Who will beat ISIL in Syria?! Now that Assad’s army has liberated Palmira and the Syrian Kurds are approaching ISIL’s capital, Raqqa, the “moderate opposition” has also joined this “race” for Syria’s liberation. They are even reported to have liberated 40 sq km in the north of Syria. According to Anadolu, in the village of Cobanbey, the “moderate oppositionists” have hauled down the flag of ISIL but they have not torn it apart as there were “Allah is Great” words on it.
This is their biggest victory over the last six months. But the purpose of this victory may be not to beat ISIL and terrorism but to help Turkey to take revenge in Syria.
The liberated village is part of the only ISIL-controlled section of the Turkish border. Earlier, the Turks forbid the Syrian Kurds to liberate that area but now the “moderate oppositionists” are going to take it away from ISIL. By doing this they will get a big plot of land on the Turkish border and will be able to get arms from Turkey. They already control the road from that area to Aleppo, the citadel of Jihadists. This is why they are so active in the north and this is why Turkey is so active in supporting them.
In the south of Syria, the “moderate oppositionists” are fighting on their own, while in the north they enjoy Turkey’s support. The Turks had shelled the village before they got there. The international coalition also helped by striking the village from the air. On the one hand, one can only welcome this victory, but on the other hand, among the attackers was Al-Nusra Front (Syrian Al Qaeda). This force controls Azaz, the town wherefrom the attack was launched. Even Julian Ropcke (Bild’s correspondent known for his articles about the “crimes” of Russia and Assad in Syria) has confirmed that Jihadists were involved in the attack. He called them rebels. But this does not change anything. Al-Nusra Front is not a party to the ceasefire in Syria and so in the eyes of the world community it is no less terroristic than ISIL.
Now some big groups are splitting from Al-Nusra Front. We have already written about its control with US-supported Brigade 13. The other breakaways are Ahrar ash-Sham and the Army of Islam, who are negotiating in Geneva as forces supported by the Americans on the Turkish border. But it is early yet to speak about a split among Jihadists. Despite the ceasefire, Ahrar ash-Sham, the Army of Islam, Brigade 13 and Al- Nusra Front acted together in their attempt to seize the Aleppo-Damascus highway. They are also cooperating in Aleppo, where they are trying to force out Kurds, their common enemy in Syria.
Among the attackers are Russian-speaking fighters – pro-Chechen Jaish Usra, led by Emir Salahuddin Shishani. Less than a year ago this Chechen fighter commanded Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar but was forced out by Arabs. Now his men are shelling the Kurdish quarters of Aleppo and are posting the pictures of shells with Turkish inscriptions. Where are they getting the arms from? Today everybody is worried as those groups may also have chemical weapons. The Syrian Kurds claim that in Aleppo Jihadists used such weapons. And quite recently spokesman for the Army of Islam Islam Allush said that one of the field commanders would be punished for having used a weapon prohibited by the world community but he did not specify what type of the weapon it was.
One more question: where have Jihadists gotten air-surface missiles from? We all know that Ahrar ash-Sham used exactly this type of missile against the Syrian plane in Aleppo on Apr 5.
As far as Turkey is concerned, it is interested in strong “moderate opposition” as it may play the role of a Trojan Horse in its game. If in the north of Syria ISIL is replaced by Syrian Al Qaeda, the Turks will get a chance to revenge on the Syrian Kurds and to gain control of northern Syria. In 2014-2015, this plan failed. Today, they in Ankara are worried to see that the Americans regard Kurdish PYD as their key ally against ISIL. According to Anadolu, a few days ago the Syrian Kurds got more weapons and sent 700 fighters to Kobani. From there PYD and YPG are launching their attacks against Syrian Al Qaeda and its allies. This American support may wreck the Turks’ plans. This is why that the Turks have accused the Americans of lying. Anadolu quotes them as complaining that US Ambassador John Bass has broken his promise to no longer arm the Syrian Kurds. The Turks are really worried as this is a threat not so much to ISIL but to their revenge plans in Syria.
EADaily’s Middle East Bureau