Igor Strelkov: Turkey is likely to invade Syria in the coming days
Rusnext.ru, Feb 10 2016
Assad forces reached the border with Turkey. The Russian army has large-scale redeployment to the South, paratroopers are changing airfields, the Caspian fleet went to sea. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan holds emergency meeting with security officials on security in the region. Previously the Turkish President also said that Russia’s actions in Syria are occupying nature. Will there be a war with Turkey in the near future? Below, Strelkov states his opinion
I think it’s not just about armed conflict with Turkey, which in the long term may escalate into full-scale war, but about the whole complex of armed conflicts that will be unleashed against Russia from different directions. But let’s start from the beginning. I absolutely agree with a number of analysts writing on the subject, that Turkey cannot prevent the creation at its border of a stable (albeit unrecognized) Kurdish state. Moreover, such a Kurdish state will be in alliance with Assad, in the overthrow of whom the Turks have invested very large assets, and of reconciliation with whom there is no chance. The Russian expeditionary force, especially its aviation and intelligence components, has managed to push back the negative scenario in which a motley coalition of Jihadi groups whose supporters included Turkey, (had intended or expected) by end 2015 or start 2016 to inflict a final defeat on “the Assad regime” and to destroy the remnants of the forces loyal to it in Alawi enclaves. Then the Kurds became at least temporarily allied to Assad. Despite the fact that the “media” victory advertised on Russian TV looks much more real and louder, (the pro-Assad forces) is also a very variegated conglomerate containing efficient parts of the Syrian army, Iranian volunteers, mercenaries, Hazaras and Hezbollah fighters, supported by Russian aviation and artillery units, slowly but surely began to win territory in the border areas with Turkey and Latakia, Aleppo province. And yet, in direct union with the coming of the Kurds, managed to block the eponymous town (Aleppo), the full mastery of which all the warring parties is of paramount importance.
For the ruling elite in Istanbul, defeat of the “moderate Islamists” and nationalists in their care is unacceptable not only for reasons of prestige, but simply because they soberly evaluate that the consequences of the war will gradually spread across the territory of Turkey, as the liberation of the Kurdish-populated areas will direct the main efforts of the Kurdish militia (Peshmerga) after cleansing the border areas of Syria (from the forces of Turkey, their enemy and) the enemy of Damascus. Relatively speaking, just as Donbass is a guarantor against aggravation of the situation on the borders of Crimea, upon which would (otherwise) immediately be thrown the whole Ukrainian punitive grouping – so in the same way, Turkmens controlled by the militants in Syria are the Turks’ insurance against the uprising of the Kurds already on their territory. So for the Turkish leadership in general there is no choice. They are likely to invade Syria “in heavy force” in the next few days. With almost no options, that will lead to a direct clash with the Syrian army and the supporting forces of the Russians. Further developments can be multivariate. The fighting may be intensive and limited, but inevitably the Turks will close the Bosphorus Straits and the Dardanelles, through which passes the lion’s share of supply of our group, to Russian military vessels and cargo. With high probability, the Turks will also announce the closure of the airspace over the Syria border territories, making it extremely difficult if not simpossible (to perform) the transfer of goods to our base in Latakia by air.
What can we expect next? Can Russia’s armed forces (primarily its air force) cause the defeat of the Turkish army in Syria, or at least force it to stop the assault? This question I have to answer in the negative. There are basic fundamentals of the military art which neither technological progress nor even our TV networks, who imagine themselves omnipotent, can cancel. At a considerable distance from their bases, with no significant reserves in place, no well-established supply lines, our small expeditionary force in perspective is doomed to failure. Whether it will last a few days, a few weeks or even a few months, does not matter. The fate of the fortress at Port Arthur, whose heroic defenders were forced to lay down their arms under conditions of full blockade, can be repeated after 111 years. And the rate of its destruction depends not only and not so much on the success in the first days of fighting, but on how strongly and large-scale actions of the enemy is the Turkish army, aviation and navy. Even though the Turks do not have the “most modern” aircraft and missile systems, which according to our media are possessed by Russian party in Syria, yet their overall advantage in forces and means in this particular theater of military operations is undeniable, and their proximity to supply bases allows them to replenish resources, as people say now online. It is worth noting in this regard that the Turks in fact will hold the initiative, as they will go first in the bloody beginning of the game. And our military will be forced to react. For anyone who is versed in strategy and tactics, the value of this factor is clear. Ownership of the initiative (spells) the success of any operation. Moreover, (Russia) cannot count even on the “relative passivity” of the Turks. Erdogan and his associates, on the basis of purely political considerations, need a quick and decisive victory, able to lift the spirits and patriotic sentiments of the population in the upcoming very difficult (times) and in any conflict with Russia, which though very weakened is still a great power, the previous armed clashes with which ended for the Turks almost always extremely badly.
What can the Russian Federation do to counter Turkish aggression in Syria? In Syria itself, almost nothing. To significantly enhance the expeditionary force, just means to add units of the number of people and equipment doomed to defeat. The Syrian army, I basically do not take into account. Except for two or three relatively combat-ready compounds, it cannot even successfully fight the semi-guerrilla forces of the Jihadis and other “opposition”. But (this) will not change the result. To save our group from defeat, if possible, and to force Turkey to return to their original positions, only full-scale military operation against its entire military infrastructure, including outside Syria, and this is not (just) a ‘conflict’, it is a war, in which NATO can intervene, a full member of which Turkey was, is and remains. And if NATO do not intervene? Some missile volleys, no-one wars won. The Turks have a strong air force and good air defence, a relatively strong fleet. The shared border we have with Turkey not only on the sea. But with Ukraine we have a border there. And in Donbass the situation has been steadily heating up over the last few days. It is here, probably, that the first decisive land battle of the new war, in which Ukraine will obviously act as a Turkish ally, will happen. And the Crimean isthmus will not remain without attention, nor Transnistria. Our “peacemaker” Surkov (will go on) playing it by ear (I think – RB), pouring (surrendering) to the point that Russia will have to fight on two fronts. In general, the war if it starts will be difficult, and Russia is unlikely to be immediately victorious. And, given the fact that our “party-economic” elite has for two years been thinking only about how much it would like to hurry to surrender, we have plenty of Malkish-Plokhish (a Russian childrens’ story character) types, ready for sabotage on all levels. Nothing good comes from the Syrian war from the beginning, never had to wait, that was said and written since the early days. It’s not necessary now. I’ll wait for the mobilization which I think is pretty well inevitable.