Hundreds of Syrian rebels are preparing to launch an operation to capture a town held by Islamic State at the border with Turkey, a senior Syrian rebel said on Sunday, a move that would frustrate Kurdish hopes to expand further in that area.The Kurds overplayed their hand and now they're about to be laid on the altar of Middle East politics alongside ISIS.
The rebels, Turkey-backed groups fighting under the banner of the Free Syrian Army, are expected to assault Jarablus from inside Turkey in the next few days, said the rebel official, who is familiar with the plans but declined to be identified.
"The factions are gathering in an area near the border (inside Turkey)," the rebel said.
Jarablus, located on the western bank of the Euphrates river, is the last significant town held by the militant Islamist group on Syria's border with Turkey. It is 34 miles (54km) east of al-Rai, a border town the same rebel groups recently took from Islamic State.
By taking Jarablus themselves, the rebel groups would preclude an assault on the town by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a group of Kurdish-dominated militias who on Aug. 6 took the city of Manbij, 20 miles (30km) to the south, from IS.
Turkey, an important supporter of the FSA groups, is worried that Kurds are using the SDF's westwards expansion against IS to extend their influence across northern Syria. The SDF already holds the eastern bank of the Euphrates opposite Jarablus.
On Saturday Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that Ankara would play a more active role in addressing the conflict in Syria in the coming six months to stop it being torn along ethnic lines.
Will the US attempt to keep the Kurds from being decimated by a determined attack by Turkish forces?
What will Russia do? Are they backing Turkey's play? What is their view of the situation with the Kurds?
Geez. This is getting wild. The only good thing? ISIS is about to defeated.