China and Pakistan, called "closest friends, staunch partners and iron brothers" by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, may be facing a test of their friendship over Turkey’s decision to take military action into northern Syria to battle Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (also called YPG).

Turkey’s assault on the YPG was an almost immediate reaction to President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the area where they had been fighting along with the YPG against ISIS terrorists. The move was either an “abandonment” of Kurdish troops or an attempt to reverse relations with Turkey that had soured when the U.S.-YPG alliance was formed by Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama.

Pakistan and Turkey have been allies since 1954 when they signed a treaty of friendship and cooperation. Both nations are members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Turkey is a major arms seller to Pakistan. Prime Minister Khan called Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday to "convey Pakistan's support and solidarity," according to Khan’s office.

The ethnically divided Kurdish-held border town of Ras al-Ain in Syria is one of the key targets of Turkey's invasion and has come under heavy bombardment The ethnically divided Kurdish-held border town of Ras al-Ain in Syria is one of the key targets of Turkey's invasion and has come under heavy bombardment Photo: AFP / Ozan KOSE

The confusion can be eased a bit by looking at the motivations of each country directly involved:

Turkey - The troubles in Syria have resulted in approximately two million Syrian refugees in Turkey that Ankara wants to resettle in a “safe zone” in Syria. Turkey views the YPG as a "terrorist" offshoot of Kurdish insurgents.

China – China is currently conducting a massive crackdown on members of the separatist East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM). The crackdown includes internment camps that the Chinese call “re-education facilities” where over one million Uighur Muslims are being held probably in deplorable conditions. Beijing is concerned that the Turkish action could lead to the escape of many ISIS militants, many of them Uighur who could return to the volatile Xinjiang province in China and re-ignite violence.

India – India sides with China in this issue which is not surprising given that India’s relationship with Pakistan has been filled with hostility and suspicions. India last week said it was "deeply concerned" over the "unilateral military offensive" by Turkey in northeastern Syria and asserted that the action can undermine stability in the region as well as the fight against terrorism.

Syria – the country is embroiled in a civil war between Ba'athist Syrian Arab Republic led by President Bashar al-Assad, along with domestic and foreign allies, and various domestic and foreign forces against a slew of enemies wanting to topple the government. The true victims are the refugees and the “innocents” caught in the crossfire.