Breaking: Turkey Gives Army Orders To Prepare For Intervention In Syria

Turkish and Western media reported today that Turkey’s interim government has given orders to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) to prepare an incursion into Syria. The orders were given after Kurdish YPG forces in Syria seized large swaths of territory along the Turkish border and after Islamic State conquered the area west of the city of Marea–where two important strategic border crossings between Syria and Turkey are located.

The British paper The Independent reported that the move is related to the Kurdish advances in the battle against Islamic State. Last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey (pictured above) warned the Kurds not to establish an independent Turkish state in Syria.

“I am saying this to the whole world: We will never allow the establishment of a state on our southern border in the north of Syria,” Erdogan said.

Turkey has a long-standing conflict with the Kurds about the ownership of southeast Turkey, which is claimed by the Kurdish Workers Party that calls the area “Northern Kurdistan.” The government in Ankara thinks that the establishment of an autonomous Kurdish area in Northern Syria will inspire its own Kurdish population of twelve million to do the same in Turkey.

Chances are very low that Turkey will intervene in Syria to join the battle against ISIS. There have been reports about the collaboration between the outgoing Islamist AKP government and Islamic State.

Turkish analyst Lale Kemal wrote today that a Western military analyst had pointed to the fact that Turkey is the only country in the region that has not been attacked by Islamic State thus far. She wrote that this is for a good reason: ISIS knows that Turkey is its lifeline to the outside world.

A short while after news broke about the Turkish plan, President Tayyip Erdogan convened the National Security Council to discuss the possible cross-border military operation. The Independent reported that up to 18,000 could be deployed in Syria. The paper based its report on both pro- and anti-government media in Turkey.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Analysis: Here’s How The Islamic State Could Be Defeated In Syria And Iraq

Last week, Kurds in northern Syria delivered a significant blow to the Islamic State when Kurdish-led YPG militia seized the ISIS-held strategic town of Tel Abyad on the Turkish border.

The Kurdish conquest of Tel Abyad means that the Islamic State has lost an important supply route from Turkey to the capital of the caliphate Raqqa. Now the Islamic State will no longer be able to smuggle weaponry and fighters via Turkey.

The Kurds drove the Islamic State from Tel Abyad after the U.S.-led coalition bombed ISIS positions in the city. Coalition fighter planes carried out 23 airstrikes in two weeks before the Kurds advanced to capture the city.

“Kurdish successes, enabled by Coalition airstrikes, are exposing Daesh (ISIS) military capabilities and terrorists for subsequent removal from the battlefield,” said Col. Wayne Marotto, chief of public affairs for the U.S.-led coalition.

The victory in Tel Abyad marked the third time the Kurds have driven the Islamic State from territories under its control.

In Iraq, the Kurdish Peshmerga forces succeeded further in halting the Islamic State advances after the group overran Mosul, Suman, Mount Sinjar, and Kuwayr on August 3, 2014. As of August 17 last year, Peshmerga forces have succeeded in pushing the Islamic State back in the direction of Mosul.

In January this year, in Syria, the Kurds succeeded in beating the Islamic State in the battle for Kobani after months of heavy fighting. According to veteran analyst Charles Krauthammer, the Kurds have taken back 500 Christian and Kurdish villages from the Islamic State this year alone.

All this was done by a force that is not in the possession of heavy and modern weaponry and is not backed by the West like the Iraqi Army or the Free Syrian Army.

The Kurds have been complaining about a lack of weapon supply by the West from the outset of the war against the Islamic State. Peshmerga forces, for example, fight with Soviet-era AK-47 rifles and M-4 carbine rifles, and the only Humvees they possess were captured from the Islamic State. They are begging for anti-tank missiles, like the French-made Milan, but to no avail.

The secret of their success is their brotherhood, their motivation to fight and to defend their homes, as well as their conviction that the current war might enable them to finally fulfill the old dream of an independent Kurdish state.

Three times in recent history the Kurds thought they were on their way to an independent state: in the late 1920s, when a Kurdish republic was crushed by the Turkish army; in 1947, when the Kurdish independence movement was defeated in Iran; and in the 1970s, when the Kurds in Iraq gained a form of autonomy under the rule of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

The lack of support for the Kurds in Iraq and Syria by the U.S. and other Western powers has much to do with fellow NATO member Turkey. The Syrian YPG has ties with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey.

The PKK has been placed on the lists of terror organizations of the U.S., European Union, and Turkey after a decades-long insurgency against the central government in Ankara.

For Turkey, the YPG is a terror group just as the Islamic State is, so it came as no surprise that Turkish President Erdogan warned that the YPG conquest of Tel Abyad would “create a structure that threatens our borders.” Turkey is vehemently opposed to the establishment of an independent Kurdish state.

