Conflict Is Developing WIthin Turkey’s Top Military Brass Over New Possible Operation Against Kurds In Northern Syria: Report

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Conflict Is Developing WIthin Turkey's Top Military Brass Over New Possible Operation Against Kurds In Northern Syria: Report

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On January 4th, al-Monitor published an analysis into a possible conflict in the Turkish army’s top brass over the operation in Syria.

According to the author, Fehim Tastekin, while Turkey was negotiating with the US over the roadmap for the area east of the Euphrates River and Manbij, while also coordinating with Russia to get their approval for a military operation against the Kurdish militias, something unusual took place:

“Four-star Gen. Ismail Metin Temel, the commander who runs the Iraq and Syria fronts and built a reputation for his leadership skills during the Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in Syria, and Brig. Mustafa Barut, the commander of the Fourth Commando Brigade, were suddenly transferred to desk jobs.”

Turkish media reported that they were removed due to objections to the country’s Euphrates plans. Presumably, this move against “two commanders highly valued” by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is proof for the contradictions and disagreements in the Turkish military’s top brass.

Deniz Zeyrek, a columnist for Sozcu and seasoned defense and diplomacy writer had provided a summary of the two generals’ objections into three points:

  • The threat Turkey now faces is different from what we encountered in the Euphrates Shield and Afrin operations. The People’s Protection Units (YPG) today receives substantial support from the United States. They are better equipped and trained.
  • The international support Turkey received for its two earlier operations is no longer available. Both the United States and Russia are sending mixed messages. Climatic and topographic conditions could work against our goal of minimal casualties.
  • The United States is trying to task Turkey with a war against the Islamic State. Turkey is not required to fight IS far from its border.

“Until now, the top military ranks had kept quiet on their differences of opinion, but over the past days retired officers have voiced unease with the government’s Syria policy,” Tastekin reported.

US President Donald Trump’s announcement of a withdrawal from Syria and saying that he entrusted the fight against ISIS to Turkey raised questions regarding an operation east of the Euphrates. Reportedly, in the specifics of this operation is where the rift lies:

“The deepest schisms are between what Ankara wants and what Trump means by offering to hand over the territories that American forces will evacuate. While the United States assigns the mission of combating IS to Turkey, Ankara is talking about wiping out the autonomous Kurdish structures emerging in northeast Syria.

Ankara’s original plan was to set up a buffer zone of 10-40 kilometers (6-25 miles) between the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers that would be cleansed of the YPG. Turkey doesn’t have any ambition to go deep inside Syrian territory and reach Deir ez-Zor to fight against ISIS”

However, Senator Lindsey Graham and Donald Trump both said that the US Kurdish allies would be protected, which may be a hurdle in front of Turkey’s plans.

“Yet if Turkey’s plan for the area is as destructive as its one in Afrin, how are the Americans going to protect the Kurds? If the buffer zone is the formula to distance Kurds from the border, how will it be secured without clashes? How can the United States, which is planning to withdraw its 2,000 troops from the field, enforce the buffer zone?”

Meanwhile, Russia is allegedly attempting to convince Ankara to give up the operation against the Kurdish militias and allow the Syrian army to be deployed to Manbij and East of the Euphrates. The logic behind is that if the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) arrives, the YPG (People’s Protection Units) control will end.

However, Turkey suspects that the Kurdish groups will have a plan to remain in the area even after the SAA establishes control.

“While Turkey is struggling between the US and Russian plans, another element makes the issue even more complex: Washington wants to deploy Saudi, UAE and Egyptian troops in the region, hardly friendly forces to Turkey. The plan has already made Turkish officials nervous. Reports that Egypt has been trying to get Kurds and Damascus to negotiate have made Turkey even more tense.”

The analysis claims that keeping Iran away from Syria is of no concern for Turkey. It already defies US sanctions on oil exports and trade with the Islamic Republic.

