Warplanes belonging to the Turkish Air Force conducted airstrikes on 18 Kurdish positions and killed “160 – 200” fighters on Wednesday night in northwestern Syria, Turkish media claimed.
Citing information from the Turkish General Staff, the state-run Anadolu Agency (AA) said Turkish bombers attacked the Kurdish village of Maarat Um Hawsh under control of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the Afrin Canton, north of Aleppo.
Kurdish forces confirmed the Turkish aerial bombardment reporting at least 20 airstrikes were carried out in Umm Hawsh and Um Qura village.
According to a statement on the Facebook page of the United States-backed YPG, Kurdish positions were also hit by at least 100 rounds of Turkish artillery shelling.The attack took place this past Wednesday night, the 19th of October, the same day Putin and Erdogan were in contact.
In exchange for assistance in clearing Aleppo?
Turkish jets launched a massive assault on People’s Protection Units (YPG) forces in northern Syria on Oct. 20 to prevent the Syrian Kurdish group from taking the strategic town of al-Bab in northwestern Syria.
If the YPG, which is linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), seizes al-Bab, there would be a corridor connecting Syrian Kurdish regions east and west of the Euphrates River — something Turkey has vowed not to let happen.
Amberin Zaman reported that “the strikes mark the second time Turkey has attacked the YPG from the air, raising interesting questions about Ankara’s relations with Russia and with the Syrian regime.
YPG sources who spoke to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity said Turkey is unlikely to have initiated the strikes without informing Russia, whose planes effectively control the skies over northwestern Syria.It's very, very, very doubtful Turkey made those strikes without notifying Russia. In fact, to me, it seems impossible to believe Russia was unaware.
Russia and Turkey are on opposite sides of the Syrian conflict, but Ankara’s fears of the emergence of a PKK-run Kurdish entity along its borders appear to have surpassed its desire to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. This is one of the main reasons Turkey was so keen to patch up ties with Russia, and some claim with Damascus, after downing a Russian jet over the Syrian border last year.”
Zaman added that Russia will not, however, allow Turkish-backed rebel forces to seize al-Bab, as this could threaten the Syrian government’s efforts to retake Aleppo.
“YPG sources speculate that Moscow gave the green light for Turkish airstrikes to prevent their forces from moving on to al-Bab. In exchange, [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan assured Russian President Vladimir Putin in an Oct. 19 telephone conversation that he would help eject Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, the jihadist group formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra, from Aleppo. Whether he will, or even can, remains unclear,” Zaman wrote.I'd linked this in the comment section of a previous post- May as well bring it here
MOSCOW, October 19. /TASS/. Russian and Turkish Presidents, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, exchanged views on the Syrian settlement and discussed the operation to liberate Iraq’s Mosul, the Kremlin press service said on Tuesday after a telephone conversation between the two leaders initiated by the Turkish side.I suspect Russia either green lighted or at the very least looked the other way. If Russia's goal is to ensure Syria's territorial integrity, it doesn't seem sensible they would allow YPG to annex more territory
"The Russian side stressed the importance of efficient separation of ‘moderate’ opposition groups from militants of Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist groups affiliated with it," the Kremlin said.
The removal of Jabhat Fatah al-Sham forces from Aleppo is an interest shared by both Russia and the United States, and it’s a key element of the UN proposal for Aleppo. This column reported Oct. 9 that UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura had said that he would be willing to personally escort the 1,000 Jabhat Fatah al-Sham fighters out of Aleppo, as they were holding the besieged city hostage.
For some reason, the al-Qaeda-linked group’s role is left out of many op-eds and Western press accounts of the battle for Aleppo.Yes, for 'some reason' AQ's role in Aleppo is always glossed over.. Rolls eyes
In addition to the withdrawal of Jabhat Fatah al-Sham fighters, the UN Aleppo proposal seeks a cessation of the bombing by Syrian and Russian forces, an end to shelling of western Aleppo by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and other armed groups, unimpeded humanitarian access to the city and respect for existing independent local administration.Updated 6:16 est to add- hat tip AnonymousOctober 20, 2016 at 10:29 AM
Erdogan and Putin agree to clear Aleppo?
Erdoğan said the two sides had talked about a consensus for taking al-Nusra fighters out of Syria’s second largest city.
“He [Putin] said that as of 10:00 p.m. [Oct. 18] the air bombardment was stopped [in Aleppo]. They [Putin] appealed to us about taking al-Nusra out of the city. We have given the necessary instructions to our friends [officials]. We have talked about a consensus [with Putin] to work on taking al-Nusra out of Aleppo and maintaining the peace of the people of Aleppo,” Erdoğan said Oct. 19, addressing a meeting of neighborhood leaders in Ankara.
More on Mosul at the opening link above. Directly connected to the earlier post on Turkey. KRG, Mosul and more