Turkey Threatens Christian Communities In Northern Syria In New Offensive

The return of Turkish backed militants to the Ain Issa in Rojava/Northern Syria/Western Kurdistan has put the region controlled by the Western backed Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) a Kurdish majority umbrella of US trained forces back into the forefront of Turkey’s war on the Kurdish population in Syrian Kurdistan.

It has been reported that the Turkish-Backed Free Syrian Army or TSFA for short with the help of the Turkish National Forces (TNF) began building up their forces and shelling SDF positions in the region in late November. This has continued into December.

Below is a video of an artillery attack on the Syriac city of Ayn Issa.

Turkey has essentially broken the agreements it signed with the USA, Russia, and SDF.

The Russian News Agency TASS, reports: “According to Kurdish sources, the Turkish military command and the armed opposition are now discussing an operation to seize Ayn Issa. To that end, Turkey has already started to redeploy personnel, weapons and armored vehicles to its military base in Mardud.”

Reports from the ground confirm the above.

Ayn Issa sits on the strategic M4 highway that runs across Northern Syria and serves as the border between the TASF/TNF and the SDF and its allies. By making a move to take the road Turkey wants to cut the SDF from moving back and forth in Norther Syria, East of the Euphrates.

Erdogan’s Crusade Against the “Infidels”

From a religious angle, it is not surprising that Turkey, whose leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sees himself as a new type of Sultan and leader of the Islamic world would target Ayn Issa. The city and region is a Syriac Christian stronghold whose name literally mean “Jesus.”

Erdogan and his Turkish militias in Northern Syria have gone out of their way to flip what they originally claimed was a security mission into Rojava (otherwise known as Syrian Kurdistan) into a religious crusade.

Erdogan’s Syrian maneuver, is part of his wider export of Turkish power to other areas of the world.

A recent IBTimes report emphasizes Turkey’s expansion of interference in both the Azerbaijan-Armenia war and soon into Kashmir on the side of Pakistan against India.

Erdogan has done everything he can to not only to go after long time enemy the Kurds by committing acts of genocide in Northern Syria and his own country, but he has gone out of his way to inject a global religious crusade – essentially a Jihad, into other areas by tying together local conflicts into an Islamic Holy War.

Russia As a Buffer

In both the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict and Northern Syria, Russia has acted as a counter weight to Erdogan’s Jihadist plans. Putin sent forces and weapons to Armenian backed rebels in the conflict with Azerbaijan and often times pushes back agains the TNF and TASF in Northern Syria in order to protect the Kurds and Syriacs.

As of last night shelling had stopped with rumors that Russia is planning on setting up multiple outposts in the area and along the M4 highway.


Regardless of Russia’s involvement, the fact remains, Middle East Christians and other indigenous groups like the Kurds are under constant threat of attack from Turkey and its Jihadist allies.

Persecution, an International Christian Magazine says the following:

“The complications of this situation showcase why many regional Christians often feel that their future is reliant upon geopolitics, particularly of the military nature. Their homelands are used by other nations to outmaneuver and out-strategize the other. Thus, regional Christians often feel that their own safety and security will never be accomplished if they remain home.”

Unfortunately, due to the unstable political climate in the USA, the remaining US troops in Syria have yet to take action.

Israel Must Stand With the Kurds Against Turkey

There are times that we cannot afford to remain silent.  We who witnessed our own people nearly wiped out just over 70 years ago know that feeling of an impending genocide.  Perhaps this is due to our collective PTSD or something engrained in us since our forced expulsion from the Land of Israel by the Romans nearly 2000 years ago.

President Erdogan of Turkey fashions himself as a sort of neo-Sultan ready to lead Turkey to a new golden age. Part of this golden age is a drive to wipe out those who Erdogan finds in his way.  For Erdogan, no other group exposes Turkey as an autocratic, racist power as the Kurds do and this is exactly why Erdogan and the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) are hell-bent at wiping them out where ever they are.

