Turkey's Erdogan Vows New Military Operations Into Eastern Syria And Sinjar, Iraq

Following Turkey's two-month long invasion of Northern Syria and subsequent takeover of the predominantly Kurdish town of Afrin, the logical question that remains is: what 's next for the 'Mad Sultan' Erdogan?

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Sunday victory speech didn't lack for the usually robust symbolism denoting neo-Ottoman aspirations far beyond the borders of Turkey (Erdogan gleefully exclaimed, "Now the Turkish flag will fly over there! The flag of the Free Syrian Army will fly over there!" - while comparing the Afrin campaign to the Ottoman defense of Gallipoli during World War I at a ceremony marking the WWI allied powers assault to open the Dardanelles).

And true to form the Turkish president on the following day promised further "extensions" of his forces in the region, including into Eastern Syria and Iraq.

Cartoon via ShiaPac.org

During a speech in Ankara on Monday, Erdogan declared "3,622 YPG terrorists neutralized so far" in Afrin, and promised more to come:

“We have now put a comma down and God willing we will make a full stop. We won’t be limited to this [operation]. There will be extensions. They will also be sorted out. Our intention is not invade but to carry out operations to cleanse terrorists and eliminate terrorist threats to our country.” 

As reported by the Turkish daily Hurriyet, Erdogan pledged to expand east into Syrian Kurdish YPG territory (Kurdish "People's Protection Units" which Turkey considers an extension of the terrorist PKK), which would pit his forces (including his Free Syrian Army/FSA ground proxies) against the US armed and trained Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

This would include locations east of the Euphrates river and areas occupied by US forces. Erdogan continued:

“We have completed an important stage of ‘Operation Olive Branch’ by taking control of the city center of Afrin. We will continue this process until we have entirely abolished the corridor through Manbij, Ayn al-Arab, Tel-Abyad, Ras al-Ayn and Qamishli."

Likely, this is merely more of 'Sultan' Erdogan's empty chest thumping for the sake of his political base which has been nothing new throughout the Syrian war; however, the fact remains that Afrin represents two enormous geopolitical victories for Turkey, namely: 1) the Pentagon was quick to throw the YPG in Afrin under the bus (to cover its tracks, the Pentagon has attempted to make a linguistic distinction between the YPG per se and the Syrian Democratic Forces - the former comprises the bulk of the latter - as well as a distinction between YPG operating in Afrin Canton and the rest of Kurdish forces in Rojava), and 2) Russia opened Syrian airspace over Afrin canton and Idlib in a move without which the Turkish aerial campaign would have been impossible.

And perhaps more brazen was Erdogan's signaling that Turkey could set its sights on rooting out the PKK from Northern Iraq. He put the Iraqi government on notice in the following:

“We have told the central [Iraqi] government that the PKK is establishing a new headquarters in Sinjar. ‘If you can deal with it, you handle it. But if you cannot we will suddenly enter Sinjar one night and clear this region of terrorists. If we are friends, you will make it easy for us. We told all this to previous Iraqi central governments as well. If things are furthered prolonged then another ‘Operation Olive Branch’ will be carried out there.”

This follows previous talks in past months with the Baghdad government over possible Turkish-Iraqi cooperation regarding rooting out PKK militants from the area of Sinjar in Iraq's north, however, Iraq is unlikely to respond possibly to threats of Turkey's army "suddenly entering Sinjar one night...".

Regarding Afrin, Erdogan indicated that Turkish forces would eventually retreat once "terrorists" were rooted out, leaving the city and area to its “real owners" - a continuation on his previously openly expressed goal of radical demographic shift in northwest Syria based on claimed ethnic statistics. 

It was during a televised speech in late January upon the launch of 'Operation Olive Branch' wherein Erdogan first vowed "to give Afrin back to its real owners." He stated at the time that "55% of Afrin is composed of Arabs with %35 of Kurds coming there later on" - with the implication that Turkey's military campaign would drastically reduce the predominantly Kurdish population back down below Erdogan's proposed demographic numbers. 

For this reason, Syrian Kurdish media has consistently accused Turkey of launching the campaign out of a desire to ethnically cleanse the Turkish border region of its historically Kurdish identity. Indeed Erdogan's own words during televised speeches clearly reveal military aims that fit the textbook definition of genocide, to say nothing of the actual atrocities that have been ongoing on the ground



Jack Oliver Tue, 03/20/2018 - 04:25 Permalink

I don’t think Erdogan has a FUCKING clue what he is doing ( but being a megalomaniac - he HAS to do something to keep himself in the FUCKING spotlight) 

He will soon be reined in by Russia !! 

