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My soluction to safe zone between Turkey & West Kurdistan

PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:25 pm
Author: Anthea
Pentagon chief: Turkish incursions
into northern Syria ‘unacceptable’

Any unilateral Turkish incursion into Kurdish-controlled northern Syria would be unacceptable, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters on Tuesday, as talks between Turkey and US over a proposed safe zone continue in Ankara

While a Department of Defense team and a Turkish Defense Ministry team are engaged in discussions concerning Turkish demands for a safe zone, US Secretary of Defense has warned against Turkish military action amid threats by Turkey’s President.

“Clearly we believe any unilateral action by them (Turkey) would be unacceptable,” Esper told reporters travelling with him to Japan, according to Reuters.

The US would “prevent” Turkey’s “unilateral incursions” into northern Syrian, Esper added.

On Tuesday, negotiations between Turkey’s National Defense Ministry and a US Department of Defense team continued on the issue of the safe zone for a second day, according to a tweet from the Turkish National Defense Ministry.

The talks follow threats by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday that his country will soon invade northern Syria.

“We will now enter east of the Euphrates. We have shared this with Russia and the US, because as long as the harassing fires from there continue, it is impossible for us to remain silent. We can be patient to a certain extent, but our patience has its limits,” Erdogan said during the inauguration of a hospital in Bursa province.

Following his comments, the US Department of Defense quickly dispatched a team to Ankara to try and prevent a Turkish invasion.

Northern Syria is dominated by People’s Protection Units (YPG), a Kurdish armed group backed by the United States. Turkey considers the YPG to be the Syrian branch of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Kurdish armed group fighting for greater cultural and political rights for Kurds in Turkey.

The US has backed the YPG since 2014 in the ground war against the Islamic State group (ISIS). The partnership developed with the creation of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a multi-ethnic group of Kurds, Arabs, and Assyrians established to retake Syrian territory.

Turkey has demanded a 20-30 kilometer-deep safe zone along its border with Syria that covers all of the major Kurdish urban centers in the north of the country. The US has instead proposed a safe zone with a depth of 5-14 kilometers.

While the meeting was taking place, President Erdogan renewed his threats at a gathering of Turkish ambassadors on Tuesday, asserting that Turkey will not hesitate to defend its “national security”.

“Turkey expects the US, its NATO ally and strategic partner, to take steps worthy of a true ally,” said Erdogan. ... 8640530432

“Turkey cannot feel safe as long as the ‘YPG/PKK’ organization, which grows like cancerous cells on our southern border through heavy weapons given to it by our allies, are not destroyed,” Erdogan added.

Turkey wants to resettle the millions of Syrian refugees east of the Euphrates in areas cleared of Kurdish armed groups, Erdogan said, claiming this would alleviate migration pressure on Europe and Turkey.

The Kurds of norther Syria say they support US efforts to prevent a war and have said they are open to compromise.

“We could only accept a Turkish presence in our area in the framework of an international force, in a way that won’t be a threat to the Kurdish people,” Mazloum Kobani, commander-in-chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), told Voice of America’s Kurdish service on Monday.

Aldar Khalil, head of the Relations Department of TEV-DEM, the ruling Kurdish coalition of Rojava, told Rudaw they have reached out to the Syrian regime in Damascus to help prevent a Turkish onslaught.

“Because the region is faced with danger, not only against itself, but against the unity of Syria, we tried to reach out to the regime through the Russians to reach an agreement through which we could protect this region,” Khalil told Rudaw on Tuesday.

“We have not seen a positive response so far, but we will never stop political or diplomatic efforts to prevent war and occupation,” Khalil added, asserting that any solution in Syria needs to be between Syrians.

How far the US is willing to go to protect its SDF allies should Turkey invade is not yet clear. Analysts have suggested Turkey could go ahead with the operation to establish facts on the ground in order to exact more concessions from the United States.

Re: US: Turkish incursions into northern Syria unacceptable

PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:42 pm
Author: Anthea
Turkey’s tests of
wills in northern Syria

President Erdogan’s heightened rhetoric over northeastern Syria during the last two weeks indicates Turkey intends to invade the area soon. On Sunday Mr. Erdogan said: “We entered Afrin, Jarablus, al-Bab. Now we will enter the (area) east of the Euphrates. We shared this (information) with Russia and the US. As long as harassment fire continues, we cannot remain silent.”

