Friday 15th of November 2019

playing a dangerous game...

dangerous game

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the beginning of the offensive, Operation Peace Spring, in the north of Syria last Wednesday, vowing to clear the region of Kurdish militants and Daesh fighters. The incursion has been widely criticised by the international community.

The Syrian Army has entered the city of Tabqah, previously controlled by the Kurdish militia, in the province of Raqqa and is moving northward, the Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen reported on Monday.

The Syrian government has not yet provided any official statement on the matter.

The administration of the Kurdish authority in northern Syria announced on Sunday that it had reached a deal with the Syrian government, under which the Syrian Army would send troops to the border with Turkey to help the Kurds repel Ankara's offensive.

Turkey's encroachment, dubbed Operation Peace Spring, is targeted against the Daesh* terrorist group and the Kurdish formations in Syria reportedly affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party, that Ankara has designated as terrorists.

 

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201910141077043059-syrian-army-enters...

they are people...

Something extraordinary has happened in a corner of north-east Syria. It is a little-known story that defies the usual narratives about Syria or Assad, civil war or ISIS. It is nothing less than a political revolution, which bears important lessons for the rest of the world. In this revolution, women are in the vanguard, both politically and militarily, often leading the fight on the frontline and sacrificing their lives against the most atavistic and anti-woman enemy there is: the so-called Islamic State – or Daesh, as it is more derogatorily known.

This place is called Rojava, the Kurdish name for western Kurdistan, located in north-eastern Syria. After the collapse of the Assad regime in 2012, Kurdish parties began an extraordinary project of self-government and equality for all races, religions and women and men. I visited Rojava, in a personal capacity, in the summer of 2015 to try to understand what's going on there for a documentary film about anarchism, which you can watch on iPlayer.

Few journalists visit this swath of land along the Turkish border, which is about half the size of Belgium. It's difficult to reach and thus expensive, requiring a long journey from northern Iraq and a crossing of the Tigris by small boat onto Syrian soil. The Kurdish Regional Government of northern Iraq (KRG) is not sympathetic to the Kurds of Rojava, and makes access very difficult and sometimes impossible.

The few journalists who make it there tend to focus on the fight with ISIS, assuming that this is what most concerns western audiences. Rojava is safer than the main combat zones of Syria, but still suffers horrific suicide bombings, and western visitors would of course make a fine catch for Daesh kidnappers.

As a result, very little has been reported about the remarkable political experiment of Rojava.

What little commentary appears is often secondhand. It therefore frequently repeats earlier misconceptions or hostile propaganda put about, above all, by Turkey, which opposes the leading political party of the Rojava Kurds – the PYD – and the armed forces of Rojava, the People's Self-Defence Units, which comprise the mostly male YPG and all-female YPJ. Nor does the political character of the Rojava revolution fit familiar pigeonholes; it is neither a nationalist Kurdish project for an independent state, nor is it Marxist or communist, nor driven by religious or ethnic motives.

Perhaps most remarkably – and, sadly, uniquely – this is perhaps the most explicitly feminist revolution the world has witnessed, at least in recent history. Previously, this area was home to traditional peasant norms, including child marriage and keeping women at home. These traditions have been overturned: child marriage, for instance, is now illegal. There are parallel women's organisations in every field, ranging from the separate women's militia, the YPJ, to parallel women's communes and cooperatives. Self-defence is a principle of the Rojava revolution, which is why women are so active in the armed struggle – but the concept extends towards the right of self-defence against all anti-woman practices and ideas, including those of traditional society, not just the extreme violence of Daesh.

 

Read more:

https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/43dmgm/the-most-feminist-revolution-t...

 

See also: more human suffering... in of social constructs...

it could lead to a confrontation with Turkish-led troops...

Syria's army has moved swiftly into towns and villages in the north-east of the country, which could lead to a confrontation with Turkish-led troops.

State media said Russian-backed Syrian forces entered the town of Manbij as part of a deal reached with Kurdish-led forces previously allied with the US.

