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Destruction of Western Kurdistan by absolutely EVERYONE

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Re: Updates: Turkey's attack on Western Kurdistan - Syria

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Oct 15, 2019 12:00 pm

News from UK Parliament

Urgent Question on the Turkish incursion into northern Syria

15 October 2019

Tobias Ellwood MP asked an urgent question to the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab on the Turkish incursion into northern Syria

Following on from the White House's announcement to remove United States forces from northern Syria, Turkey had begun an offensive on Wednesday 9 October, in an area controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The Kurdish militia have been considered a key US ally in the fight against Daesh, but Turkey views them as an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party, who fought for Kurdish autonomy in the country. The Kurds are an ethnic group of about 30 million people spread across the Middle East who have been fighting for their own state for more than a century. Tobias Ellwood MP, asked the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab for a statement on the continuing Turkish incursion into northern Syria.

The Foreign Secretary told MPs:

    "On the 9th October following the US announcement that it would withdraw troops from the region, Turkey launched military operation in north-east Syria. Turkish troops have pushed into northern Syrian towns and villages, clashing with the Kurdish fighters over a stretch of now a 125 miles. The UN estimates that at least 160,000 people have been displaced in less than a week.

    "From the outset, the UK Government has warned Turkey against taking this military action, and as we feared it has seriously undermined the stability and the security of the region. It risks worsening the humanitarian crisis and increasing the suffering of millions of refugees, and it also undermines the international effort that should be focussed on defeating Daesh.

    "The UK Government takes its arms exports control responsibilities very seriously, and in this case, of course we will keep our defence exports to Turkey under very careful and continual review. And I can tell the House that no further export licenses to Turkey for items which might be used in military operations in Syria will be granted while we conduct that review."
Tobias Ellwood MP responded saying:

    "In just a week we've seen the map of north-east Syria redrawn following the ill thought through foreign policy change by President Trump which has triggered a tragic series of events, now undermining international efforts to contain Daesh. It has forced a counter-Daesh ally, the SDF to resort to asking the Assad regime for help, giving Russia and Iran ever greater leverage in determining Syria's future, simultaneously diminishing and remaining influence the West can claim to have over the country's future. And in the fog of confusion thousands of hard lined jihadist fighters are now able to escape, re-group, to fight another day. And if Turkey's safe zone is allowed to go ahead, three million Sunni Arab refugees will soon be moved there, fundamentally changing the ethnic make-up of north-east Syria. And as so often in conflict, ten's of thousands of displaced civilians are attempting to flee the fighting, with many killed and injured."

https://www.parliament.uk/business/news ... rth-syria/
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Re: Updates: Turkey's attack on Western Kurdistan - Syria

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Re: Updates: Turkey's attack on Western Kurdistan - Syria

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Oct 15, 2019 12:07 pm

Turkey to return 3 million refugees to Syria after securing border zone – Erdogan

Ankara plans to push Kurdish militias in Syria all the way from Manbij to the Iraqi border and there resettle three million refugees currently living in its territory, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said

As of Tuesday morning, Turkish forces have “liberated around 1,000 square kilometer area from occupation of the separatist terror group,” Erdogan told a Turkic Council meeting in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku.

He was referring to Kurdish militias, which Ankara perceives as an extension of the PKK, a militant and political organization based in Turkey. Erdogan said his country plans to clear an area from Manbij all the way east to the Iraqi border. The land will then be used to resettle some three million Syrian refugees, which Turkey currently hosts.

“God willing, in short time we will secure the border till Iraq. During the first phase one million refugees will return to Syria and, during phase two, two more million will come,” he said.

Turkey has been repeatedly complaining that it carries a disproportionate burden of refugees who fled Syria over the course of the eight-year-long armed conflict. Erdogan reiterated the complains in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal on Monday, saying that his nation now has to either get the refugees back to Syria or allow them to move on to Europe similarly to what happened in 2015.

He said it was “portrayed as a threat” by Western governments, but was in fact “mere statement of fact.” Erdogan suggested that other nations should support his campaign in Syria rather than criticize Turkey for it.

https://www.rt.com/news/470965-erdogan- ... ia-return/

NO sign of Erdogan giving up his insane onslaught
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Re: Updates: Turkey's attack on Western Kurdistan - Syria

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Oct 15, 2019 12:44 pm

Erdogan: Syria offensive to continue until ‘objectives achieved’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that Turkey’s operation against Kurdish militants in northern Syria would not stop until “our objectives have been achieved.”

Turkey is in the seventh day of its assault against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which it sees as a “terrorist” offshoot of Kurdish insurgents in its own territory.

“God willing, we will quickly secure the region stretching from Manbij to our border with Iraq and ensure that, in the first stage, one million, and then two million Syrian refugees return to their homes of their own free will,” Erdogan said in a televised speech in Baku, where he was attending a regional conference.

He said 1,000 square kilometers of Syrian territory had so far been “liberated from the separatist terrorist organization.”

Turkey plans to establish a safe zone stretching across northern Syria, to which it can repatriate many of the 3.6 million (Arab) refugees that it is hosting from the Syrian conflict.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Monday that at least 160,000 civilians have been newly displaced and that military action has already reportedly resulted in many civilian casualties.

Also Monday Syrian government troops moved into towns and villages in northeastern Syria, including the flashpoint region of Manbij, setting up a potential clash with Turkish-led forces advancing in the area as long-standing alliances in the region began to shift or crumble following the pullback of US forces.

The Syrian military’s deployment near the Turkish border came after Syrian Kurdish forces previously allied with the US said they had reached a deal with President Bashar Assad’s government to help them fend off Turkey’s invasion.

US President Donald Trump on Monday announced he would slap sanctions on Ankara as Washington demanded an end to the deadly incursion, accusing its NATO partner of putting civilians at risk and allowing the release of Islamic State extremists.

“I am fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey’s economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path,” the US president wrote on Twitter.

The chaos caused by the Turkish assault has already led to the escape of around 800 foreign women and children linked to ISIS from a Kurdish-run camp, according to Kurdish authorities.

Before the invasion, Trump announced a troop pullout from northeastern Syria and ordered a couple dozen US forces out of harm’s way. Critics said Trump’s decision gave Turkey a green light to go against the Kurds, who had helped the US battle Islamic State terror group.

However, a US official said the Pentagon had begun removing all its troops in northern Syria after Trump ordered them to leave in the face of Turkey’s attacks.

