TURKEY | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


TURKEY

Jan 31 13:27

Washington Widens the War in Syria by Provoking Turkey

The Trump administration has drawn Turkey deeper into the Syrian conflict by announcing a policy that threatens Turkey’s national security. Washington’s gaffe has pitted one NATO ally against the other while undermining hopes for a speedy end to the seven year-long war.

Here’s what’s going on: On January 18, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced the creation of a 30,000-man Border Security Force (BSF) to occupy East Syria. Two days later, January 20, the Turkish Army launched a ground and air offensive against Kurdish troops in the Afrin canton in Northwest Syria.

The media has tried to downplay the connection between the two events, but the cause-and-effect relationship is pretty clear. Tillerson’s provocation triggered the Turkish invasion and another bloody phase to the needlessly-protracted conflict. Washington’s screwup has made a bad situation even worse.

Jan 31 12:41

Turkey welcomes Sochi decisions, calls on all actors to fulfill responsibilities

Turkey has welcomed a decision for the formation of a constitutional committee by the Syrian National Dialogue Congress held in the Russian city of Sochi on Jan. 30, vowing to continue to contribute for peace and stability in its southern neighbor.

“Turkey will continue to support, on all platforms, efforts for a political solution that will bring a real political change to Syria in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 2254. Turkey expects all actors that have leverage over the Syrian regime and on the ground to fulfill their responsibilities in directing the conflicting parties in Syria to negotiate a credible political solution,” read a written statement issued by the Foreign Ministry late Jan. 30.

Jan 31 12:40

US Has No Plan to Withdraw From Syrian Manbij, Despite Turkey's Warning

After launching its Olive Branch operation in Syria's Afrin, the Turkish authorities said that the operation was likely to expand towards the neighboring city of Manbij, where the US has some 2,000 of its military personnel deployed.

Pulling US forces from Manbij is "not something we are looking into", US Central Command chief General Joseph Votel said Monday.

Earlier this month, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Ankara will not limit its precautionary measures against Kurdish fighters to Syria's Afrin district but could move to Manbij, also in Aleppo province.

Jan 31 08:39

SYRIAN WAR REPORT – JANUARY 31, 2018: TURKISH MILITARY COLUMN IS HIT BY CAR BOMB IN SOUTHWESTERN ALEPPO

On January 30, a Turkish vehicle was destroyed and few others were damaged in a car bomb attack as a military convoy of the Turkish Armed Forces was passing the town of Atarib in the province of Aleppo.

According to initial reports from the ground 2 or 3 service members were killed in the attack. The media wing of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) even claimed that the convoy was struck by an artillery shelling or an air strike by pro-government forces.

Later, the Turkish General Staff denied the initial reports and said that a civilian support worker of the TAF had been killed as well as another civilian worker and a service member had been injured in the incident.

The military added that it was deployed in the area under a de-escalation deal reached with Russia and Iran during the Astana talks in May.

Jan 30 13:08

Turkey plays its latest card in the New Great Game – Pepe Escobar

Sochi, not Geneva, is the forum where the endgame for the Syrian proxy war will be decided.

President Tayyip Erdogan’s ‘Olive Branch’ operation appears to have support at home and in Moscow, but failure would spell problems.

Olive Branch” is the Orwellian-named Turkish invasion of a chunk of Syria. The operation comes as no surprise. President Tayyip Erdogan had hinted for nearly a year that a move was likely in the Syrian Kurdish canton of Afrin.

Jan 30 08:27

Multiple Motives Exist As Reason For Turkish Invasion Of Syria

By Brandon Turbeville

Turkey has invaded Syria to fight against the Kurds. Turkey is fighting alongside FSA terrorists while the United States, a Turkish ally is fighting alongside Kurdish terrorists. The Syrian military is pushing northwest toward Idlib city and the Russian, Iranian, and Hezbollah forces remain in the country to stabilize the situation and defeat jihadist groups continuing to operate there. The Kurds work with the FSA but the FSA is now working with the Turks. The FSA also works with the United States who in turn works with the Kurds.

This is a brief example of the complexities of the Syrian crisis, exacerbated by recent events. For most casual observers, it is becoming harder to determine who is fighting who and likewise who is working together. With so many competing agendas and interests, the waters have become so muddied even researchers and journalists familiar with the crisis are less clear as to what is happening in Syria right now.

Jan 30 02:45

CRAZY NIGHT IN SYRIA:

CRAZY NIGHT IN SYRIA - WATCH as Al-Qaeda allows Turkish Army through its territory in Syria, Russia bombs oncoming Turkish forces

IDLIB, Syria - Last night a Turkish military convoy entered northern Syria and were allowed to travel through territory controlled by the Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra Front. This was captured on a video taken by an Al-Nusra militant himself.

(*video at source)

The Turkish military brought a dozen armored vehicles from Turkey's Hatay province and has attempted to take up positions near the Syrian Army in Point 4 in the Tal Al-Eis area of southern Aleppo countryside.

This is now irrefutable evidence of NATO-member Turkey directly colluding with a terrorist organization, the excuse it gives to battle the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in nearby Afrin.

Jan 29 12:26

How Regional Rivalries Threaten to Fuel the Fire in Syria and Iran

Turkish allegations of Saudi, Emirati and Egyptian support for the outlawed Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) threaten to turn Turkey’s military offensive against Syrian Kurds aligned with the PKK into a regional imbroglio.

The threat is magnified by Iranian assertions that low intensity warfare is heating up in areas of the Islamic republic populated by ethnic minorities, including the Kurds in the northwest and the Baloch on the border with Pakistan.

Taken together, the two developments raise the spectre of a potentially debilitating escalation of the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran as well as an aggravation of the eight-month-old Gulf crisis that has pitted Saudi Arabia and its allies against Qatar, which has forged close ties to Turkey.

The United Arab Emirates and Egypt rather than Saudi Arabia have taken the lead in criticizing Turkey’s incursion into Syria designed to remove US-backed Kurds from the countries’ border and create a 30-kilometre deep buffer zone.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

With Turkey demanding that US troops get out of Manbij ...or else, while the US government has declared it is not leaving,US General Votel says that US forces will not leave this could get very dicey, very quickly.

I have a very serious concern that those service members, embedded with the Kurds in Manbij, may be pawns, and it is not impossible that they are being used very cynically by this administration.

And I say that, because the minute US service members get killed by Turkish fire, the narrative may well immediately be ordered to be shifted, so that the US government will blame their deaths on either Syrian or Russian forces, as a "justification" for war against either, or both countries.

I just hope to heaven that I am a million percent wrong here.

Jan 29 11:35

Uncle Sam dumps the Kurds (yet again) – The Saker

Russians need to stop the Turks before this all turns into a major and protracted conflict.

Did Trump and his generals really think that Turkey, Iran, Syria and Russia would accept a US protectorate in Syria masquerading as an “independent Kurdistan” and do nothing about it? Yet again, and I know this sounds hard to believe, but I think that this is yet another strong indication that the Empire is run by stupid and ignorant people whose brain and education simply do not allow them to grasp even the basic dynamics in the region of our planet they are interfering with.

Whatever may be the case the Turks reacted exactly as everybody thought:

Jan 29 11:30

By Remaining in Syria the US Is Fuelling More Wars in the Middle East

The US may want to get rid of Assad and weaken Iran across the region but it is too late. Pro-Iranian governments in Iraq and Syria are in power and Hezbollah is the most powerful single force in Lebanon. This is not going to change any time soon and, if the Americans want to weaken Assad by keeping a low-level war going, then this will make him even more reliant on Iran.

The present Turkish incursion shows that Ankara is not going to allow a new Kurdish state under US protection to be created in northern Syria and will fight rather than let this happen. But the YPG is highly motivated, well-armed and militarily experienced and will fight very hard, even though they may ultimately be overwhelmed by superior forces or because the Turkish and Syrian governments come together to crush them.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

There is only one way in which to accurately describe the current US "strategy" in Syria: painfully incoherent, lost, and myopic.

Jan 29 07:52

Turkey could widen Syria offensive after Erdogan vows to attack ‘wherever there are terrorists’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has hinted yet again that the campaign against Kurdish militia in Syria could spread beyond the north-western enclave of Afrin.

“Just as the terrorists in Jarabulus and Al-Bab weren’t able to escape elimination, the terrorists in Afrin and Manbij won’t be able to escape the bitter end awaiting them, either,” Erdogan said during a regional party congress speech in the heartland town of Corum.

“Our heroic soldiers made history yesterday in the area of Operation Euphrates Shield [a previous offensive in 2016-17]. They are making history today in Afrin. And they will make history tomorrow wherever there are terrorists along our borders,” the Turkish President told party loyalists hours later on Sunday, during an address in nearby Amasya.