Meanwhile, Turkish troops and allied Syrian militias were gathering near the town as they continued their incursion.

Turkey's offensive aims to push Kurdish forces from the border region.

Syrian state media said government forces had entered Manbij, in the area where Turkey wants to create a "safe zone" cleared of Kurdish fighters. Earlier, the army pushed into Tal Tamer and Ain Issa, where residents celebrated their arrival.

The deal is seen as a boost for President Bashar al-Assad as his troops return to those areas for the first time since 2012. The deployment came hours after the US announced that up to 1,000 American troops would leave northern Syria.

The Turkish offensive and US pullout have been internationally criticised as the Kurdish-led fighters were crucial allies of the coalition against the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria. There are fears about a possible resurgence of IS and the escape of prisoners amid the instability. 

On Monday, President Donald Trump said a "small footprint" of US personnel would remain in southern Syria to continue to fight the remnants of IS.

 

Read more:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-50039106

 

 

See toon at top.

 

Note: I looks like some of the now-aligned with Turkey "rebels" were former rebels aligned with the US, also under the banner of Al Qaeda and Al Nusra... They would "liberate" Jihadists prisoners of Daesh if they could, but the Kurds who hold them, have said no about handing these prisoners over to the USA... They guess what could happen by "accidental" release...

russian troops to replace departing US troops...

Russia has said it will not allow clashes between Turkish and Syrian forces, as Turkey's military offensive in northern Syria continues.

"This would simply be unacceptable... and therefore we will not allow it, of course," said Moscow's special envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentyev.

The withdrawal of US troops from the region, announced last week, gave Turkey a "green light", critics say.

Russia is a key military ally of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

Mr Lavrentyev, during a visit to the United Arab Emirates, described Turkey's offensive as "unacceptable".

He said Turkish and Syrian officials were in contact to avoid any conflict. 

And Russia's defence ministry said its forces, which have been deployed in Syria since 2015, were patrolling along the "line of contact" between Syrian and Turkish forces.

 

Read more:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-50058859

 

Russian Troops Move In as U.S. Troops Exit Syrian Region

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The Russian Defense Ministry said that its military police were patrolling territory between Turkish and Syrian forces.

This may signal that Russia is moving to fill a security vacuum left by the U.S. withdrawal and illustrates how the power balance in the region is rapidly shifting.

4m ago

Russia Savors U.S. Missteps in Syria, and Seizes Opportunity

President Trump’s erratic moves are letting Russia take on the role of peacemaker — and deal-maker — in Syria.

2h ago

 

Read more at the NYT...

 

Note: Russia has been the major deal-maker and peacemaker in Syria, while the US were breaking stuff by using "moderate rebels" (and Daesh) to kick Assad out and replace him with a Sunni Wahabbi extremist government.


relocating refugees...

At the opening ceremony of the new Turkish Parliament legislative year, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan presented his plan to relocate 2 million Syrian refugees, in line with what had been leaked already four years ago.

Erdoğan indicated that after being hosted by Turkey, the time had come to repatriate the refugees, and pledged to ensure their safety. A safe zone, 30-kilometers deep inside Syria, would be placed under the joint responsibility of the Turkish army. He added that one million people will be transferred to new communities, and another one million to already existing ones. "We will resettle these people in 50 cities of 30,000 inhabitants and in 140 villages with a population of 5,000 each," he stated.

According to the map previously published by Anadolu Agency, the strip of land covered by the safe-zone will be cut off at Qamishli (which would be left outside), thereby precluding the creation of an independent State. The city of Manbij would, however, form part of the zone.

This project was reportedly approved by the United States and may even garner international funding.

President Erdoğan did not touch on the fate of the remaining 1 650 million Syrian refugees remaining in Turkey.

In the past, President Hafez al-Assad had granted the Turkish army the green light to hunt down Kurdish fighters who attacked Turkey from inside Syrian territory. Likewise, he had allowed the Israeli army to protect itself from Palestinian gunfire. The area of pursuit, extending approximately 30 kilometers, was based on the firing range of the mortars.