Nearly 1,000 troops will vacate the country, leaving behind only a small contingent of 150 in the southern Syria base at Al Tanf, the official said.

“We are executing the order,” the official told AFP.

US Vice President Mike Pence told reporters Monday that he would be traveling urgently to Turkey at the president’s request “to pursue a ceasefire and negotiated settlement.”

Pence said the US is “simply not going to tolerate Turkey’s invasion of Syria any longer

https://www.timesofisrael.com/erdogan-s ... -achieved/

Just really confirms previous report

Erdogan is mad and:

Kurds have no friends but the mountains
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Re: Updates: Turkey's attack on Western Kurdistan - Syria

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Oct 15, 2019 10:58 pm

A dream scenario for ISIS
in north-eastern Syria


Turkey’s cross-border incursion into northeastern Syria has stirred up a hornet’s nest of instability and threats. If left unchecked, this latest “war within a war” will have deeply destabilizing consequences for many years. The blame for this catastrophe lies in the hands of one man: President Donald Trump. Following a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Oct. 6, President Trump swiftly ordered nearly 100 American troops to evacuate their positions along the Syrian-Turkish border, thereby removing the only obstacle that had, until then, prevented Turkey from crossing to attack. Although the president may not have given a verbal “green light,” his decision could only have been read one way in Ankara.

The prospect of a potentially intractable Turkish-Kurdish and opposition-Kurdish war in northeastern Syria is a dream scenario for a weakened ISIS, whose remaining forces already looked to be engaged in a slow recovery. To date, over 11,000 ISIS prisoners remain in makeshift detention facilities in Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) territory, approximately 15% of whom reside within the zone being targeted by Turkey.

Already, at least five ISIS prisoners have escaped from an SDF prison near Qamishli amid alleged Turkish shelling. But beyond the troubling detainee issue, the prospect of debilitating chaos is deeply concerning as well, as it is precisely the kind of environment in which ISIS thrives. This also represents a strategic victory for the Assad regime, Russia, and Iran, which stand to benefit from the chaos and the inevitable weakening of Turkey and the SDF. At some point in the future, both will have to negotiate their own deals with Damascus as well.

What makes this situation so frustrating is the fact that senior State and Defense department officials had spent an enormous amount of time and energy for many months negotiating the impossible: a “security mechanism” that sought to meet American, SDF, and Turkish interests. That mechanism was agreed in August and it was working.

The source of Turkey’s security concerns, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), had withdrawn their forces from the border and were destroying their defensive positions there too. American and Turkish generals were sharing helicopters on patrol over border territories and for the first time in years, Turkish jets were flying independently over northeastern Syria, also on patrol. The security mechanism was far from perfect and it would have faced many challenges, but it was a great deal better than the chaos we’re now watching play out.

As hard as the Defense Department might try to argue we haven’t “abandoned” the Kurds, that is precisely how I would feel if I were an SDF commander now facing the jets, helicopters, artillery, and guns of the second-largest army in NATO while holding my AK-47. Neither President Trump nor any arm of the U.S. government has declared a withdrawal from Syria, but recent decisions and their consequences make that an inevitable eventuality. It is impossible to imagine how an effective relationship with the SDF can continue after American troops literally opened the door to the SDF’s mortal enemy — a force they are simply not equipped to fight. The clock is now ticking.

President Trump’s decision to submit to Turkish intimidation is also frustrating for the damage it does to the “by-with-and-through” strategy, whose employment in Syria had brought substantial success at very minimal cost. With 2,000-2,500 troops at its height, the U.S. counter-ISIS campaign in Syria had trained and equipped nearly 100,000 militiamen to lead an ultimately victorious campaign that entirely defeated ISIS’s territory.

At a time when American and European politicians and ordinary citizens are almost unanimously opposed to any military engagements abroad — and particularly in the Middle East — achieving such success at low cost seemed to be an invaluable solution.

But while President Trump deserves the scathing and bipartisan criticism he is receiving in Washington and in Europe, a good deal of blame also lies with the Obama administration, which chose to partner with a four-decade-old enemy of a NATO member — even if a troublesome one. By itself, that decision sparked significant problems, but the Obama administration’s consistent refusal to seriously acknowledge Turkey’s concerns and to dedicate appropriate energy to negotiating mutually beneficial security arrangements meant trouble was guaranteed.

The security mechanism negotiated recently under Special Envoy James Jeffrey’s watch should have been considered years ago. Whatever one thinks of Turkey’s security concerns about the YPG, dismissing them altogether made no strategic sense.

For now, the U.S. is likely to reconsolidate its positions in the interior of northeastern and eastern Syria, remaining focused on confronting the ISIS threat and securing the Euphrates River from any possible regime attack. But to sustain that, serious diplomacy will be required to keep the SDF on board and to prevent them from seeking other allies.

At least in the interim, it remains unlikely that the Assad regime will seriously engage in meaningful talks, but Russia almost certainly would be glad to gradually drag the SDF away from America’s orbit. During the security mechanism negotiations earlier this year, U.S. officials used to describe the SDF as “never more vulnerable than now.” That has changed dramatically in recent days and whether that increased vulnerability will play into American interests or not remains to be seen.

Beyond Syria-specific details, the latest developments emanating from Washington illustrate the magnitude — and consequences — of a crippling crisis at the heart of the U.S. government. President Trump’s willingness to take momentous decisions without consulting his advisors and subject matter experts has damaged America’s standing in the world, and in particular, with its allies.

European officials increasingly tell me they simply do not trust the Trump administration enough to enter into any meaningful arrangements with the U.S. government. Other developments in the Middle East in recent months — especially those relating to Iran — have deepened that distrust. Traditional American allies should be wary of relying too heavily on the Trump administration, if the disintegration of its Syria policy and betrayal of its allies is anything to go by.

Charles Lister is a senior fellow and director of MEI's Countering Terrorism and Extremism Program. The views expressed in this article are his own.

https://www.mei.edu/publications/dream- ... tern-syria
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Re: Updates: Turkey's attack on Western Kurdistan - Syria

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 16, 2019 2:55 am

Thank you Piling for the link :ymapplause:

Kurdistan Parliament is the legislative assembly of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq

Today Kurdistan MPs voted by a very large majority - 96 out of 97 present MPs; 14 absent - that Kurdistan Parliament's position and demands on the military attacks on Rojava, Western Kurdistan are these 12 points:

1) Is against war and calls on world's powers to stop military operations, intervene immediately, open a dialogue to bring about peace.

2) Demands that military forces withdraw immediately, civilians’ lives and properties must be saved and protected.

