Failed Coup in Turkey: 15/07/2016

Maj. Gen. Jamie Jarrard, Special Operations commander for the American-led coalition in Iraq and Syria and overall coalition commander Lt. Gen. Paul Funk made a clear statement. “Hit us, and we will respond aggressively.”
To which Erdogan today replied "It is very clear that those who say ‘we will respond aggressively if you hit us’ have never experienced an Ottoman slap." I suppose an Ottoman slap isn't the unconventional sexual activity it sounds like?
Pro-Assad militias to enter Syria's Afrin: state media
An interesting twist that I note Sergey mentioned yesterday. Assad govt supported militias entering Afrin to support the YPG. Could this mean the guarantees Erdogan got from Putin are worthless?
“Popular forces will arrive in Afrin in the next few hours to support the steadfastness of its people in confronting the aggression which Turkish regime forces have launched on the region,” state news agency SANA reported, citing its correspondent in Aleppo.

On Sunday, a senior Syrian Kurdish official said Kurdish forces and the Syrian government had reached a deal for the Syrian army to enter Afrin, and that it could be implemented within two days.
Turkey warns Syrian army against helping Kurdish YPG in Afrin
Turkey responds to the reported support of the YPG by the SAA and allies. ‘Nothing and nobody can stop Turkish soldiers’. Looks like Erdogan has made phone calls to Putin and Rouhani.

Will the SAA and allies support the YPG or the Turks? Has Erdogan bitten off more than he can chew? Can anyone trust Assad’s forces? As if the Syrian civil war wasn’t complicated enough:
“If (the Syrian army) comes in to defend the YPG, then nothing and nobody can stop Turkish soldiers,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in Jordan. Turkey would have no issue with Syrian troops entering Afrin if they did so to “cleanse” it of the Kurdish fighters, he added.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan later said in a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin that Damascus would face consequences if it struck a deal with the YPG and said the Afrin operation would continue, CNN Turk reported.

There was no immediate comment from the Syrian military or from Moscow.

Erdogan also spoke to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani about developments in Syria’s Idlib and Afrin, a Turkish source said.
Turkey foiled Syrian move into Afrin after Putin talks: Erdogan
Erdogan believes he's done it i.e. after his phone call with Putin the SAA and allies won't be entering Afrin. He believes the siege of Afrin will start soon and also believes this will stop the YPG there from negotiating with anyone(?) and prevent outside aid getting there:
“The (Syrian deployment) was seriously stopped yesterday... It was stopped,” Erdogan told reporters following a speech in parliament.

When asked if the deployment was stopped after talks with Putin, Erdogan said: “Yes, it was stopped after those talks”.


In the speech to members of his ruling AK Party, Erdogan also promised that a siege of Afrin would begin soon.

“The sieging of the Afrin city center will start rapidly in the coming days. This way, both outside help to the region and city will be cut off, and the terrorist organization will not have the means to negotiate with anyone,” he said.
Pro-Syrian government forces enter Afrin to aid Kurds against Turkey
Maybe Erdogan spoke too soon? Maybe his phone call with Vlad wasn't what he thought it would be? Reports of Assad govt backed militias entering Afrin and joing up with the YPG:
Pro-Syrian government forces entered Syria’s northwestern Afrin region on Tuesday to help a Kurdish militia there fend off a Turkish assault, raising the prospect of a wider escalation of the conflict.

Soon after the convoy of militia fighters - waving Syrian flags and brandishing weapons - entered Afrin, Syrian state media reported that Turkey had targeted them with shellfire.

The confrontation pits the Turkish army and allied Syrian rebel groups directly against the military alliance backing the government of President Bashar al-Assad, further scrambling northwest Syria’s already messy battlefield.
Also reports of Turkish armed forces shelling the militias, but these are put down to 'firing warning shots'. The militias still advanced:
Turkish state media reported that Turkish artillery had fired warning shots and forced the Syrian fighters back before they reached Afrin.