 

Read more:

https://www.voltairenet.org/article207925.html

 

 

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croc tears...

Mainstream US media has been the biggest cheerleader for Washington’s chaos production in Syria for years, but now, as Donald Trump pulls troops out of the northeast, they’re suddenly outraged. Spare us the crocodile tears.

“Plenty of reason here for the US possibly to become involved,” pleaded a horrified MSNBC correspondent this week, chastising Trump for ignoring “war crimes” and “human rights abuses” by Turkish forces.

Yet, while he and others cloak their demands for continued US military action in humanitarian concern for the Kurds in the face of Ankara’s onslaught, there is a more selfish reason for the media outrage. They are profoundly addicted to the bogus narrative of the US as the world’s savior, and worse, they crave the kind of dramatic TV footage and tales of military heroism that US forever wars offer. If that sounds a bit too cynical, recall MSNBC anchor Brian Williams close to weeping as he shared the “beautiful pictures” of American missiles raining down on Syria two years ago.

The pleas for fresh US intervention also reveal a hyper-focus on Washington’s “image” in the eyes of the world. The media has been bleating for days about how Trump’s actions will be perceived by its allies and enemies, but who is going to break it to them that their “image” is not quite what they think it is? 

Successive US administrations have pursued policies of chaos and disarray in Syria for years; first covertly attempting to sow social discontent to spur and exploit a popular uprising, then by funding, training, and backing jihadist militias (Al Qaeda, included) against Bashar Assad’s army, and prioritizing the fall of his secular government over peace for the better part of a decade. 

Couple that with Washington’s continued facilitation of slaughter in Yemen, its penchant for economically choking uncooperative nations with punitive and deadly sanctions and its psychological warfare of constant threats of violence against Iran, and one wonders exactly what kind of benevolent do-gooder image there is left to salvage.

This uniquely American obsession with image on the world stage was on display during CNN’s Tuesday night Democratic presidential debate, too. The perpetually grandstanding Cory Booker claimed Trump had turned America’s “moral leadership” into a “dumpster fire,” while Pete Buttigieg lamented the president’s betrayal of American “values” that left the country’s reputation and credibility “in tatters.” 

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/471073-syria-trump-media-kurds/

 

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removing the football from the pitch...

Turkey and Russia have agreed what they called a "historic" deal over military action against Kurds in northern Syria after a marathon diplomatic meeting.

Turkey has been launching an offensive against Syria's minority Kurdish group near the border.

Russia, a military ally of Syria's president, had deployed troops to the region in response.

The deal says that Russia has agreed to allow Turkey's operation, removing the risk of conflict between the two sides.

It came just ahead of the expiry of a ceasefire between Kurdish fighters and Turkish forces, and it is not yet clear whether the Kurdish militias will agree to the terms laid down by Russia and Turkey.

Turkey considers the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia to be a terrorist organisation.

The ceasefire, brokered by the United States, expires at 22:00 (19:00 GMT). Shortly beforehand, the YPG said they had complied with the terms of the US-brokered deal.

But the new deal agreed by Turkey with Russia has given Kurdish fighters extra time to withdraw.

From noon on Wednesday, the Kurdish fighters would have another 150 hours to leave the border region, withdrawing to a depth of 30km (19 miles) from the border - a so-called "safe zone".

The area affected is a 120km-long strip between the towns of Ras al-Ain to Tal Abyad, where the Turkish operation is taking place. 

 

But Mr Erdogan had reportedly wanted all 440km of the border to be part of the safe zone.

The statement from Russia and Turkey says that Kurdish forces "will be removed" from the towns of Manbij and Tal Rifat - both of which lie outside the operation area.

It also says Russia and Turkey will conduct joint patrols outside the operation area.

Why is Russia involved?

President Erdogan and President Putin's private meeting lasted more than six hours.

Russia has been a key military force in Syria's civil war, allied to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Mr Assad's forces entered the border region in response to Turkey's offensive against the Kurds.

The Russian deployment had created the potential for clashes between Russia and Turkey - something Mr Erdogan and Mr Putin want to avoid.

