Bellingcat began geolocating and independently verifying videos published by the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) after initial reports from the ground indicated that Russian airstrikes destroyed positions held by the Free Syrian Army and other groups rather than the Islamic State (or ISIS). Bellingcat has geolocated, verified, and visualized each airstrike published by the Russian MoD on its official YouTube channel as of 25 October. The outcome of our work is unequivocal: the overwhelming majority of Russian airstrikes have targeted positions held by non-ISIS rebel groups posing a more immediate threat to the Syrian regime and its head, Bashar al-Assad. In contrast, ISIS strongholds have rarely been attacked: out of 60 strikes recorded on video, only one has been confirmed to be both at the location indicated by the MoD and against ISIS; 14 other strikes said to target ISIS were, indeed, geolocated to the claimed locations, but none of those areas are known to be under ISIS control.
More at the link: https://www.bellingcat.com/news/mena/20 ... -in-syria/
The military balance of power in Syria and Iraq is changing. The Russian air strikes that have been taking place since the end of September are strengthening and raising the morale of the Syrian army, which earlier in the year looked fought out and was on the retreat. With the support of Russian airpower, the army is now on the offensive in and around Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city, and is seeking to regain lost territory in Idlib province. Syrian commanders on the ground are reportedly relaying the co-ordinates of between 400 and 800 targets to the Russian air force every day, though only a small proportion of them come under immediate attack. The chances of Bashar al-Assad’s government falling – though always more remote than many suggested – are disappearing. Not that this means he is going to win.
The drama of Russian military action, while provoking a wave of Cold War rhetoric from Western leaders and the media, has taken attention away from an equally significant development in the war in Syria and Iraq. This has been the failure over the last year of the US air campaign – which began in Iraq in August 2014 before being extended to Syria – to weaken Islamic State and other al-Qaida-type groups. By October the US-led coalition had carried out 7323 air strikes, the great majority of them by the US air force, which made 3231 strikes in Iraq and 2487 in Syria. But the campaign has demonstrably failed to contain IS, which in May captured Ramadi in Iraq and Palmyra in Syria. There have been far fewer attacks against the Syrian branch of al-Qaida, Jabhat al-Nusra, and the extreme Islamist group Ahrar al-Sham, which between them dominate the insurgency in northern Syria. The US failure is political as much as military: it needs partners on the ground who are fighting IS, but its choice is limited because those actually engaged in combat with the Sunni jihadis are largely Shia – Iran itself, the Syrian army, Hizbullah, the Shia militias in Iraq – and the US can’t offer them full military co-operation because that would alienate the Sunni states, the bedrock of America’s power in the region. As a result the US can only use its air force in support of the Kurds.
The US faces the same dilemma in Iraq and Syria today as it did after 9/11 when George Bush declared the war on terror. It was known then that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis, Osama bin Laden was a Saudi and the money for the operation came from Saudi donors. But the US didn’t want to pursue al-Qaida at the expense of its relations with the Sunni states, so it muted criticism of Saudi Arabia and invaded Iraq; similarly, it never confronted Pakistan over its support for the Taliban, ensuring that the movement was able to regroup after losing power in 2001.
Washington tried to mitigate the failure of its air campaign, officially called Operation Inherent Resolve, by making exaggerated claims of success. Maps were issued to the press showing that IS had a weakening grip on between 25 and 30 per cent of its territory, but they conveniently left out the parts of Syria where IS was advancing. Such was the suppression and manipulation of intelligence by the administration that in July fifty analysts working for US Central Command signed a protest against the official distortion of what was happening on the battlefield. Russia has now taken advantage of the US failure to suppress the jihadis.
But great power rivalry is only one of the confrontations taking place in Syria, and the fixation on Russian intervention has obscured other important developments. The outside world hasn’t paid much attention, but the regional struggle between Shia and Sunni has intensified in the last few weeks. Shia states across the Middle East, notably Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, have never had much doubt that they are in a fight to the finish with the Sunni states, led by Saudi Arabia, and their local allies in Syria and Iraq. Shia leaders dismiss the idea, much favoured in Washington, that a sizeable moderate, non-sectarian Sunni opposition exists that would be willing to share power in Damascus and Baghdad: this, they believe, is propaganda pumped out by Saudi and Qatari-backed media. When it comes to keeping Assad in charge in Damascus, the increased involvement of the Shia powers is as important as the Russian air campaign. For the first time units of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard have been deployed in Syria, mostly around Aleppo, and there are reports that a thousand fighters from Iran and Hizbullah are waiting to attack from the north. Several senior Iranian commanders have recently been killed in the fighting. The mobilisation of the Shia axis is significant because, although Sunni outnumber Shia in the Muslim world at large, in the swathe of countries most directly involved in the conflict – Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon – there are more than a hundred million Shia, who believe their own existence is threatened if Assad goes down, compared to thirty million Sunnis, who are in a majority only in Syria.
