AuthorTopic: Turkish tanks cross Syrian border in military op to retake city of Jarablus from  (Read 2773 times)

Offline Palloy

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Now we have in Syria: Syrian Army, Iranians, Hezbollah, Russia, Syrian rebels, US, Kurds, Turkey, oh and ISIS.  I very much doubt that Turkey is fighting ISIS, after all this time supporting them.  The Kurds say Turkey wants to stop them from taking the town, that makes sense.  Presumably ISIS in Jarablus will welcome Turkey in.

https://www.rt.com/news/356959-turkish-tanks-cross-syria/
Turkish tanks cross Syrian border in military op to retake city of Jarablus from ISIS
24 Aug, 2016

Turkey has launched a ground incursion into Syria targeting Islamic State and Kurdish fighters near the town of Jarablus. Ankara says it wants to take the town to stop cross-border attacks, while the Kurds warn that Turkish troops will get into a quagmire.

“At 4:00 this morning, operations started in the north of Syria against terror groups which constantly threaten our country, like Daesh [Arabic name for Islamic State] and the PYD [he Democratic Union Party of Syria],” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said the military operation would be “short and results-based,” while insisting that it doesn’t violate international law.

The Turkish operation is focused on the Kurdish border town of Jarablus, which has been held by the Islamic State terrorist group since July of 2013.

The Kurdish Firat news agency (ANFNews) reported that 29 civilians have been killed by the advancing Turkish and allied troops so far. Some 3,000 ethnic Kurds have reportedly fled Jarablus and its neighboring areas since the Turkish operation became imminent. The Kurds object to the operation, believing it to be a ploy to prevent Kurdish militias from retaking the town.

Turkish-backed rebels are assisting the Turkish troops. Hours into the operation, Free Syrian Army fighters captured the village of Keklice located some three kilometers from Jarablus, Anadolu reported, citing military sources.

The operation, called Euphrates Shield, is being supported by Turkish air forces, as well as warplanes from the US-led coalition.

Turkish artillery began shelling targets across the Syrian border earlier on Wednesday, Reuters reported, citing its own journalist on the scene. The agency said Turkish tanks can now be seen inside Syria and an intensive bombardment can be heard.

The launch of the ground offensive was confirmed by Turkish state news agency Anadolu, citing military sources.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the incursion had been prompted by cross-border attacks originating from Jarablus, stressing they “must stop,” according to Turkish state news agency Anadolu.

Commenting on Operation Euphrates Shield, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Kurdish fighters must remain east of the Euphrates River or Turkey will “do what is necessary.”

Turkish media reported earlier that IS had launched retaliation attacks into the Turkish border town of Karkamis after the violence around Jarablus escalated. Elsewhere in Istanbul, law enforcement reportedly conducted raids targeting suspected IS sympathizers, according to the Dogan news agency.

The Syrian Kurdish militia YPG attempted to retake Jarablus last year, but were reportedly prevented from doing so when Ankara threatened to intervene.

Damascus has condemned the Turkish incursion, with the Syrian Foreign Ministry calling it a breach of Syria’s national sovereignty, Reuters reported citing Syrian state television.

Turkey does not cooperate with the Syrian government and believes that it should be toppled.

“Damascus condemns the incursion of Turkish tanks into Syria under the cover of the US-led coalition,” the ministry source said, as cited by Syria’s Sana state news agency, adding that “fighting terrorism does not mean ousting terrorists form the Islamic State group and replacing them with other extremist groups supported by Turkey.”

    Turkish military launch strikes in Jarablus
    Full video: https://t.co/6I9EmtFaFK pic.twitter.com/vuQOgzWERk
    — Ruptly (@Ruptly) August 24, 2016

Saleh Muslim, head of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), warned that the Turkish forces would get bogged down in a quagmire and ultimately be defeated.

Speaking to ANFNews, Muslim said that Turkey had gone from targeting Syrian Kurds through proxies to directly fighting Kurdish fighters in Syria on the ground, adding that while Turkey had made the decision to enter Syria, withdrawing would not be as simple.

Spokesman for the YPG, Redur Xelil, called Turkey’s move “blatant aggression in Syrian internal affairs.” Aldar Xelil, another influential Kurdish politician, accused Turkey of initiating an occupation of Syria, saying the operation amounted to “a declaration of war” on the autonomous administration set up by Kurdish groups in northern Syria in 2011.

The PYD believes that Turkey has launched its operation to prevent the Kurds from retaking it from IS, Salam Ali, PYD’s representative in Moscow, told RIA Novosti.

“Jarablus is located in the north of Kobani area and our forces advanced close to it. After the Kurdish troops took the city of Manbij we had plans to go in that direction. Apparently Turkey invaded from the North not to let the Kurds have this city,” he said.
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https://www.rt.com/news/357060-syria-condemn-turkey-operation/
‘Blatant violation of sovereignty’: Damascus condemns Turkish operation in Jarablus
24 Aug, 2016

Damascus denounced Turkey’s joint military operation with the Syrian rebels aimed at re-taking the Syrian border town of Jarablus from Islamic State militants (IS, former ISIS/ISIL). Damascus said it considers Turkish troops’ incursion into Syria a violation of its sovereignty.

Damascus condemned Turkish incursion into the Syrian territory after Turkey’s tanks and Special Forces supported by the Turkish and US aircraft and Syrian rebels launched an offensive on the Syrian northern border town of Jarablus, calling it “a national security issue.”

Syrian government officials said that any side willing to fight terrorism on the Syrian territory should cooperate with the authorities and the Syrian Army, “which has been fighting terrorism for over five years,” as reported by SANA news agency.

Syrian government called the Turkish operation a “blatant violation of the sovereignty” of Syria, adding that “replacing” Islamic State with “other terrorist organizations backed directly by Turkey” cannot be regarded as a fight against terrorism.

“What is happening in Jarablus now isn’t fighting terrorism as Turkey claims - rather it is replacing one type of terrorism with another,” a Syrian government official told SANA and once again called on the UN to “put an end to this aggression” and to make Turkey and the US-led coalition fulfill the UN resolutions related to closing the borders and preventing the terrorists from receiving funding and support from abroad.

The Syrian UN envoy also said Wednesday that the Syrian government did not request any such aid from Turkey and stressed that all foreign forces fighting terrorism in Syria should coordinate their actions with the Syrian Army.

