Sunday, November 27, 2016

Speculation and observations on Iran, Syrian Kurds and Turkey Nov 27, 2016

Here is an Iranian article regarding Turkish actions in Syria and the assertion that Turkey has brought in anti-aircraft weapons.

.... Ahmad al-Khatib, a journalist with close links to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) terrorist group, disclosed on his twitter page that Turkey is equipping its affiliated forces stationed near the strategic city of al-Bab with Stinger missile system.
The Turkish media had also reported on Saturday that a number of trucks carrying air defense systems were moving from Oguzeli region in Gaziantep towards the Syrian borders.
Tensions between Damascus and Ankara have gone so high that Syrian sources report army's preemptive strike in the Northern parts of Syria to block the Turkish army's attempts to establish a buffer zone in the region.
After liberation of 25 farms and villages from the terrorists' control in Aleppo, the Syrian army forces continued to advance in the region to surround the strategic city of al-Bab from its Southern and Western sides.
The ISIL stronghold city of Al-Bab Northeast of Aleppo is on the verge of a major war among the Syrian army, the Kurds and the Turkey-backed forces that are part of Turkey's Euphrates Shield Operation.
Reports said if the Euphrates Shield Operation forces reach the gates of al-Bab city, the ISIL terrorists will withdraw without any resistance which will pave the ground for the Turkey-backed groups. The ISIL has adopted the same strategy in a number of villages and towns in the Northern parts of Aleppo.
Meantime, possibility is high for direct clashes between the Syrian and Turkish armies as the Turkey-sponsored forces that are backed up by the Tukish army tanks stress that they are resolved to take al-Bab.
Saturday reports said that the Syrian army had inched closer to one of the most important strongholds of the ISIL in the Arab country, and were only three kilometers away from the Northern Syrian city of al-Bab in Aleppo province, while the Ankara-backed militants are also racing towards the city.
According to the Al-Mayadeen TV channel, the army troops managed to dislodge ISIL terrorists from six settlements near al-Bab, and are approaching the ISIL's stronghold city.
The Free Syrian Army (FSA) supported by the Turkish Air Force and armored vehicles has also launched an offensive to push terrorists out of the vital Bastion of ISIL as capturing the city is of strategic importance to Ankara in order to prevent the Kurds' reunification.
Military sources had disclosed in mid September that a large number of Syrian soldiers are deployed at Kuweires airbase to start military operations against the terrorists in al-Bab.
"Hundreds of Syrian soldiers are now in Kuweires airbase 40 kilometers to the east of Aleppo city to start al-Bab military operations against the ISIL terrorist group," the Arabic-language media quoted an unnamed military source as saying.
Also, another source said in mid November that the Syrian army has sent around 1,000 reinforcement troops to the Eastern countryside of Aleppo to start the operation that aims to create a safe zone in areas in the vicinity of Kuweires airbase, including al-Bab, adding that the Syrian government troops' military operation in al-Bab region is also meant to block further advances of the Turkey-backed terrorists in al-Bab region.
After recapturing Manbij from ISIL by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), al-Bab and Deir Hafer have turned into the largest bases of ISIL in Aleppo province.....
 A couple of observations. The photo that attaches the original article shows an armored vehicle being towed by Turkish forces presumably into Syria. It is identified as a Stinger anti-aircraft system. It is not. The picture does not reconcile with the statement of facts in the article.

Second, the Iranian source of the article suggests that the Iranians believe the Turks are more interested in preventing the Kurds in Syria from linking up than they are from IS. Indeed Turkey seems to strike everyone but IS when they take action. So now around al-Bab, which is a major transit hub for resupplying IS from Turkey and road junction point that the Kurds need to link their territories, we find it in great dispute. This week it was reported that Syrian air force bombed and killed Turkish soldier and in reply Turkey has fired artillery at Syrian government positions. Now there is talk of bringing in Stingers. We will see how this unfolds.

Third, it is worth noting that Iran has been actively supporting Shi'ite militias in Iraq to take the air base east of Tal Afar in Iraq along the border with Syria in the northwestern corner of Iraq. This would provide a general land bridge for Shia to move supplies from Iran across Iraq into Syria. While their preferred route was rumored to be much further south, this one has the advantage of offering a supply route for Kurdish forces in Syria.

I wonder if there is a growing alliance between Iran and the Syrian Kurds something to the effect, I will supply you with equipment in the event the Americans bail out and the Turks press from the north, and in return, Shi'ite forces get a ground supply route?

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