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18 February 2016


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William R. Cumming

Grounds for kicking Turkey out of NATO?


I would not discount the possibility that the Turks were/are aware that they will lose Idlib province either with or without the troops defending it, while defending Azaz vs. the YPG (with the border to turkey being in turkish hands) can be held much easier.


A.I Schmeltzer

Ye, but I would bet that if the Syrians run the board, they will then deal with the Azaz Pocket. pl


A caveat - Reuters spoke with one rebel who seems to exaggerate. SOHR said that 350 crossed Monday night to AZAZ and 500 last night. Also "tanks"?

if there were any (I doubt) they certainly did not roll on their own through Turkey. There must have been flatbeds and with some transport security. That sounds a bit too eyecatching to me. There are also no reports from the border (the Kurds have eyes on it) that any tanks crossed. Only buses with Jihadis and a few trucks.
The Syrian army took Kinsaaba today, the last bigger Jihadi town in Latakia governate. There will still be some mop up and maybe some fighting in Bdama but then the troops there can look down from the mountains into Jisr al-Shughour. The Latakia path out of the Idleb pocket will be closed.


Relevant videos:
Turkish bus driver:
Tourist bus from hell (I swear I will never ever be mad to see a busload of Chinese emerge at my favourite historical monument)
Rebel TOW operators being rushed


I would expect that Azaz area, which iirc adjoins the Turkish border very closely, is within range of Turkish artillery and air defense systems and is quite mountainous on top of that (iirc) presents a more complex and difficult objective then cleaning the rebels out of comparably flat Idlib.

I mean, just trying to wargame from a rational Turk perspective that is dead set on achieving Erdogans aims in Syria:

1: Holding Idlib is pretty unlikely to work.
2: To gain opportunities later, as much of the Turkish controlled rebel manpower has to be preserved.
3: To claim that the fight is not over, these Turkish controlled rebels have to hold territory inside Syria.

Moving selected rebels (I am betting that the Turks took specifically their proxies to Azaz, while abandoning other rebels to the R+6) out of Idlib into Azaz fullfills this objectives.

An SAA operation on the ground against Azaz risks friction with the Kurds (since the SAA would probably have to pass through YPG controlled territory, and that could create incidents), an aerial operation is risky due to the very close proximity to the Turkish border, and effectively the R+6 have to hope that the Kurds ideally manage it on their own.

The YPG may also ask questions why the R+6 allowed an apparently largish scale transfer of equipment in what appears to be daylight. This may sow distrust.

Speaking from a strictly machiavellian pov., moving out of Idlib into Azaz seems like a prudent thing to do.


Of marginal interest: Al Jazera reports that Turkey is blaming YPG for yesterdays bombing in Ankara.

"It has been revealed that a YPG member who infiltrated from Syria with members of the separatist terror organization conducted this attack," Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said, identifying the YPG member as Syrian-born Saleh Najar.

It is reported that several suspects have been arrested and are under interrogation ... Uh Huh.


This relocation may not help them much. A day or so ago there was a report that the Russian air force had crisped a convoy of over three hundred terrorists and their vehicles as they moved from Turkey towards Azaz.


The not-so-distant past: "Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham, the chief elements of the Saudi-created “Army of Conquest,” deployed U.S. TOW missiles to devastating effect against the Syrian army in the jihadists’ victory last year in Idlib province..." https://consortiumnews.com/2016/02/18/risking-nuclear-war-for-al-qaeda/



Yup. Crispy Critters. If this is true the Russians are not worried about the Turks' reaction. pl


b et al

It looks as though it is all downhill from Kinsabba to Jisr as-Shugur. Is that right? pl


The rebels openly (presumably) moved tanks(!) through Turkish territory. Not very subtle, are they?

Babak Makkinejad

The Muslim states, in part or in whole, are so far behind the Caravan of Human Progress & Development that the "Rational Course" for them would have been for every single one of them to cooperate with one another to move forward.

That was not to be - the Bedu once again wants to subjugate the City, and the Ottoman the Persian.


Colone, All,

Via Rhik Samadder what has to be one of the ultimate News Headline Corrections of all time. (Is safe for work)





Yes it is, especially if you stay on M4


Too hasty and shortsighted a solution Sir, if you can tell me why, you may have to kick US out of NATO as well.


This latest bombing smells very bad of a false flag operation, considering the timing, place and the targets. I mean, what security force in the world rounds up the perpetrators within hours of such a horrendous bombing. And fixes the blame, it take days to put together fragments of a bomb even to know what king is it and to trace it to its sources, not to mention who put it in there. And where he or she is at? It stinks big time.


Tabqha airstrip is 2.5 km long.Not easy to protect in middle of the desert unless you have many boots on the ground. I wonder is a "air assault " is possible , it was said long time ago to be Red Army favorite asset.
(Yes , maybe i'm dreaming, but I have spent so much time during boring exercices waiting for such an air assault in the rear of my regiment or division!)


Listen all, I still can not believe Turkey, as a nation and government supports the "liver eaters" and sharia lovers, Turkish people are not like that-Erdogan is not a brave man, nor a true leader, he is more like a producer of films who likes to gamble with other people's money, if he wins he wins for himself, if he loses its not his money to begin with. Just switch money with blood and tears to understand what I mean. Just don't expect any grand gestures based on principle however wrong it may be from him, like just going into northern Syria and ending all that mayhem there whatever the cost. But expect a lot of dirty tricks, round about ways, manipulation and bellicose speeches. And how do you deal with someone like him? Show him the big stick, and call his bluff. He will fold every time.


"the Bedu once again wants to subjugate the City, and the Ottoman the Persian."

That's a classic Iranian aristocratic reponse. The Iranian is superior to the Arab and the Turk. But only amongst the elite. The poor in Iran prefer Islam, that is why the current regime. And frankly why Islam has succeeded in Iran. The poor had had enough of paying for aristocrats who paid no taxes.



Prior to the Russian involvement it looked like the Syrian army and the Assad government were on the verge of failure.

Less than a hundred aircraft and maybe less than a thousand Russians have completely changed the tides. The Syrian army is not the same one from six months ago. They are notching win after win.

What in your opinion has contributed to this sea change on the battlefield in such a short period of time?


There's some question as to whether they were relocated from Idlib or if they're a new infusion of foreign fighters and Turkish nationalists. Turkey has to maintain some pretense that they're only supporting Syrian unicorns.


The reality might be dawning on Erdogan that after the disaster in Latakia Idlib is next and it's time to salvage what he can in the far north. But politically that's much more complicated for Turkey than Latakia or Idlib.

Babak Makkinejad

I recall a Twafiq magazine caricature from more than 40 years ago in Tehran which showed a Bedu sitting inside a tank turret while waving his scimitar.

The caption quoted some official: "Arabs do not know how to use modern weapons."

Something evidently never change and Life imitates Art.


The bigger news is how coldly that claim has been received in the West. Whatever political gain Turkey had hoped to achieve with it is nonexistent.

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