Last week’s successful invasion and defacto occupation by the TAF and their FSA allies under orders from Ankara represent our generation’s Sudetenland.  Sudetenland was Hitler’s first stop in conquering much of Europe and the world powers in 1938 did nothing actionable to stop him.  Erdogan’s wife has already stated that her husband intends to settle 500,000 Syrians and other Arabs in the once Kurdish majority city of Afrin.  This is not only a clear case of ethnic cleansing and indiscriminate killing of men, women, and children, it is a violation of the Geneva Convention.

Erdogan will not settle for just Afrin.  Due to the United States’ unwillingness to stop the “mad-man” in Ankara they have grown his appetite for more.

Not only has Erdogan promised to enter Manbij, which is a majority Kurdish populated city in Syria to the east of Afrin, he is even threatening to enter Sinjar in Iraq as he claims the terrorist group PKK is there.

“We told the central government to resolve the problem. Or we may will enter Sinjar and wipe the PKK terrorists out overnight. They told us that they would give us information, but we have not received any information so far. If this process lasts long, a new Olive Branch operation can be launched,” he stressed.

Erdogan has also indicated that he will push further south in Syria.

“We made our decision and entered the field. In short time, we will control Tal Rifaat and end the operation [Olive Branch],” Erdogan said in Trabzon, according to the Turkish news outlet, Ahval.

The TAF, who are known for their brutality towards non-Turks cannot be trusted to simply pinpoint their attacks on would-be terrorists.  In fact many of the so-called terrorists Erdogan killed in Afrin were women and children as evidenced by the countless videos and pictures streaming from Afrin city.

It is obvious that the USA lacks the will to intervene on the Kurds behalf.  Russia and Syria seem not to want to be bothered by Turkey’s drive to create a new Ottoman Empire.  Iran clearly is thankful it is Turkey that is will to finally put down the Kurds.  There seems to be one that cares enough to stop the growing Turkish genocidal menace.

This is where Israel must rise up and take the leadership mantle it is meant to have.  On all other matters in the Middle East Israel is respected as a leader.  We as Jews know what it means to be hunted down and murdered.  It is time to demand that the government in Jerusalem break ties with Turkey as a first action and warning to Erdogan that more will come unless he ceases his attacks on the Kurds.

The IDF should try to find a way to supply intelligence, humanitarian supplies, and even military equipment to the both the Syrian Kurds and the Kurds in northern Iraq.  Israeli leadership has been used to undertaking these missions covertly. It may be time to show the world what it means to stand against evil.  The Kurds have always stood with Israel and they appear to be the only other group of people in the Middle East that are genuinely forward thinking and capable of building a successful society.

Now is the time for Israel to lead.

SHOWDOWN IN AFRIN: Will the USA Stop Turkey’s Invasion of Kurdish Rojava?

The Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and their jihadist allies of the Turkish contingent of the FSA are now 5 km away from Afrin City.  As the rest of the Kurdish enclave has quickly been gobbled up by the TAF, Kurdish civilians have fallen back on Afrin City as the Tweet below shows.

The original purpose of the “Operation Olive Branch” as the TAF called it was to “cleanse” the Turkish-Syrian border of Kurdish “terrorists.”  Of course Erdogan loves to call most Kurdish people terrorists.  Now that the TAF and the FSA (Turkish division) have nearly encircled Afrin City, most observers are questioning whether Erdogan is really more focused on genocidal ambitions against all Kurdish people.

With a serious showdown in the offing in the next few days as Turkey begins its seige of Afrin City, there is still hope that the Kurdish leadership in Syria will allow the Assad regime to enter Afrin City to push back on the TAF.

Of course there is still a possibility, no matter how remote, that Donald Trump may decide to take Turkey to task for wantonly attacking a key US ally.  As the siege over Afrin City begins there is dimming hope that the US will make a case to defend the Kurds in Afrin, which would remain isolated from the US backed eastern Rojava located from the Euphrates to the Iraqi border.

If the Kurds allow the Syrian regime to enter Afrin City this would effectively pit a Russian proxy in direct confrontation with a NATO member.  Of course it is a NATO member who is busy decimating  an indigenous people and key ally of the biggest NATO member of all, the USA. We may see a tacit allowance of Russian/Syrian assistance of an American ally in order to push back against everyone’s favorite enemy, Turkey.

