Syrian War Report – October 31, 2018: Turkey Finishes Preparations For New Large Operation Against YPG

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Clashes between Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and the Turkish-backed National Front for Liberation (NFL) have erupted in the northwestern countryside of Aleppo.

According to reports, units of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham attacked NFL positions in the village of Kafr Hamra on October 29 and had gained full control of the area by the evening of October 30. Several NFL militants were killed or injured in the incident.

Over the past few months, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham has continued expanding its influence in the parts of Aleppo, Idlib and Lattakia provinces, which are included in de-escalation agreements. While Ankara claims that it keeps the situation under control there, developments on the ground clearly shows that Turkey has in—fact reached a kind of deal with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham that allows the terrorist group to operate freely within the de-escalation zone or Turkey has not enough influence to limit the group’s activity.

These incidents once again demonstrate a peaceful solution of the conflict is not possible while Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its allies present within the so-called opposition-held area.

On October 30, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey had finished preparations for a large-scale counter-terrorism operation in the area east of the Euphrates Rive. Erdogan vowed that Turkey will “achieve a victory over terrorists” referring to Kurdish armed groups (mostly the YPG and the PKK), which control the northeastern part of Syria.

Later on the same day, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar confirmed Ankara’s next area of activity will be east of the Euphrates. He also stated that the Idlib demilitarized zone was in fact fully established claiming that “radicals and weapons in a 15-20 kilometer corridor were removed”. Probably, the defense minister did not hear about the recent developments in Kafr Hamra or intentionally ignored them as well as constant militant shelling of government positions in Lattakia, Hama ad Aleppo.

It should be noted that on October 28, the Turkey Armed Forces (TAF) carried out a series of strikes on YPG/PKK positions near the village of Ayn al-Arab (also known as Kobani), which is located east of the Euphrates. After the strikes, the YPG released a statement on the strikes vowing to respond to Turkish attacks.

According to pro-Kurdish sources, the TAF is now concentrating troops and equipment on the Syrian border, near Ayn al-Arab.

It seems that after the Trump administration the Manbij deal with its Turkish counterparts, Erdogan decided that it’s time to show once again that the TAF has a military option to solve the so-called Kurdish issue if negotiations do not work. While a full-scale Turkish military invasion in northwestern Syria is not likely now because of the US military presence there, the TAF is capable of pressuring US-backed Kurdish factions with artillery strikes.

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  • WelatChe

    We Kurds just defend our territories and we will do it until our last drop of blood. Although all world see they kill our innocent civilian people West World silent about this disaster…
    They need do what need. And stop support fascist by military equipments.
    Bijî Berxwedan…
    Bijî
    Kurd
    Kurdî
    Kurdistan

    • SG

      Regarding Fascism: https://bit.ly/2AETIiX

    • gustavo

      Your territories ? Isn’t east Euphrates river Syria land ? Haven’t you realized that Kurds has been supported by facists (USA-Israel) with the face of democracy ?, and now, Kurds only can do what USA-Israel will command you. What was the problem when you (in Syria) were Syria citizen ?

    • jorge

      Bla, bla, bla, you are nothing but a Quisling in syrian land, go die elsewhere, fake anarcho-marxist.

  • alex spov
  • la Cariatide

    kurds, be it pkk or barzani are just land grabbers and israel / nato bitches.
    be it fascists islamic turcs or Syrian Arab Army, once ‘muricans leave Syria, kurds are done.
    how do you expect Syrians to react when pkk has grabbed 20% of Syria territory and has run behind usa’ military bases! the same muricans who have launched the proxy war against Syria.
    soon pkk will get fucked up :-)

  • The Interrogator

    By now mercenaries and possibly Gen. Hayden’s boys maybe in route to Cuba; I can get Butina, Yarashenko and the Mercant of Death for you, but things may spin out of control with captures and kills.

    • jorge

      How is the time in Langley?

      • The Interrogator

        It is rummored that I haven’t been in Northern Virginia for years, but the weather in Miami is nice.

        • jorge

          Glad to know, and may be that explains the “in route to Cuba”, besides the good latin humor. Good night Interrogator.

  • S Melanson

    Hmmm. Erdogan has made statements that give all indications Turkey is going in, as happened in Afrin. CIA Director went to Turkey and I am certain this planned operation was a topic and the US told to steer clear – or else, leak more damaging revelations which they shared with her – isn’t it nice to share in what I am sure was a festive meeting.

    Turkey does not want distraction in Idlib and Russia happy to see Erdogan stomp on the American experiment with the Kurds in Syria – and as is often the case in experiments with rodents, the end of the experiment usually does not end well for the rodents.

  • Harsha

    village of Ayn al-Arab

    isn’t it a city?

  • The Interrogator

    It became obvious when mental.defective was on video at RT studio in DC that Sipher had control of someone in FSB.

  • Jonathan Cohen

    We need peace between fellow abortion rights defenders, Turkey, Russia, USA and YPG.

  • Assad must stay (gr8rambino)

    russia should tell turkey straight up, until you get your jihadists to withdraw from the deconfliction zone, no S-400 for you!! that oughta make them change their tune lol :)))

  • Willing Conscience (The Truths

    Erdogan’s broke and needs cash fast, Idlib’s sucking Turkey’s coffers dry and Turkey’s failing economy [due mostly to US economic sanctions] can’t afford to keep paying for it.
    It’s getting to a point where Erdogan will have no other option but to go for the syrian oil just to save his own failing economy, if he doesn’t, he’ll most likely have a rebellion in his own country before too long.
    This is the game of thrones for Erdogan, he may have 60% of the population totally devoted to him, but he also has 40% of the population that would eagrily hang him from a tree. If Turkey’s economy were to fail Erdogan’s popularity would drop so low so quickly he would be in real jeopardy for his life, when the 60% to 40% popularity becomes 40% to 60% the tree and the rope will be ready and waiting. He locked up over 10,000 people after the coup attempt, and those people he locked up have a lot of family and friends that would love to repay the favour, or even worse.
    The politics are obvious, the Kurds are being driven back to Assad and Erdogan’s being enticed into invading Aleppo, Ar Raqqah and Al Hasakah. If and when he does, the Kurds and Assad will unite and the next phase of the war will begin.
    Putin turned Idlib into a welfare state and added it to Erdogan’s financial expenditure, just to help suck it dry even faster, and Trump, who’s mainly responsible for causing Turkey’s economy to fail in the first place, is now dangling a massive chest of gold right in front of Erdogan’s eyes, and even better than that, he’s also telling him he can help guard it, a cat put in charge of looking after the canaries, that never works out well for the canaries does it.
    On top of that Trumps also telling the Kurds now, that they have to bury the hatchet and make friends with their worst enemies, and all while the Turks are still ethnically cleansing all the the western enclave, displacing over 300,000 Kurds and moving their own people into their homes so they can never return. does anybody seriously think the Kurds are going to put up with that, no way.
    Somebody’s plan’s working out perfectly though, but who’s plan is it that’s working out perfectly, that’s the real question , is it Putin and Trump’s plan, Putin and Erdogans, or Trump and Erdogans. I’m hoping it’s Trump and Putin’s plan.