The next issue of PISM Policy Papers by Dylan O’Driscoll
Recently, Turkey and the U.S. signed an agreement for Turkey to join the coalition’s fight against the Islamic State (IS, a.k.a. ISIS/ISIL). As part of this agreement an IS-free zone will be created in Syria, but it is not clear yet whether this will encroach on the territory of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the main Kurdish armed group operating in Syria. The YPG has been one of the most successful forces on the ground in the fight against IS and despite the changing dynamics it still remains important. However, Turkey’s entry into the battle will lead to every aspect of the YPG being reassessed, as Turkey deems it to be a terrorist organisation. Nonetheless, the YPG still has a significant role to play and abandoning it now could lead to the situation in Syria becoming even more complex.