Turkish Army to Avoid Participating in Raqqa Offensive Because It Not Ready for Full-Scale Confrontation with Syrian Kurds

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Turkey has decided not to directly participate in the liberation of the Syrian city of Raqqa and offered to send formations of the Syrian opposition to storm the capital of the Islamic State terrorist group in the country.

Turkish Army to Avoid Participating in Raqqa Offensive Because It Not Ready for Full-Scale Confrontation with Syrian Kurds

Photo: AFP

The Turkish Army will not be directly involved in the liberation of Raqqa city from terrorists of the Islamic State (IS) group, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on February 19. Instead of this, Ankara offers to send loyal formations of the Syrian opposition to storm the capital of Syrian terrorists, and currently tries to agree on this issue with Washington. As experts noted, sending of Turkish tanks to Raqqa would turn into open war with Syrian Kurds.

During his visit to Germany, Yildirim made it clear that the Turkish Army is not going to participate in the offensive on Raqqa, but it is ready to provide “tactical support” to troops of the Syrian opposition. According to the Turkish prime minister, Ankara wants detachments of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other pro-Turkish formations to take part in the storming of the IS capital.

“We will support them,” Yildirim said, adding that the issue of joint action with the US on liberation of Raqqa is actively discussed now.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are on the offensive on the capital of the self-proclaimed Caliphate. They complete the operation on encircling and ‘isolation’ of Raqqa city, after which the assault on the city should be started. Kurds are supported by the military command of the anti-IS coalition. Last week, deputy commander for the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, British Major General Rupert Jones, said that SDF’s combat capabilities make it the most appropriate force for the liberation of Raqqa.

However, the US tries to act very careful in order not to provoke Turkey. The Pentagon tries not to supply heavy weapons to Syrian Kurds. Any supplies of weapons officially intended to units of the so-called Syrian Arab coalition, manned with ethnic Arabs.

However, the Turkish authorities look for ways to reduce the role of Kurds. According to Turkish media, this issue was discussed at the recent talks with US Vice President Mike Pence and head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Joseph Dunford. At the same time, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised that after recapture of al-Bab, the country’s troops would start military action against Kurds, who are considered as terrorists by Ankara, and then would move towards Raqqa.

Experts warn that Ankara’s attempts to expand the zone of influence in the north of Syria, most likely, will lead to opening of another front in the Syrian conflict.

As director of the Center for Strategic Studies Ivan Konovalov told the Izvestiya newspaper, dispatch of Turkish troops to Raqqa could lead to war with Kurds.

“They will either have to move through a narrow corridor, on which Kurds hang from the north-east, or recapture Manbij from them. But the Kurdish Command has already promised that it will use all available forces to avoid capture of Manbij by Turks,” Konovalov said.

The military analyst also added that loud statements of Turkey about participation in the storming of Raqqa are not corroborated by its military capabilities. He noted that “combat characteristics of the FSA cause great doubts,” as well as there are just about 7,000 fighters in its ranks and they still participate in the operation near al-Bab. In addition, Turkish military themselves have no experience of taking of major cities.

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  • Valery Grigoryev

    Turkey is lingering:)

  • FlorianGeyer

    What a terrible mess the Western aggressors and their allies have caused.

    Syria has been desecrated and ruined ruined, her historic sites that are part of the worlds heritage have been looted and destroyed by the terrorist barbarians aided, armed and funded by the venal institutions of NATO,US Saudi Arabia ,QATAR et al.

  • hhabana

    Seems like Erdy’s dreams for Ottaman Empire V 2.0 isn’t going to happen. His soldiers have become like the past soldiers of Rome: lovers of western women and kebab vs. lovers of women and pasta. Fighters? FUGETABOUTIT!!!

  • ‘Sup Bruh!

    Bad, false and biased article.

    News about Ma’arrin was biased as well. Ma’arrin was being controled by YPG for almost a year and FSA seized it. But southfront mentioned it lke Ma’arrin was under FSA control, YPG seized it and FSA recaptured it. This is obiviously to make it look like YPG didn’t actually lost a skirmish. Pathetic attempt save their face.

  • PZIVJ1943

    Maybe SDF needs a good supply of ATGM’s just in case.
    Maybe CIA can give them to Bulgaria. Bulgaria drop ships them to Romania.
    Romania then flies them in on unmarked leased aircraft.
    Is that how it works?

    • Bob

      I gather that Saudi’s gave anything up to or beyond 10,000 TOW-1’s to militants by flying batches into Turkey then distributing them under coordination from their joint control room with Turkish Intelligence and CIA. The Saudi’s then immediately reordered 15,000 new TOW-2’s from US as replacement inventory (Hillary rubber stamped that deal – those Clinton Foundation payments really smoothed the deal) – giving some idea of the scale of Saudi TOW-1 deliveries.

  • John William

    I wish we got along with Russia so we didn’t care about the Black Sea that way we could tell Golem to fuck off.I love the Kurds. They stood up to Isis when no one else would. And American blood was spilled taking manbij.Turkey needs to quit acting all bad ass. All they have is nato to give em courage and the straight that goes into Black Sea. Not brains r balls !

  • Bob

    There is contradictory statement coming out of Turkey virtually every day about the objectives of their military adventure in Syria.

  • John

    Looking at what has been going on in Mosul, I don’t think the Kurds are game for taking Raqqa without armored and artillery support, lots of it. Those lightly armed AFVs they run around in are just rolling coffins against IS. Look how long it took to overrun Manbij and that was nothing in comparison to Raqqa.

    Even with airstrikes, they are going to bleed for real. The Iraqis started in Mosul with over 100,000 fighters, over four months ago, who were armed to the teeth and it is far from over.. Divisions have had to come off the line to be reformed. Some sources were counting over 2,000 from the Iraqi force killed in December, more than 2 months ago. Raqqa, will probably be an epic deathtrap for the crew that goes the distance to take it.

    The Syria Kurds are not going to rack up only God knows how many dead and wounded, for a place they will eventually have to give back. It is just my take on things but, I think the Raqqa is more talk than reality, unless you bring in guys that can actually fight in an urban environment; like the SAA and Hezbollah or US Divisions. I wish all a good evening.

    • Alex Ocana

      “…unless you bring in guys that can actually fight in an urban environment; like the SAA and Hezbollah.”

      Seems like the plan will be to gain all the territory north of the Euphrates except Raqqa, cut Daesh supply lines, connect and relieve the SAA at Deir Azzor, have the SAA move to the Euphrates from the south and between them crush any Daesh Resistance along the Euphrates banks piecemeal until Raqqa is so weakened it will collapse with a whimper.

      SDF would IMO not be wise to waste their forces laying siege to Raqqa, just as Daesh were fools to attack Deir Azzor.

      • John

        Hello Alex. Deir Azzor I have never understood to this point. It’s very unlike them, for IS to do something like that. I am quietly watching that one.

        I am not going to talk down the SDF, they have courage. But, IS is in another league. Look what happened to the ‘tough guys’ from Misrata after tangling with IS over Sirte in Libya. Nobody has heard a peep out of them since. I wish you a good evening.