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Re: ALL Kurds must UNITE to protect people of Western Kurdis

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:37 pm

Recipe for disaster
No control over ISIS prisoners


Thousands of Islamic State prisoners are poised to escape their Kurdish captors while Turkey assaults northern Syria

The Syrian Democratic Forces hold about 11,000 ISIS prisoners spread across more than 30 detention centers, many located close to the Turkish border and in the assault path. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan launched "Operation Peace Spring" on Wednesday, reporting the news himself on Twitter.

The White House pulled United States forces from northeast Syria on Sunday, saying Turkey would be responsible "for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years."

“I said I want them to go back to Germany. To France. To the different European countries from where they came,” Trump said. “And I said to the European countries, I said to all of them, take the people back. And they said, ‘No, no, no, we don’t want them back.’ I said they came from Germany. They came from France. Take them back.”

“So I told President Erdoğan it’s gonna be your responsibility,” Trump said. “So who is responsible? It’s really Russia. It’s Turkey. It’s Iran. It’s Iraq. And it’s Syria.”

But no agreement seems to be in place for a prisoner transfer between Turkey and the YPG. Turkey considers the YPG an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' party, or PKK, a separatist movement that battled the Turkish government for decades. An expected clash between the YPG and Turkey would create an opportunity for ISIS, observers said.

“I think it’s nearly impossible for an orderly transfer of these ISIS detention facilities from the SDF to Turkey,” Aykan Erdemir, a former Turkish lawmaker told the Washington Examiner. “Some of these detention centers are deep south, so it wouldn’t be possible for Turkish forces to reach there. Second, the more the fighting between SDF and Turkish troops and proxies intensifies, the less these detention facilities will be a priority for either of the actors involved.”

Some SDF forces already have abandoned the detention centers, creating a “recipe for disaster,” said Erdomir, a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Recruiters for ISIS have targeted the detention centers, bribing guards to release prisoners, who frequently have rioted. The prison camps are temporary, "pop up" facilities — from which captives have tried to escape.

“We’ve seen a number of attempted jailbreaks,” State Department official Nathan Sales said in August. “The risk that they could get out is not trivial.”

Analysts with the Institute for the Study of War believe ISIS may have a larger plan to free detainees.

“Local ISIS fighters with knowledge of the area could rejoin and be effective in ramping up the current insurgency in Eastern Syria,” John Dunford, an analyst with the Institute for the Study of War, told the Washington Examiner.

The sprawling al-Hawl refugee camp, holding 70,000 ISIS family members and supporters, also poses a serious risk. James Jeffrey, the State Department's special envoy to the coalition to defeat ISIS, estimated 10,000 in the camp are foreigners with connections to the 2,000 foreign ISIS prisoners in Syria

A Pentagon inspector general report in August warned ISIS is “likely working to enlist new members from the camp’s large population” and that “minimal security” at the camp “created conditions for ISIS’s ideology to spread uncontested.” As referenced in the report, United States Central Command urged moving ISIS family members to Syrian “guarantors” or Iraqi custody if the refugees are Syrian or Iraqi natives, and told countries to take foreign citizens back, calling this “critical to reducing ISIS’s recruiting pool.”

Remnants of ISIS's physical caliphate returned to insurgent roots following their defeat this year. These cells sporadically attacked adversaries, extorted local communities, and burned crops.

But the threat posed by the prisoners could spread beyond the Middle East.

“Foreign ISIS detainees may return to their home countries, including in Europe," Dunford said. "Those returnees would pose a real terror threat at home and would be an immediate U.S. national security problem.”

A State Department representative told the Washington Examiner in August that two adult female ISIS members and 13 children were repatriated to the U.S., and said that the department is aware of a "very small number of detainees" claiming U.S. citizenship and was handling those claims. When asked for an update this week, the State Department referred the Washington Examiner “to the White House and the President’s tweets.”

The Justice Department told the Washington Examiner it repatriated eight ISIS members and charged six.

“When supported by the facts and the law, the Department of Justice will pursue criminal charges against such individuals,” DOJ spokesman Marc Raimondi said. “The United States believes that every country should take responsibility for its citizens who have tried or succeeded in joining ISIS."

Western European and other nations refused to bring ISIS fighters home to stand trial — a strategy that could benefit ISIS. The decision to let ISIS-joining citizens avoid justice left approximately 800 Europeans among the 2,000 foreign ISIS fighters from 50 countries in limbo in the Syrian camps.

Although Trump has repeatedly urged countries to take back homegrown militants to "put them on trial," few have complied. As of August, only seven countries — the U.S., Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Morocco, and North Macedonia — announced they would bring back fighters to face charges. France complained about death sentences in Iraq against a dozen French ISIS members, and the United Kingdom stripped citizenship from fighters. Outside Europe, the rest are mainly from former Soviet republics, the Middle East and North Africa, and South and Southeast Asia.

In 2018, the London-based International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation reported that 41,490 fighters from 80 countries traveled to Iraq and Syria to join ISIS.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news ... ades-syria
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Re: ALL Kurds must UNITE to protect people of Western Kurdis

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Re: SADLY Turkey started attack on Western Kurdistan Syria

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:52 pm

Germany caught between
Turks and Kurds in Syria


Germany's large Kurdish and Turkish communities are a major factor in its unique geopolitical role in the Syria conflict. Kurdish leaders in Germany say Berlin needs to up the pressure on Ankara to stop all-out war

The Turkish military action in the Kurdish regions of northern Syria has exposed the German government's awkward tightrope-walk in its policy in the region.

Germany is part of a United Nations alliance that provides humanitarian relief in the Kurdish area of northern Syria, where it sent some €50 million ($55 million) in 2017, while the German military helps to train Kurdish Peshmerga fighters as part of its mission in northern Iraq.

At the same time, the German air force helps the Turkish military by flying reconnaissance missions in the area for NATO, of which Turkey is also a member.

At a regular government press conference on Wednesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Christofer Burger aired the government's official position one more time: "We have repeatedly called on the Turkish government to refrain from a military intervention in northeastern Syria, because we fear that such an intervention could threaten to destabilize the region further," he said. Not least, Burger warned, Turkey's action could lead to a new refugee problem there.

Destabilization at home and abroad

That fear was just one among many dangers raised by several observers this week, including worries about the estimated 12,000 Islamic State fighters in Kurdish prisons in the region (around 100 are thought to be from Germany). Should they escape, the terrorist militia that had been thought defeated could be reinvigorated.

And then there are worries about unrest in Germany, which is home to upwards of two million people of Kurdish and/or Turkish heritage. Hundreds of Germany's Kurdish community already took to the streets of Berlin on Tuesday in protest, and further demos are planned this week, where banners showing the banned organizations like the PKK are likely to be shown.

Mehmet Tanriverdi, deputy chairman for the largest Kurdish Community organization in Germany, the KGD, also warned of Ankara's plans for "ethnic cleansing" in the Kurdish region, as well as the forcible alteration of the demographics by resettling Arab migrants from Syria there.

In the face of all these dangers at home and abroad, Tanriverdi thinks Germany's verbal condemnations and concerns don't really hold much weight.

"Germany must act," he told DW. "The government cannot just put its hands in its lap, as it has till now, and say: the killing in the Syrian civil war has nothing to do with us."

Sending stronger signals

Chancellor Angela Merkel has many ways to put real pressure on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Tanriverdi added.

"This war can be prevented," he said. "If you say to him: 'Mr. Erdogan, we will raise questions about Turkey's membership in NATO,' then he would think twice about taking another step."

Tanriverdi had a few more ideas about how Germany could send "stronger signals" to Ankara. "Germany could for example ban all arms exports to Turkey," he said. "That wouldn't be difficult. Or they could say: 'we will suspend the refugee deal with Turkey, then we wouldn't need to pump more billions into Turkey'."

Another possibility could be economic sanctions: two weeks ago, German carmaker Volkswagen announced that it would build a new electric car factory in western Turkey — a deal which the regional government of Lower Saxony is directly involved in. "They could have an influence and say: we're not building that factory," he said.

