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Global Intelligence Report - 19th December 2018

Erdogan

Geopolitical Notebook

Sources

- High-ranking Turkish armed forces liaison officer
- Turkish editor of a major daily publication
- UAE oil ministry source

Turkey is escalating the situation on the Syrian border, vowing an offensive operation at any moment against US-backed Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State in Syria. In other words, this would be an attack on the US-controlled part of northeastern Syria—a potential situation that Washington has continued to downplay, but which would have high-level geopolitical repercussions, with Russia, Turkey and Iran all being allied in Syria.

A high-ranking liaison officer in the Turkish Armed Forces told us last week that the military plans which were drawn up months ago for a new operation in northern Syria have been reviewed and revised in recent weeks to adapt them to the new situation on the ground. “The change mostly happened not in the shape of our own forces but on others, including the FSA, and the YPG. The location and capacity of their units changed in these months, and both they and foreign elements including Americans constructed new bases and other facilities,” he said.

As previously planned, the FSA will play a key role again in Turkey’s planned operation. “However, they will not be allowed to ‘roar’ like they did during the Euphrates Shield,” the source said, stressing that Syrian rebel units will be more strictly tied to the…

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