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Re: Western Kurdistan news changing hourly none good for Kur

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Oct 07, 2019 6:40 pm

Republicans and former US officials rip into Trump for abandoning the Kurds in Syria

    President Donald Trump received rare criticism from Republican and media allies over his decision to withdraw US troops from Syria and abandon the Kurds to a Turkish military invasion.

    Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, for example, warned the decision "virtually reassures the reemergence of ISIS" and "makes it difficult for the US to recruit allies against radical Islam."

    Though Republicans have largely been gentle on Trump regarding the Ukraine scandal and related impeachment inquiry, the criticism from GOP lawmakers over his Syria decision has been swift and direct.

    Meanwhile, Trump's former top US envoy for the fight against ISIS, Brett McGurk, in a tweet responding to the move said: "Donald Trump is not a Commander-in-Chief. He makes impulsive decisions with no knowledge or deliberation."
Republicans and former US officials, including some that worked in the Trump administration, have assailed President Donald Trump's decision to abandon Kurdish forces in Syria to a potential massacre at the hands of the Turkish military

The Trump administration on Sunday abruptly announced US troops would be withdrawn from northeastern Syria, paving the way for Turkey to launch a military invasion there.

Turkey views the Kurdish forces there as a threat and has been warning of launching a military operation in the region for days.

Though Republicans have largely been gentle on Trump regarding the Ukraine scandal and related impeachment inquiry, the criticism from GOP lawmakers over his Syria decision has been swift and direct.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said a "precipitous withdrawal" of US troops from Syria "would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime."

McConnell added that it would also "increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup."

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a top ally of Trump in Congress who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, excoriated the move.

"I hope I'm making myself clear how shortsighted & irresponsible this decision is, in my view," Graham said on Fox News on Monday morning. "This to me is just unnerving to its core."

    He continued to slam Trump's decision via Twitter, warning the decision "virtually reassures the reemergence of ISIS" and "makes it difficult for the US to recruit allies against radical Islam."

    —Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 7, 2019
Similarly, Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, in a statement said, "If the President sticks with this retreat, he needs to know that this bad decision will likely result in the slaughter of allies who fought with us, including women and children. I hope the President will listen to his generals and reconsider."

Sasse added, "Before Turkey butchers innocent Kurds, Erdogan should carefully consider his privileged status as a NATO member. The American people don't partner with genocidal regimes."

A bipartisan group of lawmakers that just returned from a congressional delegation visit to Turkey, Afghanistan, and the Syria-Jordan border in a statement characterized the decision as a "misguided and catastrophic blow to our national security interests."

The lawmakers said that the "bottom line is that these Kurdish soldiers are the first line of defense in maintaining the gains we have made against ISIS," adding that if Turkey attacks the Kurdish fighters there's a "grave risk" that ISIS will make a comeback.

'Donald Trump is not a Commander-in-Chief'

Meanwhile, Trump's former top US envoy for the fight against ISIS, Brett McGurk, was especially critical of the president.

McGurk in a tweet said, "Donald Trump is not a Commander-in-Chief. He makes impulsive decisions with no knowledge or deliberation. He sends military personnel into harm's way with no backing. He blusters and then leaves our allies exposed when adversaries call his bluff or he confronts a hard phone call."

Trump's former US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, suggested Trump was making a "big mistake" by leaving the Kurds "to die" after they played an "instrumental" role in the fight against ISIS.

"We must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back," Haley said.

    Trump was even criticized on Fox and Friends, which tends to put a positive spin on controversies swirling around the president, with host Brian Kilmeade describing the decision as part of a "disastrous series of events."

    —Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) October 7, 2019
"We defeated the caliphate, the caliphate is destroyed, we wouldn't have done that without the Kurds who did all of our fighting," Kilmeade said. "The reason why our casualties were so low is because the Kurds did all the fighting. Now we're saying, 'OK Turks, go wipe them out or force them out.' What kind of message is that to the next ally who wants to side with us?"

'Deserting an ally in a foolish attempt to appease a foreign strongman'

Congressional Democrats also rebuked the president.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump is "betraying" and "deserting an ally in a foolish attempt to appease a foreign strongman."

Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a tweet Trump had essentially invited Turkey into Syria to "wipe out the Kurds." He called Trump's decision "positively sinister."

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said Trump's "impulsive behavior" has put US and allied troops in the region in danger "and our hard won gains against ISIS at great risk."

https://www.businessinsider.com/republi ... ?r=US&IR=T
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Re: Western Kurdistan news changing hourly none good for Kur

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Re: Western Kurdistan news changing hourly none good for Kur

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:36 pm

Turkish press reacts to
pending Syria operation


The Turkish media is lively with speculation following US President Donald Trump's vow not to interfere with a much-anticipated Turkish military operation in Kurdish-administered northeast Syria and to pull American troops back from the area

Unanswered questions over the depth of the operation, whether the United States will open the airspace to Turkish jets and the timing of Ankara’s third incursion into Syria dominate discussions in domestic broadcasts, print outlets and social media feeds.

More than 90% of the nation’s mainstream media outlets are pro-state and generally [b]support operations against Kurdish militants in Syria[/b] — who are considered an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which Ankara, the United States and the European Union designate as a terror group. Yet mixed reporting on fast-moving developments present a diversity of opinions and concerns as military forces make preparations on Turkey’s southern border.

As the operation will affect Syria’s Kurdish-majority region, currently administered by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the majority of Turkey’s Kurdish media outlets responded negatively to the news. Kurdish media reports focused on the work SDF forces had done to eliminate Islamic State militants from the region, as well as the possibility that ISIS detainees in the region could escape or pose a security threat as a result of the operation.

“That’s the main problem, what will happen with ISIS?” asked Mahmut Bozarslan, a Kurdish journalist based in Diyarbakir who writes for Al-Monitor. He said during an interview for this article, “People are afraid of this. If these detainees are released, what will happen if they come to Turkey?”

Mezopotamya Ajansı, a leading Kurdish news service, emphasized statements by SDF commanders, responses from deputies in the Kurdish-majority People's Democratic Party (HDP) and on criticism of Trump’s Syria policy from Brett McGurk, the former US special envoy on IS who resigned in December 2018 following the US president’s abrupt yet still unrealized decision to pull US troops from the region.

Meanwhile, pro-state outlets such as Yeni Safak pursued a predictable line of support for operation, presenting it as a “new hope” while reporting unverified news that 14,000 Free Syrian Army soldiers are being drafted to join the incursion.

Yusuf Erim, a political analyst for Turkey’s TRT public broadcaster, said Turkish mainstream media reports have been largely positive in their coverage of the pending operation and that journalists should be careful to differentiate between Kurds as an ethnic group and the PKK-linked forces Ankara is seeking remove from its southern border.

“The SDF mandate was very specific and that was to defeat [IS],” Erim told Al-Monitor. “The mandate for the SDF is over and their authority has nothing to do with governing northeast Syria or autonomy or fighting against America’s NATO allies, the Turks, so the SDF is greatly overstepping their bounds. … Any promises that the [People’s Protection Units] YPG portion of the SDF feels that the United States has given them is beyond reality.”

“The United States doesn’t owe the SDF anything,” he added.

Erim said the operation is backed by Turkey’s main political parties, with the exception of the HDP, predicting the Syria incursion would have 85% to 90% of the public's support.

Secular leftist media outlets like Bianet reported on Russian state reactions to the pending operation, while Gazete Duvar published a round table discussion on the significance of the military buildup. Journalist Aydin Selcen predicted the operation would start between Tell Abyad and Ras al-Ain on the Syrian border.

“No doubt the rest is uncertain,” Selcen wrote. “What is evident is the operation will render the opposition, both in the public and the parliament, ineffective and will have a more restrictive effect on freedom of expression.”

Ali Topuz, editor of Gazete Duvar, said support of the Syrian incursion was higher than support for the government because the Turkish public is generally inclined to support any operation in which the PKK’s name is mentioned.

“Since the broadcasts are totally unilateral, this support always increases,” Topuz told Al-Monitor. “The problems that a possible resistance would create are not generally a subject of discussion before those problems arise — for example, before news of soldiers dying. And when this happens, it is regarded as the malignancy of the PKK rather then focusing on the operation itself. The former mainstream media and now the government-controlled media have always liked to be more hawkish than governments themselves.”

When asked if Turkish media reports have so far been accurate, Topuz said there was little misinformation at this point because of the limited amount of real information regarding potential military operations. Instead, he said the pro-state press has has mostly been producing supportive news reports with justifications for the pending incursion.

