More than a week after Western Journalism predicted that Turkey was about to intervene in Syria, Turkish Special Forces supported by warplanes of the Turkish air force and the U.S.-led coalition entered Syrian soil, officially to end the Islamic State presence in the area of Jarablus in northern Syria.
The Turkish intervention began less than a day after the Turkish regime made clear that the border area with Syria should be cleansed from any Islamic State presence. This happened after a 12-year-old suicide bomber killed 51 mostly Kurdish Turkish civilians who were attending a wedding in the city of Gaziantep in Turkey.
Ahead of the incursion, Turkish artillery pounded more than 70 targets in the area of Jarablus, which is located north of Aleppo on the western bank of the Euphrates River and borders the Kurdish enclave Afrin in northwest Syria.
The Times of Israel reported that the Turkish army also amassed tanks in the Syrian border region. On Wednesday afternoon the tanks crossed the border and started to advance in the direction of Jarablus.
“The Turkish Armed Forces and the International Coalition Air Forces have launched a military operation aimed at clearing the district of Jarablus of the province of Aleppo from the terrorist organization Daesh [Islamic State],” a statement from the office of Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim read.
During a speech in Ankara, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan added an interesting element to the justification for the Turkish intervention.
“At 4 a.m. this morning, operations started in the north of Syria against terror groups which constantly threaten our country, like Daesh and the PYD,” Erdogan said, referring to the Kurdish Democratic Union Party.
The party’s military arm, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), never tried to attack Turkey but concentrated its war effort on the Islamic State and the other parties in the Syrian conflict.
For example, on Monday, the YPG militia took control over of the Syrian city of Hasaka in north eastern Syria after a weeklong stand-off with the Syrian army and its Shiite and Russian allies.
The conquest of Hasaka was another important step in the Kurdish effort to unite the three Kurdish cantons in the area of the Turkish-Syrian border, something that Erdogan strongly opposes.
The Turkish autocratic leader fears that the establishment of a contiguous Kurdish autonomous area all along the Turkish border with Syria and Iraq will inspire the Turkish Kurds to step up their efforts to do the same in eastern and southern Turkey.
The intervention to end Islamic State control over the Jarablus region could very well be another false-flag operation by the Erdogan regime after the aborted coup in July.
Some observers say that the botched attempt to overthrow the Erdogan regime in Turkey was a staged coup that was organized by Erdogan himself or was provoked by leaked reports that the regime would launch a crackdown on opponents within the Turkish army.
In the case of the Turkish intervention in the Jarablus region, all evidence points to a carefully planned operation to pre-empt any Kurdish attempt to seize the town completely. The suicide attack in Gaziantep, which the Erdogan regime immediately blamed on ISIS, served as an alibi to start the operation in this scenario.
As military affairs and intelligence analyst Jennifer Dyer pointed out in an analysis of the Turkish intervention, the Erdogan regime never had a problem with ISIS’ presence in Jarablus.
“Turkey’s real objective is to prevent the Kurds from wresting Jarablus from ISIS,” she reported on Wednesday.
The Kurds themselves reported that the Turkish operations in Jarablus are directed at the YPG. On Tuesday, the Turks assassinated Abdulsettar Al-Cadiri, the Kurdish commander of the newly established Jarabulus military council, according to the YPG. The militia warned that the Turkish aggression wouldn’t go unanswered.
As Western Journalism reported on Monday, what happened last week in northeast Syria, where Bashar al-Assad’s army suddenly turned its guns on the Kurds, very well could have been the beginning of a coordinated operation by Turkey, the al-Assad regime and Russia to neutralize the successful Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.
This explains the sudden rapprochement between Turkey and Russia and the (not-so) secret talks between Turkey and the al-Assad regime in Syria that resulted in an offensive of the Syrian army against the Kurds and their Sunni allies in the U.S.-backed SDF.
You might ask what the U.S. is doing now that its key ally in the battle against the Islamic State is under threat by an odd coalition of players who have only in common that they want to influence the future of Syria.
The answer is almost nothing.
The Turkish intervention in Syria coincided with the arrival of Vice President Joe Biden in Istanbul. According to Reuters, “A senior administration official traveling with Biden said the United States wanted to help Turkey to get Islamic State away from the border, and was providing air cover and ‘syncing up’ with the Turks on their plans for Jarablus. He said the shelling was hitting Islamic State, not Kurdish forces.”
“Obama is overtaken by events,” Dyer wrote, adding that the president has no policy for the future of Syria. She fears that Obama will abandon the Kurds as he did in the battle for Hasaka, when U.S. Special Forces that were assigned to YPG units were ordered out the moment the al-Assad coalition began to bomb the area.
The Liberty Unyielding expert sees only one solution for the U.S. military in Syria.
“It’s only with extraordinary pain that I say this, but it would be better for America – because of who’s in the Oval Office – if we did simply pull out,” Dyer wrote. “Our forces on scene are in an increasingly impossible situation. They should not be left there, exposed and unsupported.”