3) Asks international community; the UN; the EU; regional organisations to make more political & dialogue efforts to stop military campaign which undermines world peace & security.

4) Demands Kurdistan Government (KRG) together with international organisations to prepare to support refugees fleeing military attacks in Rojava West Kurdistan

5) Calls on KRG President to work with the Iraqi Government; Kurdistan political parties & diplomatic channels to help bring peace.

6) Iraqi Government must devote financing to Kurdistan for influx of refugees. KRG already has great challenges beyond means with huge numbers of IDPs & refugees.

7) Asks consulates & diplomats in Kurdistan to convey Kurdistan's demand that countries do their utmost to stop military operations, prevent more loss of life and support refugees.

8 ) MPs & people of Kurdistan, as national duty with local & international NGOs, will welcome Rojava, Western Kurdistan refugees from Syria.

9) Kurdistan Parliament is extremely concerned that demographic change, human rights abuses and destruction of homes perpetrated previously in Afrin will be repeated this time in Sare Kaniye; Gre Spi; Kobane; and other areas in Rojava, West Kurdistan. This must be prevented.

10) Kurds and other nations in Syria have a natural democratic legal entitlement to secure their national rights, equality & justice within the framework of diplomatic efforts to resolve Syria in Geneva and Astana and through UN decisions, and under a new Syrian Constitution.

11) Asks all Kurdish forces in Rojava, West Kurdistan, to turn their backs on narrow party politics & ideologies, to enter new era of cooperation for greater interests of the Kurdistani people in Rojava on foundations of peace democracy coexistence & standing against terrorism; to start a new chapter.

12) Military attacks against Rojava plus the international coalition withdrawal, threatens global & regional stability; peace & security; strengthens ISIS; undermines & reverses international efforts to defeat ISIS.
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Re: Updates: Turkey's attack on Western Kurdistan - Syria

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 16, 2019 11:15 am

As war map shifts once more fleeing KURDS face tough choices

"Life stopped; the doctors all fled. We're fleeing, but we don't know where to go."

Sadly, doctors are the main targets of invading forces. As they were the main target for ISIS. A large number were killed and only those few without families stayed on amid ISIS attacks and Coalition bombing

Driven from his hometown in Western Kurdistan, Syria as bombs rained down in a Turkish assault, a Kurdish father worried for his toddler son, who was ill, and accused America of betraying the Kurds in the region.

Agid Meshmesh escaped from the Kurdish border town of Kobani on Monday after he couldn't get food or diapers for his son, who was battling a severe infection.

"Life stopped; the doctors all fled," Meshmesh, 29, told Reuters by phone from the nearby town of Manbij, where he was staying with his wife and son. "We're fleeing, but we don't know where to go."

When the inhabitants of Kobani fled from ISIS, they fled to Turkey. This is obviously no longer an option

He called the Turkish military move on the region "a catastrophe," and he criticized Washington for abandoning Kurdish fighters in Western Kurdistan, Syria, leaving the region at the mercy of Turkish troops and seeking help from Syria and Russia.

His hometown, Kobani, was the birthplace of a U.S.-Kurdish military alliance some five years ago, when Washington intervened with air strikes to help Kurdish fighters turn the tide against Islamic State. That made the U.S. pullout even more bitter.

"The Americans couldn't do a thing for us," he said. "It was an American betrayal of Western Kurdistan, Syria and the Kurdish people.... They left us between the jaws of a pincer."

Caught in the crossfire, Meshmesh and his family are waiting, helplessly, to see how the shifting web of rivalries and alliances plays out in the tangled battlefield of Western Kurdistan, Syria, which the Kurdish YPG militia controls.

The past week has redrawn the map of Syria yet again after more than eight years of war. Washington's move to pull out of the region, opening the way for Ankara's offensive, left Kurdish forces scrambling for protection. So the Kurds invited in the Syrian army and its ally Russia.

Meshmesh said he would rather have Syrian troops take his hometown than see it fall to Turkish forces -- which he fears would make him a target for his Kurdish ethnicity. Turkey launched the operation in the region to target the YPG, which it brands a threat to Turkey.

The ethnically mixed Western Kurdistan region is home to up to 3 million people, including Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians and others, many of them uprooted from other parts of Syria.

Kurds are kind people and Kurdish areas always provide safe havens for refugees from other areas

The Syrian army's deployment raises questions about the fate of a region where the YPG and its local allies have carved out self-rule for years.

Kurdish people of Western Kurdistan were fighting for freedom long before anyone heard of the YPG

Making matters even more fraught, the humanitarian group Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) announced Tuesday that it had suspended most of its activities in the region and evacuated all its international staff.

This is the WORST news ever and it shows how dangerous the region has become

Meshmesh said the new reality on the ground could pose a threat for people who had evaded mandatory military service or Kurdish activists who are wanted by the government.

For him, that paled in comparison to the Turkish incursion. "It is an existential problem," he said.

"I'm proud to be Syrian," he said. "I prefer the Syrian government ... even if it may weaken the rights and dreams that were built in the past eight years."

But with territory shifting hands at lightning speed and a new exodus unfolding, Syrians must weigh up tough choices over where to seek shelter.

In the city of Raqqa farther south, a young Syrian Arab man hid in his home Tuesday, frantically following the news, worried about the prospect of Syrian government forces coming back.

"I'm living in a state of terror. I can't sleep at night," said the opposition activist, who is in his 20s and didn't want to give his name because he is afraid of retribution. "I don't know what I'm going to do."

He has remained in his city since early in the war even as its rulers shifted from rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad's rule to Islamic State militants and then to Kurdish fighters. But now he fears a return of state rule because of his past work with local outlets and activists opposed to Assad.

Syrian Kurdish leaders have said the deal with Damascus involves only army troops deploying at the border, and there has been no official comment from the Syrian government.

But the activist and a second Raqqa resident said they still worried that Kurdish forces would cut a deal with Damascus and hand over Raqqa.

Some in the city who support Damascus rallied on Monday, calling for a return of its rule and carrying photos of Assad for the first time in years, he said.

If it comes to it, his siblings, like many others, would have no problem staying in Raqqa, so he would have to find a way out alone, he said.

He hopes to get smuggled into territory in the north under the control of mainly Sunni Arab Syrian rebels funded and trained by Turkey, a swathe of Syria where Turkish forces are stationed. For now, though, he is waiting to see what happens.

The activist said he had heard from relatives in the north that some rebels had been looting and acting inappropriately but he would feel safer there than under state rule.

