Erdogan Escalates Threats, Syria Ignores Him, Scores Massive Gains

Aleppo celebrates, but Erdogan has 7000 troops in Idlib, unquestioned US support, and a penchant for occupying pieces of Syria

Erdogan has escalated threats, saying he will not wait until end of February to push the Syrian army back to its starting lines if it does not start withdrawing:

“The solution in Idlib is the regime withdrawing to the borders in the agreements. Otherwise, we will handle this before the end of February,” Erdoğan said.

Until we clear Syria of terrorist organizations and the cruelty of the regime, we will not rest easy,” he said.

The Trump administration’s unqualified (if wholly rhetorical) support for whatever Erdogan may wish to do there, as long as it goes against the Russians may have had something to do with that:

In a statement released by the White House on Sunday, Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said Trump – in a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – “conveyed the United States’s desire to see an end to Russia’s support for the Assad government’s atrocities and for a political resolution to the Syrian conflict”.

“Trump expressed concern [yesterday] over the violence in Idlib, Syria and thanked Erdogan for Turkey’s efforts to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe,” Deere said.

Either way, the Syrian army has been completely ignoring Erdogan’s demands, ultimatums and threats and it has paid off handsomely for Damascus. It has continued to make gains daily, and scored a gigantic success yesterday as rebel defenses in western Aleppo suburbs crumbled after they were outflanked from the south.

Inside a day the Syrian army gained the majority of the urbanized territory that represented the most valuable real-estate still in rebel hands. The rest of the salient will follow today or tomorrow at the latest.

This marks the definite end of the 8-year Battle of Aleppo as rebels which two days ago still held some suburbs technically inside the city limits have now been pushed far to the west. Aleppo citizens, completely besieged by Islamists in 2013, for one celebrated:

In fact, the rebel’s number one sympathizer on Twitter, Julian Ropcke, aka Jihadi Julian, has done invaluable work in counting that since Erdogan first wowed to stop the Syrian army the latter has retaken 96 settlements from the rebels:

Nonetheless, Erdogan has by now poured 7,000 Turkish soldiers with 2,000 vehicles into rebel-held Idlib. That is a very considerable force. What he will do with that is anyone’s guess.

The danger is not so much that he’ll counter-attack the Syrian army trying to throw it back, as that would risk Russian wrath, but that he’ll try to occupy a part of the rebel enclave for Turkey as he has done in northern Syria.

Situation at February 14 day-end, just before Erdogan made his latest round of threats the next day
Situation halfway through today, February 17

Erdogan and Turkey are now the biggest obstacles standing before the Syrian state and army as rebels appear to be completely broken with low morale and quick to retreat.


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  2. Rowdy-Yates says

    One thing about Erdogan that i do like is that he is breaking from the US and NATO and taking Turkey towards Russia. Erdogan also is open to China’s Belt and Roadway Initiative.
    Turkey maybe flexing its military muscle in the ME but it is doing the same against NATO. If Turkey pulls out of NATO and aligns with Russia (as planned) then NATO not only loses all the bases in Turkey but actually begins to collapse. Turkish troop presence in NATO is only 2nd to the US.
    Turkey was the capital of the Ottoman Empire an Empire European Jews deeply disliked.

    1. jm74 says

      Tend to disagree. Turkey and the US are working in unison to break up Syria and control the resources. That is quite obvious and any verbal banter between the two is a well rehearsed tactic and just for show.

      1. Rowdy-Yates says

        Probably. ME politics are so complex it is hard to fully grasp what is really happening. For example if Russia forms this alliance while Turkey is attempting to dismember Syria the long term implication is that America loses. An alliance with Russia has greater effect for America than the attempted dismemberment of Syria which remains under Russian protection.

        1. jm74 says

          Russia and Turkey alliance is for commercial purposes only. The Bosphorus Strait has some strategic value that Turkey controls but not that significant for Russia who controls the Black sea and militarily the Strait. I do have a soft spot for Russia but they are not that innocent as they make out to be (the Iranians have a mistrust for Russia) and their actions in Syria is for selfish reasons. Regarding Erdogan; he is dispensable.

          1. Rowdy-Yates says

            It is much more than that

            Kaleidoscopic changes in the Middle East have produced a constellation of power posing fresh challenges to the United States. The emerging alliance among Russia, Iran and Turkey gained its newest member in Qatar,….On the world stage, the triad of Moscow, Tehran and Ankara has made its mark by acting as prime mover to end Syria’s long-running civil war. But their economic interests have been in play for more than two decades and geopolitical considerations have a longer history</i>.

            [Russia-Iran-Turkey Alliance Puts the US on Back-Foot] Yale Global Online

            1. jm74 says

              Turkey and Qatar support the Brotherhood and Russia is dead set against any form of terrorism. Once again acting friendly doesn’t mean you are friends. Credit must be given to Putin and his cabinet; they do manage to have the West guessing which is to Russia’s advantage; “don’t let one hand know what the other is doing” so to speak.
              Putin obviously knows that Turkey and Qatar support terrorist and Russia acts accordingly but still keeps her distance. Turkey purchasing the S400 is on credit which keeps Russia in control if Turkey seriously violates their ‘relationship’, they haven’t been delivered 100% nor has the training been completed.

