SYRIAN DEMOCRATIC FORCES’ SHORT-TERM THINKING PROBLEM

Soutb Front

The political and military leadership of the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has appeared to be in a shaky situation since the withdrawal of US troops from Syria’s north and the start of Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring. Since the start of the US invasion of Syria, Kurdish armed groups, primarily the People’s Protection Units (YPG), relied on foreign power to fend off the ISIS offensive and expand their control across northern and eastern Syria. The US military, political and financial support made Kurdish leaders believe that Kurdish armed groups were a kind of “integral” part of Washington’s strategy and that they had a voice to decide their future under a US protectorate. This illusion predetermined the YPG-SDF stance towards cooperation with the Damascus government and its allies.

In January-March 2018, YPG forces in Afrin were defeated by the Turkish Army and pro-Turkish armed groups and were forced to flee towards Syrian Army positions near Aleppo city. Prior to Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch, YPG leaders once again rejected Syrian-Russian proposals to settle their status and re-integrate into the Syrian state. Instead, they repeatedly asked the US and the so-called ‘international community’ for help – help which was not forthcoming.

The very same approach led to the start of Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring in northeastern Syria in 2019. On January 19, the so-called Autonomous Administration of Eastern Syria, a political body created by the SDF/YPG to manage the seized areas, issued a de-facto ultimatum to the Damascus government. Besides formal claims about the need to keep the unity of Syrian land and ensure rights to minorities, the 10-point long list included such demands as:

  • to accept the Autonomous Administration as a legal part of the Syrian political system;
  • to guarantee the Autonomous Administration representation in the Syrian Parliament;
  • to use the Autonomous Administration flag alongside the Syrian flag;
  • to allow the Autonomous Administration to conduct its own independent foreign policy;
  • to allow SDF units to keep control of the Syrian border;
  • to keep the SDF security force Asayish as the main security force within northeastern Syria;
  • to distribute “Syrian wealth to the Syrian regions in a fair manner.”

Summing up these claims, the SDF demanded Damascus should legally recognize a de-facto independent US-backed pseudo-state and its military force within Syria and fund this state from the Syrian state budget. This behavior undermined Damascus attempts to launch a real political dialogue to settle differences and the SDF became even more dependent on the US amid open preparations of Turkey for a military action in northeastern Syria. So, when US troops withdrew and the Turkish Army crossed the border, there was nobody to protect the Kurds. President Donald Trump turned up the heat even more by advising the Kurds, if they want US protection, to resettle into oil areas, control of which its administration sees as one of its main priorities.

Therefore, the SDF leaders rushed to reach a protection agreement with Damascus and Russia. Syrian Army troops and Russian Military Police were deployed along the border and the M4 highway limiting the Turks to the area that they had already captured. Moscow negotiated with Ankara a safe zone agreement. The Turkish Army limited its actions to the aforementioned chunk of the border. Rescued SDF units started withdrawal from a 30km zone away from the Turkish border.

Despite this, the SDF and its political representatives continue insisting that the agreement with Damascus is solely a security agreement and political terms and conditions are yet to be negotiated. The group also expressed hopes that it will be able to ‘restore’ dialogue with the US to the level that they had before the troop withdrawal. The SDF even criticized statements by the Syrian Defense and Interior Ministries suggesting SDF members should settle their legal status within the Syrian state and join the army if they want. The SDF claimed that it will not accept any deal that would not “recognize and preserve” the group’s “privacy and structure.” These actions demonstrate that at least a part of the Kurdish leadership has learned little from the Afrin and northeastern Syria cases and still believes that it is in a position to use the language of ultimatums. The involvement of Kurdish leaders in the US-run oil smuggling operations also play a role. It is likely that they do not want to lose revenues from their illegal cooperation with the foreign power that is looting Syrian natural resources.

These factors add additional instability to the situation in northeastern Syria and complicate its further de-escalation. Developments south of Ras al-Ayn where clashes between Kurdish and Turkish-backed fighters have recently erupted, are a result of the lack of coordination in the implementation of the safe zone agreement additionally to the aggressive behavior of both sides.

