Quarter million new Syrian refugees. Turks take Afrin city. Al Ghouta about to fall to Assad

 The Turkish army and its surrogates took control on Sunday March 18 of the Kurdish Afrin City in northern Syria, as some 200,000 Kurds fled the town of a million inhabitants. It is unclear what happened to the Kurdish YPG militia holding the town against the Turkish invaders and their local surrogate, the “Free Syrian Army. Some say they withdrew and mingled among the constant stream of refugees fleeing north towards areas under Syrian military control; others that the YPG is regrouping for a counter-offensive. But meanwhile, Turkish bulldozers knocked over the statue of a Kurdish hero in Afrin town center and surrounding buildings were arrayed with Turkish flags.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan could boast that his army had taken control of Afrin city, although it took nearly two months to complete Operation Olive Branch and achieve its object of expelling the leading Kurdish party and militia from one of its main cantons in northern Syria.
The US and Russia went through the motions of trying to dissuade Erdogan from this path to avert the major humanitarian catastrophe which is now at hand. However, they did not actually lift a finger to stop him. The Turkish president played the game by sending delegations to Washington and Moscow to hear their arguments, but his only object was to chalk up diplomatic mileage and buy time for his army to reach its goal.
The capture of Afrin is proving to be stage one of Erdogan’s campaign of expansion. He used the free hand granted him to recruit 30 Syrian Sunni militias for doing his bidding in northern Syria. Now, he has the brass to claim equal standing in northern Syria with Russia and the United States and demand that the two powers give his wishes due consideration.

With the Turks evidently on the march, DEBKAfile’s military sources disclose that, on Saturday, March 17, US forces based in northern Syria began redeploying to new positions for defending Manbij, another Syrian Kurdish town coveted by the Turkish president. This town is his next target, once the Turkish army winds up its Afrin operation. Marine Corps Lt, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, Director of the Joint Operations Staff, ordered Marine reinforcements transferred to Manbij and US units based in Iraq to cross the border and head for the Kurdish areas of northern Syria.
In another part of Syria, Bashar Assad, like Erdogan, is looking forward to an imminent victory for his army and allies, after a month of the some of the bloodiest warfare in the civil war. East Ghouta, the last rebel stronghold in the Damascus area, is about to fall. Sunday, a spokesman for the Fallaq al-Rahman, the leading rebel group still holding out in the southern pocket of the enclave, said his group was in negotiations for a ceasefire “to guarantee the safety of civilians.” DEBKAfile: They are in fact negotiating for terms of surrender. The insurgents are in a hopeless situation. Lacking the weapons for fighting off the air, ground missile and artillery barrages aimed at them, they never stood a real chance of winning the day against the merciless bombardment inflicted indiscriminately on the enclave and its inhabitants by the Syrian army, with Russian air force and pro-Iranian Shiite militia backing.

Hundreds of civilians died in the merciless month-long hammering. According to UN estimates, at least 25,000 civilians have fled the enclave in the past week alone – many on foot with their belongings on their backs. Both the Turkish and Syrian presidents remained unmoved throughout by the horrors attending their brutal assaults on the civilian populations of the two enclaves, and the deaths and privations of women, children, the sick and the wounded. And the world stands by as another quarter of a million Syrian civilians flee their homes for unknown destinations. Altogether it is estimated that the Syrian war has resulted in more than 12 million refugees and displaced persons, of whom 5 million fled across the border.

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39 thoughts on “Quarter million new Syrian refugees. Turks take Afrin city. Al Ghouta about to fall to Assad

  • Mar 18, 2018 @ 19:20 at 19:20
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    Who f.. cares??

    • Mar 19, 2018 @ 19:27 at 19:27
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      Remove Erdogan from the earth!

  • Mar 18, 2018 @ 19:50 at 19:50
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    These are examples of what good air force and ground troop coordination is all about in achieving the goals of dealing with one’s enemies. This is something that Israel has been unable to do neither against Hezbollah in Lebanon nor against Hamas in Gaza. One doesn’t win a war by halfheartedly defeating one’s enemy so that the enemy can regroup and fight again another day. This is the big mistake that Israel has let groups like Hezbollah and Hamas recover so that they can get stronger for their next confrontation with Israel. Both Hezbollah and Hamas consider their struggle as one for total destruction and extermination of Israel. As a result, Israel should feel the same way about both Hezbollah and Hamas in order to destroy them completely once and for all at all costs.

