Straight up, I don't believe Turkey is not flying because of warnings from Syria. Nor do I believe that Russia was unaware of the airstrikes made against the kurdish militias on syrian territory- Putin and Erdogan were talking immediately preceding the airstrikes.
A news story was making the rounds about some 'close encounter' between a Russian and US plane over Syria, BUT, it was old news
Air Force Lt. Gen. Jeff Harrigan said the incident happened on Oct. 17 when a Russian jet was escorting a larger spy plane and came to “inside of half a mile” of the American aircraft, AFP reports.Making the 'close encounter' news a total distraction.
To make matters even more curious this news from VOA caught my attention:
Allies Resist US Plan to Attack Raqqa
Apparently it's not just the Turks that are opposing the move on Raqqa and the use of PKK/YPG as proxies. Europe is less then enamored with the idea. So, what's really going on at this time?
A proposed U.S.-backed offensive on the Islamic State terror group’s Syrian stronghold of Raqqa is encountering problems, because Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insists the Syrian-Kurdish YPG — the only militia currently up to the task — can play no part.
America’s European allies also are raising objections and expressing strong skepticism about any major role for the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG. They fear that having the Kurds in the vanguard of an assault on Raqqa, historically a predominantly Arab city, would fuel sectarian rivalries.
Speaking to the news channel France 24, Britain’s defense secretary, Michael Fallon, warned that using anything but an Arab force would court rejection by the Sunni Arab residents of Raqqa. He said the liberation of the city would have to be done by an “essentially Arab” force.
“Otherwise,” he warned, “the liberation is not going to be welcomed by the people of Raqqa” and would worsen tensions between Arabs and Kurds.I've mentioned several times already the Kurds are not an effective fighting force, you're just supposed to believe that is true. The Kurdish militias have benefited from US airpower and the fact that ISIS always melts away- Everywhere.
Turkey doesn't want a bunch of terrorists on their southern border
Worsening tensions and more sectarian rivalries will fuel more ethnic cleansing and more people displacement- The mass influx of refugees is causing discomfort in Europe.
Related: Kirkuk: Kurdish authorities demolish Arab Refugee Homes. KURDIShIS attacked Kirkuk
U.S. officials are eager to liberate Raqqa sooner rather than later because they fear IS is planning to prolong its already stiff defense of the Iraqi city of Mosul by sending reinforcements from Raqqa — something it may already be doing.That's odd- 'stiff defense of Mosul'- Just the other day it was announced that Mosul was taken- and the allies were moving on to phase 2
Related: Mosul Offensive Drawing to A Close As Daesh/ISIS Uprooted- Phase 2
Earlier this week, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter called for a simultaneous attack on IS’ self-styled capital of Raqqa alongside the push, started more than a week ago, to retake Mosul.
“We want to see an isolation operation begin around Raqqa as soon as possible,” Carter said during a visit to the Iraqi city of Irbil. “We are working with our partners there [in Syria] to do just that.”
In the runup to the launch of the assault on Mosul, some U.S. officials and analysts argued that to speed up the end of the jihadist caliphate, a better strategy would be to attack Raqqa and Mosul at the same time, forcing an already stretched terror group to fight off two major assaults on different fronts.
“I think Raqqa is more important to IS than Mosul is, because of how central Raqqa is to the group’s administration of its declining state,” Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based research group, told VOA before the Mosul assault unfolded.In my opinion... The US wants to make the push on Mosul & Raqqa simultaneously in order to continue on with it's remake of the middle east agenda-Greater Kurdistan/Israel 2.0
The Kurdish militias (PKK) in Sinjar will roll on through to Raqqa- claiming everything along the way.. Raqqa is predominately Arab, not Kurdish as this map from the Economist implies
Control of Raqqa and its surrounding province has supplied IS with considerable revenue, from the sale of oil from nearby oil fields and cash the group demanded from the Assad government in Damascus for the electricity generated by the Euphrates and Ba’ath dams.The importance of both the dams and the oil for Kurdistan has been discussed here on numerous occasions- And KurdIShIS's oil production and revenue has also been discussed.