As it stands though, the German government is maintaining its line: offering limited military support to both sides while criticizing Turkey and banning the Kurdish political organization, the PKK, at home.

https://www.dw.com/en/germany-caught-be ... a-50762273
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Re: SADLY Turkey started attack on Western Kurdistan Syria

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:13 am

Turkish forces seize
targets in northeast Syria


Turkey said its forces seized designated targets on the second day of an offensive against a Kurdish militia in Syria, after a withdrawal by U.S. forces opened up a dangerous new phase in the region’s eight-year-old conflict.

Senior members of U.S. President Donald Trump’s own Republican Party condemned him for making way for the incursion and abandoning Syrian Kurds, who have been loyal allies of Washington in the fight against Islamic State in Syria.

NATO-ally Turkey has said it intends to create a “safe zone” for the return of millions of refugees to Syria. But world powers fear Turkey’s action could deepen the conflict, and runs the risk of Islamic State prisoners escaping from camps amid the chaos.

The Kurdish-led authority in northern Syria said a prison struck by Turkish shelling holds “the most dangerous criminals from more than 60 nationalities” and Turkey’s attacks on its prisons risked “a catastrophe”.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) holds thousands of Islamic State fighters and tens of thousands of their relatives in detention

Turkey said its offensive was making gains.

“Our heroic commandos taking part in Operation Peace Spring are continuing to advance east of the Euphrates (river),” the Defence Ministry wrote on Twitter. “The designated targets were seized,” it said in a later statement.

CNN Turk broadcast video showing a crane overnight removing a concrete block from the border wall and commandos moving in single-file alongside the barrier.

In the Turkish border town of Akcakale, around 30 vehicles carrying Syrian rebels, many pick-up trucks mounted with anti-aircraft machines drove along the main along the Turkish side of the border from Syria’s Tel Abyad, a Reuters journalist said.

VOLLEYS OF ROCKETS

They were accompanied by some 10 Turkish military armored vehicles. It was not clear where they were heading. Earlier, a witness in Akcakale said volleys of rockets were fired from there across the border.

Turkish forces shelled targets near Ral al Ain on Thursday morning, and SDF fighters responded, a witness said.

The Turkish military has hit 181 targets of the Kurdish militia with its air force and artillery since the start of operation into northeast Syria, the ministry said.

    One of the prisons where Islamic State detainees are held was hit by a Turkish air strike, the SDF said on Twitter
The U.S. military has taken custody of two high-profile ISIS militants previously held in Syria by the SDF and moved them out of the country to a secure location, a U.S. official said.

A second U.S. official said they belonged to a group of British fighters nicknamed “The Beatles,” who have been tied to the murder of Western hostages.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s communications director, in an article published hours before the offensive started, said Trump had agreed to transfer leadership of the international campaign against Islamic State to Turkey.

Fahrettin Altun said Turkey had helped Syrian rebels holding ISIS captives earlier in Syria’s war, adding it was in Turkey’s interest “to preserve what the United States has accomplished”.

Akcakale was quiet for much of the morning after sporadic gunfire and the sound of tank movement were heard in the early hours, Reuters journalists said. Explosions had rocked Tel Abyad earlier in the night, they said.

Turkey regards the Kurdish militia as a terrorist group because of its links to Kurdish PKK militants waging a decades-old insurgency in southeast Turkey.

Troops entered Syria at four points, two of them close to Tel Abyad and two close to Ras al Ain further east, according to Turkish media reports. Air strikes killed at least five civilians and three SDF fighters, while dozens of civilians were wounded, the SDF said. Thousands of people fled Ras al Ain towards Hasaka province, held by the SDF.

SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali said the group’s fighters had repelled a ground attack by Turkish troops in Tel Abyad.

SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING

President Trump called the Turkish assault a “bad idea” and said he did not endorse it. He said he expected Turkey to protect civilians and religious minorities and prevent a humanitarian crisis - as Turkey has said it would.

The United Nations Security Council will meet on Thursday to discuss Syria at the request of the five European members, Britain, France, Germany, Belgium and Poland.

In a letter to the 15-member Council seen by Reuters, Turkey said that its military operation would be “proportionate, measured and responsible.”

The 22-member Arab League said it will hold an emergency meeting on Saturday.

On Wednesday Trump defended U.S. policy towards Kurds, saying it had sent them “tremendous amounts” in arms and funds.

“The Kurds are fighting for their land...As somebody wrote in a very powerful article today, they didn’t help us in the Second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy as an example... But they were there to help us with their land, and that’s a different thing,” Trump said.

“With all of that being said we like the Kurds.”

But one of Trump’s closest fellow Republican allies, Senator Lindsey Graham, said failing to support the Kurds would be “the biggest mistake of his presidency”.

The Syrian Kurdish group was for years one of Washington’s main allies in Syria and the incursion was potentially one of the biggest shifts in years in the Syrian war that has drawn in global and regional powers.

The Kurds played a leading role in taking territory from ISIS, and now hold the largest swathe of Syria outside of the hands of President Bashar al-Assad.

Additional reporting by Orhan Coskun in Ankara; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore, William Maclean

Link to Article - Photos:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-syri ... SKBN1WP0VH
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Re: SADLY Turkey started attack on Western Kurdistan Syria

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:32 am

We must remember that ISIS spread so rapidly throughout Syria, due to the support of local Arabs

Amid Turkish operation
NE Syrian tribes fight YPG


Local tribes in Ras al-Ayn, northeastern Syria clashed Thursday with YPG occupying the area, the same group targeted by Turkey’s newly launched anti-terror operation in the region.

In the village of Ummul Hayr – located opposite Ceylanpinar in Turkey’s border province of Sanliurfa – the tribes, including the Baggara, revolted against the YPG.

The tribes contacted Turkish security officials and asked for their support.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring – launched Wednesday east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria to secure its borders by eliminating terrorist elements and to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees and Syria’s territorial integrity – is ongoing in the region.

The Supreme Assembly for Syrian Tribes and Clans also voiced support for the operation at a meeting on Wednesday

“We find Turkey’s role in providing peace and stability, the fight against terrorism very valuable and important. We voice full support for Turkey’s military operation east of the Euphrates,” said Salim Abdulaziz Muslat, the assembly’s political representative.

Turkey has said the terrorist group PKK and its extension the YPG/PYD constitute the gravest threat to Syria’s future, jeopardizing the country’s territorial integrity and unitary structure.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/am ... k/1608534#
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Re: SADLY Turkey started attack on Western Kurdistan Syria

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:41 am

Airstrikes, shelling as Turkey
advances against Kurds


Turkish military advance against fighters in northern Syria, launching airstrikes and unleashing artillery shelling on Syrian towns, according to Turkey's defense ministry

There were heavy clashes Thursday in Syrian border villages between advancing Turkish forces and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) soldiers, in the second day of Turkish offensive in northern Syria.

According to an SDF spokesperson, the attacks are in the Ras al-Ain area. Our forces "confronted a field incursion attempt by the Turkish occupation army on the axis of Tal Halaf and Aluk," the SDF said in a statement.

Civilians are fleeing the border area in northern Syria after Turkey began the offensive on Wednesday

"Fierce clashes are continuing in the villages that [Turkish forces] are trying to enter," said Marvan Qamishlo, an SDF media official.

Kurdish-led authorities said Turkey shelled part of a prison in Syria's Qamishli, where a large number of Islamic State militants were held

Turkey said its offensive was advancing as planned. In a tweet on Thursday morning the Turkish Ministry of National Defence stated it was targetting shelters, positions, weapons, tools and equipment in addition to what it called "PKK / PYD-YPG and DAESH terrorist."

"Our heroic commandos taking part in Operation Peace Spring are continuing to advance east of the Euphrates," the Defense Ministry wrote on Twitter. "The designated targets were seized," it said in a later statement.

The Turkish MoD also released footage of Turkish forces advancing through the night and firing.

On Wednesday, Turkey previously bombarded targets in Kurdish-controlled areas to prepare for a Turkish ground offensive.

According to reports, Turkish forces attempted a ground assault on the border town of Tal Abyad on Wednesday but the SDF stated they defended successfully against the attack.

