US armored Humvees driving this week from Iraqi Kurdistan to Syria
Except for one missing factor, the United States is in advanced preparations for the operation to oust the Islamic State from Raqqa, its Syrian stronghold, as Mission Mosul winds down in Iraq. Tuesday, March 28, a large convoy of trucks, with the KRG numbers plates of the semiautonomous Kurdish government of Iraq, crossed into Syria at the Semalka border post. Some were heavily laden with arms and ammunition; others hauled armored personnel carriers.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the convoys were carrying the war materiel a US airlift is dropping at the KRG capital of Irbil. It includes quantities of heavy submachine guns and light artillery for the Syrian Democratic Forces which are about to lead the US-backed assault on Raqqa.
Two-thirds of the 50,000-60,000-strong SDF consists of Syrian YPG Kurdish militiamen (which can muster up to 75,000 fighters with reserves); the other third are Arab tribesmen from northern Syria.
Three days later, on March 30, Ankara suddenly announced the termination of Operation Euphrates Shield, which was launched with the Turkish invasion of Aug. 24, 2016 and its occupation of 6,000sq,km of land in northern Syria, including later the town of Al Bab, north of Aleppo.
While Ankara claimed Thursday that the Euphrates Operation was terminated after accomplishing its mission, our military sources report that the Turkish army missed its three main objectives:
Leave a Reply