The Qatar-Syria stand off: Enemies to the end

For various reasons related to political leverage, regional grandstanding, and outright animosity, Qatar is likely to remain the last Arab state to return to Syria.

May 05 2023

Photo Credit: The Cradle

ByThe Cradle’s Syria Correspondent

While most Arab countries have already moved to reestablish relations with the Syrian government – in line with a regional and international recognition of the failure to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad after a dozen years – some Arab states, led by Qatar, are out of sync, opposing rapprochement with Damascus.

Doha’s ongoing refusal to normalize ties with Damascus raises many questions, especially as it contradicts the trend of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, under Saudi leadership, to restore relations with Syria to their pre-war levels.

It also contradicts the attempts of Qatar’s only regional strategic ally, Turkiye, to resolve its differences with Damascus, abandon its decade-long enmity with Syria, in a Russian-mediated effort to solve a wide range of problems between the two neighbors. The most prominent of these issues is the removal of Turkish troops from northern Syrian territories, the crisis of Syrian refugees and displaced civilians on both sides of the border, and the growing capabilities of US-backed, secessionist Kurds leading a “self-administration” project inside large swathes of eastern and northern Syria, which Turkiye sees as a threat to its soft underbelly.

Today, Qatar appears to be virtually the only Arab regional state actively toeing the rejectionist position of the US and EU in refusing to open up to the government in Damascus.

The Qatari betrayal of Syria

With the ascension of President Assad to power in 2000, Syrian-Qatari relations witnessed a significant improvement, reaching a climax with Israel’s July 2006 war on Lebanon and then its 2008 war on the Gaza Strip.

Qatar’s public posture appeared firmly supportive of both the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance, and Doha became a major funder of the post-war reconstruction of areas destroyed by Israeli attacks. This coincided with the improvement of relations between Qatar and Hamas, the Palestinian resistance’s most prominent faction.

Between 2000 and 2011, relations between Doha and Damascus strengthened outside of the conventional political arena. Assad and former Emir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani struck up a personal relationship, and the latter paid numerous visits to Damascus.

With the 2011 outbreak of unrest in Syria, signs of a clear and unexpected Qatari shift began via Al-Jazeera – Doha’s most prominent media outlet – and its biased, often inciteful coverage of events in Syria. Sequentially, the political stances of Qatar, Hamas, and Turkiye began to change, with Doha and Ankara pressing for Damascus to alter its position on the banned Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood – designated a terrorist organization – and to include it in governance.

When Damascus completely rejected the Qatari and Turkish demands, the unrest in Syria turned from civil disobedience to armed assault, which began to expand rapidly throughout the country. Turkiye opened its borders to foreign fighters from all over the world, with Arab states of the Persian Gulf funding – initially led by Qatar – amounting to billions of dollars, according to the Financial Times.

As the war on Syria expanded, a US-led alliance was formed to train Syrian fighters, and two command centers were established, “MOC” (Military Operations Command) in Jordan, and “MOM” (Müşterek Operasyon Merkezi) in Turkiye.

The task of overthrowing the Syrian government was transferred to Riyadh, led by former intelligence chief Bandar Bin Sultan, who demanded a budget of $2 trillion, according to Bin Jassim. With the growing emergence of “jihadi” terrorist organizations, led by ISIS and the Nusra Front, Syrian authorities lost control over massive swathes of territory and a partial blockade was imposed on Damascus.

The Syrian war entered a new phase in 2015, after Russian military forces intervened at the request of Damascus. Less than a month later, the US launched an “international coalition” to militarily intervene in Syria under the pretext of fighting ISIS. This changed the contours of the war map. With the help of foreign allied forces, including Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah, the Syrian government regained control of much of the country, and established the ‘Astana process’ with Russia, Turkiye, and Iran to demilitarize areas outside of US and Kurdish separatist control.

Qatar’s continued Syrian role

Despite an ostensible decline in Qatar’s role in the Syrian war, Doha has not followed in the footsteps of most Gulf countries, who recognized their efforts to unseat Assad had failed. Even the Saudis, who played an oversized role in the assault against Damascus, dialed down their rhetoric against Syria in recent years, and have now moved to reconcile with Assad and his government.

Instead, Qatar’s adversarial footprint in Syria has continued unabated. It maintains its relationships with various Syrian opposition factions, including the Al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front (which controls Idlib and areas in the countryside of Aleppo), and has transformed the Syrian embassy in Doha into an operations room for adversaries of Syria.

Syrian opposition sources tell The Cradle that Doha continues its ties with all the armed factions in northern Syria, including the Levant Front, the National Army – which it co-funds with Turkiye – and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

These relationships guarantee Doha – which has pumped billions of dollars into the Syrian war – a desirable modicum of influence in northern and northwestern Syria. The Qataris have bet heavily on the jihadist factions there; these militias are less expensive to maintain because of their efficiencies in self-financing and on the battlefield. Furthermore, the jihadi groups have ultimately proven to be more loyal to Qatar’s interests, especially Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the former Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria.

Likewise, the presence of more than a million Syrians in hundreds of encampments near the Turkish border provides Doha – which has financed the construction of towns for the displaced in this region – with additional leverage to be used on Damascus when the moment arises.

This partially explains the reasons for Qatar’s continued refusal to restore relations with Damascus and approve the return of Syria to the Arab League. Doha seeks to exert leverage and extract a price from the Assad government in any future Syrian solution. But there are several other factors that impact Qatari intransigence on the Syrian issue:

First, Qatar currently hosts the largest US Central Command (CENTCOM) military base in West Asia, and Washington outright rejects any and all rapprochement initiatives with Damascus.

Second, is Assad’s refusal to normalize relations with Turkiye pending a wholesale withdrawal of Turkish military forces from occupied Syrian territories. So long as Syrian-Turkish differences remain unresolved, Doha will not move to improve its own ties with Damascus.

Third, is Syria’s own refusal to normalize relations with Qatar without the latter paying a substantial price for its role in inciting, expanding, and militarizing the conflict. Qatar is a small, wealthy emirate, far from Syria’s borders. Unlike other regional supporters of opposition militias – such as Saudi Arabia, Turkiye, and the UAE, who exercise substantial regional influence – Qatar has little value for Damascus other than the outsized wealth it can contribute to Syria’s reconstruction.

However, these deeply-embedded Syrian-Qatari differences do not preclude Syria’s return to the Arab League fold, from which it was suspended in 2011. Qatar cannot afford to exercise a veto on Syria’s return all by itself, nor will the organization tolerate being held up on this critical inter-Arab issue solely based on Doha’s stubborn refusal.

On 7 May, Arab foreign ministers will meet in Cairo specifically to discuss Syria’s Arab League restitution. Arab diplomatic sources inform The Cradle that the mere convening of the League Council at this extraordinary political level means that there is an agreement to endorse the Syrian return. They say that the council is likely to discuss two proposals: The first, submitted by Saudi Arabia, will require Qatar to abstain from voting, and the second is for Syria to initially return to the League as an “observer,” with the provision that it regains its full membership next year.

As for Kuwait and Morocco, which also ostensibly reject Syria’s return, the diplomatic sources reveal that Saudi Arabia has managed to persuade them not to oppose its proposal, which will make it easier for Doha “not to oppose what the member states of the Arab League are unanimously agreed upon.”

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.


Arab LeagueBashar al-AssadHayat Tahrir al ShamNusra FrontQatarSaudi ArabiaSyriaSyrian normalizationTurkeyTurkiye

ما لا ينتبه له الكثيرون بين سورية وإيران مع زيارة رئيسي

 الإثنين 1 أيار 2023

ناصر قنديل

تمثّل زيارة الرئيس الإيراني السيد إبراهيم رئيسي أول زيارة لرئيس إيراني لسورية منذ الأزمة التي عصفت بسورية والحرب التي شنّت عليها قبل اثنتي عشرة سنة، وكانت آخر زيارة لرئيس إيراني الى دمشق قد قام بها الرئيس أحمدي نجاد، وخرجت منها الصورة الشهيرة التي تجمعه بالرئيس السوري بشار الأسد وقائد المقاومة الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله، والتي اعتبرها البعض أحد أسباب الحرب الأميركية الإسرائيلية على سورية، بصفتها أول إعلان عن تشكيل نواة لمحور المقاومة. ومع زيارة الرئيس رئيسي تنتشر تعليقات وتحليلات ومواقف تتحدّث عن فرضية ضغوط إيرانية على سورية للتنازل عن شروطها لعقد لقاء قمة يجمع الرئيس الأسد بالرئيس التركي رجب أردوغان.

ما لا ينتبه له الكثيرون أن الحديث يدور عن دولتين تلاقى نظام الحكم في كل منهما على بناء جسر استراتيجيّ لا يهتزّ منذ قرابة خمسة وأربعين عاماً، هي عمر انتصار الثورة الإسلامية في إيران وارتباط سورية معها بهذا التحالف الاستراتيجي، الذي وجدت فيه سورية تعويضاً عن خروج مصر مع اتفاقيات كامب ديفيد من الصراع مع كيان الاحتلال. وقد لا تكون في العام دولتان يحكمهما نظام مستقر بقيادة لون سياسي واحد يحافظ على إدارته للدولة خلال مثل هذه المدة الطويلة وترتبطان بعلاقة مشابهة، ونجحتا خلال هذه المدة الطويلة بتجاوز محطات شديدة الصعوبة واحتواء حروب وضغوط وحصار، فوقفتا معاً وراء المقاومة في لبنان حتى انتصارها عام 2000، وانتصرتا معها في حرب تموز 2006 ومثلها مع المقاومة في فلسطين حتى تحرير غزة عام 2005 وانتصرتا معها في حرب 2008، وتحملتا معاً أعباء دعم المقاومة في العراق لاستنزاف الاحتلال الأميركي وإجباره على الانسحاب عام 2011، وكانت التجربة الأهم والأعظم لهما في الانتصار على الحرب الكونية التي تعرّضت لها سورية، والنصر الأهم فيها كان على تنظيم داعش، في سورية والعراق، وصولاً الى إنتاج تحالف ثلاثي سوري إيراني روسي كان له الأثر الفاصل مع قوى المقاومة في فرض مسار من الانتصارات انطلاقاً من معارك حلب وصولاً الى الغوطة والجنوب والشمال في معارك دير الزور والبوكمال. وينطلق السوريون والإيرانيون من هذا الإرث العظيم لمناقشة كيفية مواصلة الطريق حتى تستعيد سورية عافيتها السياسية والاقتصادية، بصفتها، الركن الواقف على خط الأعاصير لهذا الحلف، فهي شرفة الحلف على المتوسط وهي جبهته على حدود فلسطين المحتلة، والتعافي السياسي هو بسط الدولة لكامل سيادتها على حدودها كما كانت عام 2011، والتعافي الاقتصادي هو استعادة الثورات النفطيّة التي تمكن الدولة من تشغيل اقتصادها انطلاقاً من إعادة الحياة لقطاع الكهرباء بكامل جهوزيته.

تدرك إيران بعمق أكثر من غيرها أن أي مطالبة لسورية بالتهاون في التوصيف والموقف من الاحتلال التركي، سوف يعني ثلاث نتائج مباشرة، الأولى هي توفير الغطاء لبقاء الاحتلال الأميركي، والثانية هي مزيد من التصلب لدى الجماعات الكردية المسلحة بخلفية الاستثمار على بقاء الاحتلال الأميركي، والثالثة هي فتح الطريق لإضعاف مشروع الدولة السورية، ما يعني فتح الطريق لاستعادة الجماعات الإرهابية التي يتقاسم الأميركيون والأتراك رعايتها بعض الروح التي فقدتها، وعودتها الى التوسّع خصوصاً في المناطق الرمادية كحال صحراء تدمر؛ بينما التمسك بدعم الموقف السوري بالمطالبة بموقف سياسي تركي واضح لجهة الالتزام بالانسحاب من الأراضي السورية، فسوف يعني إشعار الأميركيين بأن عليهم المسارعة بالانسحاب قبل أن يصبح احتلالهم مكشوفا بلا غطاء مع بدء جدولة الانسحاب التركي، وسوف يعني إشعار الجماعات الكردية ان الأميركي لن يبقى في سورية وأن لا ملاذ لها إلا العودة الى الدولة السورية والتفاوض معها على حلول سياسية. وهذا سوف يعني إشعار الجماعات الإرهابية بأنها باتت بلا غطاء وأن اي تحرك طائش سوف يُسرع بنهايتها، وهذا يعني تزعزع الكانتونات الانفصالية شمال شرق وشمال غرب سورية، وتلك هي وصفة التعافي التي تريدها إيران كما تريدها روسيا لسورية.

عشية زيارة الرئيس بشار الأسد الى موسكو قيل وكتب الكثير عن فرضية مشابهة لضغوط روسية على سورية للتخلي عن شروطها، لكن الحصيلة كانت أن اللقاء الذي جمع الرئيس الأسد بالرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين لم يستهلك سوى دقائق معدودة لحسم هذا الأمر بتبني وجهة نظر الأسد، الذي أعاد تأكيدها عبر منابر الإعلام الروسي من موسكو.

– قمة رئيسي والأسد سوف تخرج سياسياً بما يعزّز موقع سورية واقتصادياً بما ينعش اقتصادها.

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Syria Rising from the Ashes of Twelve Years of Hybrid War


Vanessa Beeley

I talk with Syrian journalist and analyst Kevork Almassian about the recent seismic events in Syria starting with the earthquake on February 6th and culminating in some unexpected and positive geopolitical shifts towards a new Pan-Arabism in the region.

We discuss what the US, UK and Israel can do to prevent normalisation of trade and economic relations between Syria and former US/UK/Israel-allies in the destabilisation project that began in 2011. The US occupation will end sooner or later and while Israel flexes its military muscles for war it knows it is faced with an unprecedented Resistance unity and military prowess in the region that threatens its existence. Turkey is painting itself into a very tight corner – which way will it turn, East or West? All these questions are discussed in depth.

Syria Assistant FM: Turkey Military Withdrawal Prerequisite to Normalize Ties

 April 4, 2023

Source: SANA

Syria Assistant FM Dr. Ayman Sousan

Head of the Syrian delegation, Assistant Foreign and Expatriates Minister, Dr. Ayman Sousan , affirmed that Turkey’s formal and unequivocal announcement that it will withdraw its forces from all Syrian lands, and to start withdrawal from these lands, is “the gateway to re-establish communication between the two sides,” stressing that restoring the situation in the northeast and northwest of Syria to what it used to be requires conditions can be realized by preserving Syria’s sovereignty and unity, withdrawing of illegal forces, combating terrorism, and restoring of the Syrian state’s control over all its territory.

Sousan noted in a speech before the quadripartite meeting of the assistant foreign ministers of Syria, Russia, Iran and Turkey, which is being held in the Russian capital, Moscow, that Syria has been subjected to an unprecedented terrorist war during the past 12 years, with full and unlimited planning and support from some Western, regional and Arab countries, where the foreign terrorists came from more than 100 states, according to UN reports. “Unfortunately, this was through neighboring countries,” he added.

“We thank the Russian and Iranian friends for their valuable assistance to Syria in confronting terrorism, and we appreciate their supportive position throughout these years, but on the other hand, we cannot overlook the fact that other countries have taken a different path, as they took advantage of the situation created by this war to illegally send their forces to Syria and be present on its territory without any invitation or coordination with the legitimate government, not to mention their support to terrorist groups in Syria.” , Sousan said.

The illegal military presence on Syrian territory violates the provisions of international law

Sousan added that the legal description of the illegitimate military presence on Syrian territory, whether in the northeast or northwest of Syria and by whoever, is very clear, as this presence violates the provisions of international law and violates principles of the UN Charter, as well as contradicts good-neighborly relations and the principles regulating peaceful relations between states and all Security Council resolutions related to Syria.

Sousan pointed out that there are no international legal provisions that give the right to any country to violate the sovereignty of other countries or to intervene militarily in their territories without the consent of the concerned country, under any pretext, including combating terrorism.

The existence of any terrorist threat requires practically and legally cooperation and coordination with the concerned country to confront that, and Syria has repeatedly expressed its readiness for such cooperation as long as it takes place within the framework of respecting its sovereignty and territorial integrity, Sousan noted.

Sousan stressed that Syria does not look back as much as it looks forward, and it is with dialogue and building bridges of communication with all countries, even those that had negative roles during the years of the crisis, based on its national principles and based on its concern for the interests of the Syrian people and its quest to realize security and stability in this volatile region, establishing the best relations with neighboring countries to serve the interests of their peoples.

“This, of course, includes Turkey, with which a long common borders brings us together , as the earthquake incident that struck Syria and Turkey on the last February 6th affirmed that politics cannot ignore the facts of history, geography, common interests, strong bond between the two friendly peoples.

Syria dealt positively with the efforts of the Russian and Iranian friends aimed at restoring communication between Syria and Turkey

Sousan affirmed that Syria dealt positively and openly with the efforts of the Russian and Iranian friends aimed at restoring communication between Syria and Turkey, but reaching this goal has objective conditions and requirements that must be met, and there must be a real will and serious dialogue to reach that, as it is clear that the first of these conditions and requirements is the full adherence to Syria’s sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and unity, and that this fundamental principle should be put into practice immediately.

Sousan noted that this principle remains meaningless if it is not translated and embodied by starting the withdrawal of all illegal foreign forces from Syrian territory, including Turkish forces, and not obstructing the efforts of the Syrian state to re-establish its authority over all its territory, including terrorist-held areas, the stop of interfering in Syria’s internal affairs and providing support and protection to terrorist groups there, especially in Idleb, which has become a base and protectorate for terrorists on Syrian territory, which threatens security and stability and endangers the lives of civilians there.

Sousan said that Turkey did not even abide by the understandings reached within the framework of Astana or those with the Russian side.
Sousan pointed out to Syria’s readiness to coordinate with Russian and Iranian friends and with the Turkish side on the various practical aspects related to the withdrawal of its forces from Syrian territory, including the entry of the Syrian Arab Army forces into the areas from which these forces will withdraw to ensure that this process is completed smoothly and that the terrorist groups do not gain control.

Fighting terrorism in all its forms is a common interest for all

Sousan noted that combating terrorism in all its forms until eradicating it represents a common interest for all, whether this terrorism is represented by “Daesh” ,“Jabhat al-Nusra” and other organizations or The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the organizations and groups linked to it.

Sousan added that this will open the door for coordination and joint action to confront separatist plans and entities in northeastern Syria, as well as addressing related joint security problems, including working to control common borders and taking joint measures to prevent smuggling and the infiltration of terrorists across them.

Border control between neighboring countries is a joint responsibility

The responsibility for controlling borders between neighboring countries is a joint responsibility, and it is carried out with cooperation, not through unilateral, intrusive or illegal measures, as combating terrorism is not selective either, Sousan stated.
Sousan Pointed out that within the framework of the aforementioned points, it is possible to cooperate on the issue of the return of Syrian refugees from Turkey to their original places of residence in Syria, and this matter requires work to provide the necessary requirements and environment for that, including realizing security and stability by extending the state’s authority over its territory and preparing the necessary infrastructure and financing. The Syrian side is ready to take the measures that fall upon it accordingly, he stressed.

Russian Federation | The quartet meeting of the assistant foreign ministers of Syria, Russia, Iran and Turkey begins in Moscow
Exclusive interview 4/4/2023 || Abdo Zmam

Syria: A State that Withstood a Global War and Emerged Victorious (Part I)

 March 21, 2023

Illustrative photo prepared by Al-Manar Website on the 12th anniversary of the war in Syria.

Somaya Ali

Translated by Areej Fatima Husseini

“No external factor enables a government or an army to stabilize, unless this government and this army enjoy a popular support that safeguard them.”

Egypt’s former Assistant Foreign Minister Hussein Al-Haridi in a recent interview

The pre-planned war in Syria has spanned twelve years and is still ongoing. It is well known that this warfare is not limited to battlegrounds but rather takes various economic, social, and political forms, in a bid to deplete President Bashar Al-Assad’s government. Surprisingly, all of these endeavors, however, were futile.

The Gloomy Tunnel

The arrest of two men in Daraa in March 2011 and the eventual outbreak of sporadic demonstrations in several regions, formed the full-fledged launch of a bloody scenario or even a global war that later appeared that it has been previously plotted. That was at a time when the entire region was experiencing “revolutions” dubbed as the “Arab Spring.”

It has been clear that all intents and schemes including the normalization of ties with the Zionist enemy- through subduing all resistance movements- as well as compensating for the defeat in Iraq, pass through Syria.

Soon after, Western powers, led by the United States, joined Arab countries in raising slogans such as “the freedom of the Syrian people” and “human rights in Syria.” Such moves were aimed at overthrowing the Syrian government’s legitimacy, neglecting thousands of Syrians who protested in support of President Al Assad.

In June 2012, world powers assembled in Geneva to declare “the necessity of a political transition.”

This declaration was only a pretext for escalating the demonstrations into a major military clash, resulting in the formation of organizations such as the “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) and the ” Jaysh al-Islam” (Army of Islam). These organizations comprised Syrians as well as a significant number of mercenaries from other Arab and Western countries, all with diverse backgrounds and agendas, who flocked to attack Damascus.

Since then, Syria has entered a dark tunnel: the country’s unity and sovereignty have been shattered, with almost all areas divided into pro and anti-regime factions. The emergence of Takfiri factions such as “Jabhat Al-Nusra” and “Ahrar Al-Sham” on the battlefield heightened the tensions.

Then in January 2014, the ISIL terrorist group took control of Raqqa and set out to govern vast areas of Syria and Iraq. Backed by regional and Western governments, these organizations have committed the most heinous terrorist acts against the Syrian people, as well as looting riches and systematically destroying the country’s infrastructure.

In addition to the military conflict, fierce media campaigns have intensified, relying on false flag chemical attacks in a bid to defame the Syrian government while disregarding the crimes committed by so-called “opposition factions.”

Syria Battles Bravely

Amid this reality, the Syrian state and its army stood firmly to protect the governing system and fortify Damascus, which had become a target for terrorists. The fall of the capital would have dealt President Assad a tremendous blow.

In September 2014, the US directly engaged in the struggle, organizing a coalition and assisting Kurdish factions under the pretext of eradicating “ISIL” in northern Syria. Later in 2015, and under the request of the Syrian government, Russia joined the war in a bid to aid Damascus in counter-terror operations.

This was a crucial turning point in the warfare, along with Iran’s and Hezbollah’s key roles in the battlefield and victories in more than one strategic battle, such as the clashes of Qusayr and Aleppo.

This video diplays scene of the couter-terror operations in Syria.

Such turning point reflected on Damascus’ recontrol of swathes of the Syrian territory, as well as keeping the threat of terror away from the capital and Aleppo. This was in addition to preventing Turkey, which aided the armed groups, from reaching its aim of dominating that region and eventually beating “ISIL” in the Syrian Badiya battles.

At the time when the military developments were unfolding in Syria, there was a political course emerging. Hence, when Russia, Iran, and the Syrian Army imposed a new status quo in the battlefield, the “Astana Talks” was established. The peace process came after the West and the UN yielded no substantive progress in the negotiations between the government and the so-called opposition, which remained split and withdrew the battlefield in favor of terrorist organizations.

Wary of Kurdish presence in Syria’s north, Turkey joined, afterwards, the Astana Talks as a guarantor state. This political process, which culminated in several rounds, concluded in a settlement, primarily brokered by the Russians and Turks in September 2018. The settlement involved Idlib and the northwest, which has been under terrorist control, resulting in a halt to fighting on those fronts.

Syria’s Outlook in 2020

On the eve of 2020, the Syrian state maintained control, as it had not done for the past nine years, except in the north, where the conflict created a kind of status quo represented by the limited presence of the US forces through several military bases. Undoubtedly, those bases were later utilized as a springboard for stealing oil and wheat. Also, there was a limited Turkish presence in the area under the pretext of countering the so-called Kurdish expansion.

On the other hand, the Israeli enemy found no means to voice concern over the failure of its allies and the victory of its foes. Thereupon, it occasionally breaches Syria’s airspace and launches strikes.

Despite this scenario in the country’s north, almost 12 years of war did not affect Syria’s Arabian identity, as the idea of its federalization had been buried.

This war has resulted in creating a powerful “Axis of Resistance” that extends from Iran through Iraq to Syria, then to Lebanon and Palestine. Consequently, Washington unleashed an economic warfare through the “Caesar” sanctions, depleting the Syrians who stood by their government.

In mid-2020, the Coronavirus pandemic spread all over the world, resulting in a stalemate in the Syria negotiations. Yet, the sanctions remained the most prominent feature in Syrians’ diaries.

Then in 2022, when the pandemic subsided, the war between Russia and the West in Ukraine commenced, casting a shadow across the entire world. The impasse was broken here by multiple communications reaching the gates of the presidential palace in Damascus, indicating what may be dubbed the “great turning point.” So, what happened, and what were the causes and effects?

To be continued in Part II.

Source: Al-Manar Website

واشنطن تحشد ضد التطبيع مع دمشق | أنقرة: مستعدون للانسحاب

الخميس 19 كانون الثاني 2023

علاء حلبي  

سربت أنقرة تصريحات تفيد بموافقتها على الانسحاب من سوريا جزئياً أو كلّياً وفق جدول زمني محددّ (أ ف ب)

على رغم العقبات الكثيرة التي تعترض طريق التطبيع السوري – التركي، تشير المعطيات المتوافرة كافة إلى أن أنقرة متمسّكة بهذا المسار، وهو ما أنبأ به مثلاً تسريبها حديثاً لأحد مسؤوليها عن استعدادها للانسحاب الكلّي أو الجزئي من الشمال السوري. ولعلّ ذلك التمسّك يفسّر جانباً من «الهَبّة» الأميركية، متعدّدة الأشكال والمستويات، لعرقلة عملية الانفتاح على دمشق، بدءاً من محاولة حشْد المعسكر الغربي بأكمله ضدّها، مروراً بالاشتغال على الربط الاقتصادي بين مناطق سيطرة «الإدارة الذاتية» وتلك الخاضعة لسلطة أنقرة، وليس انتهاءً بالعمل على تهشيم «الائتلاف» ومحاولة استنبات تشكيلات معارضة بديلة

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قُبيل زيارة وزير الخارجية التركي، مولود تشاووش أوغلو، لواشنطن، ولقائه نظيره الأميركي، أنتوني بلينكن، عقد ممثّلو دول الاتحاد الأوروبي اجتماعاً في العاصمة البلجيكية بروكسل، بدعوة من المبعوثة الأوروبية لمنطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا، هيلين لوكال، لمناقشة الأوضاع في سوريا، ليخلص الاجتماع إلى تأكيد استمرار موقف الاتحاد الأوروبي القائم، والمتمثّل في رفْض أيّ خطوات تطبيعية مع دمشق، ورفْض رفْع العقوبات عن الأخيرة، كما ورفْض إعادة الإعمار، الأمر الذي يتماشى مع حملة التصعيد التي تقودها واشنطن في الملفّ السوري هذه الأيّام. كذلك، سارعت الولايات المتحدة، التي لمست رفضاً قاطعاً من أنقرة لخطّتها القديمة – الجديدة للربط بين مناطق «الإدارة الذاتية» التي تقودها «قوات سوريا الديموقراطية» الكردية (قسد) والشمال السوري الذي تسيطر عليه تركيا، كبديل للانعطافة التركية نحو دمشق، إلى الإعلان عن اجتماع تشاوري في جنيف لممثّلي الدول التي تماثلها في مواقفها من الأزمة السورية، في إشارة إلى التحالف السياسي الذي تقوده ضدّ روسيا، حيث تربط واشنطن بين ملفَّي سوريا وأوكرانيا، وتَعتبر أيّ تقدّم في الملفّ السوري نجاحاً لموسكو، وفق مصادر سورية معارضة، تحدّثت إلى «الأخبار».

المصادر ذكرت أن جدول أعمال اللقاء لم يتبلور حتى الآن، غير أن المؤكد أنه سيستمرّ ليومَين: اليوم الأوّل (يُتوقّع أن يكون الإثنين القادم) يناقش فيه المجتمعون الخطوات الموحّدة التي يمكن اتّباعها لمنع أو تخفيف أيّ آثار للانعطافة التركية، وإعادة تقييم قانون العقوبات الأميركية على سوريا، ومدى إمكانية تنفيذ بنود منه ضدّ الدول التي انفتحت أو تسير نحو الانفتاح على دمشق، على أن يُعقد في اليوم التالي اجتماع مع الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة، أنطونيو غوتيريش.

استبَقت واشنطن زيارة أوغلو بجولة لمنسّق البيت الأبيض للشؤون الأمنية للشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا شملت الأردن والعراق

واستبَقت واشنطن زيارة وزير الخارجية التركي بجولة قام بها منسّق البيت الأبيض للشؤون الأمنية للشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا، بريت ماكغورك، شملت الأردن والعراق، حيث ناقش المسؤول الأميركي ملفّات عدّة من بينها الموضوع السوري. وبحسب مصادر كردية تحدّثت إلى «الأخبار»، فإن ماكغروك ناقش مع أربيل سُبل التنشيط الاقتصادي لمناطق «الإدارة الذاتية»، والاستفادة من استثناءات قانون عقوبات «قيصر»، والتي تشمل مناطق «الذاتية» وأخرى تسيطر عليها تركيا في الشمال السوري باستثناء إدلب وعفرين. في المقابل، أشار أوغلو، قبل انطلاقه إلى واشنطن، إلى أن الملفّ السوري سيحتلّ حيّزاً رئيساً من مباحثاته هناك، مضيفاً أن ملفّ طائرات «F16» سيكون حاضراً أيضاً، علماً أن الولايات المتحدة استثمرت هذا الملفّ مرّات عدّة للضغط على تركيا، بعد إخراجها إيّاها من مشروع تطوير طائرات «F35» إثر شراء الأخيرة منظومة «S400» الدفاعية الروسية.

وبالإضافة إلى الحراك السياسي والميداني (عبر إعادة نشْر القوّات الأميركية وتوسيع رقعة تمركزها، ومحاولة إحياء فصائل عربية تابعة لها في مناطق نفوذ «قسد»)، أعلنت الخارجية الأميركية ضخّ 15 مليون دولار لدعم ما سمّته «مكافحة التضليل، وتوسيع بثّ وسائل الإعلام المستقلّة، وتعزيز مبادئ حقوق الإنسان». ويتوافق ذلك مع التحرّكات الأميركية الأخيرة لخلق معارضة سورية بديلة لـ«الائتلاف» تنشط من نيويورك، تمهيداً لسحب البساط من تحت أنقرة، وإنهاء «الائتلاف» الذي يمثّل واجهة سياسية للمعارضة تتحكّم بها تركيا، علماً أن حملة كبيرة بدأت تَظهر بالفعل عبر وسائل الإعلام ومواقع التواصل الاجتماعي ضدّ هذا التشكيل. وفي المقابل، وفي تصريحات يبدو أنها تهدف إلى الضغط على واشنطن، سرّبت أنقرة إلى وسائل إعلام تركية تصريحات لمسؤول تركي كبير لم تُسمّه، أعلن خلالها موافقة بلاده على الانسحاب من سوريا جزئياً أو كلّياً وفق جدول زمني محدَّد، في ردّ مباشر على مطالب دمشق. كذلك ذكر المسؤول التركي أن بلاده متّفقة مع الجانب السوري على عدم وجود أيّ خطوط حمراء لا تمكن مناقشتها، الأمر الذي يعني إصراراً تركياً على الانفتاح على دمشق، خصوصاً بعد الزيارة التي أجراها وزير الخارجية الإيراني، حسين عبد اللهيان، لأنقرة قادماً من سوريا، وإعلانه دعم بلاده هذا الانفتاح، واستعدادها للانضمام إليه وتحويله إلى لقاءات رباعية تضمّ روسيا وإيران وتركيا وسوريا، وفق «مسار أستانا» الذي تحدّث عن إمكانية تعديله وتحديثه أيضاً. بدورها، أكدت موسكو مضيّها في تقريب وجهات النظر بين أنقرة ودمشق، حيث أعلن وزير الخارجية الروسي، سيرغي لافروف، استمرار العمل لإجراء لقاء على مستوى وزيرَي خارجية سوريا وتركيا، مرحّباً في الوقت ذاته بالمسار التركي للحلّ في سوريا.

ميدانياً، تابعت «هيئة تحرير الشام» (جبهة النصرة) هجماتها التصعيدية لتسخين جبهات القتال، عن طريق إرسال «إنغماسيين» إلى محاور «خفض التصعيد» في إدلب. وأفادت مصادر ميدانية بأن هجوماً جديداً شنّه عدد من «الجهاديين» على محور قرية معرة موخص في ريف إدلب الجنوبي، ردّ عليه الجيش السوري بقصف مكثّف على مواقع المسلحين، الأمر الذي أدّى إلى مقتل عدد منهم، عُرف منهم «أبو عبيدة النعماني» و«أبو جهاد الحلبي»، وهما من فصيل «أنصار التوحيد».

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دمشق – أنقرة: تصلّب المواقف يؤخّر الخرق

الإثنين 16 كانون الثاني 2023

لا تزال العملية العسكرية البرية في سوريا «خياراً» تركيّاً مطروحاً على الطاولة (أ ف ب)

محمد نور الدين  

تتزايد الإشارات الصادرة عن الجانبَين التركي والسوري حيال مسألة التطبيع وما يعتيرها من معوّقات لا تزال تحول دون إتمامها. ويجلّي تلك المعوّقات اشتراط الجانب السوري إنهاء الاحتلال التركي كمقدّمة لأيّ مصالحة محتمَلة من جهة، وعودة الأتراك إلى العزف على نغمة التهديد بعملية عسكرية بريّة في الشمال السوري، قالوا إنها لا تزال خياراً مطروحاً، من جهة أخرى. في هذا الوقت، يَظهر الرئيس التركي، رجب طيب إردوغان، التواق إلى إحراز أيّ اختراق يعزِّز من شعبيته المتراجعة قبل الانتخابات، إلى الآن، كَمَن «يبيع سمكاً في الماء»، أقلّه بالنسبة إلى دمشق

صدرت، في اليومَين الماضيَين، عن الجانبَين التركي والسوري، إشارات عكست أنّ «شيئاً ما» يَعترض مسار المصالحة بينهما، وإنْ كان جليّاً أن الطريق ليس سهلاً أو مفروشاً بالورود. ففي حوار إذاعي أبرزته الصحف التركية في صدْر صفحاتها، يوم أمس، تحدّث الناطق باسم الرئاسة، إبراهيم قالين، عن أن العملية العسكرية البرية في سوريا لا تزال «خياراً» مطروحاً على الطاولة، ويمكن أن تُنفَّذ في أيّ لحظة، ووفقاً لمستوى التهديد الأمني. وأعلن قالين أن اجتماعاً لوزراء خارجية تركيا وسوريا وروسيا سيُعقد في أواسط شهر شباط المقبل، وحتى ذلك الحين بإمكان وزراء دفاع الدول الثلاث أن يجتمعوا مجدَّداً، مؤكداً، في الوقت ذاته، أن العملية السلمية ستستمرّ، وأن أنقره تدعمها، وإنْ جدّد الإشارة إلى أن «قوات حماية الشعب» الكردية، و«حزب العمّال الكردستاني» مجموعتان «إرهابيتان» يجب التخلُّص منهما لحماية أمن تركيا. وجاء حديث قالين في أعقاب تأجيل موعد اجتماع وزيرَي خارجية البلدَين، مرّتَين على التوالي: الأولى على إثر الاجتماع الأوّل لوزيرَي دفاع البلدَين في موسكو، في 28 كانون الأوّل الماضي، حين توقّع وزير الخارجية التركي، مولود تشاووش أوغلو، أن ينعقد اللقاء في منتصف كانون الثاني الجاري، ثمّ قال إنه سيجري في مطلع شباط المقبل. والثانية، لدى الإعلان أن وزيرَي الدفاع قد يجتمعان مجدّداً، وهذا يعني أن هناك قضايا لوجستية وميدانية وأمنية وعسكرية لا تزال عالقة، وتحتاج إلى المزيد من التشاور لإيجاد حلول لها. وعلى ضوء نتائج هذه الاجتماعات، يمكن أن ينعقد أو يتأخّر أو لا ينعقد لقاء وزيرَي الخارجية.

وعلى الجانب الآخر، السوري، صدرت مواقف ربّما تكون الأكثر إشارةً إلى دقّة مسار المصالحة، وما يعتريه من تعقيدات لا تُحلّ بمجرّد لقاء أو اثنين أو صورة مشتركة. وفي هذا الإطار، قال الرئيس السوري، بشار الأسد، بعد لقائه المبعوث الروسي إلى سوريا، ألكسندر لافرنتييف، إن «هذه اللقاءات، حتى تكون مثمرة، يجب أن تُبنى على تنسيق وتخطيط مسبقَين بين سوريا وروسيا من أجل الوصول إلى الأهداف والنتائج الملموسة التي تريدها سوريا، انطلاقاً من الثوابت والمبادئ الوطنية للدولة والشعب المبنيّة على إنهاء الاحتلال ووقْف دعم الإرهاب». وجاءت الإشارة الثانية على لسان وزير الخارجية، فيصل المقداد، بعد لقائه نظيره الإيراني، حسين أمير عبد اللهيان، في دمشق، السبت، من أنه «لا يمكن عودة العلاقات الطبيعية بين تركيا وسوريا من دون إزالة الاحتلال التركي». من جهته، تحدّث الوزير الإيراني عن أن أيّ حوار بين دمشق وأنقرة يمثّل خطوة إيجابية تصبّ في مصلحة البلدَين والمنطقة «إذا كان جادّاً»، مؤكداً أن بلاده «تثق ثقة كاملة» بالمواقف والقرارات السورية. ولربّما يعكس ما تقدَّم تشكيكاً إيرانياً في جديّة الجانب التركي، كما أن الحديث عن «ثقة كاملة» بالموقف السوري ربّما يبدو ردّاً على شائعات تباينات الموقف بين طهران ودمشق في شأن المصالحة مع أنقرة. إلى ذلك، عكست تطوّرات ميدانية أيضاً ما يعتري عملية التطبيع من عوائق، من مثل مقتل جنود سوريين في قصف تركي في شمال البلاد، ومن ثم إعلان أنقرة أن أحد جنودها قتل في قصف على قاعدة تركية في ريف حلب، فضلاً عمّا أفيد به من مقتل أربعة جنود سوريين جرّاء اشتباكات عنيفة مع مسلّحي «هيئة تحرير الشام» في ريف اللاذقية.

بات مؤكداً أن اللقاء بين الرئيسَين التركي والسوري لن يجري في الموعد الذي يرغب فيه إردوغان

وفي ضوء المواقف الصادرة عن الجانبَين التركي والسوري وأيضاً الإيراني، بات مؤكداً أن اللقاء بين الرئيسَين التركي والسوري، لن يجري في الموعد الذي يرغب فيه الأول، وربّما تأتي الانتخابات التركية لتطيحه إلى ما بعدها، في حال مضيّ مسار المصالحة قُدُماً. كذلك، تطرح التصريحات المختلفة أكثر من علامة استفهام تتعلّق بأساسيات ومحدّدات التطبيع بين تركيا وسوريا، كما مواقف الأطراف الأخرى، ومنها روسيا وإيران. كما أتت التصريحات «الصارمة» للأسد والمقداد، بعدما لفت المراقبين «تأخُّر» الردّ الرسمي السوري على ما كان يَصدر من مواقف تركية منذ مطلع آب من العام الماضي. وكان كل ما يتعلّق بالمصالحة المفترَضة يأتي من الجانب التركي، وآخرها ما اعتُبر خريطة طريق رسمها إردوغان قبل حوالي شهر ونصف شهر، على أساس لقاءات تتدرّج من المستوى الاستخباري إلى وزراء الدفاع، فالخارجية والرؤساء. وجاء بيان وزارة الدفاع السورية الإيجابي بعد لقاء موسكو، في إطار العموميات، ليُحكى من بعده عن تأجيل لقاء وزيرَي الخارجية ومن ثم اشتراط الأسد، للقاء إردوغان، زوال الاحتلال أوّلاً، ليؤكد الموقف الرسمي السوري الحذر من الرغبة التركية المفاجئة في المصالحة، خصوصاً أن هذه الرغبة لم تقترن إلى الآن بأيّ خطّة عملية ومبرمجة زمنيّاً. وقد انتظرت القيادة السورية اجتماع موسكو لتبني على الشيء مقتضاه، وقد بُني هذا الشيء، أخيراً، على لسان الأسد والمقداد، وعنوانه أن الرئيس التركي «يبيع سمكاً في الماء»، ويُقدّم وعوداً غير مقنعة لدمشق.

في المقابل، فإن العزف التركي الجديد على وتر العملية العسكرية البرّية جاء كما لو أنه ردّ على موقفَي الأسد والمقداد، وأيضاً كمؤشر من شأنه تعزيز التقديرات القائلة بأن تركيا ليست جادّة في عملية التطبيع ولا تريد منها سوى تقطيع الوقت من الآن وحتى الانتخابات الرئاسية في حزيران (وربّما في أيار) المقبل، وأن الأهمّ لإردوغان هو الظهور في صورة مشتركة مع الأسد يستثمرها في الانتخابات الرئاسية، فيما تنتظر دمشق من أنقرة أجوبة واضحة ومفصّلة عن خريطة طريقها للانسحاب من الأراضي السورية وتصفية المسلّحين المعارضين في إدلب والمناطق المحتلّة، بمن فيهم ما يسمّى «الجيش الوطني»، وعدم الاكتفاء، كما قال قالين، بتصفية قوات «قسد».

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Turkey and Syria Meeting in Moscow May Result in Peace Plan


Steven Sahiounie

Tomorrow, the Foreign Ministers of Turkey and Syria will meet in Moscow.  This is the highest level meeting between the two countries who have been on opposite sides of the US-NATO war on Syria for regime change since 2011.

The outcome of that meeting, and the expected follow-up meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, may form the basis for the recovery of Syria, circumventing the UN resolution 2254, which has failed to produce results.

The US has lost the war, but has used armed militias to remain occupying parts of Syria, and to impose a stalemate which prevents a peaceful solution and recovery for Syria.  America is no longer the only superpower, and decisions made in the new Middle East no longer depend on orders from the US State Department.

Erdogan is up for re-election in June and faces heavy opposition. The economy is dismal, and people blame the Syrian refugees for lost jobs and social ills.  Erdogan and the opposition promise to send the refugees packing.

The Turkish export market to Syria in 2011 represented half of the entire global export market for Turkey.  That was lost when Damascus banned all Turkish imports because of their participation in the war on Syria. Erdogan could get the Syrian market restored by repairing the relationship.

