Small Wars Journal

U.S. Puts Troops on the Ground in Syria to Blunt Turkish Campaign

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 7:48pm

U.S. Puts Troops on the Ground in Syria to Blunt Turkish Campaign by Henry Meyer and Selcan Hacaoglu, Bloomberg

The U.S. and Russia have found themselves teaming up for the first time in the war in Syria -- against a country both call an ally: Turkey.

The U.S. and Russia moved this week to block a threatened drive by Turkey to seize Manbij, a town in northern Syria about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Turkish border. A U.S. deployment and a Russian-brokered deal with Syrian forces created buffer zones that headed off any Turkish campaign against the Kurdish forces who hold the town -- seen by Washington as key allies against Islamic State and by Turkey as terrorists.

As the outside powers fighting in Syria step up the fight to crush Islamic State, the battle is laying bare their often-conflicting loyalties. With all sides pushing into terrorist-held territory, the potential for clashes between the players is rising…

Read on.


Outlaw 09

Fri, 03/24/2017 - 1:11pm

DeirEzzor: #ISIS has captured a large amount of weapons and ammunition from the #Assad regime during the #DeirEzzor offensive.

ANOTHER IS massive resupply run thanks to Assad...Iran and especially Russia...

WHO needs external funding when one has Assad....Iran and Putin...

Outlaw 09

Fri, 03/24/2017 - 12:56pm

As expected.
@CJTFOIR & @OIRSpox, you are soon fighting for Assad, meaning you are soon fighting for Iran.
Congrats to your ally #SDF! ...

SDF spokesperson: we welcome SSA participation in Raqqa offensive, because it is a national army, but refuse Turkey because it supports terror.

Outlaw 09

Fri, 03/24/2017 - 4:12am

Appears the Us is not concerned about civilians loses in both Iraq and Syria...

More than 600 men and boys are missing in the Iraqi town of Saqlawiyah. Locals say a militia that drove ISIS from town took them captive.

They were last seen being marched into the desert....Sunni's being marched into the desert by a radical sectarian Iraqi Shia militia means actually what????

Outlaw 09

Fri, 03/24/2017 - 4:10am

More troubling reports of civilian fatalities, caused by @CJTFOIR.
This time around 180 people in #Raqqa.

The USAF and CENTCOM just keep on lying on just how many civilians are being actually hit by US air strikes......actually as much as the Russian AF now....

They stated they would investigate the air strike that hit IDPs in Manbij...BUT never did....

They attempted to weasel out of their own false air strike on a mosque killing 60 plus..claiming they hit AQ??????

They were literally disproven by correct and accurate open source analysis...

Outlaw 09

Fri, 03/24/2017 - 3:53am

WHEN the US openly sided with the US named Kurdish terror group PKK and is openly conducting joint operations with the Russians....Turkey was faced with making a clear and concise FP decision....

anyone who has seen Erdogan's blasts against Holland and Germany should have paid closer attention to his blasts against the US in their move to support the YPG/PKK offensive on Raqqa.....

Regardless of what one thinks currently of Erdogan and his drive to become the Sultan of Turkey...he does tell you what he thinks if one is willing to just listen....

Fight IS and or the Kurds.IS/WAS his choice..using his FSA Syrian rebels as his own proxies in the fight against the Kurds and indirectly against Assad as Erdogan has always rejected Assad's remaining in power....he has made his decision it is the Kurds and Assad with secondary attacks against IS along the way which has been working well in the last few days...

Trump...DoD..and especially CENTCOM has fully failed to understand what drives the Turks and the issues around YPG//which they view as a PKK fig leaf...Manbij and Raqqa and the Turkish need for a border security zone to push back PKK from the Turkish border and that border zone must reflect the larger Arab population that PKK somehow always claims is really Kurdish...AND CENTCOM believes to be the truth.

MORE evidence of the Turkish FP shift that will the US into a major blunder in that they cannot recover from led by US SOF and CENTCOM...

For the 1st time ever, #Turkey provided its proxies with ACV-15 APCs outside the #EuphratesShield pocket.
Reportedly seen in #Hama.

Photo on the Syrian thread....

Outlaw 09

Thu, 03/23/2017 - 11:14am

For more information concerning the latest Syrian rebels massive offense including AQs HTS as a lead element....follow Syrian thread...

Outlaw 09

Thu, 03/23/2017 - 11:11am

Hate to say it but the Trump WH has totally lost the narrative right now in Syria as Turkey has gone full in with their previously stopped weapons support to the Syrian rebels who are mounting right now a major offensive on six different fronts and Assad...Iran and Russia AND IS are not able to stop them....