Nonetheless, the SDF will have to find a kind of political understanding with Damascus because the main and most likely alternative is the resumption of the Turkish offensive.

The Kurdish armed groups known as the SDF have recent experience of betraying the Syrian nation. In the most precarious situation, they abandoned Syria and made a pact with the US, the foreign power that seeks to undermine the country’s territorial integrity and, at that stage of the conflict,  was supporting the actions of al-Qaeda in Syria. There were – as there ought to be – consequences and the SDF suffered them. Washington abandoned its proxies, when it was deemed of higher value to the US to enable Turkey to carry out its offensive, than it was to protect them.

The US is not leaving Syria and the SDF is once again demonstrating that it may be prepared to sell its loyalty for American coin if a proposal were to come their way. However, if such a proposal is made and the SDF sabotages the reconciliation with Damascus, what guarantee is there that the US won’t abandon them once again?

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Washington abandons its Kurdish proxies as Ankara and Damascus step in

October 13, 2019

By Aram Mirzaei

Washington abandons its Kurdish proxies as Ankara and Damascus step in

Even though I have my doubts over whether Washington will actually withdraw from Syria fully, it seems as if their Kurdish proxies in northern Syria have been left to defend for themselves against the ongoing Turkish offensive. I can’t say I’m surprised since Washington has done this to their Kurdish “partners” many times before, yet the Kurdish leadership across Iraq and Syria have failed to learn from history yet again.

Once more, the Kurdish leadership have been proven to have put their faith in the wrong allies. When Moscow stepped into the Syrian war four years ago, Moscow gave the YPG the same offer that Assad had given before: reconcile with Damascus and join forces against terrorism. They refused. Moscow tried again by offering them to set up a consulate in Moscow, inviting them to peace talks in Astana and offering them safety from Turkish attacks, if they agreed to a deal with Damascus, one that respects Syria’s territorial integrity. Moscow even offered talks on a guarantee for future Kurdish participation in Syrian politics. They refused once again, with a spokesperson for the YPG explaining that Washington does not allow them to talk to Moscow. Such was the nature of the US-Kurdish “alliance”.

When the so called “Islamic State” terrorist group was about to collapse in 2017, the US backed “Syrian Democratic Forces”, of which YPG is part of, was quick to grab as much land as possible. Then came the threats against Damascus and the Syrian Army, to back off from entering the eastern shores of the Euphrates. Fortunately, Moscow, Tehran and Damascus saw Washington’s moves early on as they managed to capture the imperative city of Albukamal, located exactly at the Syrian-Iraqi border, before Washington could. In capturing this city, Damascus and Baghdad have been able to re-open the Tehran-Damascus highway stretching from Iran, through Iraq and into Syria, connecting the three countries and enabling the transportation of supplies from Iran to Syria.

The SDF managed to secure many of Syria’s oil fields in their push to capture the eastern parts of the Deir Ezzor province. Having grabbed such a large part of Syria, the Kurdish leadership felt safe with US forces backing them against Damascus.

This stance didn’t seem to change when Turkish forces together with their proxy jihadists launched the Afrin offensive. US forces did nothing to protect their Kurdish vassals from harm as Turkish forces easily captured the entire Afrin Canton within weeks. The Kurdish leadership was offered a deal with Damascus in which control over the Afrin area would be handed over to the Syrian Army before Turkish forces could capture it. Alas this suggestion was refused by the stubborn Kurdish leadership who would rather let Ankara and the Jihadists capture that area.

So 18 months later, the US has seemingly withdrawn and abandoned the Kurdish-led militias to fend for themselves against Ankara and a hostile Damascus. Not so surprising considering Washington’s track record. The Turkish Army and its proxies launched their offensive on Wednesday and quickly announced gains that same day. Since then, several towns along with the border city of Tal Abyad have fallen into Turkish hands as reports have emerged that imprisoned ISIS militants have escaped from their prisons as a result of Turkish bombardments of several prisons in the Hasakah province.

The offensive has caught an enormous amount of media attention, as the Kurds have for long been the Western Media darlings, capturing many people’s hearts with footage of young armed women battling the perverted terrorist forces of the “Islamic State”.

Washington and the European vassals have all howled and voiced their “concerns” over Turkey’s offensive. Some have called for resolutions and embargoes on Turkey for “violating international law” and “endangering the region”. What a joke! Look at the people expressing their “concern”: Hillary Clinton, Lindsey Graham and Nikki Haley. These are some of the people that are concerned that Turkey is “endangering the region”.

Now when Twitter is being filled with videos of executed Kurdish fighters, these people recognize the same “FSA” militants that they used to cheer for to execute Syrian soldiers, for what they are, barbarian scum.

Just a few days after the commencement of the offensive, Kurdish officials began contemplating the idea of turning to Moscow and Damascus for help, but not before asking Washington one last time to confirm their betrayal. SDF General Mazloum Kobani openly indicated in an interview with CNN that dealing with Moscow and Damascus is an option if the US fails to protect the Kurds from Turkey. “I need to know if you are capable of protecting my people, of stopping these bombs falling on us or not. I need to know, because if you’re not, I need to make a deal with Russia and the regime now and invite their planes to protect this region”, Kobani said.

What a sad statement. He needs a receipt of Washington’s betrayal, as if it was a surprise when he and his colleagues have been warned for years about Washington’s treacherous nature. Reports have previously suggested the amassing of Syrian Army forces near Manbij in the Aleppo province, with the aim of entering and taking over the area. The same has been said about Hasakah and Qamishli in the northeastern parts of the country. If true, then this would create a situation similar to the one two years ago when the Islamic State was collapsing. As mentioned before, back in 2017, as the Islamic State was collapsing, the SAA and the US-backed SDF were racing to capture as much territory as possible. This resulted in the Euphrates turning into a demarcation line between SAA and SDF controlled territory, a line that has been in place since 2017. Now, it seems as if a new race is on, as the Syrian Army is racing against time, with the jihadists rapidly advancing and are inching closer to Raqqa city.

If the Kurdish militias are willing to cooperate, then Damascus must be harsh in its demands. The Kurdish militias must hand over their weapons and the territory they’re occupying if they want to have any chance of surviving the Turkish-led onslaught. But they need to act quickly, time is running out for the Kurdish militiamen.

Will the Kurds choose poorly again?

Turkification, Crimes of Killing and Kidnapping Continue in Syrian Areas Occupied by Turkish Regime

Deeds not words

Turkification, Crimes of Killing and Kidnapping Continue in Syrian Areas Occupied by Turkish Regime

ST

Wednesday, 21 August 2019 09:09

DAMASCUS, (ST)– The Turkish-backed terrorist organizations and mercenaries alongside the Turkish occupation forces in the Syrian city of Afrin continue to commit murder and kidnapping crimes  against the locals in the areas that have been occupied by Turkey since March 2018. These crimes have been accompanied by an active Turkification campaign by Turkish occupation in the areas under its control.

According to local and media sources, a civilian from Afrin in Aleppo northwestern countryside was recently tortured to death at the prisons of the Turkish backed “Al-Hamzat Free Army” terrorist group. Another civilian was kidnapped in the vicinity of the city by another terror group called “al-Amshat Free Army”. The kidnappers asked his family to pay $3000 ransom to release him.

The sources also revealed that a person was found killed by unknown gunmen in Azaz city in Aleppo northern countryside which is controlled by the so-called “Free Army”. Such crimes have been repeatedly committed in the areas controlled by Turkish-affiliated terrorist groups.

Since its occupation of Afrin in March 2018, the Turkish regime, led by Recep Tayyib Erdogan, has adopted a Turkification policy that has affected all aspects of life in the city. The regime replaced the Arabic names of some areas and main squares with Turkish names.   It also changed the names of the villages and towns into Turkish names in an attempt to  wipe out their real identity. For example, the Turkish occupation replaced the name of a town called “Qastal Mikdad” with the Turkish name “Saljoki Obasi” and named the main square in Afrin as “Ataturk”. All these provocative acts go in line with Erdogan’s Ottoman aspirations which are based on occupation, looting and violations of international laws and conventions.

Turkey’s attempts to Turkify the Syrian cities, towns and villages, such as Azaz, al-Bab, Jarablus and Afrin, included also the naming of some Syrian schools in these areas after Turkish officers who were killed while invading the Syrian territories.  The Turkish flag is hoisted over these schools and the Turkish language is imposed as a main subject in the curricula.

In addition, the Turkish occupation and its mercenaries have forced Afrin residents to obtain new identity cards to use them at “official” circles in the city, according to tens of media and local sources. This behavior is reminiscent of the Zionist occupation’s practices in the occupied Syrian Golan and Palestine.

Edogan’s regime, through its terrorist tools, has also attempted to undermine the cultural and historical Arab identity of the area through destroying all its archeological monuments and historical icons. The Turkish warplanes have destroyed many archeological sites in Afrin including Ain Dara temple and the archeological sites of  al-Nabi Houri and Tal Jandares. They even destroyed the archeological site of Barad in Afrin which was included in the UNESCO World Heritage list, not to mention the acts of vandalism in the tombs and archeological sites in search for artifacts, gold and other historical treasures.

Hamda Mustafa

القتل والخطف والتتريك.. ممارسات يومية لنظام أردوغان ومرتزقته الإرهابيين بحق الأهالي في منطقة عفرين وريف حلب الشمالي

في إطار الوظيفة المنوطة بهم يواصل مرتزقة النظام التركي من التنظيمات الإرهابية المنتشرة جنباً إلى جنب مع قوات الاحتلال التركي في منطقة عفرين ممارساتهم الإرهابية والقمعية المتمثلة بعمليات القتل والاختطاف بحق الأهالي والمتاجرة بأرواحهم في تلك المناطق التي احتلتها قوات نظام أردوغان الإخواني في آذار من العام الماضي.

وأفادت مصادر أهلية وإعلامية بوفاة أحد المدنيين من أهالي منطقة عفرين تحت التعذيب في إحدى زنزانات سجون ما يسمى فرقة «الحمزات الجيش الحر» الإرهابية إحدى أدوات نظام أردوغان الإجرامية بمدينة عفرين في ريف حلب الشمالي الغربي وذلك بالتوازي مع إقدام ما يسمى «فصيل العمشات الجيش الحر» الإرهابي على اختطاف شخص آخر في محيط المدينة ومطالبة ذويه بدفع 3 آلاف دولار أميركي فدية لإطلاق سراحه.

وفي مدينة أعزاز بريف حلب الشمالي الخاضعة لمجموعات ما يسمى «الجيش الحر» الخاضعة لنظام أردوغان أيضاً كشفت المصادر أنه تم العثور على شخص مقتول على أيدي مسلحين مجهولين في حادثة تكررت عديد المرات بحق الأهالي في المناطق التي تنتشر فيها مجموعات إرهابية تتبع مباشرة لسلطات النظام التركي.
وتشهد مدينة عفرين وريفها منذ احتلالها من قوات النظام التركي في الثامن عشر من آذار من العام الماضي محاولات متواصلة من نظام أردوغان لفرض مخططاته فيها معتمداً ممارسات طالت كل مناحي الحياة فاستبدل أسماء المناطق والساحات الرئيسة بأسماء تركية بالتوازي مع محاولاته طمس الهوية الحقيقية عبر تغيير اسم البلدات والقرى إلى أسماء تركية كما فعل في بلدة قسطل مقداد التي استبدل اسمها إلى الاسم التركي «سلجوقي أوباصي» وأطلق اسم «أتاتورك» على الساحة الرئيسة في مدينة عفرين وتعدى ذلك إلى تغيير معالم المناطق فيها بما ينسجم مع أوهامه العثمانية القائمة على الاحتلال والسلب ومخالفة القوانين والمواثيق الدولية.

محاولات النظام التركي تتريك المدن والقرى والبلدات السورية الواقعة شمال البلاد مثل أعزاز والباب وجرابلس وعفرين شملت أيضاً إطلاق أسماء ضباط أتراك قتلوا خلال اجتياحهم الأراضي السورية شمال شرق حلب ومدينة عفرين وغيرها على المدارس السورية وفرض اللغة التركية مادة أساسية في مناهج التدريس مع تغيير كبير فيها ورفع العلم التركي عليها.

وأكدت عشرات التقارير الإعلامية إضافة لمصادر أهلية من المنطقة أن قوات الاحتلال التركي بالتعاون مع مرتزقتها من الإرهابيين ألزمت السكان باستخراج بطاقات شخصية جديدة لاستخدامها في الدوائر «الرسمية» بالمدينة بما يحاكي ما أقدمت عليه قوات الاحتلال الصهيوني في الجولان وفلسطين المحتلة كما عمدت إلى ضبط التوقيت الزمني في هذه المناطق بالتوقيت الزمني لتركيا.

إضافة لما سبق عمد نظام أردوغان عبر مرتزقته الإرهابيين إلى طمس الهوية الحضارية والتاريخية للمنطقة عبر تدمير جميع الأوابد الأثرية التي تدل على عروبة المنطقة حيث أقدمت قواته وطائراته على تدمير العديد من المواقع الأثرية في منطقة عفرين كمعبد عين دارة وموقع النبي هوري قورش وتل جنديرس الأثري إضافة إلى موقع براد الأثري الواقع جنوب مدينة عفرين والمسجل على لائحة مواقع التراث العالمي لمنظمة الأمم المتحدة للتربية والعلم والثقافة «يونيسكو» عدا عن عمليات البحث وتجريف بعض المواقع والمقابر بحثاً عن لقى أثرية وكنوز ذهب معتمدين على خرائط حصلوا عليها خلال عمليات نهب وسرقة مديريات الآثار والمتاحف في عدة مدن قبل اندحار الإرهابيين منها.

sana

   ( الثلاثاء 2019/08/20 SyriaNow)

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Syrian War Report – August 19, 2019: Tiger Forces Advance To Encircle Khan Shaykhun

South Front

Government forces are rapidly advancing in southern Idlib inflicting large casualties to radical militant groups.

During the weekend, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the Tiger Forces and their allies have liberated the villages of Khirbat Abidin, Hursh al-Tawilah, Mughr Hunta, the farms of Nijm, Nisr and al-Safar, and the Nar Hill. According to pro-government sources, at least 7 units of military equipment and 2 dozens of militants were eliminated in recent clashes.

In own turn, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its allies carried out several counter-attacks involving suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices in Madayah and northwest of Khan Shaykhun. Despite some tactical successes, they were not able to turn the tide of the battle and stop the SAA advance.

Government forces are currently aiming to cut off the M5 highway and encircle the town of Khan Shaykhun and other militant positions to the south of it.

On August 17, members of the Turkish-backed National Syrian Army (NSA) shelled positions of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) at the town of Tell Rifaat and the nearby villages of Zyuan, Nyrabia and Tell Madiq in northern Aleppo. According to pro-YPG sources, the shelling also targeted a positions of the Russian Military Police near Tell Rifaat. No casualties among Russian personnel were reported.

The NSA shelling started in response to an attack by YPG-linked Kurdish rebels in the Afrin Region. The rebels’ attack resulted in the deaths of 5 Turkish-backed militants. Tell Rifaat and its surroundings are under the joint control of the YPG and the SAA. YPG-linked cells use this area as a safe heaven to carry out attacks on Turkey-led forces in northern Aleppo thus provoking Turkish responses and increasing tensions between Damascus and Ankara.

Russian forces are establishing several positions in the southern Deir Ezzor countryside, pro-opposition media reported on August 16 citing local sources. The reports claimed that Russian units are working to establish new positions in the town of al-Jalaa.

Located less than 30km away from the border with Iraq, al-Jalaa is one of the largest towns in the western part of the Middle Euphrates River Valley. A highway leading to al-Qa’im border crossing passes through the town.

The deployment of Russian forces in al-Jalaa could be related to the near opening of the Syrian-Iraqi border as well as the ongoing security operations against the remaining ISIS cells in the region.

GOVERNMENT TROOPS ARE STORMING KHAN SHAYKHUN AFTER CUTTING OFF M5 HIGHWAY NORTH OF IT (MAPS)

Government Troops Are Storming Khan Shaykhun After Cutting Off M5 Highway North Of It (Maps)

Click to see the full-size image

Late on August 19, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the Tiger Forces and other pro-government factions started storming the town of Khan Shaykhun in southern Idlib.

Earlier on the same day, government troops seized several important hills north of Khan Shaykhun and cut off the M5 highway, which Turkish forces attempted to use to enter the town.

According to some pro-government sources, members of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other radical groups have started withdrawing from Khan Shaykhun. Reports are also circulating that militants are planning to withdraw from the entire northern Hama parea. Nonetheless, these reports still have to be confirmed.

The situation is developing.

Government Troops Are Storming Khan Shaykhun After Cutting Off M5 Highway North Of It (Maps)

Click to see the full-size image

Syrian Army breaks through militant lines to advance on Khan Sheikhoun: video

 

BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:00 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) scored a big advance in the southern countryside of the Idlib Governorate this past week after cracking the militant lines near the key city of Khan Sheikhoun.

Chronicling the Syrian Arab Army’s advance in southern Idlib was the Anna News Agency, who captured exclusive footage of the military’s operations and push towards Khan Sheikhoun.

“On August 13, the Tiger Forces faced a challenge. In one night, they had to go half the distance between the cities of Hobeit and Khan Sheikhoun,” the Anna News said.

“When the last gleams of the sun went out over the horizon, the Tiger Forces set their machine in motion. But the Syrian movements did not go unnoticed. Detachments of militants prepared to meet the Tigers with everything they had,” they continued.

“We were especially struck by the number of artillery shells that the militants fired at us. After taking the strategic height of Tel Ays, the strategic city of Khan Sheikhoun was clearly visible. Everyone expected that the troops would go to storm the city, but instead the troops turned north,” they added.

Since this video was posted, the Syrian Arab Army has begun their attack to capture Khan Sheikhoun from the militant forces in southern Idlib.

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Syria warns US-Turkey safe zone deal is a plot for “expansionist ambitions”

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Syria warns US-Turkey safe zone deal is a plot for “expansionist ambitions”

Monday, August 12, 2019

After three days of intense negotiations in Ankara, US and Turkish officials reached an agreement on Wednesday to create a joint operations center and set up a safe zone east of the Euphrates in north eastern Syria. Deal details have not yet been disclosed.

This last minute deal between Washington and Ankara is in response to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s announcement on Sunday that Turkey was prepared to carry out a unilateral cross-border operation to push back Kurdish militias on the Syrian Turkish border east of the Euphrates river, if the Washington didn’t cut ties with the Kurdish militias and create a safe zone in northern Syria.

The two NATO allies agreed that the Turkish based joint operations center would be created as soon as possible to address Turkey’s security concerns.  The safe zone would become a “peace corridor”, and efforts would be made so that Syrian refugees could return home.

However, wanting peace is just a front for Erdogan’s true motives. The Syrian government categorically rejects the deal as a blatant attack on Syria’s territorial sovereignty and warns of Erdogan’s real reasons for establishing a so-called safe-zone on Syrian soil.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry said “The agreement constitutes a partnership between the US and Turkey over aggression against Syria that would serve the interest of the Israeli occupation entity. It also reflects how evasive and misleading the policies of the Turkish regime are.”