“There are also questions about the likelihood of success for a land operation east of the Euphrates. Afrin, apart from a single exit corridor via Tel Rifaat, was already under siege during the previous operation. As the area was isolated, the YPG had limited manpower and weaponry. East of Euphrates, however, the YPG is equipped with US weaponry and experience gained in their combat with IS. Afrin was surrounded by armed groups guided by Turkey that had declared hostility to the YPG. The southern flanks of the Euphrates-Tigris line is wide open to surprises.”

The article points out that the conduct of local Turkish-backed militias is also “deplorable,” with accusations of looting, torture, maltreatment and other questionable actions in the area. In addition to that the recent operations of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham have defeated several Turkish-backed groups and has imposed control over numerous towns.

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  • Well, I expected it.
    What USA and Israel want is military occupied enclave controlled by West proxies (Kurds)
    on northeast Syria.
    What Syria wants is territorial integrity.
    What Turkey wants is nice buffer zone on north Syria occupied by SDF and other pro-Turkish proxies with all Kurds slaughtered.
    What Russia wants is sell gas via Turkey to Europe and to prevent spreading war on it’s own borders.

    Russia must help Turkey eliminate Kurds on Turkish borders otherwise they will piss off Erdogan and Erdogan will betray Russia once again (gas pipelines, Black-Mediterian Sea strait are in stake).
    But at the same time Russia must not piss off Israel and Western ‘partners’ too much, because Putin is weak asshole..

    My conclusion – Syria will be betrayed once again.
    Territorial integrity of Syria after war is out of the question.
    Israel and USA will keep East bank of Euphrate and AlTanf, Kurds will get ‘autonomy’ there under some pro-western puppet government. Turkey will get north Syria. Limited clashes with Kurds will be there on daily basis.
    Russia will not get anything except of gas pipes to Turkey and Latakia airbase.
    Everybody will be happy except of Syrian people who fought and won the war…..

    • Bigaess Wangmane

      I disagree, nothing is more important to Putin than the territorial integrity of Syria, and unlike the United States, whom can (and often do) betray allies generation after generation and still get a fresh batch of proxies, stooges and sellouts to fill their ranks, the Russians have no such luxury.

      The reason whey they’re respected worldwide is because they’ve kept their word and conducted themselves professionally in the geopolitical scene. Ultimately, they don’t have a world reserve currency, a global media conglomerate or a $700+ Billion military to back their country up with, but keeping their word has proved more valuable than all of the former. Syria will be whole again, simple as that.

      • abuqahwa

        “Syria will be whole again , simple as that . ” Really who are we kidding here ? Remember the Golan ? Seized and annexed 45 years ago, still under Israeli occupation. Remember northern Cyprus ? Invaded and occupied by Turkey 44 years ago, still under Turkish jackboot. I am in despair I can’t see Syria united again in my lifetime, sorry to be so pessimistic.

        • Brother Ma

          I agree. Note how the Turco Top Brass admits Afrin is protected by a ring of Turco-controlled bashibazouks.

          Poor lost Cyprus. No one supported her then and egged on the jackbooted dog.. TheTurk.It would have been different if the Cypriots had weapons but no.. the Natoists wouldn’t give her any.They gave them to the Turks!

          A worse case of disarming the maiden so the rapist despoils her the easier ,I do not know!

        • jorge

          I don’t why, but for some misterious reason you made me remember Iago of Shakespeare’s Othello

      • Brother Ma

        I wish ! Hard to see those Turks and Fukusis ousted!

    • Jesus

      “””But at the same time Russia must not piss off Israel and Western ‘partners’ too much, because Putin is weak asshole trying to play nice with his enemies.”””

      You think Putin cares about Israel and western partners more than he cares for Russia?
      Putin looks at the ME chessboard and makes moves to defeat the enemies and win,
      Israel and the western partners are pieces on the chess board that are strategized and subsequently neutralized.