In addition to the Russian-American rivalry and the struggle between Shia and Sunni, a third development of growing importance is shaping the war. This is the struggle of the 2.2 million Kurds, 10 per cent of the Syrian population, to create a Kurdish statelet in north-east Syria, which the Kurds call Rojava. Since the withdrawal of the Syrian army from the three Kurdish enclaves in the summer of 2012, the Kurds have been extraordinarily successful militarily and now control an area that stretches for 250 miles between the Euphrates and the Tigris along the southern frontier of Turkey. The Syrian Kurdish leader Salih Muslim told me in September that the Kurdish forces intended to advance west of the Euphrates, seizing the last IS-held border crossing with Turkey at Jarabulus and linking up with the Syrian Kurdish enclave at Afrin. Such an event would be viewed with horror by Turkey, which suddenly finds itself hemmed in by Kurdish forces backed by US airpower along much of its southern frontier.
The Syrian Kurds say that their People’s Protection Units (YPG) number fifty thousand men and women under arms (though in the Middle East it is wise to divide by two all claims of military strength). They are the one force to have repeatedly beaten Islamic State, including in the long battle for Kobani that ended in January. The YPG is lightly armed, but highly effective when co-ordinating its attacks with US aircraft. The Kurds may be exaggerating the strength of their position: Rojava is the safest part of Syria aside from the Mediterranean coast, but this is a measure of the chronic insecurity in the rest of the country, where, even in government-held central Damascus, mortar bombs fired from opposition enclaves explode daily. Front lines are very long and porous, so IS can infiltrate and launch sudden raids. When in September I drove from Kobani to Qamishli, another large Kurdish city, on what was meant to be a safe road, I was stopped in an Arab village where YPG troops said they were conducting a search for five or six IS fighters who had been seen in the area. A few miles further on, in the town of Tal Abyad, which the YPG had captured from IS in June, a woman ran out of her house to wave down the police car I was following to say that she had just seen an IS fighter in black clothes and a beard run through her courtyard. The police said there were still IS men hiding in abandoned Arab houses in the town. Half an hour later, we were passing though Ras al-Ayn, which the Kurds have held for two years, when there was the sound of what I thought was shooting ahead of us, but it turned out to be a suicide bomber in a car: he had blown himself up at the next checkpoint, killing five people. At the same time, a man on a motorbike detonated a bomb at a checkpoint we had just passed through, but killed only himself. The YPG may have driven IS out of these areas, but they have not gone far.
Innumerable victories and defeats on the battlefield in Syria and Iraq have been announced over the last four years, but most of them haven’t been decisive. Between 2011 and 2013 it was conventional wisdom in the West and much of the Middle East that Assad was going to be overthrown just as Gaddafi has been. In late 2013 and throughout 2014, it was clear that Assad still controlled most populated areas, but then the jihadi advances in northern and eastern Syria in May revived talk of the regime’s crumbling. In reality, neither the government nor its opponents are likely to collapse: all sides have many supporters who will fight to the death. It is a genuine civil war: a couple of years ago in Baghdad an Iraqi politician told me that ‘the problem in Iraq is that all parties are both too strong and too weak: too strong to be defeated, but too weak to win.’ The same applies today in Syria. Even if one combatant suffers a temporary defeat, its foreign supporters will prop it up: the ailing non-IS part of the Syrian opposition was rescued by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey in 2014 and this year Assad is being saved by Russia, Iran and Hizbullah. All have too much to lose: Russia needs success in Syria after twenty years of retreat, while the Shia states dare not allow a Sunni triumph.