Jan 29 07:41

US blinks under Turkish pressure in Syria

The Turkish President Recep Erdogan gave a stark warning to the Trump administration on Friday by stating his intention to order an assault on the northern Syrian town of Manbij, roughly 40 km from the Turkish border and 100 km to the east of Afrin, where US forces are operating alongside Kurdish militia.

He said, “Operation Olive Branch will continue until it reaches its goals. We will rid Manbij of terrorists (read Kurds) … Our battles will continue until no terrorist is left right up to our (910-km) border with Iraq.”

Jan 29 07:41

America’s Syrian humiliation is worse than it looks

Turkey’s “Olive Branch” incursion against Kurdish positions in Northern Syria this week looked bad for Washington. It’s worse than it looks: Turkey cemented a new set of strategic and economic relationships after defying the United States, its erstwhile main ally. Ankara now has financial backing from China and Qatar and the strategic acquiescence of Russia and Iran. Most of all, it has the financial backing to pursue its regional ambitions.

Turkey reportedly killed several hundred Kurdish and allied Arab fighters this week, reducing an American-supported force that had done most of the fighting against ISIS in Syria. US-Turkish relations are at an all-time nadir, but Turkey’s financial markets remain unruffled. Washington has hard words for Turkey, but no sticks and stones.

Jan 29 06:57

Thousands of Kurds Protest in Germany Against Turkey's Military Op in Afrin

The military offensive by the Turkish Armed Forces in the Kurdish-dominated Syrian city of Afrin, launched on January 20, has triggered public outcry among members of international community and Kurdish diaspora around the world.

About 7,000 Kurdish immigrants took to streets in the German city of Cologne, which is home to a large Kurdish community, protesting against the Turkish military operation in Syria dubbed Olive Branch, the German DPA news agency reported.

Jan 28 07:00

Turkey-Backed Rebels and US Troops Have Been Clashing for Months, but Pentagon Has Been Keeping It Under Wraps

Can you imagine the US response if the Syrian army or Hezbollah *regularly* fired on US troops in Syria? Instead US troops don’t even always fire back and the Pentagon has kept the attacks under wraps since last August...

Jan 27 12:36

Turkey Vows to Expand Syria Offensive East to Iraq Border

One week into the Turkish invasion of Syria’s Afrin District, the war against the Kurdish YPG looks to be expanding precipitously, with President Erdogan first announcing he’d extend the war to Manbij, and now all the way east to the Iraqi border.

This suggests Turkey’s war against Syria’s Kurds is likely to span the whole of YPG territory, which at present is about 25% of all of Syria. That war will include Turkey’s allies, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which Turkey tends to install as de facto rulers in places they’ve seized.

More importantly, this escalation all but ensures Turkey will be in an military confrontation with the US, as all of America’s troops deployed in Syria are in YPG territory, embedded with the Kurds, who they consider allies.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

But what if there is no "grand understanding:" between Turkey,Syria, the Kurds, Iraq, and Russia?!?!

And the other question, still unanswered, is how much military "monkey business" will Russia, which was invited to Syria at the behest of the Syrian government, allow to happen before it intervenes, and hard, militarily?!?

Is the US goal in Syria, in terms of having US troops in the country illegally, to pick a fight with Russia,and have that become the "justification" for a war against Russia, which, unfortunately, US troops might well not be able to win?!?

And I posit that question as someone who is a Christian pacifist activist, who very deeply cares about her country, and is deeply disturbed by various policy trajectories the US government is taking, both foreign and domestic.

We have reached a point in time where the US government believes that the only answer to any geopolitical dispute has to be war, and has completely forgotten the high art of good will/win/win, moral... negotiations.

Here are the cold hard facts; Russia consripts; the US does not. Our troops are intensely overstretched. The Russians have weaponry which has proven field tested and combat ready; the US presents badly engineered products,like the F-35. And the US doesn't have the manufacturing capacity (we've offshored it/outsourced that), nor the money to insure a positive outcome of a war against Russia.

Jan 27 12:02

TURKEY DEMANDS US FORCES LEAVE SYRIA'S MANBIJ IMMEDIATELY

As Turkish and allied militant forces from the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) advance further upon Kurdish positions in northern Syria, Turkey has called upon the United States to vacate its military bases in the Syrian district of Manbij. Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Turkish foreign minister Melet Cavusoglu said that Ankara is calling upon the US, its official ally in NATO, to cease any and all support to Syrian Kurdish forces and militias.

While both Turkey and the United States are in violation of international law by entering Syria with military forces without permission by Damascus or a UN mandate, both countries have vastly different interests in the country.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Note that in the information about the conversation between McMaster and his counterpart, Turkey's Ibrahim Kalin, there is no mention of a withdrawal of US troops from Manbij.

This could get ugly, very quickly, pitting one NATO member(Turkey) against another (the United States).

I would like to believe that saner heads in both the US and Turkish governments will do everything possible to ratchet down the tensions here, but I sure as heck wouldn't bet on it.

Jan 27 11:49

Turkish Foreign Minister Urges Immediate US Withdrawal From Syria's Manbij

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has stated that the United States should take concrete steps to prove the end of support for Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), rather than rhetoric.

The statement was made amid the ongoing Turkish military offensive in the Kurdish-dominated Syrian city of Afrin, launched on January 20 and provoked, as Ankara explained, by the necessity for the country to protect its borders from a "terrorist army," the new "Border Defense Forces," comprising the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Kurdish YPG militias, trained by the US.

On the day the operation was started, Pentagon representative Adrian Rankine-Galloway told Sputnik that the US recognized Turkey's concerns regarding the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), but called on all sides to avoid escalation and focus on countering terrorism.

Jan 27 10:09

Turkish Army Dispatches Elite Forces to Northern Syria to Join Operation against Kurds

The Turkish Army has dispatched several military convoys to the border with Syria, a Turkish media outlet reported on Saturday, adding that a sum of 200 special forces have been forwarded to Afrin to join the Operation Olive Branch against the Kurdish militias. The Turkish-language state-run Anadolu news agency reported that 200 Turkish elite forces that are expert in street battle and defusing explosive traps, landmines and bombs have been dispatched to Afrin region together with trained dogs. Its went on to say that more convoys, including 20 armored vehicles, anti-land mine vehicles and a large volume of arms and ammunition have been dispatched to the border town of Kilis. Anadolu added that another military column, consisting of several tanks has been dispatched to Hatay region at the border with Syria as well...

Jan 27 10:07

Fierce Clashes between Kurds, Turkish Forces Inflict Hundreds of Casualties on Both Sides

Fierce clashes between the Kurds and Turkish Army in Afrin region in Northwestern Aleppo inflicted hundreds of casualties on both warring sides, both Kurdish and Turkish sources reported on Saturday. The Turkish Army General Staff announced in a statement that 340 Kurdish fighters have been killed in the Olive Branch Operation by its soldiers and Ankara-backed militants in Afrin region in the last seven days. It further said that a number of Kurdish fighters' positions, trenches, bunkers and arms depots have also been destroyed in the operation. "Three Turkish servicemen were killed during the country’s operations in Syria’s Afrin and 16 remain hospitalized," said a Spokesperson of the Turkish Health Ministry. In the meantime, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced that the Turkish army and its allied militants have sustained 308 casualties, including four officers, during the clashes in Afrin region in the last seven days.

Jan 27 02:57

Mike Pence’s Middle East Tour: Outright Pressure and Threats as Foreign Policy Tools

Washington is pushing a plan pretty vague about details and is doing it without its Middle East strategy defined.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II wants Washington to “rebuild trust “after US President Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The king believes that East Jerusalem must be the capital of Palestine. According to him, from now on the US has a “major challenge to overcome”.

“Friends occasionally have disagreements,” Mike Pence said ruefully in his comments on the outcome of the talks. The disagreement came into the open.

Jan 26 11:25

Turkey Will ‘Target’ US Troops If They Keep Supporting Syrian Kurds

US-Turkey tensions mounting surrounding the Turkish invasion of the Syrian Kurdish Afrin District look to be getting much worse, with Turkey’s deputy premier Bekir Bozdag warning that the US is the one risking confrontation by supporting the Kurds.

Bozdag warned the US needs to “review its soldiers and elements giving support to terrorists on the ground,” and that US forces who continue to support the Kurdish YPG, which Turkey considers terrorists “will become a target in this battle.”