      • Barba_Papa

        Some people are never satisfied with anything else other then Russia starting WW3 and the end of humanity over Syria. Obviously the Russians are smarter then that and are playing diplomatic 3D chess to get the Americans out of Syria. Of course generations of disgruntled Westerners, who know nothing else but Western military adventures, have forgotten completely that there are other means to achieve an objective other then through war. Diplomacy is a lost art form, not just with Western elites, but also with those in the West who hate them.

        • Jesus

          Effective diplomacy coupled military prowess can accomplish the same results as a hot major war. In an still MAD posture proving your military prowess without firing a shot and utilizing that advantage diplomatically works well and keeps the world safe.
          No matter how much neocons froth at their mouth with their war diatribe, they know militarily they are in an inferior position compared to the Russians, economic sanctions and trade wars are a mere distraction in the over all strategic equation and balance of power.

        • Brother Ma

          Lovely to hear but noone cares about Diplomacy when they are not scared of you. Diplomacy only works when you are peers or your team are peers to a sole power.
          Noone listens to Russia and will not till some major damage is done to Israel etc

          • Barba_Papa

            Russia can’t do major damage because Israel is a nuclear armed power, and nuclear armed powers don’t go to war against each other. Not unless they don’t want to glow in the dark. So you HAVE to use diplomacy. Diplomacy is like selling a used car, an art form. And if you can sell the shittiest of used car, you can use diplomacy to further your interests even from a weak position. In fact countries with weak positions probably have the best diplomats, because they can’t coast by on their huge bloated militaries.

          • Brother Ma

            Good points. Let’s hope that Russia can get those Fukustris out of Syria.

    • abuqahwa

      In general I agree with your realistic,clear-headed analysis. The brutal reality is that neither Russia nor Iran will ever engage Turkey (or US/Israel) directly in a shooting war to save Syrian territory – the Turkish invasions of Northern Aleppo, Afrin, and Idlib were successful and basically unopposed – while some deal may be done around Manbij district the reality is the Kurds are finished west of the Euphrates. Meantime Turkey has been flat out building PERMANENT bases and steadily populating the conquered area of northern Syria. So I sadly repeat your words : “Everybody will be happy except the Syrian people who fought and won the war. ” Tragic but true.

      • Brother Ma

        Unopposed as was much of the Cyprus invasion. The Turks have not won a war against a determined enemy in over one two hundred years!
        1974 was a walk over and the Greeks in 1922 were betrayed by all its Allies as they were in 1974.
        It is a pity Syria could not give them a bloody nose.

        • Zionism = EVIL

          The Americunts colluded with the Turkeys in the invasion of Cyrus, so did the snake Brits. Ecevit was only able to invade and annex Cyprus because he knew that NATO will not support a small weak Greece at a time of growing tensions with the then USSR. The Turkeys supply the second largest NATO cannon fodder and Greece with an aging population of barely 9 million and a weak bankrupt economy smaller than Bangladesh is hardly very valuable to NATO warmongers.

    • Brother Ma

      Yep. I think you got it. All happy except for Syria!

  • Garga

    Anything to prevent the Syria to be united again. The US works hard to shoot two birds with one stone. First of all, let’s forget about Turkey attacking IS in Deirezzor. It’s not going to happen so far from it’s borders and besides, the main concern for Turkey are first PKK and it’s shoot-offs and then refugees, not remnants of ISIS near Iraq-Syria border (we can debate about “Misak Milli” later).

    Americans know Turkey is not willing to go deep into Syria but can’t stop fantasizing about it: Such move bleeds Turkey and at the same time, prevents peace in Syria. There’s the possibility of Kurds even siding with Damascus against Turks, but it’s more likely that they sell themselves to Saudi/Emirati support against both Turks and a Syrian peace and unity.
    Unfortunately, since WW2 (and even before that) Kurdish leadership in all 3+1 countries (Iran, Iraq and Turkey mainly, Kurds didn’t have much of a presence in Syria) proved to be willing to sell themselves to foreign powers (In Iran and Turkey they were stooges for the Soviet Union, in Iraq the US and co. and after dissolution of USSR, well, it’s all the US and Israelis), after talks of US removal, they cling to a French or German “no fly zone!” and now the Saudi money is too tempting to resist. Time will tell but their counter is also proceeding, there’s not much patience left for their antics.

