Night of the 24th of August, the Turkish army officially began a ground military operation against the Islamic state in Syria. First, there was an abandoned special forces – maroon berets (Turkish F-16 fighter jets and artillery bombed dozens of attacks on positions of the Islamic state group, and in the morning went on the offensive already in the tank part. The Turkish media have focused on participation in the operation of aircraft to the coalition led by the United States. However, the latest Pentagon report showed that it was very, very limited: only four coalition air strikes struck the city Manuja area of intervention of the Turkish military, but mostly objects bombed ISIS in raqqa and even more remote towns.
On the first day of fighting, the Turkish military and allied Syrian rebels, which are conventionally combined in the Free Syrian Army, occupied the Syrian city of Jerablus, a few years under the control of Islamic state terrorists. According to official data, during the liberation of the city killed one Syrian rebel, and the Turkish military suffered no losses.
Easy take of Jerablus did not remain without attention of the world media. The nearby town of Manbij, which is controlled ISIS, the Syrian Pro-Western democratic forces (SDS), which includes the Kurdish self-defence, was stormed within two months.
According to the Syrian Observatory for human rights, from the beginning of June there died 315 SDS fighters and over the thousands of Islamic state terrorists and 460 civilians. However, many of the terrorists of the Islamic state managed to break out and to take hostages. On this basis it was concluded that not only the Turkish army showed terrorists with all its power, but Islamic state did not seek particularly to protect its position in Jerablus.
The official objective of the operation was initially proclaimed the liberation of the border with Turkey Syrian territory from the Islamic state terrorists to prevent attacks from terrorists and acts of terrorism such as suicide bombing at a Kurdish wedding in Turkey Gaziantep on August 21.
But later, a spokesman for Turkish President Ibrahim Kalin and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that the aim is the weakening of self-defense YPG the Syrian Kurds, which Ankara considers a terrorist organization. The Turkish Prime Minister stressed that the need to preserve the integrity of Syria, which means preventing the existence of a self-governing Kurdish areas in Northern Syria.
“We will not allow elements of the PYD-YPG (Kurdish defense of the Northern Syria, which Ankara considers terrorists affiliated with the Kurdistan workers’ party – ed.) occupied these lands and tried to maintain the status quo. The whole area, including the Jerablus, needs to be cleaned from the PYD and YPG,” said Yildirim.
Lesson Manbij Kurdish self-defense has caused discontent of the Turkish authorities, who hinted that the promotion of Kurds to the city of Jerablus is the red line not to be crossed. Once in the ranks of the Syrian democratic forces formed a military Council for the liberation of Jerablus, the Turkish military started an intervention on Syrian territory.
The U.S. position
A military operation in Northern Syria coincided with the visit to Ankara Vice President of the United States Joe Biden, who is trying to improve Turkish-American relations against the background of the conflict over the extradition to Turkey of the Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, who lives in the United States. Turkish authorities accuse him of organizing the failed coup of 15 July.
The visit of the Vice President of the United States began with ostentatious displays of disrespect at the airport he was met by two officials of low rank, including Deputy mayor of Ankara. At a press conference with the Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim Biden once again assured that the United States did not know about the preparation of the coup in Turkey, called the coup the terrorists, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that regrets that has not arrived before. He also said that the Obama administration has allocated for the consideration of the case about the extradition of Gulen’s more lawyers than any other business. The demands of Erdogan to immediately extradite the preacher, Biden, clutching his head, was forced once again to remind you that in the US there is separation of powers, and the decision of extradition may only take the court, not the Executive.
At the same time, according to the Turkish Prime Minister Yildirim, USA after the meeting agreed to the Turkish demand – the withdrawal of fighters of the Kurdish self-defense in Syria from the West Bank of the Euphrates river, in particular from released a lot of blood Manbij.
Vice-President of the USA Joe Biden show the impact of the coup on the Turkish Parliament (photo: EPA)
Unlike Turkey, the US does not recognize the Kurdish defense YPG a terrorist. This causes outrage in Ankara. In may of this year, the AFP news Agency even published a photo of American special forces in Syria with the stripes of the Kurdish self-defense. “We advise them (American troops) to wear badges of ISIS or al-Nusra, when they travel to other parts of Syria, and icons Boko Haram when they travel to Africa,” commented a photo of the Minister of foreign Affairs of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu.
However, the Kurdish self – defense- the most successful and reliable ally of the West in Syria, and in the eyes of Western public opinion – and even popular. After all, the so-called moderate Islamists from dozens of rebel groups that are not associated with ISIS, increasingly come to the pages of Western publications on charges of war crimes.
The effects of the intervention
Military intervention is, of course, aroused the indignation of the foreign Ministry of the regime of Bashar al-Assad, as the Turkish military has officially launched an attack on Syrian territory. The Russian foreign Ministry expressed duty concern “power share” Turkey and the possible confrontation between the Kurdish and Arab peoples in the region. But to complicate relations with Ankara because of the intervention in Moscow did not want to.
Kurdish self-defense in the North of Syria refused to withdraw to the East Bank of the Euphrates, and to give the liberated cities, because he believes the allies of Turkey from the Free Syrian army (FSA) is not much different from Islamic state terrorists. An additional argument in favor of the Kurds was the flight of three thousand inhabitants from Jerablus in the Kurdish areas after sunset in the town of the PAS units. Moreover, in one of the villages have clashed with Pro-Turkish rebel Kurds, and this event in the future can take on a far greater scale. Yet Turkey from decisive action against the Syrian Kurds, it seems, stops only the intercession of the United States.
Turkish-Kurdish confrontation remains a headache for Washington, which seeks to preserve itself as ally iturria, and Kurdish self – defense force as the main instrument for the overthrow of the IG in Syria. But if to speak about the fight against Islamic state, the Turkish military intervention in Syria showed that Turkey’s destruction of ISIS is a secondary task, and in the foreground remains prevent the creation of any semblance of Kurdish autonomy in the Turkish-Syrian border.
To expect any breakthroughs on the front of the fight against ISIS from Ankara, even after a series of terrorist attacks carried out by members of the group in Turkey not worth it. And then the interests of the West and the Turkish authorities disagree – it is not the Kurdish dream of autonomy is a threat to the civilians of the cities of the EU and the US, and the jihadists of ISIS, which controls the lion’s share of Syria and Iraq and effectively use local resources to create the most powerful terrorist group in the world.
See also: Yalcin Onur: Turkey should not be dragged into a second Cold war