"Listen, nobody is good -- they're all criminals," he said. "But some are easier than others."

http://news.trust.org/item/20191015203835-gnh6p/
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Re: Médecins Sans Frontières have LEFT Western Kurdistan, Sy

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 16, 2019 11:55 am

Médecins Sans Frontières have LEFT Western Kurdistan, Syria

This is NOT just bad news

This is literally


    TERRIFYING

All the news reports convey almost nothing about the severity of the conflict compared to those five word:

    Médecins Sans Frontières have LEFT
Sends a chill down my spine every time I read it

Médecins Sans Frontières is the world famous organisation, that takes medical teams and brave doctors into areas of violent conflict

I cannot remember any area being so violent that they actually left people suffering

This is bad

This is VERY VERY BAD
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Re: Médecins Sans Frontières have LEFT Western Kurdistan, Sy

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 16, 2019 12:14 pm

Northeast Syria: MSF forced to evacuate staff due to extreme volatility in the region

Following the launch of Turkish military operations and the extremely volatile situation in northeast Syria, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has taken the difficult decision to suspend the majority of our activities and evacuate all our international staff from northeast Syria.

Since Wednesday 9 October, the extreme volatile situation in northeast Syria has forced MSF international staff to evacuate from our projects in Ain Issa, Al Hol, Tal Abyad, Tal Tamer, Tal Kocher/ Yaroubiyah, Kobane/ Ain Al Arab and Raqqa city. These have been extremely difficult decisions, as MSF is very aware of the needs of fleeing and vulnerable people in the region.

However, the highly unpredictable and fast-changing situation at present has made it impossible for MSF to negotiate safe access to deliver healthcare and provide humanitarian assistance to people in distress. Given the numerous groups fighting on different sides of the conflict, we can no longer guarantee the safety of our Syrian and international staff.

“The people in northeast Syria have already endured years of conflict and uncertainty. The latest developments have only increased the need for humanitarian assistance, yet it is impossible to deliver it with the current insecurity,” says Robert Onus, MSF emergency manager for Syria.

“It is with a heavy heart that MSF has taken the difficult decision to suspend the majority of its activities and evacuate its international staff out of northeast Syria. We cannot operate at scale until we can gain the assurances and acceptance of all parties to the conflict that we can operate safely.”

“We are extremely worried about the safety of our Syrian colleagues and their families who remain in northeast Syria in these troubled times. We will continue to support our Syrian colleagues remotely and explore all possible options to deliver assistance to the people in northeast Syria, despite the constraints.” Says Onus.

The decision to suspend the majority of MSF’s activities comes as the humanitarian situation spirals further out of control and needs are likely to increase.

In Tal Tamar town, MSF teams were providing blankets, emergency food rations, bottles of water, and soap to the thousands of displaced people who were arriving in the town daily after having fled from their homes with little more than the clothes on their backs.

Until October 13, MSF was supplying water to several villages in the area to overome water shortages after an airstrike reportedly damaged the water pumping station, cutting off the water supply to whole towns.

Airstrikes, shelling, and armed clashes have had a grave impacts on the civilian population and on the ability of humanitarian organisations to deliver aid safely.

On 13 October, dozens of people wounded by an airstrike were brought into Tal Tamer hospital. In Ain Issa town, MSF teams witnessed the population fleeing their homes on foot and seeking safety away from the ongoing conflict. Health workers were evacuated and relocated from the Ain Issa hospital, which had been one of the main hospitals treating wounded people over the past five days.

Today, as MSF teams depart, we have heard from our staff that the people in Ain Issa camp are severely lacking food, water and medical assistance. Just last week, MSF teams were providing healthcare and, supplying water and mental health support to people living in the camp. Now they are left in a very precarious situation and we are extremely worried for their wellbeing.

MSF calls on all parties to the conflict to ensure the protection of civilians. We further call on them to provide humanitarian organisations with safe and unhindered access to the civilian population so they can deliver assistance, at a time when it is urgently needed.

Note: MSF remains present in northwest Syria, providing health care in various facilities and via mobile clinics, as well as supporting health structures in the area.

https://www.msf.org/northeast-syria-msf ... ity-region
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Re: Médecins Sans Frontières have LEFT Western Kurdistan, Sy

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 16, 2019 8:09 pm

Syrian Observatory: Syrian government forces enter city of Kobani

Syrian government troops accompanied by Russian forces have entered the city of Kobani, the Syrian Observatory reported on Wednesday.

Their arrival to Kobani comes after a deal cut between Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who control the city, and Damascus to deploy the Syrian army to border areas to help fend off a Turkish offensive into northeastern Syria.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-syri ... SKBN1WV2AC

Our hearts go out to the people of Kobani :((
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Re: Médecins Sans Frontières have LEFT Western Kurdistan, Sy

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 16, 2019 8:17 pm

This is what was left of my friends home in Kobani after the terror of ISIS and the Coalition bombardment

Image

ALL of which was totally unnecessary as we could all see ISIS moving towards Kobani and destroying small Kurdish towns on route

Turkey had plenty of time in which to deploy a large number of tanks and personal along the Turkish/Syrian border

NOBODY STOP ISIS REACHING KOBANI

People were slaughtered - the city turned to rubble - WHY was it allowed to happen???

The inhabitants struggled to rebuild, NOW they have to run away AGAIN
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Re: Médecins Sans Frontières have LEFT Western Kurdistan, Sy

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:08 pm

UN News

Syria war: executions condemned as violence continues ‘on both sides’ of border with Turkey

Amid ongoing fighting in northern Syria and disturbing reports that extrajudicial killings have been streamed online, the United Nations and their partners are continuing to deliver humanitarian supplies to tens of thousands of people displaced by the violence, UN agencies stressed on Tuesday.

Briefing journalists in Geneva, Jens Laerke from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) described the security situation in northeast Syria as “highly volatile”, with continuing reports of airstrikes and ground attacks linked to Turkey’s military incursion.

    Civilian casualties are growing and the overall humanitarian situation is deteriorating in northeastern #Syria.

    Spokespeople of @UNOCHA, @UNHumanRights, @UNICEF, @WHO and @WFP provide updates as the fighting intensifies. pic.twitter.com/ZJp2mxMTYZ
    — UN Geneva (@UNGeneva) October 15, 2019
“On both side of the border, civilian deaths are being reported”, Mr. Laerke said.