In order to win re-election, Erdogan proposes a rapprochement with Assad.  The US has voiced its displeasure at any attempt of any country to repair relations with Syria.  However, Erdogan will not be swayed by US opinion or threats, in light of the fact that the US supports, trains and supplies weapons to the Kurdish militia (SDF and YPG) linked to an internationally banned terrorist organization (PKK), which have killed thousands in Turkey over three decades of terrorism. The Kurds know that Turkey is a much more important ally to the US, and the US will never fight Turkey to save the Kurds.  Former US envoy to Syria, James Jeffrey, told the Kurds they should repair their relationship with Damascus for protection. The US never supported a “homeland” for the Kurds.

Syria and Turkey are united in their goal to demilitarize the Kurdish northeast of Syria.  Syria and Turkey share a common enemy (the Kurds), and a common ally (Russia). This may be the basis of forming a new foreign policy between the two neighbors.


Syrian officials have met with Turkish officials and Arab Gulf officials.  Some Arab embassies in Damascus were re-opened, and Assad made a visit to the UAE.

The Assad administration in Damascus controls the vast majority of the Syrian territory.  The exceptions are: Idlib province in the northwest is under the occupation of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a Radical Islamic terrorist group which was the former Al Qaeda branch in Syria, and the Kurdish administration region in the northeast under the occupation of about 600 US troops and two local Kurdish militias (SDF and YPG) which follow a communist political ideology first promoted by the jailed PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan.

Syria and Russia have been prevented from attacking and liberating Idlib from terrorist control. The US uses the three million civilians living under occupation as human shields to prevent attack. The US and its allies in the UN demand that the UN food and medical supplies be delivered to Idlib. The civilians are being fed and clothed, but the terrorists and their families are as well. The international community is supporting the welfare of the terrorists, who are there at the behest of the US, to prevent peace and recovery in Syria.  Despite the UN protocol which demands all UN members to fight Al Qaeda, or their affiliates, anywhere on earth, the US and Turkey have circumvented the protocol and use the terrorists as guards of the political stalemate which the US imposed on Syria.

The US

America has maintained an iron grip on Syria through the use of US sanctions and a brutal military occupation which has prevented the Syrian citizens from fuel for transportation and home heating, and to generate electricity.  Syrian houses, hospitals, schools and businesses have between 15 minutes to 1 hour of electricity in four intervals per day because of the US imposed sanctions, which have not affected the Syrian government, but have brought the Syrian people to desperation. Kidney dialysis machines require electricity constantly.  A gasoline powered generator can suffice when there are blackouts, but the US sanctions also prevent the importation of gasoline.  How can Syrians survive?

Despite Richard Haass writing in 1998 that US sanctions are ineffective and immoral against civilians, the US State Department hangs on to sanctions as a tool for regime change.


Iran and Syria have been united in their resistance to the occupation of Palestine Golan Heights and Shebaa Farms.  Iran stood firmly with Syria during the US-NATO attack on Syria because it is a key in the land route from Iran to Lebanon. Recently, there are some cracks appearing in the relationship between Damascus and Tehran.  Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s meeting in Damascus was postponed recently. Some experts feel Iran has been asking too much of Syria, and with new opportunities for improved relations with the Arab Gulf and Turkey, Syria may be taking time to evaluate its options.

Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab countries want to see Iran out of Syria.  As long as Iran is in Syria the Israeli airstrikes will continue, which have been deadly and destructive.

There were 32 Israeli raids in 2022 that destroyed and struck 91 targets, including civilian infrastructure, buildings, weapons caches and vehicles. Eighty-eight military personnel were killed and 121 wounded in the attacks.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is the United States’ largest foreign military sales customer, with more than $100 billion in active cases.  In the US there is a saying, “The customer is always right.”

Perhaps this may explain why the US takes no action against Saudi Arabia even when there have been deadly issues, or when Biden asked the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to pump more oil, and he refused.

MBS is making huge reforms, which includes loosening restrictions on women, and creating new tourism and international sports opportunities.

MBS and Netanyahu are united in a common issue: to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, despite Iran insisting on wanting nuclear capabilities for peaceful purposes, such as energy production and medical research.  Netanyahu has stated one of his main priorities in office will be to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia.

The Arab League

The upcoming Arab League Summit will take place in Saudi Arabia, traditionally scheduled yearly in March.  Depending on the outcome of meetings between now and spring, Syria could possibly be reinstated and occupy their seat at the table.  Big changes have been taking place in the region involving the relations between Arab countries and the US, China and Russia. Saudi Arabia is in the driver’s seat and will use their hosting of the summit to project their ranking as the Middle East’s power broker.


Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen has announced that the next Abraham Accords summit will be held in Morocco in March 2023.

The US had brokered in 2020 the Abraham Accords for the normalization of relations between Israel, Morocco, the UAE and Bahrain. Later, Sudan joined the accords.  Areas of shared interests are: defense, investment, agriculture, tourism, and energy.

The meetings and realignments between Syria and Turkey, mediated by Russia, may produce lasting changes in the Middle East, and bring enemies together as new friends.  The Israeli occupation of Palestine will continue to be the primary cause of instability and violence in the region.  It fuels religious extremism and terrorism. If Israel values the establishment of relations with their Arab neighbors, they must first look at their closest neighbors in Gaza and the West Bank.  The Middle East and the world wait for a peace summit to begin the process of peace for Israel and Palestine, and the host country will not likely be the US.

Steven Sahiounie is a two-time award-winning journalist

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President Assad Resisting Russian Pressure to Help Erdogan


Russian President Putin continues his extensive efforts to help the Turkish madman Erdogan in ruling Turkey, economically, Russia has done its uttermost to help the Turkish economy after the US and European Union pressure on it and despite the policies of Erdogan prior to the Russian special military operation in Ukraine were very harmful to Russia itself. The latest attempt by Mr. Putin to help the Turkish madman is to pressure President Bashar Assad to meet Erdogan in a photo-op summit which Erdogan will sell to his people as a sign of resolving the Syrian refugees issue in Turkey.

Syria’s response to previous attempts to mend ties with Turkey falls very much under the principles of international law, the UN Charter, and the bases of the Adana Accords, Turkey has interfered in Syria militarily, politically, economically, and by sponsoring tens of thousands of al Qaeda and ISIS terrorists, Syria has not harmed Turkey in any way possible.

After a meeting in Moscow that joined the Syrian minister of defense to his Turkish counterpart with the presence of the Russian minister of defense, Erdogan started selling his election promise that he’s on the verge of rapprochement with Syria that will see millions of refugees return to their home country.

The Turkish regime has even set dates for a meeting between the foreign ministers of Syria and Turkey which prompted the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates to visit Damascus and ask President Assad to include his country in such a meeting.

Syria’s response to further meetings with the Turkish side are varying from negative to suspicious regarding the Turkish commitments, after all, Turkey is a NATO member state and the leaders of this ‘defensive’ alliance are not known to keep their words, especially Erdogan. Russia knows that firsthand and now even more after the revelations of former German Chancellor Merkel and French President Hollande that they were never serious to implement the Minsk agreements regarding the Donbas and were using them only to buy time for Ukraine to build up a strong army and threaten Russia.

Erdogan has also not only failed to implement the Idlib agreements in which he promised to cease supporting Al Qaeda and ISIS and to dismantle these terrorist groups, but he also went on beefing up these terrorists with more imported terrorists, supplies of weapons, and by sending the Turkish army, NATO’s second-largest army to protect those terrorists turning posts which were supposed to serve as observation posts to see the dismantling and withdrawal of al Qaeda and ISIS terrorists into military bases to support those terrorists inside Syrian territories.

All of this has not stopped Mr. Putin from adding more pressure on President Assad to help the Turkish madman in the upcoming elections to the extent of sending his special envoy, Mr. Lavrentiev, to Damascus to try to convince President Assad.

After receiving the Russian envoy President Bashar Assad said:

“The meetings with the Turkish side must be based on prior coordination and planning between Syria and Russia in order to be fruitful, and in order to reach the tangible goals and results that Syria wants from these meetings.”

President Assad then added:

“The objectives of the meetings stem from the national constants and principles of the state and the people, which are based on ending the Turkish occupation of the Syrian lands, and stopping support for terrorism.”

Al Qaeda, ISIS (ISIL – Daesh), their affiliates, and offshoots are considered terrorist groups by Syria, and most of the world including the United Nations General Assembly, and the United Nations Security Council, however, the regime of the Turkish madman Erdogan considers these same terrorists as moderate rebels and builds its policies toward Syria over a potential essential role for these terrorists in Syria’s future political leadership!

Yet, seems that the Russian leadership, and especially President Putin sees the Turkish madman Erdogan as a winning card against NATO and a reliable person.

