[Marxism] Fw: Jaysh al Thuwar commander: Turkey turned ISIS, Al Nusra into FSA (ANF)

Chris Slee chris_w_slee at hotmail.com
Wed Feb 14 16:07:15 MST 2018


The two Jaysh al Thuwar commanders qoted in the article did not go into detail about the exact relationship between Turkey, ISIS and HTS.  This was not the focus of their brief comments.

Their main point was that Jaysh al Thuwar represents the real continuation of the original Free Syrian Army, while Turkey's proxy force that uses the name "FSA" includes a lot of people from a completely different background and with completely different politics, including current or former HTS and ISIS members.

Turkey and HTS

It seems that the quote which I gave from Rod Nordland was not clear enough.  I will give a slightly longer quote, which makes it clearer that HTS is participating in Turkey's attack on Afrin.

Nordland refers to the shooting down of a Russian plane and says:

"A onetime affiliate of Al Qaeda in Syria, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, or H.T.S., claimed responsibility, broadcasting footage<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkTtpYFVNfM> of the plane’s downing. Elements of that same group [i.e. HTS] are among the Free Syrian Army militias, many of them Islamist extremists, who are allied with the Turks and fighting in Afrin, according to the group [i.e. HTS] and to analysts in the area."

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/04/world/middleeast/turkey-afrin-syria.html

The relationship between Turkey and HTS is complex.  Last year Charles Lister, a "Syria specialist" and "terrorism expert" who seemed to support Turkey's intervention in Syria at that time, wrote an article discussing differences within HTS, and claiming that Turkey was likely to try to split the organisation:

https://warontherocks.com/2017/10/turkeys-idlib-incursion-and-the-hts-question-understanding-the-long-game-in-syria/

Currently some HTS members are participating in Turkey's attack on Afrin, while others are fighting Assad.  This may be just a division of labor within HTS.  But if Lister is right about divisions within HTS, it might reflect the different policies of different factions of HTS.

Turkey and ISIS

There is a history of collaboration between Turkey and ISIS in attacking Rojava.  However relations betweem them were not always completely harmonious.

When the Turkish army entered Jarablus in 2016, it met little or no resistance.  It seemed there was a deal for ISIS to withdraw and allow Turkey to take over a strip of land along the border.

There were also reports that some ISIS members stayed in the Turkish controlled area and joined Turkey's version of the "Free Syrian Army".

However it seems there was disagreement over how far ISIS should withdraw, resulting in armed conflict at al-Bab.  This dispute was resolved and cooperation was resumed.

Due to the defeats suffered by ISIS over the past year, Turkey now has no border with ISIS-controlled territory.  But Turkey's invasion of Afrin and attacks on other parts of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria help ISIS by diverting the Syrian Democratic Forces away from their offensive against ISIS.

Chris Slee



________________________________
From: RKOB <aktiv at rkob.net>
Sent: Wednesday, 14 February 2018 2:38 AM
To: Chris Slee
Subject: Re: [Marxism] Jaysh al Thuwar commander: Turkey turned ISIS, Al Nusra into FSA (ANF)

To avoid any misunderstanding: I totally condemn the Turkish invasion in Afrin and all those FSA people who participate in this are traitors in my opinion (We said so already immediately after the invasion began: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/no-to-turkey-s-attack-on-afrin/)
But I strongly protested and still protest about the ridiculous silly thing which this SDF commander says and which you approvingly distributed. He said that ISIS and HTS are attacking Afrin. Just read the quote which you yourself forwarded again:

"The forces gathered under the Jaysh Al Thuwar (“Army of Revolutionaries”) umbrella say they are the true FSA and they have come together for the Syrian revolution, while those who attack Afrin are ISIS, Hayat Tahrir Al Sham (formerly Al Nusra)..."

This is simply an insult against common sense!

Now you claim, in defense, that a pro-Assad writer like Patrick Cockburn says that there are many ex-ISIS fighters in the pro-Turkish FSA units. The second defense is that the New York Times writes that there are many "Islamic extremists" inside the pro-Turkish FSA units.