The military stalemate will be difficult to break. The battleground is vast, with front lines stretching from Iran to the Mediterranean. Will the entrance of the Russian air force result in a new balance of power in the region? Will it be more effective than the Americans and their allies? For air power to work, even when armed with precision weapons, it needs a well-organised military partner on the ground identifying targets and relaying co-ordinates to the planes overhead. This approach worked for the US when it was supporting the Northern Alliance against the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001 and the Iraqi peshmerga against Saddam’s army in northern Iraq in 2003. Russia will now hope to have the same success through its co-operation with the Syrian army. There are some signs that this may be happening; on 18 October what appeared to be Russian planes were reported by independent observers to have wiped out a 16-vehicle IS convoy and killed forty fighters near Raqqa, Islamic State’s Syrian capital.
But Russian air support won’t be enough to defeat IS and the other al-Qaida-type groups, because years of fighting the US, Iraqi and Syrian armies has given their fighters formidable military expertise. Tactics include multiple co-ordinated attacks by suicide bombers, sometimes driving armoured trucks that carry several tons of explosives, as well as the mass use of IEDs and booby traps. IS puts emphasis on prolonged training as well as religious teaching; its snipers are famous for remaining still for hours as they search for a target. IS acts like a guerrilla force, relying on surprise and diversionary attacks to keep its enemies guessing.
Over the last three years I have found that the best way of learning what is really happening in the war is to visit military hospitals. Most wounded soldiers, eyewitnesses to the fighting, are bored by their convalescence and eager to talk about their experiences. In July, I was in the Hussein Teaching Hospital in the Shia holy city of Karbala, where one ward was reserved for injured fighters from the Shia militia known as the Hashid Shaabi. Many had answered a call to arms by the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani after IS captured Mosul last year. Colonel Salah Rajab, the deputy commander of the Habib battalion of the Ali Akbar brigade, who was lying in bed after having his lower right leg amputated, had been fighting in Baiji City, a town on the Tigris close to Iraq’s largest oil refinery, for 16 days when a mortar round landed near him, leaving two of his men dead and four wounded. When I asked him what the weaknesses of the Hashid were, he said that they were enthusiastic but poorly trained. He could speak with some authority: he was a professional soldier who resigned from the Iraqi army in 1999. He complained that his men got a maximum of three months’ training when they needed six months, with the result that they made costly mistakes such as talking too much on their mobile phones and field radios. IS monitored these communications, and used intercepted information to inflict heavy losses. The biggest problem for the Hashid, which probably numbers about fifty thousand men, is the lack of experienced commanders able to organise an attack and keep casualties low.
Omar Abdullah, an 18-year-old militia volunteer, was in another bed in the same ward. He had been trained for just 25 days before going to fight in Baiji, where his arm and leg were broken in a bomb blast. His story confirmed Colonel Rajab’s account of enthusiastic but inexperienced militiamen suffering heavy losses as they fell into traps set by IS. On arriving in Baiji, Abdullah said, ‘we were shot at by snipers and we ran into a house to seek cover. There were 13 of us and we didn’t realise that the house was full of explosives.’ These were detonated by an IS fighter keeping a watch on the house; the blast killed nine of the militiamen and wounded the remaining four. Experienced soldiers, too, have been falling victim to traps like this. A bomb disposal expert in the ward told me he had been examining a suspicious-looking wooden bridge over a canal when one of his men stepped onto it and detonated a bomb that killed four and wounded three of the bomb disposal team.
The types of injury reflect the kind of combat that predominates. Most of it takes place in cities or built-up areas and involves house-to-house fighting in which losses are high. Syrian, Kurdish and Iraqi soldiers described being hit by snipers as they manned checkpoints or being injured by mines or booby traps. In May, I talked to an 18-year-old Kurdish YPG fighter called Javad Judy in the Shahid Khavat hospital in the city of Qamishli in north-east Syria. He had been shot through the spine as his squad was clearing a Christian village near Hasaka of IS fighters. ‘We had divided into three groups that were trying to attack the village,’ he said, ‘when we were hit by intense fire from behind and from the trees on each side of us.’ He was still traumatised by finding out that his lower body was permanently paralysed.
