Turkey’s Second Army Prepares to Invade Syria
Turkey’s Second Army Prepares to Invade Syria –
By Brian Kalman
Amid Turkish preparations for a military intervention in Syria, mainstream media and think tanks prefer to provide political speculations and local rumors instead of facts and analysis. SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence stands on another ground and provides an exclusive paper studying the Turkish military grouping which will be likely used in this operation.
We also recommend that you view an exclusive video ‘Foreign Policy Diary – Turkey’s military intervention to Syria‘, which covers the possible results of this act of aggression.
Recent public comments by the Turkish government have hinted at a possible invasion into Syrian territory to “stabilize” the situation and secure Turkey’s national security. Significant clashes between Turkish army and security forces with elements of the YPG and PKK, which have exacted a costly toll on the Kurdish civilian population have been raging in southern Turkey and northern Syria in recent months. Russian satellite surveillance and human intelligence employed by both Russian and Syria in the region have confirmed the build-up of troops and material on the border.
It is reasonable to believe that Turkey is preparing to salvage its failed policy of supporting Islamic fundamentalist mercenaries and terrorist groups in Syria by invading and establishing a safe area for these groups along its southern border with Syria, while at the same time dealing a crushing blow to the Kurdish forces that have been successful in fighting them. Turkey is not only trying to topple the Assad government in Syrian, but is also trying to liquidate the Kurdish movement both in Iraq and Syria, as well as within its own borders.
Turkey’s membership in NATO complicates its plans of invasion. Unless Turkey is itself attacked, the NATO alliance is not obligated to defend it. Turkey will have to engineer a provocation that frames it as the target of an aggression either by Kurdish forces from beyond its borders or by Syrian or Russian forces combating its terrorist allies in Syria. Such a false flag provocation is not outside of the realm of possibility.
When a Turkish F-16 shot down a Russian Su-24, claims that the bomber had strayed into Turkish airspace for a number of minutes and ignored radio warnings from the Turkish aircraft were proven to be patently false. A year earlier in 2014, an audio recording of Turkish officials, including the head of the Security Service (MIT), Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Foreign Minister and the Undersecretary to the Foreign Minister discussing staging an attack on the Tomb of Suleiman Shah (a sovereign piece of Turkish territory) in Syria and using it as a pretext to intervene in Syria were leaked anonymously on YouTube. The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan responded by banning YouTube in Turkey, in affect giving support to the recordings authenticity. Now that the Syrian government has the upper hand militarily, gaining back territory and destroying, surrounding or pushing back various Turkish-backed terrorist forces, Turkey may be ready to engineer a new excuse to invade.
Possible Invasion Task Force
It is most likely that elements of the Turkish Second Army are positioned along the southern border with Syria, and will form the nucleus of any invasion force. The 2nd Army is responsible for defending Southwestern Turkey. Its headquarters is based in Malatya, with approximately 100,000 troops under its command. The army is comprised of three corps, the 4th, 6th and 7th which are composed of the following units:
Strategic Aims of a Turkish Invasion
The most obvious strategic aim of a Turkish invasion into Syrian territory would be to secure a sizable “safe zone” for Turkish-backed insurgents and terrorist forces in northern Syria. Not only would this salvage the Turkish proxies for future use, possibly in guerilla style attacks and acts of terrorism against Syria, but would more importantly drive a wedge between the Kurdish YPG forces in Northwestern Syria (north of Idlib Province) and those located in the Northeastern Syria (east of Jarabulus).
Zone of the expected Turkish military invasion
The Turkish government is determined to make sure that the YPG does not gain control of the Kurdish dominated regions in an unbroken area all along the border. The YPG has recently been successful in attacks against Turkish-backed terrorists in small offensives in this “wedge” between YPG areas of control. These offensives have been backed by Russian air operations and with airdrops of weapons and ammunition in recent weeks. It is most likely the prospect of greater territorial gains by the Kurds that the Turkish Army will be deployed to prevent. How the Turkish military command plans to carry out such an operation successfully, and how the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Russia will respond will determine the course of the conflict and undoubtedly the odds of a wider war.
By bringing to light, in embarrassing detail, the Erdogan regime’s illegal activities in direct support of internationally recognized terrorist groups and the illegal plunder of the oil resources of Syria and Iraq and the establishment and operation of the logistics network that facilitates the sale of the oil at great profit to the Erdogan family itself, Russia has laid the truth bear to the world. In so doing, they have also allowed Erdogan a way to back off the stage, so to speak, and abandon his misguided aspirations in Syria. Continued support by NATO and the United States in light of the ugly realities of Turkey’s actions in the conflict, will only undermine both parties’ legitimacy in the eyes of the international community.
Turkey most definitely has the military power in place to successfully carry out a limited invasion to establish a terrorist safe zone and to prohibit the consolidation of the entire northern border under the control of the Kurds; however the costs if this invasion is contested by Russia and Syria nullify any potential benefits. In short, further efforts to salvage a disastrous foreign policy on the part of the Erdogan regime through force of arms will only hasten their political isolation and destruction. The Turkish people deserve better, and as political opposition continues to grow in the government and on the street, a disastrous invasion just may push the current regime out of power. This would be a positive development; however, the very real possibility of a Turkish incursion developing into a wider war would prove disastrous to the entire world.
Written by Brian Kalman exclusively for SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence. Brian Kalman is a management professional in the marine transportation industry. He was an officer in the US Navy for eleven years. He currently resides and works in the Caribbean.