by BAKİ GÜL
When the gang groups dubbed the FSA suffered hundreds of casualties, Al-Nusra members from Idlib and ISIS members arrested in Jarablus and Turkey were dressed in FSA uniforms and pushed to the fronts in Afrin.
There are clashes in three sides of Afrin. It is day 34 in the Turkish army’s attempt to invade Afrin. I had the chance to see the Rajo, Bilbile, Meydaneke, Shera and Jindires districts and several of their villages around Afrin. I witnessed the resistance of the YPG and YPJ fighters in direct clash zones.
As I observed how the people of Afrin came together with the resisting youth, both in the urban center and the rural areas, at the back of my mind was a great curiosity for the battle psychology of the invading soldiers and the gang members that accompany them who aim to kill these people in Afrin and use jets, tanks, artilleries and other heavy weapons to that end. Even though the Turkish media paraded the sending off of their soldiers to the fronts in perception operations and images to show the “cute” side of militarism/invasion, the actual situation of the soldiers in the fronts apparently is nothing like that.
The Turkish soldiers were reportedly acting in coordination with and under the command of Al-Nusra and ISIS emirs in the land operation in Afrin. I asked if there was any truth to these claims to both the YPG and YPJ fighters in the front and to my sources who closely monitor the developments. There were striking and interesting results. The Turkish army had launched the invasion operation on January 20 with groups they called the Free Syrian Army, but when the “FSA” gang groups suffered hundreds of losses in the first week of battle, in place of the disbanded FSA, Al-Nusra members from Idlib and ISIS members arrested in Turkey and Jarablus were dressed in FSA uniforms and pushed to the fronts in Afrin. Especially the ISIS members who had come from Turkic republics were pulled to Afrin. These gang groups stated that they would act on behalf of the Turkish state but that they would hold the authority to command in the field. Because the Turkish soldiers suffered a psychological collapse when they failed to advance the invasion operation in a short time and when they suffered heavy losses, and the TAF has thus effectively put their military units in Afrin, their “mehmetcik”s, under the command of ISIS and Al-Nusra emirs.
When I asked this again to my sources who know the region very well and who monitor this war very closely, they said: “Why are you surprised? Why else would the Turkish army be building observation points in Idlib? Al-Nusra controls Idlib. Russia and the regime are fighting Al-Nusra and other salafi organizations there. Al-Nusra gangs accompany the Turkish army to Idlib and ensure the safety of the military convoy as well. The Turkish soldiers stationed in the observation points are also under Al Nusra protection too.”
Before I can ask, “So, whose guaranteer is Turkey there?” my source continued: “The relationship between Turkey and Al-Nusra is a mutually beneficial one. The Turkish state entered Idlib to have influence in Syria, to market Al-Nusra in the international arena and to give a guarantee to the Syrian regime and Russia. Al-Nusra said yes to Turkey to maintain their strength in the field and to get economic, political, military and diplomatic gains from Turkey.”
Now when the Turkish army is having trouble in Afrin, they asked for help from Al-Nusra and especially from the ISIS emirs who appear to be under arrest in Jarablus and Azaz. And Al-Nusra and ISIS emirs made the TAF accept that they would enter Afrin, and they would have the command in the field, and they would set up their own system in the areas that end up taken. Right now, the command ranks of the Turkish state that continues its invasion attempt in Afrin is comprised of Commander in Chief Tayyip Erdoğan, Chief of Staff Chief Marshall Hulusi Akar, 2nd Army Commander Lieutenant General Ismail Temel on paper, but it isn’t actually so. The “mehmetcik”s of the Turkish nation are under the command of gang emirs. Tayyip Erdoğan, Hulusi Akar and Ismail Temel are reduced to the position of aides for the caliph of the ISIS gang network Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi.
Some Kemalist and secular army officers who see this and are disturbed by this have let CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu know about this when they couldn’t openly declare it. And Kılıçdaroğlu is trying to let the public know the information he has been given by constantly saying, “We support the Afrin operation, but it shouldn’t drag on. There should be talks with the Syrian regime and the issue should be over with.” Alas, to no avail. Because the Turkish army is not only stuck in the swamp in Afrin, but has also fallen to the throes of the gangs. It looks like a hard way out, try as they might.