Members of Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) stand in front of a wall where a portrait of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is displayed in the border town of Jarablus, Syria, October 19, 2016. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Reports have emerged about Turkey’s real agenda for northern Syria after a recent Erdogan tour to the Gulf States. According to Al-Monitor, Ankara outlined plans to militarily take Manbij and Raqqa and establish a “safe zone” administered by a “new national army”. Such an army will be created out the merging of rebel groups and will operate under supervision of the Turkish Armed Forces.

Turkey has already been setting up a new police force in the “liberated areas”. Pictures at their headquarters show the rebel flag together with the Turkish one and a portrait of Sultan Erdogan. Videos of the new security forces have emerged, with their officials chanting “Long live Turkey, Long live Erdogan”.

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As the Turkish army fights against the Islamic State in northern Syria, rebel supporters have been cheering this move as a “liberation” by the “Free Syrian Army”, even when their contribution in the battle is insignificant (not to say useless in the face of recent setbacks at the Al-Bab front).

Ankara has already proposed the Trump administration a joint US-Turkish ground invasion of in order to take Raqqa, which would risk an open confrontation with the Syrian army or the Kurdish forces (supported by the US at this moment).

It is also in the plans of the Turkish government to repopulate northern Syria with Arab and Turkmen civilians. The later may also include Uighur Muslims, whose migration from China to Syria has been heavily encouraged by the MIT, the Turkish intelligence body.

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This “grand design” would be completed with the construction of “mega-cities” which will be filled with hundreds of thousands of refugees (the first time I heard this idea was from Erdogan himself during a conference in Chile the past year).

Going back in history, in Lebanon we found a precedent for such “divide and colonize” approach: the “South Lebanon Army” (earlier known as the “Free Lebanon Army”), an Israel proxy, who controlled south of the country as a cover for the Israeli expansion and plundering of natural resources, in the midst of the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990).

Born in 1976 as a splinter group from the Lebanese Army, the SLA fought against Palestinian militias and their progressive allies in the Lebanese National Movement.

After Israel invaded Lebanon for the first time in 1978, the SLA became a proxy militia at the service of the occupying power, controlling a territory known as the “Security Zone” (a “safe zone”, in our modern-day terminology). It recruited Christian, Shia, and Druze as mercenaries and run concentration camps in coordination with Israel.

This move was seen at the time as an attempt to push for the “Greater Israel” that hardcore Zionists advocated, much as now Erdogan seems to be pushing to create a new “Ottoman Empire”.

After the 1982 invasion, the emerging Islamic resistance movement – Hezbollah – became the SLA’s greatest enemy. Then, a 17-year-long guerrilla warfare spearheaded by Hezbollah and other resistance forces (backed by Syria and Iran) took place, resulting in the expulsion and surrender of SLA mercenaries, and the withdrawal of Israeli army in May 2000. It was the first defeat Israel suffered at the hands of Arab forces in his entire history.

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What this story tells us is that, no matter how strong is the occupying power, their designs for divide and rule are doomed to failure if a strong resistance is build.

The Syrian government will not allow the carving up of their country; local forces will not allow that either. On the other hand, the emergence of an artificial Turkish “statelet” in northern Syria will not please Kurdish organizations – who are also trying to create their so-called “Rojava” as a continuum along the Turkish-Syrian border.

Erdogan’s delusional projects may very well push for closer coordination and cooperation between the Syrian government and Kurdish forces, in an arrangement that could help to speed up the end of this brutal war.


The views of the author do not necessarily reflect those of Al-Masdar News.

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32 COMMENTS

  1. Con ayuda de mercenarios a sueldo y traidores a la nación Siria, Erdogan está imponiendo en lugares ocupados en el norte de Alepo, los Kurdos constantemente denuncian que el ejercito Turco bombardea pueblos fronterizos y ingresan maquinarias al territorio Sirio para derribar hogares y construir caminos, en algunos casos ya están colonizando con ciudadanos Turcos y extranjeros, les comparto el video de Viva a Erdogan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwrnhqThrJs

    • The so called democrats in the MSM pointed their fingers on Assad’s personality cult. And where are they now?

      p.s. All of Erdogan’s recent actions emulate the Germany’s history of the 30’s. The selfcoup followed by an Enabling Act via extended marshal law, the rhetoric against the territorial results of a peace treaty after a previous war. And now Erdogan’s unveiled that he wages a war of conquest.

  2. You didnt like a Strong Secular restore with values etc “Megali Idea“ , Kurdistan Syrian Hatay but you prefered the destruction of Christian ppl (Greeks Assyrians Armenians ) in Anatolia in favor for a”strong” turkey fron against CCCP back in 20s you stupid ” Great western powers” There you are now

    • No. That policy was started by the Entente (colonial nations) after WW I. It started well before US policy of containment against CCCP after 1948.

      p.s. The major Entente nations abandoned their Greek allies after WW I, betrayed their Arab allies after WW I and sold Hatay to gain the Turks as neutral/allies in WW II.

