Over the Cliff ? - Turkey's Incursion into Syria

25-Nov 2019 "Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Turkey had determined that the YPG was still present in the Manbij region "wearing the clothes of the (Syrian government) regime elements"" This statement means the Turks are simply going to war against Assad and the Russians. A war the Turks will not, and can not win. By the Turks not being able to delineate which forces they are attacking, Erdogan's plan is doomed. Now we wait.

19-Nov, 2019: Turkish and Assad SAA/SDF forces are now engaged in direct fighting (direct artillery exchange) in the Syrian cities of  Azaz, Qazali, and Qarfal, and southeast of the city of Ain Arab (Kobane).

25-Oct 2019. An extremely distressing video has emerged of a female Kurdish fighter taken prisoner by Turkish-backed Islamist forces. We can barely contain our fury at the Turks as all their territorial incursion into Syria could have been addressed at the negotiating table. The Kurds are secularists. We want the Turks kicked out of NATO - as they should have been long ago, especially after President Erdogan’s purges. We are done with him, his NATO membership, and his goons.

Now the Americans are re-entering Syria to "protect" Syrian oil fields in the east, without any war declaration or invitation. Washington's lamenting of the fall of the post-WWII international order and system, forget to blame the prime culprit for this decline - the Americans themselves.

14-Oct 2019: Reports of Russian elements attacking Turkish-backed groups at al-Farat village west of Manbij.  Reports of Russian warplanes circling over the area near Manbij. There is also a disturbing report that departing US forces intervened to stop some Syrian and Russian forces advance into the region. The Kurds have negotiated with Damascus and the Kremlin and now the Syrian Arab Army/Russian units have moved into the Kurdish territory to help repel the Turks. We expect direct Turkish vs Syrian government forces contact very soon in the town of Tal Tamr in Hasaka along the M4 highway.  Please be advised that many reports are extremely difficult to verify presently.

07-11 Oct 2019: The Turks launch a new major incursion-offensive against the Kurds in Syria, on a wide +200 km front, after a U.S. pullout. Why a NATO member is allowed to attack into Syria when the Turks/Kurds can solve their problems at the negotiating table - is unconscionable. The Turks will be responsible for their thugs' behavior. The Syrian government sees all uninvited foreign armies in its territory - as invaders.

The Kurds should quickly negotiate with Assad and the Kremlin to allow their territory to be "administered" by Damascus - to help blunt the Turks. Indeed this appears to be occurring. The Pentagon has removed Turkey from its daily air tasking orders, however, let's hope the US sends a massive (re)supply of ATGMs, GPS jamming, and counter-drone tech to the Kurds as well. In the meantime, the US Congress is having none of it and will sanction Turkey. Erdogan has also again threatened to weaponize Syrian migrants against the EU if Europeans criticize this latest Turkish inclusion. We may need to begin a new post as the situation warrants. We have warned repeatedly about Erdogan's Turkey on this blog. That the Erdogan government and a member of NATO is out of control.
03-Feb 2018: Turkish tank destroyed by Kurdish ATGM in Heftar village of Bilbil district.  Regardless, good shooting ladies! And, indeed Washington has again thrown the Kurds under-the-bus. This behavior by the US government not only revolting but corrosive. For any reader that might still be confused about the Erdogan government, let us help you, please see link

18-Jan, 2018: New video of a Turkish helicopter nearly hit by a Kurdish ATGM during Turkey's "Afrin" operation inside Syria. It would appear the Kurds are (yet again) going to be thrown-under-the-bus by the international community. We hope the Kurds inflict heavy losses on Ankara. Time for Turkey to be uninvited (thrown out) of NATO? Probably. NATO has no international behavioral standards for membership in the treaty alliance. We call for an immediate halt to Turkish military action in Syria. Turkey and the Kurds can resolve their issues at the negotiating table. Thank Washington for "leading by example" for a dubious international legal argument to conduct military operations in someone else country and a total breakdown of the international rule of law. Thank you, Bush II for using the US military as an imperial army, and ushering in a new era of regional and international militarism.

05-Sept 2016: Evidence is mounting that the United States and Turkey (NATO) may attempt to establish a No-Fly Zone in Syria. ISIS and the YPG have no air force. See link. We keep this update at the top and add more links as this issue develops. The enforcement of a No-Fly-Zone in Syria would be an act or war. We hold the United States and NATO to higher standards of behavior. Turkey/NATO must not attempt to establish a no-fly zone inside Syria without a war declaration or international legal authorization. Please see link. It would appear the US is also attempting to protect Al-Nusra Front on behalf of Qatar, and the Saudis (please scroll down to pipeline map).

