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Video footage shows a Turkish navy ship from the Turkish coast guard intercepting a Greek navy patrol ship near Imia a pair of two small uninhabited islets in the Aegean Sea, situated between the Greek island chain of the Dodecanese and the southwestern mainland coast of Turkey. According to several social media posts the interception was conducted on January 17, 2018 and was filmed by a crewmember of the Turkish navy ship on his cellphone. The video shows the Turkish navy ship apporaching the Greek navy patrol till the point the two ships collide.
Mattis reproves Turkey for Afrin incursion as “boon for ISIS”
Jan 23, 2018 @ 16:20
US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Tuesday that Turkey’s ground invasion of the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northern Syria distracts from international efforts to defeat ISIS. Speaking to reporters in Jakarta, he said: “This could be exploited by ISIS and Al-Qaeda obviously, that we’re not staying focused on them right now.” The US and its Kurdish partners, known as YPG are “on the cusp” of fully defeating ISIS in Syria, Mattis said. Humanitarian aid was finally flowing and refugees returning. “The Turkish incursion disrupts that effort.”
This is the first time that anyone in Washington has objected to the Turkish offensive.
Kurdish militia repels Turkish Afrin invasion amid continuing Turkish air blitz
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Turkish army has so far not gone further than exploratory steps in its campaign against the Kurdish YPG in Afrin. A major offensive with large numbers of foot soldiers and tanks has not taken place as yet. Erdogan appears to be pulling his punches to test whether the US will come to the aid of its Kurdish allies. But the question still open is: Will he go through with his threat to capture Kurdish lands spanning northern Syria from the Turkish border to the Syrian border with Iraq? If he does and succeeds in pulling off this ambitious campaign, Turkish troops will override the region declared just a few days ago as being under American military protection and secured by a new US-trained and armed Border Defense Force of 30,000 men. Will the 2,000 US military personnel deployed in the bases there then intervene? Russia has made its position clear by refraining from interfering with the Turkish air offensive although its forces control the skies over Afrin.
Turkish air strikes against Afrin Kurds. Assad opens roads to Kurdish reinforcements
Russian and American army chiefs conferred urgently Saturday, Jan. 20, about Turkey’s escalating assault on Kurdish Afrin in N. Syria. For the first time in the Syrian civil war, Bashar Assad told his army to let Kurdish reinforcements pass through the main highway from Hasakah and the Aleppo region to come to the aid of the beleaguered Kurdish YPG militia in the northern enclave of Afrin against a threatened Turkish invasion. Turkish attacks escalated to air strikes on Saturday from cross-border shelling Friday. President Tayyip Erdogan’s assault on Afrin was the subject of an urgent phone call from Russian Chief of Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov to the Chairman of the US Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford. DEBKAfile reports that they discussed coordinating US and Russian air force conduct over northern Syria after Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim ratcheted up the crisis by report the air strikes and saying, “The destruction of the YPG and PKK has begun.”