International governments condemn Turkish offensive

International governments have spoken out against the offensive which began on Wednesday after the US withdrew its troops from the region, where they had been working with the Kurdish to combat ISIS.

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Thursday that the offensive was "unacceptable" and called for an immediate end to the fighting.

Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne said Turkey's actions would "aggravate" the already complex crisis in Syria.

According to RIA Russian news agency, Russia plans to push for dialogue between the Syrian and Turkish governments

Link to Article - Photos:

https://www.dw.com/en/airstrikes-shelli ... a-50768374
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Re: SADLY Turkey started attack on Western Kurdistan Syria

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:52 am

What Erdogan tells the ignorant Turkish population through HIS newspapers

Europe and U.S. positive on Turkish Syria offensive

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters during his return flight from Serbia on Wednesday that Turkey’s new military operation in northeast Syria enjoys support from Washington and Europe despite statements condemning the offensive, Turkish newspaper Hürriyet reported.

Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Wednesday, days after U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to pull American troops back from the border to make way for a Turkish advance.

The operation’s launch brought widespread protest among U.S. and European lawmakers, who see Trump’s move as a betrayal of the Kurdish forces that helped defeat the Islamic State (ISIS).

The European Union called on Turkey to halt its offensive on Wednesday, saying unilateral military action would undermine stability in the region.

But Erdoğan told reporters that the general view of the operation among EU countries was positive.

“Even beyond that, Britain is saying it wants to help. There have been similar comments from France,” Sabah reporter Şebnem Bursalı quoted Erdoğan as saying.


While Britain is one of Turkey’s closest European partners, France’s support of the SDF has frequently raised tensions between the countries.

On Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron met SDF spokeswoman Jihane Ahmed to express solidarity with the group’s fight against ISIS. The meeting was an opportunity for Macron to reiterate France’s deep concerns with the prospect of a Turkish attack.

Hours after the operation was launched, U.S. senators Lindsey Graham and Chris Van Hollen announced a draft bill that would see tough sanctions imposed on Erdoğan and top members of his cabinet.

There has been widespread concern raised among U.S. and EU lawmakers that the Turkish offensive will lead to heavy civilian casualties and could bring illegal demographic re-engineering as Erdoğan wishes to use the region to resettle Syrian refugees.

Trump later told reporters that he agreed with sanctions if Erdoğan pursued an “inhumane” military operation and that he would support “much tougher” action if he believed the Turkish President was acting unfairly.

Erdoğan was unconcerned with the threat, telling reporters that he believed Trump’s statements were made in response to domestic pressure.

The Turkish president hinted at Graham’s proposed sanctions, calling the senator “dishonest” and saying he had acted duplicitously by taking a stand against the operation after accepting Turkey’s rationale for opposing the SDF during visits to Turkey.

Turkey views the SDF as a terrorist organisation due to its links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which has fought the Turkish state for Kurdish autonomy since launching an armed uprising in 1984.

Conveniently ignoring the fact that Kurds had been trying to gain their independence for 100 prior to the formation of the PKK

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during an interview on Wednesday that while Washington had not given the operation the green light, Turkey had “a legitimate security concern” and a “terrorist threat to their south.”

https://ahvalnews.com/turkey-syria/euro ... ve-erdogan
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Re: SADLY Turkey started attack on Western Kurdistan Syria

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Oct 10, 2019 1:46 pm

Turkey Seizes One Village
During Day 2 of Invasion


Turkish ground forces seized at least one village from Kurdish fighters in northern Syria as they pressed ahead with their assault for a second day Thursday, pounding towns and villages along with border with airstrikes and artillery

Residents of border areas within Syria scrambled in panic as they tried to get out on foot and in cars, pick-up trucks and motorcycle rickshaws piled with mattresses and belongings. More than a dozen columns of heavy black smoke, apparently from fires caused by shelling, rose above one border town.

It was wrenchingly familiar for the many who only a few years ago, had fled the advances on their towns and villages by the Islamic State group

The Turkish invasion was launched three days after U.S. President Donald Trump opened the way by pulling American troops from their positions near the border alongside their Kurdish allies. At a time when Trump faces an impeachment inquiry, the move drew swift criticism from Republicans and Democrats in Congress, along with many national defense experts, who say the move has placed U.S. credibility as well as the Kurds and regional stability at great risk. The Syrian Kurdish militia was the U.S.’s only ally on the ground in the years-long campaign that brought down the Islamic State group in Syria.

After ordering the pull-back, Trump warned Turkey to be moderate in its assault into northern Syria. But the opening barrage showed little sign of holding back: The Turkish Defense Military said its jets and artillery had struck 181 targets so far.

A Kurdish-led group and Syrian activists claimed Thursday that despite the bombardment, Turkish troops had not made much progress on several fronts they had opened over the past hours. But their claims could not be independently verified, and the situation on the ground was difficult to assess.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that so far 109 “terrorists” were killed in the offensive, a reference to the U.S.-allied Syrian Kurdish fighters who for the past years were the main force fighting the Islamic State group in Syria.

He did not elaborate, and the reports on the ground did not indicate anything remotely close to such a large number of casualties.

Erdogan also warned the European Union not to call Ankara’s incursion into Syria an “invasion,” and threatened, as he has in the past, to “open the gates” and let Syrian refugees flood Europe.

Meanwhile, the Kurdish forces on Thursday halted all operations against ISIS in order to focus on fighting Turkish troops, Kurdish and U.S. officials said.

The Syrian Kurdish fighters along with U.S. troops have been involved in mopping-up operations against ISIS fighters still holed up in the desert after their territorial hold was toppled earlier this year.

Turkey considers the Kurdish militia “terrorists” because of their links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has led an insurgency against Turkey for 35 years, killing tens of thousands. The U.S. and other Western countries consider the PKK a terror group as well.

Turkey considers its operations against the Kurdish militia in Syria a matter of its own survival, and it also insists it won’t tolerate the virtual self-rule that the Kurds succeeded in carving out in northern Syria along the border.

The Turkish assault aims to carve out a zone of control the length of the border — a so-called “safe zone” — clearing out the Kurdish militia. Such a zone would end the Kurds’ autonomy in the area and put much of their population under Turkish control. Ankara has said it aims to settle some 2 million Syrian refugees, who are mainly Arabs, in the zone.

Turkey began its offensive in northern Syria on Wednesday with airstrikes and artillery shelling, and then ground troops began crossing the border later in the day.

The Observatory, a war monitor that has activists throughout the country, said that since Turkey began its operation, seven civilians have been killed

Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, said their fighters have repelled Turkish forces ground attacks.

“No advance as of now,” he tweeted Thursday.

But Maj. Youssef Hammoud, a spokesman for Turkish-backed opposition fighters participating in the operation, said the fighters captured the village of Yabisa, near the one of the main initial targets of the assault, the town of Tal Abyad, a spokesman for the fighters. In a tweet, he called it “the first village to win freedom.”

Turkey’s state-run news agency said the allied Syrian fighters had also cleared and entered a second village, Tel Fander. It did not provide details. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Turkish commandos entered the village of Beir Asheq.

Trump’s decision to have American troops step aside in northeastern Syria was a major shift in U.S. policy and drew opposition from all sides at home. It also marked a stark change in rhetoric by Trump, who during a press conference in New York last year vowed to stand by the Kurds, who have been America’s only allies in Syria fighting IS.

Trump said at the time that the Kurds “fought with us” and “died with us,” and insisted that America would never forget.

After Erdogan announced the offensive, Trump called the operation “a bad idea.” Later Wednesday, he said he didn’t want to be involved in “endless, senseless wars.”

Turkey’s campaign — in which a NATO member rained down bombs on an area where hundreds of U.S. troops had been stationed — drew immediate criticism and calls for restraint from Europe.

Australia on Thursday expressed concerns the Turkish incursion could galvanize a resurgence of the Islamic State group and refused to endorse the close ally U.S. for pulling back its troops from the area. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had been in contact with the Turkish and U.S. governments overnight and admitted to being worried about the situation.

In Washington, officials said Wednesday that two British militants believed to be part of an Islamic State cell that beheaded hostages had been moved out of a detention center in Syria and were in U.S. custody.

