Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Ankara's Offer to Moscow or Vice Versa: Afrin for Idlib/Idlib for Afrin

 I find this a very interesting read... The premise seems quite plausible. 
What do you think about this scenario?

Tension is escalating rapidly west of the Euphrates River, especially in the area of Syria's Afrin canton controlled by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), and at Idlib, controlled by a motley collection of outfits mostly (but not entirely) backed by Turkey.

Last week, as the Turkish army continued to amass forces in the triangle of Kilis in Turkey, and Jarablus/al-Bab/al-Rai in Syria, Turkish 155 howitzers began shelling YPG targets southwest of Azaz and north of Tel Rifaat. The YPG returned fire with its 81 mm mortars at Free Syrian Army (FSA) targets in the triangle. Local sources told Al-Monitor there have been occasional clashes between the YPG and the FSA east of Tel Rifaat over the past two weeks.
The YPG issued a statement June 30 saying it plans to take from Turkey the area between Azaz and Jarablus. It offered no timeline. 
Ankara’s priority target in northern Syria is the YPG. Turkey aims to prevent the creation of a Kurdish or Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) corridor that would begin at PKK headquarters in the Qandil Mountains and extend to Afrin canton in the west via Shengal, and the cantons of Jazeera and Kobani.
 From Quandil to Afrin Canton (aka annexed Syrian territory) via "Shengal" which is Sinjar, Iraq (aka annexed Iraq territory) All controlled by PKK/YPG.

Go back to this post: Taking Raqqa: Dam, Airport Captured- US Deal with Kurds On Syrian Territory

The YPG issued a statement June 30 saying it plans to take from Turkey the area between Azaz and Jarablus. It offered no timeline.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently posted on his official Twitter account: “I am calling on the whole world. We will never allow setting up of a [Kurdish] state in northern Syria no matter what the cost may be.”
Ankara, when it couldn’t persuade the United States to stop cooperating with the YPG east of the Euphrates, turned its attention to west of the Euphrates. Ankara no doubt finds that Moscow is easier to work with than the United States in northern Syria. West of the Euphrates, Ankara and Moscow need each other, hence their inevitable cooperation. For a clearer picture west of the Euphrates, one needs to understand why Moscow needs Ankara at Idlib and what Ankara can get in return.
Currently, Idlib acts as the "capital" of the armed Syrian opposition in Syria. In Idlib, you will find:
  • Salafi-jihadi armed groups that are generally considered "terrorists," such as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an alliance including Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra).
  • Middle-of-the-road Salafi-jihadi armed groups such as Ahrar al-Sham, which has one foot in the radicals' camp and the other in a group considered "moderates."
  • Sunni armed opposition that Turkey has tried to consolidate under the FSA and that provided field support to Turkey during Operation Euphrates Shield.
It's clear that Russia and loyalists of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are preparing for a major offensive at Idlib, as they did in Aleppo. They are telling the groups at Idlib, basically, “You have to decide if you are moderates or radicals. If you are moderates, you can either leave Idlib or comply with the rules of de-escalation. If you don’t leave Idlib and refuse to heed the rules of de-escalation, then you are terrorists and deserve to be eliminated.”
Moscow now needs the area Turkey is preparing in the Jarablus/al-Bab/al-Rai triangle for the moderates and their families who will leave Idlib. Russia also needs a reliable mediator in its relations with the groups at Idlib. Ankara can definitely be of great help in this.
Cognizant of its needs, Moscow appears to be much more accommodating to Ankara rather than Washington by trying to reconcile Ankara’s concerns with Moscow’s field requirements.
In the field, the primary issue is where to put the tens of thousands of people who will leave Idlib before the anticipated offensive. The only feasible area for these displaced people to settle will be the Turkey-controlled Jarablus/al-Bab/al-Rai triangle. But this triangle needs to be expanded. That will not be militarily feasible southward, south of al-Bab or toward Manbij in the east.
The only available territory is toward Tel Rifaat in the YPG-controlled Afrin canton.
My understanding of the situation on the ground is that, in return for Ankara’s help at Idlib, Moscow will agree for Ankara to expand, if not in the entirety of Afrin, then from Kilis-Azaz toward the southwest, to reach Tel Rifaat.
This is precisely why I predict that, should there be a Turkish operation west of the Euphrates, it will be two-pronged, one from the Kilis-Azaz line toward the south and the other from Mare in the east toward the west, with both columns linking up at Tel Rifaat. The FSA would provide the bulk of the ground forces and Turkey would provide 155 mm artillery support. To comprehend how much leeway Russia will allow Ankara, we have to see whether it will allow Turkish air force operations to move against YPG targets in the Afrin canton.
The question now is whether Ankara will be able to establish a power balance to make the de-escalation zone operational before clashes escalate at Idlib. The answer will be decided by the choices of the groups under the Ahrar al-Sham umbrella. What will be the preferences of these groups, some of them guided by former Jabhat al-Nusra forces, and others backed by Turkey?
It's not hard to guess that Ankara, in return for concessions from Moscow at Afrin, will do its best to ensure that middle-of-the-road groups such as Ahrar al-Sham will adopt the rules of de-escalation. That, however, could lead to clashes between Ankara and former Jabhat al-Nusra factions.
Because of this extremely complex scene, the fate of Idlib will affect not only the destiny of extreme Salafi/jihadi networks in Syria, but also the fate of similar networks in Turkey.
Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin last month said Turkey could send 300-500 troops to the Idlib de-escalation zone.
Another interesting development is the decision made during negotiations in Astana, Kazakhstan, to deploy troops from other foreign countries in all de-escalation zones in Syria. Two weeks ago, there were already reports that Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan could send troops to Idlib.
Would the arrival of Kyrgyz and Kazakh troops aim only to prevent an outbreak of clashes between the Syrian government and opposition, or is there some other thinking behind it?
Many Central Asians hailing from different countries have joined Salafi/jihadi groups in the region. These people at the moment pose limited threats to their own countries. But the arrival of the troops could be seen as a major move of the states recognizing this threat. When one sees Uighur militants around Idlib, the question arises whether China will get involved in the Idlib issue.
Now, all eyes will be on the July 10 Astana summit regarding the future of Idlib, and therefore Afrin.
The main issue for Turkey at the summit will be how to reconcile its paradoxical thesis of preserving Syria’s territorial integrity while trying to expand its governance of Syrian territory of the Jarablus/al-Bab/al-Rai triangle.
Syria's territorial integrity is gone. Everyone knows this. The US knows this. They infact created the conditions that would get this result!   
Russia knows this.  Turkey  knows this.  Syria's leadership and people may be less accepting of this but the reality on the ground tells us all otherwise- The US has minimally three airbases in the north of Syria. It is intending to occupy and shore up their partner the terrorist occupiers PKK/YPG.