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In reply to by TheSilentMajority

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In reply to by kralizec

OliverAnd Kokulakai Tue, 03/20/2018 - 11:32 Permalink

Turkey a NATO member fighting shoulder to shoulder with the Free Syrian Army which is composed of former ISIS and Al Qaeda fighters committing genocide against the Kurds in Syria and Turkey threatening to attack Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Israel and US forces in Syria, Iraq and the Mediterranean.  In addition we have countries like Great Britain, Germany France, Italy, Spain and the USA selling them weapons and military technology.  Turkey has in fact exposed how weak and unaccountable NATO(USA) and the EU truly are towards their true allies/members and of course themselves.  At the same time it seems the Russians are all turning to Islam worshiping the Turkish, Iranian and Pakistani version of Muhammad. Да здравствует Османская Россия и Православие ... правильно? (Long live Ottoman Russia and Orthodoxy... right?)

In reply to by Kokulakai

H-O-W Tue, 03/20/2018 - 04:26 Permalink

Let the games begin.

The Turks have now a huge cache of American weapons that "somehow" made it into the hands of the YPG.

Ammo has a shelf life, I think they're going to use it before the expiration date.

The USA royally screwed the pooch in the Middle East.

Dank fur Kopf Tue, 03/20/2018 - 04:41 Permalink

It's really hard to feel sorry for the Kurds. They've been making bad alliances for years, and always against their own countrymen. They are supplying weapons to the PKK which is a terrorist group, which has made them a threat to Turkey. They do sit by and ignore ISIS whenever it suits their agenda.

Now they're blaming Russia for betraying them? I didn't see the US military supporting them. They're suppose to be US-backed.

Yogieu Dank fur Kopf Tue, 03/20/2018 - 04:57 Permalink

I lost sympathy towards Kurds since they made deal with US, but even more after they took over oil fields (without much resistance from ISIS), etc. I feel sorry however about normal people who do not want war, fight, power, etc. They will suffer due to their 'leaders'. :( I certainly support idea of them having own nation and culture. But one has to be smarter, and know that neither Turkey, Syria, Iraq nor Iran do not see this idea in the same way... They really thought they can pull it off with help of US... silly really. Even more silly are US planners thinking it can be done.

In reply to by Dank fur Kopf

WTFUD Tue, 03/20/2018 - 04:54 Permalink

'Operation Olive Branch' is the American equivalent of spreading Democracy. I chuckle every time i hear it. The Kurds should've accepted the 'Olive Branch' extended by Assad but the Americans are good persuaders.

Joe A Tue, 03/20/2018 - 04:56 Permalink

Well, he got his first serious taste of blood, military campaigning abroad. He will want more. That how it all starts, including his downfall. But before that happens, a lot of people will die.

Easyp Tue, 03/20/2018 - 05:21 Permalink

How long before this megalomaniac decides to go the in the other direction? 

The Balkan Tour tee shirt, Sofia, Budapest and Vienna?

BritBob Tue, 03/20/2018 - 05:42 Permalink

When this conflict kicked off NATO member states should have sat down and determined their course of action. What started as a genuine Arab spring and a push for democracy has turned out to be a catastrophe. 

Someone Else BritBob Tue, 03/20/2018 - 08:45 Permalink

Here's an idea.  When this conflict started NATO member states should have turned their azzes around and not started the conflict.  Sine they agitated and started a civil war and then became one entire side.  Syria doesn't belong to NATO states.  So maybe NATO states should keep their noses out of it?


In reply to by BritBob

africoman Tue, 03/20/2018 - 06:34 Permalink

erDOGaaaaaaaaaaan is the terrorist mad dog

I feel very sad for Syrians to have such ruthless evil manic next to their door, 

as if what he and his ilk perpetrated against Syria, he is violating someone else territory kill and expand as it pleases him? 

By any standard, errrDOGan is a war criminal and should be brought to justice for the crime against humanity.In fact, I would have put a big hole inside his head onsight



Omen IV africoman Tue, 03/20/2018 - 10:26 Permalink

No "Mad Dog" he is working for the American Middle Class getting the USA out of Syria - with Iraq giving notice to the US as well to leave - we are in sight of long term objective of NO troops in war zone after Afghanistan Taliban pushes US out as well.


Then we can tally up the $7 Trillion spent and counting and do a cost benefit analysis

In reply to by africoman

haruspicio Tue, 03/20/2018 - 06:56 Permalink

Er-DOG-an or Mad-DOG-Mattis...take your pick who will start WW3 when some US soldiers illegally in Syria die from Syrian bombs or some Turkish jets get blown out of the sky by US ManPads.