Meanwhile, Russia also expressed its concern over the Turkish actions in Syria. Moscow is “deeply worried” by the developments on the Syrian-Turkish border, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that “a possibility of the further deterioration of the situation in the conflict zone” as well as “potential losses among the civilian population and the aggravation of … antagonism between Kurds and Arabs” is a “source of primary concern.”

The ministry also once again stressed that the Syrian crisis could be resolved only through peaceful means, including a broad interethnic dialog that should particularly involve Kurds.

Turkey managed to successfully hit the previously identified IS targets during its operation in the town of Jarablus, Turkish envoy to the UN said in a statement. He also said that the operation was aimed at liberating the Syrian territory bordering Turkey from terrorists and strengthening Turkish border security.

The envoy also stressed that “maintaining Syria’s territorial integrity” was one of the goals of the operation. Turkey said it supported Syrian “moderate” opposition forces during the operation.

Earlier, Syrian rebel groups supported by Turkish tanks and special forces, as well as US airpower, said they had entered Jarablus and now control about 50 percent of the town that had been held by Islamic State since 2013, according to Reuters. Rebel sources told the agency that most IS fighters had fled the town, while some had surrendered.

At the same time, Syrian Kurdish YPG militia condemned the Turkish operation by calling it a “declaration of war.”

A spokesman for the YPG Kurdish militia, Redur Xelil, denounced Turkey’s move as “blatant aggression in Syrian internal affairs.” Aldar Xelil, another influential Kurdish politician, accused Turkey of initiating an occupation of Syria, saying the operation amounted to “a declaration of war” on the autonomous administration set up by Kurdish groups in northern Syria in 2011.

In the meantime, the Kurdish Firat news agency (ANFNews) reported that 29 civilians have been killed by the advancing Turkish and allied troops so far.

Turkey launched a ground operation in northern Syria at 4 am local time (02:00 GMT), which involved tanks and Special Forces, after its artillery shelled targets across the Syrian border. The operation, called Euphrates Shield, was also supported by Turkish air forces, as well as A-10S and F-16 warplanes from the US-led coalition.
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https://www.rt.com/op-edge/357205-turkey-erdogan-russia-iran-isis/
Hit the ATM: The Ankara-Tehran-Moscow coalition
Pepe Escobar
25 Aug, 2016

So Turkish President, a.k.a. Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan is about to make a high-profile visit to Tehran – the date has not yet been set - to essentially kick start the ATM (Ankara-Tehran-Moscow) coalition in Syria.

Anyone as much as hinting at such a massive geopolitical tectonic shift a few weeks ago would be branded a madman. So how did the impossible happen?

A major strategic game-changer – Russia using an airfield in Iran to send bombers against jihadis in Syria – had already taken place, with its aftermath spectacularly misreported by the usual, clueless US corporate media suspects.

Then, there’s what Turkey’s Prime Minister, Binali Yildirim, said last Saturday in Istanbul: “The most important priority for us is to stop the bloodshed [in Syria] as soon as possible.” The rest are irrelevant “details.”

Yildirim added Ankara now agrees with Moscow that Bashar al-Assad “could” – and that’s the operative word – stay in power during a political transition (although that’s still highly debatable). Ankara’s drive to normalize relations with Moscow had an ‘important share’ in this ‘policy shift’.

The ‘policy shift’ is a direct consequence of the failed military coup in Turkey. Russian cyber-surveillance aces – in action 24/7 after the downing of the Su-24 last November – reportedly informed Turkish intelligence a few hours before the fact. NATO, as the record shows, was mum.

Even minimalist optics suggests ‘Sultan’ Erdogan was extremely upset that Washington was not exactly displeased with the coup. He knows how vast swathes of the Beltway despise him – blaming him for not being serious in the fight against ISIS and for bombing the YPG Kurds – Pentagon allies - in Syria. The record does show Erdogan has mostly ignored ISIS – allowing non-stop free border crossing for ISIS goons as well as letting Turkish business interests (if not his own family) profit from ISIS’ stolen Syrian oil.

Compared to Washington’s attitude Moscow, on the other hand, warning Erdogan about serious, concrete facts on the ground in the nick of time. And for Erdogan, that was highly personal; the putschists reportedly sent a commando to kill him when he was still in Marmaris.

Fast forward to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif’s surprise visit two weeks ago to Ankara. Zarif and his counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu did discuss serious options by which the budding ATM coalition could come up with a viable exit strategy in Syria. One week later Cavusoglu went to Tehran and talked again to Zarif for five hours.

It’s an uphill battle – but doable. Tehran knows very well IRGC officers as well as Hezbollah, Iraqi and Afghan fighters were killed in the Syrian war theater, and that shall not be in vain. Ankara for its part knows it cannot afford to remain forever trapped in an ideological dead end.

Rojava, where and for whom?

And then there’s the rub - the intractable Kurdish question. Iran, unlike Turkey, does not face active Kurdish separatism. A minimum understanding between Ankara and Tehran – central to the current flurry of meetings, face-to-face and ‘secret’, via mediators, necessarily points toward a united, centralized Syria.

That implies no Rojava – a possible independent Kurdish mini-state alongside the Turkish border, part of a not so hidden Washington/Tel Aviv balkanization agenda. Actually what is now in effect official Pentagon policy contains a mob element of Ash “Empire of Whining” Carter’s revenge on Sultan Erdogan; payback because Erdogan did not do enough to smash ISIS.

And that brings us to the current Turkish offensive – for all practical purposes invasion – of Jarabulus. That’s the last fort – as in the last town that allows ISIS back and forth from southern Turkey to Raqqa in terms of smuggling goons and weapons.

Ankara would never allow the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) take Jarabulus. After all, the SDF – fully supported by the Pentagon - is led by the Kurdish nationalist YPG, which Ankara sees as a mere extension of PKK separatists.

Imagine Ankara’s terror at the YPG seizing Jarabulus. They would have crossed the ultimate Turkish red line; closing the gap between two Kurdish cantons across the border and for all practical purposes giving birth to the Rojava Kurdish mini-state.

Yet even if for Ankara an independent Rojava remains the supreme red line, there are declinations. A Rojava might come as quite handy if it became a dumping ground for Turkish PKK fighters. Arguably the PKK would not complain; after all they would have “their” state.

No one seems to be considering what Damascus thinks about all this.

