Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Turkish Forces Enter Syria on Phony Pretext of Combating ISIS

Turkish Forces Enter Syria on Phony Pretext of Combating ISIS

by Stephen Lendman

Turkey supports ISIS and other terrorist groups operating in Syria and Iraq. At the same time, it’s waging war on Kurds in both countries as well as at home.

On August 24, its forces entered Syria pre-dawn as part of its war to prevent a Kurdistan formation on its border, perhaps eventually including southeastern Turkish and northern Iraqi territory, areas with large Kurdish populations.

Below is how Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News (HDN) reported what happened with a caveat. Most media in Turkey are state influenced, restricted, directly or indirectly controlled.

Here’s the timeline as reported for what Turkish Armed Forces call cross-border Euphrates Shield. HDN reported it in reverse order through 10:39AM local time:

“10:39 a.m. - TSK howitzers and rocket launchers carry out 294 strikes on 81 ISIL targets.

10:30 a.m. - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrives in Ankara on Aug. 24 hours after a joint operation by the Turkish military and the coalition forces launched in the ISIL-held Jarablus region in Syria.

9:27 a.m. - Mortar shells fired across the border from Jarablus by ISIL militants have dropped onto a empty field in central Karkamış. No casualties are reported. 

9:05 a.m. - According to military sources, howitzers have directly hit 70 ISIL targets. 

8:36 a.m. - The Doğan News Agency live broadcast shows Turkish tanks approaching the Syrian border and passage opening operations reach an end. 

8:07 a.m. - According to Reuters, Turkish tanks have begun its strikes on ISIL targets. 

7:50 a.m. - According to military sources, 12 ISIL targets have been directly hit.

7:48 a.m. - Doğan News Agency reports that Turkish tanks have arrived at the Syrian border. 

7:25 a.m. - Some parts of the border province of Gaziantep, from where the operation was initiated, are declared a special security region. 

7:15 a.m. - Military sources deny the claims that ground operations have begun and say operations to open passages through the border were still ongoing. 

6:30 a.m. - Jarablus is hit by Turkish Armed Forces.  

6:10 a.m. - Turkish F-16 jets carry out another operation on ISIL targets. 

6:08 a.m. - For the first time since Nov. 24, 2015, when Turkey downed a Russian jet above Syria, Turkish Armed Forces carry out aerial operations in Syria. They shoot targets that have been designated by ground special forces. 

5:55 a.m. - Turkish special forces enter Syria. 

5:45 a.m.  - Howitzer and rocket launcher attacks conclude. Until this hour some 224 launches were conducted on 63 targets. 

4:05 a.m.  - TSK begin using construction machines to carry out passages through the Turkish-Syrian border from points that been chosen beforehand. 

4:00 a.m.  - TSK howitzers and rockets launchers begin to strike at ISIL targets in Jarablus.” 

Tass said Ankara informed Russia about its operation in advance. Turkey’s military is operating jointly with US-backed anti-Syrian terrorists and reportedly with Pentagon warplanes, alone enough to raise red flags about the mission’s objective - perhaps conveniently timed with Joe Biden arriving in Ankara on Wednesday for talks with President Erdogan and Prime Minister Yildirim.

Turkish military sources said operations to control Jarablus may take two weeks. How large a ground operation is planned remains to be seen, along with how Washington intends using Ankara’s incursion to aid its terrorist foot soldiers battle Syrian government forces.

The operation isn’t about “ensur(ing) border security and Syria’s territorial integrity while supporting the US-led coalition against the Islamic State” as Turkey’s military claims.

It’s day one of its mission. It remains to be seen how things develop. On Tuesday, Syria’s UN envoy Bashar al-Jaafari accused Ankara, Riyadh and Qatar of providing military, financial and other support to ISIS and other US-backed terrorists battling government forces, massacring civilians, committing other atrocities.

Separately from Nairobi, Kenya on Monday, John Kerry said talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov may end soon. Both sides remain intractably apart.

Moscow’s best efforts for conflict resolution accomplished nothing. Washington wants war, not peace, Assad forcefully or otherwise ousted, Syria transformed into another US colony.

Russia remains committed to its sovereign independence, territorial integrity and right of its people alone to decide who’ll lead them - free from foreign interference.

Endless war could continue for years. If Hillary succeeds Obama, expect escalation, not diminution of conflict, risking possible East/West confrontation she seems itching for.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

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