“Hurryiet and Sabah are widely circulated newspapers and they wrote that the PKK/YPG was panicking, that some militants had left the area and that the rest had started wearing civilian clothes,” Topuz told Al-Monitor. “They didn't even need to provide a legitimate source for this information.”

He added, “They wrote Trump's decision was, in fact, supporting Turkey’s decision [to enter northeast Syria] because the government told them so.”

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/origin ... ation.html
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Re: Western Kurdistan news changing hourly none good for Kur

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:53 pm

Islamic State resurgence
a very real possibility


The sudden US troop withdrawal from Syria has left its Kurdish allies in the lurch. As a Turkish offensive looms, the risk of devastating consequences, including ISIS resurgence, has Brussels and much of Europe concerned

For months, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to send troops into neighboring Syria. Then, on Saturday, he announced he would deliver on his promise and send Turkish air and ground forces into the country. Erdogan plans to create a "safe zone" along the Turkish-Syrian border. The purpose of this is to push back the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are led by the predominantly Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG). Ankara considers the Kurdish militia a threat to its national security.

The YPG has, however, been the main ally of US forces in the region. Together, they managed to defeat the so-called Islamic State (ISIS). The US initially tried finding a solution to Turkey's border issue while at the same time trying to factor in the interests of the Kurdish militia. But this has come to naught, and US President Donald Trump made a surprise announcement on Sunday night that US troops that have worked with the YPG would pull out immediately. Early Monday, the SDF confirmed that US troops were already withdrawing from the region. The White House has said it will not come to the SDF's defense when Turkey invades northern Syria.

Around 1,000 US troops are now expected to withdraw, effectively abandoning local allies in Syria

Turkish invasion could be disastrous

Erdogan’s forces advancing into Syria could have catastrophic consequences both regionally and globally. Tens of thousands of ISIS supporters and fighters are being held in Kurdish camps in northern Syria. Roderich Kiesewetter, a German lawmaker and member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), says "one of the biggest dangers is ISIS inmates fleeing from northern Syria to Iraq. This has a direct impact on our security interests."

Kiesewetter and many others in the European Union fear that the US troop withdrawal from northern Syria, and the arrival of Turkish troops in their place, could strengthen ISIS. Brussels is deeply worried about this prospect. European Commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said that while the European Union recognizes Turkey's security concerns, it supports the territorial integrity of Syria.

The bloc therefore sees Turkey's planned military campaign as unjustified. Kocijancic further told DW: "The renewed armed hostilities in the northeast will not only exacerbate civilian suffering and lead to massive displacement but will also risk severely undermining current political efforts which we support."

Captured ISIS fighters could escape

Julien Barnes-Dacey of the European Council on Foreign Relations think tank warns that Turkey has not made any plans in case of a resurgent ISIS. He says all Ankara cares about is keeping the Kurds in check and pushing them back.

Thousands of European ISIS fighters are now reportedly being held in Kurdish camps, some of which hail from Germany and other European countries. The US has demanded that countries across Europe repatriate their citizens who fought for ISIS and put them on trial — though Kosovo has done exactly that, the demands that have largely fallen on deaf ears. Barnes-Dacey says these countries have failed to take responsibility for their citizens. "If this region is engulfed by new conflict anything is possible in terms of the situation of these IS detainees and the very real possibility that they could escape and find new space to operate," he told DW.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to deport masses of Syrian refugees to a "safe zone" in northeastern Syria

Refugees in focus

In addition to security concerns and the struggle for influence in the border region, the refugee situation in Turkey is likely to have played a crucial motivating role in the planned operation by the Turkish army. Since the beginning of the civil war, around 3.6 million Syrian refugees have fled to Turkey.

Early on there was a welcoming attitude, the mood in the country has shifted. President Erdogan has taken an increasingly hard line against Syrians. He has deported hundreds of thousands already and now plans to transport many of them to the "safe zone" he has planned in the northernmost area of Syria — though the vast majority of them are not from there, and critical infrastructure is lacking.

Many observers have strongly criticized the plan. Özlem Alev Demirel, a Turkish-born politician from Germany’s Left Party in the European Parliament, accuses Erdogan of wanting to do this only in pursuit of foreign-policy interests — namely, in order to destroy the Kurdish-led autonomous administration in the region. "The incursion and the resettlement of Syrian refugees are both aimed at gaining as much influence as possible on the restructuring of Syria," she says.

But renewed fighting in northern Syria could also lead to even more people trying to leave the country. Since the EU-Turkey refugee deal went into force in 2016, Turkey has been tasked with preventing refugees from traveling on to the EU. If the military offensive triggers a new wave of refugees, their numbers may increase in Turkey, which in turn may increase migration pressure on Europe.

NATO remains mum

For months, the situation in northern Syria created tensions between Turkey and the US, both of which are NATO member states. Ankara considers the YPG a terrorist organization; Washington has given it military support. For now, however, NATO is hesitant to get involved. In response to a request for information, a NATO spokesperson referred DW to Washington and Ankara.

Now, with the US troop withdrawal, no deescalation of the situation is in sight. US President Donald Trump went on a Twitter rant on Monday, threatening to ruin Turkey's economy — which is already struggling amidst a debt and currency crisis exacerbated by US tariffs on many exports — if Ankara violated American interests during the invasion.

"If Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy [sic] of Turkey," Trump wrote. Whether the US president will match action to those words cannot be predicted. But one thing is sure: If the "Islamic State”" regains influence amid the Turkish military offensive, Washington and Ankara alone will not be able to resolve the resulting conflict.

Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

    The "Islamic State" (ISIS) — also known as ISIL and Daesh — is an al-Qaida splinter group with a militant Sunni Islamist ideology. It emerged in the aftermath of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and is led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Their goal is to create a worldwide "caliphate." It gained worldwide notoriety in 2014 after a blitzkrieg military campaign that resulted in the capture of Mosul.

https://www.dw.com/en/islamic-state-res ... a-50730420
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Re: Western Kurdistan news changing hourly none good for Kur

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:15 pm

Five things to know about
Trump's decision on Syria


    Turkey said Saturday it is about to launch Syria operation

    Sunday Trump pulls US troops out

    What next one wonders
U.S. military forces to retreat from northeast Syria, paving the way for Turkey to proceed with a long-planned offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces that were instrumental in the fight against ISIS.

The administration downplayed the significance of the withdrawal, but it was immediately blasted by lawmakers across the political spectrum, including several Republicans who are typically aligned with Trump.

Amid the pushback, U.S. officials insisted that Trump was not endorsing the Turkish operation. But critics argue Trump is abandoning a U.S. ally to be slaughtered by Turkey — all while fueling chaos in the region that could allow ISIS to thrive anew.

There’s also a question of what will happen to the thousands of ISIS detainees being held by the Kurds as they shift their resources to battling Turkey.

Here are five things to know about Trump’s decision:

Trump is fulfilling a campaign promise while giving Turkey what it wants

In seeking to fulfill a campaign promise to end so-called forever wars, Trump gave Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan something he’s long wanted.

Ankara views the Kurdish force known as the YPG as an extension of a Turkish Kurdish insurgency and has long threatened to launch an assault against them.

It has not done so previously because of the presence of U.S. troops in the area. The YPG has led the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which has worked closely with the U.S.

Trump spoke to Erdoğan on Sunday before making his decision

It’s the second time Trump has acted to leave Syria after talking with Erdogan; Trump’s December announcement on withdrawing from Syria came days after a phone call with Erdogan in which he reportedly told Erdogan that Syria was “all yours.”

A senior administration official insisted to reporters Monday that Trump was not giving Turkey a “green light” to invade Syria and that the move “does not constitute a withdrawal from Syria.” Of the roughly 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria, the official said just about 50 to 100 special operators will be moved to other bases in the country.

But in tweets defending his decision Monday, Trump said it is time to end “ridiculous Endless Wars.” And minutes before the senior administration official spoke with reporters, Trump told reporters in the Roosevelt Room at the White House that “it’s time to come back home.”

Trump’s decision could send a chilling message to Kurds and future partners

Kurdish officials accused the president of stabbing them in the back, and prominent figures in the United States warned a withdrawal would serve as a warning to potential future partners.

To placate NATO ally Turkey, the U.S. was already working on establishing a safe zone along the border, and the SDF had removed its defenses from near the border.

But with no solid safe zone set and the United States now leaving the border area, SDF spokesman Kino Gabriel told Arabic TV station al-Hadath Trump’s decision was a “stab in the back,” while another SDF spokesman, Mustafa Bali tweeted that “people here are owed an explanation.”

