Turkish ground troops have reportedly entered a Kurdish-held enclave in northern Syria and are advancing with Turkish-backed Syrian opposition forces.

Turkey’s state-run news agency Anadolu Agency said the troops pushed into Afrin on Sunday, a day after Turkish jets pounded Syrian Kurdish targets in the region.

The Turkish military says its offensive, named operation Olive Branch, aims to rid the region of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG.

Turkey considers the YPG a terror organisation because of its affiliation to Kurdish rebels fighting in southeastern Turkey, and had been threatening to attack Afrin for weeks.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has promised to expand the operation to other Kurdish regions.

The YPG is a key US ally in the war against the Islamic State group.

The Turkish army surely deserves and award for the most unironically misnamed military operation.

There was a time, a long time ago, during the Cold War, when Turkey, a NATO member, was a valuable ally against the Soviet Union and, as a sometimes more and sometimes less successful secular democracy, an example for the modernisers the world-over to follow. Alas, since about 1990, Turkey has been next to useless – against Saddam, against Assad, against Islamist terrorism, often tacitly supporting the West’s enemies in the region, while at the same time sliding deeper and deeper into the Islamist embrace.

It’s time to acknowledge that Turkey is no longer our friend. The Kurds are, though, and the only reliable one in the region apart from Israel.