The US isn’t believed to have any serious forces inside Afrin District, which Turkey is presently invading. Turkey’s President Erdogan, however, says they will attack Manbij next, and there are a substantial number of US troops deployed there.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

So, please let me get my head around this; Turkey, a NATO member, is threatening war against American troops embedded in Manbij, (The US is also a NATO member) if they find them embedded with the YPG there?!?!?

War with Turkey... over Syria?!?!?

This is a thoroughly insane situation, yet it has been brought about by the "magical thinking" inside the White House, Pentagon, and State Department, that if somehow the US was able to carve out a little piece of Syria to call "their own" (or the Kurd's own), and Syria's sovereign statehood be damned here, that they could somehow push Bashir Al Assad out of power, and regime change Damascus.

Not satisfied’ till Assad gone: US pushes for regime change as war in Syria winds

Erdogan has stated that he has "made a deal" with Moscow about this invasion into Turkey. And as an invited guest of the Syrian government, Russian troops, aligned with the Syrian troops, have done a formidable job of basically scraping most of the jihadists out of the country.

The question now is, what will happen if the situation in Manjib gets ugly quickly, and American military are shot and killed here?!?

Is the US government really thinking about spinning such a potential narrative here, as a reasonable excuse for going to war with Russia over Syria?!?

Jan 26 10:29

Syrian Kurds seek Damascus’ protection as Turkey’s Erdogan vows to return Afrin to ‘owners’

Kurdish officials in Afrin have urged Damascus to send troops to protect Syria’s sovereignty from the “Turkish occupier.” Ankara insists it will return the enclave to its “original owner” after its “liberation” from “terrorists.”

Jan 26 10:06

Russians and Turks Humble the US in Syria

The drama which is unfolding in northern Syria is truly an almost ideal case to fully assess how weak and totally dysfunctional the AngloZionist Empire has really become. Let’s begin with a quick reminder.

The US-Israeli goals in Syria were really very simple. As I have already mentioned in a past article, the initial AngloZionist plan was to overthrow Assad and replace him with the Takfiri crazies (Daesh, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, ISIS – call them whatever you want).

Jan 26 10:04

SYRIAN WAR REPORT – JANUARY 26, 2018: TURKEY THREATENS TO ATTACK MANBIJ

On January 25, ISIS units attacked positions of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the villages of Kishmah and Ghuraybah in the province of Deir Ezzor. According to the ISIS-linked news agency Amaq, ISIS killed several army soldiers and destroyed two battle tanks with anti-tank guided missiles.

However, the terrorist group did not overrun the SAA defense and was forced to retreat. According to the Syrian state-run media, 25 ISIS members were killed and several vehicles were destroyed in the clashes.

ISIS seeks to seize some area in the Euphrates Valley in order to lift the siege from its members besieged in the Homs desert.

The Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (TFSA) captured 7 members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) during clashes in the Afrin area, according to Turkish media. In turn, the YPG claimed that it had captured 16 Turkish servicemembers. However, these persons are likely just members of the TFSA.

Jan 26 03:51

Turkey, Syrian opposition kill 343 terrorists in Afrin — General Staff

Turkey’s Armed Forces and its ally, the opposition’s Free Syrian Army, have neutralized 343 members of terrorist groups since the beginning of Operation Olive Branch in Afrin, northern Syria, Turkey’s General Staff said in a statement on Friday. The Kurdish People's Protection Units, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia) are labeled as terrorist groups by the Turkish General Staff. Last night, 13 warplanes of Turkey’s Air Force destroyed 23 terrorist targets, including shelters, ammunition depots and firing points, the statement said.
Five militants liquidated near US-controlled area in Syria - A modern electronic warfare package that belonged to the killed terrorists was made in Europe... http://tass.com/defense/987011

Jan 25 12:45

Erdogan says to extend Syria operation despite risk of U.S. confrontation

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday Turkey would extend its military operation in Syria to the town of Manbij, a move that could potentially bring Turkish forces into confrontation with those of their NATO ally the United States.

Jan 25 09:33

#Afrin Self Administration office published a statement calling out The Syrian Army to enter Afrin and protect it from #Turkish invasion

Jan 25 09:16

Trump urges Erdogan to ‘exercise caution’ & avoid targeting US forces in Syria

In a phone call with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Donald Trump has raised concerns that Ankara’s ongoing military operation in neighboring Syria, if not wound down, may result in a direct clash between the two NATO allies.

“President Trump relayed concerns that escalating violence in Afrin, Syria, risks undercutting our shared goals in Syria,” according to the White House readout of the conversation. “He urged Turkey to exercise caution and to avoid any actions that might risk conflict between Turkish and American forces.”

Trump has further urged Turkey to deescalate and “limit its military actions” in order to “avoid civilian casualties and increases to displaced persons and refugees.”

Jan 24 16:46

Turkey re-enters Syrian endgame with ‘smart power’

“Our operations will continue until the separatist terror organization is fully cleared from the region and around 3.5 million Syrians who are now sheltered in Turkey are able to securely return to their homeland.”

The UN Security Council meeting on Tuesday regarding Turkey’s military operations in Syria turned out to be like the dog that didn’t bark in the night in the Sherlock Holmes short story. There was no bark – no statement by the Security Council – condemning Turkey.

Jan 24 12:50

Obama administration cheated Turkey in Syria: President Erdo?an

The administration of former U.S. President Barack Obama “failed to keep its promises” to Turkey in Syria, not following up its pledge to “leave Manbij to its rightful owners,” President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an has said.

“There was an operation during Mr. Obama’s administration. That operation aimed to clear terrorists from Manbij. But he failed to keep up to his promise and cheated us,” Erdo?an said in a speech to neighborhood heads (muhtars) in Ankara on Jan. 24.

Manbij is a city in the northeast of the Aleppo Governorate in northern Syria, currently controlled by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara sees as linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“We’ve done our part but they have not. They promised they would send the terrorists in this area to the east of the Euphrates and leave Manbij to its rightful owners. But they did not keep their promise,” Erdo?an said.

Jan 24 12:40

Turkey's Operation in Northern Syria, Day 4 Roundup

During the fourth day of Ankara’s military operation, Turkish Air Forces continued making airstrikes on Kurdish forces’ positions in the Syrian town of Rajo, near the border with Turkey, according to the Sputnik Türkiye correspondent. Turkish tanks and artillery near the Afrin border were also pounding Kurdish positions.

Turkish armed forces and FSA units stationed to the west of the city of Azaz were shelling Kurdish forces. There were also clashes between Kurdish forces and Turkish military near the town of Gülbaba.

Meanwhile, Turkish Armed Forces continue to move military hardware to the Afrin area through Öncüp?nar checkpoint in Kilis.

Jan 24 12:06

Kurds Release ISIL Captives to Join Battle against Turkish Army

Local sources reported on Tuesday that the Kurdistan Democratic Union Party (PYD) has released all ISIL captives that have agreed to join the battle against the forces of the Turkey-led Olive Branch Operation in Northern Aleppo.

Jan 24 12:06

Lebanese Kurds call on Russia to defend people in Syria’s Afrin

The Lebanese Kurds held rallies in front of the Russian embassy and the Russian Center for Science and Culture, condemning the Turkish military operation in the Afrin area

Jan 24 11:40

'I Know US Military Took Kids From Large Number of Families in Incirlik' – Local

Commenting on Turkish children allegedly being sold to US soldiers based at the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey in an interview with Sputnik, local resident Mahmut Acar confirmed the reports, suggesting that the goal could be to convert the kids to Christianity and use them against Ankara.

Jan 24 10:09

Intense battles continue between Turkish fighters, Kurds in Syria's Afrin

Turkish soldiers are seen with their armored vehicles near Turkish-Syrian border in Hatay, Turkey, on Jan. 23, 2018. Turkish military's operations in Syria will continue "until all terrorists are fully eliminated" and 3.5 million Syrian refugees return home, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman said on Tuesday

- Intense battles continued Tuesday between the Turkish forces and the Kurdish-led troops on the outskirts of the Kurdish-controlled Afrin enclave in northern Syria, a monitor group reported.

The battles between the Turkish forces and the Kurdish-led fighters stretched from northeastern Afrin to its southwestern part, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Turkish warplanes also struck several targets in Afrin on Tuesday, killing two children and two women on Tuesday, the observatory said.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Erdogan needs a quick ending to this invasion of Syria, because he absolutely doesn't want the optics here to be about massive Syrian casualties, but it appears that Kurds are not going to allow him that luxury.

Unfortunately, unless there is an immediate ceasefire, coupled with negotiations on a practical way to repatriate displaced Syrians taking shelter in Turkey, this could very well drag on, and morph into a hard, nasty campaign from both sides.