The SDF says more than 11,000 of its troops were killed in the battle against ISIS, but Trump appeared to downplay the Kurdish role.

“The Kurds fought with us, but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so,” he wrote.

Later in the day, after widespread backlash from Republicans and Democrats, Trump said he would “obliterate” Turkey’s economy should they do anything he “consider[s] to be off limits.”

A follow-up tweet did not mention protection of the Kurds, but rather the need for Turkey and others to “watch over the captured ISIS fighters and families.”

The Pentagon has long opposed a troop pull-out

Trump’s decision came despite opposition from Pentagon leaders, who have long said it was important to keep U.S. forces in northern Syria to prevent an ISIS resurgence and back Kurdish allies in the face of Turkish aggression.

As recently as Saturday, U.S. European Command was touting the implementation of the safe zone to forestall a Turkish incursion.

The Pentagon released its own statement on Monday that insisted the United States is not endorsing the Turkish operation despite the pullout.

“The Department of Defense made clear to Turkey — as did the president — that we do not endorse a Turkish operation in northern Syria. The U.S. Armed Forces will not support, or be involved in any such operation,” chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in the statement.

When Trump first announced his plan to pull troops from Syria nearly a year ago, the move prompted then-Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisBrent Budowsky: Deep Throat's defending our democracy Meghan McCain: Trump, Giuliani 'blowing it on a JV level' Congressionally appointed panel recommends US halt Syria withdrawal MORE to resign.

Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperPentagon distances itself from Ukraine controversy North Korea missile test raises fears of new capabilities Trump defense head says US has stepped up attacks on Taliban since talks broke down MORE stressed in August that the United States would find a Turkish incursion into northern Syria “unacceptable” and would seek to prevent such an operation.

“We have a lot of mutual interests in northern Syria. We want to sustain the continued defeat — at least of the physical caliphate — of ISIS. That becomes a question if [the Turks] move in and the SDF is impacted,” Esper added.

On Friday, following a phone call with his Turkish counterpart the day before, Esper told reporters he “made very clear to him and he agreed as well that we need to make the security mechanism work.”

Trump draws fire from GOP

Critics of Trump’s decision included several people who are typically his most staunch defenders, including his former U.N. ambassador Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyEx-GOP lawmaker sues South Carolina Republican Party for canceling 2020 primary Juan Williams: Why does Trump fear GOP voters? Can Carl DeMaio save the California GOP? MORE, who tweeted that leaving the Kurds “to die is a big mistake.” She also included the hashtag “#TurkeyIsNotOurFriend.”

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham vows to publicly question whistleblowers if Trump is impeached Key Republicans split with Trump on Biden investigation push GOP searches for impeachment boogeyman MORE (R-S.C.), a close Trump ally who previously talked Trump out of a full withdrawal, called the decision a “disaster in the making.” He argued a retreat from northeast Syria “ensures” an ISIS comeback, “forces” the Kurds to align with Syrian President Bashar Assad, “destroys” Turkey’s standing with Congress and “will be a stain on America’s honor for abandoning the Kurds.”

He also pledged to introduce a resolution calling for Trump to reverse his decision and legislation to slap sanctions on Turkey. Graham further vowed to call for Turkey’s removal from NATO if follows through on its Syria offensive.

Decision leaves fate of ISIS detainees unclear

The SDF are detaining more than 10,000 ISIS fighters in makeshift prisons in northeast Syria, including

about 2,000 fighters from countries other than Syria or Iraq. The United States has been trying to convince countries to take their citizens back for prosecution with little success.

Despite Trump promising during his first presidential campaign to “load” the Guantanamo Bay detention facility with “bad dudes” from ISIS, he has more recently blasted the cost of detaining people at Guantanamo as “crazy.”

In justifying his decision to retreat from northeast Syria, Trump railed against European countries for not taking back foreign fighters, saying they “said ‘NO,’ thinking, as usual, that the U.S. is always the ‘sucker,’ on NATO, on Trade, on everything.”

“Turkey, Europe, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia and the Kurds will now have to figure the situation out, and what they want to do with the captured ISIS fighters in their ‘neighborhood,’” Trump tweeted.

The White House statement Sunday and the Pentagon’s statement Monday both said Turkey will now be responsible for detaining ISIS fighters.

But critics fear the SDF, which had little capacity to hold the detainees in the first place, will abandon or release them when they have to devote their resources to fighting Turkey and that Ankara won’t step in to hold them.

“Turkey has neither the intent, desire, nor capacity to manage 60k detainees in al Hol camp, which State and DoD [inspectors general] warn is the nucleus for a resurgent ISIS,” tweeted Brett McGurk, who resigned as Trump’s special envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition in December. He was referring to an SDF-run refugee camp in northern Syria holding several thousand ISIS family members. “Believing otherwise is a reckless gamble with our national security,” he added.

https://www.gq.com/story/trump-erdogan-kurds-syria
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Re: Western Kurdistan news changing hourly none good for Kur

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:10 am

Ted Cruz: DISGRACEFUL to Let Turkish Military Slaughter America’s Kurdish Allies

On Sunday night, after a phone call between President Trump and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the White House announced that the small number of U.S. forces in northern Syria would be withdrawn ahead of a Turkish invasion of the area, which is currently controlled by America’s Kurdish allies

The White House press secretary also said that “Turkey will now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years

Less than two weeks ago, at a September 26 press conference, Trump said that America would “not forget” our Kurdish allies who had died fighting ISIS. “Tens of thousands of Kurds died fighting ISIS. They died for us and with us and for themselves,” President Trump said. “They’re great people and we have not forgotten.”

    Trump: “Kurds are great people, great fighters, I like them a lot. We are trying to help them a lot. Don’t forget that’s their territory.They fought with us, they died with us, we lost tens of thousands of Kurds fighting ISIS. They’re great people and we have not forgotten.” pic.twitter.com/jNcP0a30Ot

    — Mutlu Civiroglu (@mutludc) September 27, 2018
Many congressional Republicans condemned President Trump’s decision as a betrayal of our Kurdish allies that could allow ISIS to come roaring back.

“It would also be DISGRACEFUL if we sat idly by while Turkey slaughters the Kurds, as public reports suggest that Turkish leader Erdogan explicitly told President Trump he intends to do. Kurds risked their lives—for many years—to fight alongside us,” Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz wrote on Twitter. “Our enemies and rivals (Iran, Russia, etc.) don’t abandon their allies; if we want allies to stand with America in the future, we shouldn’t either."

    Honorable nations stand by their friends
“If I didn’t see Donald Trump’s name on the tweet, I thought it would be Obama’s rationale for getting out of Iraq,” South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham said on Fox & Friends on Monday morning. “The biggest lie being told by the administration is ISIS is defeated…. This is going to lead to ISIS’ reemergence. Nothing better for ISIS than to create a conflict between the Kurds and Turkey.”

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell issued the following statement:

    “In January, a supermajority of the U.S. Senate voted for an amendment that expressed bipartisan concern about the continuing threat posed by ISIS and Al Qaeda in Syria, appreciation of the long-term American security interests in Syria and the region, and support for a continued military presence in northeastern Syria.

    “The conditions that produced that bipartisan vote still exist today. While the physical caliphate has been removed, ISIS and al Qaeda remain dangerous forces in Syria and the ongoing Syrian civil war poses significant security and humanitarian risks.

    “A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime. And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup.

    “I urge the President to exercise American leadership to keep together our multinational coalition to defeat ISIS and prevent significant conflict between our NATO ally Turkey and our local Syrian counterterrorism partners. Major new conflict between Turkey and our partners in Syria would seriously risk damaging Turkey’s ties to the United States and causing greater isolation for Turkey on the world stage.

    “As we learned the hard way during the Obama Administration, American interests are best served by American leadership, not by retreat or withdrawal.”
“If the President sticks with this retreat, he needs to know that this bad decision will likely result in the slaughter of allies who fought with us, including women and children. I hope the President will listen to his generals and reconsider,” Nebraska senator Ben Sasse said in a statement.

“The Kurds have been a critical and reliable partner to the US, and have played an integral role in the fight against ISIS. We cannot abandon them now,” Iowa senator Joni Ernst wrote on Twitter.

“The President’s decision to abandon our Kurd allies in the face of an assault by Turkey is a betrayal. It says that America is an unreliable ally; it facilitates ISIS resurgence; and it presages another humanitarian disaster,” Utah senator Mitt Romney wrote on Twitter.

