Up To 20,000 Fighters From The Free Army Will Participate In Turkey’s Next Operation Against YPG, PKK – Media

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Up To 20,000 Fighters From The Free Army Will Participate In Turkey's Next Operation Against YPG, PKK - Media

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Turkish sources spoke of the imminent launch of a new operation in northern Syria directed this time against the Kudish PKK and YPG in the Afrin area north of Aleppo.

According to Turkish sources, the first goal of the operation will be Tel Rif’at town in the north-eastern Aleppo countryside, and Meng air base, and will later include the northern areas of Afrin.

Several media reports claimed that the number of Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters who will participate in the upcoming Turkish operation is 20,000. Previous reports suggested that the number will be 7,000 which makes more sense as 20,000 seems to be an exaggerated figure. However, media outlets have not provided any real sources for these numbers.

On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu in Istanbul. According to unconfirmed reports, the two sides might have talked about the upcoming military operation in north Aleppo in addition to the S-400 deal. Though, official reports haven’t confirmed these claims.

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  • Thracian King
  • Johnson Malarkey

    Is it true the U.S. is retreating from Al-Tanf?

    • John Mason

      Rumours only.

    • Ma_Laoshi

      If that’d be the plan, I’d guess they’d wait at least until they can announce the fall of Raqqa–declare victory and go home. For Trump personally this would probably be best, but does he even still have any idea of what he’s doing.

      • zman

        The US just go home? You’re dreaming.

        • dutchnational

          Home is where the heart is. For the moment that is Rojava.

    • Johnson Malarkey

      Thank you both. This info kept me on my toes quite a bit, I couldn’t find any other source on the NET at the time about an alleged U.S. withdrawal from Al-Tanf , thus I was this desperate for an answer. Thanks again.

      • Jens Holm

        There is none. As usual its from imaginations and neightmares.

    • zman

      Supposedly they have figured out they fucked up. They are (supposedly) also transporting their proxies to other areas to fight the SAA…notably north of Deir Ezzor, altho their PR says Zara. Probably to aide ISIS in attacking Deir Ezzor. It’s been claimed the IS forces that attacked the Syrian/Iraqi border came from Tanf also.

    • Tommy Jensen

      All Americans were running from Al-Tanf in bermudas and bath slippers to the nearest Apache helicopter.
      Vietnam all over again.
      Now they are going to make a Hollywood film with Sylvester Stallone so you can see the real truth is that US also won this war in Syria.

      • Ma_Laoshi

        Except that there is no enemy in sight for them quite as formidable as the NVA was–and no jungle for said enemy to hide in. In fact, in recent years, the US has suffered Saigon moments in both Libya (no I don’t mean that Benghazi nonsense) and Yemen; guess they’ve just become better at managing the media narrative.

  • gfsdyughjgd .

    Both coalition USA/Nato and Saudis,Jordans,Erdogan is using terrorist as free Syrian army which actually mean their can rape,chop off heads,eating hearts,killing children and sabotage the countries infructure with the help of their masters.

  • dutchnational

    The number of 14k and 7k are likely correct. FSA sources claim up to 7k TSK and up to 14k FSA, altogether some 20k. Let us assume this is correct.

    The FSA is and has been fighting amongst themselves, more then a hundred killed the last few months. They are not a cohesive force and have a weak fighting spirit, as demonstrated in the Euphrates Shield performance, especially so in the fake conquest of Al Bab. The TSK is cohesive, but has the same weak resistance against extended battlefield losses. Turkeys airforce is weak(ened by Erdogan) and cannot sustain a long campaign against dug in enemies.

    They wll be attacking SDF which I calculate, YPG, YPJ, mixed arab kurds forces and the conscript HXP, to be around 30K+, though they might be a bit smaller as objective figures are hardly available. They have not very many heavy weapons but they are very well dug in to the high ground, have experienced (Kobane) commanders and high fighting spirit. They feel to fight against ethnic cleansing at the least and genocide at the most. They will fight to the end.

    They will be attaking HTS with some 50k (source wikipedia) fighters in defensive positions and with heavy weapons. HTS already started to arrest Euphrates Shield fighters visiting Idlib and got over a hundred. They hold the border of Idlib so TSK will have to invade through their lines.

