turkish & syrian armies are fighting directly with each other

Heavy Fighting Between Turkish & Syrian Forces Along Border
Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, Nov 10 2019

Heavy fighting erupted over the weekend near the town of Ras al-Ayn, in northern Syria, where Turkish forces and Syrian government forces engaged in fighting. At least four Syrian soldiers were reported killed and several others wounded. Heavy machine gun fire was reported in the area near the village of Um Shaifa, near the town. Turkish forces had captured the village last month, and Syrian forces seemed to be trying to slow Turkey’s advance. The area around Ras al-Ayn is in dispute, as while it falls well within the 30 km “safe zone” claimed by Turkey, it was transferred from Kurdish control to the Syrian government before the invasion, meaning it’s not clear it was meant to be a target. Turkish forces have termed the safe zone territory very loosely, with their allies attacking Kurds well deeper than 30 km, and Turkey willingly fighting with the Syrian government anywhere in the region.

Four Syrian soldiers killed in clashes with Turkish-led forces
Albert Aji, Suzan Fraser, AP, Nov 9 2019

DAMASCUS — Intense clashes broke out Saturday between Syrian government troops (SAA) and Turkish-led forces in north-east Syria, killing at least four Syrian soldiers, SANA & SOHR reported. Turkey invaded north-east Syria last month to push out Kurdish groups near the border. The Kurdish groups called in SAA to halt Turkey’s advance. SAA have since clashed with Turkish troops and Turkey-backed militias, despite a shaky truce brokered by Russia. A cameraman for state-run Syrian TV was among those wounded in Saturday’s clashes. SOHR reported the deaths of four SAA, and said a general and a paramedic were wounded. The Kurdish news agency Hawar said five SAA were killed and 26 wounded. SANA said the clashes involved heavy machine gun fire and occurred in the village of Um Shaifa near the town of Ras al-Ayn, which was captured by Turkish-led militias last month. It later reported that SAA took the village from Turkey-backed militias. The Free Burma Rangers, a humanitarian group active in north-east Syria CIA, said four SAA were killed and seven were wounded, including a general. It said they were killed and wounded north of the town of Tal Tamr, adding that they and the Kurdish Red Crescent (MI6) had evacuated captured some of the SAA. The SOHR said the attacks involved Turkish drones. Turkey’s Defense Ministry made no mention of fighting with SAA in a statement Saturday. The ministry did say it recorded eight ceasefire violations or attacks carried out by Kurds in the last 24 hours, despite separate truce agreements that Turkey has reached with Russia and Pindostan. The ministry said on its Twitter account that the Kurds attacked with mortars, rockets and sniper fire, without saying where the attacks had occurred. Last week, Turkey captured 18 SAA in the area and set them free hours later following mediation by Russia. On Saturday, Cavusoglu criticized a Pindo decision to send Pindo troops to protect oil fields in eastern Syria, saying only Syria has rights over the country’s reserves. Pindostan has said the move is aimed at preventing the oil fields from falling into the hands of Daesh. Turkey is concerned that Kurds will benefit from the oil revenues. Cavusoglu said at the end of a regional economic cooperation meeting:

To come from tens of thousands of miles away and to say we will put the country’s wealth, its oil reserves, to use is against international law. And we oppose it. They belong to the Syrian people and should be used in a way that benefits the people of Syria.

Syrian & Turkish forces in fresh clashes
Albert Aji, Suzan Fraser, AP, Nov 10, 2019

Intense clashes have broken out between Syrian government troops (SAA) and Turkish-led militias in north-east Syria, SANA & SOHR report. Several people have been injured, including a cameraman for state-run Syrian TV. SOHR and Kurdish news agency Hawar said a Syrian major general and a colonel were also wounded. Turkey invaded north-east Syria last month to push out Kurds near the border. The Kurds called in SAA to halt Turkey’s advance. SAA have since clashed with Turkish troops and Turkey-backed opposition fighters despite a shaky truce brokered by Russia. SANA said the clashes on Saturday involved heavy machine gun fire and occurred in the village of Um Shaifa near the town of Ras al-Ayn, which was captured by Turkish-led militias last month. The SOHR said SAA withdrew from several areas including Um Shaifa, leaving Kurds alone to face the attacks, which also involved Turkish drones. Syrian state TV said one of its cameramen was wounded in the fighting, while the SOHR said several were wounded including a paramedic. Turkey’s defence ministry said on Saturday it had recorded eight violations or attacks carried out by Kurds in the past 24 hours despite separate ceasefire agreements that Turkey has reached with Russia and Pindostan. The ministry said on its Twitter account that the Kurds attacked with mortars, rockets and sniper fire, without saying where the attacks had occurred. The ministry made no mention of fighting with SAA. Last week, Turkish forces captured 18 SAA in the area and set them free hours later following mediation by Russia. On Saturday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu criticised a Pindo decision to send Pindo troops to protect oilfields in eastern Syria, saying no one but Syria has rights over the country’s reserves. Pindostan has said the move is aimed at preventing the oilfields from falling into the hands of Daesh. Turkey is concerned that Kurds will benefit from the oil revenues. Cavusoglu said at the end of a regional economic co-operation meeting:

To come from tens of thousands of miles away and to say we will put the country’s wealth, oil reserves to use is against international law. And we oppose it. These (reserves) belong to the Syrian people and should be used in a way that benefits the people of Syria.