    According to the Daily Sabah: “The Turkish military has recently increased its deployment near the Syrian border, including heavy weaponry, armored vehicles and tanks, as it prepares for an imminent offensive against the PKK terror group’s Syrian branch the People’s Protection Units (YPG).”
The Washington Post in turn reported: “The Trump administration has launched a last-ditch effort to head off a Turkish invasion of northeast Syria that it expects will come within the next two weeks.

With tens of thousands of Turkish troops massed near the border, a high-level Defense Department delegation plans to present what US officials describe as a final offer to address Turkey’s concerns at a meeting Monday in Ankara.”

Ankara is demanding a “safe zone” some 20-25 miles deep, along the whole of the border. This would place almost all of the heavily populated areas of northeastern Syria, currently governed by the Kurdish-led and PKK-linked Democratic Union Party (PYD), under Turkish control.

Towns such as Qamishly (the capital of the region), Kobane (in which the Kurds fought so valiantly to break the Islamic State’s momentum in 2014), Tal Abyad, Ras al-Ayin (Sere Kaniye in Kurdish), Al Malikiya and other major urban hubs of the area all lie within 25 miles of the Turkish border.

The Americans are proposing an alternative safe zone nine miles deep and 87 miles long from which Kurdish fighters would be withdrawn. Turkey has rejected this proposal, and the reason is simple: Turkey does not need a safe zone on Syrian territory.

The Syrian-Turkish border is already one of the most fortified and heavily patrolled borders in the world. A huge barbed wire fence with guard posts every few hundred meters stretches the length of the border, and the flat land the border runs along is heavily mined.

Since the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, almost nothing of any significance could be smuggled across the northeastern Turkish-Syrian border. When jihadis wanted to cross from Turkey into this area, they did so with the connivance of Turkish authorities. Meanwhile, Kurds and others had to find alternative routes across from elsewhere in Syria and Iraq.

This was the case in 2014 when the town of Kobane – straddling the border itself – lay under ISIS siege. Ankara’s refusal to do anything about the jihadis attacking Kobane right on Turkey’s border is what led the Obama administration to establish its relationship with the PYD – a relationship that eventually led to the liberation of Raqqa and all other ISIS territories in Syria.

Despite Turkish propaganda to the contrary, the Turkish-Syria border in the northeast of Syria remains a good deal calmer and violence free than the Gaza-Israel or Lebanon-Israel border. What Turkey actually wants in the area is therefore not a safe zone but the complete elimination of the Kurdish-led de facto autonomous cantons and a place to resettle the 3.6 million Syrian refugees currently in Turkey.

In other words, Ankara wishes to turn the cantons of Kobane and Jazira into another Afrin. Turkey invaded Afrin in January of 2018, ethnically cleansing hundreds of thousands of Kurds from the area and resettling Arabs and Turkmen from other parts of Syria in their place – including virulently jihadist groups acting as Ankara’s proxies.

Washington therefore faces a simpler choice than it may realize. Washington can acquiesce to the undoing of all the gains it made in Syria. Allowing Turkey into this area would devastate the Kurdish-led forces that undid the “Islamic State” and allow Kobane and Jazira to become like today’s Afrin and Idlib provinces – overrun by jihadi groups under Turkish supervision.

The result would allow for either the return of ISIS or its replacement by al Qaeda’s former Syrian wing Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly the al-Nusra Front) which now dominates Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the preeminent force in Turkish-protected Idlib and possibly Afrin soon.

Washington, assuming it does not desire such an outcome, may alternately say ‘no’ to Turkey in very clear, unambiguous terms. Anything else invites trouble. A Congressionally-approved no-fly zone over Kobane and Jazira would be sufficient, while a behind-closed-doors American promise to make good on economic sanctions (already earned from Ankara’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile systems) would add to Ankara’s disincentives. At the same time, Washington would continue its commitment to keep the PYD from troubling Turkey over the border.

Turkey might not like the long-term prospect of a PKK-linked Syrian Kurdish-led autonomous region on its border, but plenty of states have learned to live with much worse. Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza actually launch regular attacks on Israel from their enclaves, which is hardly the case for Turkey and the Syrian Kurds.