    • Mar 18, 2018 @ 21:36 at 21:36
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      Right on, Abraham ! But, this will require a cancellation of (by now) dangerously obsolete “Purity of Arms” doctrine, and a government even more decisive and fearless, than we have at present – and these are unlikely to change, any time soon…

    • Mar 18, 2018 @ 23:24 at 23:24
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      Great analysis. Where have you been all of these months?

      I’ll go a step further and say that the fact that Hezbollah, Hamas, etc. have been allowed to endure causes a slow bleed, where they can continue chalking up propaganda victories with little repercussion. Had they both been nipped in the bud, the Intifada-type mindset would have been a distant memory, and the Arabs in Gaza and the West Bank would probably have a much better standard of living now than they currently do under a near-totalitarian quasi-government, regardless of how many tongues wag.

      Of course, this is a loss of varying degrees for all of the powers involved [backroom deals aside], and it is merely a distraction for the power plays going on across the region between NATO, Russia, and China, two of which have just ‘reelected’ their leaders. But speaking of wagging tongues, the only true losers in this situation are the United Nations and all of their supporters. Apart from bringing together a few committees and writing a few dead letters, they have done little but stand idly by during the entire debacle, all the way from the first protests nearly ten years ago until now, following the collapse of a dozen governments, casualties in the mid-to-upper-six figures, and refugees in the low-eight figures. Nearly one hundred years on, the League of Nations would be proud.

    • Mar 19, 2018 @ 3:14 at 3:14
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      The reason Israel didn’t destroy Hezbollah was because of World pressure to defend Iran’s poodles. Israeli airmobile forces had reached the Litani in 2006 and were going to be the anvil to the IDF armored brigades hammer. Without the World saving the jihadis Hezbollah would have been crushed.

      With regard to Hamas in Gaza the war was to put Hamas in its place, but not defeat them because Israel has no desire to rule over the crazies inhabiting Gaza.

      Under ‘pottery barn rules’ it goes that ‘if you break it, you own it’ and Israel does not want to own the mess in Gaza or the lunatics that inhabit it. That is why the Israelis refer to their strategy as ‘mowing the lawn’. Something that must be done periodically so annoying weeds don’t get to high – but they don’t actually want to own the field itself.

      • Mar 19, 2018 @ 8:21 at 8:21
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        Good comment.

      • Apr 11, 2018 @ 18:23 at 18:23
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        Dead on…

    • Mar 19, 2018 @ 10:57 at 10:57
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      “These are examples of what good air force and ground troop coordination is all about in achieving the goals of dealing with one’s enemies. This is something that Israel has been unable to do neither against Hezbollah in Lebanon nor against Hamas in Gaza. One doesn’t win a war by halfheartedly defeating one’s enemy so that the enemy can regroup and fight again another day. This is the big mistake that Israel has let groups like Hezbollah and Hamas recover so that they can get stronger for their next confrontation with Israel.”

      @Abraham,

      Ask yourself just one thing: could pressure from the “international community” have had something to do with that ???????

  • Mar 18, 2018 @ 20:28 at 20:28
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    I agree 100% Abraham, like the west, israel is very scared of israeli casualties in war whereas the arabs are not.
    i recon the Turkish did a good thing destroying the YPG stronghold now the US only has a few isis terrorists left AGAIN.

  • Mar 18, 2018 @ 20:36 at 20:36
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    Well done TA. Keep up the good work.

  • Mar 18, 2018 @ 21:26 at 21:26
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    yeah, what use are the ugly Kurdish to us now that the project has failed. Kill them all.

  • Mar 18, 2018 @ 22:13 at 22:13
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    12 million refugees and 1/2 million dead. Maybe 2 million seriously wounded. All out of a 20 million population. What a great victory for Assad!! His new Iranian and Russian masters can also be proud.

