The Liberation of Tal Afar Has Awakened the US & Turkey, and Has Conjured Operation “Liberation of Raqqa”…Why?

Translated by Captain Ahab


By Elijah J. Magnier – 30/10/16

The Iraqi city of Mosul will be liberated along with Tal Afar, and ISIS (Daesh) will not be allowed to leave for Syria.

This is what was announced by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who the popular mobilization forces (PMU) to hold and secure the Western and South Western axis of Mosul, and then to head towards Al-Hadar and Tal Afar.

Abadi considers the existence of “Daesh” in Syria means the continuity and survival, and consequently the revival of its strength in Iraq – after the battle of Mosul – is very possible especially that ISIS has left sleeper cells which are well armed, applying Saddam Hussein’s tactics in 2003, and especially since the majority of ISIS’s command are ex-Iraqi officers, former Baathists.

However, Abadi awakened a beast by declaring that “the popular mobilization units are moving towards Al-Hadar and Tal Afar” … Why?

Tal Afar is about 63 kilometers from Mosul, and 55 kilometers from Syria and 80 kilometers from Turkey. Before the city’s occupation in mid-June 2014, it was home to between 200 to 300 thousand residents, mostly Turkmen Sunnis and Shiites. Tal Afar is bordered to the east by Mosul, in the North by Dohuk, and in the West by Sinjar. It is located in the Northern province of Nineveh.

About 30,000 civilian live in Tal Afar today under the rule of “Daesh”, the town boasts, which is located in a triangle between Iraq/Syria/Turkey, the honor (Translator note: Joke) of housing major ISIS commanders.

The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, considers it his right to participate in the liberation of Mosul and Tal Afar, and to maintain the independence of the city, especially to prevent the arrival of what he called “Shiite militias” into the city or else he will send in regular forces into Iraq.

In 1925, Iraq’s King Faisal agreed with his British allies on seizing Mosul and its environs from the Ottomans, and add them to Iraq. This is what the Turkish president is asking to be restored “return to Caesar what is Caesar’s”. However, Iraqi Prime Minister reminded Erdogan that the Abbasid caliphate, which had Baghdad as it’s capital, governed all of modern-day Turkey, and that history doesn’t have a final say in these type of issues, especially that Iraq wants good relations with all it’s neighbors- including Turkey- at the same time without seceding a part of the country to an occupying force.

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Abadi demanded from Turkey the withdrawal of the few thousand officers and soldiers who are in the Ba’shiqah camp 50 kilometers from Mosul, Erdogan responded to the threat with a similar threat, however he kept the door open for a diplomatic solution.

Abadi’s “popular mobilization units” are flying to Tal Afar, a force that includes more than nineteen brigades. The group that is going to Tal Afar includes three thousand Turkmen, Sunnis and Shiites, who are going be the spearhead to enter the city and liberate it from “Daesh” after more than 28 months of occupation. Their second task will be to block the Western Front so that ISIS cannot escape Mosul and flee into Syria. This is the crux of the matter.

Sources in Al-Abadi’s Office told “Al-Rai” that “there is no place for coincidence and that the timing of the meeting between the defense ministers of France and the United States with their Turkish counterpart in Ankara, coupled with the US Minister Ashton Carter’s announcement that he understands Turkey’s logic and arguments concerning Iraq, as well as his intentions to head towards Raqqa. The Joint Force Commander in Iraq, Maj. Gen. Stephen Townsend said that America is ready for the battle of Mosul and are training local forces for this fight.”

The sources add that “suddenly Tal Afar and Raqqa have become hot tickets only when it was decided that the popular mobilization unit head towards them and expressed their desire to chase Daesh – if necessary – into Syria to eliminate it. We do not have any doubt that Daesh will not be defeated in Iraq, if it is left in Syria. We have no doubt that the Turkish troops and those backed by them in Syria are progressing within the territory occupied by Daesh, without a fight and without mention of any deaths on either side. Note that even Daesh desperately fights the Kurds (in Manbej more than 400 people died) and the Syrian army and its allies (in Palmyra, Deir al-Zour and Al-Tabaqa and various other areas). And therefore we believe that the militants Daesh either go to Raqqa safely or to Turkey or they simply change their clothes and melt into the Turkish and US-backed “Syrian Moderate opposition”. But if the Popular Mobilization units enter the fight then Daesh knows full well that there is no exit, changing outfits wouldn’t help either, and there would no longer be an incubator for the re-inception or harboring of it’s members, and this is why we have seen that both Turkey and the United States are pushing to maintain a spiritual Daesh in the vacated cities, left to the US’ and Turkey’s proxies. This we will not allow in Tal Afar, Mosul, or any other area.”

Observers believe that the US air strike, which Washington had said that it was an error, on Al-Therdh hill which surrounds the Deir Ezzour military airport where more than 100 officers and soldiers were killed as part of the US military plan for the expulsion the SAA from Deir Ezzour and turn it over to “Daesh” so that the organization can rehabilitate itself and prevent the entry of the Iraqi “PMU” or Syrian forces and their allies to regain Deir al-Zour thus lifting the siege of the city. If the entire area came under the rule of “Daesh”, it would be easy to pave the way for Turkish troops backed by the US to control the entire Syrian northeastern region and the establishment of a Canton to divide Syria given that the division of Iraq has failed.

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These observers assert that the division of Syria is very likely due to the lack of intention or plan on the part of Damascus and its allies to go to ISIS “Daesh” controlled areas, since ISIS controlled zones do not overlap with the Syrian army, and because the organization does not receive media support in international forums and the United Nations nor is it receiving money and weapons as is the case with “Al-Qaeda” and “Mujahideen” in Aleppo and Idlib, who are recognized by Western countries and the countries of the region as legitimate rebel forces.

And so, Iraq and Syria’s destinies are linked/coupled to each other, the battle for Tal Afar  has pushed the US to talk about “a buffer zone around Raqqa”. The PMU’s attack on Tal Afar is in itself a point of no return, if Iraq wants to ever regain sovereignty over their lands. However, to support the PMU with personnel and armaments into Syria is no longer an easy task due to the solidification of the international attitudes and efforts and countries in the region against any attempt to shorten the life of the war in Syria and accede to a Russian victory.

The US has already built an airport in Kobani located in Northern Syria, this you can add to what it already had, an older base for its special forces in the North East of Syria. Turkey controls parts of the Turkish – Syrian border and is asking to participate in the Liberation of Raqqa and demanding control over cities such as Manbij and are negotiating over Aleppo, Raqqa, Al-Bab, and many other cities and towns, or simply to keep its occupational forces on Syrian territory indefinitely.

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However, Moscow’s role is not over yet. Russian aircrafts have destroyed convoys belonging to ISIS “Daesh” while they were crossing in from Iraq to Abu Kamal. Moscow will not accept a no fly zone over Raqqa. Added to that, Russia expressed it’s lack of confidence in the Turks undeclared ambitions through its proxies in Syria, who have warned Turkey of the collision with the Syrian army in the North, if Turkey were to ever cross the demarcation lines agreed upon. If this indicates anything, it indicates that the duration of the war is not only long but that the Syrian war has become more complex, and entangled.

The war is no longer a war of zones of influence, but also a war with heightened sectarian rhetoric, especially after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that “Turkey will take all necessary measures against any danger posed by Shiite militias in Tal Afar against Daesh”.

It has become a fashion to defend the “Sunnis”, and it seems that many candidates are vying for that position not only ISIS, but now Turkey has joined the band wagon. All this rhetoric is used to redraw the map of the Middle East……since ISIS smashed the Sykes-Picot borders, why should we go back to that format, that seems to be the current thinking in Ankara.

(Translator’s Note: for more on this bloody affair, and the rabid Neo-Ottomanism that has captured the imagination of the Turkish leadership and the history behind the War for Mosul, click here.)

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