Putin’s Buddy Erdogan Is Waging a Proxy War Against Him in Syria, Has Amped Up Weapons to Rebels — Reuters

Turkey has reportedly sent weapons to al-Qaeda-allied rebels to try and blunt Syrian-Russian Idlib offensive

Editor’s note: According to Reuters here Erdogan tried and failed to convince Moscow to stop the Idlib offensive, so he amped up arms shipments to rebels instead. Not sure what to make of that—if it’s true or not, so I’ll stick it here and let you decide for yourself. There were Turkish-supplied armored cars in the Kafr Nabouda counter-stroke  but they could have been from a batch Ankara sent last year.

Turkey has equipped an array of mainstream Syrian rebels it backs with fresh supplies of weaponry to help them try to repel a major Russian-backed assault, senior opposition officials and rebel sources said on Saturday.

Russia is backing the Syrian army’s large aerial and ground assault as it seeks to gain control of the last big stretch of rebel-held territory in the northwest of the country.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launched the assault last month, saying rebels had breached an existing ceasefire, triggering a civilian exodus by bombarding Idlib and adjacent areas. It has been the biggest escalation since last summer between Assad and his enemies in Idlib province and a belt of territory around it.

Ankara stepped up supplies in recent days after failing to persuade Russia in recent meetings of a joint working group that it should end its escalation to avert a major influx of refugees pouring into Turkey, two senior opposition figures said.

In doing so Turkey signaled its readiness to preserve its influence in northwestern Syria, where it has beefed up its troop presence in a dozen military bases that were set up under a de-escalation deal with Russia, a senior rebel commander said.

Turkish officials were not immediately available to comment.

Overnight, a Turkish military convoy arrived at a base in northern Hama near rebel-held Jabal al Zawiya, where Russian and Syrian jets have been pounding for weeks, a rebel and a witness said.

The delivery of dozens of armored vehicles, Grad rocket launchers, anti-tank guided missiles and so-called TOW missiles, helped roll back some Syrian army gains and retake the strategically located town of Kafr Nabouda, one senior opposition figure said.

The TOW missile had been the most potent weapon in the arsenal of rebel groups battling Assad during the conflict. It was extended by Western and Arab foes of Assad until a CIA-led program of military support to help moderate rebels was suspended in 2017.

A Western intelligence source said Washington had given a “greenlight” for the Turkey-backed mainstream rebels to use the TOW missiles, which had been in storage in the latest campaign.

Washington, which has criticized Russia’s latest campaign and urged a ceasefire, also said it saw signs that Assad has used poison gas in the latest offensive and warned that it would respond “quickly and appropriately” if this were proven.

Assad has denied such allegations throughout the war.

A spokesman for the Turkey-backed National Liberation Front (NLF), Captain Naji Mustafa, did not confirm or deny any new supplies by Turkey, saying rebels had long had a big arsenal of weapons from anti-tank to armored vehicles “alongside material and logistical support by our Turkish brothers”.

The retreat from Kfar Nabouda was an upset to a Russian goal of a speedy military campaign to gain another slice of heavily populated Idlib province.

In the last 24 hours, the Syrian army has been sending large troop reinforcements ahead of opening a new front, a source in touch with Syrian army commanders told Reuters.

The Syrian army said on Saturday it continued to intensify its attacks on what it called terrorist hideouts in the northwest.

A Turkey backed-rebel grouping called the National Army, which operates in northwestern border areas near Turkey, has been allowed to join mainstream rebel factions along the frontlines.

“Large numbers of our fighters have joined with all their weapons to repel the assault,” said Major Youssef Hamoud, their spokesman.

The rebels’ readiness to put aside differences that once led to bloody internecine fighting has united jihadists and mainstream rebels for the first time in years.

Source: Reuters

  1. The Globalist says

    Like you said in your first line “I am not sure if it is true”. The moon could possibly be made of cheese, too, but I am not sure it is true. But someone told me that, so let’s go with that.

  2. cap960 says

    Noticed the coincidence…every time the Syrian army with its true allies go after the terrorists, the west screams “wolf”. Assad is attacking his people with gas. Russian is killing civilians they say. Yet!! Not a word is utter about the true atrocities coming from the Yanks and its obeying clowns. As American as acts of terror.

  3. silver749 says

    A copy of what the USA did 5-6 years ago in Syria. Moderate rebels they called their paid Alqaeda friends.

  4. jm74 says

    Wuldn’t surprise me if the Turks are colluding with the US and all that show about the Kurds is just a distraction as is the Iranian crisis which could be a decoy and the real target is Syria and Russia. So far Erdogan has been all mouth about the Kurds but has managed to occupy Syrian territory as has the US.

  5. eddie says

    A lot of these head-choppers have already been defeated in other areas of Syria, but rather than rotting in Hell, they were given comfortable coach rides to Idlib, where the Syrian army gets to defeat them again..
    Wonder where they will be allowed to move this time?

    1. che guevera says

      In hind sight they should have just dealt with them at each of these different locations even if it meant ? well, it would mean exterminating or capturing all of them there, when they had relative control, as opposed to a bigger war now, complicated by Turkey. and the US. The US would just carpet bomb the place, fire bomb it like Dresden. squeeze them out like cockroaches, kill them all. This is a mess, I heard the ISIS people had use of 70,000 total men fighters all armed ?

  6. thomas malthaus says

    We’ll probably soon observe a travel ban against Russian federation citizens entering Turkey.

    Tayyip’s two faces..

    1. Canosin says

      it’s like self castration….. if Tayyip does declare

  7. watcher12 says

    Perhaps the rebels will surrender to the SAA and ask if they can stay and help rebuild what they have destroyed for nothing more than pay. There is no cause they can pursue that they can only push by bombing civilians. They have nothing but violence to offer – time to let go of violence and move to peace. Can they be offered a way to stay in Syria and be part of the solution? Wouldn’t that be an odd but good ending to this whole anti-Assad affair. Perhaps they could move to a more empty part of Syria under watchful eyes and in small separated communities.

  8. Mistaron says

    If Erdogan betrays Putin again I think the Russians will very quietly and coldly see to his demise. S400’s or not.

  9. BillA says

    what an amazingly intertwined and conflicted web of opposing/allied interests
    can’t they just keep fighting until they are all dead ?
    (let the jews do it ?)

    1. Canosin says

      dream on…. the cowards never do fight openly….. but we know who they are….. start the eradication

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