The two, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Amon Kotey, along with other British jihadis allegedly made up the IS cell nicknamed “The Beatles” by surviving captives because of their English accents. In 2014 and 2015, the militants held more than 20 Western hostages in Syria and tortured many of them.

The group beheaded seven American, British and Japanese journalists and aid workers and a group of Syrian soldiers, boasting of the butchery in videos released to the world.

https://time.com/5697186/turkey-syria-invasion/
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Re: SADLY Turkey started attack on Western Kurdistan Syria

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:54 pm

What Trump’s Withdrawal From
Syria Means For The Kurds


There are three basic reasons why, on Sunday night, the Trump administration announced that US armed forces are abandoning the Kurds of northeast Syria. The reasons reflect brutal logic. That doesn’t make the outcome any more attractive or palatable

First, President Trump is consistent, albeit with frequent zigzags, about keeping American forces out of conflicts in the Middle East. He wants US troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan. He has inelegantly backed out of defending American interests and allies like Saudi Arabia against a belligerent Iran. Monday morning, in explaining the Syria withdrawal, he called these Middle East conflict zones “Endless Wars, many of them tribal”, adding in caps, “WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN.”

    ….almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home. WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN. Turkey, Europe, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia and the Kurds will now have to…..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019
To be sure, the Middle East is an ugly place, riven in recent years by widespread revolution and currently — in Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt — by mass riots and demonstrations. Yes, the wars are endless and yes, they are frequently tribal. Yet Trump’s approach to the region will eventually cost Washington dearly. But that is a different story to be told another time.

The second reason for the withdrawal is Trump’s understanding of “benefit” when it comes to Turkey and the Kurds: to get out of Turkey’s way in Syria. Turkey is essentially 80 million people strategically located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and the Middle East. What’s more, it is in a more or less permanent state of war with its own Kurdish minority and its closely related Syrian brethren. Turkey is threatening to dump millions more Syrian and other refugees on Europe, and it is ruled by the kind of guy Trump likes to deal with: President Recip Tayip Erdogan. Lately, an increasingly non-democratic and anti-American Turkey is buying weapons from its Russian neighbor and cozying up to its Iranian neighbor, signaling to Washington that it had better improve its attitude.

And the Kurds? There are 30 million of them, divided among four countries and two languages, with barely two million of them in Syria, which brings us to our third point: From Trump’s standpoint the Syrian Kurds are no longer useful, and he has zero sentimentality to spare for a brave and beleaguered Middle Eastern nation that is fighting for its survival. Once the Syrian Kurds, working in close alliance with the US, had defeated ISIS in Syria, they no longer brought Washington “benefit”.

Trump “gave” Syria to Erdogan in an earlier phone call many months ago. Today the Syrian Kurds may have a right to feel betrayed, but they should not be surprised.

The game of abandoning the Kurds has been going on for a long time. It started when the League of Nations awarded the Kurds their own state in the 1920 Treaty of Sevres. Nothing came of that noble gesture, not least due to persistent Kurdish disunity and regional and great power machinations. Until Sunday, the abandonment game had culminated in the refusal of all countries but Israel to support a September 2017 Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum which ended in a disastrous setback at the hands of Iraq’s Arab government.

Now Trump has written a new chapter.

At the end of the day, there are two basic lessons here for Israel and its supporters. For anyone who has entertained doubts about the need for a state for the Jewish people, the Kurds represent a tragic reminder. They are consistently being abandoned to an ugly fate because they don’t have a country.

The other lesson is that Israel cannot and must not depend on Trump. The cries of alarm in Israel in recent days about a looming security threat do not only reflect lessons drawn from Iran’s (or one of its proxy’s) spectacular attack on Saudi Arabia’s energy infrastructure. The alarms also reflect concern over the precedent set by Trump’s refusal to get involved militarily after Washington’s Saudi ally was the victim of naked aggression from Iran.

From that standpoint, America abandoning the Syrian Kurds is just icing on the cake of Trump’s Middle East non-strategy.

https://forward.com/opinion/432783/what ... or-israel/
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Re: SADLY Turkey started attack on Western Kurdistan Syria

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:59 pm

Thousands flee
dozens reported killed


Turkey pounded Kurdish militia in northeast Syria for a second day on Thursday, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee and killing dozens, in a cross-border assault on U.S. allies that has turned the Washington establishment against Donald Trump

The Turkish offensive against the U.S.-allied Syrian Democratic Forces, launched days after Trump pulled U.S. troops out of the way, opens one of the biggest new fronts in years in an eight-year-old civil war that has drawn in global powers.

At least 23 fighters with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and six fighters with a Turkish-backed Syrian rebel group had been killed, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors Syria’s eight-year-old war.

The SDF said Turkish air strikes and shelling had also killed nine civilians. In an apparent attempt by Kurdish-led forces to retaliate, mortar fire from Syria killed three people including a child in the Turkish border town of Akcakale, hospital and security sources said.

The International Rescue Committee said 64,000 people in Syria have fled since the campaign began, the Observatory said. The towns of Ras al-Ain and Darbasiya, some 60 km (37 miles) to the east, have been largely deserted as a result of the attack.

The Observatory said Turkish forces had seized two villages near Ras al-Ain and five near the town of Tel Abyad.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told members of his AK Party in Ankara that 109 militants had been killed so far. Kurds said they were resisting the assault.

According to a senior Turkish security official, the armed forces struck weapons and ammunition depots, gun and sniper positions, tunnels and military bases.

Jets flew operations up to 30 km (18 miles) into Syria. A Reuters journalist saw shells exploding just outside Tel Abyad.

“The operation is currently continuing with the involvement of all our units,” Erdogan said in a speech.

Trump, who has faced rare criticism from senior figures in his own Republican Party who accuse him of deserting loyal U.S. allies, said on Twitter he was talking to “both sides”. He warned Ankara it would be hit hard financially if it did not “play by the rules”.

The SDF have been the main allies of U.S. forces on the ground in the battle against Islamic State since 2014. They have been holding thousands of captured IS fighters and tens of thousands of their relatives in detention.

“SAFE ZONE”

NATO member Turkey has said it intends to create a “safe zone” for the return of millions of refugees to Syria.

But world powers fear the operation could intensify Syria’s eight-year-old conflict, and runs the risk of Islamic State prisoners escaping from camps amid the chaos.

Erdogan sought to assuage those concerns, saying that militants from the jihadist group would not be allowed to rebuild a presence in the region.

Erdogan took aim at the European Union and Arab powers Saudi Arabia and Egypt which have voiced opposition to the operation.

“They are not honest, they just make up words,” Erdogan said in a combative speech. “We, however, take action and that is the difference between us.”

He threatened to permit Syrian refugees in Turkey to move to Europe if EU countries described his forces’ move as an occupation. Turkey is hosting around 3.6 million people who have fled the conflict in Syria.

Ankara brands the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia as terrorists because of their ties to militants who have waged an insurgency in Turkey. But many members of Congress, and U.S. officials, credit the Kurds with fighting alongside American troops to defeat Islamic State militants.

“BAD IDEA”

The Kurdish-led authority in northern Syria said a prison that holds “the most dangerous criminals from more than 60 nationalities” had been struck by Turkish shelling, and Turkey’s attacks on its prisons risked “a catastrophe”.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey will be responsible only for Islamic State prisoners located within the safe zone it aims to form. Turkey would ask countries from which the prisoners came to take them back.

Trump has called the Turkish assault a “bad idea” and said he did not endorse it. He said he expected Turkey to protect civilians and religious minorities and prevent a humanitarian crisis.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, usually a vocal Trump ally, has been one of the most outspoken critics of his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria. He unveiled a framework for sanctions on Turkey with Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen.

Their proposed sanctions would target the assets of senior officials including Erdogan, mandate sanctions over Turkey’s purchase of a Russian S-400 missile defence system and impose visa restrictions.

They also would sanction anyone who conducted military transactions with Turkey or supported energy production for use by its armed forces, apart from U.S. military assistance. The measure would require a report on Erdogan’s net worth and assets.

The United Nations Security Council was due to meet on Thursday to discuss Syria at the request of the five European members: Britain, France, Germany, Belgium and Poland.

