Turkey enters Syria

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

TURKISH troops have entered Syria to set up a buffer zone to block the Kurdish drive to control the entire northern frontier and control an arms corridor to break the Syrian siege of the terrorist controlled enclave in western Aleppo. But the United Nations has not authorised the operation and the Syrian government has called it an act of aggression.

Meanwhile the Islamic State’s (ISIS) second-in-command has been killed in action and rebels holding Daraya, a key town in Damascus province, have surrendered following negotiations with the Syrian army. The situation in Aleppo remains tense. The Syrian army, National Defence Forces and the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, supported by Russian and Syrian warplanes, have been pounding the reactionary Nato-backed militias along the only road still open to the rebel-held enclave in the city. Another drive to cut the route off completely is expected within the next few days.

Last week Syria told the UN that “The government of the Syrian Arab Republic condemns in the strongest terms the repeated violations, attacks and massacres that have been committed by the Turkish regime against the Syrian people and against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Syrian state for more than five years.” Syria called on the UN Security Council to condemn these cowardly crimes and take effective measures to force Turkey to stop supporting terrorism end its interference in Syria’s internal affairs.

Turkish troops and tanks crossed the border into Syria on 24th August, allegedly to kick ISIS out of the frontier zone. But the real purpose of operation “Euphrates Shield” is to block the Syrian Kurdish militia’s drive to unite the western and eastern zones of their Rojava autonomous zone, which claims the entire border area with Turkey.

The “Free Syrian Army” and other Turkish-backed rebel militias, supported by Turkish troops and warplanes, marched into the key frontier town of Jarablus on the first day of the invasion. Though supposedly aimed at ISIS, the Turks didn’t fire a single bullet at the ISIS militia which, in fact, joined the Turkish army and its terrorist allies to help them into Jarablus. This is not surprising. In the past Turkey was a “safe haven” for ISIS while President Erdogan’s relatives made their fortune on the illegal oil trade with the Islamic State.

But the Kurdish militias did defend a number of villages in the area which have now fallen into Turkish hands. The Kurds say they knocked out three Turkish tanks and claim that the Turks have tortured their prisoners and killed over 50 civilians during the fighting.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has issued a statement calling the actions of the Turkish army in Syria an invasion and said that Ankara did not coordinate its actions with the United Nations. But this was a pointless gesture, given that the Turkish move was fully endorsed by US imperialism which stands behind all the attempts at “regime change” in Syria.

It has been a bitter lesson for the Rojavan Kurds. They played the American game. They accepted US military aid and they admitted US special forces into their ranks to help fight ISIS. They adopted a sectarian attitude to President Assad’s central government that led to armed clashes with the Syrian army. They did this in the mistaken belief that it would help win US support for a completely autonomous or even independent “Federation of Northern Syria”. Now they’ve discovered that this was never on the cards, with Washington telling them they’ll lose all American support if they don’t do as the Turks say.

The invasion was condemned by the Turkish Labour Party (EMEP), a Marxist-Leninist movement founded in 1996. EMEP chairwoman Selma Gürkan said: “The Syria policy of the AKP government brought nothing but misery and death to the peoples of the region. The support provided to armed jihadi forces brought the conditions of war to within our borders. The result of the government’s Kurdish-phobia has been chaos within the Syrian borders and devastation at home.

“Turkey should keep its hands off Syria, stop supporting armed gangs and avoid agreements with imperialist powers, which will continue the bloodbath in the region. Turkey’s insistence on control of parts of Syria and to interfere with regional maps and the attempted demographic planning mean continued devastation for both Turkish and Syrian populations.”