Turkish Tanks Shell Syrian Kurds who expelled ISIL from Zur Maghar

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Syrian Kurds and the British based Syrian Observatory said Monday that Turkish tanks had shelled the village of Zur Maghar near Kobani on the Syrian side of the border held by the YPG [People’s Protection Unit] leftist Kurdish militia. Four of its fighters were wounded. The YPG took this area away from Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) with American and coalition aerial support. A Turkish government spokesman said that the current Turkish campaign does not target the Syrian Kurds.

The report of Turkish hostilities comes even as the Kurds took the village of Sarrin near Aleppo away from Daesh, cutting another key supply route for the faux caliphate based in Raqqa southeast of Aleppo.

Daesh still holds Jarabulus behind Aleppo on the border with Turkey, but a US-Turkish plan envisages a demilitarized zone stretching from Jarabulus west.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Monday that his government did not want to see a Daesh presence on the Turkish border. He also said that Turkey has no intention of sending infantry over into Syria.

The government Anadolou press agency outlined steps the government is taking to stop pro-Daesh volunteers from crossing its 560-mile border with Syria:

“A 365 kilometer (225 mile) ditch to stop vehicle crossings, a 70 km rampart and a concrete wall stretching for 7 km are among the border security measures, as well as a 22 km accordion barrier.

On the Syrian border, 145 km of wire fencing has been renewed and improved lighting and roads along a 270 km stretch make it easier to guard. . .

Recently, the Turkish media has reported on a project that will include a 3.5-meter high concrete wall along the border with Syria as well as improved lighting, more fences and ditches, watchtowers, aerial observation and an improved patrol road network.”

Monday afternoon, Turkish planes took off from a base near Diyarbakr to bombard Qandil and other positions in Iraq of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) terrorist organization, which had killed two Turkish policemen last Wednesday in revenge for what it maintained was the Turkish government’s responsibility for last week’s horrific bombing of socialist youth activists at Suruc. (The bombing was by Daesh and the Turkish government had nothing to do with it.)

Analysts are questioning whether Turkey can pull off a two-front war, against both Daesh and the PKK. Kurdish guerrillas have been the most effective fighters against Daesh.

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Related video added by Juan Cole:

Euronews: ” Turkey appears to attack Kurdish targets in Syria”

10 Responses

  1. Erdogan (apparently with the full support of the AKP and the military) is doing his best to compete in the race for the most selfish, most destructive national leader among today’s nation-states.

    As a young American reading history, I tended to gravitate towards an admiration of Ataturk the man and the “Kemalist project” in general (compared to the alternatives). But the paranoia the Turkish nationalists have amply demonstrated, in recent decades, on even recognizing the existence of a Kurdish people or a Kurdish language does not speak well of their own confidence in the nation and the culture they have created.

  2. Its like Turkey and Saudi Arabia are more interested and motivated in bombing their armed and unarmed religious or ethnic opposites and populations, who seem less threatening, than in tackling militant religious extremists, who are much worse.

    • Not like at all. Exactly. One’s Wahhabi, the other’s Muslim Brotherhood. So it goes.

    • There’s more on Turkish support of Daesh from The Guardian this past Saturday: link to theguardian.com
      “One senior western official familiar with the intelligence gathered at the slain leader’s compound said that direct dealings between Turkish officials and ranking Isis members was now ‘undeniable’.”

  3. What sad, discouraging developments. With allies like Erdogan and the Saudis, who needs enemies?

  4. ‘Analysts are questioning whether Turkey can pull off a two-front war’

    The US and its allies are waging war on many fronts – Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine, Yemen.

    They seem to view ISIL less as an enemy than as a useful source of anti-Shia foot soldiers.

    • >They seem to view ISIL less as an enemy than as a useful source of anti-Shia foot soldiers.

      The us itself clearly isnt taking this stance.

      • I respectfully disagree.

        Uncle Sam’s war against Qaeda/Nusra/ISIL is, like Turkey’s, illusory. The US has been using Sunni militants as foot soldiers since Afghanistan; Ambassador Stevens was routing takfiris and weapons from Benghazi to the Syrian rebels via Turkey.

        The US has sided with the Saudi royals and outlaw Israel in deeming Iran-Hezbollah-Houthis as the Mid East’s major evil-doers.

  5. interesting flat declarative statement:

    “The bombing [at Suruc] was by Daesh and the Turkish government had nothing to do with it.”

    . . . Daesh wounded are regularly treated in Turkish hospitals. They are regularly filmed crossing the border and hobnobbing with Turkish guards. Now it transpires that the Turkish government was also actively cooperating with Daesh in accepting shipments of Daesh oil into Turkey, and the US found extensive evidence of this in a raid on the defacto Daesh oil minister. Thus Turkey also provided the economic life-line to the whole “Caliphate” operation. (link to theguardian.com)

    If nothing else the attack happened because the Turkish secret police has a policy of allowing Daesh to do pretty much what they like in Turkey. And – surprise! – the one time Daesh does pull off a terrorist attack in Turkey, it’s precisely, not against anyone in any way associated with the Turkish government or security forces, or even foreign tourists (with whom they seem to mingle freely on those beaches) but against the very people the AKP government hates the most: leftist Kurds and their Turkish supporters. You know, like all those HDP voters who got mysteriously blown up during the election in Diyarbakir. . .

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