Hezbollah and Hamas, both of which Turkey has good relations with, also remain openly committed to Israel’s destruction. The PYD in Syria in contrast insists it only wants to be left alone. Even the PKK maintains it does not want to separate Kurdish areas from Turkey or destroy the Turkish state, instead asking for a negotiated peace that would allow it to come down from the mountains.

A true friend of Turkey should therefore push Ankara to moderate its goals, compromise, and finally negotiate an end to its problems.

Re: US: Turkish incursions into northern Syria unacceptable

PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:01 pm
Author: Anthea
The article below from April this year does appear to conflict somewhat from the US latest comments:

US: Turkish incursions into northern Syria unacceptable

US to ask Syrian Kurds to let
Turkish forces through the door

The United States is pressing its Kurdish allies in Syria to ease their resistance to allowing Turkish forces to deploy on their side of the Turkish-Syrian border, well-informed sources told Al-Monitor. The Turkish forces would be a part of the proposed safe zone in northeastern Syria.

US officials are pushing for “a limited number” of Turkish forces to be allowed to deploy on the Syrian side of the border, along a stretch of territory running from the east of the Euphrates River to the Iraqi border, according to a senior official from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The source told Al-Monitor, “The subject has already been broached with us and we regard the presence of Turkish troops on our soil as extremely problematic and have made our position clear.”

The source said that the Donald Trump administration’s Syria envoy, Ambassador Jim Jeffrey, was expected to travel to northeastern Syria in the coming days, when he is likely to renew demands that Turkish forces be allowed to enter northeastern Syria.

SDF commander in chief Mazlum Kobane is known to be viscerally opposed to any intrusion by Turkish forces. But Kobane is also a firm advocate of maintaining the partnership with the United States, which puts him in a bind. Another SDF official told Al-Monitor that the US demand would never be accepted

Jeffrey said at an annual conference of Turkish American business lobbies in Washington that Turkey and the United States had yet to agree on the contours of a safe zone plan, though they continued to work on it. Jeffrey's comments, translated into Turkish on Turkey’s NTV news channel, made clear that the United States understood Turkey’s security concerns and that the sides were focused on a plan that would exclude the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). Vaguely defined “locals” are supposed to replace the YPG. “Arabs in Arab-majority areas and Kurds in others,” the second SDF official said, confirming knowledge of the plan.

The YPG is the driving force of the SDF, but it is also linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The PKK has fought for Kurdish independence and now for self-rule inside Turkey since 1984. Turkey says the two groups are the same — terrorists — and pose an existential risk to Turkey’s national security. Turkey is furious that the United States is continuing its partnership with the YPG. Hardly a day passes without a pro-government news outlet publishing “proof” of further American treachery.

US officials privately acknowledge there is little difference between the YPG and the PKK. Yet they cling to the fanciful notion that the YPG can be peeled away from the PKK and its commanders in Iraqi Kurdistan. Now Washington is reportedly telling YPG-linked Syrian Kurds in the SDF to “leave the YPG,” while whispering vague promises of getting Turkey back to the negotiating table with imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, whose moral authority over the movement remains unchallenged some 20 years after he was captured with the CIA’s help.

More likely, the United States will do the leaving. Richard Outzen, senior adviser for Syria engagement at the State Department, spoke at a panel organized by a pro-government Turkish think tank, the SETA Foundation, in Washington today, saying, “The US policy is first of all that we are going to withdraw those troops. Now the modalities of how quickly that happens and what exactly we do in the wake of it, how much support we get from the international coalition [to eliminate residual IS presence] that will survive the withdrawal of our troops, the safe zone plays a big role in that."

Trump had announced in December that he was withdrawing all US troops from Syria in 30 days.

The withdrawal has been deferred but not rescinded following pushback from the Pentagon and notably Central Command that wants to preserve the alliance with the SDF and is leery of the risks posed by an ill-planned departure.

US pressure on the Syrian Kurds fits the broader pattern of Washington demanding concessions from the SDF on behalf of Ankara without Ankara delivering any concessions to the Kurds in return, sources with close knowledge of the deliberations between Ankara, Washington and the SDF told Al-Monitor. Kobane confirmed this in a recent interview with Al-Monitor, saying Turkey was never satisfied and kept asking “for more.”

