On November 1, Turkish troops withdrawn from their observation post in the village of Ghandoura in the northern part of Syria’s Aleppo province, according to reports circulating online. On October 31, the Turkish Armed Fores (TAF) reportedly started forming a list of Turkish-backed militant groups from Aleppo and Idlib, which are ready to participate in the expected TAF-led military operation against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northeastern Syria.
— Sohayb Masri (@Sohayb_Masri1) November 1, 2018
Ghandoura is located north of the town of Manbij, which has been for a long time a hot point in tensions between Turkey and the US. The US is actively backing Kurdish armed groups, mostly the YPG, under pretext of providing support to the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Ankara considers the YPG, the PKK and other affilated military factions as terrrosit groups. Furthermore, Turkey seems them as a direct threat to its national security.
Turksih top officials have repeatedly claimed that the TAF will carry out a military operation to eliminate members of the YPG and the PKK in northern Syria. Additionally, Ankara has carried out a series of negotiations with Washington attempting to reach an understanding with the US in order to limit its support to Kurdish armed groups and to force them to withdraw from the Manbij area. However, these efforts have appeared to be unsuccessful.
Considering the recent clashes between the TAF and the YPG/PKK near Kobani, it seems that Ankara has moved from “diplomatic efforts” to a more direct appraoch in pursuing its goals.