Anti-Empire

Military Genius Erdogan Gets Hundreds More of His Troops Encircled in Syria

As Sergei Lavrov explains to him this is a Russian as well as a Syrian operation

To stop the ongoing — and wildly successful — Russian-backed Syrian offensive Erdogan ordered hundreds of additional Turkish troops to pour into Syria’s al-Qaeda-held Idlib and put themselves in the way of the advancing Syrian army.

This first got 7 of his troops killed when the Syrians at night mistook the Turks for Islamist rebels, and now it has resulted in all of the new troops becoming encircled.

The Turkish posts around the strategically extremely important town of Saraqib indeed prevented the Syrians from marching into it, on the main highways. Instead, the Syrian army went around the Turks and encircled the entire town, but not before allowing the demoralized rebels to escape first.

So you now have a situation where the Syrians are encircling a town of theirs that is empty but for the Turkish troops (the civilians fled the fighting days and weeks ago) that Erodgan sent to save it for al-Qaeda. Likely in the coming days, the Syrian army will enter the town, seeing it represents a very important juncture of two national highways, and subject the Turks to an even tighter encirclement.

Thus the number of Turkish posts encircled by the Syrian army grew from four to eight, all but one of them encircled in this latest offensive.

Erdogan said yesterday that he had issued an ultimatum to Vladimir Putin to by February-end get the Syrian army to retreat to the lines held before the last two Idlib offensives, or else he will tell his army and air force to do it.

For his part, Mike Pompeo has said the US stands by Turkish efforts to stop the “unjustifiable” Syrian offensive. Sergei Lavrov meanwhile pointed out that Turkey failed to fulfill its part of the Sochi truce and was thus in no position to issue demands. Lavrov’s Foreign Ministry also disclosed that Russian soldiers have also died supporting the current offensive. No, I don’t think that Russians will be telling the Syrians to give back Syrian territory to al-Qaeda that not just Syrian, but also Russian soldiers, have died to recapture for the Syrian state.

One of the Turkish bases that now finds itself encircled behind Syrian lines (albeit the Syrians do allow resupply)

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