Turkey Can Increase Number of Its Soldiers in Syria Up to 15,000

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Turkey had been planning its ground incursion in Syria for more than two years, but delayed the operation several times. Now the country is allegedly ready to increase a number of its troops in Syria up to 15,000.

Turkey Can Increase Number of Its Soldiers in Syria Up to 15,000

Photo: Getty Images

Turkey’s “ground incursion” into northern Syria had been being planned by the Turkish government for over two years, the AFP news agency reported on Thursday, citing an unnamed Turkish official.

“The Turkish government had been working on a ground incursion for more than two years, but it was delayed by several factors,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

According to the official, the intervention plan was discussed by Turkey and the US last June. He also added that the US-backed operation was delayed due to Turkish coup attempt, started by elements in the Turkish Army on July 15. Deterioration of Russo-Turkish relations after Moscow’s jet was downed by Ankara’s military over Syria last year also was one of the obstacles of the operation. The risk of a further confrontation with Moscow put an end to all Turkish air operations over Syria that would be essential for any ground operation, the official noted.

“It became practically impossible to implement our plans due to a lack of air cover,” he said.

However, recent meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin marked the beginning of improvement of relations between the two countries.

Turkish soldiers, who allegedly are hunting terrorists of the Islamic State (IS) group, are accused of helping ‘opposition’ groups, giving them free passages into Syria and out of the country.

According to Hurriyet daily’s columnist Abdulkadir Selvi, there were 450 Turkish military on the Syrian ground on the first day of the incursion, but this number could rise to 15,000.

Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik said that Syrian Kurds must move back to the east across the Euphrates or they will face action. Syrian Kurdish militias are seen by Turkey as a terrorist group that seeks to create an autonomous region in Syria and act as a Syrian branch of its own outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Now Syrian ‘oppositionists’ plan to clean up the area along the Turkish border, starting from the city of Jarablus and moving to the west, to the town of Marea, Reuters reported, citing a commander of the Sultan Murad group, Ahmad Osman.

According to the commander, current priority is to advance some 70 km westward to Marea and capture all the villages, located between this town and Jarabulus that has been recaptured from IS terrorists by the Turkish Armed Forces. Osman noted that they are not going to fight Kurdish forces that have advanced in northern Syria, but they will do this if necessary. The Sultan Murad’s head said that the operation can take anywhere from several weeks to several months

The Sultan Murad group fights under a banner of the so-called Free Syrian Army that has received various help, including military aid and training, from foreign enemies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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  • Tom Johnson

    Turkish 155mm in Marea would control Aleppo and beyond.

    • Antikapitalista

      The red line for the Turks is at al-Bab at most. If they are not able to control themselves, they will be surely, swiftly and conveniently destroyed by Russian and Syrian forces.

  • wimroffel

    When will Southfront finally adopt the habit of linking to their sources?

  • jj

    It looks like Erdogan has spun the coup around to help put his stalled agenda in place. Russia has been tricked. It should not be trusting Turkey in the first place.

  • Kristy Rain

    Putin expected this. He and Lavrov will snap the jaws shut on Turkish incursion.

    The kurds btw, are gonna be the ones to make the Turks lose self restraint and go rampaging around kurdish controlled areas.

    the US is not gonna be able to control or prevent this. this will be the point at which the foreign policy strategy in the US will seriously come into question.

    im not worried. Putin has proved time and again to steer things in the right direction.

  • Ronald

    The Syrian gov. forces and the Kurds where close to sealing the border with Turkey , that would have been the end of the supply line between Syrian and Iraqi ISIS forces. The US and Saudi’s could not let that happen, so Turkey was given the green light to “acquire” a “no go zone” . So the coup was just smoke and mirrors, Turkey invaded with US air support. The Kurdish still have the option of brokering a deal with Assad and becoming NDF or SAA. The question is do they realize they are just pawns to the Americans ? If not , Turkey does have the third largest standing army in the world. This could become even uglier than it already is

  • Boris Kazlov

    So Turks made peace with Russia so they could invade without facing Russian forces?
    Hmm, all this talk between Russia and Murica does not bode well, I smell betrayal and lack of resolve from Russia, a letter of apologies from Mad Dog doe snobring back to life the desecrated body of Russian pilot, executed while parachuting.