Turkey Will "Definitely" Join Ground Operation In Syria, Accuses Russia Of "War Crimes"

Tyler Durden's picture

Update: Here are the latest headlines out of Russia where the defense ministry is at wit's end with the Turks.


Turkey shelled Syria for a fourth consecutive day on Tuesday as Ankara steps up efforts to bolster rebels in the face of an advance by the Kurdish YPG. “As many as 150 terrorists were killed during the 4-day-long shelling targeting PYD points,” the pro-government Yeni Safak wrote today, adding that “the PYD, backed by both the US and Russia, is working with President Bashar al-Assad to control areas along the Turkish border.”

The move by Russia and Iran to encircle Aleppo and cut rebel supply lines to Turkey has allowed the YPG to advance on towns near the border, effectively consolidating the group’s grip on northern Syria, where they’ve been highly successful at holding large swaths of territory.That’s an especially undesirable outcome for Ankara where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is hell bent on rolling back a groundswell of popular support for the pro-Kurdish HDP which, at least in AKP’s mind, is merely the political arm of the PKK.

Erdogan doesn’t distinguish between the PKK (which both Turkey and the US officially designate as a terror group) and the YPG. The US, on the other hand, openly supports the Syrian Kurds and has backed their advances with airstrikes. Ankara fears that if the YPG are allowed to bridge the territory they control east of the Euphrates with territory they control west of the river, they will effectively establish a proto-state on the border which would embolden the PKK to try something similar in southeast Turkey where some Kurds are already pushing for autonomy.

Throw in the fact that the towns the YPG are seeking to capture are held by rebels Ankara supports in the faltering bid to oust Bashar al-Assad, and there’s every reason to suspect that Turkey will not only persist in the shelling of Azaz, but will in fact invade Syria. You know, “to fight ISIS.”

On Tuesday we got still more indications that a major escalation in Syria is imminent when Turkey said it would “definitely” participate in a ground operation. “It’s impossible to end the war without it,” an official told Bloomberg, speaking on the condition of anonymity. You see how that works? It’s the same logic that France employed when officials declared that the best way to halt the refugee crisis is to bomb Syria. It’s “impossible” to the end the war in Syria without ... going to war in Syria.

The official also said there was no plan for a “unilateral” ground operation by Turkey or Saudi Arabia, but according to Yeni Safak newspaper’s Ankara correspondent, Turkey is planning to send troops 10km into Syria to establish “a safe zone.” Ankara is apparently concerned that if Azaz-Tal Rifaat area falls to the YPG, 400K-500K refugees might mass at the Turkish border.

Now bear in mind, it’s not entirely clear why that would be the case. There are indeed questions about the YPG’s human rights record, but they’re hardly ISIS or al-Nusra. Why civilians would flee by the hundreds of thousands is far from evident and it certainly seems as though Turkey is just looking for an excuse to ensure that its supply lines to al-Nusra and other Sunni rebels aren’t cut, and to keep the Kurds from controlling key border towns. The “safe zone” plan - which is reminiscent of the absurd “ISIS-free” zone idea from last August - would reportedly require US support. America, Yeni Safak says “has never been sincere about Assad going from the very beginning.”

Additionally, Turkey now says 500 FSA troops have traveled to Azaz via Turkey to beat back the YPG advance. Here’s Yeni Safak again:

As many as 500 fighters from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have entered Syrian territory through Turkey to defend Azaz town, besieged by Syrian Kurdish militia forces.


Russian-backed Syrian pro-government forces have cut off the last supply route, known as the Azaz corridor, linking partially opposition-held Aleppo with Turkey. If the last corridor completely falls, the rebel groups could lose the quarters of Aleppo they currrently control, mostly in the east.


It means that Assad's regime, backed by Iran and Russia, and the PYD will gain the power to control the entire Turkish-Syrian border. PYD-linked armed groups' attempt to advance to Aleppo and open harrassment fire into Turkish territory has prompted the Turkish military to retaliate with F?rt?na howitzers.


Syrian opposition forces have marched to the area which Turkish military targeted in lines with the rules of engagement. One of them is Sham Legion, known as Homs Legion, fighting in northern Idlib against forces, loyal to Assad. Sham Legion has sent its fighters to the besieged town to stop the advance of PYD's armed groups. They appear to be protecting the corridor leading to the opposition-held eastern Aleppo.


The reports said that Sham Legion, an umbrella group of 19 different organizations some of which were previously affiliated with Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, had dispatched 500 fighters to conflict in the key town through Turkey's Cilvegöz border crossing three days ago.


The fighters crossed into Syria under Turkey's supervision after the government had approved their crossing into Syrian territory through the country's border.

It's easy to see why the Turks are getting worried. On Monday, the YPG seized control of Tal Rifaat, a town between Aleppo and Azaz. "Their latest advances are part of a bid to unite the Kurdish town of Afrin in western Aleppo province with Kurdish areas to the east," Al Arabiya notes. "We will not let Azaz fall," Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu said. "The YPG will not be able to cross to the west of the Euphrates (River) and east of Afrin."

