Skip to comments.Turkish Artillery Barrage Cuts Out 10-km Buffer Strip Inside Syria
Posted on 10/04/2012 12:31:29 PM PDT by drewh
Constrained from a substantial military incursion into Syria by US President Barack Obamas veto and Saudi and Qatari refusals to help pay for it, Turkeys government and military decided to make do with carving out a buffer strip 10 kilometers deep into Syria by continuous artillery barrages. Thursday morning, Oct. 4 at 0300 GMT, Ankara ordered the Turkish army to keep up its cross-border shelling of Syria after the first bombardment Wednesday night in response to the deaths of five Turkish civilians and eight injured by Syrian mortar shells which exploded in their village.
Military sources report the artillery squads were told to aim primarily at Syrian military targets inside this strip, including bases, outposts and Syrian forces on the move. Several Syrian bases and outposts have been hit so far and a large number of Syrian soldiers killed or wounded. Neither Ankara nor Damascus is offering information on casualties. They have imposed a heavy blackout on events so as to keep them under control and avoid the risk of a full-blown war. It was the first time in the 18-month Syrian uprising that Turkey had staged military action against Syria. The first Turkish barrage was fired as NATO foreign ministers met in emergency session in Brussels and the UN Security Council in New York condemned Syria. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also harshly condemned the Syrian shelling but did not commit to any action against Syria except to state that Washington stands behind Ankara
According to our sources, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogans hands are tied. When he asked Washington in the last 48 hours whether the Syrian attack would serve as the pretext for imposing a no-fly zone over northern and central Syria with US Air Force participation, the Turkish prime minister encountered a flat refusal. He was told by administration officials that the president would not change his mind about withholding US military intervention in Syria - especially after US intelligence briefed him last week that, according their latest assessment, Syrian President Bashar Assad would not hold out more than another six months. That is, until February-March 2013 at latest.
At the same time, say Washington sources, the White House did not rule out a limited Turkish border operation for forcing Syrian troops to go on the run and giving the Syrian rebels greater freedom of movement to cross back and forth for arms supplies and medical treatment.
We reported in September that Turkish officers had taken command of two Syrian rebel brigades, the North Liberators and the Tawhid Brigade, which operate mostly in Aleppo. Turkish officers orchestrate their operations without crossing into Syria themselves. By the saturation bombardment of the 10-kilometer strip inside Syria, Turkey plans to drive the Syrian military presence out and enable the two rebel brigades to move in and start establishing a 50-kilometer long protected corridor from Aleppo up to the Killis region of southern Turkey. The big question is how long will Syrian President Bashar Assad tolerate Turkish artillery control of this border strip without fighting back. This decision is not only up to Assad but also to Tehran and Hizballah, both of which are deploying large-scale military strength in Syria in his support.
Debka makes stuff up all the time...need a reliable source to believe any of this.
Clay Blair: “The Turks, commanded by Brigadier General Tahsin Yazici, had arrived in Korea like the Marines, in a blaze of publicity. With their colorful, flowing mustaches, swarthly complexions, and fierce demeanors, they gave war correspondents and others the impression they were very tough soldiers. The reality was that they were ill trained, ill led, and green to combat”.
Mike Michaelis, CO of the US 27th Infantry Regiment who fought in Korea, described in an elegant style the average Turkish soldier that arrived in Korea to fight: “The Turks were commanded by an aged brigadier who had been a division commander at Gallipoli in 1916 fighting the British! He was highly respected, high up in the Turkish military establishment, and took a bust to brigadier to command the brigade. The average Turk soldier in the brigade came from the steppe country of Turkey, near Russia, had probably had only three or four years of school, was uprooted, moved to western Turkey, given a uniform, [a] rifle, and a little smattering of training, stuck on a ship, sailed ten thousand miles, then dumped off on a peninsula – ‘Korea, where’s that?’ – and told the enemy was up there someplace, go get him! The Turk soldier scratches his head and says, ‘What’s he done to me?’”