Leaving aside that I have some scepticism about these two sources, the point is that even if they are correct, this is still something very different than saying that today ISIS and HTS attack Afrin together with the Turkish Army!

As you will surely be aware that there are many ex-officers and ex-soldiers of Assad's army inside the FSA and various Islamist organizations. Should we therefore say that "Assad soldiers" are attacking Afrin?! Obviously this would be stupid.

The SDF commander is just repeating the silly lies of the YPG and both are serving US imperialism.

In my opinion you should be more cautious in uncritically distributing such YPG nonsense.


Am 13.02.2018 um 15:40 schrieb Chris Slee:

Patrick Cockburn has reported that Turkey has been recruiting large numbers of former ISIS fighters to its version of the  "Free Syrian Army":

www.counterpunch.org/2018/02/12/is-turkey-recruiting-ex-isis-fighters/<http://www.counterpunch.org/2018/02/12/is-turkey-recruiting-ex-isis-fighters/>

Whether these people can still be considered as ISIS members may be debatable.  The point the Jaysh al Thuwar representatives are making is that they do not consider these (ex?) ISIS members as real representatives of the Free Syrian Army.

Regarding HTS, Rod Nordland says in the February 4 New York Times:

"Elements of that same group are among the Free Syrian Army militias, many of them Islamic extremists, who are allied to the Turks and fighting in Afrin, according to the group and analysts in the area".

www.nytimes.com/2018/02/04/world/middleeast/turkey-afrin-syria.html<http://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/04/world/middleeast/turkey-afrin-syria.html>?

Chris Slee


________________________________
From: Marxism <marxism-bounces at lists.csbs.utah.edu><mailto:marxism-bounces at lists.csbs.utah.edu> on behalf of RKOB via Marxism <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu><mailto:marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, 13 February 2018 9:42:52 PM
To: Chris Slee
Subject: Re: [Marxism] Jaysh al Thuwar commander: Turkey turned ISIS, Al Nusra into FSA (ANF)

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It might be useful to think first before forwarding such YPG nonsense!

ISIS and HTS are attacking the Kurds in Afrin?

ISIS and HTS are pretty busy on other fronts! Actually they are
currently killing each other in South Idlib! Check their website, check
other news, check the pro-Turkish news - everyone will confirm this.

No serious source has ever claimed that ISIS and HTS are participating
in the Turkish attack on Afrin.

Why should they?

To support the Turkish army? But Turkey has a) expelled ISIS via their
Operation Euphrates Shield and b) has signed the Astana agreement which
calls for the annihilation of HTS. So why on earth should they help Turkey?!

As Trotsky once said: Even slander should have some logic!

And, by the way, a group like the Jaysh al Thuwar which is - as part of
the SDF - officially financed and supported by the US is not the most
serious source.


Am 13.02.2018 um 11:10 schrieb Chris Slee via Marxism:



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Jaysh al Thuwar (Army of Revolutionaries) is a predominantly Arab force that is part of the Syrian Democratic Forces, along with the predominantly Kurdish YPG/YPJ and other groups.

Jaysh al Thuwar was formed in 2015 by survivors of the Syrian Revolutionaries Front and other Free Syrian Army-aligned groups in northern Syria that were attacked by Jabhat al Nusra.

Jaysh al Thuwar is helping to defend Afrin against the invasion by the Turkish army and some of its proxies that use the name "Free Syrian Army".  Jaysh al Thuwar rejects the right of the Turkish-backed forces to use this name.

Chris Slee

***

https://anfenglish.com/rojava/jaysh-al-thuwar-commander-turkey-turned-isis-al-nusra-into-fsa-24891


"The forces gathered under the Jaysh Al Thuwar (“Army of Revolutionaries”) umbrella say they are the true FSA and they have come together for the Syrian revolution, while those who attack Afrin are ISIS, Hayat Tahrir Al Sham (formerly Al Nusra)..."

“Turkey wanted to make us fight against Kurds. They formed the group called the Euphrates Shield. We were there at first, but we left when the Nusra people arrived. The top level Nusra members in Idlib are all in Turkey now. They all say they are FSA, but that is not true. "





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