Moon of Alabama — Oct 9, 2017
Yesterday Turkish army forces entered the Syrian Idleb governate from the west. The move is officially part of a de-escalation supervision process agreed upon between Syria, Turkey, Russia and Iran. One point of the agreement is to continue the fight against al-Qaeda in Syria, currently operating under the name Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). HTS controls large parts of Idleb governate.
This is confirmed in the official Turkish Idleb Operation Explanation. “To purge terrorist organisations, especially DAESH, PKK/PYD-YPG and HTS from the region,” is describes as one aim of its de-escalaton force.
But the Turkish forces have made a deal with HTS. When their reconnaissance teams entered Idleb yesterday they were escorted by heavily armed HTS forces (video). According to their agreement with the terrorists, the Turkish forces will only take up three positions. All of these will be bordering the Kurdish enclave Efrin (Afrin).
An (anti-Syrian government) journalist reports:
Hassan Hassan – Verified account @hxhassan – 5:22 PM – 8 Oct 2017
- Turkey established three checkpoints in Darat Izzat, west of Aleppo, in coordination with HTS.
A senior HTS official tells @MousaAlomar Turkish forces won’t be present anywhere other than those checkpoints “for now.”
2. Mousa asks a series of questions to the HTS official:
Q. Will the Turkish army enter [rebel-held] areas?
A. Yes (but not beyond the three areas agreed with HTS)
Q. Any imminent battle in Idlib?
A. No. So far things are good unless Turkey changes its position
My own sources confirm that an effort to keep things peaceful between Turkey and HTS is so far successful.
The purpose of this Turkish incursion is obviously not to counter al-Qaeda/HTS but only to surround the Kurdish held enclave around Efrin.
An aggressive Turkish move could now try to cut off the Kurdish Efrin area (yellow) from the Syrian government-held areas (red) by connecting the Turkish controlled rebel area in the north (blue) with the al-Qaeda controlled Idleb governate (green). Such a move would encounter fierce resistance not only from Kurdish elements and the Syrian government but also from Iran. Auxiliary Iranian troops hold the government corridor between Aleppo and Efrin to protect some important Shia villages in the area.
On one side one can understand the Turkish abrogation of its duties under the Astana agreement. Erdogan is afraid of the domestic backlash a real fight against HTS would likely cause. But it was Turkey that created the mess by supplying al-Qaeda in Syria with men and goods for nearly six years. It is its duty to kill the monster it created. It also has to uphold its diplomatic agreements.
Turkey has proven again that it is not trustworthy. Erdogan may hope to get NATO cover should he incur new Russian wrath about his breach of trust and his abrogation of the de-escalation agreement. But the expanding spat between the State Department and the Turkish government, as well as low Turkish standing within NATO populations, do not bode well for any bet on that alliance.
Posted by b on October 9, 2017, at 05:35 AM | Permalink
Readers Comments — David Oct 9, 2017
The more informed among us knew that Turkey would betray Russia. It has several times already and will continue to do so because it’s an arm of NATO. Turkey’s pro-Russian feint frees up NATO/American resources to steal Syrian land. It doesn’t matter whether the land is occupied by US-backed Kurds or Turkish forces or Turkish-supported Islamists. Recall the 2012 DIA report forecasted that there may be a Syrian splinter state annexed to Turkey.
Effectively, the United States is (via a variant of the “lead from behind” strategy) playing another, less anti-Russian “because Turkey has business interests in Russia *cough cough* Turkstream” *cough*– face.
It’s part of an advanced geopolitical psy-op designed to confuse Russian strategic planners and force Russia to hesitate, and waste precious Syrian & Iranian military resources with negotiations. It’s a psy-op which leverages Russia’s aptitude for diplomacy.
There is also an essential similarly shared geopolitical background between the two states to consider. Turkey is convincingly enough of an “other” entity in NATO (non-European, which arguably historical Russia is not — non-secular, etc.) that apparent tensions between NATO and Turkey can be highlighted, made to have substance. By the way — Russia had the losing hand in Russian-Turkish negotiations of the Turkstream pipelines!
Several prolific Turkish propaganda assets rampant on this site for the past two years pushed disinfo about Gulen/CIA/NATO planning a coup against Erdogan because he was warming up to Russia (the original source of this claim is Sorcha Faal). This claim failed on its face for many reasons, one of them being that the timing was far too quick. The coup was likely a psy-op false flag set up by Erdogan to consolidate power (which actually happened) and suppress his opponents. His opponents being Kemalists, other secularists, moderates and others who would oppose a Turkish escalation in Syria.
Look, for those of you not blindly continually offering Erdogan the benefit of the doubt and saying, “Let’s wait, let’s wait, let’s wait for what Turkey does in Syria.” This is what you need to understand about Turkey’s apparent relationship with Russia and its own role as an asset of American strategic power. Russia can’t use force with Turkey. Russia’s core options regards Turkey are limited by virtue of the latter’s membership in NATO. Turkey knows this. The US knows this. Turkey is the NATO arm to restrict Russian action in Syria.