The Europeans and the Obama administration prefer not to alienate Turkey by giving direct and massive support to the only force that has proven it can defeat ISIS. Instead, the coalition continues to arm and train the Iraqi Army. The Obama administration has recently approved the deployment of another 450 U.S. Army personnel to train Iraqi forces.

Commentators like Krauthammer have repeatedly said that this strategy is defunct. The Iraqi Army doesn’t have the will to fight, as was proven in Mosul and more recently in Kobani where ISIS didn’t drive out government forces, but the Iraqi Army was driven out, according to Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff General Dempsey.

“Defense Secretary Ashton Carter testified that we won’t quite meet our objective of training 24,000 Iraqi troops by this fall. Why? A recruitment problem. Iraqis don’t seem to want to join. We are 17,000 short,” Krauthammer wrote.

He suggested that the U.S.-led coalition adopt a complete new strategy:

Abandon our anachronistic fealty to the central Iraqi government (now largely under Iran’s sway anyway) and begin supplying the Iraqi Kurds in a direct, 24-hour Berlin-style airlift. And in Syria, intensify our training, equipping and air support for the now-developing Kurdish safe zone. Similarly, through Jordan, for the FSA (Free Syrian Army) Southern Front.

In theory, we should be giving similar direct aid to friendly Sunni tribesmen in Iraq whose Anbar Awakening, brilliantly joined by Gen. David Petraeus’ surge, utterly defeated the Islamic State progenitor, al-Qaeda in Iraq, in 2006-07. The problem is, having been abandoned by us once, when Obama liquidated our presence in 2011, why should the Sunnis ever trust us again?

This new approach proposed by Krauthammer could be repeated in other parts of Syria too. The three quarters of a million Syrian Druze wish to defend and govern themselves in an autonomous area, according to what Israeli Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara said in an interview with Western Journalism last week. Both the Kurds and the Druze are willing to fight and defeat the Islamic State, but both lack modern weapons and Western support.

The Druze in southern Syria have been pro-Assad up till now, but after the regime in Damascus failed to supply them with weapons and tried to abandon positions in Jabal al-Druze last week, the time seems ripe for cooperation with other actors in the arena.

Much has been said about Israel’s moral obligation to help the Druze in southern Syria, but the Druze themselves rule this out, at least at this point.

Therefore, Western support for the Druze in the battle against the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra seems the only way to stop the Islamic State and al-Nusra from taking over the majority Druze province of Suwayda and the Kuneitra province east of Israel’s border.

This strategy will not prevent Syria and Iraq from falling apart. As Krauthammer noted, these two states that were created under the Sykes-Picot Agreement after the First World War have already ceased to exist. But it could be the only way –  except for a massive ground operation by Western armies – to deliver a decisive blow to the Islamic State.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Breaking: Iran Announces Surprise Move In Syria After New Setbacks For Assad Regime

Israeli and Lebanese media reported on Tuesday that the U.S. embassy in Damascus had sent Twitter messages to President Bashar al-Assad accusing the regime of aiding the Islamic State advance toward Aleppo, Syria’s second city that lies close to the border with Turkey.

“Reports indicate that the regime is making air strikes in support of ISIL’s advance on Aleppo, aiding extremists against the Syrian population,” a post on the U.S. Embassy Syria Twitter account said on Monday. (ISIL is an acronym used for Islamic State or ISIS)

The United States suspended operations in its embassy in Damascus in 2012 but still publishes messages on the embassy Twitter feed.

The U.S. action seems odd because Aleppo is an extremely important city for the Syrian regime and has been the scene of fierce fighting between government forces and rebels since July 2012. Just today, Assad’s troops shot surface-to-surface missiles at the neighborhood of Bostan al-Qaser in the city of Aleppo.

Islamic State terrorists pushed back rival insurgents north of Aleppo on Sunday near the Turkish border, threatening their supply route to the city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.  Fighters from Levant Front, a northern alliance which includes Western-backed rebels and Islamist fighters, said they feared Islamic State was heading for the Bab al-Salam crossing between Aleppo and the Turkish province of Kilis, the Israeli paper Ha’aretz reported.

Throughout the Aleppo provinces, clashes reported between IS militants and a coalition of Islamist rebels are still taking place near the Kafra area and the village of al- Wahsheyyi, north of Aleppo. Other clashes broke out between Jabhat al- Nusra, Jabhat Ansra al Din, Islamic battalions, and the regime forces supported by the al-Quds al Filastini Brigade, Hezbollah and Shia fighters from Iran and Afghanistan in the al-Breij area at the northeastern entrance of Aleppo. Clashes also erupted between regime forces, backed by Hezbollah militiamen, against the Islamist rebel coalition on the outskirts of the neighborhood of al- Rashidin, west of Aleppo.