Raymond Cartier is more caustic, describing the facts with an undisguised ironical manner: “For the Turks is their first appearance they make in Korea. It was preceded by a bright reputation for their bravery, and even for their fierceness. The first news from their battles are shaking the press offices of the American newspapers. The Turks assaulted using the bayonets, they created a massacre and arrested hundreds of prisoners... Their only mistake is that they picked up the wrong enemy: They considered as Chinese the South Koreans that were retreating. When they meet the real Chinese is their turn to get slaughtered. The remaining of the brigade took refuge at the positions of the 38th Infantry Regiment”
Robert Leckie (whose WWII reminiscences were chronicled in the HBO series "The Pacific") clarifies in a straight manner the purpose for which that Turkish “victory” was treated with so much publicity: “The Turks moved out, and then, after reaching the village of Wawon about seven miles east, were brought to the battle which American newsmen, eager for a victory to report (especially, it seems, if it could be about those “Terrible Turks” of whom Americans knew so little), proclaimed around the globe. No small fight ever won more impressive headlines around the world. The word was flashed that the Turks, meeting the Chinese for the first time, had dealt them a bloody repulse at bayonet point; it was the first stirring bit of news from the November battle. But what precisely happened in the first few hours at Wawon is still an open question. The brigade also boasted the capture of several hundred enemy prisoners from among these first “Chinese” waves. The word gave a lift to the neighbors. Lt. Sukio Oji, a Nisei interpreter, was sent by the 2nd Division to interview the prisoners. Instead of Chinese, he found 200 forlorn ROKs who had blundered into the Turkish column while beating their way back from the fight at Tokcon”.
Clay Blair notes with clarity: “Like the war correspondents, Coulter apparently was mesmerized by the Turks and continued to regard them as superhuman fighters rather than the poorly led green troops that they were. Coulter’s misplaced confidence in the Turks led to disastrous consequences”
Clay Blair reports: “But the truth was that these overrated, poorly led green troops broke and bugged out, again leaving the entire right flank of Eight Army exposed”
The CO of the Porto Rican 65th Regiment later on expressed, using obviously disparaging words, his opinion for the Turkish presence in the battle: “On our left flank we had that reliable, unflappable British Brigade and they really caught hell. [On our right] the Turkish Brigade had fallen back some ten or twelve miles. […] As long as the Turks were on the offensive and the Chinese were running, the Turks were pretty good. But when the going was tough, they were hard to find”.
NATO trained Turks vs disorganized Soviet-trained Syrians. My money would be on the Turks.
American-trained ARVN did drop the ball against the Soviet-trained NVA. As did American-trained ROK's against the Soviet-trained NKPA. Note that the Soviet-trained Syrians almost overran the Golan in 1973.
The press that makes a big deal about Syrian use of artillery and air assets against the rebels as a sign of regime weakness don't seem to see American use of these assets as a sign of American weakness. Bottom line is that the Sunni-loving media don't like Assad, but that doesn't mean the Turks will suddenly become this all-conquering military, given their lousy record against the Kurds.
There's this myth that NATO membership converts member countries into lean mean fighting machines, when it's merely a way for them to cut their defense budgets while retaining the right to call on us for help when they need us. It was no accident that Cameron and Sarkozy needed our help to suppress Libyan air defenses.
During the Sino-Japanese War, the Nationalists spent a decade fighting the Japanese and lost 1.4m dead. The Communists - who lost 100K dead - spent most of that time claiming credit for fighting the Japanese while mainly arming and training for the post-war hostilities to come. It's no surprise they beat the Nationalists, who had lost some of their best men to the Japanese. Ultimately, the Communists had Stilwell to thank for their Civil War victory, given that Stilwell decided he was going to win the war in the Pacific using Nationalist troops, even while the Communists were playing the long game of pitting one enemy against another.
I wonder how Turkey will react to Iran providing arms and training to Turkey’s Kurdish rebels?
Yes, the Syrians were a fully mobilized force going up against stripped-down Israeli tank units because of the religious holiday. But the Turks aren't Israelis. Arab militias drove them out of the Middle East.
At least that once they fought (and fought well), and I would likely not be here had they not.
And you are right to be grateful, as anyone else would be for his father to be rescued in the midst of such an ordeal.
Turkey is part of NATO. An Attack on any NATO member requires a response by all NATO members. This could be the tail wagging the dog just before the election.
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