As if the Syrian war was not bad enough, or complicated enough, Turkish forces cross the border and enter Syrian territory in Operation Euphrates Shield, catching US policy and NATO defense ministers completely off balance. The operation is purported to be against Daesh in northern Syria but is also against the Kurdish YPG west of the Euphrates river (so far).

Both Turkey and the YPG are key US allies. The Turkish Air Force, the 'THK' (Türk Hava Kuvvetleri) operates approximately 290 frontline modern fixed-wing combat aircraft including some ~ 250 F-16C/D (block 30/40/50 variants) and [below] ~ 40 upgraded F-4E-'2020 Terminator' Phantom IIs. In the wake of the recent failed coup attempts in Turkey, F-16 squadrons 141, 142, and 143 have been dissolved along with possibly two more F-16 squadrons in the future.  How this incursion will play out - is anyone's guess.

No one operates in a vacuum.
22-Oct 2016: THK airstrikes hitting Kurdish YPG/SDF hard in and near Tell Rifaat. This is a very bad situation. Heavy fighting between rebels and Assad forces in Aleppo has resumed.

18-Oct, 2016: "Syrian Kurdish YPG to be removed from Manbij, Turkey's Erdogan says" Please see here.

09-Oct 2016: [Above] It appears Daesh may be facing encirclement from the towns of Tughali to Irshaq in the next week(s) by Euphrates Shield/Turkmen-FSA/US special forces (American voices are clearly heard). The progress Euphrates Shield has made to date is impressive. Daesh resistance has been very uneven at best, and almost non-existent elsewhere (no Daesh sniper or ATGM threat). Video of heavy THK bombardment of Ihtamilat (civilians?). This political cartoon (see link) illustrates the views of many analysts in both the United States and Russia. The idea that the Kurds will march on Raqqa is also fanciful - they apparently have no interest in such an endeavor?

26-Sept 2016: Allepo is being leveled by pro-regime airpower. Heavy bombardment with heavy civilian casualties. Reports of "bunker-buster" bombs being used. After five years of war, Syria is crawling with tunnels - so the use of deep penetration munitions is (unfortunately) consistent with attempting to knock-out rebel tunnel networks. Rebels are also shelling civilian areas in Aleppo city for the same reason pro-government forces are - to dislodge enemy fighters. We remind the reader that Syria "rebel" groups also routinely execute prisoners. Other than the Kurds, there are no "good guys" in this war. Simply, one side wants 'regime change' - and the other side doesn't.

19-Sept 2016: UN aid convoys in Orem Alkobra attacked at night by aircraftClaims it was Assad/Russians. It appears remains of an OFAB-250-270 bomb have been recovered. Both Russia and the SyAAF use this munition. Why the aid was not air-dropped by the UN is a mystery. Accusations, recriminations, misinformation, disinformation, propaganda and 'Fog of War' - all are on full display. Possible revenge attack for CENTCOM strike on Deir al-Zour? We will be watching this.

23-Aug 2016: Turkish forces cross the border and enter Syrian territory in the north (operation: Euphrates Shield). Fierce clashes between Turk-backed FSyA and US-backed SDF south of Jarablus. Turkish warplanes are also participating in the operation. Our fear is that NATO (Turkey or someone else) may illegally attempt to establish a de-facto no-fly zone in northern Syrian airspace without any legal authority or war declaration - either nationally or internationally. If we're correct, a direct superpower military confrontation - could be in the making?

[Above] Turkish M-60 tanks in Syria. The M-60 is no match for the weaponry currently on the Syria battlefield. Again - are the Turk expecting token resistance from ISIS?
28-Aug 2016: [Below] This video encompasses everything wrong with American Middle East foreign policy (and with its Syria policy in particular). Kurdish YPG forces knocking out a Turkish M-60 tank in Syria. Now we have two very significant American "allies" fighting each other. This is after it was discovered back in February - that Pentagon-backed rebels had started fighting CIA-backed rebels. The lack of resistance by ISIS to Ankara’s incursion, which oddly appears to have quasi-melted away - as also been raising eyebrows. Stay tuned. Note the ubiquitous "Allah Akbar" chanting in the bulk of ATGM footage out of Syria - is notably absent. Video has disappeared.

1) The most immediate concern is if THK or US coalition aircraft supporting(?) Operation Euphrates Shield lock horns with the SyAAF (Syrian Air Arab Force) or the VKS (Russian Air Force) and air defenses. 