 

Read more:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-50138121

 

 

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who was the whistling-referee again?...

A permanent ceasefire has been achieved in northern Syria, US President Donald Trump has said, prompting Washington to lift recent sanctions it had imposed on Turkish imports in response to the violence.

Key points:
  • President Trump has lifted sanctions on Turkey
  • Russia has threatened Kurdish forces could be 'steamrolled'
  • Iraq will refuse to allow US troops leaving Syria to remain

 

During a special address at the White House, Mr Trump said that the sanctions would be lifted unless "something happens that we are not happy with", also casting scepticism about the meaning of "permanent" in "that part of the world".

"This was an outcome created by us, the United States and nobody else," Mr Trump said.

 

Read more:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-24/russian-forces-deploy-at-syrian-b...

 

 

On Tuesday, after the end of the 120-hour ceasefire, Turkey's Defence Ministry announced that its Operation Peace Spring, launched on 9 October, was officially complete.

The situation in northern Syria has partially settled down since Ankara announced there is no need to continue its offensive against the Kurdish forces in the region at this stage.

In the meantime, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan have stated that Russian military police and Syrian troops will patrol the area along the Syrian border with Turkey.

 

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201910231077125558-live-updates-fragi...

 

 

In the game between Turkey and the Kurdish Army, the Kurds got kicked out of bounds, by the accord between Edorgan and Putin blowing the final whistle... This could be the best minimalist uneasy peace to be achieved here for the moment — and Trump's US troops disappearing act definitely helped the outcome. See also: 

sold a french pup?...

 

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MEANWHILE:

 

The Iraqi government is seeking international help after US troops withdrawing from Syria entered western Iraq without authorization, with Baghdad now taking legal action against the uninvited presence.

Baghdad did not give permission for US forces to stay in Iraq, Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi reaffirmed on Wednesday.


We ask the international community and the United Nations to perform their roles in this matter.


US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Tuesday that US troops transiting from Syria would use Iraq to make preparations to go home and assured that the aim is not to "stay in Iraq interminably." Esper did not specify how long the American troops would be staying.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/471645-iraq-pleads-un-help-us-troops/

 

us troops...

 


russian/kurdish/syrian cooperation...

Speaking with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, SDF chief Mazloum Abdi thanked Moscow for securing a deal with Turkey and said the Kurdish militia will support Syrian troops and Russian military police patrolling the border.

Talks between the top Russian military officials and the commander-in-chief of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were held on Wednesday, via video link. Abdi discussed the ongoing developments in northeastern Syria with Shoigu and Russia’s Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov, expressing full support to the deployment of Russian military police and Syrian Army units into the region.

Currently, units of the Russian military police and regular Syrian troops are being deployed into many locations. We are providing them with all kind of help and assistance, Abdi said.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/471674-kurds-abdi-shoigu-russia-thanks/

 

 

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the view from NATO...

NATO behind the Turkish attack in Syria

by Manlio Dinucci


Several members of NATO are currently weeping crocodile tears about the terrible luck of the Kurds, thus masking the fact that they had in fact green-lit « Operation Peace Spring » in advance. To crush any doubt, the General Secretary of the Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, journeyed in person to Ankara, three days after the beginning of combat, to declare NATO’s support for Turkey.

Germany, France, Italy and certain other countries, who as members of the EU condemn Turkey for its attack in Syria, are co-members of NATO, which, while the attack had already begun, declared its support of Ankara. The General Secretary of the Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, made this support official during a meeting on 11 October in Turkey with President Erdoğan and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Çavuşoğlu [1].


« Turkey is on the front line in this extremely volatile region – no other Ally has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkey, no other country is more exposed to the violence and turbulence coming from the Middle East », said Stoltenberg, acknowledging that Turkey has « legitimate preoccupations for its own security ». After having suggested – diplomatically - « action in moderation », Stoltenberg claimed that Turkey is a « powerful NATO ally, important for our collective defence », and that the Alliance is « strongly engaged in the defence of its security ». For this purpose, NATO has increased its aerial and naval presence in Turkey, and has invested more than 5 billion dollars in bases and military infrastructures. Apart from this, it has deployed an important command centre (not mentioned by Stoltenberg) – LandCom - responsible for the coordination of all Allied ground forces.