Obviously, simply shelling Azaz and Tal Rifaat isn't going to do the trick. If Turkey wants to halt the advance, they're going to have to send troops or F-16s, and the latter option is a virtual impossibility given Russia's deployment of S-400s in the country. 

Meanwhile, Moscow and Ankara continue to accuse one another of being terrorists. What should be clear from the above is that there's no telling who the Islamist rebels fighting to keep the Azaz corridor open are. It's the same mishmash of Sunni militants fighting everywhere else in western Syria and it seems likely that al-Nusra elements are present as well. As Russian PM Dmitri Medvedev recently told TIME, "they're all bandits."

Yes, rampant banditry, facilitated by the Turks. 

Of course Russia isn't innocent in all of this either. Although it's impossible to verify the veracity of the reports, it seems possible that several Russian strikes hit hospitals on Monday, killing scores of civilians, some women and children. Ankara of course seized on the opportunity to accuse the Russians of being terrorists. "These attacks that we strongly condemn are unconscionable and obvious war crime under international law," a statement from the Turkish foreign ministry reads. "If Russian Federation does not end those attacks immediately - which remove peace and stability - it is inevitable that Russia will face bigger and more serious results."

The takeaway from all of this is simple: escalation imminent.

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peddling-fiction's picture

Wait, wait, wait, wait... fireeeee!

Looney's picture

Erdogan and King Salman are getting ready for the invasion of Syria:

E: “Is my skirt too short? Can you see my pussy?”

KS: “Barely, but you can borrow my thong and Wonderbra.”


JRobby's picture

WW III on schedule, according to plan

Whoa Dammit's picture

The title of the article should be Turkey Prepares to Turn Itself into Rubble.

Killtruck's picture

"more serious results"?!

Like, what, being forced to use the S-400 to shoot three planes out of the sky simultaneously? 

Momauguin Joe's picture

FEb 23, date to watch...


February 23, 1942 - During World War II, the first attack on the U.S. mainland occurred as a Japanese submarine shelled an oil refinery near Santa Barbara, California, causing minor damage.

February 23, 1991 - In Desert Storm, the Allied ground offensive began after a devastating month-long air campaign targeting Iraqi troops in both Iraq and Kuwait.

MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

It's absolutely ludicrous for Trump to think that we should 'partner' with Russia, when they are actively bombing our allies in Syria and supporting one of our greatest enemies, Assad. It's painfully obvious to every political scholar, that Donald Trump has absolutely no clue what he is talking about when it comes to foreign policy. We need to strengthen our relationships with our strongest allies such as Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia, in order to fight terrorism and bring peace and stability to the Middle East. Unlike Syria's current government, these countries share our core fundamental values of freedom of speech, separation of church and state, and basic human rights.

actionjacksonbrownie's picture

I see merkle is now calling for a "No Fly" zone over norther Syria. Gee, your headchoppers feeling a little too much heat these days, Angie?

WordSmith2013's picture
2 Syrian Hospital Bombings: HUGE False Flags To Escalate Conflict Into World War



y3maxx's picture

...and Obama nominates Erodgan for a Nobel Peace Prize.

MalteseFalcon's picture

So Turkish troops enter Syria without air cover?

That is so obviously a losing gambit that there must be more.

Will the Russians allow other country's air forces to operate in Syria?

Even without Syrian permission?

Under what conditions?


Handful of Dust's picture

When the Blowback of Erdogan's invasion of Syria hits Turkey, there'll be millions of Turkish refugees joining all those others heading up to northern [Christian] Europe to get away from the non-stop muslim-on-muslim violence.


Germany, Sweden, etc better be prepared to accept 5-8 millions fleeing Turks in the coming months.

Manthong's picture

“these countries share our core fundamental values of freedom of speech, separation of church and state, and basic human rights.”

I vote we crowd fund a trip for MDB to Riyadh with a megaphone.

He can stand in front of the royal palace repeating the above for all there to rejoice to. :-D


eforce's picture

In order to "win" the Saudis/Turks will have to do a mass aerial assault and suffer high losses in order to overload the Syrian/Russian defences/fighters.

chumbawamba's picture



Sovereign Republic of Chumbawambalia


Recep Tayyip Erdo?an


Republic of Turkey



Your vile machinations against the people of Syria and the utter hypocrisy with which you carry your being leaves me no choice but to take firm action to correct your ways.  So, it is with great excitement and anticipation that I make to you this public notice of my intent to rape your mouth.  At a time and place of my choosing, I shall hunt you down, beat you until your vision goes dark, and then violently and viciously assault your mouth with my penis.  Furthermore, I shall deposit my manseed deep into your throat, whereby it shall slither down your gullet and into your gut, finding its final resting place in your fetid bowels.  Please prepare yourself accordingly.