    • You have a little problem of timing! Genocides happened in 1915. Do you know what happened in western Europe between 1914 and 1918? And we were fighting the -at the time- still powerful Ottoman Empire!
      The Sèvres treaty was about dividing Turkey.
      This became void through Mustafa Kemal that created the Turkish state that existed until AKP/Muslim Brotherhood was voted by idiot bigots.
      Well, ust going out to the WW1 but also from the twice most lethal Spanish flu, considering also that Kemal was far to be a buffoon, actually, he was absolutely atheist and he’d have surely liquidated Erdogan, well, “Ataturk” was willing to become a real partner, so, especially with nobody wanting to engage in a war, well, the Turkish Empire being enough dismantled to the taste of the powers that be 1 century ago…

      Gosh, some have seriously missed some history lessons at school.

      • Do I have timing problems?

        Genocides: Armenian and Assyrian during WW II. Another Armenian 1895. A few more during the Balkan wars before.

        The genocide against Greeks and other smaller Greek orthodox nations such as Laso (English spelling?) mainly after 1918 (Great fire of Smyrna 1922 also killed 100.000 Armenians). Greece fought and stood abandoned. When as You say nobody in France and England wanted to help their WW I ally in the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922. The Greek campaign was launched because the western Allies had promised Greece territorial gains. And the Greek saw themselves as protectors of the orthodox. No the Spanish flue January 1918 – December 1920 was not the reason for Entente’s inaction. The two colonial nations France and Britain were already feeding on Arab oil and cared for the murderers no more. And they made a separate peace with the Turks. The two gave each other territories and oil in Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Arabia. How many % Mosul oil for the French? And the two paid the Jewish Zionist bankers for their help to win WW I. By giving away the Palestine mandate territory without a referendum among the local population.

        Gosh. Were You among those that missed the history lesson too? Tongue out.

        BTW. Atatürk’s reforms were one of my oral exams for my university degree.

  3. Erdogan plans to create another North Cyprus. This time in Syria. Turkmen are imported already. Kurdish houses are razed already. Erdogan’s bombs drive away the current population already.

    Just like the Turks did during their previous ethnic cleansings and genocides.

    p.s. Remember Smyrna! The grey wolf fascists are marching.
    They hail to the image of Erdogan Pasha the new Sultan.

    • According to the fact Erdolf destroyed several major Kurdish cities like Cizre etc, putting about 200k ppl out of their homes, that YPG are already about 50k in Syria, a certain number in Turkey, well, an interesting scenario would be to propose to takfiris from any camp a safe passage by the SDF held zone to the Turkish protectorate… And not by green buses but with their heavy weapons… Then, once Syria mostly freed… Just have YPG rushing into Turkey to help PKK… Well, there might be interesting to make them able to do something like a 1st night of NATO intervention by neutralising all air bases, maybe using Scuds, Toshkas etc… And SAA opens also a corridor to al-Bab and begining to push takfiris from the south… could be interesting to have takfiris rushing from 3 fronts, then SAA pushes too against Turkish allies, ending expelling Daesh and other jihadists into Turkey and as Erdolf builds his wall on the Syrian side, well, just drop KAB-1000/1500 against to create breaches…
      BTW, YPG should receive Tunguska and Pantsir systems, these are enough to bust F-16s and Cobras. With a Turkish army deprived of efficient leadership, this may become… Interesting…
      Thus, this would be absolutely nasty, especially as it may reuire to give air-support to the cockroaches but return to the sender at the same time PKK finds itself with serious reinforcement and game-changing weapons and dozens of thousands expelled from their homes wanting revenge, hum hum hum…
      An absolutely disastrous way to have the events backfiring…

  4. The [email protected]

    Nothing wrong turks controlling some part of syria it’s better than US coming from thousands of miles away and taken part of it. After allooking Türkey has the longest border with Türkey and it needs to be kept safe. Also Turkey is one looking after 3 millions syrian refugees

    • Nothing wrong with Syria getting back Hatay, And it is only normal that Turkey that fueled the Syrian war takes 3 million refugees to compensate Syria. Only abnormal that Turkey sent millions of Syrians to the EC.

  5. The author forgot the real reason behind Israel’s move in Lebanon : PLO launched the civil war exactly as they tried before in Jordan -before King Hussein killed just about 25k ‘Palestinians’ and then expelled them- in the goal to take over the country.
    As PLO became in control of south Lebanon, they joyously began to shell daily into Israel, thus triggering the 1978 operation, then the 1982 one.
    PLO ended being ousted from the country by… SAA and Hezbollah.
    Ariel Sharon ended confessing that it was actually Israel that created Hezbollah. Arafat being a Sunni intimately linked in an underground wayto Muslim Brotherhood and BTW, most of Hezbo operations at their beginnings being to attack UNIFIL, they let serious free hand to kick out PLO from South Lebanon. The perfect “useful idiots” as Lenin would have said.