The Turks have been teaching the Kurds a lesson now for twenty days in Operation Olive Branch. CNN-TURK, the propaganda arm of the Islamic Republic claims that the Turkish Army “neutralized” some 1,028 elements of Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Iraqi Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Islamic State in its Afrin operation.
Speaking to the heads of local governments, President Erdogan said the Turkish army will ‘’destroy the threat of terrorism in Idlib after doing so in Afrin. We will continue fighting terrorism, even despite the calls to stop the operation in Afrin.”
He also said that Turkey was committed to clearing the north-western areas of Syria from terrorists in order to ensure the return of refugees to their homeland.
Playing to a gaggle of local civic leaders is not delivering Kurdish heads on a plate as Erdogan knows, but he’s keeping up the rhetoric, and CNN-TURK is reporting every slurred word as if it was carved in stone on the side of a mountain.
The turks have been launching repeated air and artillery attacks on the city that the Kurds evacuated twenty days ago to “soften up the Kurds” so that they could send in tanks and troops to march into the city. The Turkish air force ceased attacks for several days this week after the downing of the Russian ground attack aircraft, but resumed on the night of 8 February.
The Russians reportedly told the Turks that they were setting up a new air defense system in Afrin in the aftermath of the downing of the Russian ground attack aircraft near Idlib. The Syrians also told the Turks that Syria was upgrading its air surveillance and missile and gun air defense systems in the northwest.
The Turks have overreached in Syria and have not “liberated” Afrin. Their inability to control their proxy fighters finally has generated a reaction from the Russians and the Syrians.
Multiple news agencies report a surge in fighting in Syria again, mostly because of increased Syrian operations to recapture all Syrian territory and because of Turkey’s Olive Branch operations. There are eight important actors in Syria including the Saudi/Al Qaeda and none of their interests appear congruent. They even do not agree on the desirability of an end to the fighting.