Turkey Invades Syria, Iran Pivots To Direct Aggression, Israel Promises Aid

Iranian media released this photo showing unscheduled military exercises in northwest, close to Turkey's borders. October 9, 2019 (Credit: IRNA)

Iranian media released this photo showing unscheduled military exercises in northwest, close to Turkey's borders. October 9, 2019 (Credit: IRNA)


The Iranian army conducted unscheduled drills along its shared border with Turkey today. The field exercises included, “rapid reaction units, mobile and offense brigades, and helicopters.” and was intended to “measure the readiness, mobility and speed” of Iranian forces. The surprise drills come one day after the Turkish military began their incursion into Rojava (Northeast Syria) to attack US-allied Kurdish forces there, an operation that Iran opposes, due to its alliance with the Syrian regime. Iranian army commander General Abdul Rahim Mousavi punctuated the occasion with a veiled statement, declaring that the exercise was a “message to the enemies [of the Iranian regime] ..that if they make the wrong calculations, they should know that the children of this land are ready to resist with their full power at any time and place.” The “enemies making wrong calculations” in this context includes not only Israel and the United States, but Turkey as well.

The Iranian show of strength is just the latest in a series of direct actions by the Islamic Republic, coming after the announcement by Iranian President Rouhani at the UN General Assembly in September that Iran is planning joint naval exercises with Russia and China in the Gulf of Oman. The Tehran regime also shocked the world last month when it launched drones and cruise missiles from an IRGC base inside Iran to strike two oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. Collectively, these actions suggest that Iran is pivoting away from its decades-old modus operandi of using foreign proxy forces to attack its enemies in the region while insulating itself from responsibility. Instead, Iran appears confident enough in its own power and impunity to begin challenging its regional adversaries directly, using its proxy forces as auxiliary units.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly condemned the Turkish invasion of Syrian Rojava on Twitter, announcing that his government will be providing aid to the Kurdish people there. Thousands of Kurdish and Christian civilians have come under siege in the past 48 hours, fleeing their homes along the Turkish border and adding further strain and uncertainty to what was already the largest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.