Victor von Doom's picture

The answer is negative. Russia is upholding its treaty obligations with Syria. If another state overtly invades then Russia will exterminate them. Putin will not want to encourage further incursion, nor will he allow the bankster/Sunni forces to build up inside Syria.

Remember - If the Syrian Shi'ite government falls, so does Russia's treaty, and with that, their seaport. Putin will fight WWIII to defend that, if he has to.

Nassim's picture
Airstrikes on a hospital affiliated with Doctors Without Borders, or Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF), and a children’s hospital in Syria were carried out by aircraft departing the US Incirlik Airbase in Turkey, a member of the Russian upper house’s Committee on International Policy said Tuesday.


researchfix's picture

Her CIA bros are in a cauldron. Again. Makes Merkel busy each time.

DeadFred's picture

What? "there's no telling who the Islamist rebels fighting to keep the Azaz corridor open are" They are mercenaries, does it really matter who signed their last paycheck?

cro_maat's picture

Corporate mercenary armies wear uniforms and carry flags so that the corporate puppet masters can keep track of their game pieces and optimize their profits. Real warriors fighting for redress don't need uniforms.

Sandmann's picture

Trump seems much more concerned about the United States than other candidates. The US has to share this planet with 7.7 BILLION other people

shovelhead's picture

We're fixing that number as we speak.

Wahooo's picture

Up arrow for the obvious sarcasm.

Killtruck's picture

Satire is a lost art, it seems. 

undertow1141's picture

Its a side effect of the PC mindset.

hangemhigh77's picture

You are REALLY stupid. Keep watching CNN and FOX so you can communicate with the rest of the sheeple. Vote for Bush or Hillochio. Drink fluoride, take vaccines and eat at McDonalds.

MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

It's sad that conspiracy theorists such as yourself really think that they have anything to say about foreign policy. Please get an education and learn about who our allies are and who our enemies are, because I'm stating nothing but basic facts. 

Lumberjack's picture

I can appreciate Cog Dis and MDB. Both seem to be our resident psychologists using opposite methods to state the obvious. Great job both of you! It took me a while at first to get MDB's modus operandi.

Victor von Doom's picture

Soz MDB, what you are stating is the official line - and for the record, they are the allies of the bankster class, not the American People. Trump's policy is more in line with the American People's interest, regardless of current regime "allies". Alliances are only temporary arrangements anyway, so a realignment that serves a state's interest better is normal foreign policy, not sticking to a definite, absolute set of treaties and arrangements, just because they are with a given state's "allies".

Parroting the regimer's lines should in no way be confused with a proper education. For anyone who took your line seriously I'd suggest starting with Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince, and take it from there.

French Bloke's picture

That's really quite funny. I for one wouldn't disagree about who the allies of the US are. But those allies and the US just happen to all be on the wrong side. Assad never threatened anyone but the insurgency started when he refused to go along with the Qatari pipeline to Turkey.

Time to learn some facts regarding who really benefits from all this and it wouldn't take a lot of time to realise that US/UK/French/German arms manufacturers would all benefit from prolonging this whilst keeping a neighbour of Israel weak at the same time.

I hope the act of extracting your head from your anus isn't a painful one for you.

loonyleft's picture

almost downvoted you. The last sentence was too telling.

Eldrick's picture

In fairness, increasingly difficult to parse parody.

cro_maat's picture

MDB has long term ZH street cred and stays in character. His brand of sarcasm is designed to make you think and provoke the trolls and those who haven't quite thought it all out or done their own research.

Reichstag Fire Dept.'s picture

MillionDollarBonus for President!!!!! LOL

MrBoompi's picture

When the US shows up, you're not in for a good night's sleep.  We've left a trail of destruction and death everywhere we "freed" people from their leaders.  We must go to war in order to have peace and stability.  We must kill you to liberate you.  But then again it's really not about you at all.

Calmyourself's picture

We must free ourselves from the tyranny of the $100 dollar bill, you see it weighs too little according to Peter Sands and Larry Summers.


Harden your minds and your bodies, you will not get too many more warnings, quit joking around, go lift some weights or run.

HopefulCynical's picture

Harden your minds and your bodies, you will not get too many more warnings, quit joking around, go lift some weights or run.


Handful of Dust's picture

You're right. My Fat Bit is telling me to get up and move my ass over to the donut stand for a creamy Danish and some sugary coffee laced with healthy Coffee Mate and whipped cream.

lydian's picture

"these countries share our core fundamental values of freedom of speech, separation of church and state, and basic human rights."  

Are you for real?


HopefulCynical's picture

You've been here 4 years and you ask this? I've only been here a year and I can spot satire when I see it.


USisCorrupt's picture

MillionDollarBonus has there ever been a time in your life that you could not find enough Dick to suck?

A yes or no answer will suffice.

Freddie's picture

MDB has posted here on and off for a while.  He is being sarcastic - pretty much posting the main stream media bullshit.  Sometimes it is pretty funny.

ebear's picture

"Sometimes it is pretty funny."

Most of the time it's just tedious, like an old joke that's been told too one many times.