Saw some news that the US intends to build permanent military bases in Syria's east, also.

An aside: Was thinking the other day how much the SDF resembles ISIS. Yet another rebrand and fits the KurdIShIS thesis so very well...........

From Earlier Today

PKK/YPG Smash Through Raqqa's Ancient Walls To "Fight" ISIS


  1. The problem with the Uighur militants is the fact that they are trying to flee china, due to the persecutions done upon them, some are lucky and land in europe/usa/turkey and some are not so lucky and end up in the hands of militant groups as we see in Syria.

    The problems with Uighur's which I have first hand witnessed is that they are naive, They don't have the same experiences with this kind of manipulation and thus they are fighting in a war they should not be. Now one could say that Turkey might be able to get them out, but the years might have damaged the mind.

    1. Penny, just wondering. Have you watched the video I posted a few articles back?

  2. Good analysis, Penny. My hope is that Syria will regain ALL its territory. This is a principle of International Law that should be supported by all, otherwise the plunder of the hegemaniacs will continue with impunity.

    1. Greencrow: I've always wanted Syria to maintain all of it's territory as it was.. And still hope that will be the outcome-

  3. Off topic, perhaps. But while the focus is mostlty about the Northern hemisphere ....
    Doubt that this will get much airplay ?

    1. thanks davoh, shall have a look

    2. Ooops

      Trump's grubby fingers in Indonesia.

    3. Hello Davoh and thank you again for the links

  4. "Syria's territorial integrity is gone."

    The partitioning of Syria is a Zionist goal. Any conniving towards such an outcome will be final proof about who is manipulating all sides in such a conflict. I find it hard to believe that Turkey and Russia are Zionist pawns.

    I can imagine a small, symbolic piece of Syria being handed over to Turkey but there is no way that Syrian Kurdistan is going to happen. The US bases will be left untouched -- surrounded, isolated but essentially untouched. They did the same at Al-Tanaf, so I'm not worried about these islands of failed US obstinacy. The US will leave once its proxy are defeated.

