In what everyone expected would boil down to a proxy war with Russia, US and Turkish officials have been throwing ever-growing numbers of weapons at their favorite rebel factions, nominally bulking them up against ISIS, but also giving them weapons meant to be used against the Syrian military itself.
Proving that nobody can predict just how much these schemes are going to backfire, however, the reports out of northern Syria today suggest that, instead of fighting Russia, or ISIS, or the Assad government, the US-backed factions and the Turkish-backed factions are just fighting one another.
Turkey’s been throwing arms at the “Levant Front” faction, which includes Free Syrian Army (FSA) wings in Idlib and Homs, along with groups like al-Qaeda and Ahrar al-Sham. The US, by contrast, has been heavily arming the Kurdish YPG, who Turkey views as “terrorists.”
So it perhaps was unsurprising that groups newly awash in Turkish weapons are going after the Kurdish group, with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reporting the Levant Front is getting “new support, which is coming in continuously from Turkey.”
The Turkish allies, however, appear aware that they’re not supposed to be fighting US-backed groups, and presented the YPG, the group that’s receiving more US aid than anyone else in Syria, as being backed by “Russian airstrikes” in the fighting.
The winner in all this fighting is likely to be ISIS, as they are also moving forces into the same area, and seem to be planning to just pick up the pieces of whichever faction ultimately wins this battle, and claim the valuable border-crossing.