Middle East Update 20160827 – News about the war in Iraq, U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, Turkey enters the war, U.S. selling out the Kurds, Lebanon Armed Forces receive $50 million in U.S. military equipment, and more.
U.S. Airstrikes Continue. It appears that U.S. Airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq are continuing on a daily basis. Recent strikes in Syria have been against ISIL weapons facilities, tactical units, fighting positions, oil facilities, and anti-air artillery systems. In Iraq airstrikes have hit ISIL checkpoints, tactical units, vehicles, mortar positions, and supply caches.
Lebanon Receives U.S. Equipment. The United States delivered $50 million in Humvees, weapons, and ammunition to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in early August. Read a news release by U.S. Central Command (August 17, 2016).
Turkey SOF and Tanks Enter Syria. Turkish troops lead by tanks and special operations units entered a Syrian town named Jarablus located just south of the Turkish-Syrian border. The town was occupied by ISIS. There is lots of speculation on why Turkey has entered the fracas. Some say it is to defeat ISIS. Other say they want to start to fight the Syrian government troops.
But most analysts believe that the Turks see the Syrian Kurds (YPG) gaining momentum and territory in the fight against ISIS and they are worried. The Turks have already started to shell YPG positions located south of Jarablus.
For its part, the U.S. has put pressure on the YPG to vacate hard-won Syrian territory (fighting ISIS). Looks like the United States is once again going to sell out the Kurds for its own strategic interests – this time in order to keep the Turks happy. So the Kurds, who for the past two years have been the most effective and reliable fighting force on the ground, are getting a raw deal once again. Courtesy of Uncle Sam.
Aleppo – The Ongoing Struggle. Over the past few years the Syrian city of Aleppo has been the scene of some intense fighting. The fighting is sure to continue between the various factions – ISIS, rebels, and the Russian-Syria, Iranian alliance. Read “What You Need to Know About Aleppo”, Defense One, August 19, 2016.