Turkey’s president Erdogan pledges to fight Ankara attackers
Turkey blames Kurds in Syria for Ankara blast
Turkey Blames Kurds, Assad For Terrorist Attack, Vows Swift Response
Moments after a massive explosion rocked Ankara on Wednesday, we said the following: “Expect this to be pinned on either ISIS or the PKK. If it’s the latter, Ankara will once again claim that the group is working in concert with the YPG and that will be all the evidence Erdogan needs to march across the border.”
In short, we wondered whether the bombing – which apparently targeted military barracks – would be just the excuse President Recep Tayyip Erdogan needed to launch an all-out ground invasion in Syria. Turkey has been shelling YPG positions for nearly a week in an effort to keep the group (which Ankara equates with the “terrorist” PKK) from cutting the Azaz corridor – the last lifeline between Turkey and the rebels fighting to oust Bashar al-Assad. It’s unlikely that cross-border fire will ultimately halt the YPG advance and so, Erdogan needs an excuse to send in the ground troops.
Sure enough, Ankara has blamed the YPG for the attack and is vowing to retaliate. “Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu blamed a Syrian Kurdish militia fighter working with Kurdish militants inside Turkey for a suicide car bombing that killed 28 people in the capital Ankara, and he vowed retaliation in both Syria and Iraq,” Reuters reports, on Thursday. “Davutoglu said the attack was clear evidence that the YPG, a Syrian Kurdish militia that has been supported by the United States in the fight against Islamic State in northern Syria, was a terrorist organization and that Turkey, a NATO member, expected cooperation from its allies in combating the group.”
Right. It’s “clear evidence” of something alright, but “clear evidence” of what we’re not sure.
“The assailants have all been identified. It was Syrian national Salih Necar who was born in the northern Syrian city Amuda in 1992,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Thursday. “YPG is a pawn of the Syrian regime and the regime is directly responsible for the Ankara attack. Turkey reserves the right to take any measure against the Syrian regime,” he added.
Obviously, that’s utter nonsense. Assad is fighting for his life. Both figuratively and literally. The idea that he spends his days plotting Ankara car bombs with the Kurds (who do not, by the way, wholeheartedly support the regime) is patently absurd.
For their part, the YPG says this is nonsense and also says Turkey’s self defense claim (used as an excuse to justify the shelling at Azaz) is equally absurd. “We are completely refuting that,” Saleh Muslim, co-chair of the PYD, told Reuters. “I can assure you that not even one bullet is fired by YPG into Turkey [because YPG doesn’t] consider Turkey as an enemy.”
Needless to say, this “terror attack” is exceptionally suspicious. Turkey is one of the countries with the most to lose if the effort to usurp Assad fails. And as you’re likely aware, the rebellion is on the ropes. Aleppo is surrounded by Russia and Hezbollah and it will fall in a matter of weeks. Once it’s recaptured by Assad, the rebel cause is lost. The rebellion will be over.
Sending supplies to the hodgepodge of Sunni rebels operating in and around the city is no longer sufficient and even if it were, the YPG is about to cut the last supply line. As we said last week, it’s do or die time for Ankara and Riyadh. Either go to war on behalf of the rebels orconcede defeat to Moscow and Tehran. The question, we said, is how Ankara will ultimately be able to pitch an intervention at Aleppo as a fight against terror when the ISIS presence there is relatively minimal.
Well, now we know.
Turkey will use the Ankara bombing – which killed 28 people – to justify a ground incursion to punish the YPG which, you’re reminded, are not only backed by Russia, but the US as well. “All necessary measures will be taken against [YPG and PKK] anywhere and under any circumstances. No attack against Turkey has been left unanswered,” Davutoglu promised. “All those who intend to use terror pawns against Turkey must know that [playing] this game of terror will hit them like a boomerang,” he added.
So there you have it: the excuse for Turkey to invade Syria and it’s the same as it ever was. Ankara is just “fighting terror,” like everyone else in the world.
For those unfamiliar, the YPG have been the most effective on-the-ground force when it comes to fighting Islamic State. They’ve managed to secure nearly the entire border with the Turks and are seeking to unite their territory east of the Euphrates with the towns they control west of the river, and that means capturing key border cities. For Turkey, that’s an unacceptable outcome, as it would effectively mean establishing a Kurdish proto-state on the border, a move that would likely embolden Turkish Kurds who are already seeking greater autonomy.
So invading Syria serves two purposes for Ankara: 1) it checks the Kurdish advance, and 2) it shores up the rebels fighting to overthrow Bashar al-Assad.