Jan 24 09:54

Putin, Erdogan discuss situation in Syria, including near Afrin — Kremlin

Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russian and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey spoke over phone to discuss the situation in Syria, including near Afrin, where Turkey is conducting a military operation, the Kremlin press service said on Tuesday.

"Russian President Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The two presidents exchanged views on the situation in Syria, including in the northwest of the country, near Afrin, where the Turkish armed forces are conducting a military operation. Both side stressed the importance of further joint efforts towards crisis settlement that are to be based on the principles of respect to Syria’s territorial integrity and sovereignty," the Kremlin said.

According to the press service, the two leaders also touched upon preparations for an upcoming Syrian National Dialogue Congress due to be held in Russia’s Black Sea resort city of Sochi on January 29-30.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Russia has won this round, backing up diplomacy with Turkish "muscle" in Syria.

The US government has now lost Syria, whatever various spokespersons say, and this is yet another epic fail, and catastrophe of non-critical thinking, in the Middle East.

Jan 23 13:44

Turkey offers to form a military coalition with Iraq Syria and Iran to ‘eliminate kurdish dissent’ and confront Saudi axis, Iraqi media reported following visit by Turkish FM Oglu to Baghdad

Jan 23 13:09

UNCONFIRMED REPORTS THAT #US SPECIAL OPERATIONS FORCES WEARING #YPG UNIFORMS ARE ENGAGING #TURKISH ARMY SOLDIERS IN AND AROUND AFRIN #SYRIA

UNCONFIRMED REPORTS THAT #US SPECIAL OPERATIONS FORCES WEARING #YPG UNIFORMS ARE ENGAGING #TURKISH ARMY SOLDIERS IN AND AROUND AFRIN #SYRIA

Jan 23 11:57

Russia 'concerned' about Turkey military bid in Syria

Jan 23 11:53

Syrian Kurdish Forces Launch Powerful Counterattack Against Turkey

Turkey is hoping for a quick victory in Afrin, but its soldiers and allied Syrian militiamen are facing counter-attacks by Kurdish forces on villages close to the border. The Kurds are reported to be readying reinforcements to join the battle from their bases in north east Syria where they have thousands of troops who until recently were fighting Isis.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan says there would be “no stepping back from Afrin” which means that the campaign, bizarrely named ‘Operation Olive Branch’, will continue. But it will take time to drive the Kurdish YPG paramilitary forces out the Afrin enclave north of Aleppo. So far the Turkish offensive has captured only a few villages close to the border in three days of fighting and there are a total of 350 villages in Afrin.

The population of the enclave is estimated to be 200,000, many of whom will be come refugees if Turkey and Arab militiamen take control.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

And we have that story accompanied by the following:

Turkey escalates attacks on Syrian Kurds

Jan 23 11:49

US Struggles With Fighting Between Turkey, Syrian Kurds, Two Key Allies

US warnings and calls for restraint have failed, and Turkey has invaded Syria’s Afrin District, beginning what could be a protracted battle with the US-backed Kurdish YPG. Two major US allies are in open conflict.

US allies have often clashed in the course of the Syrian War, but this is shaping up to be a long military campaign by Turkey, which has been looking to push against the Kurds for quite some time.

The US is so far just calling for “restraint,” but their involvement in the fight could come quite quickly, as Turkish officials have repeatedly said after Afrin, they’ll be attacking the YPG-held city of Manbij, a city that has US troops embedded within.

The US initially sent troops to Manbij to try to deter a Turkish invasion, betting they wouldn’t want to risk causing casualties to a fellow NATO member. That the fight is already ongoing now may change that calculation.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

So let me get this straight; the US military has troops embedded with the YGB in Mandij, the city in Syria Turkey has announced it will attack next.

Is the White House planning to create an exit corridor through which the American troops be able to leave, and quickly, or are they "sacrificial lambs" with which to justify a full-on invasion of Syria and/or Turkey?!?

This is about to get ugly, quickly.

Jan 23 08:29

Turkey’s Presence in Afrin Shows Complex Syrian Conflict ‘Nowhere Near Ending’

The Turkish military’s incursion into northwestern Syria creates a new dimension in the years-long crisis in Syria and highlights the conflict is “nowhere near ending,” an international affairs and security analyst told Sputnik.

The Turkish operation is nothing short of an effort to "cleanse" the Syrian city of Afrin from ethnic Kurds, security analyst Mark Sleboda told Sputnik.

Jan 23 08:16

How US went from supporting Syrian Kurds, to backing Turkey against them – in just 9 days

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been left flailing as Washington desperately struggles to avoid being shut out of Syria by its own allies – following a crisis it helped provoke just days ago.

For all the backpedaling and reframing the US officials are now doing, the chronology of the volte-face from Afrin to Ankara is startlingly straightforward.

Jan 22 11:05

Turkey ‘will not take a step back’ in Afrin operation: Erdo?an

Turkey will “not take a step back” from its operation into Afrin and has an agreement with Russia regarding its military offensive against the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the northwestern Syrian city, President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an said on Jan. 22.

He was speaking on the third day of “Operation Olive Branch,” during which one civilian in the southern province of Hatay was killed as a result of rocket fire from YPG militants across the border in Afrin.

“The Afrin issue will be resolved. There will be no step back. We have discussed it with the Russians and we have an agreement with them,” Erdo?an told businesspeople gathered for an award ceremony in the capital Ankara.

He reiterated that Turkey’s offensive into Afrin will only be over once objectives are accomplished in the field, “just like the Euphrates Shield Operation” in mid-2016.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Note that Edrogan states that " We have discussed it with the Russians and we have an agreement with them.”

Very few US news outlets, even blogs, are discussing this, and there is no mention on the corpratized US presstitute media, and I will go into the reasons for this a little later in this article.

I am going to be linking to several articles which appear today at http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com, a Turkish daily blog in English which has a number of news/op-ed pieces which, I believe, all thinking Americans should be reading.

Turkey, Russia, and Iran agree on 1600 Attendees list for Sochi Meeting

This meeting is will be dedicated to creating a peaceful, stable situation in Syria, where the voices of minorities can get heard.

Turkey was infuriated by unilateral US actions in Syria-Lavrov

This article goes on to state that:

"Unilateral U.S. actions in Syria infuriated Turkey, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said, adding that Washington’s bid to cooperate with the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara sees as a terrorist group, is a misunderstanding if not a provocation.

“Either it is a misunderstanding of the whole situation, or a deliberate provocation,” Anadolu Agency quoted Lavrov as saying at a press conference in Moscow on Jan. 22.

“We have already drawn attention to the fact that the U.S. have embarked on the creation of alternative authorities in large parts of Syrian territory,” Lavrov said.

“In Syria, Washington supplies arms both openly and discreetly to groups that cooperate with them, especially the SDF,” he said referring to the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is largely dominated by the YPG.

“The U.S. has announced the creation of certain ‘border forces’ in Syria. Clumsy denials followed. But the fact is they are still trying to control the border,” Lavrov said.

The reason yhou have barely heard a thing from the corporatized presstitutes on this issue, is that the on-going Turkish invasion of Syria represents a staggering "epic fail" of American foreign policy in the Middle East, but right now, without declaring (or NOT declaring a war, but acting covertly) against Syria; Turkey; or Russia, the US government is thoroughly impotent of doing anything about it, other than issue "milk toast", boiler-plate stements calling for "restraint"

THAT is why you are seeing, ad nauseum, images of a thouroghy disfunctional Congress, trying to figure out how to get back to working (allegedly) for We the People!

I even doubt that the adroitly skilled and nuanced Sarah Saunders, White House Press Secretary, will be able to put a positive spin on this Turkish invasion of Syria. No matter how she tries to slice and dice it, the neon red, flashing optics are officially horrible, with regard to US foreign policy.

Jan 22 10:49

Situation Map of Syria

Jan 22 10:40

SYRIAN WAR REPORT – JANUARY 22, 2018: ABU AL-DUHUR LIBERATION, OPERATION OLIVE BRANCH

On January 20, the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) officially launched a military operation in the area of Afrin and started conducting massive artillery and airstrikes on positions of Kurdish militias there.

“‘Operation Olive Branch’ has been started on Jan. 20, 2018 at 5 p.m., in Syria’s northwestern Afrin region to establish security and stability on our borders and region, to eliminate terrorists of PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh [ISIS], and to save our friends and brothers… from their oppression and cruelty,” the general staff said in an official statement.