    • Mar 18, 2018 @ 22:40 at 22:40
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      no man is an island

      • Mar 18, 2018 @ 23:32 at 23:32
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        but you man are a moron.

    • Mar 19, 2018 @ 6:38 at 6:38
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      The whole plan for Assad and Iran is to kill or remove all Kurds and Sunnis living in Iraq and Syria and replace them with a shia population to change the whole demographics which would be under their control. It is only the USA standing in their way now.

  • Mar 18, 2018 @ 22:58 at 22:58
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    Turkish Army will target Qandil Mountain next target. But PKK militias will hide in Iranian territory. If Turks want to erase PKK from the history. They have to threaten Iran for their support to PKK.

  • Mar 19, 2018 @ 0:02 at 0:02
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    This story is not over. The Turks are now going to be subject to costly counter attacks which will be very painful.

    US response should be
    1) kick Turkey out of NATO
    2) bring war crimes before the UN
    3) further arm and support the Kurds and the SDA
    4) keep Assad busy with raids
    5) give Israel a freer hand to attack where ever

    • Mar 19, 2018 @ 0:50 at 0:50
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      I think Usa wouls be kicked out if there was fairness..first attempt coup in nato country.. if that fails ..arm terrororists for future invasion. .hamas would have drooled at the set up pkk had in afrin..already the civilians are coming back with real amiles on their faces for real freedom..debka and co herts think in this day and age they are the only information on the subject.

    • Mar 19, 2018 @ 4:29 at 4:29
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      Who cares? NATO needs Turkey, not the Turks. Turks dont give a damn about Nato.

    • Mar 19, 2018 @ 14:51 at 14:51
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      Great advice from squatter cockroaches who beg sugar daddy Yankee to give you handouts so you can continue stealing the West Bank and pretending to be virtuous.

      You self-absorbed cretins along with your American cowboys think arming the Middle East is going to lead to peace? Face it buddy, you LOST in Syria. You losers need to accept reality like the Hillary Clinton and the Dimwitted Dems in the United States of Thugs and Snowflakes.

      Oh and stop being so paranoid about Iran. You look like complete imbeciles, like the British and Americans do with their Russophobia.

      The 3 stooges.

      • Mar 20, 2018 @ 9:28 at 9:28
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        “Great advice from squatter cockroaches who beg sugar daddy Yankee to give you handouts so you can continue stealing the West Bank and pretending to be virtuous.

        “You self-absorbed cretins along with your American cowboys think arming the Middle East is going to lead to peace? Face it buddy, you LOST in Syria. You losers need to accept reality like the Hillary Clinton and the Dimwitted Dems in the United States of Thugs and Snowflakes.

        Oh and stop being so paranoid about Iran. You look like complete imbeciles, like the British and Americans do with their Russophobia.

        The 3 stooges.”

        @Mossadishu,

        Based on the complete lack of common sense in your comment, if the 3 stooges were looking for a fourth member————you would qualify and fit in perfectly!

  • Mar 19, 2018 @ 1:39 at 1:39
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    The US is seeking Saudi money, supposedly for a US withdrawal from Syria. I think it may be something else, but Russia keeps threatening the US with attacks if the US strikes back at Syrian atrocities, and the US does and says nothing…. The US might as well withdraw from the Middle East, as it is only making a fool of itself.

    • Mar 19, 2018 @ 22:24 at 22:24
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      American occupiers need to GTFO of the region and send the swarm of Zionist lawyers and lobbyists back to Israel. Anybody who allows rabid Zionists to infest their locus of power are asking for ruination.

      US policy in the region is a freaking JOKE. Its all about licking Israel’s self-absorbed ass, pretending to be a “mediator” in Arab affairs while PAYING OFF Arab sock puppets to tow the line. Ignoring Palestinian concerns and throwing arms around like candy. Yeah, hows that US exceptionalism coming along? Empire of chaos only has one tool in the chimpanzee toolbox.