ALL because the US and Russia are openly supporting the US named Kurdish terrorist group PKK.....backed by Iran...Assad and Russia...

Charles Lister‏
Verified account
#@Charles_Lister Mar 21
The re-initiation of hostilities across #Syria that I discuss below is underway - in E. #Damascus, #Deraa, #Qalamoun, N. #Hama & #Latakia:

Across 200km of N. #Syria, 6+ anti-#ISIS state militaries & 30+ sub-state militias are involved in multiple mutually hostile battle-fronts

Charles Lister‏
Verified account
#@Charles_Lister Mar 20
U.S.-led anti-#ISIS strategy in #Syria is achieving multiple tactical victories likely to amount to an eventual strategic defeat.

Maybe - just maybe! - building a #RussianArmy base in #Afrin was not the smartest step, #Putin ever took ...

Weapons and munitions are flowing now via Turkey in large amounts of both to rebel groups...

Outlaw 09

Sat, 03/11/2017 - 7:26am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

I like it when many individuals use the term "radical Islamic terrorists" AND truly fail to then cover the opposite side of Islam ...the Shia supported by Iran which drives on a concept called "revolutionary Islam"...

YET these individuals beat up on KSA..Qatar and other Sunni Arab nation states in the ME YET for supporting these so called "radical Islamic terrorists".....

BUT fighting right now inside Syria supported by Russia and Iran and totally Shia based are SEVENTY EIGTH (78)REPEAT 78 Shia militias who are just as "radical" as IS is in their religious fevor....BUT we hear nothing about them....

BY THE WAY the US is in fact supporting them with USAF CAS...US SOF direct support and artillery and now several hundred Rangers.....

AND that includes support to US named terror groups ..Hezbollah....Iraq Hezbollah.. Kurdish PKK and elements of the IRGC....

Call up the chart depicting the 78 Shia militias and then ask why we have not seen and or heard about them in the US MSM or from the Trump WH or the Trump SecDef of the Trump DoS....

FSA News‏#@FSAPlatform 3h
3 hours ago
#Infographic || #Syria
Complete updated list of militia groups fighting for the #Assad regime in Syria

ONE year ago it was a grand total of TWO....until Iran stepped in together with Russia and it jumped continuously to now 78.....

Outlaw 09

Sat, 03/11/2017 - 7:23am

More on the Trump WH and DoD confusion on Syrian engagement...Trump critiques Obama constantly on the ME BUT this confusion from Trump is both dangerous and totally confusing and will not end well if this is not truly well thought out but when he tweeting and golfing and holding JSOC raid decisions on a dining table I suspect we are in for a rough ride in the next weeks.....he us going to get US troops killed or get the US into a war.....

Kyle Orton‏
Verified account
New for @HJS_Org on the mess on the way to #Raqqa: "Outcome Uncertain as American Involvement in Syria Deepens"

REMEMBER Trump first stated he supported our going into Iraq but then stated he was against it...AND now Syria..ARE we in or out....???

Outlaw 09

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 11:46am

White House in a “red hot” debate over #Raqqa strategy - may not decide until late-April 2017.

White House #Raqqa debate:

1. Re-evaluate #YPG relationship & heal #Turkey ties


2. Use YPG to take city then hand it to #Assad/#Russia

Turkey Foreign Minister:

1. We will attack #YPG in #Manbij
2. U.S is “undecided & disoriented” on #Raqqa plans

WHO would have thought the Trump WH and yes even Trump himself is "confused and disoriented"??????

Turkey says relations with the U.S will be “seriously damaged” if the #Raqqa op is led by #YPG/#SDF

Germany forbids #calan and #YPG flags during public demonstrations.
Reason: They are "suited to promote the cohesion of the #PKK".

Germany bans public display of calan portraits, arguing that it would mobilize for banned terror group PKK.

SDF already set up a Manbij-style council to take over. Expectation YPG will then trade Raqqa to regime in return for autonomy.

Outlaw 09

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 11:45am

CENTCOM Gen Votel: US will likely need more conventional military forces in #Syria later during stability operations.

Different from "anti-ISIS operations", "stability operations" are aimed at #Turkey and Syrian rebels I guess.

Outlaw 09

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 11:18am

Turkey warns US relations are at risk if Kurds help retake Raqqa

"Assad or we burn the country" became "Assad and we burn it anyway"

Outlaw 09

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 11:36am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Aleppo: #EuphratesShield forces destroyed a remote-controlled #YPG VBIED at #Boughaz village west of #Arima. #Manbij

APPEARS both Russian and US SOF have not stopped the ongoing clashes between Turkey and SDF/PKK....

BUT the SDF/PKK declares this....

US-backed Syrian force rules out Turkey role in Raqqa, Spokesman calls Turkey "an occupation force" that can't be allowed to take Syria land

Outlaw 09

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 4:59am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

Source: #Turkey’s plans for joint TSK-#FSA cross-border assault on Tel Abyad remain in place. Trained fighters are in place for deployment.

a not so subtle warning to the US...Russia..Assad and Iran....

Outlaw 09

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 4:57am

Turkey suspects U.S. has chosen #YPG to do the #Raqqa Operation; not entirely pleased about it.

The United States appears to have decided to enlist the help of Kurdish YPG militia in a campaign to push Islamic State out of its stronghold in Raqqa, Syria, thwarting Turkey's ambitions, a senior Turkish official said on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Turkey, the United States and Russia must coordinate to clear Syria of terrorist groups. The three countries' chiefs of staff were working to prevent clashes between the different parties.
Yildirim spoke as Turkey's military chief of staff met his U.S. and Russian counterparts in the southern Turkish province of Antalya to discuss coordination in Syria. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the results of the meeting "could change the whole picture".
"... It appears that the U.S. may carry out this operation with the YPG, not with Turkey. And at the same time the U.S. is giving weapons to the YPG," the official said.
"If this operation is carried out in this manner there will be a cost for Turkey-U.S. relations, because the YPG is a terrorist organization ..."
Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford attended the three-party meeting at the invitation of his Turkish counterpart, a spokesman for Dunford said.
The spokesman, Navy Captain Greg Hicks, said the military chiefs discussed security in Iraq and Syria and the importance of additional measures to avoid accidents.
They also discussed "the current situation of the fight against all terrorist organizations in Syria with an effort to wage a more effective fight against (them) ..."
A U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Dunford did not inform his Turkish counterpart of any decision about the Raqqa offensive, in remarks that appeared at odds with the Turkish account.
Ankara has been pressing the United States to change its strategy for fighting Islamic State in Syria by abandoning the YPG and instead drawing on Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels to retake Raqqa.
Turkey views the YPG and its political affiliate the PYD as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is waging an insurgency against the Turkish government.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said last week the next target of his country's Syrian operation was Manbij, which is controlled by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
But Yildirim said then that military action by Turkey would not make sense unless coordinated with the United States and Russia.
After clashing with FSA rebels west of Manbij this month, the Manbij Military council declared a deal with Russia to hand front-line villages to Syrian government control to prevent their coming under Turkish control.
Rapid developments in the war for northern Syria - the most complicated theater in the multi-sided conflict - are setting new limits on Turkish power, while affirming the role of the U.S.-allied YPG militia that Ankara entered Syria to fight.
The Syrian government has emerged as a major player in the war for the north after punching through a swath of Islamic State-held territory, blocking any further Turkish advances from the buffer zone it has carved out in Syria near its frontier.
In August, Turkey-backed forces launched an operation to drive Islamic State away from its border with Syria and prevent the YPG from taking territory in their wake.
Since pushing the jihadists out of their al-Bab stronghold, fighting has focused on villages west of Manbij, setting Turkish-backed rebels against the Manbij Military Council, part of the U.S.-backed SDF that includes the YPG.

Outlaw 09

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 4:26am

Bluntly say the least...

Trump and @CJTFOIR needed exactly TWO MONTHS to forget / ignore what US Secretary of Defence Ash Carter warned of before he left was valid then and is really valid now...

As Trump and the SecDef now have us sucked into a massive goat rope that will not end well for anyone....

FROM 6.1.2017....."Russia has done absolutely nothing to fight IS".....Everything they have done is dumb headed and or the opposite of what they said they were doing"...

Obama never trusted Russian statements on Syria BUT it appears Trump AND Mattis completely do?????

Lastly Obama was correct...

Outlaw 09

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 3:44am

Ничего необычного, просто солдаты РФ с курдскими нашивками в районе Манбиджа (Сирия)
Туда же движется турецкая армия… …

Confirming Russian report of Russian troops wearing the US/SDF MMC insignias on their uniforms...along with photos....

SO Trump has not done a deal with the Russians in Syria...think now US SOF fight along side Russian SOF who have fought in Ukraine against UAF????

Syrian thread has additional photos...

Outlaw 09

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 3:25am


W. #Manbij: #SDF/#YPG reversed all #EuphratesShield gains and even seized Jubb Al-Amir. Graphic video. …

Will not post video BUT it depicts execution style head shots on all killed FSA fighters.....

Head shots....was SDF trained on using this tactic and or where US SOF involved in the actual US SOF have been reported recently as accompanying SDF in the close up fighting ...

