Turkish Helicopter Downed by Syrian People’s Protection Units

TeleSur | – –

The Turkish military launched an offensive against Kurdish-held Afrin region over three weeks ago.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has reported the downing of a Turkish military helicopter in Syria. Speaking to members of his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) on Saturday Erdogan said “these things will happen, we are in a war… We might lose a helicopter, but they’ll pay.”

The Turkish military has confirmed the deaths of the two soldiers since the announcement was made.

The People’s Protection Units (YPG), who effectively fought the Islamic State in Syria’s northern region and are now under attack by the Turkish armed forces, also confirmed the helicopter was downed.

A little over three weeks ago the Turkish government launched “Operation Olive Branch,” a military offensive against the mostly Kurdish militia YPG in the Afrin region.

The United States had until now backed the Kurdish militias with military intelligence, air-strike assistance, weapons, and training in their fight against the jihadist group. That support proved to be useful as the YPG played a pivotal role in dismantling I.S, even taking the groups self-declared capital Raqqa. However, the U.S. decided to step back, saying that they no longer held an interest in Afrin.

The Turkish Army is currently working alongside the Free Syrian Army and its offspring the Syrian National Army, both backed by Turkey against the Syrian official government.

The U.S., France, the United Kingdom and Russia have urged the Turkish government to show restraint in its military incursion. However, neither Turkey’s NATO allies nor the Syrian government’s main ally, Russia, has taken direct action against Turkey for the attacks on Syrian soil.

According to Hevi Mustafa, a Kurdish official and top member of Afrin’s local government, the Turkish incursion has killed 160 people, including 26 children and 17 women, and displaced 60,000 people. These numbers have not been independently confirmed, and Ankara denies the claim.

British-based monitor group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reports the Turkish raids on Friday killed seven YPG fighters and two civilians.

According to Turkish officials, the operations aim to establish a 30-km-deep “safe zone” across the border Syria-Turkey border. There are, however, fears that a Turk-led occupation of Afrin could bring about the ethnic cleansing of Kurds living there. None of the YPG´s former allies have provided military support to counter Turkish air and ground attacks.

Since 2011, Syrians Kurds have formed three autonomous cantons in the north. Neither the U.S. nor the Syrian government supports the Kurds’ autonomy plans.

Turkey has justified its military operation calling the YPG a terrorist organization. The Turkish government considers the YPG as an extension of the insurgent Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) at war with the Turkish state since 1984.

The PKK was formed in the late 1970s at a time when the Turkish government banned Kurdish language and culture. Currently, the PKK advocates for democratic confederalism within Turkey.

Via TeleSur


Bonus video added by Informed Comment:

Euronews: “Turkish helicopter downed in northern Syria”

Posted in Kurds,Syria,Turkey | 4 Responses | Print |

4 Responses

  1. Seems to me that the Turks are engaged in armed aggression. The UN is supposed to keep such from happening.

    Turkey can form a security zone on their own side of the border.

  2. Basically, everyone is united in screwing the Kurds, because a domino effect of Kurdish independence damages client states of all the puppetmasters. ISIS is expended, so the only force that stood up to ISIS is now expendable. If the inevitable replacement for ISIS arises and nothing stands in its way, well, that’s next year’s problem. But staving off Kurdistan is every year’s problem.

  3. Background.
    it takes ground troops to occupy land.
    In the typical battle in WW II, opposing ground forces duked it out,
    until one side convinced the leaders on the other side to withdraw.
    Aerial bombardment was massive,
    but not accurate enough to be integrated into the fight being waged on the ground.
    Aerial bombardment was most significant in disrupting reinforcements and resupply, miles from the front lines (“forward edge of the battle area,” in military jargon.)

    That is not how the fighting is going in Syria today, at least not the fighting involving US forces and US proxy forces.

    In today’s war,
    the US Air Force does massive bombardment –
    – more bombs in Syria in the last 3 years than in all of WW II, I’ve read –
    with a precision that was unthinkable even during the first Gulf War, 1990-91.
    In Raqqa, Tel Afer, Mosul, Idlib, you name it,
    before we sent in our Kurdish proxies,
    we turned those cities into rubble.
    Most buildings were destroyed,
    and the few left standing were unrepairable.

    During the bombing, our proxies,
    and the US military personnel accompanying them,
    waited at a distance, giving feedback that was used to adjust the bombing.
    Only after every living thing was presumed dead did our forces enter the cities and occupy them.

    No longer does the infantry “close with and destroy the enemy.”
    no need for taking the risks of close combat.
    That’s why its so great to have not just “air superiority” but “total air dominance.”

    This method of war is really tough on civilians, but today’s military classifies everyone in the battlespace as “terrorists,” so no need to worry about collateral damage or civilian casualties.
    One adversary that we went after in this manner was ISIS.
    But my guess is that we spent more effort, more than 50%, going after other parties in Syria.
    The official number of US military personnel in Syria is between 500 and 2,000.
    But in September 2017 there were, by my estimate, from personal observation, at least 5,000 US Army personnel operating in Northern Syria, and many (?most?) of those were on Special Forces Operational Detachments (A Teams.) That number has only gone up.
    If a unit, say a Ranger Battalion, is sent into Syria for less than 90 days, say 80 days,
    and replaced by another Ranger Battalion who only is in country for 80 days,
    then those 700+ soldiers don’t count as being assigned to or deployed to Syria.

    These 5,000+ soldiers, plus maybe a smattering of Delta Force, and Marines, and SEALs, and AF pararescue and combat controllers, in addition to the force necessary to secure and operate at least 2 expeditionary airbases and maybe 24 Combat Outposts, get their medical, logistical and other support from US activities on a string of bases in Southeast Turkiye. Command and Control is in Turkiye. ISR is launched from Turkiye. Personnel Recovery is based in Turkiye.
    And I’m not even counting the CIA and Department of State personnel there, or the support Contractors there.
    The Turkish helicopter looked to me – I’m an old guy – like it was made in the USA.
    My guess, the rocket that shot it down was also made in the USA, and made its way into Syria by way of Turkiye. Does it really matter who paid for it, or who gave it to the Kurdish forces who used it ? The USA knew about and didn’t stop the transfer.
    We have some culpability for that shoot-down.

    Turkish intelligence knows this.

    Unless the USA does something drastic to change the tune,
    like maybe extraditing Gulen,
    there is going to be some disruption in how the US military operates in Turkiye, affecting how we operate in Syria.

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