And no one, for the moment, has a clue about the precise geography of a putative Rojava. If it includes, for instance, the recently liberated city of Manbij, that’s a major problem; Manbij is Arab, not Kurd. Kurds once again seem to be thrown into disarray - forced to choose whether they are allied with Washington or with Moscow.

Moscow, for its part, is crystal clear on ISIS. It is dead set on smashing for good, by all means necessary, any militants who consider Russia their enemy.

Erdogan certainly calculated that a rapprochement with Russia had to include being serious against ISIS. Extra incentive was added by the fact the bombing this past Sunday in Gaziantep was most certainly an ISIS job.

So Erdogan’s Syria master plan now boils down to - what else – another wilderness of mirrors. By crossing to Jarabulus, Ankara wants to establish a sort of remnants of the Free Syria Army (FSA)-controlled enclave. The Americans can't blame him because this will be against ISIS – even though it’s mostly against Rojava. And the Russians won’t make a fuss because Moscow is in favor of Syria’s unity.

Got ATM, will travel

Former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, previously of “zero problems with our neighbors” then converted into “nothing but problems with our neighbors” is now history. Yildirim is a pragmatist. So the opening to Russia had to be inevitable.

And that leads us back to the – alleged - end of Team Obama’s obsession, “Assad must go”. He may stay, for a while. Yildirim has confirmed this is now Turkish official policy. Although that does not mean Ankara – and Washington for that matter – have given up on regime change. They will keep up the pressure – but tactics will change.

As it stands, the major fact on the ground is that ‘Sultan’ Erdogan seems to have had enough of the Americans (NATO of course included) and has pivoted to Russia.

Thus the sending of certified Keystone Cop Joe Biden to Ankara to plead “not guilty” on the military coup (forget it; most Turks don’t believe Washington) and to implore Erdogan not to pursue his massive purge (pure wishful thinking).

Considering Erdogan’s notoriously erratic record, his embrace of ATM may be just a gigantic illusion, or may open yet another unforeseen can of worms. But there are signs this may be for real.

Cavusoglu has already intimated that Ankara is aiming for a military/technological upgrade that is impossible under NATO’s watch. In his own words; “Unfortunately, we see countries in NATO are a bit hesitant when it comes to exchange of technology and joint investments.”

Moscow has every reason to be quite cautious regarding myriad aspects of Erdogan’s pivoting. After all the Turkish military has been part of NATO for decades. As it stands, there’s no evidence Moscow and Ankara are looking at the same post-war Syria. But if we’re talking about the future of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), then it starts to get really interesting.

Turkey is already a “dialog partner” of the SCO, while Iran may become a full member as early as next year. Moscow is certainly envisioning Ankara as a valuable ally in the wider Sunni world, way beyond a role in repelling Salafi-jihadis in Syria. With Ankara and Tehran also talking serious business, this could eventually spill out into a serious debunking of the alleged apocalyptic Sunni-Shi’ite sectarian divide, which is the only Divide-and-Rule strategy spun and deployed non-stop by the US, Israel and the House of Saud.

It’s this enticing SCO-enhancing possibility that’s freaking Washington out big time. Russia pivoting East, Turkey pivoting East, Iran already there, and China now also actually involved in a stake in post-war Syria, that’s a geopolitical reconfiguration in Southwest Asia that once again spells out the inevitable; Eurasia integration.


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Offline Palloy

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https://www.rt.com/news/357236-syria-jarablus-ypg-kurds-shelling/
Turkish army shells Kurds ‘refusing to retreat’ near Jarablus – state media
26 Aug, 2016

Turkish military have targeted US-backed Kurdish YPG militia with artillery fire south of the Syrian border town of Jarablus on Thursday, Anadolu state agency reported, citing a security source. The units allegedly refused to withdraw from the area despite warnings.

The group of YPG fighters were attacked with howitzers at about 6pm local time after they were spotted by Turkish intelligence advancing to Jarablus from the north of Manbij, the report said. Earlier, Washington assured Ankara that the US-backed Kurdish formations have been pulling out forces from the area to the east of the Euphrates River as demanded by Turkey.

“Kerry [US State Secretary John Kerry] emphasized that the PYD/YPG forces have been withdrawing to the east of the Euphrates,” a Turkish security source was quoted by Hürriyet Daily News as saying following a telephone conversation between the US top diplomat and Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday morning.

While on a visit to Ankara on August 24, US Vice President Joe Biden pledged to withdraw the support of American forces to Kurdish fighters battling terrorists in Syria if they did not comply with Turkey’s request to remain east of the river.

"They cannot, will not and under no circumstances get American support if they do not keep that commitment. Period," Biden said at a joint news conference with Turkish PM Binali Yildirim.

Turkey has been conducting Operation Euphrates Shield since Wednesday after its troops entered the borderline territory in the north of Syria with the focus on retaking Jarablus from the Islamic State (IS, ISIS/ISIL) terrorists, which has been occupying it since July 2013. Justifying the incursion, which had not been authorized by the Syrian government, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said it is aimed at stopping frequent cross-border attacks and repelling “terror groups which constantly threaten our country like Daesh [Arabic derogatory name for IS] and the PYD [the Democratic Union Party of Syria]”.

Meanwhile, Damascus slammed the offensive as “a blatant violation of sovereignty.”

The shelling follows a statement by YPG command saying that Kurdish militia under its control had left Manbij and returned to its bases, turning over the control over the city to the Manbij Military Council, according to Al-Masdar News.

On Wednesday, the YPG denounced the Turkish military offensive in Syria as “a hostile intervention,” refusing to cave in to pressure coming from Turkey.

“We won’t listen to the demands of Turkey or powers outside of Turkey. Turkey cannot impose its own agenda, its own interests on us. Our forces are there. We will not withdraw from west of the Euphrates,” YPG spokesman Redur Xelil said, as cited by Rudaw.

“Its main goal, more than ISIS, is the Kurds,” he pointed out. 

At the moment, at least 20 Turkish tanks are taking part in operation inside Syria with more armored vehicles are expected to join the effort in the coming days as the Syrian rebels supported by Turkish forces are “cleansing” the city from jihadists.

The former IS stronghold of Manbij was freed by Kurdish-led SDF from jihadists just two weeks ago after months of intense fighting.

