The Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria, officially known as Operation ‘Peace Spring ’, began on 9 October 2019, three days after President Donald Trump declared that US forces would be withdrawn from north east Syria. The SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces); a former U.S. ally who played a significant role in defeating Islamic State, was left in a position of having to defend their claimed territory against Turkish aggression. SDF statements imply that the Kurdish community in the region feel they “have been stabbed in the back” by the U.S., feeling they had no option but to side with the forces of the Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad. Against a backdrop of such geopolitical manoeuvring, former Islamic State (IS) fighters that had been interned in camps administered by the Kurdish forces have been released, leading to speculation that the region may be susceptible to the levels of jihadist violence witnessed before the caliphate’s claimed defeat.

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