Kurdish YPG forces aligned with the United States in the fight against Daesh (ISIS) are now being mowed down by Turkey as American forces are left to look on and watch.
Ankara’s involvement in the Syrian battlefield comes at a time when they are battling a Kurdish insurgency domestically, known as the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), which the Erdogan regime considers to be directly aligned with the YPG despite statements from the US State Department to the contrary.
Turkey is increasingly concerned about the gains made by the YPG with the aid of US forces in the fight against Daesh given the potential for Kurdish forces to control a continuous stretch of Syrian territory along the Turkish-Syrian border which Ankara believes would only embolden Kurdish militants in Turkey.
The US presently backs Kurdish forces, who their NATO ally Turkey has placed in its cross hairs, and the so-called "moderate" rebels who have aligned themselves with former al-Qaeda affiliate al Nusra Front who the United States and Russia continue to engage in bombing campaigns against.
Meanwhile, Russia has sought to support the Assad regime seeing stability of the government as a necessary predicate in order to prevent Syria from descending into a failed state status controlled by jihadi terrorists while also engaging in conflict against al-Nusra militants who are embedded with US backed rebels under the umbrella of the Army of Conquest.
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, of which the YPG are a participating group, called Turkey’s airstrikes on the village of al-Amarna "a dangerous escalation." The strike was reported to have caused a number of civilian casualties with two F-16 jets also reportedly striking a compound controlled by YPG forces in addition to six Daesh targets.
The bombastic Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte moved to escalate tensions in the South China Sea knowing that the United States is under a treaty obligation to defend the Philippines.
The relatively unhinged musings of the Filipino leader follow controversial statements made earlier this week about the country exiting the United Nations if they continue to complain about his aggressive "war on drugs" that has left over 1,900 dead over the past 8 weeks along with statements referring to US Secretary of State John Kerry as "crazy" while laughing that he should have insulted the American diplomat more so that they would give even more money.
"I guarantee to (China), if you enter here, it will be bloody, and we will not give it to them easily. It will be the bones of our soldiers, you can include mine," said Duterte to the Associated Press. "We’ll not allow any country to bamboozle (us). We’ll not allow it."
"We will not raise hell now because of the judgment but there will come a time that we have to do some reckoning about this. But we will chart our own course in the national interest of this country," said Duterte according to the Phil Star newspaper.
"I hope China is dealing with us in good faith. They seem to be conciliatory. We’re not insisting on arbitral judgment, I know they’re listening to us now, they can monitor us through satellite."
China holds clear military superiority over the Philippines boasting the world’s largest standing army of 2.3 million active personnel, a highly upgraded naval fleet, and some of the world’s most sophisticated fighter jets. However, the Philippines has a longstanding military alliance with the United States with American troops bound to come to the aid of their Filipino counterparts in the event that the country is attacked by China pursuant to the Mutual Defense Treaty signed on August 30, 1951.
The bellicose rhetoric of the Filipino leader seems likely to keep US defense officials from sleeping much over the next few months particularly with China already signaling the possibility that they may seek to reclaim the Scarborough Shoals in the next few weeks in order to counter the adverse ruling by The Hague. It has been reported that the reasoning among Beijing’s top military officials is that the United States will be too distracted by domestic politics and will be reticent to protest too aggressively.