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) are the armed wing of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), close to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which Ankara considers a terrorist organization. Turkey has been leading a military campaign against PKK insurgency in the country’s south-eastern Kurdish-populated regions, which has been criticized by rights groups for its brutality. Numerous reports have also suggested that Ankara bombed Kurdish targets inside Syria while allegedly sparing Islamist militants that the YPG have been in bitter battle with.
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Offline Palloy

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This version could be true as well, I suppose. 

Another intriguing thing is that apparently ISIS disappeared ahead of the Turkish/Syrian rebel attack on Jarablus.  They took the town with zero Turkish Army casualties, and 2 dead from the Syrian rebels - pretty surprising, considering the strategic importance of the place, unless ISIS is still taking orders from Turkey

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-08-25/did-turkish-president-erdogan-just-use-false-flag-justify-invading-syria
Did Turkish President Erdogan Just Use A False Flag To Justify Invading Syria?
Darius Shahtamasebi via TheAntiMedia.org,
Aug 25, 2016

On Sunday Turkey experienced its deadliest terrorist attack this year. A suspected child suicide bomber struck a wedding celebration in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, killing at least 54 people and injuring dozens more.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan immediately blamed ISIS for the attack. This reaction is especially peculiar given the fact his policies have directly contributed to the growth of ISIS in more ways than one. His government is reportedly providing ISIS fighters with passage through Turkey, weapons, and medical assistance, to name a few examples.

Most interesting, however, is that ISIS has not claimed responsibility for the attack, and as the Guardian notes, ISIS has not historically claimed responsibility for attacks within Turkish territory. This is despite ISIS’ habit of readily praising and accepting responsibility for almost every Western attack — even a mass killing as absurd as the Orlando shooting, which realistically had nothing to do with ISIS.

So let’s do a little bit more digging.

According to one Turkish Member of Parliament, Mahmut Togrul, the targets of Sunday’s attack in Turkey were predominantly supporters of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP). It is true that ISIS has been battling the Kurds for some time now. However, the Kurds — specifically the HDP — have another powerful enemy.

As the Telegraph reported in 2015, the biggest threat to Turkey’s president obtaining unilateral control of the country during the 2015 elections was the HDP. In an article entitled “How Erdogan Enabled ISIS To Attack The Turks,” The Huffington Post reported in June of this year that the HDP won enough votes in June of 2015 was enough to “derail Erdogan’s plan to create a powerful presidential system that would benefit the Turkish leader and his family.” The HDP did so well that their success would deny Erdogan’s political party a majority for the first time in more than a decade.

The threat the Kurdish movement poses to Erdogan’s control of Turkey is further demonstrated by his policy of heavily bombing Kurdish territory in Syria, despite the fact that Washington regards the Kurds as the most effective fighting force against ISIS. As noted by the Huffington Post, Erdogan would regularly link the HDP to the fighting force known as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), regarded by some as terrorists.

Erdogan then blamed the subsequent terrorist attacks that occurred late last year and earlier this year on the Kurds, despite the fact that they in turn denied responsibility.

Sound familiar?

Even at the time of this article’s publishing, ISIS’ responsibility for the wedding attack has still not been confirmed. This is illustrated by CNN’s reliance on Turkey-based journalist Andrew Finkel. As CNN reported:

    “He said there were a number of reasons the Sunni terror group – if it is responsible for the attack – could have been motivated to strike Kurdish targets.”

To date, the only person convinced of ISIS involvement is Erdogan himself. When corporate media has to quote an official to infer someone’s responsibility for an attack, it often means there is no actual evidence for that person or groups’ involvement. If there was evidence, the headline would presumably run with that evidence — not the official’s statement. A good example of this was when the mainstream media ran stories stating John Kerry was certain of the Assad regime in Syria using chemical weapons. Yet no proof was actually offered, and if anything, the intelligence was fabricated.

If the Turkish authorities have proof that ISIS committed the attack, considering the group is obsessed with claiming all manner of attacks against their enemies, surely Erdogan could present it.

If not, what is really at play here?

What we do know is that the targets of the attack were supporters of a political party that threaten Erdogan’s dreams of totalitarianism. We also know ISIS has not claimed responsibility for the attack, nor has Erdogan provided any evidence they were responsible, except to reiterate their alleged responsibility over and over.

Don’t be surprised, therefore, if this attack is used as a further excuse to expand military operations against ISIS or some other group that Erdogan considers terrorists - or as a further move to target the Kurdish movement in Turkey and Syria. Oh wait, that literally just happened.
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Offline Palloy

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I didn't realise how close to the border Jarabulus is, it's a small town right on the border and the banks of the Euphrates, opposite where there is a crossing point, at Karkamis, which is served by railway:



So it is only a minor Turkish incursion, if they don't go any further.  Maybe more significant is that Turkey has been happy with ISIS occupying the town for the last few years, but they have put their foot down about the Kurds coming to occupy it.  The Kurds have already gone further west and taken Manbij, and Turkey is angry that they haven't withdrawn from there back to east of the Euphrates.  The Kurds/US are now only 75 Km from Aleppo - things are really coming to boiling point.



http://english.aawsat.com/2016/08/article55357244/turkey-sends-tanks-syria-jarablus-military-council-says-attack-caused-civilian-casualties
Turkey Sends more Tanks into Syria as Jarablus Military Council Says Attack Caused Civilian Casualties
27 Aug 2016

Turkey on Saturday sent six more tanks into Syria as pro-Ankara forces pressed on with de-mining work in the Syrian town of Jarablus captured from ISIS this week, as a group allied to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) claimed that Turkish warplanes struck civilian homes and positions held by it.

The Turkish military on Wednesday launched an operation codenamed “Euphrates Shield” inside Syria to oust ISIS from the border region and also counter advances by a Kurdish militia detested by Ankara.

An AFP photographer in the village of Karkamis on the Turkish side of the border watched six Turkish tanks roll over the frontier into Syria on Saturday.

The Hurriyet daily had reported earlier that the Turkish armed forces had 50 tanks and 380 personnel on the ground in Syria after three days of operations.

Turkish troops are supporting an even larger force of hundreds of Syrian rebels.

The photographer said that sporadic explosions were audible on the Turkish side of the border as the rebels carried out de-mining work in Jarablus.

The state-run Anadolu news agency confirmed in a story datelined from Jarablus that the rebels were working to destroy explosives left behind by ISIS.