In a letter to the 15-member Council seen by Reuters, Turkey said its military operation would be “proportionate, measured and responsible”.

The 22-member Arab League said it would hold an emergency meeting on Saturday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned Turkey’s military incursion and cautioned about the possibility of ethnic cleansing. “Israel is prepared to extend humanitarian assistance to the gallant Kurdish people,” he wrote on Twitter.

Russia said it planned to push for dialogue between the Syrian and Turkish governments following the incursion.

Additional reporting by Tom Perry and Ellen Francis in Beirut and Reuters correspondents in the region; Writing by William Maclean; Editing by Cameron-Moore and Mike Collett-White

Link to Article - Photos:

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-syria ... 8?rpc=401&
Last edited by Anthea on Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SADLY Turkey started attack on Western Kurdistan Syria

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:22 pm

Turkey’s Invasion of Syria
Made in the U.S.A.


After essentially giving a green light to Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria to attack the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) forces, President Trump took a slight turn when he declared that there would be severe economic consequences for Turkey if the intervention was not carried out in a “humane” fashion. If the president were to take action to try to stem a military incursion that he helped facilitate, he could start by cutting off support for Turkey’s military, which is heavily dependent on U.S. supplied equipment.

Decades of U.S. assistance and sales have helped create a Turkish military that relies heavily on U.S.-made weaponry. Some key examples, drawn from the most recent edition of the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Military Balance, are below.

The Turkish Air Force’s stock of combat aircraft is composed entirely of U.S.-supplied fighter and fighter/ground attack (FGA) planes. Of 333 combat aircraft possessed by Turkey, 53 are older generation F-5 fighter planes, and 280 are fighter/ground attack planes that are all variants of the F-16, which is co-produced in Turkey. Turkey also has 31 U.S.-origin C-130 transport aircraft

The United States has supplied the majority of Turkey’s more than 2,400 Main Battle Tanks, including over 900 variants of the M-1 and 850 older generation M-48s, which were purchased in the 1960s and 1970s and modernized in the mid-1980s. In addition, over two-thirds of Turkey’s more than 3,600 armored personnel carriers are U.S.-made M-113s.

U.S. arms sales are often justified on the grounds that they create “interoperability” with key allies so they can fight alongside the U.S. in a crisis. It is less often noted that arms sales also pose substantial risks that U.S.-supplied weapons may be used to abuse human rights, attack civilians, or otherwise act in a fashion contrary to U.S. interests. The most egregious recent example of this phenomenon has been Saudi Arabia’s use of U.S. arms to bomb civilians in Yemen and spark the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Turkey’s invasion of Syria is another example of U.S. arms being misused. The Turkish action should be a cautionary tale for Congress as it grapples with how best to monitor and control U.S. arms transfers.

Congress has already taken a large step forward in recent years in its attempts to cut off U.S. arms and military assistance to the brutal Saudi-led war in Yemen, from using the War Powers Resolution to voting down specific arms sales. Unfortunately, these unprecedented efforts have been vetoed by President Trump, in part under the false assumption that arms sales to Saudi Arabia are a major boon to the U.S. economy.

President Trump’s lack of knowledge of how arms sales work was on display once again on when he cited Turkey’s role in producing components for the U.S. F-35 combat aircraft as a reason to maintain the alliance in the face of Turkey’s unacceptable and potentially devastating intervention in Syria. In fact, the United States has suspended Turkey’s involvement in the F-35 program in a dispute over Ankara’s decision to buy Russian S-400 air defense systems. Either someone forgot to tell the president, or he was just engaged in the sort of fact-free riffing that has become one of his hallmarks.

To add insult to injury, it ends up U.S. weapons are being used on both sides of the current battle in Syria. A fact sheet produced by the Center for International Policy’s Security Assistance Monitor has pointed out that the vetted Syrian opposition – including Syrian Kurdish forces – have received roughly $2 billion in U.S. “train and equip” assistance, including a $300 million request in Fiscal Year 2019. But it’s not a fair fight. The Kurdish forces have received mostly rifles, ammunition, and rocket launchers, while Turkey has U.S.-supplied fighter planes, tanks, and bombs.

In the 1970s, when U.S.-armed Greek and Turkish forces were fighting each other in Cyprus, it was a significant factor in prompting Congress to pass the Arms Export Control Act, which forced the Pentagon to inform Congress of major arms sales in advance and set up a mechanism for Congress to block sales that were not deemed to be in the national interest. Perhaps it’s time for an overhaul of that act that strengthens Congress’s leverage over arms sales decisions, perhaps by requiring positive Congressional approval before sensitive sales move forward. It’s time to highlight the risks of runaway arms trading, not just the alleged benefits.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/williamhar ... 7167ee5483
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Re: Updates: Turkey's attack on Western Kurdistan - North Sy

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:25 am

Turkey’s could
displace Kurds


The intensifying Turkish military campaign in northern Syria could lead to the forced displacement of up to a million Kurds and to the killing of scores of Kurdish civilians, according to a leading analyst who has spent considerable time in the area

“It depends on how far the Turks want to go,” said Jonathan Spyer, a research fellow at the Middle East Forum and at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security. “Up to a million could potentially be displaced, at the very least. And [the likelihood of] an outcome that is probably worse, given the nature of some of the people the Turks are working with in this campaign, is very high indeed.”

Turkey launched an offensive Wednesday against Kurdish-held areas of Western Kurdistan (northwest Syria), carrying out an intense bombing campaign and sending tens of thousands of people fleeing. Days earlier,

President Donald Trump announced the US would remove troops from the area, essentially green-lighting the operation, which has drawn widespread condemnation. The Syrian Kurdish militia under attack was the only US ally in the campaign that brought down the Islamic State group in Syria.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the military intends to move 30 kilometers (19 miles) into northern Syria and that its operation will last until all “terrorists are neutralized,” referring to the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

While Turkey’s army is unlikely to carry out deliberate massacres, Ankara’s allies from the so-called Syrian National Army — a motley crew of jihadist militiamen who Erdogan is asking to do much of the legwork of the offensive — can be expected to act brutally with Kurdish civilians it comes in contact with, Spyer said.

“The Turkish army itself, the regular forces of Erdogan, I think will be under pretty clear orders not to carry out massacres,” he said. However, Ankara is indiscriminately shelling populated areas, he added.

“Without wishing to be unfair to the Turks, in the usual Turkish fashion they’re kind of not taking that much care as to where the ordinances are landing. And that’s going to have an effect on the civilian population.”

Born in the UK and living today in Jerusalem, Spyer is one of Israel’s leading experts on the Kurdish nation, having spent much time on the ground, including during the period of the Syrian civil war during which 11,000 Kurds were killed, and created an extensive network of Kurdish contacts throughout Turkey, Iraq and Syria.

In an interview conducted on Thursday, Spyer discussed not only the potential casualties of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s cynically named Operation Peace Spring may have for the Kurdish population in northern Syria, but also how local Kurds feel about being abandoned, once again, by their major ally, the United States.

He also talked about what the Kurds expect from Israel, and explained Jerusalem’s strong tactical interest in preserving the status quo, which prevents Iran from penetrating eastern Syria.

The Times of Israel: How dangerous is Turkey’s current military operation for the Kurdish population in the area?

Jonathan Spyer: It depends on how far the Turks want to go. Right now, there’s been shelling all the way across the border, from Tell Abiad in the west, all the way to a place called Derik, which is right on the Syrian-Iraqi border.

If the intention of the Turks is, as President Erdogan stated at the UN General Assembly, genuinely to push forward and create a 20 mile deep buffer area all the way across that border, then the potential for the displacement of population, at the very least, is extremely high. Because that would basically involve the Turks conquering more or less the entirety of the main Kurdish population areas in northern Syria.

That is to say, Tell Abiad and Derik and also Kobani and the city of Qamishli. Up to a million could potentially be displaced, at the very least. And [the likelihood of] an outcome that is probably worse, given the nature of some of the people the Turks are working with in this campaign, is very high indeed.