    Imo there will be no all out attack on Afrin and Idlib, not with the available forces. A targeted smaller attack could be a possibility, but will leave the attackers open to counterattacks, both from Afrin and Manbij regions.

    There are two other risks for Turkey. The first is the garrison of Russians in Afrin. Should they be attacked by accident by FSA and or Turks, there will be hell to pay for Erdogan. Second is the Nubbol enclave held by SAA and the corridor between the enclave and Aleppo, held by SAA. It will not be very difficult to drive the FSA against the enclave during counter attacks. If that were to result in SAA casualties, likely as the SAA is a stated target for FSA, it will involve the SAA too.

    All in all, to weak a force, to many risks.

    • Ma_Laoshi

      I have no independent insight into all the details you mention, but if Turkey really wanted Tel Rifaat they could just get on with it right? Making such an extended show of announcing the attack may indeed be posturing.

      • dutchnational

        They could go on with it but not with the forces they have fielded and deployed there. They tried for a week last year with 40 tanks, bmp’s, thousands of FSA, TSK special forces, artillery and CAS. They could not even take just one small village, not even one of those the SDF had only taken two weeks before.

        After a week FSA just gave up, could not take the losses. Turkey had to withdrow to Mare, declared they had taken the city of Mare, declared a win and took off.

        Now a year later SDF is bigger, better armed and well dug in in the new areas next to Afrin.
        They can be taken, but it will cost the TSK and FSA.

  • tigbear

    This is good news. This is more than the spineless Assad was willing to do to take back Syrian territory. Erdogan to the rescue. This is why the Sunni militants wanted to take over Syria. They knew Assad couldn’t defend it. But now that Turkey has decided to support Assad, the Free Syrian Army are helping Turkey to take the land from the Kurds side by side with Turkey.

    They will achieve what Assad couldn’t face doing. It’s better if Turkey occupies Syria if Syria can’t defend his land from others.

    Assad is just hopeless.

    • Ma_Laoshi

      “Assad is just hopeless.”
      Maybe that’s just because *you* are not there to fight? ;-)

      Having jihadists from all over the world descend on Syria with drones, ATGM’s, and a media arm firing on all cylinders–yes it exposes some of Assad’s mistakes, can’t go back in time to fix them. But could Damascus have realistically have planned for all that on its own?

      • tigbear

        He had six years to adapt. No, he’s spineless. He didn’t want to hit SDF or FSA for six years because they were “democratic” militias who wanted “freedom”. He knows the language of the hypocrites well because he probably is one of them.

        • Ma_Laoshi

          We’ve been here before, and I half agree with you: the loyalists chose to wage America’s war for them. How does Washington manage to mindfuck *everyone*?

    • Rodger

      Lets see what happens. It could be that Russia wants Turkey to take a piece of Syria filled with Turkmens. If the UN approves it would give Russia the precedent to take a piece of the Ukraine.
      Just like Kosovo made legal action against the annexation of the Crimea impossible.

      • Ma_Laoshi

        But then one gives up the illusion that Moscow’s actions in Syria are in Syria’s interest, i.e. they’re a weaker version of the US though hopefully less genocidal. That is, we’re *not* witnessing the birth of an alternative world order. Many countries seem to calculate accordingly, and are flocking (back) to NATO. Or their leaders were bought off as usual; seriously, who can still keep track.

        • Pretty much…
          Moscow’s actions are in Moscow’s interests.
          Moscow’s interests require a strong, prosperous, secure Syria ally on the eastern Mediterranean – so that is what she’ll work for. (I’m expecting her to get it – she’s way too smart for those Yankees.)

        • Jens Holm

          Its well known its a “both”. Russians like bases there and oil control.

      • I don’t think Turkey is going to be getting a bit of Syria.
        Simply, the Russians value their Syrian ally and they aren’t going to cut it up to please Turkeys. Sovereignty, territorial integrity and all that jazz.

        Turkey might have “plans” but in the end they will do what Russia wants – as their shooting down those Russian Su so clearly demonstrated.

        • Rodger

          Like I said if Turkey can take a piece of Syria without international complaints then Russia can take a piece of the Ukraine on the same grounds. Syria would just lose some unruly Turkmens and no oil so no big harm there.

