Signs on the road: Coalition to Raqqa, NATO to here! - NEDRET ERSANEL

Signs on the road: Coalition to Raqqa, NATO to here!

On May 18, US President Barack Obama's Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter DAESH Brett McGurk arrived in Kobani. Every eye in the region was watching him closely.

On the same evening, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his US counterpart Obama had an hour-long telephone conversation.

“Presidents Erdoğan and Obama discussed the current situation in Syria and reached a consensus on the urgency of making joint efforts to defeat Daesh and eliminate its capacity to attack. The two leaders have drawn attention to the importance of international cooperation on ensuring the cease-fire in Syria is upheld and making progress in the political transition process. In this context, Mr. Obama has stressed that the US cares about NATO ally Turkey's security.” (19/05, Presidency's official website.)

If this is all, the White Palace's phone bill was run up for nothing.

Of course there is more.

US Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander Gen. Joseph Votel paid a surprise visit to Syria on May 21. Before anything, it should be noted that Votel, who only recently assumed his CENTCOM post, is the US's highest-ranking military authority to have entered Syria since the fight against Daesh started. The general apparently remained in the region for 11 hours.

The reason?

If you look at McGurk's “meddlesome” tweet, “GEN Votel was in #Syria preparing push to #Raqqa. #ISIS #Daesh.” This is suspicious information. It makes one feel like saying, “While you are at it, why don't you share your secret attack plans as well?” Yet, we should also know that this visit coincides with the time international coalition planes threw “abandon the city” notices to Raqqa.


Following his visit to the Kobani region, Votel came to Ankara. The media announced the news as a “surprise visit,” but “both his arrival and departure” were known ahead of time. On May 23, he met with General Staff Deputy Chief Gen. Yaşar Güler.

It's all obvious in the flow of this traffic, but the reason for his visit went on from the fight against the Daesh threat aimed at Kilis and the terrorist organization to their communication with the Democratic Union Party-People's Protection Units (PYD-YPG) and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as well as to boosting the morale of US troops in the region.

Still, Raqqa ranked first among all these “legends.” As he was leaving Kobani, the general said: "I left with increased confidence in their capabilities and our ability to support them," he said. "I think that model is working and working well."


Then what?

It goes like this:

“In their Monday attack, Daesh militants detonated seven bombs in Latakia, known as the 'regime's fortress.' In what was one of its bloodiest massacres yesterday, the Daesh terror group organized a series of attacks in Latakia that killed at least 145 people. The attacks were recorded as the terror activity causing the greatest loss in Latakia – the Assad family's hometown – since the start of the civil war in March 2011.”

We cannot consider that this attack is unconnected to the aforementioned back and forth sequence. It has to be connected. The connection needs to be solved.

Let's see what the foreign press has to say:

“It would take the US years to form a Sunni army to take Raqqa. The US can also cooperate with YPG militias, but Turkey and Syria hate the YPG. By forming a new opposition coalition under the 'Syrian Democratic Forces,' the US is trying to apply little of both options. The said circle contains the YPG, Sunnis, Christians, Turkmens and other inexperienced fighters. The attempt to integrate the Sunnis, who are weaker, with the Kurds, who are stronger, seems like a pragmatic alternative to the train-and-equip program. (“A new coalition,” 23/05, The Washington Post.)

Another said: “The US is planning to use Kurdish forces as a 'Trojan horse' to enter Mosul and repel Daesh forces. US Commander Votel made a surprise and secret visit to Syria and particularly to Ayn al Arab (Kobani) in this context. US Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter DAESH Brett McGurk also went to Ayn el Arab. This action is the messenger of two parallel wars: The first one is the war in Mosul against Daesh, the second is the war aimed at rescuing Raqqa from the invasion of Daesh forces." (Rai El Yevm, 23/05.)

“[The so-called] Kobani Canton former Foreign Affairs Council Deputy Chair Nahsan said, Votel's visit to the SDF and saving some Raqqa villages, shows a comprehensive operation is going to be launched on Raqqa.'”

Surely Ankara both contemplated the three points and followed them closely...

Incirlik Air Base, the fate of Jarablous and Manbij and the state of the Arab tribes...

Finally, the signs on the road point to Raqqa and“NATO!”


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