Syrian War Report – August 24, 2016: Turkish Intervention Started

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On August 23, the Jaish al-Fateh operation room launched an offensive on the strategic hill of Um Alqara that the Syrian army had recently seized in southern Aleppo. The hill overlooks the strategic road that links the Ramouseh Neighborhood and Khan Tuman. This is why the militants launched an assault to retake it from the government forces. The militants’ offensive had faced a though response from the Syrian government forces, Syrian and Russian warplanes operating in the area.

As result of the failed counter-attack on Um Alqara pro-militant sources were forced to recognize that fire pressure of the Syrian army on the militants’ positions does not allow delivering of supplies through it. While it’s complicated to estimate the total casualties of the sides in recent days, the Jaish al-Fatah confirmed that the operation room recently lost 11 field commanders.

The Syrian army and Hezbollah have attacked Jaish al-Fatah’s positions at the Armament College in southwestern Aleppo. The pro-government forces were able to enter the area on August 23 and on August 24 intense clashes continued there.

On August 24, Turkish military, accompanied with some 1,500 Turkish-backed militants from the Free Syrian Army, launched a military operation to liberate the strategic city of Jarablus in northeastern Syria. According to Turkish authorities, the operation is also supported by the US-led coalition air power. Since August 24 morning, the Turkish army’s artillery has hit ISIS targets near the city over 400 times. The military advance began at around 4 a.m. local time with Turkish special forces crossed the Syrian border. In case of the success, the Turkish operation will undermine any hopes of the US-backed Democratic Union Party (PYD) to expand control along the Syrian-Turkish border and set a de-facto independent state in northeastern Syria.

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  • Alex M

    The Turkish efforts will fail, just like the failed to take Ar-Rai Even if Turkey successfully captures Jarablus, the Kurds can still liberate Al-Bab and unite the Afrin canton with the Kobani canton further south.

    • Aquartertoseven

      They do whatever the US says, and Biden is now saying go back east.

      • Jens Holm

        Yes – something like that – Im sure US has not supported YPK insisting taking Al bab. They said Raqqa.

    • Jens Holm

      Cant see kurds can or should take Al Bab at all. Its full of only Sunniarabs and main support for ISIS. YPK is much weaker in open terrain and Al Bab is also same size as Manbij. After that they should cross and defeat Assad and rebel lines too.

      Im afraid its just an unrealistic dream for them. My self.I support kurd territory at the other side of Eufrat and Manbij area if the older kurdis population move back to it.

      • Alex M

        They need to retake Al-bab to connect the Kobani and Afrin cantons. That way ISIS is completely cut off from Turkey, unable to resupply itself with ammo, weapons, foreign fighters, cash from oil exports etc, while the Kurds get a contiguous territory and the ability to move troops throughout Northern Syria (from Afrin to Hasakah) with ease.

  • Tom Johnson

    Turks will move to al-Bab, and then the YPG will cross back over the Euphrates to the eastern bank after their western flank is controlled by the Turks. Time for Russia and al-Asshat to pack their bags and bugout, because Aleppo is in play.

    • Jens Holm

      A sensible way to do something real. But what about Assads and russians. It would make it obvius to cut Aleppo by the rebels – whatever they are.

      • Tom Johnson

        The “short game” that we a hurtling toward is direct US/Russian confrontation. The “long game” is a very long proxy war that Russia cannot win. Assad does not have enough manpower and I seriously doubt Iran is in an open commitment . Civil wars usually provoke a centain hardness in the local population thay no proxy would ever be payed enough to adopt. Turkey was always the key and the hooks have pulled Erodagon in.

  • chris chuba

    It looks like Kerry’s plan B is in full swing. The U.S. attempted partition of Syria.

    First there was the Kurdish attack on the Syrian govt held portion of Hasakah with the U.S. declaring it a no fly zone. I think Kerry promised them U.S. support and spoils in terms of oil rich territory currently held by ISIS.

    Now you have the Turks basically creating the other partition to be made up of Al Nusra (ahem) moderate rebels with coalition air support for the other ‘safe zone’ carved out of ISIS territory for now.

    Regarding Aleppo City, I don’t know. The Turks are the wild card. They have the same problem as the U.S. They want to have their cake and eat it too. They want to topple Assad, support Al Qaeda, but I do think they want to destroy ISIS and also the Kurds. The problem is that they probably can’t pull this off because the U.S. wants the Kurds to fight ISIS.

    Will the U.S. backstab the Kurds and allow the Turks to destroy them as long as the Turks destroy ISIS and install Al Qaeda? Sigh, I wouldn’t put it past my imbecilic homeland.

    Hey Washington, just go with the Russian / Geneva plan. Let Assad participate in post civil war elections. In this scenario, there is no palace intrigue you clever, friggin’ idiots.

  • Aww, the games that CIA and Mi6 and Mossad play with peoples lives.
    Sometimes I dream of a better future where 7-billion people on earth united against Mi6 and CIA and Mossad and everybody wiped them out within a simple 24 hour period.
    Then we could all live much happier for thousands of years.

  • Bill Rood

    There is a danger the coup in Turkey might have been a false flag operation carried out by Erdogan himself, or a joint Erdogan-CIA operation, in either case pre-leaked to the Russians so they could “warn” Erdogan of something he knew about and in fact helped plan. This could have been a setup to get Putin and Assad to trust Erdogan, so they would allow Turkey to violate Syrian territory. It’s going to be very difficult to dislodge Turkey and its jihadist allies from Jarabula and Manbij. So now the ISIS supply lines will be secure.

    At the same time, things were looking quite hopeful as far as closing the Turkish border while the Syrian Kurds and Assad were genuinely working together. The SAA and SDF were working quite well together in northeast Aleppo province to cut jihadi supply lines there, and SDF also helped with closing off the Costello Road. The US never wanted the Kurds to attack westward, across the Euphrates, because that was a genuine threat to all jihadi groups. They wanted the Kurds to attack south toward Raqqa. Here’s a McClatchy article from a year ago explaining the divergent goals of SDF/YPG and the US: https://web.archive.org/web/20160202175101/http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/world/middle-east/article41559747.html

    So now what has happened? The US used its air power to help the YPG bleed itself in liberating Manbij, but after Kurdish fighters were sacrificed to liberate that city, they were ordered to give ISIS safe passage out. Then, the US encouraged Asayish to attack the SAA in Hasakeh, creating animosity between Kurds and Syrians, who until then had been coordinating well, and further encouraging Syria, Iraq, Iran and Russia to accept Turkey as a full partner. Now, the US has ordered them to withdraw to the East Bank of the Euphrates, to be replaced by Turkey and the FSA!! Unless Putin and Assad wake up quickly from their dream of Turkey switching sides and the Kurds also wake up from their wet dream of Rojava, Erdogan will gain effective control of all northern Syria, allowing him to suppress Kurds on both sides of the border, and the ISIS/jihadi supply lines through Jarabalus and Manbij will be intact, allowing continued Turkish participation in the dissolution of Syria. The “there will be no Kurdish state” mantra “unifying” Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey will be turned into “the Kurds will become part of the neo-Ottoman Empire.

    Putin and Assad need to prevent Turkey/FSA from taking Manbij. If SDF/YPG leadership shows signs of following US orders, they need to encourage the already rampant defection of SDF members (including non-stupid Kurds) into NDF and get NDF leaders to commit to defending Manbij until the situation in Aleppo is resolved.