— Rojava Defense Units (@DefenseUnits) November 25, 2016
First, the Russia Analyst should point out there are no signs of mass Turkish mobilization for bolstering their existing contingent in northern Syria, including the movement of large armored or artillery columns. As we reported in our previous post, citing Elijah J. Magnier, the Turkish Army understands Ankara's Air Force cannot supply air cover beyond the immediate vicinity of the border, which is also in artillery/MLRS range. The Russian Air Force and Moscow's S400/300 air defense units control the skies over Aleppo, limiting any Turkish supply drops or air support for their collapsing proxies.
Turkish bombs kill an American and a German in YPG ranks. https://t.co/xXU17i63fG
— agitpapa (@agitpapa) November 29, 2016
With Turkey's Air Force not willing to test Damascus' Russian-backed threat to shoot down Turkish F-16s, Ankara can only hold out some tiny sliver of hope that the incoming Trump Administration would take seriously Congressional neocons calls via H.R. 5732 for a U.S. supported 'no fly zone' over areas the Turkish military has already (illegally under international law) seized in northern Syria. Except the President elect of the United States Donald J. Trump has already said he is not interested in confronting either Assad or the Russians, but only in destroying ISIS and stopping the massive refugee outflow to Turkey and thence, to Europe. Speaking of which, the 'mad' neo-Ottoman Sultan is threatening to open the floodgates of humanity from Anatolia to Greece and the European Continent once again, in retaliation for the EU's criticism of his centralization of power and crackdowns on free speech and the Kurds.
— A Dunon (@4rj1n) November 27, 2016
Retired Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Mideast analyst and Army Col. Patrick Lang sums up how Erdogan has managed to piss off just about everyone -- not only Washington with his attacks on U.S. Special Forces-backed Kurdish YPG/SDF forces and threats to close Incirlik Air Base. But also, thanks to his half-hearted overtures to Moscow, Erdogan has annoyed his Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi/Qatari allies, while Assad is gaining more support in the Sunni Arab world thanks to Erdogan's enemy, Gen. Abdel Fattah Sisi in Egypt:
Even though there are few signs of an imminent direct clash between Russian-advised and supported Syrian forces on one side and the (for now) NATO member Turks on the other side, Southfront is reporting warnings from Damascus that the Turkish Army is digging in alongside its proxies near al-Bab:
— STOP TERROR (@S_T_O_P_TERROR) November 29, 2016
As we've written previously, it would be naive to think after the years and tens of billions the Saudis, Qataris and multiple NATO member countries led by the U.S., UK and France have invested into the Syria jihad (as well as the globalists behind these governments)...that all these forces and the Turks are just going to slip away quietly as their jihadi proxies get crushed. Still, it is one thing to launch a limited incursion for the limited objective of blocking the Kurds from establishing a contiguous territory across northern Syria, at the grudging sufferance of Damascus, Tehran and Moscow. It's quite another thing for a Turkish Army which has had its high command ruthlessly purged over the last several months try to try and fight a full fledged war with the Syrians, Iranians and their battle-hardened Hezbollah allies, who know a thing or two about killing Israeli-made tanks superior to Ankara's aging M60T Sabras (three of which have already been destroyed in the north Syria campaign, supposedly by ISIS).
As we've written here before at RogueMoney, Turkish control of the Bosporus and the implied threat of cutting the Russians' 'Syria Express' off from the ports of Latakia and Tartus is not the trump card that Ankara's hawks and Turkish trolls on Twitter assume. With Egypt overtly siding with Assad's government now, Russian naval passage through the Suez by Moscow's Pacific Fleet as well as the supply of Egyptian Army ammunition to the SAA is assured. While it's true forcing Russian vessels to take the long way around Europe from Arctic ports through Gibraltar would slow down the flow of materiel to Damascus forces, it would by no means stop it.
Even if Erdogan imagines he can push the SAA back by surging troops into northern Syria with superior numbers and that Russia won't dare engage his forces directly, Damascus could still call up Egyptian troops to back the Turks off. President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi made it clear in an interview with RTP TV this past week that Egypt is prepared to directly support Libya, Syria and Iraq in the anti-terrorist fight -- and there are already reports that Egyptian helicopters and support troops have been deployed to Hama.
It's difficult to discern what Erdogan hopes to accomplish, except to bluster his way into a greater 'share' of Syrian territory and bluff the SAA and its allies into accepting a semi-permanent Turkish occupation of northern Syria...aka the so-called 'safe zone' members of the U.S. Congress have demanded President elect Trump accept.
Regardless of neocon desperation, the lame duck, 'checked out' status of Barack Obama leaves plenty of room for the pro-Kurdish elements of the Pentagon and even the German 'Deep State' to cooperate with their Assad-backing Russian counterparts in preparation for a 'wouldn't it be great if we could get along with Russia?' Trump presidency. Indeed, the so-called 'moderate rebels' advocates are complaining that the SAA and Kurdish YPG have already cooperated to secure large portions of east Aleppo together. So any Turkish assault on Al-Bab or even further southwest toward the city could turn bloody for the Turks fast. As the Red Army choir song says, the (SAMs and massed cluster munition artillery) rockets are always ready.