The Turkey invasion of Kurdish-held territory in northern Syria began almost eight years ago as a reported series of non-violent protests against the Syrian government led to international conflict between the local factions, the Islamic State, and several foreign countries. Kurds are the largest ethnic minority in Syria and they live mostly in the north of the country which is close to the border with Turkey. The Kurdish population is also distributed in Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. However, there is not a country with a Kurdish majority.
The Syrian Kurds involved in the war as a peaceful demonstration against President Bashar al-Assad descended into an armed civil war in 2011 and 2012. Pro-government militias, rebels fighting for a more democratic state, Islamist extremists, and militias from the ethnic and religious minorities were reportedly involved in the civil war. The United States in 2014 joined an international coalition against the militants and conducted airstrikes and built military bases on Syrian territory to assist ground operations against ISIS. The international coalition led by the US sought local partners to contain the militants, and therefore saw the Kurdish militia as the safest option.
The Kurdish guerrilla group known as the Kurdistan Workers' Party is considered to be a terrorist group by the US and Turkey. Kurdish control is seen as a major security threat by Turkey and it fears that the area could become a haven for dissidents fleeing Turkey. The Syrian Democratic Forces are a group that tried to play down the militia's connections to guerillas in Turkey.
According to the reports, about 40 percent of fighters are Arab or from another ethnic background. The group emerged under the Obama administration.
The American forces also began to act as defacto peacekeepers as they conducted patrols on the Turkish borders. Although, in recent months, the US persuaded the Kurdish authorities to withdraw forces from the border and dismantle a series of defensive fortifications. The Turkey president in recent times has also launched the Operation spring of Peace in northern Syria in order to clear out the ISIS terrorist organizations. The goal of the operation is to eliminate the Terrorist corrido on the southern border of Turkey to re-establish peace and security.
(With inputs from agencies)