But while the Turks are known for being exceptionally capable on the battlefield, it isn’t clear they know what they’re getting into here. Hezbollah practically invented urban warfare and their fighters view martyrdom as an honor and a privilege (and not in the perverse way that ISIS conceptualizes death). Additionally, Hassan Nasrallah’s forces are backed by what is perhaps the most capable air force on the planet.
We close with a rather inauspicious quote from Davutoglu: “I repeat my warning to Russia – which lately gives air support for YPG to advance into Azaz and conducts heavy shelling on Syrian people – not to use the terrorist organization against innocent Syrian people and Turkey.”
Those who live in glass houses Mr. Davutoglu, should most assuredly not throw stones.
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Are Green Berets Leading The YPG In Taking The Azaz Pocket?
The Syrian Arab Army and the YPG troops of the Syrian Kurds are making good progress in the Azaz pocket. The pocket formed after the Syrian army cut through the “rebel” corridor between Aleppo city and the Turkish border. The aim now is to push all foreign proxy forces who are still in that pocket (green) back north into Turkey and to get full control of the border.
The Syrian-Russian command decided to let the YPG (yellow) have the fun of cleaning the pocket only to taunt the Turkish President Erdogan. Erdogan has a serious domestic policy problems when the Kurdish forces gain control in parts of Syria that the wannabe Sultan Erdogan regarded as sacred neo-Ottoman ground. His court jester, the Prime Minister Davutoglu, announced that his country would not allow the town of Azaz to fall to Kurdish fighters. He will have to eat a flock of craws over that.
The Turks are firing artillery from Turkish ground in the north onto Kurdish position in the pocket. Turkish special forces are likely near the front line to control that fire. But artillery alone can not make the difference. The Kurds have air support from the Russian airforce which Turkey no longer dares to attack. The Russians will not attack the Turkish artillery as such an attack could widen the war. The Kurdish troops will have to suffer through that barrage as they push out the Turkish and CIA paid proxies. Some reinforcement for the CIA proxies arrived from Idleb. These passed from Idleb into Turkey and from Turkey into the pocket. The destruction of these forces in the Azaz pocket will make the further fights of the Syrian army in Idleb and elsewhere a lot easier.
The Turks see the Kurds as terrorists and demand that everyone joins that view. The U.S. declined and several other states have protested against the Turkish use of artillery against the Kurds. The U.S. sees the Syrian Kurds as friendlies. In east Syria it helped the Kurds to kick the Islamic State out of Kobane. There are U.S. special forces on the ground in east Syria to prepare the Kurds for new attacks on the Islamic State. These also act as Forward Air Controller to direct U.S. air strikes.
In Kurds in the Azaz pocket have also some support from a professional military. Their moves are very purposeful and controlled. They are clearly coordinated with the Syrian army. The coordination with the Russian airforce works well and there is ground fire coordination with the SAA. The line of demarcation between them has likely been agreed upon a while ago. This animated GIF shows the development in the pocket over several days. The town Kafr Naya was, for example, first taken by the Syrian army, but then the army pulled back from it and the Kurds immediately took over. Some local forces, former “rebels”, in Kafr Naya then joined the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is the U.S. label used for the YPG whenever it has some local Arab forces attached to it.
Who are the professionals that are helping the YPG to take the Azaz pocket?
My first thought was of course Russian Spetsnaz. But I asked around and none of my usual sources would confirm this. The sources acknowledged that the YPG in west Syria has special force support but there was some quite unexpected silence over who these forces were. It is clear to me that these are not Syrian special forces. The YPG does not want to be seen as a adjunct to the Syrian government. No one would confirm to me that these are Russian forces even as that would be of no great surprise to anyone. This leads me to speculate that some U.S. special forces are directing the YPG in the Azaz pocket. This in coordination with the Syrian army and the Russians.
Is that a crazy thought? Consider: The Syrian YPG Kurds are supported by the U.S. military. They received weapons and ammunition from the U.S. military and, at least in the east, have some U.S. military special forces embedded with them. These Pentagon supported YPG troops currently fight foreign proxy forces in the Azaz pocket which are supported, equipped and paid by the CIA, the Saudis, the Turks and other Arab U.S. “allies”. The CIA is running the show. The Turkish NATO member is shelling the Pentagon supported YPG to protect the CIA supported “moderate rebels”. The current CIA director was once the CIA Chief of Station in Riyadh and has intimate connection to the Saudi rulers (and their pockets?).
………………Clearly, the Pentagon hates the CIA support for the “moderate rebels”. The CIA support has fed not only the “rebels” but also al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. Continuing that path would likely result in a radical al-Qaeda controlled Syrian government and another thankless, years long military expedition to oust it.