Only in recent days have U.S. officials started to talk publicly about a Raqqa assault being unleashed within weeks. But as with the planning for the Mosul offensive, with Raqqa, U.S. officials are faced with a host of problems as they try to discipline unruly alliances of local sectarian rivals that mistrust each other and fear they will be outmaneuvered and weakened for what may follow the defeat of IS.Well, this is Voice of America, so we gotta expect some total baloney will be in the article- The US has spoken publicly about a move on Mosul and Raqqa simultaneously for far longer then a couple of weeks.. There is a post here from August 14th on this topic
Refresh: US Led Coalition Plans Two Pronged Attack Against ISIS in Raqqa and Mosul
“The U.S.-led coalition plans to place simultaneous military pressure on the Islamic State's two critical strongholds in Iraq and Syria to thwart the militant group's grip in the region, a top U.S. commander said"Thwart the militant groups grip- absurd.. My readers know this has always been about annexing Syrian, Iraqi territory for Israel 2.0 /Kurdistan. I’ve written about this extensively.
Turkey’s Erdogan has said he told U.S. President Barack Obama in a phone call to exclude the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its militia, the YPG, from the proposed Raqqa offensive.Two Turkish officials said that eh? No names? No direct quotation of said statements? Obviously I don't see this claim by VOA as credible. It directly contradicts Erdogan's quoted statement above and stance below.
“We do not need terrorist organizations like the PYD and YPG in the Raqqa operation. Let us work together to sweep Daesh [the Arabic acronym for IS ] from Raqqa, I told him,” Erdogan said.
In a written statement after the phone call, Turkish officials said the two leaders agreed to support the territorial integrity and independence of a post-Assad Syria.
Assad first, IS second
Ankara fears the Kurds are planning to fashion an independent state in northern Syria running along the border with Turkey and sees the PYD as an extension of Turkey’s outlawed separatist group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, with which it is locked in a vicious conflict in southeastern Turkey.Oh, really? Don't believe that claim either.
But without the YPG, it is unclear who could muster a strong enough assault on Raqqa to recapture it from the jihadists.
Since the YPG’s successful 2014-15 defense of the border town of Kobane from IS, Washington has considered the YPG its most reliable ground ally against the jihadists. But backing the Syrian Kurds has damaged Washington’s relations with both Ankara and the mainly Sunni Arab Syrian rebel militias that have battled to oust President Bashar al-Assad for more than five years. Arab insurgents see Assad as their main enemy and IS as a secondary foe that can be defeated once Assad has been driven from power.Kobane- ISIS melted away- there is no need for strong defense when your so called enemy has it's strings pulled by your bestie- Your ally.
Syrian rebel militias have clashed with YPG forces, which took the opportunity to seize traditionally Arab towns north of the city of Aleppo during a Russian-backed Assad offensive last February. Both Kurdish-dominated forces and Syrian rebels backed by Turkey are converging on al-Bab, northeast of Aleppo, in a race to take the town from IS.
Speaking in Ankara to the families of veterans, Erdogan reiterated his determination to maintain the push toward al-Bab. After that, he said, the rebels, with Turkish air, artillery and special forces support, would turn their attention to Raqqa.
“I had a long conversation with Mr. Obama last night and I told him that we’ll take these steps,” he said.
But it remains unclear whether Syrian rebel militias want, at this stage, to be drawn into what would be a prolonged and bloody fight over Raqqa. Rebel commanders working with the Turks told VOA that after al-Bab they want to bolster their comrades in the besieged city of Aleppo, where insurgents Friday announced they were mounting a new offensive to try to break a months-long siege by Assad’s forces, their second bid to do so.
The Turkish and American defense ministers, Fikri Isik and Carter, met in Brussels Thursday on the sidelines of a NATO meeting to discuss the anti-IS battles in Iraq and Syria. Isik told reporters that Ankara was pressing the U.S. to drop the PYD and to embrace the Free Syrian Army as the local force to liberate Raqqa.
“We will be insistent on this issue up to the end,” he said.
Scott @ American Everyman put up an interesting piece that may shed some light on Europe's recalcitrance to go along with US plans