The Turkish move comes at a time when Ankara is deeply concerned at the notable improvement in the strategic position of the Kurds as a result of a series of regional developments. Currently unable to influence events in Syria and Iraq, Ankara appears to be trying to draw a line in the sand at its own border. Turkey is seeking to scotch any attempt to foment unrest among Kurds in Turkey who might feel emboldened as a result of the improving Kurdish position in Syria and Iraq.

Turkey’s concerns, from its point of view, are easy to grasp. Contrary to endless media reports that the situation in Syria has entered its “endgame,” the civil war now under way in that country shows no signs of nearing conclusion. Rather, the various sides are entrenching themselves in their sectarian strongholds and preparing for a long and drawn-out struggle.

Central government in Syria no longer exists in a meaningful sense. The Kurds of Syria’s northeast have taken advantage of the regime’s desire to entrench and consolidate its forces. The Syrian Kurds are natural opponents of the Arab nationalist Assad regime.