Will Syria Give Response to Further Turkish Advances in Northern Aleppo?

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A commander of the Damascus government’s allied forces warned Ankara against its ongoing army incursions into the north and north-east parts of Aleppo city.

Will Syria Give Response to Further Turkish Advances in Northern Aleppo?

On Wednesday, Turkey was warned by a senior commander of the forces, allied to the Damascus government, against its ongoing army incursions into the north and north-east parts of Aleppo city. According to the commander, if Ankara does not stop its military actions in the area, a crushing response will be given by the Syrian Army and its allies.

“We will forcefully confront advances of the Turkish Army towards Eastern and Northern Aleppo,” the al-Mayadeen TV-channel reported, citing a commander of the forces, allied to the Syrian Army, without mentioning his name and nationality.

The TV-channel noted that the statement was made during a visit of the commander to the battlefields in northern Aleppo.

The commander also stressed the fact that any further advance of Turkish troops would be regarded as a crossing of ‘Syria’s redline’, as well as would be tantamount to declaration of war.

“We will never allow Turkey to get close to the defense lines of our allied forces on the pretext of fighting the ISIS [the Islamic State (IS)] terrorist group,” he said.

Ankara, cooperating with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and enjoying support of the US, is going to create a so-called no-fly zone in an area of 5,000 kilometers in northern Syria.

On Tuesday, a retired general of the Syrian Armed Forces, Heisam Hassoun, said that a coalition was formed by Syrian troops and Kurdish fighters in order to stand against the incursion of Turkish soldiers into northern Syria.

“We will see the start of military operations towards northern and northeastern [parts of] Aleppo province near al-Bab city in order to block an approach of the Turkish Army and Turkish-backed militants to the strategic city,” Hassoun told the Fars news agency.

He also remembered military operations of the Turkish Army in northeastern, northwestern and northern parts of Syria and noted that Syrian troops were dispatched towards the city of al-Bab, since the eastern parts of the city of Aleppo were liberated three months ago, however their further advances were postponed because other units of the Syrian Army needed to fortify their positions in the southern and southeastern parts of the cities of al-Bab and Daber.

Hassoun added that since late September, the Syrian Army, the Kurdish popular defense forces and the Arab popular defense forces have been working together in order to create an alliance in northern Syria.

“These forces have initiated action since Monday to push back the Turkish Army in the north,” he noted.

In mid-October, a Syrian analyst Kamal Fayyadh said that after establishment full control over the city of Aleppo, the Syrian Army and its allies would start to liberate the strategic city of al-Bab. Fayyadh noted that neither Kurds nor the Turkish Forces and their allies from the FSA would not dare to enter al-Bab, after Turkish officials have received warnings from Russia and Iran.

He also stressed that the battle in al-Bab would have a high importance and said that liberation of the city would prevent Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to establish control over regions, located between al-Bab and al-Rai, as well as would allow the Syrian Armed Forces to strengthen control over its northern borders.

“The future confrontation with the ISIS [the Islamic State] in Raqqa and Deir Ezzur, as well as the liberation of al-Bab mean seizing back more Syrian and Iraqi territories from the ISIS hands,” Fayyadh told Fars.

At the end of the last month, it was reported that a large number of Syrian soldiers was sent from southern Aleppo and northern Hama to the Kuweires airbase in the eastern countryside of Aleppo in order to launch large-scale offensives on the northeast parts of the province, held by the IS, in particular on al-Bab.

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  • Joseph Scott

    Now you can see the strange play taking shape. Letting the Turkish in, who the US did little to hold back, was a reminder to the Kurds to choose their friends carefully. Now, the Turkish find themselves in a trap they walked into freely.

    • Ronald

      Scott ; agreed that the Kurdish need to choose their friends wisely . If you would be so kind as to explain the trap the Turkish have walked into , especially if what abugahwa states is true .

      • Joseph Scott

        Well, I think initially the situation looked exactly as abuqahwa described: the Turks thought they had a free hand here. The Kurds seems short on friends. Their skirmishes with the NDF earlier, and deals with the Americans had damaged their previously good relationship with Syria and Russia. Beyond a single ‘accidental’ airstrike (probably conducted by the US military without approval from Washington, as the military like the Kurds much better than the jihadist-loving State Dept. and CIA do), the Americans weren’t coming riding to the rescue. Iraq’s complaints in the UN have been ignored, and while that doesn’t directly affect Syria, it points to the general unwillingness to challenge the Turks abuqahwa suggests. It looked like they could establish their security zone, and kill Kurds to their heart’s content.

        But then came the Syrian MoD’s threat to shoot down Turkish planes entering Syrian airspace. In times past, the Turkish would have laughed that off. Turkey is one of the higher end militaries regionally, and Syria the lower end. In past, they’ve conducted their operations here with near impunity, though they lost an F-16 once.

        But times have changed. For one, rumours abound that Syria just received the S-300s they have been asking for forever, and that the Syrians crews had just finished training to use them. While Russia hasn’t confirmed this, their obvious irritation with American intransigence, and sudden decision to sell Iran some too point to the likelihood of this. S-75s were no big deal. S-300s, especially with Russian advisers, are overmatch for Turkey’s F-16s.