To date, at least 160,000 civilians have been displaced since the offensive began last Wednesday, according to UN figures, with hospitals and schools and other public infrastructure hit or affected by the fighting.

UN will deliver ‘until it becomes impossible to do so’

Highlighting the commitment of the UN and its partners to “stay to deliver until it becomes absolutely impossible to do so”, Mr. Laerke noted that the organization continues to operate out of the town of Qamishli for the time being.

“The United Nations remains in Qamishli along with our staff,’ he said. “But we have seen of course that in some areas where there is active fighting, it is for obvious reasons, impossible to go there. And aid is being redirected towards areas where those who can help are moving.”

Echoing that message and at the same appealing for security guarantees for all humanitarians, Herve Verhoosel, spokesperson for the World Food Programme (WFP), said that 130,000 people “will receive food soon because that’s already (been) dispatched”.

Of that number, 83,000 have already received food, he added, noting that it “is arriving where the people need it the most”.

Airstrike reportedly responsible for civilian, journalists’ deaths

Although the civilian toll is unclear, given the difficulty of verifying information in a conflict zone, Marixie Mercado from UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, confirmed the deaths “of at least four children and the injuries of nine in north-east Syria”, along with seven other youngsters in Turkey.

Another incident – reportedly linked to a Turkish airstrike on the Tel-Tamor to Ras al-Ain Highway, on Sunday 13 October - resulted in the deaths of four civilians including two journalists, UN human rights office, OHCHR, said.

“The worst incident we are aware of so far, which we are still seeking to fully verify, is a report that at least four civilians, including two journalists, were killed and tens of others injured when a convoy of vehicles was hit by a Turkish airstrike,” OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville explained.

Inside Turkey, the authorities reported that 18 civilians have been killed since the conflict escalated last week, Mr. Colville added, “including a nine-month-old baby, by cross-border mortar and sniper fire by Kurdish fighters”.

Disturbing video footage has also emerged of what appear to be executions on another highway that were then streamed online, by forces linked to the Turkish military.

“We have received reports and viewed two separate pieces of video footage showing what appear to be summary executions carried out by fighters belonging to the Ahrar Al-Sharqiya armed group, which is affiliated with Turkey, on 12 October,” Mr. Colville explained.

“One of the videos – both of which have been widely shared on social media – seems to show the fighters filming themselves capturing and executing three Kurdish captives on the Al-Hassakeh – Manbij Highway...Only one of the captives appeared to be wearing military uniform.”

The UN human rights office has also received reports indicating that a well-known Kurdish female politician, Hevrin Khalaf, was also executed on the same highway, allegedly also by Ahrar al-Sharqiya fighters.

Under international law, summary executions are serious violations, OHCHR said in a statement, and may amount to a war crime.

Around 70,000 children displaced: UNICEF

At least 170,000 children could need humanitarian assistance as a result of the violence, UNICEF’s Ms. Mercado added, noting that 70,000 children have been displaced since hostilities escalated last week.

Most have sought shelter with relatives, friends and host communities, but there are also 33 collective shelters “mostly schools and unfinished buildings” across Al Hasakeh city, Raqqa city and Tal Tamer, Ms. Mercado said.

They host around 3,400 people “but the numbers fluctuate quickly as most people do not stay long”, she added, while OCHA’s Jens Laerke noted that the organization was providing aid there.

“We heard about 33 shelter points further to the south in Al-Hassakeh; so, of course we try to move aid to where people are,” he said.

WHO confirms further deliveries of medical supplies

Underscoring the impact of the conflict on already weakened health services, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that 40 tonnes of medical supplies would be dispatched to Qamishli later on Tuesday, to complement the nearly 15 tons of life-saving aid that reached the city’s National Hospital on Monday.

Elsewhere, in the embattled northeast, “the national hospital in Ras Al-Ain is currently out of service and the national hospital and two health centres in Tel Abyad are also currently non-functional”, WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic said. “Health facilities in camps hosting displaced people in Mabruka, Ain Issa and Ras Al-Ain were also evacuated, with additional facilities under threat as the conflict rapidly moves forward.”

In Al-Hol camp, where about 64,000 children and women are housed - some with suspected links to ISIL fighters - the WHO spokesperson noted that the three field hospitals had reduced their services since 12 October, because the hostilities had impeded the access of health staff.

https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/10/1049241
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Re: Médecins Sans Frontières have LEFT Western Kurdistan, Sy

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Oct 17, 2019 4:13 am

Syrian forces enter key border town, blocking Turkish plans

Syrian forces on Wednesday night rolled into the strategic border town of Kobani, blocking one path for the Turkish military to establish a “safe zone” free of Syrian Kurdish fighters along the frontier as part of its week-old offensive

The seizure of Kobani by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad also pointed to a dramatic shift in northeastern Syria: The town was where the United States military and Kurdish fighters first united to defeat the Islamic State group four years ago and holds powerful symbolism for Syrian Kurds and their ambitions of self-rule.

The convoys of government forces drove into Kobani after dark, a resident said. The resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, was one of the few remaining amid fears of a Turkish attack on the town. Syria’s state-run media confirmed its troops entered the town.

Syria’s presence in Kobani puts a firm limit on Turkish ambitions in its offensive. The town lies between a Turkish-controlled enclave farther west and smaller areas to the east that Turkey seized in the past week.

Turkey had talked of creating a 30-kilometer (19-mile) deep “safe zone,” driving out Kurdish fighters from the border region. Turkish forces had shelled Kobani in recent days as part of the offensive but had not advanced ground troops on it.

The battle for Kobani turned the once-nondescript town into a centerpiece of the international campaign against ISIS, with TV cameras flocking to the Turkish side of the border to track the plumes of smoke rising from explosions in the besieged town. Then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry declared it would be “morally very difficult” not to help Kobani.

The ISIS extremists were finally driven out in early 2015 in their first major defeat, and an alliance was cemented that would eventually bring down the group’s “caliphate” in Syria.

Now the Kurdish authority agreed to allow Damascus to deploy its military in the town and other parts of northeast Syria to protect them from Turkey’s offensive launched after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled back American troops working with the Kurds.

On Wednesday, the U.S-led coalition said it had vacated a cement factory south of Kobani, which had served as a coordination center with the Kurdish-led forces. Coalition spokesman Col. Myles Caggins said that after troops left the base, two U.S. fighter jets launched pre-planned airstrikes to destroy ammunition that was left behind.

The coalition also said its forces had left Raqqa, the former capital of the Islamic State that was liberated in 2017, and Tabqa, a town to the west.

