Turkish officers take command of Syrian rebel brigades. N. Israel on alert

BIV

I'm Biv Dick Black, the Over Poster.
Apr 22, 2002
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#1
Turkish officers take command of Syrian rebel brigades. N. Israel on alert

Turkish army officers have assumed direct command of the first two Syrian rebel brigades fighting Bashar Assad’s government forces, according to debkafile’s exclusive sources. This step has sent military tensions rocketing on Israel’s northern borders with Syria and Lebanon in case of a backlash.
The rebel North Liberators Brigade in the Idlib region of northern Syria and the Tawhid Brigade fighting in the Al-Bab area northeast of Aleppo are now taking their operational orders from Turkish officers, who exercise their authority from headquarters outside Syria in the southeastern Turkish city of Gaziantep. Nonetheless, Turkey is considered to have stepped directly into the Syrian conflict marking the onset of foreign intervention.
Western and Arab military circles in the Middle East expect Turkey to extend its command to additional rebel units – not all of them part of the Free Syrian Army.
This first step has already caused waves.

1. The consequences of Turkish military action in Syria were urgently aired with CIA Director David Petraeus when he arrived in Ankara Monday, Sept. 3, debkafile’s intelligence sources reveal. After hearing how and when Ankara proposed to expand its role in the Syrian conflict, Petraeus discussed with Turkish military and intelligence chiefs the likely Syrian, Iranian and Hizballah responses.
He then flew to Israel to continue the discussion there.

2. By then, US, Turkish and Israeli intelligence watchers were reporting unusual military movements in Syria and on Hizballah turf in southern Lebanon – suspected of being preparations for a blowback from the Turkish intervention in Syria.
3. The IDF countered by placing its units guarding the Syrian and Lebanese borders on a state of alert. Wednesday, Sept. 5, an Iron Dome battery was installed in Gush Dan to head off a potential Hizballah missile barrage on central Israel and its hub, Tel Aviv.

4. Later that day, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan commented: "The regime in Syria has now become a terrorist state."

Only a few of Erdogan's listeners understood he was laying international legal grounding for expanding Turkish military intervention in Syria.

debkafile's military sources report that Thursday, Sept. 6, military temperatures remained high-to-feverish along Syria's borders with Turkey and Israel, and along Lebanon's borders with Syria and Israel.
http://www.debka.com/article/22336/...nd-of-Syrian-rebel-brigades-N-Israel-on-alert

If it wasn't an election year, we'd already be involved.
 

Norm Stansfield

私は亀が好きだ。
Mar 17, 2009
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#2
It would be nice if the US would back up a Turkish ground invasion with air support. The whole thing could be over in days, and, since it would be another Muslim country on the ground, Hezbollah and Iran couldn't justify a backlash against Israel.
 

BIV

I'm Biv Dick Black, the Over Poster.
Apr 22, 2002
79,196
27,687
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Seattle
#3
NATO makes plans to back Turkey over Syria spillover

By Jonathon Burch | Reuters – 10 hrs ago

HACIPASA, Turkey (Reuters) - NATO said it had drawn up plans to defend Turkey if necessary should the war in Syria spill over their border again as dozens of people were killed across the Arab nation on Tuesday.

Fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces could be heard from this Turkish border town following on from several days of clashes in the past week. One Syrian villager said a rebel push on the town of Azmarin was expected soon.

In Damascus, rebel suicide bombers struck at an Air Force Intelligence compound used as an interrogation centre - the latest attack to bring the conflict close to President Bashar al-Assad's power base.
"Assad...is only able to stand up with crutches," Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told a meeting of his ruling AK Party. "He will be finished when the crutches fall away."
Erdogan, reacting to six consecutive days when shells fired from Syrian soil have landed on Turkish territory, has warned Ankara will not shrink from war if forced to act.
But his government has also stressed it would be reluctant to mount any big operation on Syrian soil and then only with international support.

It was not clear whether the shells hitting Turkish territory were aimed to strike there or were due to Syrian troops overshooting as they attacked rebels to their north.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in Brussels the 28-member military alliance hoped a way could be found to stop tensions escalating on the border.
"We have all necessary plans in place to protect and defend Turkey if necessary," he said.
Elsewhere in Syria, rebels took control of the town of Maarat al-Nuaman, which lies on the main north-south highway in the northern province of Idlib, after a 48-hour battle with soldiers, according to rebels and activists.