    It all comes down on how much Kurdish leadership feels the heat and how much they think they can get away. For the resistance it’s vital to limit Saudi/Emirati maneuvering space in Syria and Iraq, otherwise the same petrodollars that went to ISIS will find it’s way to Kurdish leadership pockets.

    Merry Christmas to our eastern Christian brothers and sisters. May Christ guides these lunatic warmongering murderers, or a very hard kick to their teeth. They won’t come to their senses on their own!

    • Brother Ma

      Beautifully said. Bravo.

    • jako

      Just one thing to add, on excellent analyses, if I may..
      Saudi/Emirati money is maybe slightly exaggerated simply because they already have their hands full in Yemen and on the other hand Saudi’s are practically bankrupted with only 40% of their budget covered by oil sales (because of low prices).
      They run deficit for years and things getting only worse.
      The only country that is still packing lot of money in the gulf is Qatar

      Thanks for “Merry Christmas”
      I would also like to wish Merry Christmas to all my Orthodox brothers and sisters!
      And I would wish that peace comes upon the Earth for at least one moment if possible.

    • jorge

      So, Garga, for your own words, we can’t say if the syrian kurdish leadership will be syrian and patriotic or will sell themselves to a foreigner power. We will have to wait to see. I’m atheist. Despite these two conditions, I vote up.

      • Ray Douglas

        Glad to see you’re an atheist, me too, i thought they were all religious freaks on here.

        • Zionism = EVIL

          Most rational educated people are. What kind of a pie in the sky “god” creates such human misery and sheer idiocy? And most importantly, even a remote likelihood of a delusional fantasy god has been dis-proven by sheer scientific evidence.

          • Nowruz

            According to the Biblical text, Jesus’s (Peace be upon him) father was Joseph (Peace be upon him) and of course, the mother was the Mary. Both Mary and Joseph (Peace be upon him) were descendants of David (Peace be upon him). Rewind a bit into the genealogy, David is a descendant of Issac the son of Abraham (Peace be upon him), brother of Ishmael (Peace be upon him). Ismael (Peace be upon him) was promised by God that he would have a nation similarly to Issac (Peace be upon him) due to the lack of faith by Sarah (his mother). Fast forward, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is a descendant from Ishmael (Peace be upon him). In fact, Ismael’s (Peace be upon him) mother Hagar was Egyptian. In short, Jesus (Peace be upon him) was not Palestinian (Arab) that came from the generation of Ismael (Peace be upon him) not Issac (Peace be upon him) whose parents were both Hebrew and from 1/12 original tribes. A side note is Ismael (Peace be upon him) died in Mecca.

        • Carne João Pasta

          That’s not entirely friendly speech. There def are some “freaks” here but majority of them are low IQ trolls whom I ignore or have blocked. For the commenters whose opinion I value highly (or to whatever degree) and appear to be religious to some extent or otherwise, I have respect for them and I respect their religion (so long as nobody is pushing their beliefs on me and I’ve never experienced that here myself). Kind of an abrasive and elitist mentality to possess, to be honest. There are many atheists (like the women I met in a chatroom last week who were also cultural Marxists and probably identify or associate with Antifa, ie one said they don’t believe in property) who are just as unbearable or intolerable as fundamentalist religious types, imo. (I’m agnostic myself.)

  • Hanny Benny

    Turkey = REAL ISIS ! (800 years of Devsirme..)

  • jorge

    Mad Rat Bolton square of the circle, or we don’t like (the turks) this US envoy: https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/turkish-regime-slams-boltons-comments-on-targeting-kurds-as-irrational/

  • You can call me Al

    Hey Gobble necks, you are out of your depth and everyone that tells you, get demoted.

