by Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio for VT Italy
Anyone who wants too much nothing grabs, says an ancient proverb that seems to well describe the situation in which the turbulent dictator of Turkey ended up who seems to have been left alone: in the company of his mercenaries, former ISIS commanders, only…
President Recep Tayyp Erdogan is in fact isolated in the difficult military operation in the province of Idlib, the last stronghold of the jihadists enemies of the government of Damascus, while the Syrian Arab Army continues to advance with the strategic support of Russian’s aerospace and land forces and has conquered all the surrounding areas in Aleppo, unleashing joyful celebrations not only in this finally free city but also in the other main city of the country.
As if Syria had won the FIFA World Cup …
Both NATO and even the terrorists of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the new faction that has absorbed the Islamic extremists of Jabhat Al Nusra, Syrian rib of Al Qaeda, have refused a collaboration agreement with the Turkish army, that has sent massive reinforcements of armored vehicles and tanks in the last province controlled by the jihadists and bordering on Turkey.
This was reported by some Kurdish media who follow with great attention developments in the Middle East, battered by a civil war that has lasted for 8 years and does not seem destined for a rapid conclusion precisely due to the military actions of Ankara but also of Washington, now afraid for an escalation in North Syria, very far from his seized camp oil.
Before going into a geopolitical analysis to explain the current situation of alliances and balances let’s see the facts starting from the most striking news reported only by the ANF website regarding the attitude of HTS terrorists.
«Over the past two days, the Turkish state has held talks with the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) group, led by al-Nusra. These talks take place at a time when relations between the Sochi guarantors Russia and Turkey are extremely tense because of the situation in Idlib. The meetings were attended by officials of the Turkish secret service MIT, the HTS and the so-called “Free Syrian Army” (FSA).
Discussions were held on dissolving the HTS and integrating its members into the FSA. The Turkish state was thus planning to take the argument of “fight against terrorism” away from Russia and give the impression that the obligation from the Sochi agreement to divide the jihadists in Idlib into “radicals” and “moderates” would be fulfilled ANF reported.
It would have been a brilliant move by Erdogan and Turkish intelligence who has already been able to create a multitude of factions of Sunni Islamic extremists, such as the Muslim Brotherhood who control the parliament of Ankara through the AKP party, in the three military operations that followed in Syria: Ephrate Shield (August 2016, Raqqa-Deir Ezzor), Olive Branch (January 2018, Afrin) and Peace Spring (October 2019, Rojava).
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Thanks to the swirl of names and changes of “jacket” of the main commanders, who passed with ease from the black flag of ISIS to those of the neighboring groups of Al Qaeda in Afrin (the only small center where the missions of Erdogan have been fully successful), the UN has had difficulty updating the list of terrorist formations within the so-called anti-Assad “rebels” in real-time. So the USA, at least until 2017 officially and after only unofficially, have been able to continue to arm and protect them …
But everyone has understood this little game, from serious intelligence analysts to journalists not piloted by NATO, as unfortunately almost all those of the western big media.
According to sources that are following the diplomatic and military developments in the region, the Turkish state has proposed to HTS to dissolve and join its members to the FSA as a fourth corps. According to the Turkish proposal, HTS commander Muhammed al-Julani, other council members and high-ranking emirs were to go to Afrin to remain there under the aegis of Turkey.
After the two-day talks, al-Qaida and HTS rejected this proposal. HTS issued a statement that it would not disband and would continue on its way. According to the HTS statement, the doors are open to newcomers ANF further wrote.
A source from the region said: “HTS has already changed its name several times. The fact that it is not dissolving this time and is not adopting a different name is due to the distrust of Turkey. ISIS leader Baghdadi has been killed while under the protection of Turkey. It would be foolish for al-Julani and his team to trust in the protection of the Turkish state. Al-Qaida has already accused the Al-Nusra front, i.e. the HTS, in earlier statements of relying too much on Turkey.”
Further according to Kurdish media: «Immediately before the HTS declaration, armed groups withdrew from areas in western Aleppo, leaving the forces of the Syrian regime in control there. The Turkish state is said to be behind the withdrawal without a fight from this area, known as the stronghold of the Muslim Brotherhood».
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This would explain why in the short span of a few days the troops of Syrian President Bashar al Assad conquered dozens of villages starting from the strategic center of Saraqib, thanks to which they then regained full control of the fundamental M5 Damascus-Aleppo highway, with the sacrifice relatively low of a hundred fallen.
The claims are to be taken with caution because the Kurds, despite having expressed their intention to fight alongside Syria and Russia in the autumn and in the last days, before any call to obedience from Washington, look with suspicion on the government of Damascus who it has also not wanted to recognize Rojava as an Autonomous Administration, similar to Kurdistan in Iraq, as a prize for the defeat of ISIS made primarily by the SDF army, commanded and composed mostly of YPG Kurdish military (People’s Defense Unit).
Free Syrian Army (FSA), named TFSA by Turkey itself which rebuilt it in 2018 after its gradual dissolution due to the defeats suffered, sent reinforcements and supports to HTS but would later withdraw them after the Qaedist formation, listed as a terrorist by UN, has refused to dissolve allowing Erdogan to save appearances before the impatient Russian President Vladimir Putin who has seen the Sochi and Astana agreements never respected by Ankara in the midst of hundreds of ceasefire violations by Turkish-backed rebels.