“Greater Kurdistan” is not a real plan, nor a real threat. Of course, it is a “threat” in the same sense that the UK is a “nuclear threat” to the US because it could launch one of its missiles to hit the US mainland.
A “Greater Kurdistan” comprised of parts from Iran, Syria etc. would, of course, benefit the American deep state and its imperial geopolitical planners. A weakened central state in Iran and Syria, fomenting ethnic & religious unrest, the splitting of the “Shi’ite crescent” is crucial to weakening Pan-Arab/Iranian resistance to Zionism and by extension US imperialism.
But who benefits from the implied, looming threat of a Kurdistan forming on Turkey’s borders? Turkey of course. Turkey is confronting the Kurds in Iraq and Syria, isn’t it?
It also plays the “bad cop” role of the good cop/bad cop duo with the US. Turkey’s incursions into “Kurdish” populated areas of Syria lets the Kurds more easily accept a tactical alliance with US ground forces setting up illegal bases in Kurdish occupied areas in Syria. The “Turkish threat” (which is real to the Kurds, historically) is a good stick for ensuring it follows orders.
More Kurds co-operating with US ground forces = less reason to ally with the Syrian & Russian forces. This means one fewer capable ground force for Russia & Syria to work with. If you like, it’s a “sphere of influence” within Syria itself.
We all clearly remember back in about December of last year when the YPG Kurds were ordered to move back East across the Euphrates river. This was a planned US “compromise” with Turkey and actually fell well into NATO strategic planning. Turkish disinformation assets like Korybko hemmed and hawed about how Turkey’s anti-Kurdish goals demonstrated tension with the US deep state which planned to create a “Kurdistan” to weaken Syria and by extension Turkey because of their mutual significant Kurdish minority populations.
But the Kurdish threat is a phantom for Turkey. None of it actualizes. We are told the Kurds will link a canton with the Iraqi-Syria border. It didn’t happen. Why then, is Turkey’s Kurdish threat so repeated and hyped up?
Because the Kurdish threat (from the Turkish angle) is a geo-analytical psyop.
Greater Kurdistan and Turkish destabilization was a hot topic the last two years. Now it’s dropping off the major alternative news sites. Why? Because the disinfo assets performed their job.
The apparent tension between Turkey’s anti-Kurdish goals & the US cynical exploitation of the Kurds confuses the minds of Russian military planners, and it confuses readers like us who don’t have the behind the scenes details. Why does Turkey seem to swing back and forth between a potential alliance with the Russians and then violating its terms? Why does the US consistently arm and train the Kurds against Turkey’s (apparent) wishes?
If it has a peculiar rhythm if certain events are just timed too rightly, if a phantom is being drawn but it never appears…it is staged.
Recall. Did Turkey kick US troops from Incirlik airbase? No. But it was hyped up.
Did NATO…transfer some of its Turkish-based nuclear missiles to NATO bases which are stationed closer to Russian borders? Yes. The 2016 Turkish “coup” provided cover for that anti-Russian maneuver.
“muh Kurds” are the Turkish equivalent of Dubya’s WMDs in Iraq. When Turkey demanded it, the YPG Kurds were forced to withdraw East of the Euphrates, and the US offered merely a stern condemnation when the AF was bombing Kurdish positions west of there.
Did the appearance of a willing, pro-Russian Turkish state…encourage Russia to hesitate, and engage in negotiations with the Turks regards a Syrian “de-escalation”? Yes.
Did those negotiations include ceasefires? Yes. Did Turkish-back militants violate the ceasefire? Yes.
Did the Kurds withdraw East of the Euphrates? Yes. Is Turkey bombing the Kurds? Yes. Is the US defending vulnerable Kurdish forces from Turkey? Barely.
Those ceasefires halted Russian & Syrian gains in territory and allowed the US to set up maneuvers in other parts of Syria.
Still, Turkey continues to violate the terms of the de-escalation agreements it supposedly has with Russia.
Because Turkey is playing its role brilliantly in a geopolitical psy-op theater for us to witness second-hand. The Russians being firsthand.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Erdogan has moles in Turkish-Russian strategic meetings (which allegedly exclude the Americans from participation) feeding intelligence to the Americans on Russian & terrorist positions. Since Turkey imports these terror assets into Syria through its porous land border and is basically the intelligence arm of the al-Qaeda groups in Syria, it could easily coordinate with the Americans to launch an attack on Russian ground force positions. Or it could attack Russian positions themselves using “al-Qaeda terror” as cover.
Ask yourself why Turkey has never closed the borders to Syria! The “wall” it’s building along its Syria border isn’t meant to block out terrorists — obviously, Turkey has options to transport terror assets.
Turkey is a terror state because it’s in NATO. There’s your answer.
Fuck Turkey, and fuck the Turkish disinfo assets who come in here praising Erdogan while claiming to support Syria in its anti-imperialist fight.
Posted by: David | Oct 9, 2017 6:50:46 AM | 1