        But the implied threat is worse. Syria’s statement comes not long after Russia threatened to shoot down anything that attacked Syria. Does that mean Russia will engage Turkish planes that violate Syrian airspace? Even if not, it implies that if Turkey attempts to take out Syrian air defences, Russia will respond, since that would indeed be an attack on Syrian forces. Besides, Syria called Turkey’s airstrikes an attack on the Syrian people, and that also implies possible Russian involvement. I really don’t think Turkey wants to test any of these questions, and their sudden halt of air operations support that.

        Syria overtly claiming the Syrian-Kurdish villages as Syrian must have been slightly unsettling even for the ground operations, since it again begs the question of what Russia and Iran will do.

        Then came the Kurdish counterattack. While generally the Turks probably rejoice at the Kurds coming out to contest the field, it suggests a certain confidence on the part of the Kurds as far as their situation, and to me, looks as if they were expecting and preparing for the Turkish attack, probably yielding ground deliberately that they might then counter-attack over chosen ground.

        Finally, we have the sudden declaration by the local Syrian commander that any further Turkish advance will be met with force, and that the YPG/SDF are Syria’s allies. On top of Syria recent statements about the Turkish presence being a violation of their sovereignty, that is pretty close to saying a state of war will exist between Turkey and Syria. And at another time, Turkey would shrug and carry on. Indeed, they have claimed they will take Al-Bab nonetheless. But despite their usual belligerent bravado, there must be some misgivings about the notion that this may draw them into direct confrontation with not just Syria and the Kurds, but Hezbollah, Iran and worst of all Russia. Since both Hezbollah and the IRGC are part of the local Syrian force, their involvement is already directly implied.

        Does Turkey have the ability or willingness, with the limited forces to present, to fight their way through Kurds, Syrians, Iranians and Hezbollah to get Al-Bab, all without air support, which their opponent will have? Or hold it against counterattacks by the same?

        And, the Kurds are no longer isolated. This is what I meant about choosing their friends carefully. Left out on a limb by the Americans in the face of Turkish attack, they seem to have returned to their Syrian alliance. One might say that the Turks drove them back into Syria’s embrace, which is in no way to Turkey’s advantage. Now the idea of a federal state of Rojava looms again; likewise the possibility of Syrian, Iranian and Russian arms flowing to the YPG. Will Iran cut come sort of deal with the Afrin Kurds they way Turkey has with Iraqi Kurds?

        All manner of bad possibilities flow from this for Turkey, including the possibility they will be pushed right back to the border. There even lurks the chance that Turkish actions will cement a more solid and forceful alliance between Syria, Iran and Iraq, with all manner of long-term consequences Turkey won’t like.

        • sólyomszem

          TLBR
          (B = but)

  • abuqahwa

    Well 42 years have passed since Turkey invaded Cyprus and set up their puppet republic and they are still there. (See wikipedia links for quick info).43 years since Israel invaded then annexed Golan and they are still there. Turkey and Israel do whatever they want, without worry because they clearly understand that no-one, not UN nor Russia nor a single Arab country has ever dared to go to war against their ally US/NATO in defense of Syria, Lebanon, or Palestine. Syria has been the sole

    defender and is now being destroyed. Sorry to say this but realistically will Russia or Iran actually have the guts to attack and drive Turkey back or shoot down Turkish warplanes now striking both YPG/SDF in Syria and PKK in Iraq ? No. The sad truth is Turkey will not withdraw from northern Syria, use the Israeli excuse of ” border protection ” and set up a so-called “secure/safe zone/haven” probably roughly the axis AFRIN-MAARe-TA ÁNAH -al BAB-MANBIJ-FURAT (Euphrates). .Whether they actually take al BAB or set up a few kms north is not important – they are there to stay unless and until driven out. Sorry guys the brave Syrians and SAA cannot do this alone, Russia and Iran must act or be exposed as unreliable “allies”. As for the Kurds west of the Furat, they are finished, betrayed yet again

    • 888mladen .

      Spot on. Past behaviors will determine the future once. Read this http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950804001436
      This is a quote “Noting that Russia doesn’t want any conflict with the US or NATO, he
      said that such a conflict will be highly dangerous for international
      peace and security.”

    • Ted

      I do not disagree at all with what you have written here. I would say that maybe you are a little heavy handed with Russia in your comments? I thought about this from other stories as well. Would Russia risk it for Syria? Why do deals with the Turks. The only thing that comes to my mind is the Putin and Russia believe that a war with NATO is a reality. So much so that they are looking at how to position themselves when it comes?

      Turkey has a massive number of troops. Its on Russias borders. If NATO goes to war with Russia it may be worth it for Russia to try and bog Turkey down in Syria and Northern Iraq? How advantageous would it be for Russia not to have to worry about its Southern flank in a war with NATO? Rather that means getting Turkey to fight in Syria or a deal that cost of Syria? If they are looking to save Russia? To give it a better chance.

      • 888mladen .

        It’s all about “prostitution” it’s all about southern stream and selling arms.

  • abuqahwa

    BTW, I cannot remember the source, but I hope it is just an ugly unfounded rumour that a Turkish armoured battlegroup has moved into the upper north of Idlib province from the Rehanli salient and crossed into Syrian territory at 36 deg 40 ‘ E , i.e. an incursion from the west, objective unknown. Does anyone have firm info ?

    • I’ve head the same from Israeli News Live, but still no confirmation.

  • wimroffel

    There are already reports that Syria did bomb FSA fighters from the Turkish offensive:
    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/10/26/turkey-says-barrel-bombs-have-hit-syrian-opposition-fighters.html