On Thursday an official Syrian source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told SANA “Syria expresses categorical rejection of the agreement announced by the US and Turkish occupations on establishing the so-called [safe zone] which constitutes a blatant aggression against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic and a flagrant violation of the principles of international law and the UN Charter,”.

Turkey is using the excuse of protecting its borders against the US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who Turkey views as the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), to fulfill its long-term mission of expanding its territory by invading and balkanizing its sovereign neighbor.

Many nations including the United States, who designated the PKK as a terrorist group in 1997, and Turkey who has been in conflict with the PKK since their inception in 1984, consider them to be a terrorist organization.

Another Turkish goal is to replace the indigenous diverse ethnic population in northern Syrian with extremists that are sympathetic to Erdogan, like we have seen in Afrin and other towns on Turkey’s border in northern Syria.

Erdogan’s plans for invasion and annexation will put Christian minorities in danger, some of whom can trace their lineage back to the original inhabitants of this land. However, Kurdish militias have also targeted them by using forced conscription and other Daesh-like intimidation tactics. The Kurdish Connection: Israel, ISIS And U.S. Efforts To Destabilize Iran explains more about how Kurdish militias have been used by the US to achieve their own objectives in the Middle East.

statement issued by the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs states “This agreement has very clearly exposed the US-Turkish partnership in the aggression against Syria which serves the interest of the Israeli occupation entity and the Turkish expansionist ambitions and it unequivocally exposed the misleading and evasiveness which govern the policies of the Turkish regime.”

“Syria calls on the Arab people to be aware of the dangers of the expansionist ambitions of the Turkish regime which is spreading the killing and chaos in different parts of the Arab world from Syria to Libya and the Sudan and it will not stop till it will satisfy its illusions on reviving the Ottoman Sultanate,” the source said.

The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs representative concluded by saying that “Syria calls on the international community and the UN to condemn the US-Turkish flagrant aggression which constitutes a dangerous escalation and poses a threat to peace and security in the region and the world and hinders all positive efforts for finding a solution to the crisis in Syria.”

All the major players involved in the proxy war in Syria, including Turkey, Russia, and Iran want the US to leave, except of course the US-backed Kudish SDF which are just a rebranding of the YPG.

US President Donald Trump has expressed interest multiple times in a swift troop withdrawal ,and to let the local regional players figure things out. However, the war hawks surrounding him in Washington, along with the Pentagon have derailed his plans since last December. They have stressed that US interests need to be protected by having a long-term presence in the oil-rich, agriculturally rich, breadbasket of Syria, to keep an eye on Iran while protecting their ally, Israel.

As I have stated previously establishing an independent Kurdish state in Syria is just part of the decades-long Israeli-American plan to weaken and divide all the nations neighboring Israel.

Although it might seem like Russia has been uncharacteristically quiet this week regarding the latest developments with Turkey and the US in north eastern Syria, Russia has consistently stood by the Syrian government’s right to protect its territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Whether its occupation and annexation by the Kurds or Turks, Kurdification or Turkification, the Syrian government and military categorically reject any infringement on their land, and have adamantly stated they will take back every inch of Syrian territory from terrorists or occupiers.

Source: InfoBrics

 

SYRIAN WAR REPORT – JULY 5, 2019: BRITISH MARINES SEIZED IRANIAN OIL TANKER

South Front

On July 4, a detachment of Royal Marines and the authorities in Gibraltar seized a supertanker suspected of carrying oil to Syria on the belief it was breaching EU sanctions. 30 Royal Marines from 42 Commando were involved in the operation targeting Grace 1 that had sailed from Iran. The operation was made upon request from the US and the UK. If the oil on board is confirmed to be Iranian, the tanker would also be violating a US ban on Iranian oil exports.

Later, Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador in Tehran, Rob Macaire, over the incident describing it as an “illegal seizure”. Nonetheless, it’s unlikely that the tanker will be released soon. Such operations mark the start of a new round of pressure campaign on the government of the Bashar al-Assad as well as Iranian oil exports in the region.