In those agreements, in fact, was foreseen the disarmament of the jihadist forces by the Turkish army, that had supported and armed them, causing the continuation of the conflict in the last two years in Idlib with hundreds of deaths between military and civilians often used as human shields by terrorists, and the escape of extremist rebels from Syria with their entry into Turkey.
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This move, however, was never implemented by Ankara, today more than ever fearful of bringing into their territory dangerous radical Islamists who are also used to betraying each other as denoted by the repeated conflicts between the various factions of Al Nusra and HTS in the first period of cohabitation in Idlib in 2018.
This is why the diplomatic meetings that took place between Monday 17 and Tuesday 18 February in Moscow did not allow Turkey and Russia to find the minimum deal.
Also because, in the meantime, as reported by the other Kurdish media BasNews together with many other websites in the Middle East, during the last ministerial council in Brussels, NATO unofficially refused support for Erdogan despite his country being part of the Pact Atlantic.
NATO countries will not support the invocation of Article 5 over the death of Turkish troops in Idlib in early February a diplomatic sourced from a member state told to Russian news agency Tass.
The diplomat further explained that the killing of several Turkish soldiers was a tragedy but that it took place during a unilateral military operation on foreign soil, which is considered to have gone beyond Article 5 of NATO’s founding treaty. He also pointed out Ankara was aware of its position which is why it did not initiate NATO consultations on the subject.
Erdogan himself after having filtered the appeal for support to the allies of the Atlantic Pact in the media, then denied having forwarded this request.
What has changed in Syria that has led to these two fatal refusals for Turkey, first by HTS terrorists and then by NATO?
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To answer this question, it is necessary to consider that the Turkish invasion military operations in the Syrian Northeast could only occur thanks to the tacit approval of the White House, well aware that ISIS terrorists have always been managed by the Ankara MIT intelligence, in possession of secret documents partly revealed by the dossier of the Turkish think tank SETA in reference to the powerful TOW anti-tank missiles supplied by the CIA to the jihadist factions and ended up in the hands of even their most ferocious terrorist allies.
Secondly, because Washington needs the conflict to continue in Syria in order to justify its presence in the Euphrates Valley, aimed only at controlling oil plants to steal crude oil and sell it in contraband.
Proof of this comes from the fact that even as Deir Ezzor was celebrating the liberation of Aleppo, with the reopening of the international airport after eight years, and the Arab clans gathered in Hasaka to coordinate their support for Assad’s army, the US military moved an important military contingent of troops, armored vehicles, and armaments to Hasaka.
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Meanwhile, Turkish troops have resumed bombarding the Kurdish city of Manbij with intensity in an attempt to enlarge the area under control of Ankara bordering the region of Afrin, in the hands of the bloodthirsty jihadists of Ahrar al Sahrqiya, assassins of the Kurdish pacifist Hevrin Khalaf, in order – maybe – to propose it as a refuge for Idlib terrorists when, as seems imminent, they will be defeated in their stronghold.
In order to be understood, NATO and HTS’s refusal to Syria’s military plan must be seen in the context of the complete Middle East scenario where Erdogan wanted to take a dangerous “longest leg step” going to Libya.
Ankara has sent about 4700 dangerous jihadist mercenaries, including many international terrorists, sought as ISIS leaders, to support President Fayez Al Sarray’s Tripoli National Agreement Government in opposition to the advance of General Khalifa Haftar, who controls with the Lybian National Army the city of Benghazi, Cyrenaica but now also the gulf of Sirte di Misurata dive arise some of the important oil plants of which it has blocked production, creating damage that would have already exceeded the billion dollars for NOC (National Oil Corporation), the national company controlled by Tripoli.
In Libya, however, NATO is split into three sections: the US which is apparently neutral and has let Turkey acts as in Syria, France which supports Haftar in an undeclared alliance with Russia, and the other European countries that they must save their face together with Al Sarray’s fragile GNA they themselves wanted and created under UN auspices.
Furthermore, just over Libya in recent days there has been yet another sharp diplomatic break between Qatar, a member of the most important shareholder (Barclays) of the United Kingdom’s world arms corporation (Bae Systems) and an ally of Turkey in the Libyan mission as in financing of the Islamic State, and Saudi Arabia which, together with the UAE, supports the military leader of Cyrenaica.
That is why the HTS terrorists, who refer to Al Qaeda and consequently to the Saudis who created, financed and used it, in Syria and Yemen against the Shiite governments of the Alawis of Assad and the separatist Houthis of Sanaa, with each probability have been called to order.
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Further, they refused the agreement to take refuge in Afrin, well aware that they would end up in another jihadist stronghold destined to be attacked soon by the Syrian army as soon as they have released Idlib. A release that appears even closer to the split between the HTS and the pro-Turkish rebels FSA.
At the moment last important Turkey’s ally remains Qatar with his European “colonies” UK and Italy, as we explain in the Weapon’s Lobby report. But maybe difficult that Doha attempts to the new Persian Gulf for helping hist Muslim Brotherhood “twin” or London and Rome hazard to inflame NATO alliance for supporting a new invading war in Syria.
So, at the moment Erdogan, despite his ongoing threats of military massive action in Idlib, can therefore only really count on a few “loyal” friends: the former ISIS commanders freed from prisons to command the jihadist brigades in Afrin and in occupied Rojava as in Libya.
But with the risk of a strike on the horizon: because in Syria jihadist mercenaries are paid $ 300 a month while in Libya well $ 2000 and therefore everyone would now like to go to the other side of the Mediterranean…
© 2020 – Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio – no reproduction without authorization