The Daily Star in Lebanon reported that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has urged the U.S.-led coalition fighting against ISIS to coordinate their air raids with the Syrian government, warning that ISIS could go “very far” if not stopped.

“It is absolutely clear to me it was a mistake – still is – not to coordinate the air strikes with the activities of the Syrian army. That’s what we believe must be done,” Lavrov told Bloomberg Television in an interview.

“And that is what, unfortunately, our American colleagues cannot accept for ideological considerations.”

Lavrov spoke as the Western Coalition gathered in Paris for crunch talks to discuss the advance of  ISIS in Iraq and Syria. He warned that ISIS could go “very far, very far” if not stopped. Russia is one of the main backers of the Assad regime. “They already make a lot of progress in Iraq, in Syria. They just took the Idlib province,” he said, noting that the militants were expanding into Libya.

Islamic State has also started operations in the Gaza Strip, Israel Radio reported today.

Islamic State in Gaza gave the ruling Hamas movement a 48-hour deadline to halt a crackdown on its members in Gaza.

A statement sent to Middle East reporters on Monday from a group called “Supporters of the Islamic State in Jerusalem” did not say what Islamic State would do if the crackdown continued. It included a claim of responsibility for a rocket fired at Israel from Gaza last week. This attack was previously attributed to Islamic Jihad in Gaza. The crackdown resulted in the arrest of dozens of Salafi-jihadists who are affiliated with the Islamic State group. Hamas also destroyed a mosque belonging to “Supporters of the Islamic State in Jerusalem.” The group said Hamas had demolished the mosque “in a manner that even the Jewish and American occupation has not done,” the Egyptian daily newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm reported. Hamas also killed an Islamic State member in his home after a shootout.

Meanwhile, the Ansar e-Hezbollah militia, a group close to the Iranian regime, has called for the deployment of 50,000 Iranian infantry soldiers in Syria to save the Assad regime.

“Iran must send 50,000 soldiers from the infantry force to Syria to manage the war there and prevent the fall of the Assad regime, which has begun to collapse recently,” Al-Arabiya reported, citing a study on Iran’s management of the war in Syria conducted by Ansar e-Hezbollah.

According to the cited study, the mission of the 50,000 soldiers would be to ensure Syria’s coastal region is not cut off from Damascus.

Iran must preserve the vital corridor (connecting) Damascus to Latakia, Tartous and the Lebanese border. (Any)delay by Iran in (implementing) this preemptive action will cause the fall of Damascus airport, which in turn (means) the severing of the essential communication and supply line Iran (uses) to assist the Syrian regime.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani could have had Ansar e-Hezbollah’s advice in mind when he told the London-based paper al-Quds al-Arabiya that upcoming developments in Syria would soon “surprise” the world.

“The world will be surprised by what we and the Syrian military leadership are preparing for the coming days,” the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) quoted him as saying, according to the London-based daily.

Suleimani is organizing the counter-attack against Islamic State by Shiite militias in Iraq and helped re-organize the Syrian regime’s war effort.  He made a surprise trip to the front lines in western Syria over the weekend.

Meanwhile, a defected National Defense Force militiaman told Al-Quds al-Arabiya that Soleimani’s trip aimed to formalize the “entry of Iranian officers to supervise and aid the battles in coastal Syria for the first time since the outbreak of Syrian uprising.”

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Breaking: Assad Prepares For Islamic State Assault On Damascus, Has An Escape Plan

A day after Islamic State seized the ancient city of Palmyra (Talmor), more alarming news is coming out of Syria.

Reuters reported a while ago that followers of Islamic State had posted an official IS statement on Twitter that the organization was in full charge of Palmyra, including its military bases.

Around a third of the 200,000 people living in Palmyra may have fled in the past few days during fighting between government forces and Islamic State militants, the U.N. human rights office said on Thursday.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights – which has a vast network of civil informants in Syria – reported this morning that Islamic State is now in full control of 50 percent of the Syrian territory.

The Observatory wrote on its website that Islamic State controls more than 60,000 square miles in the provinces of Homs, al-Raqqa, el-Hasakah, Hama, Aleppo, Damascus, Rif Dimashq, Daraa, and al-Suwaydaa.

The organization also controls the vast majority of the gas and oilfields in Syria. The only gas fields that are not controlled by Islamic State are Rmeilan and Sha’er. The group is also in control of most of the Syria-Iraqi border as well as the Syrian Jordanian frontier, according to Rami Abdul Rahman, director of the Observatory.