          • Jens Holm

            Those are not comparable at all. As written before, there should be a voting for Russiand coimming back to Russia in the new areas of Ukraine, where there was and never were any Ukrainians.

            You cant do it in Syria/Turkey. But if You inists it would make sense some Turkmen areas went to Turkey and Syria in stead got kurdish land from Turkey.

          • Like I said if Turkey can take a piece of Syria without international complaints
            ————
            It doesn’t actually work like that.
            And Russia CAN take all Ukraine anytime it wants.

      • Jens Holm

        There are almost none Turkmen in Syria anymore. Most say they are Syrians and speack arabic as their first language and having arabic culture now. Let me remind You abut the Turkish hatay succes.

        Secondly 1000`s of Turkmen has emmigrated to Turkey.

    • Turkey supporting Assad might be pushing it.
      Turkey is more likely getting rid of Kurds on his border and phucking Americans…..
      …. They don’t take being openly disagreed with very well.

      PS. Assad is not hopeless, he is winning.

      • Jens Holm

        bork

        • Solomon Krupacek

          fork

    • Jens Holm

      far out. The major problems of Assad are FSA and Turks.

  • Akar

    Russia betreyed the kurds, this is what the US wanted… now the kurds are 100% US ally and no longer trust Russia. This is a grave mistake for russian government.

    • Ma_Laoshi

      I have major doubts that Moscow played this one right but let’s look at the facts: TURKEY is planning to gobble themselves up some Afrin. Neither the US or Russia is making decisive moves to stop this. Of these two, the US has a greater commitment (on paper) to the Kurds, and still much more leverage on Turkey–being a superpower and all that.

      If you sympathize with the Kurds I can understand that you’re disappointed, but you could also have argued the opposite way.

    • FlorianGeyer

      Akar, you use the US doctrine of turning truth on its head.
      It was the Kurds who betrayed the trust of Russia and also the Syrian Government when they took the American $.
      This pending conflict will not end well for the Kurds, Turks or the US.
      That is my hope anyway :)

      • Jens Holm

        Thats rubbish too. You just want imaginary moving kurds, so all 4 countries diving them can use them as reason for all not cleaning Your own toilets.

        • FlorianGeyer

          The Kurds have accepted ‘The Kings Shilling’ from the most unreliable partner in the world. The US eventually betrays all its partners in crime , except Israel of course.

          • Jens Holm

            Well,You might know, that desperat people having no choise do so and alway have.

            My best example are the Bosniaks after Tito. Serbs had a lot of weapons. Croats could by as they wished exept artillery and tanks.

            But Bosniaks couldnt even they were etnich cleansed by croats and some by serbs as well.

            So what did they do. They asked the world being very moderate muslisms in a “Ottoman” European version.

            And who came. 1000 Al Qaida veterans educated them in guerilla warfare as infantery. And who financed it an demanded their religion more like their. Well Saudia-Arabs incl. Wahabism in the schools.

            Who else would help kurds. Iran, Iraq, Turkey or Syria. No, none -You made their choise. And YPG/YPJ are not a bunch of farmers with small hunting riffels and forks anymore. At least they now can shoot back.

            To me being not as blind as You their alternative were 400.000 being killed in Kobane or 400.000 as refugees in Turkey of today.

            Now they have taken ISIS out of their own land, which Assads hasnt.

            I will also alow me to say, that assads wasnt in Syria anymore if it wasnt for Kurds figting ISIS.

    • Rodger

      From my point of view the Kurds were doing fine in the middle until they accepted massive US help. Then Russia had the choice to court the Kurds more and hope they came back towards the middle or draw Turkey more towards them by saying so long and farewell to the Kurds. And that isn’t a very difficult choice at all.

      • Jens Holm

        Else they were dead or 400.000 was refugees in Turkey. Seems like You still not even read their opinions about it.

    • zman

      The Kurds screwed themselves. They are not to be trusted any more than the US is. They get what they deserve.

      • Jens Holm

        bork

        • Solomon Krupacek

          2fork

    • What deal with the Kurds did Russia betray?

      • dutchnational

        None. Maybe they got a better offer from Turkey.

      • Jens Holm

        none.