While most congressional Republicans who spoke out on Monday opposed President Trump’s new policy in Syria, the policy was supported by Kentucky senator Rand Paul and Utah senator Mike Lee. “I stand with @realDonaldTrump today as he once again fulfills his promises to stop our endless wars and have a true America First foreign policy,” Paul wrote on Twitter.

“Congress has never declared war or authorized the use of military force in Syria. While I remain concerned with Turkey’s behavior and the threat they pose to the Kurds, I support President Trump’s decision to draw down U.S. armed forces from Syria,” Lee said in a statement. “Our founding fathers established a system of separated powers between three branches and gave Congress the power to declare war.

Returning to this constitutional system and restoring Congress’s Article One powers would mitigate much of this confusion. Members of Congress have already begun discussing steps the U.S. can take to support the Kurds and deter Turkey. I look forward to engaging in those conversations.”

https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/t ... -decision/
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Re: Western Kurdistan: all Kurds must UNITE to gain support

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:15 am

Turkey: Military preparations
for Syria incursion complete


Preparations for a major military operation in northeast Syria are complete, Turkey announced on Tuesday, after the US started pulling back troops and opened the way for a Turkish attack on Kurdish-led forces long allied to Washington

But US President Donald Trump warned he would "obliterate" the NATO ally's economy if it took action in Syria that he considered "off limits" following his decision on Sunday to pull 50 American special forces troops from the border region.

The US withdrawal will leave its Kurdish-led partner - the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) - vulnerable to an incursion by Turkey's military, which brands them "terrorists" because of their links to Kurdish fighters who have waged a decades-long insurgency inside Turkey.

Turkey's armed forces "will never tolerate the establishment of a terror corridor on our borders. All preparations for the operation have been completed", the defence ministry said on Twitter early on Tuesday.

"It is essential to establish a safe zone/peace corridor to contribute to our region's peace and stability, and for Syrians to achieve a safe life," it said.

Al Jazeera's Charles Stratford, reporting from Akcakale along Turkey's border with Syria, said local sources reported the movement of Turkish troops and heavy weaponry on Tuesday

"There's a lot of tension here. There are huge concerns about the security ramifications this operation could have," said Stratford. "It's very difficult to predict when any military operation might start."

Will Turkey's impending operation in Syria affect its economy?

'Unmatched wisdom'

Trump's warning on Turkey's economy appeared aimed at placating critics who accused him of abandoning the Syrian Kurds by pulling out US forces.

"As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the economy of Turkey," Trump tweeted.

Lawrence Korb, former US assistant defence secretary, told Al Jazeera the president's decision was politically motivated with a 2020 election approaching.

"What this shows is that President Trump - unlike all his predecessors whether Republican or Democrat - is only concerned about himself. We have a moral responsibility to the Kurds because without them we would not have destroyed the caliphate."

Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said it was Turkey's fundamental right to take necessary measures for its national security against "threats" from Syria.

"Turkey is determined to clear terrorists from the east of the Euphrates and protect its own security and survival while implementing a secure zone in order to achieve peace and stability," Aksoy said in a statement.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey plans to resettle two million refugees in northern Syria and Turkish media has said the draft resettlement plan involves a 151 billion lira ($26bn) construction project. Turkey hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees.

The Trump administration official, briefing reporters on a conference call, said 50 American troops in the region that Turkey has targeted would be redeployed elsewhere in Syria "where they aren't in the crossfire." The United States has about 1,000 troops in Syria.

Joshua Landis, a Syria analyst from the University of Oklahoma, said Trump's move was the latest to throw American foreign policy into disarray.

"This shows a real collapse of the foreign policy process in the White House… People are guessing what America will do next. This is clearly not good," he said.
Iran warning

Landis said Trump clearly wants to end US involvement in Middle East wars, but his understanding of the complex situation on the ground in the region is lacking.

"The trouble is he knows very little about the long history between the Kurds and Turkey. He doesn't realise how brutal the Turkish army will be once it gets among the Kurds," he told Al Jazeera. (remember Dersim)

Iran's top diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif told his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, in a phone call that Tehran is opposed to military action in Syria.

"Zarif voiced opposition to military action" and "urged respect for Syria's territorial integrity and national sovereignty," Zarif was quoted as saying in a foreign ministry said statement issued late Monday.

The Iranian foreign minister also "stressed the need for the fight against terrorism and for the establishment of stability and security in Syria".

In their phone call, Zarif told Cavusoglu that the Adana agreement was "the best approach for Syria and Turkey and for addressing their concerns".

Ankara and Damascus signed the agreement in 1998 to ease tensions after Turkey threatened Syria with military action if it did not expel Turkish-Kurdish rebel leader Abdallah Ocalan from its soil.

Cavusoglu said the Turkish military operation in northeastern Syria "would be temporary", according to the statement from the Iranian foreign ministry.

Erdogan has expressed Ankara's determination to clear the Syrian border area east of the Euphrates river of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).

Turkey says the YPG is a "terrorist offshoot" of Ocalan's Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The United States worked closely with the YPG to recapture swathes of territory from Islamic State (ISIS).

Why is Turkey expanding its military operations in northern Syria?

ISIS return?

The feared Turkish invasion of northeast Syria could spark an ISIS resurgence, analysts and Kurdish forces warned, despite Ankara's pledge to prevent the fighters' return.

"The fact is that ISIS is still a threat, one that seems likely to metastasise if the SDF is forced to divert attention and resources ... to a defensive battle against Turkey," said Sam Heller of the International Crisis Group think-tank.

While a Kurdish-led operation earlier this year saw the death of ISIS's territorial gains, the organisation isn't dead and sleeper cells have been active in SDF-held areas and in Syria's vast desert, where it continues to hit Syrian government forces with deadly attacks and ambushes.

Charles Lister, director of the US-based Middle East Institute, accused Trump of "granting ISIS the gift of rebirth".

The US military has warned that, short of sustained international pressure, ISIS would soon have the ability to regroup.

"The battle against ISIS is not over," said Abdulkarim Omar, the top Kurdish foreign affairs official. "There are hundreds of sleeper cells in recently liberated areas."

The SDF is now concerned the armed group could replenish its ranks by freeing thousands of fighters and their families currently held in detention centres and informal settlements in Syria's northeast.

The Kurds consistently warned they would be unable to guard ISIS fighters if their forces were busy fighting off a Turkish offensive.

On Monday, Omar said that detention centres are not heavily fortified.

"They are only buildings... In the event of any security vacuum, these criminals could have an opportunity to break free," he said.

Trump threatens to 'obliterate' Turkey's economy over Syria

'Sophisticated operations'

Omar also said he was concerned about displacement camps, namely Al-Hol, the largest of the settlements, which he described as a "time bomb".

Security incidents have been on the rise in the crowded camp, which houses more than 3,000 ISIS families among its more than 70,000 residents, according to the Kurdish administration in northeast Syria.

The thousands of foreign ISIS brides held in Al-Hol are "as dangerous as the thousands of ISIS fighters being held in SDF detention centres", it said this week, noting daily stabbings, killings and attempts to break free.

SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali last month said ISIS fighters "have stepped up their regrouping efforts through women in the camp recently".

The Institute for the Study of War last week said ISIS is bribing prison guards and raising funds to smuggle women out of camps, including Al-Hol.

"ISIS is likely preparing more coordinated and sophisticated operations to free its detained members," it said in a report citing incidents in which prisoners and ISIS wives managed to break free.

Turkey, however, assured Monday that it "would not allow ISIS to return in any shape and form".

But analysts argue that Ankara could unintentionally help boost the armed group.

"Turkey will not intentionally target camps and prisons but it could inadvertently strike them in the process of intervention," Syria analyst Samuel Ramani said.

Heller also said a direct Turkish attack on camps and prisons was unlikely.

"What seems more likely is that these facilities, which are already vulnerable to riots and attempted jailbreaks, will be left vulnerable as the SDF redeploys the forces securing them to fight Turkey," he said.

"If ISIS cadres escape in the ensuing chaos, they could catalyse ISIS operations locally. Or, if they flee the Syrian battlefield, they could augment militant groups internationally."

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/ ... 47251.html
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Re: Western Kurdistan: ALL Kurds must UNITE to gain support

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:36 am

Barzani Expresses Strong
Concerns over Western Kurdistan


Image

Kurdish prominent leader and former President of the Kurdistan Region, Masoud Barzani, has expressed strong concerns over the recent developments in the Syrian Kurdistan

"We are very concerned about the recent developments in Western Kurdistan," Barzani wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, as the White House has already announced that the US forces will withdraw from northeastern Syria, while Turkey is close to launching an operation against the Kurdish forces in the region.