Since the beginning of the attack on Palmyra and the town of al-Sikhni, 462 people have died; 71 of them were executed on the charge of “dealing and cooperating with the infidel regime.”

The capture of Palmyra—the first major city that Islamic State has wrested from Assad’s army and its allies Hezbollah and the Iranian Al Quds Brigade, as opposed to Islamist and other  opposition groups—provides the militants with a base from which to advance on other cities held by Assad, including Homs and Damascus. Palmyra is sixty miles from Damascus and is located on the highway to Damascus.

Israeli Channel 10’s Middle East expert, Tzvi Yechezkieli, reported this evening that the fall of Palmyra could spell the end of Assad’s central government. He pointed to the fact that Assad is losing territory to Islamic State every day and is now in control of only a quarter of Syria’s territory.

Yechezkieli reported that Assad has taken into consideration the possibility that he could be ousted by Islamic State and has an escape plan in case Islamic State will seize Damascus. The Channel 10 expert said that when that happens, Assad will withdraw his forces to the Western part of Syria and will try to hold the areas where the Alawite minority lives. Assad is a member of this non-Muslim minority that makes up only ten percent of the population in Syria.

Yechezkieli also pointed to another dramatic development following the takeover of Palmyra. He said that Islamic State launched a massive jailbreak and released thousands of Syrians who had been incarcerated in Palmyra’s state-run prison, most of them for opposing Assad’s regime. Many of the freed prisoners were welcomed into Islamic State’s forces, he said. “This will only add to the power and motivation of Islamic State’s forces,” he added.

Meanwhile, President Obama told Atlantic reporter Jeffrey Goldberg that the U.S. isn’t losing the fight against Islamic State. He said that the fall of Ramadi in Iraq was “a tactical setback” and added that “the city has been vulnerable for a very long time.”

In related news, Reuters reported today that Turkey’s state intelligence agency helped deliver arms to parts of Syria under Islamist rebel control during late 2013 and early 2014, according to a prosecutor and court testimony from gendarmerie officers seen by the news agency.

The witness testimony contradicts Turkey’s denials that it sent arms to Syrian rebels and, by extension, contributed to the rise of Islamic State, now a major concern for the NATO member.

Testimony from gendarmerie officers in court documents reviewed by Reuters allege that rocket parts, ammunition, and semi-finished mortar shells were carried in trucks accompanied by state intelligence agency (MIT) officials more than a year ago to parts of Syria under Islamist control.

Four trucks were searched in the southern province of Adana in raids by police and gendarmerie, one in November 2013 and the three others in January 2014, on the orders of prosecutors acting on tip-offs that they were carrying weapons, according to testimony from the prosecutors, who now themselves face trial.

While the first truck was seized, the three others were allowed to continue their journey after MIT officials accompanying the cargo threatened police and physically resisted the search, according to the testimony and prosecutor’s report.

This makes clear that President Tayyip Erdogan lied when he said the three trucks stopped on Jan. 19 belonged to MIT and were carrying humanitarian aid. Erdogan also lied when he denied that Turkey was aiding Islamic State in its battle against Assad’s regime.

President Obama, who has developed a close relationship with Erdogan, has always regarded the Islamist Turkish President as a leader who could help stabilize the situation in the Middle East.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

US Ally Gave 10,000 Passports To ISIS!

Why would any NATO member nation in their right mind issue 10,000 passports to ISIS?

Of course, the question presupposes that the leadership of NATO member Turkey are in their right minds. reported that an Egyptian intelligence official says he delivered this report to the Obama Administration, saying: “Turkey continues to allow free passage to Iraq and Syria to Islamic State fighters.”

Clearly, if this claim is even half true and 5000 passports were issued, we are talking about a worldwide ISIS travel threat!

And we’ll spare you the answer to the joke of how many ISIS fighters it takes to change the ignition bulb on a thermonuclear backpack bomb. (Hint: Less than 5000.)

And where does Obama stand on this? ‘Bring ‘em in–the more the merrier!’ Obama keeps bringing in hordes of Muslims to American cities faster than you can say “New Mecca.”

What’s more insane is that the United States is sworn to defend any NATO member ally of ours. But with allies like Turkey, who needs enemies?

So what is Congress waiting for? When are they going to insist on ejecting Turkey from NATO–or having the U.S. withdraw from NATO? Because if one of those two things are not done, the United States of America is honor-bound to march straight into World War III for our alleged ally.

Can anyone say “regime change”?

Please send a link to this video to your elected representative and anyone you know who still gives a rip about keeping the United States an intact nation. Thank you.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth