By Ollie Richardson
A video has emerged showing a column of howitzers from Maltepe’s 2nd Armoured Brigade heading to İslahiye’s 106nd Artillery Regiment on the Turkish/Syrian border. As Turkey and its proxies have recently captured Al-Rai from “ISIS” (in reality, the Kurds), it is safe to say that they will proceed towards Al-Bab on the outskirts of Aleppo.
The role of Turkey at this current juncture of the Syrian war is to “mop-up” the North of Syria, removing traces of US influence (Kurds), and at the same time removing the remnants of ISIS. Erdogan’s agreement with Putin consists of removing the demarcation lines in Aleppo by shifting the FSA north to “fight ISIS” (kill the Kurdish dream of Rojava), thus leaving al-Nusra very vulnerable, and Takfiri-held east Aleppo thin on numbers.
The communique below from the “FSA” umbrella shows how the council in Jarablus is affiliated with “separatist parties”. An earlier message from the Jarablus local council accused Turkey of forming a new Turkmen dominated council and spreading “fitnah” among the population.
This shift in the balance of power in the North shows how Erdogan has had the ability to “fight ISIS” for a long time, but was using it as a bargaining chip against the main players in the war. Whether it was supplying Ahrar al-Sham with MANPADS or shooting down a Russian Su-24, Erdogan kept his cards close to his chest. But then Putin supplied him with information on the eve of the attempted coup, and thus the resulting reconciliation now has Turkish forces working in harmony with Russian presence on both the ground and in the air.
As a result, the Syrian Army is very close to liberating the Aleppo district of Ramouseh, and the circle around Aleppo itself was re-established after the artillery colleges and 1070 apartments were liberated from Jihadists. In the background of these developments is the news that the price the US was asking for al-Nusra was one Russia was unwilling to pay, and the demand for the Syrian Army to withdraw 3.5km from Castillo Road and to hand over Bani Zeid, Layramoun, and Mallah was an insult at best. If no deal can be agreed between Russia and the US, we can expect the Russian Air Force to once again ramp up the airstrikes and push for Khan Tuman and beyond.
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