Outlaw 09

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 3:15am

SO now we have US SOF with BIG US flags flying driving around the Manbij area AND Russia SOF driving around with BIG Russian flags flying in the same EXACT same battlespace.....AND Turkey and FSA fighting directly Russian and US SOF supported proxies....WITH US Marine artillery firing support against the Turks/FSA.....

JUST HOW MUCH more convoluted can this get????

AND IS..laughing all the way to the bank.....

DoS Tillerson has not said a single word....SecDef Mattis is not saying a single word...AND certainly nothing out of Trump....

What a mass confused piece of chaos we are seeing and I was critical of Obamaa's lack of actions in Syria????

Outlaw 09

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 3:09am

CONFIRMED US SOF and Russian SOF now supporting Assad forces and US named terror groups in their ongoing attacks against Turkish and Syrian opposition forces FSA.

So the Trump FP in Syria is to attack Turkey a NATO member and the Syrian opposition not IS?????

Aleppo Agreement Btw #Russia & #Manbij Military Council Today.

W. #Manbij: #Russia|n SOF wearing #SDF Manbij Military Council (#MMC) patch.

Confirmed: Regime forces entered #SDF/#YPG controlled territory heading to W. #Manbij & current frontline with #FSA (clashes ongoing).

Convoy of at least 20 Regime vehicles (no armor) spotted in W. #Manbij carrying 100+ fighters (so called "border guards").

W. #Manbij: intense clashes are raging between #FSA and #SDF/#YPG on Boughaz-Quahiuk frontline W. of Arimah.
Attached Images

Outlaw 09

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 4:49am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

REMEMBER the US named these two as terror groups YET are providing them direct support in Manbij.....

I thought Trump was fighting terrorist anywhere in the world?

APPEARS he is not...

The PKK-affiliated Yazidi militia “YBS" held meetings with the Iran-backed designated terror org Kataib Hezbollah yesterday in Iraq.

BUT WAIT...I thought the US SOF fought to assist the Yazidi who now appear to be associated with a US named terror group????

Outlaw 09

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 2:59am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

US/Russian/SDF/Assad alliance against the #FSA at #Manbij now clear—major domestic & international actors standing against the revolution.

AND against Turkish aims inside Syria....Turkey a NATO member fighting a 40 year war with Kurdish PKK....

AND Trump talks about fighting terrorism....

BUT even the US Marines are supporting Hezbollah...Russia...Iraqi Hezbollah and PKK...ALL US named terror groups....Russia being named for war crimes for their actions in bombing hospitals and aid convoys....

U.S Marines have arrived in NE #Syria to lend artillery support (w. M777 howitzers) to #YPG/#SDF battle for #Raqqa: 

Regime forces arrive in W. Manbij, clashes ongoing b/w SDF & Turkish backed rebels -

AND Bloomberg says the US forces together with Russian forces were to separate the two fronts....instead they are supporting these direct clashes.....

US MSM has never really covered Syria well and the fighting there...

Outlaw 09

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 1:20am

Sometimes one has to wonder just where US MSM is these days.....

I have been posting well over a year now on the Syrian thread and first blasted Obama for his apparent non understanding of his Kurdish proxy YPG/SDF which is just a fig leaf covering the US named terror group PKK a communist insurgency fighting Turkey for over 40 years.

If you also read the Syrian thread you will see this particular event unfolding several weeks ago complete with battle and videos...

Right now under the Trump WH US SOF and USAF are directly supporting the following groups....

1. Russian troops and providing CAS for Russian and Assad mercenary troops

2. Iranian supported and US named terror group fighting also Israel

3. Iraqi Shia militia KH or Iraqi Hezbollah...a US named terror group that killed Americans in Iraq

4. SDF...the US so called Arab Kurdish proxy....which fights under YPG the Kurdish fig leaf for the US named terror group PKK a Kurdish communist group fighting Turkey for over the last 40 years...

5. IRGC troops from a number of their units

6. Assad troops...a dictator using ethnic cleansing, genocide and starvation to cleanse Sunni's...

While the article alludes to possible clashes..they have been ongoing since over a week now and the US SOF is being caught in the middle of the fighting which will not stop as the Turkish supported Syrian opposition views Russia...Iranian troops and Shia militias as their true enemies as they are in fact occupying Syria...

Turkey also feels basically lied to my both Russia and especially the US who told them multiple times the US would push SDF/YGB out of Manbij which they view rightly as being Arab not Kurdish....

WHY Trump wants to do joint ops against a NATO partner is truly strange for a US President....

Maybe Bloomberg would be well advised to get involved and report far more on this topic as it is going to get bad in the coming days and weeks...AND US SOF lives are at stake....