It said that on Friday alone 20 different sets of explosives had been destroyed.

But the Jarablus Military Council, part of the Kurdish-backed SDF, said the attack on the village of al-Amarna caused civilian casualties and called it “a dangerous escalation that threatens the fate of the region.”

There was no immediate comment from Turkish officials.

A Reuters witness saw unidentified warplanes flying over the border region into Syria from Turkey early on Saturday morning, followed by the sound of explosions.

Turkey’s leadership has made clear that the offensive is also aimed at ensuring that the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia, which has led the fight against ISIS in the area, stay east of the Euphrates River.

Ankara says that the YPG has failed to stick to a promise made by its U.S. allies that the militia would move back east across the Euphrates following the seizure of the town of Manbij from ISIS earlier this month.

On Thursday, Turkey shelled positions of the YPG near Manbij but there have been no reports of further activity against the group since then.

Hurriyet said that the Turkish armed forces had been given an order to “strike immediately” should the YPG be seen to make any move towards Jarablus.

Turkey sees the YPG militia and its Democratic Union Party (PYD) political wing, which have links to Kurdish rebels in Turkey, as “terror groups” bent on carving out an autonomous Kurdish region in Syria.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2016, 05:10:40 PM by Palloy »
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http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-08-27/joe-biden-humiliated-turkish-appeasement-erdogan-bombs-us-backed-forces-syria
Joe Biden Humiliated In Turkish "Appeasement" As Erdogan Bombs US Allies In Syria
Tyler Durden
Aug 27, 2016

The last time U.S. Vice President Joe Biden flew to Turkey, in January, he had a stern message for President Erdogan: his model of Islamic democracy was setting a bad example by intimidating media and threatening academics. However, his tone was markedly different when he arrived in Ankara on Wednesday, just weeks after a failed coup in Turkey that has strained relations between the two countries, and on the same day that Turkey launched a full-blown incursion into northern Syria "to halt ISIS." With Turkey making very clear, and very open overtures toward Russia, Biden was in full blown diplomatic damage-limitation mode.

The dramatic shift in dplomatic posture by Biden comes as the U.S.-Turkish alliance has been dealt several blows in recent weeks, to the point where the US vice president's arrival in Ankara shows just how concerned the US, which is counting on continued support from Turkey - NATO's second-biggest military - has become.  American worries have been compounded by Erdogan restoring ties with Russia - the Turkish president's first diplomatic meeting after the failed coup was with Putin in St. Petersburg, as a result of which Turkey has been discussing military cooperation with the Kremlin.

Meeting with Erdogan and Turkey's prime minister in Ankara on Wednesday, Biden delivered a message of alliance and conciliation.   "Let me say it for one last time: The American people stand with you ... Barack Obama was one of the first people you called. But I do apologize. I wish I could have been here earlier," Biden said.

But he wasn't.

And while Biden's pathetic attempt at appeasement may have come and gone, reinforcing just how much the American people stand with a person whose pre-arranged purge of political opponents has resulted in over 100,000 Turkish citizens fired or arrested, Turkey's diplomatic humiliation of the US continued, when far from attacking ISIS in Syria, the stated objective behind the invasion, Turkish forces and rebels supported by Erdogan continued their deadly attacks on Kurdish-backed forces in north Syria on Saturday. The same Kurdish-backed forces which are also backed by the US.

And it's not as if Turkey is even hiding it: Turkey's government, which is fighting a Kurdish insurgency at home, has said the Syrian campaign it opened this week is as much about targeting Islamic State as it is about preventing Kurdish forces filling the vacuum left when Islamists withdraw. Turkey wants to stop Kurdish forces gaining control of a continuous stretch of Syrian territory on its frontier, which Ankara fears could be used to support the Kurdish militant group PKK as it wages its three-decade insurgency on Turkish soil.

According to Reuters, Turkish security sources said two F-16 jets bombed a site controlled by the Kurdish YPG militia, which is part of the broader U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) coalition.

Meanwhile, the US-backed Kurds are fighting back,  and according to military sources, one Turkish soldier was killed and three others wounded when a tank was hit by a rocket that they said was fired from territory held by the Kurdish YPG. The sources said the army shelled the area in response.

At that point the chaos that is the Syrian conflict, with so many competing elements, many of whom supported by the US, was on full display.  Case in point: Syrian rebels opposed to Ankara's incursion said Turkish forces had targeted forces allied to the YPG and no Kurdish forces were in the area. On the ground, Turkish-backed Syrian rebels fought forces aligned with the SDF near the frontier town of Jarablus. Forces opposed to Ankara said Turkish tanks were deployed, a charge denied by Turkey's rebel allies.

As a result, the narrative is now split in two: one "confirming" the Turkish explanation, the other justifying the actions of the YPG, just in case the US decides to flip after all, and support its "lesser" allies:

    The Jarablus Military Council, part of the SDF, had said earlier on Saturday that Turkish planes hit the village of al-Amarna south of Jarablus, causing civilian casualties. It called the action "a dangerous escalation".

    The Kurdish-led administration that controls parts of northern Syria said Turkish tanks advanced on al-Amarna and clashed with forces of the Jarablus Military Council. But the Kurdish administration said no Kurdish forces were involved.

    However, the leader of one Turkey-backed rebel group gave a rival account. He told Reuters the rebels battled the Kurdish YPG around al-Amarna and denied any Turkish tanks took part.

     Turkish security forces simply said Turkish-backed forces had extended their control to five villages beyond Jarablus.

In short, chaos and a full-blown media propaganda war; however, as Reuters notes, one thing is clear: any action against Kurdish forces in Syria puts Turkey further at odds with its NATO ally the United States, which backs the SDF and YPG, "seeing them as the most reliable and effective ally in the fight against Islamic State in Syria."

However, just like Biden's arrival in Ankara was a tacit admission that the US will fully ignore Erdogan's unprecedented crackdown on human righs in post-coup Turkey as the president purges even the remotest political opponent, so the YPG, which has been "backed" by the US, is about to realize just how little such backing really means when the US has bigger fish to fry, in this case desperately trying to keep Turkey on its good side, and away from Putin's circle of influence, all the while providing countless concessions to Turkey as the country continues to openly defy western norms and put away dissidents, while arresting members of the press, and education system, as Erdogan nationalizes private corporations alleged to have ties with the notorious "coup plotter" Fethulah Gullen.

