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.

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.

The Growing Intersection Between Turkey, Trump, Kurdistan, and the Golan

The publication by Turkey of more than 200 US bases and places of presence across Western Kurdistan, now occupied by Syria drew the ire of the Trump administration and the US Defense establishment. The Turkish government went ahead and published this list and map in protest of the US policy in supporting the growing autonomy of Western Kurdistan (Northern Syria), which runs along the border of Turkey in Northern Syria.

“The discussion of specific troop numbers and locations would provide sensitive tactical information to the enemy which could endanger Coalition and partner forces,” wrote Col. Joe Scrocca, coalition director of public affairs.

“Publishing this type of information would be professionally irresponsible and we respectively [sic] request that you refrain from disseminating any information that would put Coalition lives in jeopardy.”

Turkey views the rise of an independent Kurdistan as a non-starter, unless it is contained to the KRG in Northern Iraq.  What is taking shape now though are two autnomous areas, which if joined would inspire Kurds living in Northern Kurdistan, occupied today by Turkey, to fight vigorously for their independence.

It is no secret that the US has ben aiding the YPG (Syrian Kurdish militias) and has rolled them into the broader Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), but the continued strengthening of this militia has crossed a red line for Erdogan.

Did Trump trade the Southwest of Syria for Western Kurdistan?

Despite the current opposition from Washington to the KRG’s drive towards a referendum on independence, the Trump administration still views the Kurds as the best avenue to push back on Iran and stablize the region. There is a four way tussle for Syria: Russia, Iran, Turkey, and the USA. Some of the sides work together and others don’t, but these four countries are busy establishing zones of control.

Up until the G-20 Ceasefire with Russia, it appeared that the USA and Russia were heading to a direct confrontation in the Southwestern part of Syria.  To offset this, the Russians backed Turkey’s assault on the indigenous Kurds to the North.  Putin hates Erdogan, but was ready to use him to battle Washington. The ceasefire changes things. With relative quiet in the Southwest, Putin can put the brakes on supporting Turkey’s assault against the Kurdish directed SDF.

Trump’s strategy here is clear. Consolodate the US gains in Western Kurdistan (Northern Syria), while letting Israel and Russia learn to work together in the Southwest. Trump now has a fighting force in Syria that is not only moderate, but is experienced in pushing back against ISIS and other Sunni radicals. More than that he pins Erdogan down, preventing the neo-Sultan from implementing his goals of expanding Turkey.

This strategy seems to benefit the US, but has been seen as dangerous by Israel due to the partnership between Russia and Iran. Given the propensity for Iran to utilize the Russian army as cover to move in on Israel, the tacit agreement with Russia is dangerous. Iran has already moved into the DMZ East of Israel’s Golan. With Hezbollah contantly infiltrating the Har Dov area in the Northern Golan, a similar presence to the East under the protection of Russian troops appears too much Israel to put up with.

With Hezbollah preparing for war, Israel is fast working to establish a deconfliction policy with Russia in the greater Golan area.

From Afrin to Sulaimani Kurdistan is Moving to Independence

If Turkey did not want an independent Kurdistan, especially one united with West Kurdistan located in Syria, then their actions against the Kurdish enclave in Afrin have had the opposite effect.  Consistent shelling of the YPG (Syrian Kurdish Militia) in Afrin has caused the Kurds of Sulaimani, which is located far to the East near the border of Iran and Iraq to rally to their brothers in Syria.

Last week Israel Rising reported that Turkey was preparing to invade Western Kurdistan, which is located in present day Northern Syria. By amassing Turkish troops in the Kilis triangle opposite Syria, Erdogan was hoping to scare the Kurds into backing down. The opposite has happened and it appears Turkey has now caused both areas to unite in their struggle.

A united Western and Southern Kurdistan which spans from Northern Iraq into Northern Syria is considered an existential threat to Turkey. There are twenty million Kurds living in South-Eastern Turkey, which is considered occupied Northern Kurdistan. An independent Kurdistan arising on the Turkish border would inherently inspire Northern Kurdistan to break away from their Turkish occupiers.