For some soldiers, injuries aren’t the only threat to their survival. In 2012, in the Mezze military hospital in Damascus, I met Mohammed Diab, a 21-year-old Syrian army soldier who a year earlier in Aleppo had been hit by a bullet that shattered his lower left leg. After making an initial recovery he had gone back to his home village of Rahiya in Idlib province, which was a dangerous move since it was under the control of the opposition. Hearing that there was a wounded government soldier in the village, they took Diab hostage and held him for five months; they even sold his metal splint and gave him a piece of wood to strap to his leg instead. Finally, his family ransomed him for the equivalent of $1000 but his leg had become infected and so he was back in hospital.
In one sense, the soldiers and fighters I spoke to were the lucky ones: at least they had a hospital to go to. Thousands of IS fighters must have been wounded at Kobani, where 70 per cent of the buildings were destroyed by seven hundred American airstrikes. In Damascus, whole districts held by the opposition have been pounded into rubble by government artillery and barrel bombs. Since March 2011, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 250,124 Syrians have been killed and an estimated two million injured out of a population of 22 million. The country is saturated by violence. In September I went to the town of Tal Tamir outside Hasaka City, near where Javad Judy was shot. Islamic State had retreated, but people were still too terrified to return to their houses – or those houses that were still standing. A local official said he was trying to persuade refugees to come back. Their reluctance wasn’t surprising: the previous week an apparently pregnant Arab woman had been arrested in Tal Tamir market. She turned out to be a suicide bomber who had failed to detonate the explosives strapped to her stomach under her black robes.
The Russian intervention in Syria, the greater involvement of Iran and the Shia powers, and the rise of the Syrian Kurds has not yet changed the status quo in Iraq and Syria, though it has the potential to do so. The Russian presence makes Turkish military intervention against the Kurds and the government in Damascus less likely. But the Russians, the Syrian army and their allies need to win a serious victory – such as capturing the rebel-held half of Aleppo – if they are to transform the civil war. Assad won’t want his experienced combat units to be caught up in the sort of street-by-street fighting described by the wounded soldiers in the hospitals. On the other hand, the Russian air campaign has an advantage over that of the Americans in that it has been launched in support of an effective regular army. The US never dared to attack IS when it was fighting the Syrian army because Washington didn’t want to be accused of keeping Assad in power. The US approach has left it without real allies on the ground, aside from the Kurds, whose effectiveness is limited outside Kurdish majority areas. The crippling weakness of US strategy in both Iraq and Syria has been to pretend that a ‘moderate Sunni opposition’ either exists or can be created. For all America’s fierce denunciations of Russian intervention, some in Washington can see the advantage of Russia doing what the US can’t do itself. Meanwhile, Britain is wrestling with the prospect of joining the US-led air campaign, without noticing that it has already failed in its main purpose.
Western Officials: Iran Retreating From Syria Fight
Iran is beginning to withdraw its elite fighters from the Russian-led military campaign in Syria, according to U.S. and other Western military officials, suggesting a fissure in what President Barack Obama derided last month as a "coalition of two."
U.S. officials tell me they are seeing significant numbers of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps troops retreat from the Syrian combat zone in recent weeks, following the deaths and wounding of some of top officers in a campaign to retake Idlib Province and other areas lost this year to opposition forces supported by the West and Gulf Arab States. As a result, the Russian-initiated offensive that was launched in September seems to be losing an important ally.
YPG and SDF liberated 52 villages and hamlest in 2 days. They are 2 kilometers away from Tishrin Dam.
Zahran Aloush, the head of Jaysh al Islam, one of the most powerful insurgent groups in the rebel-held suburbs of Damascus, was killed in an aerial raid that targeted his group's headquarters, two rebel sources said on Friday.
They said a secret headquarters of the rebel group, which is the largest rebel faction in the area and has thousands of fighters, was targeted by what they described as Russian planes.
Jan 12th, 10:48
Just finished C.V. Wedgwood’s “Thirty Years War”. This is a phenomenal read on its own right, but what draw me to the book were the parallels I’ve always sensed existed between the current crisis in Syria and the Thirty Years War. Having read the book reinforced these feelings - several takeaways:
(1) More than anything, political movements based on religion discredit religious orthodoxy, and they particularly undermine the legitimacy of religious movements within the public sphere. Within the Islamic world, an entire generation is being raised in societies in which the repressiveness of Sharia law is a daily fact of life and where Islamist groups rationalize the most heinous atrocities as acts mandated by God. The disenchantment - often disgust - with religion to which this environment gives rise should not be underestimated, and numerous polls show that a continually increasing proportion of youth in the Middle East are forsaking Islam altogether. This trend maps very well onto the aftermath of the Thirty Years War, where religious malaise helped accelerate the growth of secular humanism in Europe during the Enlightenment. Accordingly, commentators in the West do a disservice to the fight against Islamism when they characterize Islamism as some irrepressible bogeyman (as many do in the Right) or when they try to “save” Islam by claiming that the atrocities being committed on a daily basis in the name of Islam have nothing to do with the religion (as many apologists for Islamism do on the Left).