The failed foreign policies of the Turkish madman Erdogan have stripped him of his friends in his country and abroad, the biggest failure was in Syria when he vowed to pray in the Grand Omayyad Mosque in Damascus as a conqueror after toppling the government of Bashar Assad, it was President Assad who saved the Turkish economy under Erdogan and Gul after the European Union doors were closed in its face when the Syrian gates were opened for Turkish businesses inside Syria and through it to the Arab world.

All of Turkey’s economic gains in the past two decades are merely because of President Bashar Assad, and all of Turkey’s economic losses in the past few years are merely because the Turkish madman Erdogan failed to topple the only person who helped him and his country stand on its feet no matter how much Qatar, Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, and now the combined Gulfies help Turkey. With the southern gates blocked and with millions of refugees pressuring the Turkish economy, there’s no way Erdogan can win the upcoming elections.

Erdogan’s future without the presidency is in a confined prison cell, his and his family’s corruption is beyond comprehension, even his own partners in the Turkish mafia went against him, by winning the elections, the Turkish dictator can immune himself from the prosecution he’s promised by the Turkish opposition, and can solidify more powers under him to rule without opposition, anyway, most of the Turkish opposition are either in jail or in exile.

Sedat Peker, The Mafia and Erdogan… And Syria, Again
Sedat Peker the mafia boss in series of YouTube videos exposes Erdogan’s links to drugs, terrorist groups, money laundering, and Israel.
Syria News

An adviser of the Turkish madman Erdogan exposed his boss’s real intentions toward Syria: Erdogan will not implement any agreement he strikes with President Assad before the Turkish elections, and will allow 1.5 million to 2 million Syrian refugees to return to their home country only if Aleppo is placed under the administrative control of Turkey!

Will the Russian leadership of Mr. Putin continue to pressure Syria into helping Erdogan win re-election coming this mid-May, or understand that the likes of the Turkish madman Erdogan cannot be trusted no matter what other concessions the Russians are able to get out of him?

It was the war criminal and former US President George W. Bush who tasked the Turkish madman Erdogan with a leading role in the region if he helps the USA implement its PNAC (Project for the New American Century) by dismantling all secular Arab countries especially Syria to protect the creation of the Jewish state of Greater Israel aka Greater Middle East Project, known in biblical terms as the kingdom of the antichrist; the Turkish madman Erdogan will become the neo-Ottoman sultan of the divided Muslim world in exchange. The whole world changed after the anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood project of Erdogan failed miserably in Syria which caused a reverse domino effect in the Arab states in which it succeeded earlier: Tunisia, Sudan, Libya, Morocco, and Egypt.

The Turkish madman Erdogan started the war on Syria turning his country into the main hub for all sorts of terrorists hired by the different ‘intelligence’ agencies of NATO and Gulfies to fight the Syrian state, and it’s in the hands of the Turkish madman to end the war on Syria and secure re-election, Russia must not ask of Syria to help Erdogan, it must pressure Erdogan to at least comply with the agreements the latter signed of which Russia and Iran were the guarantors.


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أمير عبد اللهيان من دمشق: تدخلنا للحيلولة دون عملية عسكرية تركية في سوريا

السبت 14 كانون الثاني 2023

وزيرا خارجيتي إيران وسوريا يؤكدان أهمية تجديد وثيقة التعاون الاستراتيجي، ويشددان على أهمية التحالف بين دمشق وطهران على مستوى البلدين والمنطقة.

وزيرا خارجية إيران حسين أمير عبد اللهيان وسوريا فيصل المقداد خلال مؤتمر صحافي في دمشق

أكّد وزيرا خارجيتي سوريا وإيران، فيصل المقداد وحسين أمير عبد اللهيان، أهمية العلاقات الثنائية واستمرار التعاون المشترك في قضايا متعدّدة، أبرزها المشاكل الحدودية والخدمات والشؤون الإقليمية.

وجاء تصريحا الوزيرين خلال مؤتمر صحافي مشترك، اليوم السبت، في العاصمة السورية دمشق.

من جهته، أعلن أمير عبد اللهيان أنّ الرئيس السوري، بشار الأسد، وجّه دعوة إلى نظيره الإيراني إبراهيم رئيسي من أجل زيارة دمشق.

وأكد أنّ طهران “ستبذل كل الجهود لإجراء هذه الزيارة”.

وأوضح وزير الخارجية الإيراني أنّ “العلاقات بين دمشق وطهران في أفضل أحوالها”، وأنّ “الرئيس الأسد أكّد أنّ قيادتي البلدين عازمتان على تعزيز العلاقات الثنائية”.

وأضاف أنه توصّل “مع الوزير المقداد إلى الاتفاق على تجديد وثيقة التعاون الاستراتيجي بين البلدين”.

وشدد على أن هناك “عدداً من الاتفاقيات التي وُقِّعت بين البلدين، ويتمّ تنفيذها حالياً”.

وتطرّق الوزير الإيراني إلى التوتر الحدودي بين تركيا وسوريا، على خلفية التهديدات التركية بعمليات عسكرية في الأراضي السورية، واستمرار الاعتداءات على مناطق حدودية بين البلدين، وقال إنّه “عندما علمنا باحتمال شنّ القوات العسكرية التركية هجوماً في شمالي سوريا، تدخلنا للحيلولة دون ذلك”.

وأعرب أمير عبد اللهيان عن “سعادة إيران بنجاح اتصالاتها بسوريا وتركيا في ترجيح الحوار بين البلدين”.

وتحدّث الوزير الإيراني عن التعاون بين إبران وسوريا في المجال الخدماتي، وأكّد أنّ “التعاون بين طهران ودمشق مستمر في كل المجالات، ولا سيما في مجال الطاقة”.

وكشف أمير عبد اللهيان أنه أجرى “مباحثات بشأن إنشاء محطات للكهرباء في سوريا”.

وضع سكة جديدة للعلاقات

بدوره، أكد وزير الخارجية السوري، فيصل المقداد، أهمية التحالف بين إيران وسوريا، متسائلاً  أمام الصحافيين “تصوروا لو لم يكن لسوريا بلد حليف كالجمهورية الإسلامية. ماذا كان سيحدث؟”.

وقال إنّ اللقاء الذي جمعه بنظيره الإيراني يهدف إلى “وضع سكّة جديدة للعلاقة بين إيران وسوريا”.

وتطرّق الوزير السوري إلى الأزمات الخدماتية التي يعانيها أبناء المناطق السورية في الشمال، قرب الحدود التركية والعراقية، من جرّاء ممارسات المجموعات المسلحة التي ترعاها قوات الاحتلال الأميركي.

وتوجّه المقداد بالتحية إلى “أهلنا في الجزيرة السورية على ما يتحمّلونه من قطع للمياه”.

وأكّد أن “سياسة الذين يقطعون المياه عن أهلنا ستصل إلى نهايتها قريباً”.

التحرّك التركي في اتجاه إعادة العلاقات بسوريا

وفيما يتعلق بالتحرك التركي في اتجاه استعادة العلاقات بدمشق، والذي بدأ منذ أشهر برعاية روسيا وتأييد إيراني، أكّد المقداد أنّ سوريا “في كلّ تحركاتها منذ عام 2011 حتى هذه اللحظة، تسعى لإنهاء الإرهاب الذي عكر علاقاتنا بتركيا”.

وأكّد المقداد أنّ “اللقاء بين الرئيس الأسد والقيادة التركية يعتمد على إزالة أسباب الخلاف”.

وشدد على أنه “يجب خلق البيئة الملائمة من أجل عقد لقاءات على مستويات أعلى مع القيادة التركية”.

وأوضح الوزير السوري أنه “لا يمكن الحديث عن إعادة العلاقات الطبيعية بتركيا من دون إزالة الاحتلال”.

وأضاف أنّ “التنسيق مع طهران في مختلف الإطارات الإقليمية والدولية يؤكد التزام إيران وحدة أراضي سوريا وسيادتها”.

ولفت المقداد إلى أنّ الشأن الفلسطيني كان حاضراً في اجتماع الوزيرين، مشيراً إلى أنّ “الرئيس الأسد كرّر موقف سوريا بشأن الجرائم التي يرتكبها الاحتلال بحق الفلسطينيين” خلال اللقاء مع نظيره الإيراني.

التنسيق مع طهران يكتسب أهمية قصوى

وكان الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد استقبل، في وقت سابق اليوم السبت، وزير الخارجية الإيراني والوفد المرافق له. وأكّد الجانبان، خلال المحادثات، “العلاقات الوثيقة والتاريخية بين البلدين، والتعاون الثنائي القائم في مختلف المجالات”.

وأكّد الأسد، خلال اللقاء، أنّ دمشق “حريصة على التواصل المستمر وتنسيق المواقف مع إيران بصورة دائمة، ولا سيما أنّ إيران كانت من أوائل الدول التي وقفت إلى جانب الشعب السوري في حربه ضدّ الإرهاب”.