  • S Melanson

    Considering there was a coup attempt not to long ago with subsequent purge of coup supporters and sympathizers in the army, tension can be expected – not to mention army is secular in its tradition ever since Ataturk a century ago. So the premise of this article on the reasons is speculative and should be recognized as such.

    I think Erdogan had to make a credible military threat to force US hand, which is working. Erdogan was betting on the threat as sufficient so to avoid costly incursion – and this proved to be the case in Mandjib with the SAA moving in. The Kurds have committed now to negotiations with Damascus and have been explicit on this. Still more to play out but I think the writing on the wall is clear enough.

  • Promitheas Apollonious

    `Meanwhile, Russia is allegedly attempting to convince Ankara to give up
    the operation against the Kurdish militias and allow the Syrian army to
    be deployed to Manbij and East of the Euphrates.`

    turks to allow SAA to operate in their own country? what right russians have to elevate the turks into position to give permission to the syrians, about cleaning their own country from the scum of the earth?

    • Zionism = EVIL

      I have said along that Russia has weak and schizoid policies and has shown a very weak hand, largely due to its acute inferiority complex vis a vis the so0called west and also substantial penetration of Russian government by Khazar pretend Jew cabal. Turkey is playing a weak Russia for fools and the only thing stopping the Turkeys from invading Syria is their own pathetically incompetent military that has lost 1300 senior officers after the Erdogan’s staged coup to Islamicize the fraying Turkish society. The Turks are extremely devious people historically and play to their enemies weaknesses. When they shot down the Russian SU-24 Fencer 2 kms inside Syrian territory and Russia did nit respond, they escalated their support for the headchoppers and assorted terrorists. Putin took the cake, when he offered to sell Turkey the most “sophisticated” SAM system, the S-400, despite the fact that Turkey is totally in Amreicunt and Zionist camp. Erdogan openly stated that Turks will allow NATO poodles to examine the S-400. People forget that Turkey is home to over a dozen Americunt and NATO bases and maintains close military, intelligence, business and political contacts with Zionists, who killed 9 Turks on the Gaza Mavi Marmara peace flotilla. Russia really needs to grasp reality.

      • Promitheas Apollonious

        you said it yes many times but that is because you, wish it to be like this, based on the way you think and well wishing of yours to be so. No russia went to syria to protect her interest and is exactly what she is doing minimum casualties maximum profit and getting what they wanted permanent naval base and several airports, in syria.

        And selling out the syrians they dont seem to have a problem or any one else for that matter. losing a plane or two and few hundred soldiers well…….that is their job dying to promote their national interest. I am absolutely sure russians know reality better than any of us unless by saying reality you mean your reality that I am not sure they will understand it even if you explain it to them in person.

        And russia is giving to any one who have the money her weapons including S400 export version. I am not so sure turks will finally get what promised to them, I am almost certain if the russians and the americans dont come to an understanding and split the world as before, then the last thing to worry is if the turks will get S400 that already in public Putin even offered it to the americans or any one else who want to buy it. Same as they did with the S300 that was mean for cyprus and finally ended up in greece. Right next to the american bases in crete. much good that it did to the americans studying them, unless you think the greeks said no to them or the israelis.

        • Zionism = EVIL

          Putin is increasingly unpopular in Russia which is hardly a monolithic society. Russia is weak with a multi-ethnic population of barley 140 million and highly penetrated by Jews and the west. The oligarchs are corrupt to the core. There is a headline story in UK media today written by a Russian in exile:

          Russians fed up with Putin’s corrupt regime

          Amid falling living standards and increasing global hostility, Putin’s televised promises don’t fool anybody any more as opposition grows.

          • Promitheas Apollonious

            you obviously dont know russians and russia, beside what you may have read of them.

  • Willing Conscience (The Truths

    Is another coup on the cards?