In doing so, the Obama administration has once again revealed the true extent of its hypocricy, as it turns a blind eye toward the trampling of human rights in Turkey, while screaming bloody murder when something similar takes place in any other part of the world.

Meanwhile, Turkey's humiliation of its "partner", the US, will continue, and much to the amusement of Vladimir Putin, there is absolutely nothing Obama will do about it. 
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Now in complete contradiction of what Biden said on his visit to Ankara, the Defense Secretary tells Turkey to stand down its forces in Syria, and they say "no".  YPG says it will stay south of Sajour River, which runs in an arc 20 Km around Jarabulus.

https://www.rt.com/news/357550-usa-turkey-clashes-syria/
US slams Turkey over ‘unacceptable clashes’ with Syria opposition, says they aid ISIS
29 Aug, 2016

The US says clashes between Turkish forces and opposition groups in northern Syria are “unacceptable.” Washington is concerned this will take the focus away from fighting Islamic State and give the terrorist group the possibility to capture more territory.

Turkey’s use of force against Kurdish forces in Syria has not gone down well with the US, with Washington openly supporting the Kurdish YPG fighters, who have proved to be a vital ground force in the battle against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

"We want to make clear that we find these clashes - in areas where ISIL is not located - unacceptable and a source of deep concern," Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for the coalition to counter Islamic State, said on his official Twitter account, citing a Defense Department statement.

"We call on all armed actors to stand down... the US is actively engaged to facilitate such deconfliction and unity of focus on ISIL, which remains a lethal and common threat."


During Monday’s press briefing, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter also urged Turkey to concentrate its ground campaign in Syria on fighting Islamic State.

"We have called upon Turkey... to stay focused on the fight against ISIL and not to engage Syrian Defense Forces, and we've had a number of contacts over the last several days," Carter told reporters.


However, Turkey reacted angrily to the American rebuke, with its minister for European Union affairs, Omer Celik, saying no one could tell Ankara which terrorist group it was allowed to target.

"No one has the right to tell us which terrorist organization we can fight against and which one to ignore," Celik told a news conference in Ankara, as cited by Reuters.


Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has issued a stark warning to Kurdish Syrian forces, saying they must “immediately” withdraw east of the Euphrates River, otherwise they would face more strikes from Turkish forces.

"The YPG has to immediately cross east of the Euphrates River as they promised the United States and as they announced they would," Cavusoglu said, as cited by AP. "If they don't they will be a target."

Ankara is worried that Kurdish forces are trying to extend their area of control along Turkey’s southern border. Turkey has been involved in a three-decade-long conflict with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is based in the southeast of the country.

Washington has also reiterated a demand to the Syrian Kurds that they cross the Euphrates. The US says that such a movement has “largely occurred,” while fighters from the US-backed Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), which includes Syrian Kurdish militias, say they have withdrawn south following the Turkish offensive.

"We, the Military council of Jarablus and its countryside, announce the withdrawal of our forces to the line south of the Sajour River to preserve the lives of civilians and so that no pretext remains for continued strikes on villages and civilians," an online statement from the military council said, as cited by Reuters.

On August 24, Turkey launched a ground operation in Syria codenamed ‘Shield of Euphrates.’ Despite saying it is fighting IS, Turkey has been bombarding Syrian Kurdish YPG militia positions over the last few days and Kurdish officials believe this could be part of a wider goal from Ankara to suppress the Syrian Kurds.

"Turkey's claims that it is fighting the YPG west of the Euphrates have no basis in truth and are merely flimsy pretexts to widen its occupation of Syrian land," Redur Xelil, chief spokesman for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, told Reuters.

On Sunday, Ankara said it killed 25 Kurdish fighters, including from the SDF during airstrikes near Jarablus. The assault came “in response to attacks on advancing Turkish-backed rebels” operating in the area.

Representatives of the Kurdish-backed SDF said on Sunday that Turkish airstrikes and shelling of predominantly Kurdish positions in northeast Syria led to civilian casualties.

The current Turkish operation in Syria has been slammed by Damascus as a “blatant violation of sovereignty.” Following the intrusion, the Russian Foreign Ministry also said it was “deeply worried” about the latest development.
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http://rbth.com/international/2016/08/26/turkey-has-gone-further-than-promised-in-syria-says-moscow_624453
Turkey has gone further than promised in Syria, says Moscow
Georgy Stepanov, Sergei Strokan, Ivan Safronov.  Kommersant
August 26, 2016

Ankara is carrying out a full-scale ground operation in Syria. This format has not been coordinated with Moscow and threatens to undermine the warming of Russian-Turkish relations.

The relations between Moscow and Ankara have been subjected to a new test. The Turkish army, with air support from the U.S.-led coalition, entered Syria on Aug. 24, starting the anti-terrorist operation Euphrates Shield, which was not coordinated with Damascus. By evening, the border town of Jarabulus had been captured from Islamic State.

The Turkish operation was approved by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who arrived on a visit to Ankara, while the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed deep concern. The operation in Syria, not coordinated with Moscow, threatens to complicate the process of normalization of bilateral cooperation, which was agreed in St. Petersburg on Aug. 9 by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Not a ground operation, says Turkey

Erdogan announced the beginning of the operation on the morning of Aug. 24, explaining that it was directed against the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group and Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units) forces, which Ankara also considers to be a terrorist group.

The preparation took several days. As Turkish special forces conducted reconnaissance on the territory of Syria, Turkish tanks and heavy artillery were moved to the border areas.

Following heavy bombardment of Jarabulus (a total of 63 targets were fired at 224 times in the first hours) and a series of air strikes involving aircraft from the U.S.-led international coalition, Syrian Free Army (FSA) troops were able to enter the city and take it under control in a matter of hours.

They did not meet serious resistance: The ISIS militants who were in Jarabulus began to leave the city already on the eve of the operation, and almost completely retreated during its active phase.

Turkey insists that what is happening cannot be considered to be a ground operation: The task is to open a corridor for the armed forces of the moderate Syrian opposition for cleansing Jarabulus from terrorists.

Turkish territory has been repeatedly shelled from the city in recent years.

According to a military source, the Russian special services had information about Turkey's intention to carry out the operation, but its scale was unexpected. "This city could have been taken by a much smaller force; they will not stop in this region and are likely to go further," the source said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed deep concern in connection with the Turkish operation in Syria. "Moscow is [...] especially alarmed by the prospect that the situation in the conflict zone will continue to deteriorate, resulting in greater civilian losses and heightened ethnic tensions between Arabs and Kurds," the ministry said in a statement.