The status of the Arab-dominated town of Manbij is a case in point.

Turkey vowed to invade Manbij if the town's military and legislative councils were not purged of individuals Ankara deemed as linked to the YPG. In January, the Manbij councils were reconstituted with new members duly vetted to meet all of Turkey’s demands. Yet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to threaten to invade Manbij and expunge the YPG from the border.

Erdogan repeated these threats in a speech on the night of the March 31 local elections, dispelling all hope that it was just pre-electoral saber-rattling aimed at winning nationalist votes.

“Our target is now eliminating the terror structures in Manbij and east of the Euphrates," Erdogan said, "and making Syria a safe place for [Syrians] sheltering in our country to return to their homes.” Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar recently inaugurated an Advanced Joint Operations Center on the border where the offensive will supposedly be coordinated.

Jeffrey and his team have used Erdogan’s threats to wrest even more ground from the SDF and to push them to replicate the Manbij model east of the Euphrates River. “They are telling the SDF, ‘We can’t keep the Turks out so we need to let them in peacefully,'" a source familiar with the administration’s thinking said. The Kurds get nothing out of it other than being told that each new concession will stave off a Turkish attack. “It's a bottomless and dangerous pit,” the source said.

This policy of appeasement stands in stark contrast with Washington’s vows to impose sanctions on Turkey over its acquisition of the Russian-made S-400 missile systems, as well as its continued detention of US nationals and Turkish employees of US diplomatic missions on spurious terrorism charges.

At the same time, Washington is pressuring the Kurds to not engage with the Syrian regime and instead to unite with Turkey against the regime so as to exert maximum pressure on President Bashar al-Assad in the hope that he will fall. This would fulfill the US administration’s other goal of reducing Iran’s influence. It could also wrest Turkey out of Russia’s orbit, or so the thinking goes.

But critics say it fails to take stock of how Russia will react. Russia has made clear that it would not welcome further Turkish colonizing in Syria, specifically the kind that it oversaw when it allowed Turkish forces to overrun Kurdish-majority Afrin in January 2018.

In the meantime, Manbij is becoming more unstable. The Islamic State claimed responsibility March 26 for an attack that killed seven Manbij Military Council guards. Twin blasts struck the town April 11, injuring several residents. A suicide bomber killed four Americans in January, including two service members, and 10 others in Manbij. It was the single deadliest day for American forces in Syria. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

Fabrice Balanche, an associate professor at France’s Lyon 2 University who has written extensively about Syria, told Al-Monitor, “The Manbij attack was a message of what could follow if the Americans stay. Russia, Iran, nobody will leave them in peace. And Turkish intelligence may choose to look the other way.” ... -door.html

Re: April US said allow Turks into Syria now says keep Turks

PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:03 pm
Author: Anthea
Turkey, US agree 'joint operation
center' for northern Syria

Turkey and the United States have agreed to establish a joint operation center to manage tensions between a US-backed Kurdish militia and Turkish forces in northern Syria, Ankara said Wednesday

The announcement came after three days of tense negotiations with US officials hoping to forestall a Turkish attack on the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) group, which controls large swathes of northern Syria.

Turkey sees the YPG as a terrorist offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has fought a bloody insurgency inside its territory for the past 35 years.

The defense ministry said in a statement that Ankara had agreed with US officials to "implement without delay the first measures aimed at eliminating Turkey's concerns.

"In that framework, to quickly create in Turkey a joint operation center to coordinate and manage the implementation of the safe zone with the US."

Ankara has stepped up threats in recent days to launch an offensive against the YPG.

That put the United States in a difficult position as a NATO ally of Turkey but also a supporter of the YPG as its main frontline partner against the Islamic State group.

'Peace corridor'

All sides agree that a buffer zone is needed to keep the YPG away from Turkey's borders, but they have differed on how large it should be, or who should control it.

The defense ministry said Turkey's ultimate aim was to create a "peace corridor" that can "ensure that our Syrian brothers will be able to return to their country".

Turkey has the highest number of Syrian refugees in the world at more than 3.6 million, and has faced increasing pressure domestically to speed up repatriations to peaceful parts of the country.