Whether or not the USA enters the fray against Turkey or at least supplies direct weapons or supplies to the Kurdish majority SDF in Afrin  remains to be seen.  If they keep stalling then either the Kurds in Afrin will be wiped out or the Russian/Syrian access will pull the Afrin Kurds into their orbit.

If there is any question over the brutality of the TAF and the goals of Erdogan’s “Operation Olive Branch,” the Tweet below and the many similar to it should remind every one of the evil that is being allowed to grow in northern Syria.

[Premium] Donald Trump Must Choose Between Turkey or the Kurds

As the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) draw closer to Afrin City, Kurdish fighters trained by the USA are streaming from eastern Rojava into Afrin to help defend their Kurdish brothers from the Turkish invaders.  The Trump administration’s indecision on taking an increasing belligerent Turkey to task for its unlawful invasion of Kurdish autonomous territory has had the following effects on the complicated and chaotic situation in Syria.

  1. The SDF/YPG fighters that had been close to finishing off ISIS in eastern Syria are now abandoning their posts in order to defend Afrin from Erdogan the ultimate antagonist to the Kurdish people. This has allowed ISIS to regroup and ultimately hand the task over to Russia/Iran.
  2. By showing indecision on Afrin the Trump administration has forced the Kurds to look elsewhere for support, including Russia and Iran.
  3. The continued lack of decsion regarding Afrin places the entire US stabilization project from Manbij to eastern Rojava in doubt.

While Turkey is a member of NATO, there is an increasing need for the Trump administration to confront Erdogan head on.  Afterall, Erdogan’s Turkey funded and supported ISIS from the earliest days.  If Trump does not take Turkey to task now he risks losing the Kurdish YPG units that make up the bulk of the SDF.  While its true ISIS is almost finished the Kurds, like the PUK of Iraq may opt to ally with Iran in order to stop the blood letting in Afrin.

The Trump administration has to decide between an increasingly belligerent Turkey who happens to be still a NATO member or a stable Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) that will ultimately act as a buffer between Western Syria and Iran.  The irony is that the Obama administration originally supported the creation of ISIS as a mini caliphate with Erdogan’s help in order to block Iran. We all know the results of this.  The Kurdish areas are achieving the same result without turning the area over to a deadly terrorist group.

Are the US and Turkey Heading for War?

With Erdogan’s decision to invade Syrian Kurdistan serving to raise his popularity across Turkey, there is an increasing chance that his march towards Manbij, which serves as the epicenter for US forces in the region may very well bring Turkish forces into direct conflict with the USA.

This appears to be of no concern to Erdogan as the Syria conflict spirals further out of control. With the US and Russia consolidating their proxy territories, Erdogan’s bid to push out the Kurds is in fact much more than a simple power play.  The ground in Syria is still shifting and if there is ever a chance that the neo-Otoman empire Erdogan promised his supporters will arise, now seems to be the most opportune moment to implement it.

With the US forces in Manbij squarely behind the Kurdish majority SDF it is hard to see a peaceful way out of the approaching conflict.  If Turkey hits Manbij hard and harms US forces there, it won’t be the SDF Turkey will have to deal with, it will be the US itself.  Of course, this is Erdogan’s drive, to create as much chaos as possible and capitalize on it.

Russia Staying Out and Playing Both Sides Against One Another

Putin does not hide his hate for NATO’s desire to expand on Russia’s doorstep. A war between NATO allies no matter how limited will be a blow to NATO’s expansionist doctrine post Cold War. Yet, Putin has a bit of a dilemma since he too is materially invested in the proto-Kurdistan now forming in both Syria and Iraq. Expect Russia to back the Kurds while pushing Turkey and the US into a direct conflict.

With the stakes being high for all the actors, war is almost inevitable.  The only question is the scope and collateral damage.


Does Turkey’s Capture of Key Town in Afrin Matter?