Stoltenberg stressed the importance of « missile defence systems » deployed by NATO in order to « protect the Southern frontier of Turkey », to be supplied in rotation by the Allies. On this subject, the Minister for Foreign Affairs Çavuşoğlu extended special thanks to Italy. Indeed, since 2016, Italy has deployed in the South-Eastern province of Turkey, Kahramanmaras, the « aerial defence system » Samp-T, co-produced with France.


A Samp-T unit consists of a command and control vehicle and six weapon-delivery vehicles each armed with eight missiles. Stationed in the border region close to Syria, they are able to shoot down any aircraft within Syrian air space. Their function, therefore, is anything but defensive. In last July, the Italian Chamber and Senate, on the basis of decisions taken by the joint commissions of Foreign Affairs, discussed the extension of the presence of Italian missiles in Turkey until 31 December. Besides this, Stoltenberg revealed that meetings are currently being held between Italy and France, co-producers of the Samp-T missile system, which Turkey hopes to buy. So, on the basis of a decree announced by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Di Maio to block the exportation of weapons to Turkey, Italy must immediately remove the Samp-T missile system from Turkish territory and agree not to sell it to Turkey.


So this tragic little piece of political theatre continues, and Syrian blood continues to flow. Those people who today claim to be horrified at the new massacres, and call for a blockage of the exportation of weapons to Turkey, are the same people who looked the other way when the New York Times itself published a detailed enquiry about the CIA networks [2] which facilitate the arrival in Turkey, and also Croatia, of floods of weapons for the secret war in Syria [3]. After having destroyed the Yugoslav Federation and Libya, NATO tried the same tactic in Syria. The attack force was composed of an armed horde of Islamist groups (defined only a short time ago as ’terrorists’ by Washington) from Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Libya and other countries. They gathered in the Turkish provinces of Adana and Hatay, border regions with Syria, where the CIA has opened centres for military training. The command centre for these operations was situated on board of NATO ships in the port of Iskenderun (Alexandretta).


All this information has been erased, and Turkey is presented by the General Secretary of NATO as the Ally « the most exposed to the violence and turbulence coming from the Middle East ».


Manlio Dinucci

Translation 

Roger Lagassé

Source 

Il Manifesto (Italy)

 

Read more:

https://www.voltairenet.org/article208106.html

 

 

 

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denying damascus access to its natural resources...

A supposed champion of the rule of law, the US is violating its own anti-Syrian sanctions by smuggling crude from oil fields it seized from Damascus, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova has said.

Each month the US smuggles crude worth $30 million out of Syria, according to Zakharova. The fuel comes from fields in the northeastern part of the country, where the US maintains a military presence after pulling its troops back from the Syrian-Turkish border.

“A nation that repeats ad nauseam that it sticks to democratic values and rule of law in international relations, is pumping oil… under a pretense of fighting ISIL,” the official said, using an outdated name for terrorist group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

ISIL had been fully destroyed in March this year, according to the statements of the coalition. The narrative of the Americans doesn’t hold water.

Oil fields in the Deir ez-Zor governorate, east of the River Euphrates, were captured by US-backed Kurdish militias as they advanced on IS forces. Washington makes no secret of the fact that it keeps an illegal military presence in the area in order to deny Damascus access to the natural resources that it has every right to possess under international law.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/472397-us-smuggles-syrian-oil/

 

 

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we could not make this up, could we?...

Donald Trump has dropped a truth bomb, and admitted he’s planning to keep troops in Syria because he wants the country’s oil.

This kind of honesty threatens the usual world order where everyone accuses the US of fighting wars for oil, and Washington denies it, and takes the oil anyway.

ICYMI looks at what else could happen when leaders start accidentally telling the truth.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/472402-icymi-truth-bomb-oil-/

 

 

 

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