of the Americans is a main obstacle preventing them from doing so…

Read on.