        • That’s what I thought too but as he said Russia betrayed the Kurds I thought he should back it up.

          So far he hasn’t.

          • Jens Holm

            I think its something like russians always has supported kurds in Turkey a little more then symbolic to make Turks unhappy and because turks has supported Turkemen in Syria.

            In think assad has supported Kurds in Afrin, Aleppo and Damaskus because they are kind of integrated to the western parts of Syria.

            The others are different. More are poor and spread out and has become too independent, so thats why Russians and Assads are more sceptic and for good reasons kind of accepting and close to hostile.

            We saw it about 2 years ago. Kurds in Afrin would support assads active some, but they wouldnt fight other kurds(kobanis+jazirias).

    • Jens Holm

      So far You carry Your dusty speculations on only dirty speculations.

    • Gerhard Pleyer

      kurds betrayed kurds mostly.
      Turks are Bitches NUMBER-ONE on the Planet and then Kutds are Bitches NUMBER-TWO on the Planet.
      Kurds sell kurds for Money, US-americans know it very well. They buy kurds as they buy Bitches.

  • Wahid Algiers

    If the SAA will or should intervene depends on the kurds at all (Afrin and eastern Syria). Turkey is an ally of the Idleb-FSA. At the other side Russia is an ally of the Syrian Government. At the present none knows what both are dealing, exept the US and maybe the Syrian government. I still prefer a working together of SAA and kurds where ever they are. But they do not give a sign to leave the US and support the government nor they offer negotiations to rest in the federal syrian state for a broad self-administration. As longer as they show their silly poker face as soon they will be attacked by turkish forces on both territories. Or does anybody believe after Afrin they stop their efforts? What the role of the US is regarding Afrin? Did they handled with Russia and Turkey to give it to them and therefore to get Hasakah countryside up to Raqqa and more?

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  • “On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu in Istanbul.”
    ——————
    This pretty much guarantees the two are in cahoots here and – if Russia is – so is Syria. So.

    What effect is this expected to have on the Kurds further up the line round Raqqa way that the US is supporting? Will they continue where they are (US interests) or … go help their soulmates? Will they demand the US helps them? But how will US attack west of the Euphrates (without planes?) and how will they attack the 2nd largest member of NATO? ….. Which side will the rest of NATO be obliged to support? The Boss – or the Chpater V victim of the attack?

    Regardless of what I think of the provenance of some groups being used here, this seems to be an extremely … Machiavellian … little plot dreamed up between the Russians and the Turks – those Turks are REALLY seriously pissed off with those Yanks….

    I guess we keep watching…..

    • Ma_Laoshi

      The other side can posture too. Yes I think Moscow likes the Kurds to sweat at this moment; doesn’t mean they want to see those Kurds burn.

      Thanks for the clarification about S Africa. Makes sense to know your own country’s history, and the Dutch were a part of that. These years, the Dutch played a role on the world stage with the Screbrenica Massacre, and more recently with the MH17 plane crash–and a quite sinister role in both cases. Or is it me who only remembers the bad parts?

      • Seems to me:
        Russia doesn’t want to see anyone burn – but they will burn if they HAVE to.
        Pretty much, they see every “setback” as an opportunity to move forward. And after a few months or even a few years – move forward they do.

        Are you Dutch? Then let me ask you this:
        Do you wish to remain an intact, reasonably sovereign nation?
        How many US bases + troops are there in Holland and in the say 300 mile radius around you?
        …Now combine the 2 answers. :-))

        The Dutch were a great little sea-faring nation…. the trade route to India, the Dutch East/West trading companies – they challenged the might and main of the 2 other great sea-faring nations: the English and the Spanish. Then they gently faded away … I don’t remember why.

        • Ma_Laoshi

          It’s off-topic for this article, but let me humor you. Before asking whether The Netherlands are defensible, one should first ask if the Dutch still *want* to have a country. The answer is not so obvious. By a clear majority, in a referendum they rejected the Lisbon treaty on an undemocratic EU superstate. When it went ahead anyway, I’m dead serious the most logical action was the violent overthrow of the government–this is how you lose your democracy after all. They couldn’t even be moved to put down the remote and get off the couch. It’s pretty much been downhill since then.