Video sent to Reuters, which activists said was filmed in Maarat al-Nuaman on Monday, showed dozens of fighters on a main street. Other footage purported to show fighters taking over a prison and army-held buildings in the town.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the violence, said 90 people had been killed so far on Tuesday, including 29 soldiers, compared to a death toll of 210 on Monday.
Activists estimated more than 100 dead or wounded in the bombing of the intelligence compound in Damascus.

The militant Islamist group al-Nusra Front said it had mounted the attack because the base was used a centre for torture and repression.
"Big shockwaves shattered windows and destroyed shop facades. It felt as if a bomb exploded inside every house in the area," said one resident of the suburb of Harasta, where the compound was located.

The sharp rise in casualties in the past month indicates the growing intensity of the war, which developed from peaceful protests against Assad in March 2011 into a full-scale civil war.

An estimated 30,000 people have been killed as main cities such as Aleppo, Homs and the capital itself are savagely contested.

U.N. special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi will go to Syria soon to try to persuade the Assad government to call an immediate ceasefire.

ON THE BORDER
In the border area, there was no sign of any breakthrough by either side though activists said rebels killed at least 40 soldiers on Saturday in a 12-hour battle to take the village of Khirbet al-Joz.
Just outside Hacipasa, nestled among olive groves in Turkey's Hatay province, the sound of mortar fire could be heard every 10 to 15 minutes on Tuesday from around the Syrian town of Azmarin. A Syrian helicopter flew over the border.

Villagers used ropes and boats to ferry the wounded across a river into Turkey.

Rebels with AK-47s slung over their shoulders carried an Free Syrian Army officer down to the river bank on the Syrian side, using a carpet and two poles as a makeshift stretcher.
He had been shot in the chest and had a chest drain and drip attached. The rebels said they had dealt with roughly 20 wounded people and two dead on Tuesday.

The seriously wounded are ferried across to Turkey, while those less severely hurt are patched up at a makeshift first aid centre on the river bank and sent back into Syria.
Musana Barakat, 46, an Azmarin resident who makes frequent trips between the two countries, pointed at plumes of smoke in the distance and said Assad's troops were burning houses there.
"There are rebels hiding in and around the town and they are going to make a push tonight to drive Assad's forces out," he said, a Syrian passport sticking out of his shirt pocket.
A crowd gathered around a saloon car, the blood-stained body of a man who had been pulled wounded from the fighting slumped across its back seat. Those with him said he had been rescued alive but died after being brought over the border.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said on Monday the "worst-case scenarios" were now playing out in Syria and Turkey would do everything necessary to protect itself.
Gul and Erdogan, in seeking Western and Arab support, have repeatedly warned of the dangers of fighting in Syria spilling over into a sectarian war engulfing the entire region.
Turkey's chief of general staff, General Necdet Ozel, flew by helicopter to several bases in Hatay province on Tuesday, part of Turkey's 900-km (560-mile) border with Syria.

The shelling of the Turkish town of Akcakale last Wednesday, which killed five civilians, marked a sharp escalation.

Turkey has been responding in kind since then to gunfire or mortar bombs flying over the border and has bolstered its military presence along the frontier.
"We are living in constant fear. The mortar sounds have really picked up since this morning. The children are really frightened," said Hali Nacioglu, 43, a farmer from the village of Yolazikoy near Hacipasa.
Unlike the flat terrain around Akcakale, the border area in Hatay is marked by rolling hills with heavy vegetation. Syrian towns and villages, including Azmarin, are clearly visible just a few kilometers away.
"It's only right that Turkey should respond if it gets fired on but we really don't want war to break out. We want this to finish as soon as possible," said Abidin Tunc, 49, a tobacco farmer also from Yolazikoy.
Turkey was once an ally of Assad but turned against him after his violent response to the uprising. It has nearly 100,000 Syrian refugees in camps on its territory, has given sanctuary to rebel leaders and has led calls for Assad to quit.
(Additional reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis in Amman, Adrian Croft in Brussels, John Irish in Paris; Mariam Karouny in Beirut, Writing by Nick Tattersall,; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Michael Roddy)