by Tristan Manwaring
United States diplomat and lawyer Brett H. McGurk has today paid a visit SDF-held part of Northern Syria and met with members of the Raqqa Civil Council. The meeting occurred behind closed doors and it is unclear which matters were discussed exactly.
This visit from the United States official has occurred during high tensions between Turkey and the SDF in Syria. While Turkey has denounced and threatened SDF in Afrin, Jazira and Kobani canton, the U.S has reaffirmed its support for the Kurdish forces as part of the coalition fighting ISIS. Photos recently released show US-supplied vehicles and armour being transported through SDF territory. Turkey has been vocal in their objection to U.S support to Kurdish forces in Syria. A condemning reaction from Turkish officials in response to McGurk's visit and the most recent arms and equipment delivery can be expected.
However, this isn't the first time U.S diplomat Brett Mcgurk has paid a visit to Rojava. Back in the February of 2016, Mcgurk tweeted from Northern Syria, saying that he was there to review the fight against ISIS.
As tensions rise between Turkey and YPG/SDF, especially in Afrin canton, where the Turkish army and Turkish-backed rebels of EuphratesShield have begun a wide-scale shelling campaign on SDF-held villages, we can expect the U.S to ramp up their efforts in peacekeeping between the two. Be it by flying the American flag on buildings and vehicles, visits from American diplomats, or having American manned armour convoys pass through town to town. The United States for now seems to be committed to de-escalating tensions between their two allies for now.