This is a look at the larger picture of forces developing around Syria. Several foreign armies are aggregating at the Syrian borders with the intent to invade Syria and to occupy its eastern part. But before we dive into that, a short look at the curious situation developing in the north-west.
Near Azaz the U.S. ally Turkey is currently shelling (video) the U.S. ally YPG which is fighting the CIA supported FSA.
The Syrian-Kurdish YPG troops were heavily supported by the U.S. in their fight against the Islamic State in north-eastern Syria. Under U.S. tutelage they united with Arab anti-IS fighters under the label Syrian Democratic Forces.
map by AFP(?) – bigger
In north-west Syria the SDF has used the recent success of the Syrian army against Jihadis in the area to take northern parts of the Azaz corridor which once connected Aleppo to Turkey. That corridor is held by a mixture of al-Qaeda Jihadist from Jabhat al-Nusra, “Turkmen” Islamists from various Turk speaking countries and local Islamist gangs supported by the CIA under the label Free Syrian Army. All three get money and weapons from Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
The Syrian army is moving north and south from the red strip in the map. The SDF is moving east from the Kurdish enclave around Afrin. During the last days the SDF, supported by the Russian airforce, captured the Minnagh airbase which was held by al-Qaeda aligned forces. The SDF then proceeded north to take Azaz, the last major town the Turkish supported Islamist are holding in the area.
Turkey today used 155mm artillery to fire from Turkey against SDF positions on Minnagh airbase and around Azaz. There will be Turkish special forces observers in Syria to direct the fire.
The NATO member Turkey is shelling the YPG, which is backed by Russia and the U.S., and the SDF which is backed by the U.S. for attacking the FSA and Islamists who are backed by the U.S., Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
A nice little clusterfuck the smart (not) girls and boys around Obama created.
But as described here two days ago in The Race To Raqqa Is On, a much bigger clusterfuck is currently in the making in and all around Syria.
The Russian and Syrian airforce will likely respond to the Turkish attack with an intensified bombing of positions held by Turkish proxy forces in Syria. Those forces just received new artillery ammunition and new TOW anti-tank missiles.
There is yet unconfirmed news that this situation will escalate very fast:
The Int’l Spectator @intlspectator
BREAKING: Turkish official says there will be a ‘massive escalation’ in Syria over next 24 hours.
The Turkish Foreign Minister said today that the fight against ISIS must include (Turkish) ground operations.
The Syrian government and its Iranian and Russian allies are determined to liberate the whole country from the foreign supported terrorists and the Islamic State. The want to keep the country united.
The aim of outside forces, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, the UAE, the U.S., Britain, France is to occupy east Syria to gain political concession from the Syrian government and its allies. They will demand the reconfiguration of the independent, secular Syrian state under President Assad into a dependent Sunni Islamist entity. Should that demand not be fulfilled they will form a new “Sunnistan” Islamist protectorate from the currently ISIS held carcasses of east Syria and west-Iraq.
Turkey today threatened further and wider attacks on Kurdish held areas in Syria. The Turkish 2nd Army is positioned to attack Syria from the north. It could come through the ISIS held corridor between Azaz in the west and Jarablus in the east and move south towards the Islamic State held Raqqa while other forces, see below, would reach Raqqa from the south and south east. Syria would be thus split into a government held western half and an ISIS and U.S. allies held eastern half.
Russian advisers have trained one Syrian brigade specifically for the purpose of holding off a Turkish invasion. But that brigade is probably not a big enough deterrence for the large Turkish forces and could soon be overwhelmed.
The Saudis today claimed again that Assad must be overthrown to defeat the Islamic State. That is of course nonsense but the Saudi family dictatorship has a personal grudge against Assad. The Syrian President once called the Saudis “only half men”. (IMHO He was too generous.)
Twenty Saudi F-15 jets arrived today in Incirlik airbase in Turkey to, allegedly, join the U.S. coalition force against the Islamic State. The Saudis also promised to send ground forces if those would fight under some allied command “against ISIS”. The United Arab Emirates promised to send special forces for the same purpose. Some Saudi ground forces have already been observed making their way through Jordan.
At least 1,600 British troops with heavy weapons and equipment are currently arriving in Jordan. The Brits claim that this is just for some normal training maneuver but we can expect the British government to paid off enough by the Gulf Arabs to take part in the fight. The British units would likely lead a Saudi/UAE/(maybe also Egyptian?) combined force from east Jordan up through the Syrian desert towards Raqqa and Deir Ezzor. These forces are currentlyexplained as “trainers” who will enter Syria to instigate Syrian Arab tribes to fight ISIS. If there were enough forces in such tribes at all, these could be trained in Jordan. There is currently no Syrian or Russian force in the desert that could prevent such a move.
An additional brigade from the U.S. 101st Airborne is deploying to Iraq without much public announcement. Its task is an invasion of Syria from the south-east along the Euphrates to first capture Deir Ezzor and to then move on to Raqqa.
The Syrian army is on its way to ISIS held Raqqa to prevent any foreign force reaching there first. It will have to hurry up. The race to Raqqa is intensifying.
The Russians have alarmed several airborne brigades and air transport units of their Southern command to be ready for a fast intervention should such troops be needed in Syria. The Russians could airdrop an airborne brigade into the government held, ISIS besieged parts of Deir Ezzor (vid) to prevent that city from being attacked or taken over by Saudi and/or U.S. forces. Two additional Russian missile ships are on their way to the Syrian coast. They carry long distance Kalibr cruise missiles which can be used against other ships as well as against land targets.
Iran is ready to send as many men from its Revolutionary Guard and Quds brigades to Syria as are needed to sustain the governments fight. These folks salivate over the prospect of having some regular Saudi forces for breakfast.
There are active attempts to draw all NATO nations into the phony “fight against ISIS”. When the war over Syria gets hotter NATO will likely try to create diversions elsewhere to keep Russia distracted from reacting properly in Syria. The U.S. will tell its Ukrainian puppet government to reengage in massive attacks on Russian supported Ukrainian rebels in east Ukraine.
The war against Syria, waged by the U.S., Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, was so far carried out by proxy forces and foreign mercenaries within Syria’s borders. When the Syrian government was on the verge of losing the successful Russian intervention turned the war around. German intelligence no asserts (in German) that the Syrian government is winning the war against the foreign supported forces.
As the war by proxy against Syria has now failed, the anti-Syrian powers have decided to join the action on the ground with their own forces. The “fight against ISIS” (which the Syrians and Russian are fighting more than anybody else) is now the pretext to capture eastern Syria, to split the country in half and to destroy the Syrian government and state.
The “civil war” in Syria is now developing into an large international conflagration over the future of Syria and the whole Middle East.
Meanwhile the Islamic State, confused by this U.S. created clusterfuck in Iraq and Syria, decides to relocate its headquarters from Iraq and Syria to Libya, the other failed state and Charly Foxtrot the U.S. (F, UK) recently created. There it will find rich oil fields, lots of new weapons and no capable enemies.