But Syrian television showed them passing through a checkpoint that bore the insignia of the Kurdish security force, some chanting “one Syria, one Syria”, and driving further into the enclave.
His whole approach to the situation was of the glorious martyrdom of a child. And... a prime example of why Europe has questioned the human rights, human values, and suitability of Turkey to be part of the EU.
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Czech court orders release of Syrian Kurd leader despite Turkish...
Mentioned on the Syrian thread but it looks like the Czechs have released Muslim the Syrian Kurd politician. I guess they're now off the Christmas card list:
“The court ruled Mr. Muslim will be released,” said Marketa Puci, a spokeswoman for the Prague Municipal Court. She said the court ruling had taken effect as both the state attorney and the defence gave up their rights to appeal.

The decision means Turkey can file an extradition request within a 40-day period, but Muslim is free to leave the country.
Turkey rejects U.S., French calls for Afrin ceasefire in Syria
Turkey for some reason disputes the words "cease hostilities without delay ... for a durable humanitarian pause for at least 30 consecutive days throughout Syria” and says they don't apply to Afrin. They're obviously not the only ones to be ignoring the unanimous UNSC Resolution as most other protagonists seem to be.

Macron said he told Erdogan it does apply. Apparently he didn't tell Erdogan that:
On Monday French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said he had told Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan that the U.N. demand “applied to all of Syria, including Afrin, and should be implemented everywhere and by all without any delay”.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy challenged that account, saying Macron did not specifically mention Afrin in their telephone conversation about the ceasefire resolution.

“Our reaction regarding the error of giving false information to the public was conveyed to French authorities,” Aksoy said.
The US says it does apply (after all Afrin is in Syria) but Turkey say as it doesn't mention Afrin it doesn't apply:
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters on Tuesday that Turkey should read the ceasefire resolution, to “see what the world... is saying about this”.

Aksoy said the resolution did not specifically mention Afrin, and Turkey’s operation there was “a fight that is carried out against the terrorist organizations that target Turkey’s national security and Syria’s unity”.

Nauert’s statement “is unfounded and it shows that they are not able to understand the focus of the resolution, or they want to distort it”, Aksoy said.
Interesting confirmation of background, and how we/they arrived at this position . . . .

Understanding the Turkish mindset

"Located between West and East, the Republic of Turkey links Europe to the Middle East and the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. The country also controls two maritime chokepoints and holds significant economic, military and cultural influence throughout the region. However, the union between the country’s capital-rich cosmopolitan western provinces and the underprivileged conservative eastern regions has shaped a duality in the geopolitical mindset of Turkey".
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Deadly attack on Turkish troops in Syria
Eight more Turkish servicemen killed for (imo) Erdogan's vainglory, especially as the unanimous UNSC Resolution says ".....30 consecutive days throughout Syria”
Eight Turkish soldiers have been killed in fighting in the north Syrian region of Afrin, the military says.

Another 13 were injured in the clashes on Thursday, with several said to be in a critical condition.

It is one of the bloodiest days for Turkish troops since they began a major offensive against Kurdish fighters in Afrin in January.
Nothing confirmed but it looks like the Kurds used tunnels to ambush Turkish SF and then attacked the MERT (equiv) assets:
Turkey's military announced its latest casualties in two statements on Thursday.

Five "heroic comrades fell as martyrs and seven were wounded", the first statement said. A second statement announced three more soldiers had been killed and six more wounded.

No official details of the clashes were given but the private Dogan news agency says Kurdish fighters used tunnels to ambush Turkish special forces in the Keltepe district.

A Turkish helicopter sent in to rescue the wounded was hit and had to turn back, the report adds.
I was taught to play backgammon by an old boy in a carpet shop in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul back in the early eighties shortly after leaving school. He told me that there are two ways to play backgammon "the European way and the Turkish way" The European way meant following the rules, the Turkish way meant cheating. I learn't a valuable lesson from the old boy, never ever trust a Turk.
Turkish warplanes hit pro-Syrian government forces in Afrin, kill...
Interesting, if true. I've not seen anything official from either Turkish or Assad's govt sources yet:
Turkish warplanes struck pro-Syrian government forces in the northwestern Afrin region of Syria on Saturday, killing at least 36 of them, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

It said this was the third time in 48 hours that Turkish warplanes had struck pro-government forces that entered Afrin last week in support of the Kurdish YPG militia as it fights to stave off an offensive by Turkey and allied Syrian militias.

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