But we don’t yet know the intentions of the Turks, and indeed the Turks themselves may not yet know. It seems that Erdogan chose to act very quickly, following Trump’s announcement on Sunday, presumably with the intention of testing American and international resolve.

If there is now very strong international reaction against the Turks, they may have to settle for a more limited set of goals. They may have to settle, for example, for just taking control of an area between Tell Abiad and Ras al-Ayn. And if that’s the case, then we’re talking of course about a much smaller threat to the Kurdish population. We already saw Kurdish civilians leaving those areas since the commencement of the Turkish shelling.

We also saw the killing of 109 Kurdish fighters on Wednesday ad Thursday, according to the Turks.

That’s Turkish information. The Kurdish information talks about much fewer casualties. They’re talking about 16 Kurds killed at the present time, and 33 wounded. This is really a kind of fog of war situation right now, because there’s very little international reporting possible in the area.

CNN’s Clarissa Ward is in there, but I don’t think any other international crews are. So we’re basically dependent on information coming from the SDF or the Turkish army, and that’s obviously a very difficult situation in terms of information. I’d recommend to be very skeptical about all the figures right now.

    After Turkey began its attacks against US-allied Kurds in northern Syria, CNN's @clarissaward spoke to frightened civilians fleeing the chaos.

    The offensive comes days after President Trump announced that US troops would pull back from the area: https://t.co/ld5Xh8YEFZ pic.twitter.com/NgvpiIhKJu

    — CNN International (@cnni) October 10, 2019
Syrian Observatory of Human Rights are always worth checking for that stuff. They seem to be skeptical about some of the Turkish claims so far. The Turks were claiming to make territorial advances and to have conquered villages close to Tell Abiad. And the Observatory was saying that’s not accurate. There’s a lot of disinformation right now, that’s part of war.

There are concerns not only about displacement of Kurds but about a potential massacre if Erdogan’s army aggressively tries to capture territory.

The Turkish army itself, the regular forces of Erdogan, I think will be under pretty clear orders not to carry out massacres. But they’re carrying out indiscriminate shelling right now against populated areas. There has been a hospital in Ras al-Ayn that was struck.

Without wishing to be unfair to the Turks, they’re kind of not taking that much care as to where the ordinances are landing. And that’s going to have an effect on the civilian population.

Secondly, the Syrian-Turkish allies that the Turks are working with, and who look to be providing a lot of the ground fighters for this mission, is a thing they call the Syrian National Army [which is also known as Free Syrian Army].

What is that in fact? It’s an amalgamation of a whole bunch of the remnants of the Syrian-Arab rebellion from northern Syria, including very extreme Sunni-jihadi elements, who in their own propaganda regularly refer to the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] and the Kurds as apostates, atheists and communists and all that kind of stuff. This is not a particularly disciplined force. It’s a deeply sectarian, and Sunni-Islamist force with a deep and verifiable hostility to the Kurdish population.

People talk about Turkey as a NATO member. We should not imagine this as a disciplined NATO army about to walk into these places

So if those guys get to interact with the Kurdish population, then the results could be deeply worrying. And we know about that because we kind of have a precedent, which is Operation Olive Branch [which Turkey and the Ankara-backed Syrian National Army carried out in early 2018], when the Turks destroyed the Kurdish Afrin Canton.

This resulted in the displacement of 200,000 people. There wasn’t a huge massacre, because the population left in time. But there was widespread looting and cases of civilians being murdered.

This photo released by the press office of the Kurdish militia, People’s Protection Units or YPG, shows protesters waving giant flags of the YPG and other parties and militias, during a demonstration against Turkish threats, in Afrin, Aleppo province, north Syria on Thursday, Jan 18, 2018. (YPG Press Office via AP)

People talk about Turkey as a NATO member. We should not imagine this as a disciplined NATO army about to walk into these places. It’s not that. They [Erdogan’s troops] will be the artillery and the air power, but the guys on the ground will be Syrian Sunni-Islamist militiamen, with all the potential that that contains.

Do you expect the current Operation Peace Spring to be worse in terms of casualties?

It’s much more widespread; it’s a much bigger area and it’s taken in a potentially much larger Kurdish population in the area that they apparently want to conquer. So in that sense it has the potential for being much worse.

But as I said, it depends very much on the actual dimensions that the operation ends up consisting of. Everything is still wide open. And there is a possibility that, as a result of international pressure and of SDF resistance, [things could play out in a different way].

It’s absolutely crucial for them to hold fast across the border until the international mood changes against Turkey. If they hold fast and the international diplomats turn against Turkey, which they may; and if the Americans move to talking about a no-fly zone over the area, keeping the Turkish aircraft out, then Turkey will have to start thinking again about the dimensions of the operation.

If they’re allowed to keep pushing on ahead, then it’s going to be a lot bigger than what took place in Afrin, and what took place there was by no means small. It was under-reported, but the movement of 200,000 people from their homes as refugees is no small thing.

Let’s talk about the Kurds in northern Syria, who must be feeling terribly abandoned. How are they dealing with the developments of the last few days?

I am in touch with people there; I was chatting with some people last night in Kobani and elsewhere. And even though we saw those very distressing scenes that CNN filmed, of civilians leaving and so on, this is a population that is used to war. It’s familiar with war. It’s been through the experience of ISIS heading towards them, and then being stopped in 2014.

So I don’t think there’s panic or despair. But I do think, based on what I am hearing from the people I know who are involved in the military, media and political sides of things, there’s a great deal of anger, frankly, against the West and against the United States. And a very profound sense of betrayal. That really comes through.

I reported a lot from the ground during the Syrian war and also from that area. And I remember, in the summer of 2014, the YPG [the mainly Kurdish People’s Protection Units, the most important component of the Syrian Democratic Forces] were burying fighters five at a time. There wasn’t time to give everyone their own funeral. Around 11,000 people were killed. So they remember that; it was only a few years ago. They do have a very profound sense of having been betrayed, frankly, by their key ally.

What’s Israel’s role in all this? And what do you make of the statements of Israeli politicians, some of whom [including New Right MK Ayelet Shaked] are calling for Kurdish statehood or want to send humanitarian aid there? [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday praised the “gallant” Kurdish people and offered humanitarian aid.]

As far as I am aware, there are no official relations of any kind between Israel and the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, as they currently call themselves, which is the de-facto authority there.

There may be some kind of unofficial communication, but there isn’t the kind of traditional close relations that did pertain and do pertain between Israel and the [Masoud] Barzani-dominated Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq. The Israelis and the Barzanis go back a long way to the 1960s, in terms of cooperation. And that’s not the case with the particular Kurds who control the Syrian Kurdistan entity now.

Having said that, having spent a lot of time in the area and knowing many of the people well, the people’s sentiments are broadly pro-Israeli. People are broadly, in their sentiments, pro-Israeli. And that actually includes a lot of the officials there, even though they probably wouldn’t want to say it publicly.

So there is a warm sentiment there, but I don’t think anybody expects the Israeli air force to come by and enforce a no-fly zone or anything like that.

But I would think that the hope, at least, is that Israeli officials use whatever influence they might have on the United States administration and on the US legislature — Congress — in order to try to leverage a changed American position, to change or even reverse the position that came out on Sunday.

Back to a much tougher position, [that says] “Turkey has to stop, we don’t support this operation, and if Turkey goes too far, and things we discussed earlier happen, there will be severe consequences for Turkey.” Obviously the demand for a no-fly zone is the most immediate demand.

So I would have thought that the Kurdish hope would be that, insofar as Israel has a voice in the important forums in Washington, this voice would be raised at this time. I would think that will probably happen, because my sense is that Israeli officials are deeply concerned about this.

Not only because it raises the issue of, “Well, the Americans are not going to stand by their Kurdish friends, what does that mean for their other friends?” It’s not anything quite as nebulous as that, actually.

It’s something much more concrete: the area of control of the Autonomous Administration [is located] in Eastern Syria and is basically an American-Kurdish protectorate right now. That means it’s a de-facto barrier against the Iranians. It’s not a 100 percent sealed one, because down in the South there is Abu Kamal, but it basically cuts off the greater part of eastern Syria from the prospect of Iranian penetration.