Sources from Afrin, Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) claim the Turkish Army and FSA proxy Bulbul, considered to be a strategic town at the center of the Bulbul district, which is just north of Afrin.  The Turkish army claims over 24 Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) were killed and at least one other was captured by Turkish forces during fighting in the town.

The Turkish-backed FSA groups also announced that their fighters had captured the villages of Ali Kar, Za’ra and al-Ham in the Bulbul district.

The SDF stated that its defense forces had killed 20 Turkish soldiers during fighting in the village of Qurna. The SDF also said its fighters destroyed Turkish Army vehicle in the village of Za’ra.

The Turkish Anadolu Agency reported that the Turkish Air Force (TAF) destroyed 18 SDF positions in the general Afrin area in overnight attacks. Kurdish sources are reporting that over 104 civilians have been killed, and 156 other have been injured in the TAF bombardment so far.

Does Erdogan’s Incursions Matter for Turkey?

With Turkey’s invasion into Syrian Kurdish territory taking longer than expected, the Turkish President Erdogan is increasingly hurting his relationship with the West and even Russia.  He may be playing to his base, but without serious gains early on and high civilian casulties, Turkey risks eventual isolation with the very countries it needs.

Still in question is whether Erdogan is willing to go head to head with American troops.  If so, buckle up, the Middle East will get far more bumpy.


Trump Administration Puts Weight Behind Kurdistan as an Official Policy

In my post titled, “COLD WAR RENEWED: Israel and Kurdish SDF are Now Trump’s Weapons Against Iran” that was published on January 15th I wrote the following:

“President Trump, campaigning against direct US involvement in the Middle East has had his team draft a strategic plan that will help a weakened US military confront these strategic threats head on. Two partners are emerging to help the US push back on the strength Russian-Shiite grip over the Middle East.”

I detailed that both the Kurdish SDF and Israel were these partners.  Lots of things have occured in the following two weeks.  The most important is Turkey’s decision to invade the Kurdish held canton of Afrin in North Syria. Suffice to say the Turkish military operation is not going as well as Erdogan would have hoped.  This is due to the US backing the SDF up with American weapons and of course serious training.

In continuation of this policy the US has now come to realize that it must support the KRG in Iraq as well.

Speaking on Sunday to Abu Dhabi’s Sky News Arabia, while he was visiting Kuwait, Brett McGurk, Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat the Islamic State (IS), said that “the airports in the Kurdistan Region needed to be reopened.”

McGurk also stated that Baghdad needed to pay the salaries of government employees in the Kurdistan Region and the dispute over control of land borders needed to be resolved as well.

Kurdistan 24 says that a well placed source has indicated that the US has changed positions on its public support of the KRG as opposed to remaining silent due to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s partnership with Iranian para military groups and political parties in Iraq.

This is clearly one of the reasons, but in the broader sense, it is in fact the coalescing of the Turkey-Iran axis with Russia that has made Washington realize that the Kurds need to be suported across the board.  Turkey’s invasion of Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava, Western Kurdistan) with its operation in Afrin has sped up this change of policy.

END OF NATO: Turkey Bombs US Backed Kurds in Afrin

The Turkish army announced the beginning of “Operation Olive Branch” earlier today (Jan. 20th) and immediately started bombing the Kurdish dominated enclave of Afrin in an attempt to wipe out what they call “terrorists.”  However, the Syrian Kurds make up the majority of the US trained SDF and are heavily armed with American weaponry.  Afrin may be an isolated enclave, but it is backed up by America.

Turkey’s Erdogan insists that once he is done in Afrin he will move to the main part of what the Kurds call Rojava. Rojava and the area the SDF controls is nearly 1/3 of Syria.  The SDF has been the most effective fighting force against ISIS and with both Secretary of State Tillerson and Gen. Mattis announcing the need to keep American forces in Syria after ISIS, the SDF is critical for American influence in a post ISIS Syria.

To this point, Erdogan senses that the SDF and the expanded territory of an autonomous Syrian Kurdistan are a permanent fixture. His invasion of Afrin and Rojava  is serious.

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Will the US Fight Back?