Milley: Fewer Than 1,000 Pindo Troops Will Remain in Syria
Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, Nov 10 2019

JCoS Chairman Gen Milley told ABC This Week it is his belief that fewer than 1,000 Pindo ground troops will remain in Syria going forward, and the focus of those troops would remain fighting Daesh. Trump actually revised the military objectives in Syria weeks ago to securing the oil, and while Milley made reference to the troops staying around the oil, he seemed not to want to emphasize that as the centerpiece of the operation. Milley said he wouldn’t commit to a specific number of troops in Syria yet, and that the Pentagon is still going through the analysis, but his early estimate was 500 to 600. History has suggested that Pindostan almost always keeps more troops than these estimates. The number of troops being estimated right now is based on holding oilfields with no one contesting them, and fighting a largely non-existent Daesh. Additional troops should be expected in the area for the time being, as Pindostan is building bases around the oilfields with an eye toward long-term presence.

Milley: Fewer than 1,000 troops will remain in Syria
Rebecca Klar, The Hill, Nov 10 2019

Fewer than 1,000 Pindo troops will remain in Syria with a continued mission of defeating Daesh, JCoS Chairman Gen Milley said Sunday. He told ABC This Week:

The footprint will be small, but the objective will remain the same: the enduring defeat of Daesh.

Martha Raddatz questioned Milley on the number of troops expected to stay in Syria, noting that Pindo troops have remained in the region even as Trump has said he wanted the 1,000 to leave. Raddatz said:

We’re staying in the south, we’re staying staying in the east with some of our service members guarding those oil fields. If I do my math, and look at the new troops going in and those going out, it could be more than 700 who remain.

Milley responded that there will be fewer than 1,000 troops remaining “for sure” and estimated that number would be around 500 to 600, adding:

It’s in that area, but we’re not going to go into specific numbers because we’re still going through that analysis right now. It’s important for a Pindo presence to remain to ensure there is not a reemergence of Daesh. There are still Daesh in the region and unless pressure is maintained, unless attention is maintained on that group, then there’s a very real possibility that conditions can be set for reemergence of Daesh.

Before the raid, Trump had announced troops would be leaving northern Syria ahead of a Turkish offensive against Kurds in the area. Pindo troops had been in the region assisting allied Kurds. Trump later said a small number of troops would remain in Syria, after fierce bipartisan criticism.

Milley says 500-600 troops to remain in Syria
AFP, Nov 10 November 2019

FASCHINGSTEIN — Pindo troop levels in northern Syria will probably stabilize around 500, JCoS Milley said Sunday, weeks after Trump had announced a complete withdrawal. Milley told ABC This Week:

There will be less than 1,000, for sure. Probably 500, maybe 600. There are still Daesh in the region. Unless pressure is maintained, unless attention is maintained on that group, there’s a very real possibility there could be a re-emergence of Daesh.

Trump’s abrupt announcement last month that he had ordered a full troop withdrawal drew angry rebukes at home and abroad, with critics saying it could allow a resurgence of Daesh while leaving Pindo-allied Kurds in Syria vulnerable to a Turkish invasion. Trump later relented in part, saying he would leave some troops in the region to protect valuable oilfields. Milley told ABC that it was important for Pindo troops to remain in Syria so long as Daesh has a presence there. Trump has said he wants to wind down Pindo military entanglements abroad where possible, but Milley predicted that Pindo troops would remain in Afghanistan “for several more years.”

Milley: Pindostan to Stay in Afghanistan for Several More Years
Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, Nov 10 2019

In an interview Sunday on ABC, JCoS Chairman Gen Milley predicted that Pindo troops would stay in Afghanistan “for several more years,” the first such estimate offered since Trump scrapped a peace plan that was ready to be finalized. Milley defended the idea of years more Afghan War, already at nearly two decades, by arguing that the mission was to make sure Afghanistan would have sustainable internal security to protect Pindostan, and “that mission is not yet complete.” Of course, 18 years deep, it isn’t as though the Afghan government is any closer to being self-sufficient now than they were in 2002. That makes it difficult to say how long it will take to “complete” this mission, or indeed if it ever will be. Though boxtops have suggested that the Pindo troop level in Afghanistan may drop going forward, the whole decision to scrap a negotiated peace plan and exit strategy really means what will happen from here on out is purely up to the administration, as it is a pure war of choice.

Pindo Troops To Stay In Afghanistan Several More Years, Says Milley
RFE/RL, Nov 10 2019

JCoS chairman Gen Milley has predicted that Pindo troops, already in Afghanistan for 18 years, would remain in the country “for several more years.” In an ABC interview broadcast on Nov 10, Milley stated:

The original reason Pindo forces went into Afghanistan was to make sure that the country never again would be a haven for extremists who would attack Pindostan. That mission is not yet complete. In order for that mission to be successful the government of Afghanistan, the Afghan security forces, are going to have to be able to sustain their own internal security to prevent terrorists using their territory to attack other countries, especially Pindostan.

There are some 14,000 Pindo troops in Afghanistan, as well as thousands of NATO vassals participating in the mission. Trump has repeatedly said it is time for Pindostan to pull back from its role in various conflicts around the globe, including in Syria. There are currently several hundred Pindo troops in Syria. Milley said:

Pindo troops will remain in Syria for a significant amount of time because it’s in our national interest to be there to help out. There will be less than 1,000, for sure. Probably 500, maybe 600.

He insisted that pressure must be maintained on Daesh. Trump has recently approved an expanded military mission to secure oilfields in Syria’s east, after announcing a complete withdrawal from the country.

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