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SDF Opens Second Front on ISIS in Manbij, Northern Syria

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SDF Opens Second Front on ISIS in Manbij, Northern Syria

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) repeared the Qarah Qawzaq Euphrates river bridge and opened a second front against ISIS in the area of Manbij. Now, SDF units are advancing in the southern countryside of Manbij, aiming to cut off the Raqqa-Manbij road.

SDF Opens Second Front on ISIS in Manbij, Northern Syria

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Pave Way IV

An astonishingly brief report. I wasn’t aware that the Qarah Qawzaq bridge was even fully repaired.

This is quite significant because it once again tests Erdogan’s so-called red line about crossing the Euphrates. That happened months ago at the Tishrin Dam, but that is well beyond Turkish artillery range. Not much Turkey could do about that.

Qarah Qawzaq is a different matter, being about 30 km or so from the Turkish border. The T-155 Firtina can reach 20 km with conventional rounds, 30 km with base bleed, and 40 km with rocket assist rounds. Thier 122mm MRLS has a range of 40 km, and the 300 mm rockets over 100 km. Air-to-ground missiles like the the 533 mm Popeye (US: Have Nap) have a range of over 80 km.

Turkey may not be willing to expend expensive rocket-assisted artillery, artillery rockets or air-to-ground missiles at the SDF, but they could certainly catch their attention as a warning. And they could be within conventional artillery range in less than an hour by crossing into Syria. They risk Russian retaliation if they stayed, but they wouldn’t need to. Bum rush across the border, quickly shell the SDF crossing Qarah Qawzaq and scurry back to Turkish territory.

More likely I see the Turks now (more than ever) eager to cross the border into Syria. Their head-choppers are losing, the ISIS head-choppers are starting to fire rockets and artillery into Turkey, and the Kurds/SDF are threatening Erdogan’s fantasy Safe Zone by crossing the Euphrates. He may have been tolerant of the SDF moving up from Tishreen to Manbij, but Qarah Qawzaq may be a different matter. Since this is such new news, I have not seen a Turkish reaction as of yet.

This fits in neatly with the American SF guys with YPG/YPJ patch ‘story’. Obviously a manufactured photo leak. The purpose here would be to subtly warn Turkey that they risk killing Americans if they indiscriminately start shelling the SDF.

Gollum must be spitting mad. We’ll have to see if Turkey starts crying loudly about the new front – which would be a good thing = I don’t think they’ll do anything. If they remain silent, then they are probably scheming up something. I would look for the Firtinas to be rolling across the border.

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