2) Presumably, the FSyA (Free Syrian Army) units being now being supported by the Turks - will also fight against the Kurds - by definition

US policy/involvement in Syria and the Middle East - just went over a cliff? The Pentagon and the CIA would do well by extracting themselves from Syria - completely. Ankara and the PKK-YPG should be vigorously attempting to resolve their differences at the negotiating table - not with ATGMs.

Appraising events in the Syrian war is difficult as Daesh and FSyA are prolific users of online media - so an authentic window into what is happening in Syria remains elusive. If you simply monitor rebel anti-tank missile shots on Twitter and elsewhere - one would think the war already lost for Assad. The truth is the opposite.

We would urge the Russians not to engage in the American ways of war, which is military incrementalism  It gives your opponent(s) too much time to plan, adapt, and extends the war, the killing, and costs - indefinitely. Military incrementalism true purpose is to secure an endless stream of budgetary funding – through endless war. We would also strongly urge an aggressive use of leaflet drops instructing rebels to stop fighting-surrender. Civilians read the bulk of these leaflets and apply pressure on rebel fighters? It might also be time to confront/quartine (intercept) endless rebel weapon-resupply flights.

[Below]: Because Saudi Arabia and the United States are pursuing the same stated policy in Yemen that Iraq, Iran, and Russia are pursuing in Syria - that being to prevent a collapse of the State, (to avoid what occurred in Lybia and Iraq), and it becoming an existential threat of Jihadists armed with petrodollars, the question becomes - why then the inconsistency with US policy between Yemen and Syria? The best answer we can find is the graph below. Some digging into global petroleum choke points is all that is needed. Note carefully the alignment of the opposing sides in the Syrian war with respect to which external actors want Assad out (the United States, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and Turkey*) - and which do not (Russia, Iran, Iraq) and the source and routing of LNG (liquefied natural gas) pipelines:

"In 2009, Assad refused to sign an agreement with Qatar for an overland pipeline running from the Gulf to Europe via Syria to protect the interests of its Russian ally, which is Europe's top supplier of natural gas." Source.
"In 2013, total petroleum and other liquids (crude oil and refined products) and LNG [liquefied natural gas] accounted for 20% and 3% of total Suez cargoes, measured by cargo tonnage, respectively. The Suez Canal is unable to handle Ultra Large Crude Carriers (ULCC) and fully-laden Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC) class crude oil tankers." "Oil exports from Persian Gulf countries (Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Oman, Qatar, and Bahrain) accounted for 79% of Suez Canal northbound oil flows" Source.

There are a lot of people who would feel a lot more comfortable if Ankara would encounter more resistance from Daesh. Five years of an intractable, savage conflict and Ankara is driving into ISIS areas of Syria - with M-60 tanks - like a scene from Lawrence of Arabia? The YPG did not advance into Daesh areas near Turkey for years. We shall see how this develops...

03-Sept 2016: [Below] An up-armored Turkish M-60 called M-60T 'Sabra' near al-Rai. The M-60T is an Israeli upgrade. We think these tanks are still hopelessly outclassed by the lethality of the weapons being used in Syria (reminding us of what happened to Israeli armor in 2006).  If the Turks incur effectively no losses or resistance from ISIS - then Ankara would reveal a level of cooperation with Daesh that must be confronted?
07-Sept 2016: [Below] ...and indeed the M-60T 'Sabra' is no match. So the Turks are getting (some) resistance? In the coming weeks, we will have a better understanding of the operation and actors involved. After watching literally hundreds of ATGM videos out of Syria, this "ISIS" ATGM-team don't make the usual comments like your typical Jihadist after a hit (???) So who are they? Video now link dead.

21-Sept 2016: SyAAF MiG-23BN or ML crashed after carrying out air raids on east Qalamoun, in the al-Sarrah area between Dumayr and Ruhaybah. Pilot rescued.

19-Sept 2016: UN aid convoys in Orem Alkobra attacked at night by aircraft with bombs and cannon fire. Claims it was Assad/Russians. Details still forthcoming. Why the aid was not air-dropped by the UN is a mystery. OFAB-250-270 remains found at UN convoy attack site. The crater is consistent with a dud. Use of the OFAB-250-270 by the Russians in Syria is well documented. The most probable SyAAF aircraft operating at night would be SyAAF Su-24MK. Syrian/Russian aircraft could also use night vision goggles for aircraft not normally known to operate at night. Because aircraft gunfire was recorded the composition of aircraft involved is unclear. Aircraft documented using cannon in Syria include L-39, MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-29, VKS Su-25M, Mi-24/25 and possible Su-22. [Below] SyAAF MiG-21bis with OFAB-250-270s:
 [Below] SyAAF MiG-23MF w/OFAB-250-270s
 [Below] SyAAF Su-22M-4 w/six OFAB-500s
18-Sept 2016: Reports of a SyAAF MiG-21 down over Deir al-Zour. Details forthcoming.