On July 3 and July 4, a fighting broke out between the Turkish-backed militant group known as the National Syrian Army and joint forces of the Syrian Army and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) near the town of Hazwan in northern Aleppo. Turkish-backed militants admitted that at least 2 of their fighters were killed.

The army and the YPG jointly control an area between Afrin and the eastern countryside of al-Bab. Some Russian Military Police units are also deployed in key positions there. Tensions at the contact line between this area and the Turkish-occupied part of Syria grow after every successful attack of Kurdish rebels on Turkish targets in Afrin.

Several senior commanders of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) have inspected the frontlines with the Syrian Army in northwestern Hama. The TIP released photos of the visit on July 2. They faces of the commanders are blurred but they may have been Abu Rida al-Turkistani and Ibrahim Mansour, the top commanders of the TIP.

The interesting fact is that the visit took place in the area near to the Turkish military observation post in Shir Mughar. It confirms the freedom of movement that terrorist groups have under the nose of Turkish troops that allegedly deployed there to prevent such developments. Under the demilitarized zone agreement radicals like the TIP and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham have to be withdrawn from the contact line. Nonetheless, this has never happened.

SYRIAN WAR REPORT – APRIL 1, 2019: US SAYS SYRIAN ARMY MUST WITHDRAW FROM GOLAN HEIGHTS’ CONTACT LINE

SOUTH FRONT

01.04.2019

Over 50 ISIS members were eliminated by strikes of the US-led coalition in the outskirt of the town of al-Baghuz al-Fawqani in the Euphrates Valley over the past few days, local sources reported. The airstrikes were a part of the operation of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the coalition in the area, which is ongoing despite a formal US statement declaring defeat over ISIS.

According to local sources, a notable number of ISIS members is still hiding in a network of caves and underground tunnels in the area.

Besides this, ISIS cells within the SDF-held area have recently carried out a series of attacks killing at least 10 SDF members near the town of Diban and in the area of the Omar oil fields, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates.

On March 28, General Commander of the SDF Ferhat Abdi Sahin claimed that the group, which includes the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and their all-female faction, the Woman’s Protection Units (YPJ), had made a decision to capture the area of Afrin from Turkish forces.

“We are preparing and making arrangements in order to liberate Afrin … Because this is a military matter, everyone should know that when the time is suitable, the liberation phase will begin,” he said in an interview with Sterk TV.

Currently, the SDF has no land route to Afrin from northeastern Syria while YPG and YPJ control only a few positions to south and southeast of the area. Therefore, SDF statements regarding the military advance on Afrin should are just a political move designed in an attempt to buy support of the Syrian population. The group, which deeply relies on the foreign support to control northeastern Syria, is currently facing notable problems with the control over the Arab-populated areas seized from ISIS.

While the SDF has no real chances to capture Afrin itself, YPG and YPJ cells conduct attacks on Turkey-led forces on a regular basis. On March 31, a Turkish service member was killed and one was injured an attack by Kurdish rebels, according to Turkey’s Ministry of National Defense.

Following the announcement, the Turkish military artillery fired more than 100 shells at YPG positions in the towns of Tatmrsh and Shuargha. No casualties as a result of the shelling were reported.

The US-led coalition and its proxies from the so-called Revolutionary Commando Army continue to prevent evacuation of civilians from the Rukban refugee camp. They even held a live-fire drill involving High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems near the US garrison of al-Tanf located in the same area.

The situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone remains unchanged. The ceasefire regime is violated almost on a daily basis. Firefights and artillery dues are especially intense in northern Hama and southern Idlib.

On March 28, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came with a new statement claiming that his  country will continue working against Iranian presence in Syria. The statement shows that the Israeli military is set to continue its military campaign in Syria.

In own turn, the US did not limit its recent actions in support of Tel Aviv to recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory. It also demanded the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) to withdraw from the separation line area established in the framework of the 1974 Disengagement Agreement. US-Israeli efforts to force the SAA to do so could easily turn the Golan Heights into a new hot point and fuel the Syrian conflict further.

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