Turkey to Attack Syria's Afrin Region
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
A previous article discussed Erdogan's threat to attack US-supported northern Syria Kurdish YPG fighters in Afrin and Menbeij.
He opposes Washington's plan to establish a 30,000-strong border security force in northeastern Syria, bordering Turkey.
Confrontation with the Trump administration looms. On Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert called on Ankara "not to take any actions" cross-border in areas controlled by Kurdish YPG fighters.
Erdogan ignored the warning. On Friday, Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said Turkey intends to carry out a military operation in Afrin, adding:
"The threat level against Turkey is increasing day by day. This operation will be carried out and we will combat terrorism."
Kurdish YPG fighters are targeted. Ankara calls them terrorists, ignoring its support for ISIS and likeminded groups in Syria, wanting Assad toppled.
Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Meqdad "warn(ed) the Turkish leadership that if they initiate combat operations in the Afrin area, that will be considered an act of aggression by the Turkish army," adding:
"Syria will confront any Turkish aggression or military action against its territory with appropriate response."
Its Foreign Ministry said it'll down Turkish warplanes attacking its territory. Turkish cross-border shelling began overnight Thursday, continuing Friday morning, Kurdish villages targeted.
According to Russia's Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies director Ruslan Pukhov, "(t)he Syrian Kurds are backed by the United States."
"During the war in Syria, it provided weapons, including armored vehicles, artillery and mortars, to the Kurds. In the event of large-scale hostilities in northern Syria, the Turkish army will face a carnage rather than a cakewalk."
Russian Center for Political Studies director Andey Fyodorov said "(o)ne Erdogan's conditions (for) joining the alliance with Russia (and Iran) on Syria was the demand that Moscow give up support for Syrian Kurds."
"Ankara also insisted that Moscow should not admit the possibility of establishing a Kurdish state in official statements."
"In light of that, the most Russia could do in case of a new Turkish operation is to express concern about Ankara's actions and warn that such steps can freeze the peace process in Syria."
Russian International Affairs Council director general Andrey Kortunov believes Ankara's position on YPG Kurdish fighters will prove a greater strain on relations with Moscow than its support for Assad Washington and Turkey want replaced.
Russia-East-West Center for Strategic Analysis director Vladimir Sotnikov said Turkey's position on Kurdish YPG fighters, along with Washington's intention to form a 30,000 border security force using them and anti-Syrian terrorists, may kill any chance for conflict resolution with Ankara's cooperation.
Washington supports forever war in Syria, wanting Assad replaced by pro-Western puppet leadership, a position Moscow strongly opposes.
It's hard imagining an end of conflict any time ahead for months or perhaps years.
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