There are basically five major theaters of war in Syria now. I will also be publishing a companion “Who’s who in Syria” article.
Photos: Red is Syrian Government, Yellow is YPG, Green is miscellaneous Jihadists, Dark Green is HTS (formerly known as al-Qaeda), Black is ISIS, Turquoise is Turkey, Purple is Israeli occupied Golan Heights.
The Jihadists in this area were heavily sponsored by the United States and Jordan. America trained Jihadists at camps in Jordan and supplied them with everything from small arms to BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles and man-portable anti-aircraft weapons [manpads]. Israel was also providing airstrikes and medical support for years.
Many of the Jihadists are local. Some of the fighters, particularly those fighting for ISIS, are believed to be from Lebanon’s infamous Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian ghetto. This is the ghetto that is so notorious, Lebanon built a giant wall around it.
The Syrian Army is backed up by local Druze militias, some foreign Shiite volunteers, and a militia of Palestinians from the Palestinian ghetto on the south side of Damascus.
This front has been somewhat quiet recently. The biggest recent development is a huge change in Israel foreign policy. Recently, Israel allowed Druze living in the Golan Heights to enter Syria to fight with pro-Assad militias. This turned the tide in a large battle on the northern border of the Golan Heights and helped pro-Assad forces wipe out a Jihadist pocket.
Damascus: This is the capital city of Damascus and is protected by the Republican Guard. East Ghouta is a large area on the east side that is still controlled by Jihadists. There is brutal fighting on a regular basis. The Jihadists in East Ghouta are absolutely tenacious and will not give up.
On the south side of Damascus is a Palestinian Ghetto. Part of it is controlled by ISIS and part by HTS. Essential, the ISIS fighters were an al-Qaeda splinter group that declared allegiance to ISIS long ago. The HTS fighters and others have agreed to a peaceful evacuation to Idlib Governate. However, the ISIS fighters will not allow it to happen. So the area remains in limbo.
ISIS controlled this area for a long time and seems to have gotten a large amount of support for the local Arab Sunni. Now, ISIS no longer controls an urban area or major towns. However, they are still fighting and still killing members of the Syrian army and the YPG every day.
There is essentially no reason for the YPG to be in this area at all. There are no Kurds and the local Arab population is demanding that they leave. American didn’t want the Syrian government to cross the Euphrates. Incidentally, the area across the Euphrates just happens to be the most oil and gas-rich part of Syria. The primary reason that the YPG is fighting in this area is so America will continue delivering massive shipments of weapons, ammo, and vehicles. Equipment that they will now use to fight against their real enemy, Turkey.
It is now entirely possible, if not likely, that the YPG will end up peacefully handing over a large amount of territory to the Assad government, in exchange for support in their war against Turkey.
This is the area north of Hama and east of Aleppo. It also includes area north and northeast of the city of Aleppo, though that area is now occupied by the Turkish army. Turkey also has troops in Idlib and is now giving out F9 Panther armored vehicles to Jihadists.
This is the scene of five years of relentless brutal fighting. America, NATO, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, and others pumped vast amounts of money and weapons into the Jihadists in this area. Turkey allowed Jihadists, including the official al-Qaeda franchise Nusra Front, to cross its border freely to evade the Syrian army.
American sponsored Nour al-Zinky and provided them with BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles. Now America is drone bombing the same group after declaring them an official terrorist group. Other groups that America sponsored became notorious for brutally murdering Shiites, including the infamous Jihadist who videotaped himself eating the heart of a Shiite.
Turkey sponsored the official Kurdish al-Qaeda support group, Ansar al-Islam. This was one of the three main groups that killed Americans in Iraq. They later officially merged with ISIS.
There is still some ISIS in this area, currently contained by the Syrian army to a small pocket. Many of them are from an al-Qaeda splinter group that was known as Jung al-Asqa.
The Syrian government, led by Assad, is winning. It is just taking a very long time. In the past month and a half, the Syrian army retook a huge amount of territory. This led to Turkey sending large amounts of troops and equipment deep into Idlib to help them stop the advance of the Syrian army.
Turkey has begun shelling the Syrian army in support of HTS and other Jihadists. At the same time, Turkey is demanding that Russia cease bombing HTS because Turkish troops are embedded with the Jihadists.
Russia is now deploying their advanced S-400 surface to air missile batteries in northern Syria to try to deter Turkish aggression.
Most of the fighting of the past five years has been a religious war. Sunni Jihadists versus Shiites, Christians, Druze, Arab Nationalists, Communist Kurds, anti-Communist Kurds, ect.
The new phase of the conflict is a race war between the Turkic world and the Kurdish world. Neither side are angels. The Osmanli Turkic people of Turkey have a long history of brutality. They even try to deny the very existence of the Kurdish ethnicity. They refer to Kurds as “mountain Turks.”
Meanwhile, a large portion of the entire Kurdish world still glorifies Communism and treats other ethnic groups in Syria like crap. The Kurds in Syria are mostly the descendants of illegal aliens who swarmed into the country in the 1920’s. Now they are waging a campaign of cultural genocide against the Christian Assyrians. They are changing all the Assyrian place-names to Kurdish names and perpetrating that the region was historically Kurdish.
Turkey is marching into Syria waving two banners. One if the banner of radical Sunni Islam. The second is the banner of Turkic racial nationalism.
Turkey already invaded an area of Syria north of Aleppo to prevent the Kurdish YPG from advancing any further. Now Turkey is invading YPG held Afrin. Turkey is also bombing and shelling YPG all over northern Syria. The Turkish government says they will also invade more YPG held territories soon. They are demanding the US special forces immediately leave these areas.
In Afrin, Turkey is sponsoring numerous militias. A big one is Legion Sham, which was founded as the official Muslim Brotherhood militia in Syria. Turkey is also using HTS in Afrin. Then there are Turkmen militias which include local Oghuz Turkman as well as other Turkic peoples from central Asia. Many are members of the Turkic Grey Wolves, a hardcore racial nationalist group.
So far, America and Europe have backed down to Turkey. They have abandoned their YPG ally to be killed by the Turkish army. People like to say that Israel gets away with a lot, but I can’t find any country that everyone grovels to more than Turkey. Germany has already banned public support for the YPG to appease the Turkish government. In the past year, the Turkish government has literally called in Turkic race riots in European countries that were not giving Turkey what it wanted. There is a rapidly growing pan-Turkic racial nationalist movement, and it is particularly strong among Turkic immigrants in Europe.
Soon, the Turkish/Kurdish race war will be waging all across northern Syria and probably northern Iraq as well.