            2. Rowdy-Yates says

              The underlying issue is the Alliance. Alliances are formed between powers and they do not come without inherent problems. An alliance includes the strengths of its members. Friendship is part of it, but not all of it.
              Turkey is buying Russia’s defense system and Russia has also offered it to Iran. Iran will emerge a nuclear armed nation. Usually that is not in the interest of Russia either since Iran could aim her nukes at Russia in some future date
              The overwhelming issue is that Russia is forming an alliance with Turkey and Iran. The historic significance can be seen in the ancient terms.
              It is like the Russian Empire, the Persian Empire and the Ottoman Empire are forming an alliance where the Chinese Empire is going to play a central role.

    2. tapatio says

      You are m/l correct about Erdogan. But, he’s a bowl of Jello, leaning east this month, west next month. Nobody can trust him.

      1. Rowdy-Yates says

        You are right about Erdogan but the foreign policies of Turkey are not simply in the hands of one person. There is a foreign policy committee and a secretary.
        My best guess is that Trump;s negative pressure and Putin’s positive pressure on Turkey should be defining factors. Russia plans to form an alliance with Turkey and Iran while Trump slaps Turkey with sanctions.
        China plans to invest 400 billion into Iran and Russia will invest 10 billon into Iraq while America plans no investments. I am sure the gravitational pull is towards Russia and China.

        1. tapatio says

          Hopefully, Turkey will stabilize toward Russia & China. I’m not too sure how much power their foreign policy committee has – Turkey’s behavior appears to be whimsical – one person, not stable as though a committee were at the helm.

          1. Rowdy-Yates says

            I believe one of the thorny points for Turkey, a member of NATO gets is the shabby treatment from European nations and America. That bias is due to her faith and her historic role of conquering the Byzantine Empire. England played a major hand in dismantling the Ottoman Empire
            I do not believe Russia or China would treat Turkey as some unspoken “pariah” in the manner America does. that could go a long way.

  3. michael houston says

    Syria/Russia are not backing down….. the crowds are on their feet….shouting…cheering…..victory….us/turkey out….death to fascists…..long live Syria….time for the us to return home…..where they will begin the repression of their own people….just as was done in Russia in 1917…..

    1. Mary E says

      Oh for goodness sake! Is it your or anyone’s business what Syria does within its own country? NO. What if the EU was to invade the US because of the atrocities trump has committed against the American people, their governmental
      agencies and departments, environment and healthcare….(of course, the American people would be happy about that). it shouldn’t concern any other country…at all. The US should just depart the Middle East – it causes much more turmoil and death than any of those countries ever have or ever will…..

      1. Frank Williams says

        Somebody needs to grab this biotch by the pussy and shake some sense into her….

        1. RagingAfrikan says

          Lunatics are not welcomed here

        2. tapatio says

          Never mind my earlier comment. Maggots like you aren’t able to grasp the concept of “respect”.

        3. che guevera says

          What kind of depraved worthless prick are you. somebody needs to grab you by your worthless prick and feed it to you. shit for brains.

          1. tapatio says

            Don’t bother responding to that excrement. It is too desperate for attention.

          2. Frank Williams says

            standing up for the cunt asshole, or are you intimating that you’d like to grab my prick, eh phagot?

      2. CHUCKMAN says

        Yes, the US by any normal standards should depart the Middle East, especially Syria and Iraq.

        But the US in its foreign affairs does not go by any normal standards.

        It cares not a piffle about turmoil and death wherever it has goals. Remember this is the country that fire-bombed a number of cities and used atomic bombs twice. It also created a genuine holocaust in Vietnam. And how many societies has it torn apart by bloody coups?

        The security and expansion of Israel are goals, Israel being a very privileged imperial colony, an American pied-a-terre, not just a Jewish state. Just short of a special-case 51st state, something it can never quite be because it just couldn’t be accommodated under the Constitution.

        The wars in Iraq and Syria represented means to those goals by eliminating two adversaries, using two different routes, conventional invasion and hybrid proxy war.

        The Russians destabilized things in Syria, so the US is hanging on to properties that hobble Syria’s ultimate reconstruction.

        If Iraq could get them to leave, they’d have to leave Syria, but Iraq is not being paid much attention to with its requests.

        There really is no one out there to bring great pressure on the US to comply with the rule of law, and virtually all international organizations –
        UN ICC ICJ, etc – have been deliberately hurt and intimidated in recent years.

        America’s major allies in Europe too have been intimidated, have no independent voices, and behave with embarrassing servility.

        These days the US really is in an especially foul mood about paying attention only to what it wants.

    2. cechas vodobenikov says

      another fascist amerikanski packuda

    3. che guevera says

      Utter nonsense. Go back to your cia cubicle.

  4. Frank Williams says

    I wish one of these shithole sandbox dwelling “countries” teaming with sand negros would just go ahead and nuke is-REAL-hell and get the party started in earnest….

    1. Séamus Ó Néill says

      You really show a strong grasp of history and morality. Civilisation (modern), began in the ME and Damascus is one of the oldest cities on earth….in comparison, America, a racist cesspit, was born out of the genocide of the original inhabitants….a practice they happily continue,worldwide, to this present day. Seemingly, America’s answer to everything is steal and destroy, it has worked for about 245 years but Karma is a bitch and the chickens are coming home to roost !

    2. tapatio says

      Franky, Damascus was a city and Syria was an empire while our Anglo-Saxon ancestors were drawing on cave walls.

      The Arabs and others of the Middle East have been held back, invaded, suborned and slaughtered by white, Western greed for Arab oil.

      I don’t know if your sort is capable of respect or respectability or not. But, you might like it if you tried.

      And, in case you weren’t aware, the ONLY Islamic country with nuclear weapons is Pakistan and they aren’t about to “nuke” anybody.

  5. pasha says

    Assad’s atrocities . . . worst Syrian football team ever.

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