Syrian Kurds gather around a US armored vehicle during a demonstration against Turkish threats, next to a US-led international coalition base on the outskirts of Ras al-Ain town in Syria’s Hasakeh province near the Turkish border, on October 6, 2019. (Delil Souleiman/AFP)

And if the result of the current situation is that the Americans abandon the Kurds, the Kurds are terrified of the Turkish advance, and the Assad regime and the Russians and the Iranians then come east of the Euphrates to try to resist any kind of Turkish advance, and the Kurds surrender to them, then the de-facto result is that this area will become open to Iran. And that’s directly against the interest of Israel.

So Israel has a very concrete and clear tactical interest in the preservation of this area in its current from. And I would have thought that that point would have been made by Israelis in the relevant forums now.

What did you think of Netanyahu’s condemnation of the Turkish invasion and his offer of humanitarian assistance to the Kurds?

The statement by Netanyahu joins similar statements by a number of world leaders. It will no doubt be welcomed by the Kurds in Syria, though I would think that the offer of humanitarian assistance will not be taken up at the present time. It is the latest evidence of a growing international consensus against the Turkish operation. It remains to be seen how this will impact on the situation on the ground.

In his statement, Netanyahu warned the Turks against “ethnic cleansing.” These are strong words.

I guess he means potential displacement of populations, which is a genuine threat. And I guess he found no reason to mince words.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/turkeys-s ... yst-warns/
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Re: Updates: Turkey's attack on Western Kurdistan - North Sy

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:52 pm

Need to de-escalate situation

In some of the most critical U.S. comments about Turkey’s advance into northeastern Syria, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told his Turkish counterpart they should deescalate the situation before it becomes “irreparable”, adding that Ankara’s operation could harm U.S. personnel in Syria

Turkey stepped up its air and artillery strikes on Kurdish militia in northeast Syria on Friday, escalating an offensive that has drawn warnings of humanitarian catastrophe and turned Republican lawmakers against U.S. President Donald Trump.

The incursion, launched after Trump withdrew U.S. troops who had been fighting alongside Kurdish forces against Islamic State militants, has opened a new front in the eight-year-old Syrian civil war and drawn fierce international criticism.

“While the Secretary reaffirmed (that) we value our strategic bilateral relationship, this incursion risks serious consequences for Turkey,” a Pentagon statement said, giving details of a call between Esper and Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.

“As part of the call, Secretary Esper strongly encouraged Turkey to discontinue actions in northeastern Syria in order to increase the possibility that the United States, Turkey and our partners could find a common way to de-escalate the situation before it becomes irreparable,” the statement added.

Esper, the statement said, made clear that Turkey’s “uncoordinated actions” risked the progress made in the fight against Islamic State militants.

The call took place on Thursday, the Pentagon statement added.

Turkey says the purpose of its assault is to defeat the Kurdish YPG militia, which it sees as an enemy for its links to insurgents in Turkey. It says it aims to set up a “safe zone” inside Syria, where it can resettle many of the 3.6 million refugees it has been hosting.

The Kurdish YPG is the main fighting element of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) which have acted as the principal allies of the United States in a campaign that recaptured territory held by the Islamic State group.

The SDF now holds most of the territory that once made up Islamic State’s “caliphate” in Syria, and has been keeping thousands of Islamic State fighters in jail and tens of thousands of their family members in camps.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-syri ... 9&&rpc=401
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Re: Updates: Turkey's attack on Western Kurdistan - North Sy

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:13 pm

ISIS jihadists break
out of prison camp


Detained members of Islamic State have managed to escape from a Kurdish-run prison in northeastern Syria today after Turkish shelling hit the area following the removal of US forces

It comes as one hundred thousand terrified civilians have fled the Turkish incursion into Syria as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's troops continue to advance - with Ankara claiming it has killed 342 Kurdish fighters - fail to mention how many innocent people they have slaughtered

At least five terrorists escaped from Navkur after shelling struck near the prison, said an official from the Syrian Democratic Forces, the de facto army of the autonomous Kurdish region.

A prison guard at Navkur, which is located in the town of Qamishli, said before the reported breakout that the facility housed mostly foreign jihadists.

Turkey and its Syrian proxies on Wednesday launched a deadly cross-border military offensive against areas controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces.

The attack has resulted in artillery fire striking near a number of critical facilities, including some of the prisons where thousands of IS suspects are being held.

Without the support of US troops, who pulled back from the border earlier this week, Kurdish fighters have redeployed from other areas in a bid to hold off Turkish-backed forces.

Another Kurdish official said the Jerkin facility, another nearby prison, had also come under regular Turkish fear, increasing the chances of a breakout there too.

Turkey backed fighters of the Syrian National Army, a rebel Syrian militia which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has allied with in his fight against the Kurds, carry light machine guns and bandoliers slung over their shoulders as they rally at the border today

Turkish-backed Syrian forces cross the border into the north of their homeland today as smoke rises in the horizon from one of the shelled border towns

Syrian fighters loyal to Turkey pass through a gap in the border wall on Friday as they prepare to take on Kurdish militias

An armoured car rounds the border wall as a Turkish-backed soldiers of the Syrian National Army prepare to take the fight to the Kurds on Friday

An armoured car heads into battle as it supports ground troops moving over the border into northern Syria today

A Pro-Turkish Syrian fighter crosses the border backed by his comrades, wielding an AK-57 and a grenade launcher, as he readies for battle

Turkey says it intends to create a 'safe zone' over an area about 30 miles deep and 75 miles wide to push Kurdish militia away from its border and eventually allow the repatriation of up to two million Syrian refugees. The area is rich in fertile lands and encompasses oil fields in the far northeast

The prospect of mass breakouts is causing deep concern among many foreign powers, who fear the return on their soil of IS fighters and the resurgence of the jihadist group in the region.

According to the Kurdish administration, some 12,000 men are held in seven detention centres across Kurdish-controlled areas.

Among them are Syrians and Iraqis, as well as 2,500 to 3,000 suspected IS fighters from 54 other countries.

Air strikes, artillery bombardments and small arms fire raged throughout border settlements along the 75-mile front for a third day, with Foreign Minister Hulusi Akar today announcing Turkey's forces had 'neutralised' hundreds of 'terrorists.'

'Hey EU, wake up. I say it again: if you try to frame our operation there as an invasion, our task is simple: we will open the doors and send 3.6 million migrants to you,' Erdogan said in a speech to parliament in Ankara on Thursday

The United Nations estimated 100,000 people had fled, piling trucks and cars high with their possessions as shells decimated their hometowns, in a grim echo of how they sought refuge from marauding ISIS fanatics only a few years before.

France said EU sanctions 'were on the table' today, amid widespread international condemnation for the invasion, with Emmanuel Macron warning Turkey risked 'helping Daesh (ISIS) rebuild a caliphate.'

President Donald Trump, who pulled his Kurd-backing forces out of Syria earlier this week, declared last night the US was faced with three options: 'Send in thousands of troops and win Militarily, hit Turkey very hard Financially and with Sanctions, or mediate a deal between Turkey and the Kurds!'

Trump's tweet follows backlash from within his own Republican ranks over the perceived betrayal of the Kurds, who were pivotal in defeating ISIS in Syria earlier this year.

Furthermore, the Kurds have been guarding some 10,000 ISIS prisoners and Russian President Vladimir Putin joined British and US politicians today in expressing fears that they might escape.

'I'm not sure whether the Turkish army will be able to take this under control - and how soon,' Putin said in televised remarks. 'This is a real threat to us.'

Kurdish forces announced camps packed with 20,000 displaced people, including the wives and children of ISIS fighters, were to be evacuated south after they were hit by Turkish shelling.

Meanwhile, at the Al-Hawl camp further south, notorious for housing British ISIS bride Shamima Begum, rioting and escape attempts were reported as news of Erdogan's offensive reached the facility.

Doctors Without Borders said it was forced to shut down a hospital, which served more than 200,000 people, because of the spreading violence

Despite the global outrage, Erdogan yesterday threatened Europe he would 'open the doors' for 3.6million refugees to flood into the continent if his incursion was defined as an occupation.

European Council President Donald Tusk responded to the threat today, warning Erdogan the EU would never bow to such a threat.