    I reject Penny's bleak assessment.

  5. anonymous as it stands on the ground, right now, Syria has lost control of much of it's territory- that's just a simple fact.

    Of course the partitioning of Syria is a zionist goal.

    How many years do you think it would take of continuous fighting for Syria to take back all that it has lost?
    How many more years?
    How many more will die?
    I would like to read your thoughts on that?

    " there is no way that Syrian Kurdistan is going to happen"

    Hasn't it already happened? The PKK/YPG has made their claim and along with the US they've stolen much of Syria's water, land and oil... What will it take to change that fact on the ground?

    My assessment is realistic.

    1. It is not realistic. The anti-Zionist coalition is not going to roll-over and let the Kurds have their Stan.

    2. "How many more years?
      How many more will die?
      I would like to read your thoughts on that?"

      My thoughts on that? That an SAA fighter and his family would call it defeatist and will never, even bow down to Zionism.

      The same way the Palestinians learned not to leave their homes because they knew the Zionists would never let them back in. The same way Palestinians are still fighting even thought those homes are now destroyed.

      Luckily for the Syrians they have the best fighters in the world now fighting for all of Syria. ALL of Syria.

  6. I also reject any notion about the "inevitability" of Syrian partition. I could see that meme coming at me over 2 years ago. That is how the Zionists will attempt to portray the partitioning of Syria. In fact, Israeli ministers have already started spouting such propaganda.

    Any partitioning will have been planned. It will not be a random outcome of a random war. This war (an invasion by multiple mercenary groups) was always about chopping up Syria -- there was no plan B. It was plan A all along. So if Russia and Turkey agree to a partitioning then they are part of the Zionist nexus. A highly unlikely reality, I hope!

    So if the Zionists think the battle-hardened SAA, Iran, Hezbollah, Russia and Turkey are gonna roll over then they've got another thing coming to 'em. And don't forget the Iraqis aswell -- they helped neutralise Al-Tanaf.

    The Kurdish militants -- the YPG/SDF/ISIS nonsense -- are doomed. Syria's territorial integrity is now the main goal for those fighting the Zionists.

    1. Not wanting to split hairs with you.. however

      "So if Russia and Turkey agree to a partitioning then they are part of the Zionist nexus."

      That's your opinion,but, it's not mine.

      I agree and have written for years and years the partition federalization of Syria was always the plan- this is not a random war, with a random outcome- it's more like game theory

      "Game theory's development accelerated at a record pace during World War II. Though it was intended for economics, both the United States and the Soviet Union quickly saw its value for forming war strategies."

      I too hope Syria gets all of her territory back, but, have to be realistic about what is actually occuring

    2. I have to break it to you, but Turkey is doing 1 thing and 1 thing only. Damage Control, it does not and I repeat does not any power to challenge either group for the integrity Syria.

      Also I am not in favor like many others of my nation to witness a scene where thousands of our young died for the integrity of Syria. Just because we tried to do it while we lack necessary military hardware to perform this task optimally.

      In my eyes Turkey has the following objectives
      - Like always retain the balance of USA and Russia
      - Stay in Nato while trying to become a partner instead of a member
      - Have good relations with Sunni in Syria (Wahhabi is not Sunni)
      - Limit Territorial control of the YPG/PKK
      - Have full border control from Iran to Syria
      - Clean up all remaining cells of PKK/ISIS and all other affiliates within the border of Turkey.

    3. Kaz: "In my eyes Turkey has the following objectives
      - Like always retain the balance of USA and Russia
      - Stay in Nato while trying to become a partner instead of a member
      - Have good relations with Sunni in Syria (Wahhabi is not Sunni)
      - Limit Territorial control of the YPG/PKK
      - Have full border control from Iran to Syria
      - Clean up all remaining cells of PKK/ISIS and all other affiliates within the border of Turkey"

      I would agree with that assessment of Turkish objectives Kaz.

  7. Wow. The Duran finally starts to publish some truth about the leftist Kurds, starting with an article by Dugin. Hope you're ok

    1. I meant Adam Garrie. It was Dugin who shared this post on FB.
      Just read this pile of rubbish:

    2. Garrie has changed his tune, to late IMO, but he's changed it- I shall look at the links

      I'm ok, but, have had a bad bout of carpal tunnel- flared up- so I'm very limited in typing..

      and am doing daily arm massages and stretches very helpful