The official Syrian authorities, meanwhile, described the actions of the Turkish forces as an "invasion." The Syrian Foreign Ministry, which called on the UN Security Council to urgently intervene in the situation and to "end the aggression," said in a statement that Syria "condemns the crossing of the Turkey-Syria border by Turkish tanks and armored vehicles towards the Jarabulus area with air cover from the U.S.-led coalition and considers it a flagrant violation of Syrian sovereignty."

Following a visit to Ankara, U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden did not accept these claims, but actively supported the actions of Turkey and made it clear that he regards them as an important step in the fight against ISIS.
An anti-Kurdish operation in disguise

"In the Euphrates Shield operation, Turkey is supporting the moderate Syrian opposition with its tanks, artillery and aircraft," said Alexander Vasilyev, a senior researcher at the Institute of Oriental Studies in Moscow. "Such a scheme and model has been already used by the Turks."

According to him, the Turks earlier successfully interacted with loyal local Kurds in northern Iraq in the same way. "They set up a network of support centers and military bases at that time," Vasilyev said. "In such a way, Ankara tried to fight the Kurdistan Workers' Party and move this fight from the south-east of Turkey to northern Iraq."

Meanwhile, according to Vasilyev, Turkey's operation is directed against the Kurds, even if it is masquerading as part of the fight against international terrorism.

Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, a Moscow-based defense think tank, finds it very symbolic that the Euphrates Shield operation coincided with Biden's visit to Ankara.

"Given that the relationship between Ankara and Washington in recent weeks reached a low point, this operation was the ideal opportunity for both sides to divert attention from the issue of exiled Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen and demonstrate that the United States and Turkey remain strategic allies," said Pukhov.

For Moscow, Ankara's operation was an unpleasant surprise, demonstrating that the expectations for a convergence of the countries’ positions on Syria that emerged after the meeting between Putin and Erdogan were premature.

In deciding about the operation in Jarabulus, the Turkish leader has sent a signal that relations with the U.S. remain a priority for him, and he prefers to act in the framework of the antiterrorist coalition led not by Moscow, but Washington.

According to Kommersant's information, in case of aggravation of the situation, the Russian military and diplomats are ready to employ bilateral channels of communication with their Turkish counterparts, as well as express their concerns to the U.S. if necessary.

According to Vladimir Sotnikov, director of the Moscow-based Russia-East-West center, Ankara's actions could seriously affect the process of normalization of bilateral cooperation that was agreed by presidents Putin and Erdogan in St. Petersburg.

"Erdogan is playing his own game and is still on the other side of the conflict," he said.


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http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-08-30/turkey-responds-says-us-comments-its-bombing-us-allies-unacceptable-are-unacceptable
Turkey Slams US Comments That Its Bombing Of US Allies "Is Unacceptable" Are "Unacceptable"
Tyler Durden
Aug 30, 2016

Yesterday, as the fallout from the latest Turkish incursion into Northern Syria was being digested and the US realized that far from an expansion in Ankara's campaign on ISIS, Erdogan was merely using the Islamic State as a pretext to expand his war against the Kurdish militia, known as YPG - which also happens to be a part of the broader US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) coalition - the DoD  said that "we want to make clear that we find these clashes — in areas where [ISIS] is not located — unacceptable and a source of deep concern."

24 hours later Turkey responded, saying that the US comments that Turkey's clashes in areas where ISIS is not located "are unacceptable", are themselves unacceptable, and that the US should just ahead and mind its own business.

Specifically, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Tanju Bilgic said in a written statement on Tuesday that comments on Turkey’s operation in Syria by U.S. officials including the secretary of defense, White House spokesman, and special envoy for the fight against Islamic State are “unacceptable” adding that the goal of Turkey’s “Euphrates Shield” operation in Syria is clear: to bring the scourge of terrorism to a level that it no longer disturbs Turkish citizens.

The problem for the US is that among the terrorist Turkey also now officially counts America's "allies" the YPG.

And so, Joe Biden's appeasement attempt last Wednesday when he arrived in Turkey to show support for Erodgan, and which as we dubbed would be quickly seen as a humiliation, is now an even greater humiliation for US foreign policy.
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The article doesn't say where these 400 sq. km. are, but it's a fair bet that it is the triangular area based on the border, Euphrates and Sajour River.  That's a natural defensive line, and the YPG have agreed not to cross it anyway.  No mention of any casualties, apart from 2 on the first day.  Compare that with the protracted battle for Kobane, where ISIS stayed to fight.



Given that everybody else seems to be telling him to stop, he would be wise to consolidate there.  But you can never tell with megalomaniacs.

https://www.rt.com/news/357947-erdogan-liberated-syria-land/
Turkish forces ‘liberated’ 400 sq. km of Syrian land – Erdogan
1 Sep, 2016

A Turkish incursion in Syria is proceeding successfully and has already allowed the country to “liberate” a vast swath of land from Islamic State militants and US-backed Kurdish YPG forces, President Tayyip Erdogan stated.

“Nobody can expect us to allow a terror corridor on our southern border,” Erdogan told a news conference, as quoted by Reuters.

Erdogan added that he has long been seeking the establishment of a so-called “safe zone” in Syria, the idea of which had been ignored or rejected by other world powers.

Erdogan insisted that both Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and the YPG pose an equal threat to Turkey’s national security, refusing to make a distinction between the internationally recognized terrorist group and the Kurdish minority forces.

Turkish forces crossed into Syria on August 24, under the pretext of targeting Islamic State positions along the border. As IS fighters melted away, however, Turkish troops involved in ‘Operation Euphrates Shield’ clashed with the Kurdish YPG militia, part of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Washington has since called on Turkey to refrain from targeting the Kurds, calling the reports of clashes “a source of deep concern.” Moscow has also urged Turkey to refrain from attacking opposition and ethnic groups, at the same time advising Ankara to coordinate its operations with official Damascus.