Barzani further pointed out that "we are in contact with several channels and we will do our utmost to ensure that the people of Western Kurdistan are not subjected to any more disasters."

Barzani, who is also the President of the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), received the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Erbil on Monday, where the Kurdish leader called on Moscow to play a major role in normalizing the situation in northern Syria in case of any possible security escalation in the future.

http://www.basnews.com/index.php/en/new ... tan/551955
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Re: Western Kurdistan: ALL Kurds must UNITE to gain support

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:54 am

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Kurdistan, especially in West Kurdistan greetings to all of you

Today West Kurdistan is exposed to major threats from the fascist Turkish state that seeks to conquer what remains of West Kurdistan after it occupied the Afrin region and other Western Kurdistan areas...

The killing, displacement and the flooding of Afrin with large numbers of Syrian refugees and other practices of Turkish Colonial forces in West Kurdistan are aimed at changing the population composition of the the area... this racist goal will be implemented by the Turkish State in Eastern Euphrates too ...

    In my name and on behalf of our friends in the national conference and our supporters everywhere working intensely to remove any Turkish intervention into Western Kurdistan... and start writing notes and letters immediately to all the governments of the world, international organizations and ITS EMBASSIES AND REPRESENTATIVES...

Turkey claims that the West of Kurdistan is threatening its national security and wants to establish a safe zone inside Western Kurdistan. Turkey has the right to protect its national security, but what it does not have the right to do is to establish a safe zone inside a country that does not belong to her... The Turkish safe zone is a Turkish right, but for Turkey to implement such a zone inside territory belonging to Western Kurdistan... and that the Turkish safe zone within it's own borders but implementation of such a zone within a country other than Turkey is a clear violation of the United Nations Charter and International Laws and Customs ... It will be an INVASION

Turkey's current occupation of parts of Western Kurdistan, is the occupation of brutal and a savage invasion force that reminds us of the invasion of the Mughal and the Tatars. Now Turkey wants to continue its conquest of Kurds by by occupying many areas to the East of the Euphrates... if its criminal scheme is implemented, by moving its military bases - that have remained around the Syrian/Turkish for a number of years - to within Syrian borders, it enables Turkey to strike at the federal government in Southern Kurdistan...

I call on the Kurdish forces in all parts of the Kurdistan to immediately prevent the Turkish invasion of Western Kurdistan and the Eastern Euphrates, because the next step Turkey will take will be to other parts of Kurdistan... that means the Turkish invasion will involve every Kurd... everyone who believes that Turkey is against this or that Kurdish party and is a friend to another Kurdish party, is WRONG... because Turkey is without any doubt an enemy of the entire Kurdish nation... Just research the history of Turkey's barbarism towards innocent Kurds and their leaders, the destruction of Kurdish homes, farmlands, villages, countryside and forests, the violent suppression of Kurdish, culture, clothes, music and language...


The Turkish argument that the PKK is a terrorist organization is a false argument to deceive the Turkish population and world public opinion through the media... because Turkey is not only an enemy of PKK, but is the number one enemy of the entire Kurdish population... and everyone who doesn't believe That and their side is exactly how Dr. Abdul Rahman harsh filled who did not read the history of the countries that occupy kurdistan like he never heard that most of the leaders of the people of Kurdistan were killed or executed in the Eastern Kurdistan by Iran from : Simko Agha, his brother Jafar in 1930, judge mohamed in 1947, Lyman in 1967 and many others, knowing that Dr. Abdul Rahman cruel was a professor of political economy at the university of Prague. Ignorant but he went to him and chose him to his assassination room.

I also call on the Kurdistan forces in all parts of the Kurdistan not to trust the countries that occupy the Kurdistan and the major countries that were also toxic and to use the cordillera to carry out their own goal of only their interests and interests... there are many examples These include:

1. Helping Iran to the Kurdistan Revolution in Southern Kurdistan for more than 14 years to fight Iraq from 1961-1975 where it ended its assistance to secure its interests by eliminating the revolution and forcing general Mustafa Barzani to leave Kurdistan to America where it ended The Trap by raping him there

2. Helping Iraq to the Kurdistan Revolution In Eastern Kurdistan for more than 10 years to fight Iran from 1979-1989 where it ended its assistance to secure its interests by eliminating the revolution and forcing Dr. Abdul Rahman cruel to leave Kurdistan to Austria Where the trap ended with his assassination

3. Syrian assistance to the with for more than 14 years to fight turkey from 1984-1998 where its aid ended in order to secure its interests by delivering the leader abdullah ocalan to turkey... to force abdullah ocalan to leave Syria by plane from one country to another where it was a trap ended by sending to Kenya and kidnapping.

4. Help the Soviet Union of the Kurdistan Republic 1946 and betrayed it to get stalin his interests in investing Iranian oil and helping America to the federal government in the south of Kurdistan and self-management in the west of Kurdistan, but America betrayed them whenever they got any interest No matter how trivial as we saw it in the blessing of the Algiers Convention in 1975 and in its blessed occupation of shingal by ISIS in 2014... and in its blessed Iraq occupation of kirkuk in 2017 and in its blessed The Russians are blessed the occupation of turkey for 2018 and many more disasters and rope on the tractor...

The dependence of the Kurds on a state that occupied Kurdistan or the major countries was the end of falling into the trap of their interests... unfortunately today some of the Syrian parties depend on all the countries that occupy Kurdistan and the major countries at once. The fact that our bull was before to depend on one occupiers... but to count on all the countries that occupy Kurdistan and the major countries, this situation is called it in math science that their sign will be cube...

May God help our people who are knock and oppressed by the enemies and by his leaders who did not understand the history of the peoples that won their independence, even they did not understand the history of their people, and until the very near date they have been, they insist on repeating the mistakes that LED To defeat with great regret and with very much regret.

A thousand mercy on the souls of all the martyrs of Kurdistan... and salute to the struggle of all parts of Kurdistan and its organizations too...

In order to all raise the slogan of the unity of our forces and to rely on his brother ạlkwrdy and on the ạlkwrdy only and to disagree with him in opinion and belief because it is the only way to win the An enemy of the Kurdistan and Kurdistan even if he has tv calling for accord and Kurdistan around the clock.

Long Live Free Kurdistan
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Re: Western Kurdistan: ALL Kurds must UNITE to gain support

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:04 pm

Turkey vows to press ahead with attack on Kurdish-led forces in Syria

Turkey has signalled its intent to press ahead with an attack on US-backed Kurdish-led forces in north-east Syria despite confusion over US policy after officials appeared to backtrack on Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from the area

The vice-president, Fuat Oktay, said Turkey would execute its own plans regarding national security and would not be “controlled by threats”.

“Turkey will not accept a terror corridor or terror state right next to its borders under any circumstances, whatever the cost,” he said at a university ceremony in Ankara.

The Trump administration appeared to step back from the president’s reported promise to his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyap Erdoğan, in a phone call on Sunday that he would withdraw US troops from Syria’s north-east.

The decision appeared to clear the way for a Turkish assault on the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which the US has backed but Ankara considers an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK).

After the White House announced on Sunday that the Turkish offensive was imminent and that US forces would be moved out of the way, Trump was heavily criticised by both Democrats and Republicans, including close allies such as the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell.

The critics warned that a rushed withdrawal could open a new front in Syria’s complex war, undo gains made against Islamic State and betray a military partner that had lost 11,000 fighters in that campaign.

Syrian Kurdish officials said on Tuesday they would open talks with the Assad regime in Damascus and Russia to try to stave off the Turkish assault in the event of a full US withdrawal.

Meanwhile, there was a change in tone from Trump on Tuesday morning. He said on Twitter: “We may be in the process of leaving Syria, but in no way have we abandoned the Kurds, who are special people and wonderful fighters.”

After threatening to “obliterate” Turkey’s economy if it did anything “off-limits” in the planned offensive, Trump talked up Washington’s relationship with Turkey. “So many people conveniently forget that Turkey is a big trading partner of the United State,” he said. “Also remember, and importantly, that Turkey is an important member in good standing of NATO.”

With his rhetorical U-turns and mixed messages, Trump has been publicly coming to terms with policy dilemmas that constrained his predecessor, Barack Obama.

The US cannot afford to worsen its already poor relationship with Turkey and cannot contemplate a military clash with a NATO ally. On the other hand, there is considerable US support, particularly in the Republican party, for standing by the Kurds, who died fighting alongside the US against ISIS.

The compromise until Sunday was an effort to establish a demilitarised cordon along the Turkish-Syrian border, patrolled jointly by the Turkish and US forces. That was ultimately torpedoed by Erdoğan’s insistence that the 20-mile-deep zone should be resettled by Syrian Arab refugees, and that Turkish forces establish outposts inside the zone.

When Erdoğan told Trump of his intention to invade, Trump agreed to withdraw the US troops in the zone and to try to sell it as the fulfilment of his election promise to bring troops home and to stop America’s “endless wars”.

White House officials insisted no US troops would be withdrawn from Syria, but that between 50 and 100 special forces would be redeployed from the border zone to more secure positions in Syria.

Nicholas Danforth, a visiting fellow at the German Marshall Fund who studies US-Turkey relations, said: “Trump came through for Erdoğan in a big way. Now Erdoğan has to decide how far to press his luck before provoking a backlash from the US congress or even Trump himself.

“Trump’s unpredictability is a double-edged sword for Ankara. The problem is the territorial gains Turkey makes in Syria will be immediate and obvious. The full cost of antagonising Washington will appear more slowly.”

The Turkish military carried out strikes targeting the Syrian-Iraqi border overnight to prevent Kurdish forces from reinforcing in preparation for the offensive, two Turkish officials told Reuters on Tuesday. It was not clear what damage was caused or whether there were casualties.

In Turkey, there has been a mixed reaction to news of the planned assault. Turkey’s fragile lira dropped nine cents to 5.80 against the dollar after Trump tweeted a threat of more sanctions on Monday.

“People are wondering if the campaign is being used to cover up the economic distress and declining Justice and Development party [Erdogan’s ruling AKP] votes,” said Aslı Aydıntaşbaş, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

“The diplomatic process with the US and SDF [on the creation of a safe zone on the border] to satisfy Turkey’s security needs has been very active and progress was being made. This decision appears rushed and risky. One worries Turkey could stumble into a situation here where rather than just establish a safe zone, instead a war could escalate very quickly.”

Nationalistic sentiment is already being drummed up on online. Turkey’s national defence ministry posted several clips of heroic Turkish soldiers set to rock music and snippets of the national anthem on its social media accounts.

“We will come back war veterans or we will come back martyrs,” one post read.

Yusuf Erim, a political analyst familiar with the Turkish government’s thinking, said that with ISIS defeated as a territorial entity this year and given the appeal of sending back up to 2 million of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey – a move Ankara insists does not amount to demographic engineering – the operation’s timing made sense.

“Trump actually wanted to withdraw in December 2018, so this is not an unplanned idea,” Erim said. “Neither the US nor Turkey wants a unilateral Turkish operation that would risk a confrontation between the US and Turkish troops. This is a proposal that was on the shelf but has been dusted off and brought back. It’s not a spontaneous thing.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/ ... yria-trump
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Re: Western Kurdistan: ALL Kurds must UNITE to gain support

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:17 pm

After Trump’s go-ahead, Syria’s Kurdish population is in for the battle of a generation

There is a road in northeast Syria that runs alongside the border with Turkey, so close in parts that the imposing wall which separates the two countries casts a shadow over it.

It stretches for more than 200 miles through Turkey’s proposed “safe zone”. To travel along it is to experience the complexities of an area that may soon become a new frontline in Syria’s war.

The road leads east from Jarablus, where Turkish troops and their Syrian rebel allies are currently preparing for battle. It crosses the Euphrates River, hugging the border until it reaches Kobani, a town where Kurdish fighters faced down one of the most intensive Isis assaults of the entire war. A giant statue stands in the main square as a monument to that resistance.

It goes on to Tal Abyad, a majority Arab town before the war that was occupied by Isis for nearly a year. Further on, before the town of Ras al-Ayn, to where the US and Turkey recently started conducting joint patrols. Finally it arrives at Qamishli, a city of some 250,000 people and the heart of the Kurdish north east.

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has called this stretch of road a “terrorist corridor” and argued that a Turkish-run safe zone is necessary to bring order. But to many of those who live within it, this zone is already safe.

The Syrian conflict presented the country’s Kurdish population with something of a paradox: they were threatened with annihilation, but they also won new freedoms. For decades, the minority population had been treated as second class citizens by the Syrian government.

When the war came, they armed themselves and kicked government forces out. They faced down a series of attacks from jihadists groups, Syrian rebels and eventually Isis.

Under Turkey’s plans, all of these towns and villages along the border would be taken over by its armed forces and allied Syrian rebel groups. Ankara has justified its impending operation as a necessary measure to protect its border from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) – the largest contingent of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which allied with the US to defeat Isis.

It argues that the group is little more than a branch of an outlawed Kurdish separatist group with whom the Turkish state has been at war for decades.

The safe zone may be aimed at weakening the SDF, but civilians who have endured years of war will also be in the firing line.

Over the past few years, people in the towns and villages in the proposed safe zone have lived in relative peace. The YPG has not been without its critics in the areas it controls, and has been accused of forced recruitment into its ranks.

The cover given to it by the US military’s backing afforded people in the region the space to build the foundations of an autonomous administration. And yet the project has always been on borrowed time. Even before the battle against ISIS finished, Turkey was threatening to cross the border.

In November last year, a resident of Tal Abyad named Ahmed Taufik told me he had fled when ISIS came to his home-town and was getting ready to leave again should Turkey cross over.

“I have two cars ready to go at all times in case we have to run,” he said.

Back then, as today, Turkish forces had amassed on the other side of the border. Gunfire had been exchanged between Kurdish forces and Turkish positions.

At that time, SDF positions sat a few hundred metres away from the border. Today, many of them have now been dismantled.

A few months later I was in Qamishli, the largest Kurdish majority city Syria, where residents said they too are preparing for a Turkish incursion.

“Right now we are trying to save our money in case of an invasion,” a man named Abu Amar said, shortly after Donald Trump announced that he would be withdrawing US troops. “If the Turks come here, it will be like when ISIS controlled these areas. I will leave everything behind and go.”

    Some said they feared a repeat of what happened in the mostly Kurdish enclave of Afrin, which Turkey invaded to force out Kurdish fighters. The rebel groups it left behind to control the area have been accused of a litany of human rights abuses since.

    “In Afrin, the people suffered massacres. That’s what will happen here,” said Sardar Khalil, a 60-year-old technician. “Right now there is peace for us. But in Afrin no one is allowed to move.”
The United Nations, which currently delivers aid to 700,000 people in the densely-populated north-east region, said it had already drawn up contingency plans to reach people who might flee the fighting. On Monday, it issued a stark warning of what lies ahead.

“For us as the United Nations, the safe zone concept is one that we have a bitter history with and actually we never promote or encourage. We don’t think it is something that had worked for the United Nations, keeping in mind Srebrenica and what had happened in the past,” said Panos Moumtzis, UN regional humanitarian coordinator for the Syria crisis.

Beyond the crisis, there are fears that Turkey plans to permanently alter the demographic balance of the area. Ankara has said it plans to resettle some two million Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey to the area. Many fear a repeat of a 1970s government policy of Arabisation under president Hafez al-Assad, which saw Kurdish farmland confiscated and handed to Arabs relocated from other provinces.

Even if a deal is reached on the safe zone, the SDF faces another powerful foe in the form of the Syrian government, and its ally Russia. Damascus has made it clear that it intends to reassert its control over the entire country.

Trump’s announcement that the US would not stand in the way of a Turkish operation to attack the SDF was just the latest sign that the White House was losing interest.

And so, after years of conflict, Kurds in north-east Syria face perhaps their biggest fight yet

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/tr ... 47906.html
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Re: Western Kurdistan: ALL Kurds must UNITE to gain support

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:44 pm

Trump’s Shameful Abandonment of the Kurds

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- “Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria,” the White House announced late Sunday. U.S. forces “will no longer be in the immediate area.” The Trump administration thus granted Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tacit permission to attack Kurdish forces in Syria — forces that have been vital U.S. allies in the fight against Islamic State

This abrupt shift in policy is both ill-considered and shameful.

Evidently, for President Donald Trump, the Kurds are expendable. His determination to bring home the U.S. troops remaining in Syria outweighed any consideration of what might happen to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces once American protection is removed.

