Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Turkey Continues Push Into Syria, 'Dangerous Crossroads': U.S. Officially Invades Syria, Warns Russia

Turkish tanks and hundreds of opposition fighters thrust deep inside Syrian territory Wednesday in a lightning operation that within hours ousted Islamic State jihadists from a key Syrian border town.
The air and ground offensive — the most ambitious launched by Ankara in the Syria conflict — made rapid progress towards Jarablus, with rebel fighters already proclaiming victory by the late afternoon, just 14 hours after it started.
“Jarablus is completely liberated,” Ahmad Othman, commander of the Sultan Mourad rebel group, told AFP from the scene, while another rebel spokesman said IS fighters had fled towards Al-Bab to the southwest.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan emphasized the operation was also targeting Kurdish militia fighters strongly opposed by Ankara — but backed by the US as a key ally against IS — who had also been closing in on Jarablus.
But visiting US Vice President Joe Biden reassured Turkey that Washington had told the Kurdish fighters under no circumstances to cross west of the Euphrates River or face the total loss of American support.

The operation — named “Euphrates Shield” — began at around 4:00 a.m. with Turkish artillery pounding dozens of IS targets around Jarablus.
Turkish F-16 fighter jets, backed by US-led coalition war planes, also hit targets inside Syria.
A dozen Turkish tanks then rolled into Syria in support of Syrian opposition fighters who had also crossed, with 1,500 of them now in the area according to state media.
The rapidity of the advance was stunning and in complete contrast to the long-grinding battles where Kurdish forces had taken towns in northern Syria like Kobane and Manbij from IS.

The effects of one air raid on the northern outskirts of Jarablus were easily visible, sending up a cloud of black smoke and sand.
Turkey wants to show it is serious about taking on IS, which has been blamed for a string of attacks inside the country — the latest a weekend attack on a Kurdish wedding in Gaziantep that left 54 people dead, many of them children.
Ankara was long accused of turning a blind eye to the rise of IS in Syria and even aiding its movements to-and-fro across the border, claims the government had always vehemently denied.
Turkey has long been alarmed about the activities inside Syria of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia, which Washington sees as an ally but Ankara regards as a terror group.

On Monday, August 22nd, the United States government — which demands the overthrow of the internationally-recognized-as-legal government of Syria — officially announced that America’s military forces in Syria will continue to occupy Syrian land, no matter what the Syrian government says, and will shoot down any Syrian planes that fly over U.S. forces there.
As reported on Monday by Al-Masdar News:

The Pentagon has announced that the USA is ready to down Syrian and Russian planes that they claim threaten American advisers who by international law are illegally operating in northern Syria.
On Friday, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis claimed that US jets attempted to intercept Syrian planes to protect the American advisers operating illegally with Kurdish forces in Syria after Syrian government jets bombed areas of Hasakah when Kurdish police began an aggression against the National Defense Force.

On Monday, another Pentagon spokesman, Peter Cook, said,
“We would continue to advise the Syrian regime to steer clear of those areas.”
“We are going to defend our people on the ground, and do what we need to defend them,” Cook told reporters.

This means that the U.S. government will not allow the Syrian government to expel or otherwise eliminate U.S. forces in Syria. The Syrian government never invited U.S. forces into Syria, but the U.S. now officially dares the Syrian government to assert its sovereignty over the areas where America’s troops are located.

Al-Masdar continued:

When pushed further about Russia, Cook made it clear that the US would make the same aggression against Russian jets who are operating legally with the Syrian government’s approval and coordination.
“If they threaten US forces, we always have the right to defend our forces,” Cook said.

This means that the U.S. not only is at war against the legitimate government of Syria, but that the U.S. government will also be at war against Russia if Russian forces (which the Syrian government did invite into Syria) defends Syrian forces from attacks in Syria by U.S. forces — forces that are illegally there.
These U.S. forces number only 300, of whom 250 were sent to Syria on April 24th to serve as advisors to other illegal military forces in Syria.
The vast majority of the illegal military forces in Syria are jihadists who had been hired by the Saudi government and the Qatari government, and supplied with U.S. weapons, to overthrow the Syrian government. Most of the other illegal forces in Syria are Kurdish forces, supported by the U.S. government to break Syria apart so as to create a separate Kurdish state in the majority-Kurdish far north-eastern tip of Syria.
The primary U.S. goal in Syria is to overthrow the Syrian government, which is led by the Baath Party, Syria’s secular Party. Many Arabs insist upon Sharia, or Islamic law, but Syria’s Arabs are an exception; the Baath Party is and has always been supported by the majority of the Syrian people, including by most of Syria’s Arabs. Most Syrians are strongly opposed to Sharia law. Syria is the most secular nation in the Middle East.
The Syrian government, from now on, is in the uncomfortable position of having invaders on its territory, and of being warned that one of them — the U.S. — will be fully at war against Syria if Syria tries to expel them.
Russia too is now under warning from the United States, that, if Russia, an ally of Syria, takes any action to expel or kill any of the U.S. invaders in Syria, then the U.S. will also be at war against Russia.

The U.S. government is now also daring the Russian government. Perhaps the U.S. strategy here is to force Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, either to back down, and abandon its Syrian ally, or else to launch a nuclear strike against the United States. If Putin backs down, that would greatly diminish his support from the Russian people, which is above 80% in all polls, including Western-sponsored ones. Perhaps this is the strategy of U.S. President Barack Obama, to drive Vladimir Putin out of office — something that might occur if the U.S. drives Bashar al-Assad out of office.

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