(2) The best resolution to a conflict that’s as intensely related to the particular problems of a region as is the Syrian conflict is one that comes from the regional players themselves. But such a resolution may never be forthcoming. The story of the Thirty Years War is one of countless missed opportunities for peace-making – largely as a result of narrow-minded, commercial self-interest – by the parties who were closest to where the battles were being fought and who had the greatest capacity to facilitate such peace-making. Peace was only had after the War transformed into a full-blown conflict between Europe’s two competing superpowers and when the exigency of superpower interests forced a settlement despite the inertia of the local power players. Thus, intervention by foreign parties, justified on grounds of those parties’ national interests, should not be dismissed out of hand as an imperfect solution to an intensely local conflict – in certain cases, such intervention may be the only solution.
(3) Much is made in the Western media of “Arab tribalism” as some intractable problem that prevents a humane resolution to the crisis in Syria. Indeed, many go so far as to say that tribal societies can only be governed by despots and that there will always be a need for strongmen in the Middle East. What’s forgotten in this analysis is that much of the power politics of Europe until the 18th Century operated on the same “sub”-national scale - dynastic politics played a critical role in the formulation and implementation of imperial policymaking, while public figures saw their identity as more closely linked to a particular family or locality than to some larger nation-state. All the parties to the Thirty Years War understood this dynamic and tried to work it to their advantage. That politics happened in this form simply meant that parties would adapt the means to effectuate policy, not necessarily modify their overall objectives. Policymakers in the West would do well to not exaggerate the intractability of the problems caused by tribalism, but instead treat tribalism as another lever in how they calibrate policies. And luckily there’s recent precedent for doing so, the most prominent example being the work U.S. forces did in conjunction with Sunni tribes to eliminate Al Qaeda in Iraq during the “Anbar Awakening”.
Syria conflict: Major rebel town 'seized' in boost for Assad
Syrian government forces say they have seized the last major town held by rebels in western Latakia province.
State TV said Rabia, in rebel hands for four years, was overrun by the army and "popular defence" forces.
The province is a stronghold of the Alawite community to which President Bashar al-Assad belongs.
Russian forces played a key role in the recapture of Rabia, according to the UK-based monitoring group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The head of the Syrian Observatory, Rami Abdel Rahman, told AFP that President Assad's forces had surrounded the town from three sides in the space of 48 hours by capturing several villages.
Russian air strikes played "an essential role", he said.
'Weakest position in Syria in years': Russia and Assad may have just delivered a decisive blow to Turkey
Pro-government forces in Syria have reportedly broken a rebel siege of two villages northwest of Aleppo, effectively cutting off Turkey's supply line to opposition groups operating in and around Syria's largest city.
Government troops, accompanied by Iran-backed Shiite militias and Hezbollah forces, apparently reached the cities of Nubl and Zahraa with the help of heavy Russian airstrikes on Wednesday.
The opposition had held these cities since 2012, according to the Institute for the Study of War.
Grounds to believe Turkey planning military invasion in Syria - Russian military
Developments on the Turkish-Syrian border give serious grounds to suspect that Ankara is planning a military invasion in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
“We have serious grounds to suspect intensive preparations by Turkey for a military invasion on the territory of the sovereign state of Syria,” Major General Igor Konashenkov, Defense Ministry spokesman, told journalists.
“We are recording more and more signs of concealed preparations by the Turkish military,” he added.
The spokesman reminded that Moscow had previously provided the international community with irrefutable video evidence of Turkish artillery firing on Syrian populated areas in the north of Latakia Province.