Yes.  The Kurds in Syria are not the KRG in Iraq.  The US government sees the SDF as a critical component of stabalizing Syria in a way that is beneficial to US interests. The US has already provided ManPads to the SDF to knock Turkish planes from the sky.

Turkey may be able to push the Kurds out of Afrin in the early phases, but it will run into heavy resistance as it continues.

Is this the End of NATO?

If there is a direct clash between the US and Turkey, then yes.  The fact is, Turkey has been on its way out of NATO for a while, but this accelerates the pace of Turkey leaving the Cold War relic. Yet, this does not mean Turkey leaving under these auspices is a good thing. However hated Turkey is within the ranks of NATO, a direct clash between Turkey and a fellow member state’s proxy has the potential to shake foundations of NATO.  Of course this is Erdogan’s goal.

Where is Russia?

Putin has already moved his troops and most of his airforce from Afrin as a way to steer clear of the conflict.  Putin’s goal is to allow Turkey and the US backed Kurds to take each other down while Russia cleans up after the mess.  Russia’s secondary goal is splinter NATO as he pushes forward with his expansion.

The Russian Ministry of Defense issued the following statement:

“The command of the Russian group of troops in Syria has taken measures to ensure the security of Russian servicemen located in the district of Afrin, where the Turkish Armed Forces launched a special operation against the Kurdish armed groups,” the statement reads.

The Russians also said that the US supplies of advance weapons to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria triggered Turkey’s military operation against the Kurdish militias in Afrin.

Uncontrolled deliveries of modern weapons, including reportedly the deliveries of the man-portable air defense systems, by the Pentagon to the pro-US forces in northern Syria, have contributed to the rapid escalation of tensions in the region and resulted in the launch of a special operation by the Turkish troops,” the ministry said.

In the coming days it will become apparant that NATO, Turkey, and the US backed Kurds are moving the region into an expanded conflict that no one will find a clean way out of.


Russian Foreign Minister: US Military Must Leave All Of Syria

In a statement sure to raise tensions between Russia and the USA, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated on Thursday that US forces must leave all of Syria.

“Speaking to Interfax news agency on Thursday, Lavrov stated that the UN Security Council has not approved the work of the United States and its coalition in Syria, nor has been invited by the Syrian legitimate government.”

Of course, pulling out of Syria is not an option for the US.  With major operations against ISIS underway by the Kurdish majority SDF in the North and the US forces at Al-Tanf crossing there to protect Jordan from militants, the idea that the US will just up and leave is a non-starter.

Is Assad Legitimate?

Russia has for a while insisted that any long term presence of foreign troops must be in accordance with the legitimate government of Syria.  For Russia this means Assad.  The problem with this line of reasoning is that large areas of Syria are clearly not under his control.  This is does not refer to pockets of ISIS or Jihadists, but rather indigenous people such as the Kurds of Rojava or Arab Sunnis in the North. These groups along with ethnic Turkmen had been kept down by the minority Allawite regime for decades.

It would seem that any decisions on who gets to stay in Syria should be decided by the most democratic elements in the country.  That is, if you consider Syria an actual country at this point.  Syria, like many of its Arab counterparts across the Middle East are artificial creations that sprang into being after World War One.  given the fact, that Syria has been ruled by dictators for a good part of the last 100 years, it make sense why Russia would view this as trait to determine who is legitimate.  Afterall, Russia is currently ruled by an ex KGB chief who snuffs out opposition.  This point of commonality between Russia’s Putin and Syria’s Assad would be reason enough for the two to work together, but the truth is Russia doesn’t care about legitimacy just control over Syria in order to press against the West and drain energy from it while Russia pushes against Eastern Europe.

How Does this Affect Israel?

With the US not leaving Syria anytime soon and Russia digging in its heels throughout the country, the stage is set for a serious confrontation between the two super powers’ proxies.  Iran-Syria-Hezbollah forces will be used by Russia to push against the US proxies of Israel and the SDF.  This will be done under the Russian protective umbrella and threatens to spill out into a far greater war.

In the weeks ahead Israel and the Syrian regime will move beyond tit for tats and go directly against one another while the big powers push from behind.