Erdogan says Kurdish militias are aligned with co-ethnic separatists in Turkey; he views them as a national threat. Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad sees the SDF as standing in the way of his reclaiming, with Russian and Iranian help, the whole of Syria. For the U.S., though, the SDF has been an indispensable ally in the fight against the Islamic State militant group — a fight that, contrary to Trump’s apparent reasoning, is not yet over.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, usually among the president’s supporters, called the decision “a disaster in the making” and predicted an Islamic State comeback. Other Republicans, as well as many Democrats and former foreign-policy officials, also deplored the move. Trump responded to the criticism in predictable fashion, betraying a suspicion of doubt in a declaration of unwavering confidence, in terms that defy parody: “If Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!).”

Critics of the new policy are right: It does not serve U.S. interests. And aside from this hard-headed calculation, the U.S. simply owes the Kurds its loyalty. Granted, the situation is fraught, because the U.S. has been allied both to Turkey, a NATO partner, and to the SDF. But the policy that Trump just abandoned — exerting pressure on Erdogan to refrain from confronting the Kurds in Syria — was both wiser and more honorable than this peremptory abandonment.

Doughty fighters, the Kurds will not easily cede ground. Having been cast aside before, they will not take the news as a total shock. Nonetheless, the Kurds now stand to be crushed between Erdogan’s hammer and Assad’s anvil. The cost of this coming conflict could dwarf Kurdish losses in the fight against Islamic State. (The SDF says 12,000 of its fighters have been killed, and 20,000 injured) A wave of refugees is to be expected. Most will head for the Kurdish regions of Iraq, adding to the burdens of a government that is already at war with its own people.

The fallout won’t end there. With the Kurds forced into a fight for their own survival, they cannot be expected to maintain pressure on what remains of Islamic State in Syria. Nor can they be asked to guard tens of thousands of imprisoned fighters and their families. The Trump administration says that Turkey will henceforth do that — a very optimistic assumption.

This lamentable decision may already be too late to reverse. If so, the very least the administration should do is work to provide the Kurds refuge. Trump should prevail on regional allies and Europe — which has also benefited from the SDF’s fight against Islamic State — to provide humanitarian support. He should urge the United Nations to establish safe zones for Kurdish refugees, ideally within Syria, but if necessary in Iraq, and press the governments in Ankara and Baghdad to allow this. And he should work with Congress to push through legislation granting Kurds asylum in the U.S.

But none of this should have been necessary. Now and then, in costly and complex conflicts, countries have no choice but to abandon their allies. This was not such a case. Trump’s rash decision will harm U.S. interests and is a discredit to the nation.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/trump-s-sha ... -1.1328373
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Re: Western Kurdistan: ALL Kurds must UNITE to gain support

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:56 pm

Ahead of offensive, Turkey
strikes Syria-Iraq border


Turkey’s military struck the Syrian-Iraqi border to prevent Kurdish forces using the route to reinforce northeast Syria, as Ankara prepared to attack there following a surprise U.S. troop pullback, Turkish officials told Reuters on Tuesday

Turkey says it is ready to advance into northeast Syria now that the United States has begun withdrawing troops from the Turkey-Syria frontier in an abrupt policy shift by U.S. President Donald Trump widely criticised in Washington as a betrayal of America’s allies, the Kurds.

The U.S. move will leave Kurdish-led forces long allied to Washington vulnerable to attack by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), which brands them terrorists because of their links to Kurdish militants who have waged a long insurgency in Turkey.

Giving details of the overnight strike, a security official said one of the main goals was to cut off a transit route between Iraq and Syria often used by Kurdish armed groups “before the operation in Syria”.

“In this way, the group’s transit to Syria and support lines, including ammunition, are shut off,” the official said.

It was unclear what damage was done or whether there were casualties. Details of the strike, a joint operation by Turkey’s intelligence service and the military, were hazy. One official described them as an air strike, while the other said the site was made “unusable through various means”.

Trump meanwhile denied he had abandoned the Kurdish forces, the most effective U.S. partners in fighting Islamic State in Syria. But he praised Turkey as a trade partner, in a softening of tone hours after threatening to “totally destroy” Turkey’s economy if it acted “off limits” in Syria.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will visit the United States on Nov. 13 at Trump’s invitation, a White House spokesman said. On Monday, Erdogan said U.S. troops had started to withdraw after a phone call he had with Trump, adding that talks between Turkish and U.S. officials on the matter would continue.

Amid deepening humanitarian concerns, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged all parties in northeast Syria to exercise maximum restraint and protect civilians.

Signalling a further potential shift in the region’s power balance, the Kurdish-led forces said they might start talks with the Syrian government and Russia to fill a security vacuum in the event of a full U.S. withdrawal.

Turkey sought to underscore its determination to act. “The TSK will never tolerate the establishment of a terror corridor on our borders. All preparations for the operation have been completed,” the Turkish Defence Ministry said.

ROCKET SYSTEMS

But a Reuters witness saw no sign of military activity near the Turkish border town of Akcakale, across from Syria’s Tel Abyad. Howitzers were placed behind earth embankments on Turkey’s side of the border, pointed towards Syria.

Some 60 km (40 miles) to the west, multiple launch rocket systems mounted on two trucks were deployed behind earth embankments near Suruc, opposite the Syrian border town of Kobani. Artillery was also stationed in the area, and soldiers wandered around a nearby military camp.

U.S. forces evacuated two observation posts at Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain on Monday, a U.S. official said

Trump’s warning on Turkey’s economy on Monday appeared aimed at placating critics who accused him of abandoning the Syrian Kurds by pulling out U.S. forces. The decision drew criticism from Democrats and a rebuke from some of his fellow Republicans in Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

His remarks, reiterated on Tuesday in slightly modified form, met an angry response in Turkey, including from opposition party politicians such as Iyi Party leader Meral Aksener.

“Threatening Turkey’s economy is a diplomatic catastrophe,” she told her party’s lawmakers in a speech in parliament. “The best response to this insolence is to go into the east of the Euphrates and break the terror corridor.”

But on Tuesday, Trump tweeted: “So many people conveniently forget that Turkey is a big trading partner of the United States ... They have been good to deal with.”

‘WONDERFUL FIGHTERS’

As for the Kurds, Trump said their “wonderful fighters” continued to receive U.S. help with finance and weapons.

The Kurdish-led forces have denounced the major U.S. policy shift as a “stab in the back”.

Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from northeast Syria has rattled allies, including France, one of Washington’s main partners in the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State.

“Saying things with constancy and coherence is preferable to reacting to obvious hesitations from certain players, notably our American friends,” French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said in parliament, alluding to differences in the U.S. administration.

Mustafa Bali of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said the Turkish military buildup on the border, together with information about further mobilisation of Turkey-backed Syrian rebels, indicated that “an attack is imminent”.

Syrian Kurdish official Badran Jia Kurd said Kurdish-led authorities in northern Syria may open talks with Damascus and Russia U.S. forces fully withdrew from the Turkish border area.

“At that time we may hold talks with Damascus or the Russian side to fill the void or block the Turkish attack,” he said.

Syria insisted it would defend itself against any Turkish assault. Damascus, however, was unable to prevent Turkey taking control of a swathe of northwestern Syria earlier in the war.

Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s strongest foreign ally, said it was not told in advance by Washington or Turkey about any agreements to pull U.S. troops from the northeast, adding it was watching the situation very closely.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Russia’s security council on Tuesday where Syria was discussed.

“Participants of the meeting have noted that, at this stage, it was important for everyone to avoid any action that could create obstacles to a peaceful settlement in Syria,” the Kremlin said on its website.Iran, another Assad ally, voiced opposition to any Turkish operation in Syria.

Germany and Britain expressed concern about Turkey’s plans for military action.

Turkey, which hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees, plans to resettle two million refugees in northern Syria. Turkey's lira TRYTOM=D3 lost 2% of its value against the dollar to hit its weakest since early September, but edged off its lows to 5.8195 on Tuesday.

    Additional reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu in Ankara, Rodi Said in Qamishli, Syria, Mert Ozkan in Akcakale, Turkey and Babak Dehghanpisheh in Geneva, Ellen Francis in Damascus, Andrey Ostroukh in Moscow; Writing by Daren Butler, Grant McCool; Editing by William Maclean and Howard Goller
https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-syria ... M?rpc=401&
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Re: Western Kurdistan: ALL Kurds must UNITE to gain support

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:43 pm

A great many media sites are showing support for Kurds and shock at Trump's move.

None of the sites have mentioned the conflict taking place between Kurds and Turks on local levels.

To say that Kurds and Turks do not exactly get along very well is somewhat of an understatement.