The Russian military relocated its forces deployed in Afrin “to ensure the security of Russian servicemen located in the district.” The country’s defense ministry added in an official statement that:

Jan 22 10:13

Turkish Jets Hit Menagh Airbase Used by US to Supply Arms to Kurds - Reports

More than 70 Turkish military aircraft have been engaged in Ankara's Olive Branch operation in northern Syria against the Kurdish troop, according to Turkey' General Staff.

The Turkish Air Force attacked the Menagh Military Airbase in northwestern Syria, which the US used for supplying weapons to Kurdish armed forces, the Hurriyet newspaper reported citing military sources.

Jan 22 08:31

Turkey INVADES Syria – tanks and soldiers cross the border

Forces entered the country's Afrin province today just 24 hours after pounding the region with airstrikes.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim reportedly said they are targeting US-backed Kurdish fighters.

Shocking pictures show dozens of tanks and armoured vehicles crossing over the border in a terrifying display of military might.

Jan 22 08:30

Afrin: Over 150 Kurdish Positions Destroyed, Turkey-Backed Militants Capture First Region

Chief of the Turkish Army Joint Staff announced that 153 positions of the Kurdish fighter in the town of Afrin have been damaged by the forces of the Olive Branch Operation.

He further said that a number of hideouts and arms depots of the Kurdish forces were among the destroyed positions, adding that the artillery units' heavy fire is still underway in Afrin.

Based on reports, the militants of the Ankara-backed Euphrates River have captured the village of Shinkal in Northern Aleppo.

In the meantime, the Kurdish sources said that tough battle is underway in the village of Shinkal in Rajou region in Afrin, adding the Kurdish fighters have thus far targeted and destroyed two Turkish tanks in the village of Sheran near Afrin.

Jan 22 08:30

Turkey vs. USA? Ministry of Defense orders Russian military to leave Afrin, Syria

The Russian command in Syria has taken measures to ensure the security of servicemen in Afrin, where Turkey is conducting an operation against the Kurds, the Defense Ministry said.

The military department stressed that "to prevent possible provocations, to exclude the threat to life and health of Russian servicemen," the operational group of the Center for reconciliation of warring parties and military police was relocated from Afrin to Tel Adjar.

The Center for Reconciliation continues to monitor the situation in the de-escalation zone of Tel-Rifat in order to promptly provide assistance to the civilian population leaving the combat areas, the report said.

Jan 22 08:29

The diplomacy behind Turkey’s operation in Syria

Surprising many opponents of the campaign, still active Syrian air defense and air forces did not intercept the Turkish military operation on the Afrin region, which officially started at 5 p.m. (14:00 GMT) on Jan. 20.

Neither did the Russians. Perhaps even more surprising was the statement issued by the Russian Defense Ministry after the start of the “Olive Branch Operation.”

“The main reasons contributing to the development of the critical situation in this part of Syria were the provocative U.S. steps aimed at the separation of regions with predominantly Kurdish populations,” it stated.

The statement continued by describing militant groups affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as “pro-U.S.” forces and pointed the finger at Washington for the escalation of tension.

Jan 22 08:20

Iran Calls on Turkey to Immediately End Olive Branch Operation

At least nine people, including six civilians were killed as a result of the Turkish airstrikes carried out on Saturday under the military operation in Syria's northwestern Afrin district, a source in Afrin's local authorities told Sputnik on Sunday.

"Because of the airstrikes six civilians, two young women from the Kurdish Women's Protection Units [YPJ] and one fighter of the People's Protection Units [YPG] were killed," the source said speaking about the victims killed on Saturday. The source added that 13 more people were injured in the airstrikes.

Jan 22 08:20

Kurds Reportedly Destroy Five Turkish Tanks Amid Offensive in Syria

A video has appeared on YouTube showing the Kurdish YPG militia launch an anti-tank guided missile at a Turkish Leopard tank as the Turkish Army advanced toward Afrin in an offensive against the Kurdish forces.

According to the ANF News agency, the tank was hit in the area of the village of Kurdo in the Bilbil district of the Syrian city of Afrin on Sunday morning.

The video has been posted on the YouTube channel of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).

In a single day, Kurdish fighters destroyed five Turkish tanks in the Afrin area, ANF reported.

Jan 22 08:20

US Unilateral Actions in Syria Provoked Turkey to Fury - Moscow

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has pointed to the United States' "destructive role in foreign affairs" in an interview with Russia's Kommersant newspaper.

"Many political scientists ask the question, why are we concerned [over US actions as regarding the Iranian nuclear deal], saying that 'worse is better': let the United States prove its inability to negotiate, its destructive role in foreign affairs, whether in Iran, or in Syria, where Washington is taking unilateral steps that have enraged Turkey," Lavrov said, answering a question about the benefits Russia could gain as a result of US the policy to abort the deal with Tehran.

Jan 22 08:19

Missiles hit Turkish towns near Syrian border, casualties reported

The Turkish border town of Reyhanli has been hit with multiple missiles fired from northern Syria amid Turkey’s military operation, leaving one person dead and dozens injured. Another missile reportedly hit the town of Kilis.

At least one person was killed and 32 others wounded in Reyhanli, Mayor Hussein Sanverdi told Turkish media.

Jan 22 08:19

‘US broken promises to stop arming Kurds triggered Afrin op’ – Turkey's ex-FM to RT

Turkey would not have embarked on a military campaign in Afrin if Washington had honored its promises to cut off supplies and support to Kurdish militias, Yasar Yakis, Turkey's former foreign minister told RT.

It was “to a very large extent” the US policy towards the Kurds which served as the catalyst for the Turkish offensive in northern Syria, the former diplomat and ambassador to the UN Office in Vienna, Egypt and Saudi Arabia said.

Jan 22 08:18

Kurds Still Adamant to Russian Offer after Turkish Invasion

One of the Kurdish movements in Afrin disclosed that the Kurds have turned down a Russian request to hand over areas under their control to the Syrian government.

Jan 22 08:01

UN Security Council to discuss situation in Syria on January 22 - French top diplomat

The United Nations Security Council will discuss the situation in Syria at its meeting on Monday, January 22, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Sunday.

Turkey’s operation in Afrin to complicate inter-Syrian dialogue - expert
"The UN Security Council will hold consultations on the situation in Syria tomorrow. France will stress the necessity of humanitarian assistance," he wrote on his Twitter account.

Earlier, he said France requests an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council.

On Saturday, Turkey’s General Staff announced beginning of the Olive Branch operation against the Kurds’ units near Afrin, where about 1.5 million Syrian Kurds live. Recent reports quote the Turkish Air Force have hit 153 targets in Afrin. According to Sky News Arabia, six civilians and three military were killed in the air strikes. The Turkish General Staff, however, insists all the killed and injured "are terrorists.".

Jan 22 08:01

Assad slams Turkey’s operation in Afrin as support for terrorism in Syria

Syrian authorities believe that Turkey’s military operation in Afrin is geared towards supporting terrorism, SANA news agency quoted President Bashar Assad as saying on Sunday.

"Turkey’s aggression in the Syrian city of Afrin cannot be separated from the policy pursued by the Turkish regime since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis and built on support for terrorism and various terrorist groups," he said.

On Saturday, Turkey’s General Staff announced the beginning of the Olive Branch operation against Kurdish units near Afrin, where about 1.5 million Syrian Kurds live.

Jan 22 07:42

Syria: Turkish ground troops enter Afrin enclave

Turkish ground troops have crossed into northern Syria as part of a major offensive to push out Kurdish militia, which Turkey regards as terrorists.

The Kurdish group targeted, known as the YPG, is active in the Afrin region, across from Turkey's southern border.

It says it has repelled Turkish troops in the area, and retaliated with rocket fire on Turkish border areas.

The militia forms a crucial part of a US-backed alliance battling Islamic State (IS) jihadists in Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to crush the YPG "very quickly", but the US is urging Turkish "restraint" in order to avoid civilian casualties.

Jan 22 07:30

Egypt: Turkish attack on Afrin is unacceptable

The Foreign Ministry of Egypt condemned the Turkish state’s “unacceptable” attack on Afrin, calling it an intervention against and violation of Syrian lands.

In a statement about the operation, the Foreign Ministry pointed out that Turkey negatively affected the political efforts for the ending of terror in Syria, saying; “The attitude of Egypt towards military methods is clear as attacks against our Syrian brothers and sisters are increasing.”

On the other hand, Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, Frants Klintseviç stated that “Russia will ask Turkey to end its operation on Afrin at the United Nations.”

In a Facebook post about the invasion attempt, top Russian official Konstantin Kosaçev said; “Disturbing news are coming from Syria. The “Anti-terrorist operation” announced by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an causes nothing but concern.”