The government in Damascus has condemned the Turkish incursion as a violation of Syrian sovereignty. Accompanying the Turkish troops are some 1,500 militants of the so-called Free Syrian Army, fervently fighting against the government of President Bashar Assad.
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With the red box secured, Turkey now bites off another bit, starting at Al-Rai.  The question is, are ISIS fighting back or simply vacating the area, like they did in Jarabulus?  We were told before that Turkey pounded Jarabulus with heavy fire, but in fact they walked into the town in "a few hours" with no Turkish casualties and only 2 Syrian rebels. 

https://www.rt.com/news/358172-turkey-syria-front-tanks/
Turkish military opens new battlefront, sends more tanks into Syria
3 Sep, 2016

Turkish tanks and other armored vehicles have entered Syria’s northern province of Aleppo and shelled Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) positions in the area, opening up yet another battlefront within the last two weeks, various media outlets reported.

Turkey sent tanks into the town of al-Rai, located in Aleppo Province as part of its Euphrates Shield operation aimed at pushing both IS and Kurdish militants away from the border, Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News reported Saturday.

Turkish vehicles opened fire on IS installations located in the region, according to the country’s Dogan news agency.

“The operations are to work from al-Rai towards the villages that were liberated west of Jarablus,” Colonel Ahmed Osman of the Sultan Murad rebel group told Reuters, confirming that the operation is taking place in cooperation with Turkey.

Leopard tanks and M60T tanks are involved into the offensive, broadcaster CNN-Turk reported. The machinery is backed by artillery. About 20 tanks, five armored personnel carriers and other vehicles are reported to have entered the area.

Civilians have fled the territory as the Turkish forces advanced.

The offensive is aimed at targeting jihadists from both the east and west sides of the stretch of territory between Jarablus and al-Rai which is presently under militant control.

IS militants reportedly responded with three rockets that hit the Turkish province of Kilis earlier today, Dogan also said.

The new front line was launched some 25 kilometers west of the first one, which was opened on August 24.
Turkey has stressed that it has no intentions of staying in Syria and the operation is strictly defensive in character.

Ankara seeks to protect its border from the militant group and the Kurdish YPG militia, which it sees as affiliates of the outlawed Kurdish PKK group.

The United States raised concerns over the Turkish incursion in Syria, and Germany said that a lasting Turkish presence in the war-torn country is undesirable.

Turkey aims to push the YPG fighters east of the Euphrates River, and is seeking the US support in this issue since the US is obliged to work with Turkey as a NATO member on “all different terrorist threats,” Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on September 2, according to Hurriyet.

“We would like to see the pressure of the U.S. on the PYD to go to the east of the Euphrates. So it would be very useful if we would apply this operation with the US forces together,” Kurtulmus said in an interview.
Euphrates Shield was launched on August 24 with the support of Turkish air forces, as well as A-10S and F-16 warplanes from the US-led coalition.
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With the red box secured, Turkey now bites off another bit, starting at Al-Rai.  The question is, are ISIS fighting back or simply vacating the area, like they did in Jarabulus?  We were told before that Turkey pounded Jarabulus with heavy fire, but in fact they walked into the town in "a few hours" with no Turkish casualties and only 2 Syrian rebels. 

They will let Erdocrook keep going until he takes over some Syrian oil fields.

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Putin would obviously have told Erdogan in private of his displeasure at the Turkish invasion, probably well before it started, and possibly with some threats thrown in.  So this is purely for public impact, as the leaders assemble for the G-20 meeting.

https://www.rt.com/news/358177-democratization-attempts-terrorism-putin/
‘Democratization’ attempts lead to state system destruction & terrorism – Putin
4 Sep, 2016

Events of the past decade have shown that external attempts at democratizing a nation – with Iraq, Libya and Syria being the most graphic examples – lead to the rise of terrorism and the destruction of the state, President Putin told Bloomberg at the Eastern Economic Forum.

“I’ve always been of the opinion that you can’t change things from the outside, regarding political regimes, power change,” Putin said.

“I’m sure – and the events of the past decade add to this certainty – in particular the attempts of democratization in Iraq, Libya, we see what they led to: the destruction of state system and the rise of terrorism,” Putin explained.

“Do you see any elements of democracy in Libya? Perhaps they will develop one day, hopefully. Or the ongoing civil war in Iraq – what is the future of Iraq in general? These remain big questions,” Putin said.

“The same goes for Syria. Every time we hear that ‘Assad must go’ (because someone from the outside believes so), I can’t help but wonder: What is this going to lead to? How does this correspond to the norms of international law? Isn’t it better to arm ourselves with patience and promote structural changes in society… wait until these changes occur naturally?”

“Yes, this won’t happen today or tomorrow, but perhaps therein lies the political wisdom: holding horses and not leaping ahead, but gradually pursuing structural changes, in this case in the political system of society.”

When asked what has “changed” in Turkey’s position towards the Syria crisis and if Russia-Turkey relations were taking a path towards normalization after the downing of a Russian jet, the president admitted that he sees a Moscow and Ankara forging closer bonds again.

“First of all, we proceed from the fact that Turkey apologized for the incident and for the deaths of our people, and did it straightforwardly, without any reservations,” Putin said, noting that a mutual need – and wish – for collaboration between the two countries exists on both their parts.

“We see an obvious interest of the Turkish president in restoring fully-fledged relations with Russia. We have correlating interests in the Black Sea, in the Middle East, and on a global level. We’re counting on returning to constructive dialogue,” Putin said, adding that he believes common ground can be found even with the most pressing and contentious issue in the region – the ongoing Syrian conflict.

“As I already said, we have a mutual determination to come to an agreement on regional issues, including the Syrian situation,” Putin said, adding that Russia is “in touch with Turkish partners on political and ministerial levels.”

However, he mentioned that Moscow believes “anything that contradicts international law is inexcusable,” apparently referring to Turkey’s violation of Syrian sovereignty without Damascus’ consent and the recent escalation of attacks against the US-supported Syrian Kurdish group YPG.

With Ankara being at odds with Washington over ongoing Turkish ground operations against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL),the Russian Foreign Ministry also urged Ankara to “coordinate its military actions in Syria with Damascus, refrain from attacking opposition and ethnic groups.”
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Putin would obviously have told Erdogan in private of his displeasure at the Turkish invasion, probably well before it started, and possibly with some threats thrown in.  So this is purely for public impact, as the leaders assemble for the G-20 meeting.

Neither Mother Russia or the FSoA gives a shit about Erdocrook going into Syria.  He' doing both a favor by killing people, and neither Putin or Obama need to take the blame for it.

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