“Coalition forces continue a deliberate withdrawal from northeast Syria,” Caggins tweeted.

After being effectively abandoned by the U.S., the Kurds’ turn to the Syrian government for protection has allowed Damascus’ ally, Russia, to step in as the biggest power player.

Moscow further asserted that role Wednesday, offering to mediate a resolution to the conflict, one day before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was to begin a mission to press Turkey for a cease-fire.

On Monday, Trump imposed limited economic sanctions on Turkey to raise the pressure on Ankara. The move came five days after Trump raised the specter of sanctions in a letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in which he also said that if the Turkish leader invaded Syria he would be remembered as a “devil.” Trump told Erdogan he wouldn’t want to be responsible for “slaughtering thousands of people,” and warned, “don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!”

Erdogan defied the sanctions, saying the only way its military offensive would end was if Syrian Kurdish fighters leave a designated border area.

Erdogan also said he had “no problem” accepting an invitation from Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit Russia soon to discuss Syria. But he threw into doubt a planned Nov. 13 meeting with Trump, citing anger over the sanctions that Washington imposed Monday on the NATO ally.

Despite an outcry among both Democratic and Republican lawmakers over the pullout and the Turkish invasion, Trump insisted a fight between Turkey and the Kurds was not a U.S. problem and that things are “very nicely under control” in northern Syria.

“Syria’s friendly with the Kurds. The Kurds are very well-protected. Plus, they know how to fight. And, by the way, they’re no angels,” Trump told reporters at the White House while meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella.

Trump added that U.S. troops are “largely out” of the region, adding that if Russia wanted to get involved with Syria, “that’s really up to them. It’s not our border. We shouldn’t be losing lives over it.”

Still, the repercussions from America’s abrupt withdrawal were expanding. Assad’s forces are returning to regions of northern Syria they abandoned at the height of the 8-year-old civil war. Moscow has taken a more prominent role as an interlocutor among Assad, the former U.S.-allied Kurds and Turkey.

Erdogan’s office confirmed the Turkish leader would meet Thursday with Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and said he would travel to Sochi, Russia, for talks on Tuesday.

Erdogan said he was not concerned by the U.S. sanctions. He told reporters that chances for his November trip to Washington are “something to be assessed” after the talks with the American delegation, he said, adding that the sanctions and criticisms in the U.S. constituted “great disrespect toward the Turkish Republic.”

In an address to his ruling party legislators, Erdogan said Turkey would not be coerced into halting its offensive or accepting offers for mediation with the Kurdish fighters, which Turkey considers to be terrorists.

“Our proposal is for the terrorists to lay down their arms, leave their equipment, destroy the traps they have created, and leave the safe zone we designated, as of tonight,” Erdogan said. “If this is done, our Operation Peace Spring will end by itself.”

In a speech to Parliament, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey won’t be affected by “sanctions and threats.” He also said Turkey would “give the appropriate answer to these sanctions.”

Turkish forces and Kurdish fighters also battled over the border town of Ras al-Ayn. Turkey said it had captured the town days ago, but its hold appeared uncertain.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in remarks carried by Russian news agencies that Moscow is committed to mediating between Syria and Turkey.

Russia already has announced it had deployed troops outside the flashpoint town of Manbij to keep apart the Syrian military and Turkish-led forces. Syrian forces took control of Manbij as U.S. troops completed their pullout from the town Tuesday.

Lavrov also said Moscow will also continue to encourage Syria’s Kurds and government to seek rapprochement following the U.S. withdrawal. The Kurds are hoping to reach a deal with Damascus that preserves at least some degree of the autonomy they seized for themselves during the civil war.

Lavrov also blamed the U.S. and the West for undermining the Syrian state, saying this pushed “the Kurds toward separatism and confrontation with Arab tribes.”

In another sign of Moscow’s rising profile, France suggested it will also work more closely with Russia in Syria.

French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian said told French TV channel BFM that France is now looking to Russia, given their “common interests” in defeating the Islamic State group in Syria.

A U.N. Security Council meeting concluded with no call for Turkey to end its military offensive against the Kurds. Instead, the diplomats issued a brief statement expressing concern about the dispersal of “terrorists” from the region and the humanitarian impact.

https://apnews.com/1f69e48442a3452d85914d0db917632a
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Re: MSF & other aid agencies have LEFT Western Kurdistan, Sy

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Oct 17, 2019 8:54 pm

US, Turkey agree on Turkish cease-fire with Syrian Kurds

The U.S. and Turkey agreed Thursday to a five-day cease-fire in the Turks’ attacks on Kurdish fighters in northern Syria to allow the Kurds to withdraw to roughly 20 miles away from the Turkish border. The arrangement appeared to be a significant embrace of Turkey’s position in the weeklong conflict

After more than four hours of negotiations with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said the purpose of his high-level mission was to end the bloodshed caused by Turkey’s invasion of Syria. He remained silent on whether the agreement amounted to a second abandonment of America’s former Kurdish allies in the fight against the Islamic State.

Turkish troops and Turkish-backed Syrian fighters launched their offensive against Kurdish forces in northern Syria a week ago, two days after Trump suddenly announced he was withdrawing the U.S. from the area.

Pence and Secretary of State Mile Pompeo lauded the deal as a significant achievement, and Trump declared it “a great day for civilization.”

It is NOT a great day for Kurds - you want them to give up their homes in places like Kobani. Give up their oilfields. Allow Turkish invaders to place and Arab belt on Kurdish land - this is VERY BAD

But the agreement essentially gives the Turks what they had sought to achieve with their military operation in the first place. After the Kurdish forces are cleared from the safe zone, Turkey has committed to a permanent cease-fire but is under no obligation to withdraw its troops. In addition, the deal gives Turkey relief from sanctions the administration had imposed and threatened to impose since the invasion began, meaning there will be no penalty for the operation.

Erdogan had stated on Wednesday that he would be undeterred by the sanctions. He said the fighting would end only if Kurdish fighters abandoned their weapons and retreated from positions near the Turkish border.

Kurdish forces were not party to the agreement, and it was not immediately clear whether they would comply. Before the talks, the Kurds indicated they would object to any agreement along the lines of what was announced by Pence. But Pence maintained that the U.S. had obtained “repeated assurances from them that they’ll be moving out.”

Ankara has long argued the Kurdish fighters are nothing more than an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which has waged a guerrilla campaign inside Turkey since the 1980s and which Turkey, as well as the U.S. and European Union, designate as a terrorist organization.

Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. troops has been widely condemned, including by Republican officials not directly associated with his administration. Republicans and Democrats in the House, bitterly divided over the Trump impeachment inquiry, banded together Wednesday for an overwhelming 354-60 denunciation of the U.S. troop withdrawal.

Trump has denied that his action provided a “green light” for Turkey to move against the longtime U.S. battlefield partners or that he was opening the way for a revival of the Islamic State group and raising worldwide doubts about U.S. faithfulness to its allies.

The White House released a letter on Wednesday in which Trump warned Erdogan that the sanctions could destroy his economy and that the world “will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don’t happen. Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!”

On Wednesday, Trump also spoke dismissively of the crisis, declaring the U.S. has no stake in defending Kurdish fighters who died by the thousands as America’s partners against Islamic State extremists. In fact, he suggested the Kurdish group might be a greater terror threat than IS, and he welcomed the efforts of Russia and the Syrian government to fill the void left after he ordered the removal of nearly all U.S. troops from Syria.

“Syria may have some help with Russia, and that’s fine,” Trump said. “They’ve got a lot of sand over there. So, there’s a lot of sand that they can play with.”

“Let them fight their own wars.”

While Erdogan heard global condemnation for his invasion, he also faced renewed nationalistic fervor at home, and any pathway to de-escalation likely needed to avoid embarrassing him domestically.

US, Turkey agree on Turkish cease-fire with Syrian Kurds

Trump did place some sanctions on Turkey for the offensive. But as Pence flew to Turkey, the president undercut his delegation’s negotiating stance, saying the U.S. had no business in the region — and not to worry about the Kurdish fighters.

“If Turkey goes onto Syria, that’s between Turkey and Syria, it’s not between Turkey and the United States,” Trump said.

Even Republicans bristled at his action.

It was the worst decision of his presidency, said Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who meets often with the president and is one of his strongest and most important supporters in Congress.

“To those who think the Mideast doesn’t matter to America, remember 9/11 — we had that same attitude on 9/10/2001,” Graham said.
___

AP National Security Writer Robert Burns reported from Washington. AP writers Deb Riechmann, Alan Fram, Darlene Superville, Jill Colvin, Kevin Freking and Ellen Knickmeyer contributed from Washington.

https://www.apnews.com/04c074aed3c34bc7a6f3beaa6004aff8
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Re: US gives Turkey 20 mile strip of Kurdish land in cease-f

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Oct 17, 2019 10:02 pm

Turkey agrees with U.S. to pause Syria assault while Kurds withdraw

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey agreed on Thursday to pause its offensive in Syria for five days to let Kurdish forces withdraw from a “safe zone” Ankara had sought to capture, in a deal hailed by the Trump administration and cast by Turkey as a complete victory

The truce was announced by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence after talks in Ankara with Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan, and was praised by President Donald Trump, who said it would save “millions of lives”.

But if implemented it would achieve all the main objectives Turkey announced when it launched its assault on Oct. 9: control of a strip of Syria more than 30 km (20 miles) deep, with the Kurdish militia, once U.S. allies, obliged to pull out.

It was also unclear if the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) would fully comply.

SDF commander Mazloum Kobani told Ronahi TV the group would accept the ceasefire agreement with Turkey in northern Syria but said it was limited to the border areas running between the towns of Ras al-Ain and Tal Abyad.

Republican and Democratic senators accused Trump of having betrayed the Kurdish allies who were vital in fighting Islamic State militants, of brushing aside the humanitarian costs of Turkey’s invasion and of being outwitted by Ankara.

“The safe zone will be primarily enforced by the Turkish Armed Forces,” a joint U.S.-Turkish statement released after the talks said.

U.S. senators who have criticized the Trump administration for failing to prevent the Turkish assault in the first place said they would press ahead with legislation to impose sanctions against Turkey despite the ceasefire announcement.

A Turkish official told Reuters that Ankara got “exactly what we wanted” from the talks with the United States. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu described it as a pause, solely to allow the Kurdish fighters to withdraw.

Kurdish fighters would be forced to give up their heavy weapons and their positions would be destroyed, Cavusoglu said. He declined to call the agreement a “ceasefire”, saying ceasefires could be agreed only by legitimate sides, and not by a Kurdish militia that Turkey considers a terrorist group.

“When the terrorist elements completely leave the safe zone, we can stop the operation,” Cavusoglu said.

The joint declaration said Washington and Ankara would cooperate on handling Islamic State fighters and family members held in prisons and camps, a major international concern.

DOUBTS OVER KURDISH RESPONSE

Pence said Washington had already been in contact with the Kurdish-led SDF, which had agreed to withdraw and were already pulling out.

However, the Kurdish position was not clear. Speaking to Ronahi TV, SDF commander Kobani said the agreement is “just the beginning” and will not achieve Turkey’s goals.

Aldar Xelil, a leading Syrian Kurdish politician, told Al Arabiya television that the Kurds would abide by the ceasefire but would defend themselves.

Pence said that once the pause became permanent, Washington would go ahead with its own plans to withdraw its entire military force from northern Syria, which had partnered with the Kurds to fight against Islamic State. There were no signs that U.S. forces had ceased their withdrawal, a U.S. official said.

Trump tweeted: “Great news out of Turkey”.

“Thank you to Erdogan,” Trump said. “Millions of lives will be saved!”

“Today the United States and Turkey have agreed to a ceasefire in Syria,” Pence told a news conference after more than four hours of talks at the presidential palace in Ankara.

“The Turkish side will pause Operation Peace Spring in order to allow for the withdrawal of YPG forces from the safe zone for 120 hours,” Pence said. “All military operations under Operation Peace Spring will be paused, and Operation Peace Spring will be halted entirely on completion of the withdrawal.”

The deal struck with Erdogan also provided for Turkey not to engage in military operations in the flashpoint Syrian border town of Kobani, Pence said. Cavusoglu said Turkey had given no commitments about Kobani.

HUMANITARIAN CRISIS

Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican, said the agreement “is far from a victory” and demanded the administration explain what will happen to the Kurds, what will be the future U.S. role in the region and why Turkey “will face no apparent consequences.”

“The ceasefire does not change the fact that America has abandoned an ally. Adding insult to dishonor, the administration speaks cavalierly, even flippantly, even as our ally has suffered death and casualty,” Romney said on the Senate floor.

“What President Trump agreed to today is a capitulation to Turkey at the expense of our Kurdish allies,” Senator Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, said in a statement, saying “the agreement lets Turkey off the hook for slaughtering innocent civilians.”