'Turkey must understand that our main concern is that their actions may lead to another humanitarian catastrophe,' Tusk said in Nicosia. 'And we will never accept that refugees are weaponised and used to blackmail us. President Erdogan's threats of yesterday are totally out of place.'

Three civilians are killed by a car bomb in Kurdish stronghold as its forces hold off the Turkish incursion

Three civilians were killed Friday when an explosives-laden vehicle detonated in a busy neighbourhood of Qamishli, one of the main Kurdish towns in northeastern Syria, officials said.

The attack, which wounded nine others, came as Kurdish forces pushed to hold off a massive cross-border assault by Turkey and its proxies.

'A car bomb targeted a restaurant at a time when civilians, including journalists who came to cover the offensive, were inside,' the Kurdish internal security services known as Asayish said in a statement.

Car bomb hits the Syrian Kurdish-held city of Qamishli

People gather at the site of an explosion in the northeastern Syrian Kurdish city of Qamishli on Friday, Kurdish authorities said it killed at least three civilians and wounded nine more

A car bomb went off outside a restaurant in the Syrian Kurdish-controlled city of Qamishli on Friday, an official in the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said

A video distributed by the Syrian Democratic Forces - the autonomous Kurds' de facto army - shows firemen trying to put out flames at the site of the blast, where at least five completely destroyed vehicles could be seen.

Qamishli has been hit by several car bomb attacks in recent months, usually claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group.

IS has not controlled fixed positions in the area since an SDF-led operation eliminated the last bastion of the jihadist 'caliphate' earlier this year.

But it has conducted regular deadly operations in remote areas with bomb attacks carried out by sleeper cells.

The Syrian state broadcaster al-Ikhbariya, quoting its correspondent, said the blast had caused deaths and injuries

Analysts and officials have voiced fears that the White House's plans to pull American troops out of northeastern Syria would create a vacuum that could spark an IS resurgence.

A Kurdish official blamed the latest bomb attack on IS but no statement from the jihadist group claiming responsibility had yet been published.

Posts by the Turkish Ministry of Defence in memory of the 'martyr' Ahmet Topcu the first Turkish soldier killed, and Haci Bebek who succumbed to injuries later on Friday he sustained yesterday

On Friday morning, Turkish jets and artillery struck around Syria's Ras al Ain, one of two border towns that have been the focus of the offensive. Gunfire could also be heard inside the town, a Reuters journalist in Ceylanpinar said (pictured: a soldier watches on as armoured vehicles head to the front)

Turkey announced today its first soldier had been killed in the Syrian incursion, with another three injured as Ankara claimed it had killed 342 Kurdish fighters (pictured: Turkish Army's armored vehicles are dispatched to reinforce border units from Turkey's Sanliurfa province last night)

Link to Article - Photos:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... -camp.html
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Re: Updates: Turkey's attack on Western Kurdistan - North Sy

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Oct 12, 2019 2:21 am

ISIS detainees no
longer our responsibility


Fighting off a “genocidal attack” by Turkey, a spokesperson for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said they can no longer be responsible for the ticking time bomb that is the thousands of Islamic State (ISIS) militants and their supporters held in Kurdish jails

“We are currently subject to a genocidal attack. There is a project to make a demographic change and eradicate Kurds. Therefore, our first duty is the protection of our people, border and soil,” head of the SDF press office Mustafa Bali told Rudaw in Hasaka, northern Syria.

“All our forces are focusing on this now. Our prisons, which hold about 12,000 ISIS gang members, and camps, which have more than 90,000 ISIS fighters families and migrants, are like detonated bombs. We do not know when they will explode. However, this is no longer our responsibility,” he said.

The Turkish Army and its Syrian proxies launched Operation Peace Spring against the SDF on Wednesday after appearing to get a green light from US President Donald Trump who pulled American troops back from two outposts on the Turkey-Syria border.

Turkey considers the Kurdish forces in northern Syria to be a terrorist organization and Ankara repeatedly threatened a military incursion to push the SDF away from the border and establish a “safe zone” up to 30 kilometres deep.

The SDF and Kurdish officials warned such military action would create a global security crisis if they could no longer hold the detained ISIS fighters.

Bali said they have done their best to hold the militants on behalf of the world, but now they have to take care of themselves. “We are facing eradication and genocide. We have to defend ourselves,” he said.

On the third day of the conflict, the ongoing risk from ISIS was clear. Five militants escaped from Jirkin prison in Qamishli. The SDF blamed Turkish shelling for the security breach.

[b]ISIS claimed responsibility for a car bomb in Qamishli that killed four civilians and injured nine[/b]

At Al-Hol camp, a group of nearly 100 ISIS women tried to escape by attacking guards.

There have been 274 escape attempts at the infamous camp in the last 30 days, Sheikhmus Ahmed, head of the internal displaced persons (IDP) and refugee office for the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (NES), told Rudaw English.

In Kobane, Turkish fire reportedly hit close to an ISIS prison and US special forces. Newsweek broke the story that Turkish forces had mistakenly bombed US special forces.

It was also confirmed by CNN, which reported that artillery shells came within several hundred metres of US forces stationed near the city of Kobane that sits on the border with Turkey.

“It’s right, they struck there,” a military source in Kobane confirmed to the Rojava Information Centre. “There was an ISIS [Islamic State] prison there, they struck around the prison. There are French and American bases around there.”

There is no immediate confirmation of casualties.

Earlier in the day, US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley had told reporters that the US informed Turkey of the location of their forces in Syria as a precaution. The US withdrew its troops from two outposts ahead of Turkey launching the operation, now in its third day.

The Turkish Defense Ministry denied they had directed fire at the US post. The ministry said their forces in Turkey came under fire from a position about a kilometre southwest of an American observation post. The Turkish army returned fire, taking “all precautions… in order to prevent any harm to the US base,” read a statement from the ministry. “As a precaution, we ceased fire upon receiving information from the US.”

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeas ... /111020194
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Re: Updates: Turkey's attack on Western Kurdistan - North Sy

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Oct 12, 2019 2:34 am

US wants stronger
action from Trump


U.S. lawmakers introduced more legislation on Friday seeking to slap stiff sanctions on Turkey over its offensive against Kurdish fighters in Syria, underscoring unhappiness from both Democrats and President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans in Congress over his Syria policy

Representatives Eliot Engel, the Democratic chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, and Mike McCaul, the committee’s ranking Republican, introduced a bill that would sanction Turkish officials involved in the Syria operation and banks involved with Turkey’s defence sector until Turkey ends military operations in Syria.

It also would stop arms from going to Turkish forces in Syria, and require the administration to impose existing sanctions on Turkey for its purchase of a Russian S-400 missile-defense system.

On Sunday, Trump abruptly shifted policy and said he was withdrawing U.S. forces from northeastern Syria, clearing the way for Turkey to launch an assault across the border.

Turkey began the offensive quickly, pounding Kurdish militias, who had spent many months fighting alongside U.S. forces against Islamic State militants.

Earlier, Engel and McCaul had introduced a resolution expressing strong support for Kurdish forces in Syria and recognising their contribution to the fight against Islamic State. It also called on Turkey to immediately stop military action in northeast Syria and called on the United States to stand with Syrian Kurdish communities affected by violence.

The legislations’ practical impact was not immediately clear - to become law the sanctions bill would have to pass the House and Senate and be signed into law by Trump, or garner enough votes to override a Trump veto, and the resolution is non-binding. But they add to a flood of condemnation on Capitol Hill of Trump’s shift in policy.

One of the Republican party’s leading voices on foreign affairs, Senator Lindsey Graham, has announced a bipartisan sanctions bill similar to that of Engel and McCaul.

He criticized the Trump administration on Friday, after Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced that sanctions would not yet be imposed on Ankara.

“We are witnessing ethnic cleansing in Syria by Turkey, the destruction of a reliable ally in the Kurds, and the reemergence of ISIS (Islamic State),” Graham said in a statement calling on the administration “to up their game.”

European Council President Donald Tusk said on Friday the conflict in northeastern Syria risks becoming a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-syra- ... X?rpc=401&
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