The talks come at a delicate moment between Turkey and the US, who have grown increasingly estranged over a number of issues, including American support for the Kurds and Turkey's decision to buy a Russian S-400 missile defense system.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned in recent days that patience was running out with the Americans to find a solution in northern Syria.

"Turkey has the right to eliminate all threats against its national security," he said in a televised speech on Tuesday.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper countered that any unilateral action by Turkey would be "unacceptable".

But by the third day of talks, his Turkish counterpart, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, said there were positive signs.

"We witnessed with satisfaction that our partners grew closer to our position. We would prefer to act together with our American ally. If that isn't possible we have said multiple times that we will do what is necessary," he told the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Turkish media outlets have often shown images in recent weeks of military convoys heading for the border area, carrying equipment and fighting units.

Turkey has twice carried out unilateral offensives into northern Syria against the Islamic State group and YPG, in 2016 and 2018 respectively. ... /070820191

Re: April US said allow Turks into Syria now says keep Turks

PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:03 am
Author: Anthea
Kurdish leaders still wary of 'big war' in northern Syria despite US-Turkey deal

Kurdish leaders in Syria have continued to issue warnings of the consequences of a Turkish offensive on northern Syria, as Turkey and the United States reach an agreement on Wednesday for the establishment of a joint operations center and “peace corridor” in the area

The two parties aim to establish a joint operations center in Turkey in order to “coordinate and manage the creation of a safe zone in northern Syria as soon as possible,” the US Embassy in Turkey said in a statement on Wednesday. They also agreed on turning the safe zone in northern Syria into a “peace corridor” for the return home of Syrian refugees.

“Every effort shall be made so that displaced Syrians can return to their country,” the statement added.

The dimensions of the safe zone have yet to be decided upon. Turkey has reportedly suggested a buffer zone 40 kilometers wide and 450 kilometers long, while US officials say its width should be a fraction of that, at up to 15 km. A senior YPG commander previously said that they may accept a yet slimmer five kilometer-wide buffer zone.

The People’s Protection Units (YPG) is a Kurdish armed group which forms the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). It is considered by Turkey to be part of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), designated by the Turkish government as a terrorist organization.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly threatened to launch a new offensive in the East of Euphrates region of northern Syria, in an effort to repel the Kurdish-led forces from its southern border. Erdogan said the operation will not only stop migration from Syria but actually “accelerate” the return of some 3.6 million Syrian refugees from Turkey.

“We’ll move the process which we started with the Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations forward to a different phase very soon,” Erdogan told an audience in Ankara on Tuesday.

Euphrates Shield was launched in 2016 by the Turkish Army and its Syrian militia proxies against the Islamic State (ISIS) and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to take control of Jarabulus, northwest of Aleppo, while Operation Olive Branch was launched in early 2018 to remove Kurdish forces from Afrin in the far northwest of the country.

Syrian Kurdish leaders have issued weary warnings about the consequences of fresh Turkish incursions.

Badran Jia Kurd, adviser to the Kurdish-led administration in northern Syria told Reuters on Wednesday that any Turkish attack on the northern parts of Syria will result in creation of a “big war.” He rebuked European powers and Russia for their failure to mediate tension between Turkey and the SDF in northern Syria.

With the deployment of soldiers to the Turkish border in fear of imminent attack becoming a priority, the SDF is no longer able to target Islamic State (ISIS) sleeper cells in the region, Jia Kurd said.

The increased likelihood of ISIS resurgence was also warned of in the US Secretary of Defense’s Lead Inspector General report to US Congress published on Friday, which said that ISIS are “working to rebuild their capabilities” in Iraq and Syria.

The Trump administration-ordered reduction of US force presence has limited training and expertise available for counter-ISIS forces in northern Syria, adds the Lead Inspector General report.

“If Turkey attacks northern Syria, they will not stop until they invade the whole country, not only northern part oSyrian Kurdish leaders have issued weary warnings about the consequences of fresh Turkish incursions.f Syria,” Samira al-Aziz, member of the Future Syria party’s general council in Darbasiya, Hasakah governorate, told Hawar News, media close to the ruling authority of Rojava and the Self-Administration Authority of Northern and Northeastern Syria (NES) on Monday.

Aldar Khalil, head of the Relations Department of TEV-DEM, the ruling Kurdish coalition of the NES, told Rudaw on Tuesday they had appealed to the Assad regime in Damascus for assistance in preventing a Turkish offensive.