Jan 21 18:02

ERDOGAN RAGES: West is sending 'TRUCKLOADS of arms' to Kurds, says Turkey leader

THE Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has accused states such as the United States of sending “thousand of planeloads” and “truckloads of arms” to the Kurds.

Jan 21 14:56

Turkey retaliates against attacks, destroys YPG, PKK hideouts in Afrin: Turkish Army

Turkish military said on Jan. 20 it retaliated against the People's Protection Units/ Kurdistan Workers' Party [YPG/PKK] firings from Syria's Afrin on Jan. 19-20, destroying shelters, hideouts.

The Turkish General Staff said the army hit the shelters "within the scope of legitimate self-defense," state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Jan 21 14:56

Turkish military operation into Afrin begins, Manbij to follow: Erdo?an

Turkish military operation into the northern Afrin province of Syria has 'actively begun in the field,' President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an said on Jan. 20, speaking in the central Anatolian province of Kütahya.

Syria's Manbij will be the next destination for a Turkish combat operation, Erdo?an added, addressing the crowd during the sixth regular congress held by his Justice and Development Party (AKP).

"The promises made to us over Manbij were not kept. So nobody can object if we do what is necessary," Erdo?an said, referring to past U.S. assurances that the Peoples' Protection Unit (YPG) would move out of Afrin.

"Later we will, step by step, clear our country up to the Iraqi border from this terror filth that is trying to besiege our country."

Jan 21 14:55

Turkey summons UN Security Council member envoys, writes to Syrian regime

The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Jan. 20 summoned Russia and the U.S.’s top Ankara-based diplomats to inform them about the ongoing military operation in Syria's northwestern Afrin province.

Turkey has also summoned the Iranian ambassador to Ankara, a ministry official told Hürriyet Daily News, speaking on conditions of anonymity.

Ambassadors from the three remaining permanent members of the U.N. Security Council – Britain, France and China – will also be summoned, with Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Kaan Esener set to conduct the talks, the source said.

Jan 21 14:55

Afrin operation not to influence Sochi meeting: Turkish FM

Turkey’s military operation on the Kurdish militia group the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria’s Afrin province will not affect the Syrian conference in Sochi scheduled for later this month, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavu?o?lu said in a televised interview on Jan. 20.

Ankara has repeatedly said the YPG should not be allowed to join the Sochi conference, he said, responding to a question concerning an Iranian statement that the military offensive could affect the meeting scheduled for Jan. 29-30

Any ground operation in Syria may affect the Sochi-based Syrian National Dialogue Congress “in either a positive or negative manner,”

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari told reporters in a comment on Turkey’s operation in Syria’s Afrin.

Jan 21 08:58

Turkish Warplanes Pound Kurds, Thousands of Syrian Rebels Bused to Border

Following up on a flurry of Friday artillery strikes against Kurdish forces in the Afrin District on northern Syria, Turkish warplanes carried out a large number of airstrikes against the small district, with at least 108 strikes reported, leaving the towns’ streets empty, and locals panicking.

Syria’s government complained Turkey hadn’t informed them of the attacks, adding that they “strongly condemn” Turkish aggression. Syria had threatened to target Turkish warplanes raiding their airspace, however, and there’s so far no sign of this happening.

Instead the US-backed Kurds are getting hammered from the air, and Turkey is now not only massing their own troops at the Afrin border, but has bused in thousands of Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels to attack the Kurds as well.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

One has to wonder just how long this will be allowed to continue without US/Russian/Syrian military intervention.

And on the corporatized US "non-news", courtesy of American Presstitutes, the Turkish invasion of a sovereign country, Syria, is treated as though it wasn't happening at all!!

Jan 21 08:48

Russian forces re-deployed from Afrin after Turkey’s offensive - Russia’s Defense MinistryMore:http://tass.com/defense/986083

An operations group of the Russian center for reconciliation of warring sides and military police has been re-deployed from Syria’s Afrin to Tel Ajar after Turkey had launched its offensive, Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday.

The ministry said that "the command of the Russian military group in Syria has taken steps to provide security of the Russian servicemen, who had been stationed in Afrin canton, where the Turkish Armed Forces have mounted a ‘special operation’ against Kurdish units."

"The operations group of the center for reconciliation of warring sides and military police have been redeployed from the area of Afrin to the area of Tel Ajar in the Tel Rifaat de-confliction zone in order to avoid possible provocations and to ensure Russian servicemen’s lives and health are not exposed to risks," the ministry said.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Translation: this may be a retreat, but it appears to be a tactical retreat only, to keep Russian soldiers safe, until Putin and Lavrov decide precisely how to approach this Turkish invasion of Northern Syria.

But in the genral theme of things, the optics here cannot appear as through Russia has "backed down" from assisting Syria militarily, or allow Turkey to appear militarily successful in this bombing campaign and invasion.

Jan 21 08:37

Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch ‘aims to bring 10,000 km2 of Afrin under control’

The Prime Ministry’s Office of Public Diplomacy has cited the reasons for Turkey’s military operation against Syria’s northern Afrin province in a 12-article note.

The note, titled “What Turkey aims to do with Afrin operation,” was posted on the office’s official Twitter account on Jan. 21. It cited the following reasons for the operation:

* To ensure the Turkey-supported Free Syrian Army (FSA) takes control of a 10,000-square kilometer area.

* Following on from the Euphrates Shield Operation and the operation in Idlib, to completely prevent the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) from reaching the Eastern Mediterranean.

* To eliminate the possibility of losing Turkey’s geographical contact with the Arab world.

* To ensure the security of our borders with Syria.

* To prevent the infiltration of the Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the PKK into Turkey through the Amanos Mountains.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Notice that last point: "To counter US support for a terrorist organization", and by that statement, Turkey is referring to all Kurds, not just the PKK.

And that 10,000 square kilometers to which the Turkish government refers, is nearly 3,900 square miles; not an insignificant hunk of Syrian real estate!

But as far as I can see this morning, there has been absolutely zero military response to the bombardment yesterday or invasion today of Syria by Turkey; not from the United States Government; not from Russia, and not from the Syrian military or government.

Jan 21 08:25

Turkey launches major land operation into YPG militants in Syria's Afrin

Turkey has begun a land operation on the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), with troops entering Syrian soil at 11:05 a.m. on Jan. 21, Prime Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m told a group of journalists.

“Our units have entered Afrin from two branches at 11:05 a.m. with the Free Syrian Army. This means the land operation has begun,” Y?ld?r?m said, speaking to the editors of Turkish news publications in a meeting held in Istanbul.

The operation, which came hours after a major air strike on the YPG on Jan. 20, will consist of four phases to create a safe zone with a 30-kilometer depth, he said.

The first phase would be aimed to form a secure zone on the Turkish borders between Azaz and Afrin. Following the first phase, Y?ld?r?m said, the "cleaning" would require an even more thorough work and "there was no need to rush."

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The Webcrawl on Faux News barely mentioned the Turkish bombing campaign in Afrin yesterday, and has certainly not mentioned the land invasion of northern Syria by Turkey today in any meaningful way.

From the time of the Ottoman Empire to the present,one skill set at which the Turkish government and military continues to be magnificently adept is genocide.

The Turkish Genocide of Armenians

When Yildirm made the observation that "There are around 8,000 to 10,000 terrorists in Afrin,", he is, hubristically, attempting to "groom" the rest of the world to be prepared for an horrifically overwhelming number of dead Kurds from this operation; women; infants; children; and the medically fragile elderly most likely will not be spared.

And what I want to know is, just how many US troops are embedded with these Kurdish troops in and around Afrin, and what happens when those US troops get shot and killed or maimed for life by Turkish forces?!?

Did the Turkish government covertly warn the US government that this was going to happen in time to get those US troops safely out of that area of Syria?!?

No one at the White House seems to be saying anything, and this... is a really bad sign for both innocent, non-combatant Kurds, and for our troops in that region of the world. I mean, a couple of months ago, wasn't the US government attempting to create an independent Kurdistan out of bits of Northern Syria?!?

Specter of Syrian Kurdistan: How US' Covert Plan is Taking Shape

And if this is, in fact was "the US plan" for the Kurdish people, why has President Trump done absolutely nothing to prevent, or at least, mitigate, Edrogan's invasion of Syria?!?

There are way too many questions, and not nearly enough intelligent answers.

Right now, I am praying for the Kurdish non-combatants in Afrin, and hoping for a way in which they can be evacuated to safety; but that would probably need Russian assistance from the Syrian side, and I don't see the presence of any Russian military yet in the region.

Jan 20 14:28

Turkish Jets Hit Menagh Airbase Used by US to Supply Arms to Kurds - Reports

More than 70 Turkish military aircraft have been engaged in Ankara's Olive Branch operation in northern Syria against the Kurdish troop, according to Turkey' General Staff.

