Anti-Empire

Turkey’s NATO Military Is Now Al-Qaeda’s Artillery Corps

Syrian-Russian offensive into AQ-held Idlib advances against Turkish artillery support

We have the first visual confirmations that artillery pieces Turkey moved into Syria’s Idlib are indeed firing at the Syrian army.

This means that in pushing back al-Qaeda the Syrian army now has to contend with Turkish artillery fire, and rebel counter-attacks are supported by Turkish cannon and rocket fire.

Mind you the volley of Turkish fire that has been visually confirmed is nowhere near the level that was brought to bear against the Kurdish YPG in the Turkish invasion of Syria’s majority-Kurdish Afrin enclave, when whole batteries and regiments were put to work. Perhaps implying it is more for show — whether meant to impress Moscow, the Syrian army, the rebels, or the public at home — and less for effect.

Thus while Erdogan has technically become a bombardier for al-Qaeda he hasn’t entered the war with both feet yet. My guess is he’s hoping this performance will pause the Syrian-Russian offensive rather than looking to get drawn into combat and a retaliatory spiral with them.

Meanwhile, keep in mind that Al-Qaeda’s domination of rebels who remain in Idlib has never been stronger. Roughly speaking 80 percent of the rebels in Idlib are part of the HTS coalition forged by Syrian al-Qaeda, about 20 percent are part of the non-AQ National Front for Liberation. Nonetheless, they fight shoulder to shoulder, covering each other’s flanks.

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