“We tried to reach out to the regime through the Russians to reach an agreement through which we could protect this region,” Khalil said. ... /070820191

Re: US and Turkey meet and ignore population of West Kurdist

PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:56 pm
Author: Anthea
Turkey readies for action as U.S.
talks on Syria safe zone struggle

Deep differences between Turkey and the United States over the scope and command of a planned “safe zone” in northeast Syria raise the prospect of Turkish military action unless the two countries break months of deadlock in talks this week

Turkey has twice sent troops into northern Syria in the last three years and President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday a third incursion was imminent, targeting Kurdish-controlled territory east of the Euphrates river.

Ankara views the Kurdish YPG militia, which plays a leading role in the Syrian Democratic Forces that hold sway over hundreds of miles (km) of Syria’s northeast border region, as terrorists who pose a grave security threat to Turkey, saying they must be driven back from frontier areas.

Washington, which armed and backed them in the fight against Islamic State in Syria, wants to protect its military partners and has resisted Turkey’s demands for full control of a long strip of land that would extend 32 km (20 miles) into Syria.

Military delegations from both countries are meeting in Ankara this week, the latest attempt in months of talks on setting up the safe zone which they agreed to form as President Donald Trump’s administration reduces troop numbers in Syria.

Three Turkish officials who spoke to Reuters expressed impatience that the talks have yet to yield results, and warned that Ankara was ready to act on its own.

“For some time, Turkey’s armed forces have deployed on the Syrian border. All the necessary preparations for an operation are complete,” a senior Turkish official said.

“If we have to do this business on our own, we will. Of course the sensitivities of the countries with which we cooperate are important but they finally have to understand us. Every passing day is a loss.”


The safe zone impasse is just one of several disputes between the two NATO partners. Turkey angered the United States last month by buying Russian missile defense equipment, and the two countries are also split over Washington’s Iran sanctions and refusal to extradite a Muslim cleric wanted by Ankara.

Both sides have made their frustration clear.

Trump’s special envoy for Syria said after an earlier round of talks on the safe zone last week that Turkey had taken a “pretty tough” position. “The Turks want a deeper zone than the one we think makes sense,” James Jeffrey said.

Washington has proposed a two-tiered zone, with a 5-kilometre (three-mile) demilitarized strip bolstered by an additional 9 km cleared of heavy weapons - stretching in total less than half the distance into Syria that Turkey is seeking.

The United States has sought, with little sign of success, military contributions from European allies to police the area.

Turkey has said it must have ultimate authority over the safe zone, another point of divergence with the United States.

“When Ankara says it wants to control the 32-km zone, the United States can never agree to that,” said Aaron Stein, director of the Middle East program at the U.S. think-tank Foreign Policy Research Institute.

Given that negotiations had “flatlined,” he said Turkey was likely to act unilaterally and pointed to several potential military targets including areas around the northern Syrian town of Manbij and the border towns of Tel Abyad or Kobane.

U.S. forces operate to varying degrees in all three areas, meaning American troops could risk being caught up in hostilities if Turkey does take action.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Tuesday any Turkish operation into north Syria would be “unacceptable” and the United States would prevent unilateral incursions. He said he hoped this week’s talks in Ankara would succeed.

A Turkish security official said that differences between the two sides over the depth of the zone were narrowing but had not been completely bridged.

“(The United States) reached a point close to our proposal but a full agreement could not be reached,” he said, adding that Turkey insisted on the full 32 kilometers, as Trump himself endorsed in a January tweet.

“Fundamentally we want what Trump said to be implemented. It is not normal for talks to go on this long,” he said.

While Turkish officials are keen not to alienate the president, who has been far more sympathetic about Turkey’s purchase of the Russian defense systems than the U.S. Congress, Erdogan repeated on Tuesday that Ankara was committed to clearing Kurdish fighters from its southern flank.

“Turkey cannot feel safe as long as this structure along our southern border, which is growing like a cancer, is not eliminated,” he told Turkish diplomats in Ankara.

“If we don’t do what is necessary today, we will have to do so by paying a high price later,” Erdogan said, signaling a new operation into Syria after the 2016 Euphrates Shield incursion and last year’s Olive Branch operation to drive Kurdish YPG fighters from the northern Syrian region of Afrin.