Kurds living in Germany often suffer attacks from Turks, sometimes as individuals and sometimes from mob attacks on the shops and businesses.

As the tension between Western Kurdistan and Turkey increases, I fully expect that tension to spill over into the Turkish and Kurdish populations leading to an increase in localised violence.
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Re: Western Kurdistan: ALL Kurds must UNITE to gain support

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:11 am

Kurds Call For Mobilization In Face Of Imminent Turkish Offensive

Kurdish leaders have called for a "general mobilization" along the border with Turkey after Ankara said it was about to launch an offensive into northern Syria following the pullout of U.S. forces from the area

The Kurdish-led civilian administration in northeastern Syria warned on October 9 of a "humanitarian catastrophe" in northern Syria if hostilities break out, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that U.S. actions in the area could "ignite the whole region."

"We call upon our people, of all ethnic groups, to move toward areas close to the border with Turkey to carry out acts of resistance during this sensitive historical time," the local authority, known as the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, said.

Reports late on October 8 said the Turkish Army had boosted its positions on the border with Syria, with dozens of military trucks, armored personnel carriers, and tanks seen heading to the town of Akcakale.

Meanwhile, Turkish officials said that the military struck the Syrian-Iraqi border to prevent Kurdish forces using the route to reinforce its units in the region.

The SDF said Turkish forces were shelling one of their positions in the border town of Ras al-Ain -- one of the places from which U.S. troops withdrew earlier this week, according to a British-based group monitoring the war.

In a column published in the Washington Post, Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan's communications director said Turkish forces, together with the rebel Free Syrian Army, will cross the Syrian border "shortly."

Fahrettin Altun wrote that Kurdish militants in the area could either "defect" or Turkey will "have no choice but to stop them from disrupting" its fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) extremist group.

Ankara says it intends to create a 30-kilometer-deep "safety zone" along its border with Syria to resettle up to 2 million of the more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees living in Turkey.

Such a zone of 18 miles deep, would mean Turkey taking control of important Kurdish sites, including the long suffering city of Kobani and probably killing a great many of it's inhabitants

About 400,000 people have been killed in Syria’s civil war, which has raged since 2011.

Turkey regards the Kurdish militias, which dominate the U.S.-allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), as "terrorists."

Kurdish forces who helped defeat ISIS fighters in the war-torn country have described the U.S. pullout from northeastern Syria as a "stab in the back."

Defending his move, U.S. President Donald Trump said the withdrawal affected "only 50 soldiers," while the Pentagon said the U.S. personnel were removed "to ensure their safety" but that they were not being sent out of Syria.

"We may be in the process of leaving Syria, but in no way have we abandoned the Kurds, who are special people and wonderful fighters," Trump said, adding: that Washington was helping Kurdish fighters "financially [and with] weapons."

Lavrov, however, took issue with the U.S. withdrawal, saying during a press conference in Kazakhstan's capital, Nur-Sultan, that the Kurds were "extremely alarmed" and that a broader conflict "must be avoided at all costs."

Describing ties between Washington and Ankara as "very good," the U.S. president said that "any unforced or unnecessary fighting by Turkey will be devastating to their economy and to their very fragile currency."

Trump also said Erdogan will visit the White House on November 13.

With reporting by the BBC, AFP and Reuters

https://www.rferl.org/a/kurds-call-for- ... 07270.html
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Re: ALL Kurds must UNITE to protect people of Western Kurdis

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:05 am

Turkish military soon to enter Syria

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish forces and Syrian rebel allies will push into Syria “shortly”, a Turkish official said on Wednesday, in an operation world powers fear could open a new chapter in Syria’s ruinous eight-year-old war

Turkish army howitzers are positioned on the Turkish-Syrian border, near the southeastern town of Akcakale in Sanliurfa province, Turkey,

Turkey has been poised to advance into northeast Syria since the U.S. troops began vacating the area in an abrupt policy shift by U.S. President Donald Trump widely criticised in Washington as a betrayal of America’s Kurdish militia allies.

On Tuesday, Turkish officials told Reuters that the military had struck the Syrian-Iraqi border to prevent Kurdish forces using the route to reinforce the region, though details of the strikes were hazy.

“Our work concerning the operation is continuing, the deployments, preparations are continuing,” Defence Minister Hulusi Akar told broadcaster NTV.

Ankara has said it intends to create a “safe zone” in order to return millions of refugees to Syrian soil, but the scheme has alarmed some Western allies as much as the risks posed by the military operation itself.

For Turkey, which views Kurdish YPG fighters in northeast Syria as terrorists because of their ties to militants waging an insurgency inside Turkey, an influx of non-Kurdish Syrians would help it secure a buffer against its main security threat.

The Kurdish-led authority in northern Syria declared a state of “general mobilization” across north and east Syria in light of the looming attack.

“We call on all our institutions, and our people in all their components, to head towards the border region with Turkey to fulfil their moral duty and show resistance in these sensitive, historic moments,” it said in a statement.

President Tayyip Erdogan’s communications director Fahrettin Altun said YPG fighters could either defect or Ankara would have to “stop them from disrupting” what he described as Turkey’s struggle against Islamic State militants.

“ARMED THUGS”

“The Turkish military, together with the Free Syrian Army, will cross the Turkish-Syrian border shortly,” Altun wrote in a tweet and in a column published in the Washington Post. “Turkey has no ambition in northeastern Syria except to neutralize a long-standing threat against Turkish citizens and to liberate the local population from the yoke of armed thugs,” he said.

Turkey’s Demiroren news agency said Syrian rebels travelled from northwest Syria to Turkey in preparation for the incursion.

They will be based in the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar, it said, across the border from the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, with 14,000 of them gradually joining the offensive.

The Hamza Brigade rebels from the National Army, the main rebel grouping that Turkey supports in northwest Syria, moved in a bus convoy along with trucks carrying ammunition, DHA said.

“The National Army forces are still preparing for the start of operations east of the Euphrates (river) and they have started moving to the frontlines,” National Army spokesman Youssef Hammoud said, adding he could not say if the battle would start within hours or days.

Previous Turkish operations backed by the rebels in Syria started with air operations, followed by artillery and then ground forces, Hammoud said.

A large convoy of buses carrying Syrian rebel fighters and trucks loaded with equipment arrived at the Turkish border town of Akcakale early on Wednesday, a Reuters witness said.

At Akcakale, across from Syria’s Tel Abyad, howitzers were deployed behind earth embankments and pointed towards Syria, a Reuters witness said on Tuesday. Multiple launch rocket systems were stationed at Suruc, some 60 km (40 miles) to the west, opposite the Syrian border town of Kobani, he said.

RUSSIA CALLS FOR DIALOGUE

Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s strongest foreign ally, urged dialogue between Damascus and Syria’s Kurds on solving issues in northeast Syria including border security.

“We heard statements yesterday both from Damascus officials and the Kurdish representatives that they are ready for such dialogue,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters during a visit to Kazakhstan.

“We will do our best to support the start of such substantive talks and hope it will be supported by all the key foreign players,” said Lavrov, adding he spoke on Tuesday to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who said the Turkish side respected Syria’s territorial integrity.

Kurdish-led forces said on Tuesday they might start talks with the Syrian government and Russia to fill a security vacuum in the event of a full U.S. troop withdrawal.

The prospect of a military offensive has unsettled Turkish financial markets, with the lira this week hitting its weakest level since late August. The currency firmed slightly to 5.8220 against the dollar on Wednesday morning.

Erdogan will visit the United States on Nov. 13 at Trump’s invitation, a White House spokesman said. On Monday, Erdogan said U.S. troops had started to withdraw after a phone call he had with Trump, adding that talks between Turkish and U.S. officials on the matter would continue.

“Unfortunately, Turkey has chosen to act unilaterally. As a result we have moved the U.S. forces in northern Syria out of the path of potential Turkish incursion to ensure their safety,” U.S. Defense Department spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said.

Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from northeast Syria has rattled allies, including France, one of Washington’s main partners in the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State.

Amid deepening humanitarian concerns, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged all parties in northeast Syria to exercise maximum restraint and protect civilians.

Kurdish-led forces have denounced the U.S. policy shift as a “stab in the back”. But Trump denied he had abandoned the Kurdish forces, the most effective U.S. partners in fighting Islamic State in Syria.

Additional reporting by Dominic Evans in Istanbul, Tom Perry in Beirut, Tuvan Gumrukcu in Ankara, Mert Ozkan in Akcakale, Maria Kiselyova in Moscow; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore, William Maclean

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-syri ... 9&&rpc=401
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