Syrian rebels are losing Aleppo and perhaps also the war
yrian rebels battled for their survival in and around Syria’s northern city of Aleppo on Thursday after a blitz of Russian airstrikes helped government loyalists sever a vital supply route and sent a new surge of refugees fleeing toward the border with Turkey.
The Russian-backed onslaught against rebel positions in Aleppo coincided with the failure of peace talks in Geneva, and helped reinforce opposition suspicions that Russia and its Syrian government allies are more interested in securing a military victory over the rebels than negotiating a settlement.
Rebel fighters sounded desperate as they described enduring more than 200 airstrikes in the past 24 hours alone. Commanders from a range of rebel groups, from moderates to the al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, issued urgent appeals for reinforcements from other parts of the country.
"We see Russia's military operation as a real effort to fight terrorism. What is especially important is that this military campaign goes in parallel with promotion of peace process,"
"The majority of Syrian people" of all backgrounds and faith "regard Russian military campaign as salvation, a way out of the state we've been enduring for five years," the Catholic bishop said, adding that "Syrians are very positive about it."
"Russia's actions are not limited to the military operation. Russia makes a very positive impact by stimulating the negotiations process, and promotes dialogue between various Syrian groups," Bisoph Abou Khazen said.
Syrian minorities have been especially suffering from the conflict, the bishop told RT. Noting that there are over 20 religious and ethnic groups in the Syrian society, the Aleppo vicar said that before the conflict they've all lived in harmony. "Our pre-war society was like a beautiful multicolored mosaic. But unfortunately, it has been destroyed," he said.
In a surprise move, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his military to start withdrawing the "main part" of its forces in Syria from Tuesday
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Russia will provide "the most active" air support for Syrian ground troops in and around the city of Aleppo to prevent terrorists from seizing it.
“We believe there was plenty of time for the ‘normal’ opposition to leave Nusra Front territories since February. Those who didn’t part ways with the terrorists have only themselves to blame,” Lavrov added.
Terrorist groups Al Nusra Front and Islamic State are not part of the process and do not uphold the ceasefire. Russia accuses certain other Islamist militant groups operating in Syria of not being honest and siding with the terrorists, but the US opposes designating those groups as legitimate targets for military attacks, arguing that they have the backing of Saudi Arabia and a place at the negotiating table in Geneva.
Tehran has agreed to share its military facilities and capacities with Moscow, confirming dedication to strategic cooperation in fighting against terrorism in Syria, Iran’s Secretary of Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani told Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
The core benefit for the Russian Air Force is a drastic reduction in flying time to terrorist targets in Syria.
Russian long-range bombers delivered airstrikes in Syria from a base in Mozdok, Russia, and had to cover a distance of about 2,000km to get to Syrian airspace. Now that distance is reduced to some 700km, so time-sensitive airstrikes can be delivered immediately and more cheaply.
Military cooperation between Iran and Russia is developing rapidly.
In January this year, Moscow and Tehran signed military cooperation deal that implies wider collaboration in personnel training and counter-terrorism activities. Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and his Iranian counterpart Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan signed the document during a visit by Russia’s top brass to the Iranian capital.
A dozen Turkish tanks and other vehicles have rolled across the Syrian border after heavy shelling of an area held by so-called Islamic State (IS). Military sources told Turkish media 70 targets in the Jarablus area had been destroyed by artillery and rocket strikes, and 12 by air strikes. Turkish-backed Syrian rebels are accompanying the Turkish advance. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the operation was aimed against both IS and Kurdish fighters.
YMix wrote:A dozen Turkish tanks and other vehicles have rolled across the Syrian border after heavy shelling of an area held by so-called Islamic State (IS). Military sources told Turkish media 70 targets in the Jarablus area had been destroyed by artillery and rocket strikes, and 12 by air strikes. Turkish-backed Syrian rebels are accompanying the Turkish advance. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the operation was aimed against both IS and Kurdish fighters.
Brecher wrote:.YMix wrote:A dozen Turkish tanks and other vehicles have rolled across the Syrian border after heavy shelling of an area held by so-called Islamic State (IS). Military sources told Turkish media 70 targets in the Jarablus area had been destroyed by artillery and rocket strikes, and 12 by air strikes. Turkish-backed Syrian rebels are accompanying the Turkish advance. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the operation was aimed against both IS and Kurdish fighters.
I have a feeling that the Kurds and their allies will taste more Turkish steel than Daesh will.
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