“God willing, we will take the process we started with the Euphrates Shield to a very different level very soon,” he said. ... ce=twitter

Re: US and Turkey meet and ignore population of West Kurdist

PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:00 pm
Author: Anthea
Simple solution:

As it is Turkey that wants a 32 km (20 miles) safe zone between Turkey and Western Kurdistan

Then the zone should be within Turkish borders :D

Re: My soluction to safe zone between Turkey & West Kurdista

PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:57 pm
Author: Anthea
Turkey redirects Syrian rebels
to fight Kurdish militia

Turkey has persuaded thousands of Syrian rebels to focus on fighting the the mainly Kurdish, U.S.-allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) rather than the Syrian regime, as Ankara prepares for its planned offensive east of the Euphrates

Turkey is “redirecting the remnants of the Syrian rebellion towards helping it secure border areas,” columnist Seth Frantzman wrote for JP, which “links to Ankara’s complex logic behind wanting to launch an operation.”

Ankara said last year it would return eastern Syria to its “true owners,” as it believes it has done in taking Afrin last year and Jarabulus in 2016.

Turkey is also hoping to return 700,000 Syrian refugees to areas along the border, once it is able to secure a safe zone with U.S. cooperation. 330,000 Syrians have thus far returned to the areas secured by the Turkish military, according to Frantzman, while around 150,000 Kurdish Syrians have fled Afrin.

“Many Kurds see this as demographic change,” said Frantzman. “Turkey says it is just creating security and helping Syrians go back to Syria.”

Syrian rebels have been helping Turkish forces in the area since 2016, when the United States was also backing some rebels. But policies diverged as more extremist groups such as al-Nusra Front asserted themselves, according to Frantzman, and Washington settled on Kurdish forces as its best ally against the Islamic State (ISIS).

“The U.S. now wants the SDF and linked security forces in eastern Syria to number some 110,000. For Turkey this is a ‘terrorist army’ and Turkey often critiques the U.S. for working with ‘terrorists’ in eastern Syria, which officials call a ‘cancer’ and threaten to bury and ‘cleanse’,” said Frantzman.

Turkey has urged allied Syrian rebels to fight against the YPG, and last week Syrian rebel commanders said some 14,000 rebels were ready to join the Turkish forces in an operation into eastern Syria.

But fighting east of the Euphrates would put most of these rebels hundreds of kilometers away from their territory, fighting over areas that were historically Kurdish and will ultimately be turned over to the Syrian regime, according to Frantzman.

“The cynical eyes of Damascus look on with glee, noting that soon the two remaining independent forces that grew out of the Syrian civil war, the Syrian rebels and the SDF, might be neutralized fighting each other,” said Frantzman.

“The question is whether [Turkey] now prefers the Syrian regime to the SDF. Given its statements it appears to be more amenable to Damascus.” ... a-analysis

Re: My soluction to safe zone between Turkey & West Kurdista

PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:05 pm
Author: Anthea
First U.S. delegation arrives in
Turkey for northern Syria safe zone

Turkey’s National Defence Ministry announced on Monday that the first U.S. delegation arrived in the south-eastern border province of Şanlıurfa to start efforts for a joint operations centre for a safe zone to be established along the Syrian border

“A six-person U.S. delegation has arrived in Şanlıurfa to start working on preliminary efforts to set up a Joint Operations Centre. The Operations Centre is expected to become active in the coming days,” said the Ministry.

A 90-person U.S. military unit has also arrived in the south-eastern province, opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet reported on Monday.

Following months of negotiations, Turkey and the United States last week agreed to establish a joint operations centre to address Turkey’s security concerns in northern Syria and create a safe zone in the region.

Turkey sees the enclaves in north-east Syria controlled by predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and its armed wing, the People Protection Units (YPG), as threat to its national security over those groups ties to outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The YPG forms the backbone of U.S.-led coalition forces fighting against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria. ... -safe-zone

Re: My soluction to safe zone between Turkey & West Kurdista

PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:13 pm
Author: Anthea
Simple solution:

As it is Turkey that wants a 32 km (20 miles) safe zone between Turkey and Western Kurdistan

Then the zone should be within Turkish borders :D