Turkey’s offensive into northern Syria, operation ‘Peace Spring’ is to go on – for the time being – according to President Erdogan. But time is against it, progress slow, and the ultimate aim in realistic military terms as elusive as ever.

The key town on the edge of the buffer zone the Turkish forces hoped to create, Manbij, is now occupied by Russian and Syrian government troops. More are on their way, at the behest of the beleaguered YPG Kurdish popular militias, whom the Turks came to attack.

The aim of the offensive, in a word, is Rojava, the autonomous entity the Kurdish forces of the SDF alliance – the Syrian Democratic Forces – have been running in a great slice of land across the northern border of Syria with Turkey, not prettily but quite successfully, for the past four years or so.