The Turkish Air Force attacked the Menagh Military Airbase in northwestern Syria, which the US used for supplying weapons to Kurdish armed forces, the Hurriyet newspaper reported citing military sources.

Jan 20 10:12

Trump Keeps US in Syria and Sets Off New War

Just days after the announcement of a U.S.-backed Kurdish "border force" and an indefinite U.S. military presence in Syria, Turkey is shelling Kurdish areas and threatening a ground assault. We speak to Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton about what the Trump administration's renewed commitment to both regime change and confronting Iran means for Syria.

Jan 20 10:06

Pat Buchanan Asks "Is A US-Turkish Clash In Syria Imminent?"

The war for dominance in the Middle East, following the crushing of ISIS, appears about to commence in Syria - with NATO allies America and Turkey on opposing sides.

Jan 20 09:36

Turkish Warplanes Begin "Massive Bombing" Of US-Backed Syrian Kurds

In a sharp escalation of Turkey's military campaign against the US-backed Syrian Kurdish YPG, on Saturday Turkish warplanes fired missiles and launched "massive bombing" of Kurdish targets in Syria's Afrin, NTV television reported.

Jan 20 09:25

Turkish Minister confirms that his country will go to war with Kurds in Syria

The Turkish Minister of Defense, Nurettin Canikli, stated on Friday that the Turkish military will battle with Kurdish forces in the Afrin canton of northern Syria.

"The threat level against Turkey is increasing day by day. This operation will be carried out and we will combat terrorism," he said.

Turkey considers the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) as the Syrian branch of the outlawed Turkey-based Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Although the US arms, funds and supports the YPG, it contradictory considers the PKK as a terrorist organization as well.

Jan 20 09:03

Russian Military Pulls Out Of Syrian Kurdish Town As Turkey Initiates "Massive Cross-Border Attack"

Crucially, the Turkish state-run news agency Anadoul confirmed that Russian military personnel have started pulling out of Afrin ahead of Turkey's "expected" and imminent cross-border military operation. Russia has administered 'deconfliction' zones in the Afrin area while controlling airspace overhead, and has sponsored trilateral talks with Turkey and Iran which seeks cooperation among the three powers to wind down the war in Syria. The Russian military has long had "military advisors" on the ground in Afrin, which have in the past helped coordinate the fight against ISIS.

Jan 20 07:44

Turkey Escalates Shelling, Says ‘No Turning Back’ From Syria Invasion

Turkish troops continue to mass at the Syrian border Friday, with artillery fire from their positions pounding Kurdish YPG forces in the Syrian Afrin District, and Turkish DM Nurettin Canikli saying this is the “de facto start” of a full-scale Syrian invasion of Kurdish territory.

Turkish officials have threatened this invasion off and on for months, and earlier this week said it was imminent. Canikli says now there is “no turning back” and that the invasion is in progress.

Turkey has long presented the Kurdish YPG as “terrorists,” and insisted they will not allow them to retain territory west of the Euphrates River. To this end, President Erdogan says Turkey will attack Afrin first, then Manbij.

Other Turkish officials, however, say they consider it unacceptable for the YPG to retain any territory near the Turkish border at all, which means nearly all of their territory is at risk from this ongoing operation

Webmaster's Commentary: 

It appears that nothing less than wholesale slaughter of all Kurds. a mass genocide of these people, is all that will be acceptable to the Turkish government.

And have you noticed?!? Even though the shelling against Syria has started from inside the Turkish border, not a world from any of the thoroughly government-compromised presstitutes on corporate US TV have even made mention of the fact that Turkey has, de facto, declared a war against Syria?!?

The following from the BBC is a confirmation that Turkish shelling has intensified, before Turkish tanks and military hardware invade Afrin:

Turkey steps up Syria shelling as invasion of Afrin looms

Jan 20 07:24

RUSSIAN MILITARY PULLS OUT OF SYRIAN KURDISH TOWN AS TURKEY INITIATES "MASSIVE CROSS-BORDER ATTACK"

Turkey's defense minister has confirmed the Turkish military has begun cross-border shelling of the Syrian Kurdish enclave of Afrin in what he further describes as the "de facto start" of the operation in order to destroy - in President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an's words - Kurdish "terror nests" - and which has been dubbed previously by Turkey as a 'massive cross-border attack.'

Defense Minister Nuettin Canikli said Friday that Ankara "has no option" regarding the planned invasion of Northern Syria to dislodge the YPG (Kurdish "People's Protection Units") and other factions, which it considers an extension of the "terrorist" PKK. Kurdish YPG militias and their media arms began reporting sporadic shelling and clashes earlier this week.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

So, let me get this straight; Turkey, a NATO member, may well find itself attacking positions where the US, another NATO member, may have troops embedded with the Kurds in Afrin?!?

This is dicey. But what is even more dicey is the reality that if Russia attacks the US in Afrin, we may well be on our way to World War III. The same may well happen if Russian forces strike Turkish forces here.

Jan 19 16:23

Turkey ‘determined’ to hit YPG despite US call

Turkey will carry out a military operation in Afrin in northern Syria, Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli vowed in an interview with private broadcaster A Haber on the morning of Jan. 19.

“The threat level against Turkey is increasing day by day. This operation will be carried out and we will combat terrorism,” Canikli said, referring to a long-anticipated operation against the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Afrin, seen by Ankara as organically linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

According to the minister, the Afrin operation should be carried out without delay and Ankara and Moscow will continue talks about Turkey’s planned military action.

Jan 19 10:13

Afrin knot: How the battle for a small Kurdish enclave could be the death knell for US-Turkey ties

This week, the countdown began for Afrin, a Kurdish-held enclave in the north of Syria which is feverously preparing for a major Turkish offensive. Over the past few days, international media have been reporting about Turkish troops, tanks and armored vehicles rolling towards the Syrian border.

The upcoming intervention in Afrin is said to be an extension of Turkey’s Euphrates Shield Operation, the declared goal of which was to target Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and drive Kurdish forces out of their enclaves in northern Syria.

Jan 19 08:40

“You Are Now Entering the American Sector” (Will Syria Be Partitioned?)

Do not take your eyes off the ball, remember that all this delicate pussyfooting is about power.

Russia avoided the Syrian quagmire despite dire predictions. Putin minimised his footprint, his war is almost over, ISIL has been defeated. Trump could also exclaim “Mission is completed!” – and fly home.

But, it seems he is eager to rush in where angels fear to tread. Trump does not mind doing for the Israeli Prime Minister what his predecessors, whether Democrats or Republicans, refused, namely, fighting Israel’s war by indefinitely extending the hostile and illegal occupation of Syria.

Jan 19 08:30

Why Is Putin “Allowing” Israel to Bomb Syria? The Saker

The truth is that “the Russians are *not* coming”. The key for Putin is to do what needs to be done to advance Russian interests but without triggering an internal or external political crisis.

Trying to reason with the Israelis or get them to listen to the UN has been tried by many countries for decades and if there is one thing which is beyond doubt is that the Israelis don’t give a damn about what anybody has to say. So talking to them is just a waste of oxygen. What about threatening them? Actually, I think that this could work, but at what risk and price?

Jan 19 07:51

Syria threatens to 'destroy' Turkish warplanes

Syria threatened on Thursday to "destroy" any Turkish warplanes that fly into its territory as Ankara prepares to launch a cross-border military operation to wipe out Kurdish fighters it calls "terrorists".

Turkish officials have repeatedly vowed to attack the Syrian-Kurd militia known as the YPG at any moment in the Afrin region in northern Syria, near the border with Turkey.

The move comes after the United States announced this week it would train the YPG-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to be part of a 30,000-strong "border force" - a statement US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Thursday was "misportrayed".

Webmaster's Commentary: 

And to that, we have the following update on a very tense situation, vis a vis Turkey and Syria, from just several hours ago:

Russia moving military "observies into Syria's Afrin

How quickly Russian assets can move from "Observer" to "Participant" status remains to be seen. But I think we can count on one thing for sure: Russia will do just whatever Al Assad asks then to do.

IF Turkey attacks US forces in Syria, this will be an ugly scene of NATO member firing on fellow NATO member.

IF Russian and the US mlitary turn this conflict into a shooting war between themselves, we are looking, potentially, at the start of World War III.

Jan 18 12:05

Syria Vows To Shoot Down Turkish Jets As Erdogan Orders Putin "Do Not Oppose" Assault

According to the Associated Press, this morning Syria said it would shoot down any Turkish jets carrying out attacks inside Syria. This comes as preparations continue for an imminent large-scale Turkish attack of Kurdish militia groups currently holding Afrin near the Turkish border.