The Turkish assault has created a new humanitarian crisis in Syria with 200,000 civilians taking flight, a security alert over thousands of Islamic State fighters potentially abandoned in Kurdish jails, and a political maelstrom at home for Trump.

Trump has been accused of abandoning Kurdish-led fighters, Washington’s main partners in the battle to dismantle Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate in Syria, by withdrawing troops from the border as Ankara launched its offensive on Oct. 9.

The U.S. House of Representatives had condemned his policy on Wednesday in a vote backed by a majority of his fellow Republicans as well as Democrats.

The Turkish assault began after Trump moved U.S. troops out of the way following an Oct. 6 phone call with Erdogan. Trump announced sanctions on Turkey on Monday, after the assault began, but critics said these were too little, too late.

Pence said the sanctions would be lifted once the ceasefire became permanent.

If successful, the deal could smooth over a major rift between Washington and Turkey, the only Muslim NATO ally.

But the U.S. withdrawal also leaves U.S. adversaries Russia and Iran in a far stronger position in Syria. The Kurds responded to the U.S. withdrawal by effectively switching allegiances and inviting Syrian government forces, backed by Moscow and Tehran, into towns and cities in areas they control.

There could be friction both along the edges of the new safe zone claimed by Turkey, and within it, where government forces have advanced in recent days

Link to Article - Video - Photos:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-syri ... SKBN1WW0Z7
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Re: US gives Turkey 20 mile strip of Kurdish land in cease-f

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:36 am

Trump's deal give
Kurdish land to Turks


The deal agreed between the US and Turkey immediately achieved the priority objective of vice-president Mike Pence’s peace mission to Ankara: Donald Trump was able to claim victory on Twitter

The president had unwittingly alienated most of his own party over his acceptance of the Turkish invasion of north-eastern Syria, and was already in the midst of an impeachment battle.

So when the talks were over in Ankara, the president’s thumbs were hovering over his phone and he turned the usual hyperbole up to maximum. “This is a great day for civilisation,” he exulted. “People have been trying to make this ‘Deal’ for many years. Millions of lives will be saved.”

The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, also scored a quick win. The threat of US administration sanctions was suspended and his occupation of the Turkish-Syrian border zone was given an extra layer of respectability.

Otherwise it was hard to pinpoint what the 13-point document produced in Ankara actually meant. It was agreed between Turkey and the US, which has withdrawn its troops from the contested area.

Washington had been in touch with the actual combatants on the ground, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), but appears to have sold them a completely different deal.

The SDF commander, Mazloum Kobani, said he had agreed with the Americans that there would be a ceasefire in two areas about 100km apart, along the border where there was heavy fighting, Ras al-Ain, and Tal Abyad.

“As far as he is concerned the ceasefire is only where there’s active fighting and he totally rejects the idea of any kind of withdrawal, any removal of heavy weapons,” said Charles Lister, a Syria expert at the Middle East Institute. “So everyone seems to be talking a different language, which can only spell more trouble.”


The Ankara document envisages a 120-hour ceasefire in a “safe zone” that would be “primarily enforced by the Turkish armed forces”. The size of this “safe zone” is not defined. The phrase had been used to define a narrow strip of land along the border that was jointly patrolled by the Turks and US troops under an agreed joint security mechanism.

By invading, Erdogan had swept that mechanism aside, but in Ankara, Pence allowed the Turks to hijack the terms to refer to their area of occupation. Ankara said it would stretch 440 km from the Euphrates river to the Iraqi border, and 32km (20 miles) deep into Syria, up to the M4 highway which runs east-west across the region. The Turkish foreign minister said that across that whole area, Kurdish forces would have to hand over their heavy arms and withdraw.

That is a fair description of Erdogan’s maximalist war aims for his “Operation Peace Spring”. By explicitly accepting those terms, the US signalled acquiescence to the long-term Turkish aim of creating a buffer zone in north-eastern Syria, by removing much of the Kurdish population and resettling the area with Syrian Arab refugees.

Colin Kahl, a former senior White House official in the Obama administration, who was extensively involved in dealing with the Kurds and Turkey, said he had assumed that the Turkish forces would aim to control just majority Arab areas in the north-east, but that this agreement suggested bigger ambitions.

“If they really think they’re going to push the Kurds all the way back to behind the M4 highway, that’s, that’s a huge population transfer,” Kahl said. “It would involve massive ethnic cleansing essentially.”

In hailing the deal, Trump not only adopted Turkish talking points but even seemed to embrace the language of ethnic cleansing.

“They’ve had terrorists, they had a lot of people in there that they couldn’t have. They suffered a lot of loss of lives and they had to have it cleaned out,” the president said. “This outcome is something they’ve been trying to get for 10 years.”

So when Trump had boasted “people have been trying to make this ‘deal’ for many years”, the people he was talking about were Erdoğan and his military leadership. Until now no one was prepared to give them deal. Certainly not the Kurds who live there.

Pence claimed the US would work with the YPG (the dominant Kurdish element within the SDF) to carry out an “orderly withdrawal” from the 32km zone. He even said it was already under way on Thursday evening.

The YPG showed no readiness to surrender that territory

Trump’s “great day for civilisation” may not last very much longer than a day or two at best. For its part the US Senate seemed particularly unconvinced.

The Republican senator and usual Trump loyalist Marco Rubio said on Twitter that it doesn’t appear the ‘ceasefire’ signals change in Erdogan’s goal. He still plans to rid area of Kurds and create a ‘security zone’, but it’s giving Kurds an ultimatum:
    they can leave voluntarily or leave dead

The Democratic senator Chris Murphy was even more blunt. “Let’s be clear: this essentially gives Erdoğan everything he wants – it ratifies a Turkish takeover of a huge swath of the country and calls on the Kurds to abandon their territory or else the slaughter will continue,” Murphy said. “This isn’t a diplomatic victory – it’s the capstone on Trump’s abandonment of the Kurds.”

The choice of 120 hours for the length of ceasefire may not have been an accident. In five days Erdoğan is due to fly to Moscow to meet Putin. That is where the real outline of a settlement will be hammered out, argued Jennifer Cafarella, researcher director at the Institute for the Study of War.

“So basically the threat of US sanctions will help Russia get a deal,” Cafarella wrote on Twitter. “Mazloum is likely betting that the negotiation between Russia and Turkey that will occur at the end of those five days will produce an outcome he can live with.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/ ... s-for-dead
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