In the past few years Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been creating a "new Wahhabi empire" in the Middle East and beyond by fuelling Islamic extremists, Muslim Brotherhood recruits and al-Qaeda affiliates.
"Turkey and Saudi Arabia have made their plans clear to an amazed world, a new Wahhabist empire, an 'Islamic State,' not the one the puppet front organization ISIS [Daesh] is running, but a real one with up to a million men in uniform, over three thousand modern combat aircraft and nuclear weapons," Veterans Today editor and Marine combat veteran Gordon Duff writes for New Eastern Outlook.
The Marine combat veteran envisions that if Ankara and Riyadh prevail, the region would be turned into a caliphate while the fate of the Mideast nation-states and the Kurdish minority is likely to be deplorable.
While Western policymakers are weighing the pros and cons of a ground military operation in the region, Turkey has already unleashed the war, Duff stresses.
"A war is already going on. Turkey has invaded Syria… Turkey has bombed Kurds inside Syria, not the claimed 'rebel' PKK, but the US allies of the YPG [Kurdish People's Protection Units]… Turkey has invaded Iraq, sending in 1,500 troops who now protect Mosul, the ISIS [Daesh] capitol… Turkey is actively threatening Greece with continual air space violations and aggressive claims made against Greek islands in the Aegean. Turkey is preparing for war with Iran, ethnically cleansing their common border of Kurds and through building a military base in Qatar to launch operations from," the combat veteran emphasizes.
In short, the erratic Turkish leader is fanning the flames in the already war-torn region.
In addition, Ankara's tentacles have been spread to Europe: the Erdogan government has no scruples about blackmailing Brussels amid the ongoing refugee crisis.
"Erdogan has destroyed Germany's Merkel, whose popularity is at an all-time low," Duff notes.
However, what is more important, the Turkish Armed Forces have amassed over 18,000 troops on the Syrian border, while a 250,000-strong military contingent is ready to move into both Syria and Iraq within 30 days, he underscores.
Does it mean Syria and Iraq will fall victims to Ankara and Riyadh? No, it is highly unlikely amid the Russo-Syrian advance.
Although the Turkish artillery has been shelling Azaz, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have continued to advance towards the Syrian city.
"Turkey continues to cause massive artillery strikes on the positions of the YPG and Syrian Democratic Forces. The villages of Meryemin, Minnigh near Azaz and Afrin have been subjected to shelling. Civilians have suffered as a result of the bombing," YPG commander Firat Xelil told Sputnik Turkiye Saturday.
The SDF and the YPG are fighting against Ankara-backed rebels, from al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Arab Army's 'Tiger Forces' — backed by Liwaa Suqour Al-Sahra (Desert Hawks Brigade) and the Cheetah Forces 'Team 3' — have retaken the Aleppo Thermal Power Plant from Daesh, according to Al-Masdar News. In addition, the Syrian forces have imposed full control over Umm Turaykiyah in the Al-Safira Plains, the media outlet reported Saturday.
ISIS TRAPPED after SAA took *Balat, *Balat silos, *Za'alanah, *Um Turaykiyah. *Aleppo thermal station also LIBERATED pic.twitter.com/fEFPrCykqL— The 'Nimr' Tiger (@Souria4Syrians) 20 февраля 2016
In its turn, the Syrian Arab Army's 555th Brigade of the 4th Mechanized Division is moving through the Hama-Raqqa countryside expelling Daesh forces from the area and heading towards the Tabaqa Military Airport.