Multiple regional outlets have confirmed a build-up of forces that could constitute the largest external intervening force thus far in the entirety of the Syrian war, including special forces troops, Army units, Turkish-backed Syrian rebels and Turkey's air force.

Jan 18 12:05

Watch The State Department Respond As US Ally Turkey Attacks US-Backed Forces In Syria

On Tuesday the US State Department spokesperson was asked during the daily press briefing about the obvious contradiction inherent in US ally and NATO member Turkey shelling US-backed Kurdish forces in Afrin - the Kurdish held zone in northwest Syria near the Turkish border.

It's not the first time that a US partner force has attacked another US partner force in Syria (and then there's this Vice News headline from 2016 indicating it's sometimes gone three ways: "Three US allies are now fighting each other in northern Syria").

Jan 18 12:03

U.S. Creates Kurdish/Terrorist “Border Force” in Syria to Define Borders of Kurdistan

The new plans announced by the United States involve the creation of a “border force” that is expected to contain around 30,000 personnel to be deployed at the borders controlled by the SDF (Syria Democratic Forces). The force will be trained by the United States and will contain members from the SDF and YPG and will see Kurdish members patrolling “Kurdish areas” while Arab members patrol “Arab areas.”

Naturally, the move has angered Turkey since it is opposed to Kurdish nationalism out of fears that it will inspire Kurdish extremists inside Turkey itself. Russia has also condemned the move claiming that it will lead to partitioning. Syria, for its part, has labeled the Trump administration’s plan as an insult to Syria’s national integrity and appears dedicated to Assad’s promise to liberate every inch of Syrian territory.

Jan 18 09:53

Turkey launches first ground operation in northern Iraq

The Turkish military has launched a land operation against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, stating that its aim is to “prevent PKK militants from threatening border security.”

The operation is the first time in nine years that Turkish land forces have engaged in Iraq.

Commando units entered the Zap region of Iraq after crossing from the Çukurca district of the southeastern province of Hakkari. The move, which is part of “Operation Zap,” came after the military determined an increase in movement of outlawed militants in the area, Do?an News Agency reported on Oct. 18.

A total of 21 PKK militants have been “neutralized” since the air-supported operations began on Oct. 16, according to statements made by the military. Authorities use the word “neutralized” to refer to militants who are killed, wounded or captured.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Even though this happened last Sunday, and one might think that this is at least some kind of "big deal", not a word in the western media about Turkey launching a ground invasion of Iraq.

Jan 16 13:17

Turkey Notifies NATO Of Imminent Massive Invasion Of Syria To Fight Kurds

Turkey is poised for an imminent massive ground invasion of Northern Syria to quash Kurdish militia groups currently holding Afrin near the Turkish border. Multiple regional outlets have reported a build-up of forces that could constitute the largest external intervening force thus far in the entirety of the Syrian war.

According to Middle East based Al-Sura News, Turkey's military build-up currently underway includes special forces troops, Army units, Turkish-backed Syrian Rebels and Turkey's air force. The Kurdish YPG/J (People's Protection Units) has held Afrin since the Syrian government withdrew from the area in 2012, which constitutes the western-most part of the self-declared Rojava autonomous Kurdish zone.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

IF I were a bookie in Vegas, I don't know what odds of war breaking out between Turkey and Syria were, but I wouldn't bet against it starting within the next 24- 48 hours.

Jan 16 12:29

US-Backed Syrian Kurds Mobilize Civilians, Turkey May Attack ‘At Any Moment’

The Kurdish YPG is scrambling to raise its civilian population into an irregular force in the Afrin District of Northern Syria, desperately trying to shore up defenses ahead of a Turkish invasion which officials say could happen “at any moment.”

Turkey’s President Erdogan vowed such an invasion over the weekend, and has been talking it up ever since, insisting now that Turkey needs to not only take Afrin, but to strangle the US-backed border army before it is fully operational.

The US has said the border force will be 30,000-strong, and Erdogan is loudly opposed to the idea, calling it a “terror army,” and insisting that the only reason to establish such a border force would be to attack Turkey.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

War with Turkey (and, potentially, Russia) over Northern Syria?!?

This is completely insane, on the part of all parties, except for Syria, which simply wants to be left alone, and Russia, which severely frowns on this illegal occupation on the part of the US.

This could go absolutely out of control at any moment. Let us hope that some adults in the room (Namely, Putin and Lavrov) can ratchet down the tensions before this escalates past the point of no return.

Jan 16 11:36

US admits to forming “terrorist army”, Erdogan says

Turkey’s President Erdogan said the US formation of a 30,000 YPG militants on its border with Syria would be dealt with and the country’s armed forces were ready to start operations.

Jan 15 09:43

US-led coalition intends to create large new border force in Syria: Report

The so-called military coalition led by the United States in Syria is reportedly planning to set up a new large border force of up to 30,000 personnel with the aid of its militia allies in war-torn country, a move that will further infuriate Turkey, a NATO ally that is already angry over Washington’s strong support for Kurdish-dominated forces in the Arab country.

Jan 14 09:07

Turkish Forces Shell Syrian Kurds Targets in Northern Syria - Reports

Turkey’s artillery fired on Saturday at least 36 times at targets in the Afrin district of Aleppo, according to Anadolu news agency. The Turkish forces were firing from Turkey's southern province Hatay and the observation point in Syria’s Idlib province.

Jan 13 09:24

Erdogan says Turkey will crush Kurdish militia in Afrin

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey's military incursion in northern Syria's Idlib province would crush Kurdish militia forces that control the neighbouring region of Afrin.

The Kurdish YPG militia said Turkish forces inside Syria fired shells into Afrin on Saturday, but no one was wounded.

Jan 12 15:37

Syria - Erdogan (Again) Switches Sides - Delivers New Supplies For Terrorist Attacks

Turkey, in line with U.S. services, decided to block the current Syrian advance in south-east Idleb. Yesterday an ad-hoc alliance of jihadi "rebels" launched a counteroffensive to stop the Syrian army from cutting off a big chunk of "rebel" held territory in east-Idleb.

Jan 12 12:35

Russia Says It Knows Who Ordered The Mysterious Drone Attack On Their Base . . . And It Wasn't Turkey

By Brandon Turbeville

In the past few weeks the Russian Khmeimim Airbase in Lattakia, Syria has been attacked twice. Once, on New Year’s Eve, the base was attacked by terrorist infiltration squads armed with mortars. The attacks resulted in the death of two Russian soldiers and the damaging of a number of Russian aircraft. On January 6, the base was attacked again, this time by one of the weirdest operations of the last few years. The base came under fire by 13 armed drones who were either shot down or brought down by electronic warfare means by the Russian forces. Where these drones originated from, who operated them, and from where they were controlled are all mysteries...

Jan 11 10:25

Russia is blaming Turkey for attacks on its military bases in Syria — after hinting the US was responsible

The Russian military announced on Wednesday that Turkish-backed rebels attacked its Hmeimim air base and Tartus naval facility in Syria over the weekend with 13 drones.

"The recent drone attack on Russian bases in Syria was launched from an area near Idlib, which is controlled by Turkish-backed rebel forces," according to RT, adding that Moscow complained to Turkey about the incident. The drone attack reportedly took place overnight from January 5 to January 6.

The Russian military said that the attack originated from the village of Muazzara, which is located in the Idlib region of Syria.

Jan 09 10:34

Turkey to extend state of emergency for another 3 months, Deputy PM says

Turkey will extend the state of emergency imposed after the 2016 coup attempt for another three months, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Monday, the sixth such extension of an emergency rule that has ushered in a sweeping crackdown.

Emergency rule allows the president and cabinet to bypass parliament in passing new laws and to limit or suspend rights and freedoms. More than 50,000 people have been arrested since its introduction and 150,000 have been sacked or suspended from their jobs in the military, public and private sectors.

Jan 09 08:33

As Syria Moves Toward Idlib, Potential For Clash With Turkey Becomes Real - Will Russia, NATO Be Involved?

By Brandon Turbeville

After the defeat of ISIS and the liberation of Deir ez Zour, the Syrian military is now setting its sights on the terrorist capitol of Idlib. While maintaining a sizable terrorist presence since the beginning of the conflict, various cease-fire agreements have seen terrorists shipped from cities and towns from all across the country into Idlib city and province. As a result, a massive concentration of terrorists now populate the area and thus Idlib represents the last major battle to eliminate Islamic extremist terrorists from Syria (not counting the Kurdish extremists in the north and northeast)...

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