Operation Euphrates Shield and the al-Bab Campaign: A Strategic Assessment

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This policy paper penned by EDAM Defense Analyst Can Kasapoglu and EDAM Chairman Sinan Ulgen, provides a comprehensive military and political analysis of Turkey’s cross border military operation in Syria currently targeting the Islamic State held city of al-Bab. In their evaluation, the authors maintain that Operation Euphrates Shield stems from Ankara’s political – military necessities and defense imperatives of securing operational depth to confront the rocket threat posed by ISIS terrorist organization, as well as to prevent the PKK terrorist organization – and its PYD / YPG affiliates in Syria – from establishing a fait accompli situation along Turkey’s borders. They also emphasize that the operation was a necessity for Turkey’s domestic and international security prospects. Ulgen and Kasapoglu also analyze the critical elements of success. They also state that the Operation Euphrates Shield and the al-Bab campaign have brought about certain differences of opinion between Turkey and the US-led anti-ISIS coalition. The divergences are mainly rooted in disagreements on the PKK terrorist organization’s affiliates in Syria (PYD/YPG), the depth of the campaign, as well as its timing.

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