Trump Should Accept the Realities on the Ground in Syria

Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim speaks to a group of foreign journalists in Ankara Turkey Thursday

Turkey is becoming more isolated and its political maneuvers are becoming more pointless as Russian Federation, the USA, and the Syrian government all oppose its further entrenchment in northern Syria to prevent any Kurdish resistance from gaining victories.

But Turkey's determination to also push back the Kurds is alienating the other big players in Syria " Russia and the United States " and threatens to undermine the fight against IS in the imminent assault on Raqqa. Turkey considers the main Syrian Kurdish force, the People's Protection Forces, or YPG, as terrorists since they are linked to Kurdish insurgents in Turkey.

The US-led coalition has been backing the SDF's drive for Raqa with air power and hundreds of special operations forces as advisers.

Turkey said it had "neutralized" 71 YPG fighters this week and occupies more than 2,000 square km in northern Syria.

The military official said the deployment to Syria had been long-planned, but that the final decision to send them was only made recently by military commanders at U.S. Central Command.

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The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the main U.S. partner in Syria, this week cut the road from Raqqa to ISIL's stronghold in Deir Al-Zor - the last main road out of Raqqa - and declared it would reach the city limits within a few weeks.

The announcement came at the same time that the Pentagon disclosed that it was sending 400 soldiers, evenly split between Special Forces and a Marine Corps artillery unit, to Syria.

Until recently, the approximately 500 USA troops in Syria were mostly Special Forces, but Votel said he sees little problem in mixing the special ops troops with conventional forces.

Also Friday, Turkey's military said Turkish troops and Turkey-backed Syrian opposition forces have killed - or "neutralized" - 71 Syrian Kurdish fighters in northern Syria this week. The Turks have kept urging for an Arab Turkish-allied force to help take Raqqa.

But when Kurdish People Protection Units (YPG) emerged as reliable factions, the US opted to render support to this group, and allied rebel fighters, which emerged later, such as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which comprises of Kurds, Arabs and Assyrians.

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While he was held captive Theo said he was able to witness a number of armed factions emerging in northwestern Syria, leading him to believe there will be rise of a "second Islamic State" near Europe and the Turkish border.

Instead what has happened is that the SDF have grown closer to the U.S., the Syrian regime and Russian Federation, and the USA finds itself in an awkward position where it may help re-take Raqqa only to see Raqqa eventually handed over to the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad.

In Syria, where members of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit with M777 155mm howitzers have deployed within firing range of Raqqa, Votel said additional us conventional forces are likely to be needed for the aftermath of the eventual assault on the self-proclaimed capital of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

The Marines' deployment marks the second time in just over a year that a Marine artillery detachment has been deployed from a MEU in support of the ground fight against ISIS.

It said USA officials have seen reports of Iraqi fighters killing foreign fighters and rejecting the preferential treatment they were sometimes given.

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Maintaining peace between the groups in Manbij will be crucial if they will work together in the battle for Raqqa.


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