It has begun. With one single directive to the Turkish forces, the Turkish ground forces stationed near Afrin have crossed into Syria and pushed the self destruct button on NATO as we know it. Reports out of Afrin are clear, Turkish armored divisions and troops have moved into Afrin and are now engaged in direct clashes with heavily armed American backed Syrian Kurds.
1/ The ground offensive against Afrin enclave has indeed started. Clashes now inside Afrin province. Kurdish YPG claims it destroyed at least 1 Turkish tank. See video. pic.twitter.com/k81T2OPlbe
— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) January 21, 2018
If the above tweet is accurate, the Turkish forces are already experiencing serious casulties. The SDF, whch the YPG is a majority force in, is well trained and armed with the best weapons. This won’t be a replay of the Iranian backed occupation of Kirkuk, which seemed to catch the US off guard.
According to Rudaw, the SDF has repelled the initial Turkish attack. While it’s true some border villages have been captured by the Turkish army, the heavy and successful resistance is not helpful for Erdogan’s projection of success.
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Meanwhile,France has called for an urgent Security Council meeting over Turkey’s invasion.
— DAILY SABAH (@DailySabah) January 21, 2018
“Ghouta, Idlib, Afrin – France asks for an urgent meeting of the Security Council,” Le Drian said on his Twitter feed. He added that he had spoken with his Turkish counterpart on Jan. 21 morning.
“France is very preoccupied by the situation in Syria and by the brutal degradation of the situation,” Jean-Yves Le Drian said.
“This is why we have called for a Security Council meeting to evaluate all the humanitarian risks, which are very serious,” he said speaking in Algiers on the sidelines of a meeting for western Mediterranean countries.
Despite Turkey’s claim that it notified Syria of the operation, the Syrian regime came out against Ankara’s actions.
“The Syrian Arab Republic decisively condemns Turkish aggression against the town of Afrin, which is an inseparable part of Syria,” a statement released by the Syrian regime said, as quoted by the SANA news agency.
NATO also chimed in and asked Turkey to act “rationally.”
So far the US has stayed quiet, but expect that to change is Erdogan keeps trying to push forward. With Russia staying out of the fray for now, all sides in Syria are on edge for the next big development. Given the fact that Erdogan cannot afford to retreat until he has accomplished his mission for fear of looking weak in the face of the 20 million Kurds in Turkey, this has the very real potential of shattering post World War 2 alliances as well as pulling the US and Russia directly into the quagmire.