For the first time, Turkish armor crosses into Syria to battle ISIS

Following the gruesome suicide bombing at a wedding in Turkey last weekend that killed more than 50, President Erdogan has ordered his military into Syria to sweep ISIS from the border.

CNN:

The aim of the operation, code-named Euphrates Shield, is to secure territory along its border with Syria from the ISIS threat, officials told Turkey's semiofficial Anadolu agency.

The Kurds have alleged Turkish ground engagements on Syrian soil before, but they've never been proven. Turkish warplanes have been active in the skies above cities in northern Syria as part of US-led coalition air raids, but Wednesday's incursion is the first confirmed instance of Turkish armor crossing the Syrian border.

Turkish artillery units and warplanes belonging to the coalition pounded the ISIS-held Syrian town of Jarablus early Wednesday.

Turkish special forces units are also operating along the border, CNN Turk reported.

Jarablus lies along the west bank of the Euphrates River, less than a kilometer from Turkey. It's the last major town held by ISIS on the Syrian-Turkish border.

Turkey has been hitting targets inside Syria for three days following a mortar attack on residential areas in Karkamis, a town on the Turkish side of the border.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Tuesday that his country will "fully support" operations against ISIS positions in Jarabulus.

Troops will create a safe zone of 90 by 40 kilometers (55 by 25 miles) for refugees between the towns of Marea and Jarablus, Turkish media said.

Interior Minister Efkan Ala, in an interview with state media, said "we are working together with coalition and moderate opposition. Turkey will not allow terrorist organizations next to us to threaten Turkey. What is indispensable for Turkey is the territorial unity of Syria."

While Turkey has been supplying non-Kurdish militias fighting President Assad's army, the Turks have become increasingly alarmed at the threat from Islamist groups.  Erdogan may have made a tactical decision to support Assad (and, by extension, Russia and Iran's Hezb'allah) in the short term, hoping to push ISIS as far away from the border as possible.

In the long term, Turkey, Iran, and Russia may find common cause in finding stability in Syria.  The more Turkey helps Russia in Syria, the more important its place at the peace table. 

Meanwhile, President Obama played golf.  The U.S. position in Syria was further eroded by Erdogan's actions, but how important is that compared to lowering Obama's handicap?

Several analysts have complained that neither Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump has a policy to deal with the Syrian civil war.

That's okay.  President Obama doesn't have one, either.

Following the gruesome suicide bombing at a wedding in Turkey last weekend that killed more than 50, President Erdogan has ordered his military into Syria to sweep ISIS from the border.

CNN:

The aim of the operation, code-named Euphrates Shield, is to secure territory along its border with Syria from the ISIS threat, officials told Turkey's semiofficial Anadolu agency.

The Kurds have alleged Turkish ground engagements on Syrian soil before, but they've never been proven. Turkish warplanes have been active in the skies above cities in northern Syria as part of US-led coalition air raids, but Wednesday's incursion is the first confirmed instance of Turkish armor crossing the Syrian border.

Turkish artillery units and warplanes belonging to the coalition pounded the ISIS-held Syrian town of Jarablus early Wednesday.

Turkish special forces units are also operating along the border, CNN Turk reported.

Jarablus lies along the west bank of the Euphrates River, less than a kilometer from Turkey. It's the last major town held by ISIS on the Syrian-Turkish border.

Turkey has been hitting targets inside Syria for three days following a mortar attack on residential areas in Karkamis, a town on the Turkish side of the border.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Tuesday that his country will "fully support" operations against ISIS positions in Jarabulus.

Troops will create a safe zone of 90 by 40 kilometers (55 by 25 miles) for refugees between the towns of Marea and Jarablus, Turkish media said.

Interior Minister Efkan Ala, in an interview with state media, said "we are working together with coalition and moderate opposition. Turkey will not allow terrorist organizations next to us to threaten Turkey. What is indispensable for Turkey is the territorial unity of Syria."

While Turkey has been supplying non-Kurdish militias fighting President Assad's army, the Turks have become increasingly alarmed at the threat from Islamist groups.  Erdogan may have made a tactical decision to support Assad (and, by extension, Russia and Iran's Hezb'allah) in the short term, hoping to push ISIS as far away from the border as possible.

In the long term, Turkey, Iran, and Russia may find common cause in finding stability in Syria.  The more Turkey helps Russia in Syria, the more important its place at the peace table. 

Meanwhile, President Obama played golf.  The U.S. position in Syria was further eroded by Erdogan's actions, but how important is that compared to lowering Obama's handicap?

Several analysts have complained that neither Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump has a policy to deal with the Syrian civil war.

That's okay.  President Obama doesn't have one, either.