[Below] 17-Sept 2016: Turkish artillery shelling Daesh near al-Rai, Syria.

17-Sept 2016: CENTCOM airstrike (s, A-10s, drones)  hit Syrian forces in Deir al-Zour and allows ISIS to advance there. Developing story, we are watching closely. Here is the US-UN ambassador and the Russian UN ambassador. This is the type of issue we have been repeatedly warned about. What happens if CENTCOM hits Russian personnel in Syria? Neither the Whitehouse, the Pentagon, the CIA, or the State Department has an answer to that question. American Syria-policy is already off the rails.

13-Sept 2016: Reports of increasing air activity by the IDF-AF (Israeli Air Force) in southwest Syria purportedly in response to errant motor fire. Details are sketchy. There is no confirmation of visual ID of Israeli F-15/F-16 jets. Iron Dome likely to be deployed there.

13-Sept 2016: The Syrian war has reached a new gruesome milestone of over 300,000 dead.

08-Sept 2016: Syrian military has dropped leaflets over Aleppo. Rebels have been given 48 hrs to surrender there.

05-Sept 2016: [Below] The intensity of the fighting in western Aleppo is evident here. There is NO WAY that civilians can remain in the area with any assurance of safety. This is a heavy weapons combat zone. Civilians, international humanitarian and doctors organizations - need to use common sense - and get out of the area. We are waiting to see something even remotely similar from Euphrates Shield. Video link now dead.

[Video contains music at the end. Our apologies]. The outcome is not doubt, Aleppo will fall to SAA (Syria Arab Army) and pro-government forces. It is simply a matter of time.

04-Sept 2016: [Below] Pro-government forces have collapsed the rebel breakout around western Aleppo and have again encircled the city. Russian air power pounded the area with reportedly over 70+  airstrikes in one day. There can be no victory for rebel armies in the face of coordinated airpower. There are reports of Russian forces in Aleppo directing strikes. Video link now dead

[Below] Meanwhile, Ankara claims to have liberated some 400 sq./km of Syria territory along the Turkish border from the Deash - with effectively no losses. Again, quite a feat - that should raise more than just eyebrows???
Map:ACIG
02-Sept 2016: [Below] Near Hama a SyAAF Gazelle anti-tank helicopter on patrol is hit by an FSyA TOW (a US wire-guided anti-tank) missile - as the helicopter flies too slowly for its own safety - and could be engaged by an ATGM.  The missile likely traveled some 4 kilometers.



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Comments

  1. Hallo obrescia, here a theory:
    https://elijahjm.wordpress.com/2016/09/05/the-us-russia-deal-putin-applies-a-matryoshka-like-policy
    Hasakah situation unknown. Y

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  2. Apologies for posting an unrelated comment, but the comments section of "The war is over" appears to be broken or unresponsive, or at the least, inaccessible. Is there an alternate location where they can be accessed?

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    1. Hi, try using a different browser to view. I use both Chrome and Explorer. GoogleBlogger is a slow clumsy piece of junk, frankly. - Boresight

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  3. Hi obrescia.I would like your view on the recent hit that a Saudi f-15 took from a ground launched aam (R-73) in Yemen. The rebels used an us made flir to detect and track the fighter. Bout the missile and detection system did not rely on rf systems and could also be used vs stealth.
    Also would like your opinion on the Belgium fighter deal. Their f-35 will flush 20 million dollars more a piece than the advanced eagle would to Qatar and will cost 49 million more than the viper sold to Bahrain...stealth is more expensive than we are being told.

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    1. I don't know what they shot at the F-15. Some say it an R-73. I think its more likely an SA-8 series SAM. Yes IR can be used on anything with a heat source (a jet engine) so that includes stealth.

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  4. Here are the images of the engagement...https://youtu.be/kYtuf7J_5vM

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  5. Here are the images of the engagement...https://youtu.be/kYtuf7J_5vM

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  6. Is there a reason why my comments are not approved?

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    1. Sorry, just got behind. i forget sometime i have to approve comments - Olaf

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