The U.S. has several kinds of special forces. The famed SEALs as well as the army’s Delta Forces are by now mostly door kickers. They do night raids and other SWAT commando like stuff. The Army Rangers have joined them in the bloody business of killing Afghan farmers. The U.S. special forces that are trained and able to direct a local guerrilla are the Green Berets. A very discreet type of people that work in small teams and are trained in local languages and habits.
So who is helping the Kurds. My hunch is that these are not the “polite green men” of the Russian Spetsnaz, who enabled the people of Crimea to rejoin with Russia, who are now helping the YPG. I believe that the Pentagon sent some of its own “green” people to help the YPG to kick the asses of the CIA supported Jihadis out of Syria. This in tight coordination with the Syrian and Russian forces.
The Obama administration for now decided to accept the Russian offer to pull its chestnuts out of the Syrian fire. But it does not want to give the Russian any credit for doing so. And while the Pentagon has firmly joined the Russian camp some years ago, the White House interventionist borg are ready to again change course and to again support the CIA, the Saudis and Turks in their “moderate Jihadis” mischief. The Green Berets, should they indeed be in north-west Syria, better do their job well and defeat the CIA proxies in a decisive manner.
The above is speculative based solely on my personal hunch and it may be completely wrong. It would probably make for a good movie plot. But could it be right? Has the Pentagon send its specialists to help the Syrians, Russians and Kurds to kick out the CIA sponsored Jihadis?
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Dissident Leader: Saudi, Turkish Ground Assault on Syria to Start Regional War
Secretary-General of the Syrian National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change Mahmoud Marei warned that a ground intrusion in Syria by Saudi Arabia and Turkey will ignite a regional war.
Speaking to FNA in Damascus on Thursday, Marei elaborated on a recent meeting among leaders of the dissident groups and UN Special envoy for Syria Steffan de Mistura.
“The participants in the meeting stressed that the internal opposition forces are opposed to all forms of terrorism, and that political solutions cannot be reached through partnership of the terrorist groups,” he said.
“The internal opposition groups also underscored that any Saudi and Turkish ground intervention in Syria will lead the Geneva 3 negotiations into failure and will ignite a major war in the region,” Marei said.
The idea of Riyadh’s possible ground invasion of Syria was first raised on February 4 by Ahmed Asiri, a spokesman for the Saudi Defense Ministry.
Turkey and Saudi Arabia are both part of an effort to create an alleged “Islam Army,” ostensibly aimed at combating terrorism in the region and consisting of 34 Sunni Islam nations.
Almost the entire range of extremist and terrorist groups are supported by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, with their key commanders and leaders being Saudi nationals. ISIL, Al-Nusra and other extremist groups pursue the same line of ideology exercised and promoted by Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism. Hundreds of Saudi clerics are among the ranks of ISIL and Al-Nusra to mentor the militants.
Wahhabism is now the only source of the textbooks taught at schools in the self-declared capital of the ISIL terrorist group, Raqqa, in Northeastern Syria resembling the texts and lessons taught to schoolgoers in Saudi Arabia. The Wahhabi ideology, an extremist version of Sunni Islam that is promoted almost only in Saudi Arabia, sees all other faiths – from other interpretations of Sunni Islam to Shiism, Christianity and Judaism – as blasphemy, meaning that their followers should be decapitated as nonbelievers.
Early in February, the Saudi Defense Ministry said it stood ready to deploy ground troops to Syria to allegedly aid the US-led anti-ISIL, also known as Daesh, coalition.
Riyadh has been a member of the US-led coalition that has been launching airstrikes against Daesh in Syria since September 2014, without the permission of Damascus or the United Nations. In December 2015, Saudi Arabia started its own Muslim 34-nation coalition to allegedly fight Islamic extremism.
Daesh or ISIL/ISIS is a Wahhabi group mentored by Saudi Arabia and has been blacklisted as a terrorist group everywhere in the world, including the United States and Russia, but Saudi Arabia.
Damascus, Tehran and Moscow have issued stern warnings to Riyadh, stressing that the Saudi intruders, who in fact intend to rescue the terrorists that are sustaining heavy defeats these days, will be crushed in Syria.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem warned that any ground operation in Syria without Damascus’ approval is an “act of aggression”, warning that the Saudi aggressors “would go back home in coffins”.
In Tehran, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said Saudi Arabia doesn’t have the guts to send its armed forces to Syria.
“They claim they will send troops (to Syria) but I don’t think they will dare do so. They have a classic army and history tells us such armies stand no chance in fighting irregular resistance forces,” Jafari said.
“This will be like a coup de grâce for them. Apparently, they see no other way but this, and if this is the case, then their fate is sealed,” he added.
Jafari, said this is just cheap talks, but Iran welcomes the Saudi decision if they decide to walk on this path.
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