Operation Olive Branch

Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch, the military operation against the Kurd-administered enclave of Efrin (or Afrin) in northern Syria, on January 20, 2018.

Turkey says the operation aims to “neutralize the terrorists belonging to PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG” as well as Islamic State in northwestern Syria. There is no known ISIS presence in the area.

Turkey views the predominantly Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and its linked Democratic Union Party (PYD) political party which together control Efrin as extensions of Turkey’s Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought a decades-long insurgency mainly in Turkey’s majority-Kurdish southwest.

The YPG makes up the backbone of the U.S.-led Coalition backed Syrian Democratic Forces, the main U.S. ally fighting ISIS in Syria.