Turkey is member of NATO. I've never been at ease about that, because it is a Muslim country. Muslim countries generally are suspicious of Western countries--and for good reason. But for the West to figure they can count on Turkey to defend Western interests is downright silly. Now I realize, of course, that the reason for this alliance was the Cold War. The West tried to use Turkey in its ring around the Soviet Union.
Fast forward. The Cold War is history, but now we have a vastly more complicated situation in the Middle East with Islam largely in chaos and threatening the West. And while this was developing--or deteriorating!--the EU seriously considered allowing Turkey to join it. I cannot imagine Western foolishness to even consider it. But, then, Western nations have long been dumb and stupid when it comes to the Muslim world. So, I guess it's no surprise. By now, however, this issue has fizzled out and Turkey is now showing that it is, after all is said and done, a Muslim nation and cannot be counted on to support Western alliances like NATO and EU. It has its own interests, Muslim interests, nationalist interests.
With that as background, I invited you to read the sad report by Elizabeth Kendal. If you've been following this blog, you've met her before. She is a good and reliable reporter who tells it as it is. Well, as it is, this report is pretty sad for Christians in the Syrian chaos, what with Turkey now playing footsie with Islamic terrorists and even using them. The leopard is showing its true colour--and so are the USA and the UN!
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TURKEY IN SYRIA: AFRIN FALLS; CHRISTIANS IMPERILLED
by Elizabeth Kendal
The mostly Kurdish city of Afrin, in the far north-west of Syria's Aleppo
Province, fell to Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces on Sunday 18
March. Conflict monitors report that Turkey's eight-week campaign to capture
Afrin has cost the lives of more than 280 civilians, more than 1500 Kurdish
and allied fighters (including a British volunteer, Anna Campbell ) and
more than 400 pro-Ankara 'rebels'. According to the Turkish Armed Forces,
only 46 Turkish soldiers died in the campaign. Sources report that, apart
from regular Turkish troops and special forces, some 25,000 fighters fought
under the banner of the FSA, most of whom are battle-hardened Islamists who
have previously fought alongside al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS). As reported
in RLPBs 439 (24 Jan) and 440 (31 Jan), Afrin's minority mostly Armenian and
Assyrian Christians sounded the alarm back in January, warning that the
spectre of a Turkey-backed Islamist jihadist ethnic-religious slaughter
loomed over Afrin.
Despite having been used by the US as the club with which to smash IS in
northern Syria, the Kurdish YPG and the mixed Kurd-Arab-Christian SDF (Syrian
Democratic Forces) found themselves abandoned in Afrin. Lacking any
anti-aircraft weapons, YPG and SDF commanders appealed to the US and UN for
assistance, in particular for the skies over Afrin to be declared a no-fly
zone. Their cries were in vain. On 20 February Syrian government troops
deployed to help the Kurds defend Afrin were routed, with dozens killed in a
barrage of Turkish shelling and airstrikes. On 24 February the UN Security
Council issued a resolution calling on Turkey to implement a ceasefire so
that humanitarian aid might go in and civilians might get out. Turkey ignored
the resolution. The Apostolic nuncio to Syria, Cardinal Mario Zenari,
described the situation in Afrin as 'hell on earth' and the worst violence he
had ever seen.
Abandoned, encircled, out-gunned and facing the prospect of a protracted and
exceedingly bloody urban conflict, the YPG and SDF withdrew - with tens of
thousands of civilians - before dawn on 18 March, enabling Turkish and FSA
forces to enter Afrin unopposed. After brief celebrations, the occupying
forces set about looting every home and store in the city. The Kurds have
vowed to commence a guerrilla-style fight-back against the occupiers,
promising to be 'a constant nightmare for them'. Now that the city (just 40km
north-east of Aleppo) has been ethnically cleansed, Turkey's Islamist and
neo-Ottoman 'Sultan' Erdogan plans to fill it with Syrian Arab Sunni
Islamists who will serve his interests. Erdogan wants to extend his control
all the way to the Iraq border. The next town on the agenda is Manbij, which
the US-backed SDF liberated from IS in August 2016 and in which US troops
Before Afrin fell, veteran Middle East reporter Dale Gavlak warned that
Turkish-backed jihadists were insisting that there will be no room for
Christians in Afrin. Kurds (including Yazidis) and Christians (most of whom
are Armenian and Assyrian) have now been 'cleansed' out of Afrin canton.
After speaking with local aid workers and human rights activists on the
ground, Gavlak reported on 16 March, 'Jihadists allied with Turkey are
hunting down religious minorities to kill them in Syria's north-west ...
Turkey is using hardline jihadists proxies, including Islamic State and
al-Qaeda militants, to eliminate the presence of Kurds and other ethnic and
religious minorities along its border.' The situation is dire. Those who
remember the Armenian Genocide may well have a sense of deja vu.