      • Mar 20, 2018 @ 9:38 at 9:38
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        “American occupiers need to GTFO of the region and send the swarm of Zionist lawyers and lobbyists back to Israel. Anybody who allows rabid Zionists to infest their locus of power are asking for ruination.”
        “US policy in the region is a freaking JOKE. Its all about licking Israel’s self-absorbed ass, pretending to be a “mediator” in Arab affairs while PAYING OFF Arab sock puppets to tow the line. Ignoring Palestinian concerns and throwing arms around like candy. Yeah, hows that US exceptionalism coming along? Empire of chaos only has one tool in the chimpanzee toolbox.”

        @ “Captain Nutty Yahoo Wants You To Be Scared”,

        It sounds like you lost your favorite toy inside that “chimpanzee tool box” !

  • Mar 19, 2018 @ 5:26 at 5:26
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    Assad and Erdogan see American military movement around Manbij and the Kurdish areas of northern Syria, and they understand the actions are saying, were not going anywhere.

  • Mar 19, 2018 @ 8:00 at 8:00
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    I wouldn’t worry too much about the level of vigor that Israel applies if its actually attacked this time. 2006 was terrible to witness with olmert ,perez, halutz…just pathetic. The stakes are so much higher now and there is less consideration for world opinion. Especially the UN – who have actually helped create the situation you mention. With all that firepower pointing at such a tiny target like Israel – there is surely to be an absolutely massive and devastating response that completely destroys the ability of the enemy to wage war. By the time they sue for peace – which they have every other time, hopefully, there will be nothing left of them.

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  • Mar 19, 2018 @ 12:00 at 12:00
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    Originally only 32% population of Afrin is Kurds. Nearly 300000 refugees living in Turkish camps are now preparing to turn back to their homes. Out of 3 million refugees living in Turkish camps Erdogan training 200000 young Syrian males for Free Syrian Army for nearly 1 year. They will send to Afrin as militia. As a Brazilian diplomat living in Turkey for 5 years, i can not describe the hate anger and willingness to fight among both high class and lower class Turkish citizen against Usa backed terroist groups after Usa sponsored military coup attempt. After 1 dead soldier from a Turkish family, at the funeral, 5 men from same family sworn to fight, joined to army. Such a hate, is the same hate of North Vietnamese people. At YPG controlled areas one can see terroist organization PKK leader Ocelans photos, monuments. Pkk is officially described as terrorist group both Usa and Eu. They are suice bombers. I can not understand why is Usa want to turn Turkish people into to mind state of Vietkong. Why do they want to create 80 million enemies? It is such a shame

    • Mar 20, 2018 @ 9:45 at 9:45
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      @Denilson Ak,

      Could Turkish hegemony in the region (AKA the Ottoman Empire) have anything to do with what you’re describing in your comment?

      • Mar 20, 2018 @ 11:49 at 11:49
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        What is the relation between Ottoman Empire and suicide bomber arming of Usa

  • Mar 19, 2018 @ 14:22 at 14:22
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    Correction: Ghouta is not about to “fall”. Its about to be liberated from your Mossadi backed SWINE.

    So much for being gods chosen ones, backing 80 flavours of head choppers in Syria for your Ziohazard agenda.

    The Western world sleeps with Salafist head choppers when its convenient – put that in your pipe and smoke it. Despite all the money, all the captagon, all the weapons, all the brainwashing, all the Jihadist cannon fodder, you got your asses wiped by 3 countries under US sanctions!

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  • Mar 19, 2018 @ 22:32 at 22:32
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    No mention of “human shields”? How can you people take DEBKAfile at all seriously?

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  • Mar 20, 2018 @ 11:14 at 11:14
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    Erdogan the Turk and Khamenei the Farsi are hitlers of 21 century. History made a turn and again, 100 years later, we witness homicidal maniacs threatening openly their neighbors and advancing their empires by force. NATO, EU, USA and ONZ stand aside, confused and impotent, just like then.

  • Mar 22, 2018 @ 2:11 at 2:11
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    The good news is Syria will be in control of it’s own territory, no question about that.
    The bad news is the USA and Russia colluded with Turkey and let Erdogan take his piece of Syria.
    The question is what is next with Turkey, would Turkey forge a muslim coalition to attack Israel?

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