          This is going to sound ridiculous when I write it, but I think I’m one of the few who will answer your question honestly. Europeans are not who they claim to be. Their greatest fear may be the natural long-term trend: a multipolar world where their magnificent White Race (sorry I know this is sensitive in SAf but I have to be blunt) would have to join the queue with rabble like Brazil and India for the last bits of what’s left of resources and export markets. After centuries of colonial pride, this is unthinkable. Better to join up in an Empire that moves as a block, and swallow the wars and spying etc. They are outnumbered: the Empire is barely 1bn people even if you count Japan in, and for many of the more… adventurous escapades they’re clearly a hapless and reluctant “ally”. Meanwhile, the Rest is catching up technologically; when you’ve run out of ideas to improve yourself, it’s time to smash up the Other.

          When you’re talking about the Golden Age, the better question to ask I think is how such a small outfit ever got on top. My answer is twofold: at home they were early to have things like republican government and a trade-oriented market economy. Things like stock markets [and speculative bubbles :-)], insurance, multinational companies etc came with that.

          The other part is technological: just managing one tall ship requires a crew that can work as a team and has trained from a young age, even for apparently humble jobs to do with the sails etc. This goes double for when people are shooting at you; many times over when you have to manage a fleet of such ships. You can’t just copy that by recruiting 100,000 conscripts–the countries that challenged us found out the hard way. ;-) NL never had this kind of power on land, and they barely survived an invasion in the “rampjaar”. Anyway once bigger countries catch up, the gig is over; USA might want to consider that.

          You might want to watch “Michiel de Ruyter”, simply called Admiral in English. (No not the Korean flick of the same name of course.) Bonus points if you found the reference to our naval hero in Paul Verhoeven’s “Starship Troopers”.

          • :-)) I think a Golden Age is only ever a “Golden Age” in retrospect….

            And I reckon the Dutch guy is as proud to be Dutch as the American is to be American, the Brit to be Brit or the Russian to be Russian. x196

            Of course, that’s a very hard concept for the American to understand.
            For some strange reason he thinks everyone else wants to be American because he is. Just weird.

          • Ma_Laoshi

            The Dutch have learned that after you’ve ceased to be top dog, life goes on mostly. You’re a smart fella, you’ve made me wonder when the Dutch first used the term Gouden Eeuw for the 17th century. But through painting and writing, we can have some idea how those people saw themselves. I think the merchant class was fully aware that they were flourishing like never before. BUT there was something of a wink of the eye, some self-awareness that it was all about making money. The Dutch didn’t mind depicting themselves as eating, drinking, whoring, and prancing around in fancy clothes (though some of that was upper vs lower class).

            The truly messianic people were mostly kept out of power. Slavery was cruelly enforced, but outright genocide–I don’t think they’d have seen the point of it, unlike what other powers did in the Americas. The Japanese crossed these lines last century, and then went through an existential shock when they were forced to accept that their Tenno wasn’t divine after all. But OK, you grit your teeth, and emerge on the other side. The US have never made the corresponding transition; the price may well be similar.

  • Jens Holm

    The estimated seizes tell, what SDF is today very well.

    FSA must be with wifes and children as cooks and ammo carriers, but be aware https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/22caa2335e1a74aed29329eb6076430a02f79632356a64a673fb2511c559eae3.jpg

    • Solomon Krupacek

      nice photoshop

      • Jens Holm

        Its real. Some woman are that small and the laucher is one of the good old big ones. Some saw the picture in that mix and took it.

        It should be real.

        • Solomon Krupacek

          i know anatomy. it is impossible to keep in hands that rpg in such light style.

          • Jens Holm

            If You say so. I only has an old PaintShopPro and make no tricks.

  • Gerhard Pleyer

    Thats a BIG-BIG Lie.
    Free Syrian Army have maxim 10,000 beople

    • Ma_Laoshi

      Is FSA even a well-defined object? I remember Robert Fisk saying that he’d yet to meet a fighter on the ground in Syria who identified themselves as FSA. The very name Free Syrian Army also suggests it’s mostly made up for Western media consumption–as is of course the moniker Syrian Democratic Forces.

  • John Whitehot

    20’000? cmon turkey you can do better. how about 200’000? maybe with some efforts you can get 2 millions?