وشدد على أنّ “هذا التنسيق يكتسب أهمية قصوى في هذا التوقيت بالذات، الذي يشهد تطورات إقليمية ودولية متسارعة من أجل تحقيق المصالح المشتركة للبلدين”.

وأوضح الرئيس السوري أنّ “الدولة السورية تنطلق دائماً في كل مواقفها من حرصها على مصالح الشعب السوري”.

وبيّن أنّ دمشق “لن تسير إلى الأمام في الحوارات (مع تركيا) إلا إذا كان هدفها إنهاء الاحتلال ووقف دعم التنظيمات الإرهابية”. 

بدوره، أكّد الوزير عبد اللهيان أنّ “سوريا بلد مهم ومؤثر، ولذلك فإن قوة وتنمية سوريا يعني قوة وتنمية المنطقة عموماً وإيران خصوصاً”.

وأكد أنّ “البلدين يقفان في خندق واحد ويتبادلان الدعم القوي لبعضهما الآخر”.

كما شدد عبد اللهيان، بعد لقائه الأسد، على أنّ بلاده “لديها ثقة كاملة بالمواقف والقرارات السورية، وهي ترى أنّ أيّ حوار جاد بين دمشق وأنقرة هو خطوة إيجابية لمصلحة البلدين والمنطقة”.

وتطرق الحديث أيضاً، خلال اللقاء، إلى المحادثات التي أجراها وزير الخارجية الإيراني مع مختلف الأطراف في مؤتمر “بغداد 2″، والذي انعقد في عمّان أواخر الشهر الماضي، والمناقشات الجارية من أجل استئناف المحادثات المتعلقة بالملف النووي الإيراني.

ونقل الوزير الإيراني إلى الرئيس الأسد تحيات المرشد الإيراني،ـ السيد علي خامنئي، والرئيس الإيراني إبراهيم رئيسي.

وكان أمير عبد اللهيان وصل، مساء الخميس، إلى بيروت، في زيارة رسمية للبنان استمرت ثلاثة أيام، التقى خلالها نظيره عبد الله بو حبيب ورئيس مجلس النواب نبيه بري ورئيس حكومة تصريف الأعمال نجيب ميقاتي، بالإضافة إلى عددٍ من الشخصيات السياسية وممثلي الأحزاب اللبنانية والفلسطينية. 

كذلك التقى الوزير الإيراني الأمين العام لحزب الله، السيد حسن نصر الله، بحيث تم عرض آخر التطورات والأوضاع السياسية في لبنان وفلسطين ‏والمنطقة.

ومن المقرر أن يتوجّه أمير عبد اللهيان بعد زيارته بيروت ودمشق إلى موسكو، الأسبوع المقبل، ليلتقي نظيره الروسي سيرغي لافروف، من أجل استئناف خطة العمل الشاملة المشتركة بشأن الاتفاق النووي الإيراني، والاتفاق على منطقة تجارة حرّة بين إيران وروسيا.

اقرأ أيضاً: أمير عبد اللهيان من بيروت: مستعدون لتزويد لبنان بالفيول وتأهيله بمعامل للكهرباء

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A Moscow meeting shatters fantasies of a Syrian ‘confederation’

January 11 2023


Photo Credit: The Cradle

Malek al-Khoury

The newly-initiated Syrian-Turkish rapprochement talks are headed in Damascus’ favor and the “Turkish concessions” derided by opponents are just the start, insiders tell The Cradle.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already abandoned his dream of “praying in the Umayyad Mosque” in Damascus. But sources say this will be swiftly followed by further concessions that will throw a wrench into the ambitions of Syria’s opposition factions.

An undivided Syria

There will be no “federalism” or “confederation” – western codewords for the break up of the Syrian state – at these talks, but rather a “Turkish-Russian” acceptance of Damascus’ conditions.

For starters, Ankara plans to open the strategic M4 highway – which runs parallel to the Turkish border and connects all the vital Syrian cities and regions – as a prelude to opening the legal border crossings between Syria and Turkiye, which will re-establish trade routes between the two countries.

This move, based on an understanding between Damascus and Ankara, will essentially close the door on any opposition fantasies of breaking Syria into statelets, and will undermine the “Kurdish-American divisive ambition.”

It is not for nothing that Washington has sought to thwart communications between Ankara and Damascus. Under the guise of “fighting ISIS,” the US invested heavily in Syrian separatism, replacing the terror group with “Kurdish local forces” and reaped the rewards in barrels of stolen Syrian oil to help mitigate the global energy crisis.

Now Turkiye has closed the door to that ‘federalization’ plan.

A Russian-backed proposal

The Syrian-Turkish talks in Moscow on 28 December focused mainly on opening and establishing the necessary political, security, and diplomatic channels – a process initiated by their respective defense ministers.

While resolving the myriad thorny files between the two states is not as easy as the optimists would like, it is also nowhere as difficult as the fierce opponents of rapprochement try to suggest.

The Moscow discussions centered on mild, incremental solutions proposed by Russia. The Kremlin understands that the minefield between Ankara and Damascus needs to be dismantled with cold minds and hands, but insists that the starting point of talks is based on the political formulas of the Astana peace process that all parties have already accepted.

On the ground, Moscow is busy marketing satisfactory security settlements for all, though those on the battlefield appear to be the least flexible so far. The Russian plan is to “present security formulas to the military,” intended to be later translated into the integration of forces – whether Kurdish fighters or opposition militants – into the ranks of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).

This will be achieved via committees led by both Syrian and Turkish intelligence services, a Russian source involved in coordinating the talks tells The Cradle.

Occupied areas of Syria, in 2023

Co-opting the Kurds

The Russian proposals, according to the source, rely on two past successful models for reconciliation on the battlefield. The first is the “Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood model in northern Aleppo,” an area once controlled by Kurdish forces who began to coordinate with the SAA after the sweeping 2016 military operation that expelled opposition militants from the eastern neighborhoods of the city.

The Russian source says that the “Sheikh Maqsoud” model succeeded because of “security coordination,” revealing that “Syrian state security is deployed at the entrances to the neighborhood with checkpoints that coordinate with the Kurdish forces inside – in every way, big and small.” This security coordination includes “arresting criminally wanted persons, and facilitating administrative and service services” in coordination with Damascus.

The second reconciliation model used by Russian forces in Syria succeeded in bringing together the SAA and Sheikh Maqsoud Kurdish militias in a joint military maneuver conducted near the town of Manbij in the countryside of Aleppo last August.

While the Russian source confirms that the experience of “security coordination” between the SAA and the Kurdish forces was “successful,” he cautions that these models need “political arrangements” which can only be achieved by “an agreement in Astana on new provisions to the Syrian constitution, which give Kurds more flexibility in self-governance in their areas.”

Opposition amnesty

A parallel proposal revealed to The Cradle by a Turkish source, approaches ground solutions from a “confederation” angle, anathema to the Syrian authorities. According to him, “Damascus must be convinced of sharing power with the qualified factions of the (Turkish) National Army for that.”

While the Turkish proposal tried to move a step closer to Damascus’ aims, it seems that Russian mediation contributed to producing a new paradigm: This would be based on the tried-and-tested Syrian “military reconciliation” model used for years – namely, that opposition militants hand over their arms, denounce hostility to the state, and are integrated into the SAA.

Turkiye’s abandonment of its “demand to overthrow the regime” applies also to its affiliated military factions inside Syria, as the latter’s goals have dwindled to preserving some areas of influence in the north of the country. This is the current flavor of Turkiye’s reduced “confederation” ambitions: To maintain Turkish-backed factions within “local administrations” in northern areas where Turkiye has influence. This, in return for giving up on Ankara’s political ambition of “regime change” in Damascus and redrawing Syria’s northern map.

The solution here will require amending the Syrian constitution, a process that began several years ago to no avail.

From the Syrian perspective, officials are focused on eliminating all opposing separatist or terrorist elements who do not have the ability to adapt to a “unified” Syrian society.

Therefore, Damascus rejects military reconciliation proposals for any “sectarian” separatist or factional militias. Syrian officials reiterate that “the unity of the lands and the people” is the only gateway to a solution, away from the foreign interests that promote “terrorism or secession” – a reference to the Turkish and American role in Syria’s war.

Reconciliation on Damascus’ terms

There is no “confederation” in the dictionary of the Syrian state, and it is determined to stick hard to the principle of Syrian unity until the end. Damascus is intent on one goal: Reconciliations based on surrendering arms in the countryside of Latakia, Idlib, Aleppo, Raqqa, Hasakah, Qamishli, and al-Tanf, which are the areas that are still outside the control of the state.

According to the Turkish source, Syria refused to discuss anything “outside the framework of reconciliations and handing over weapons and regions,” which he says “makes it difficult for Ankara to undertake its mission,” especially in light of the fact that the Al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front controls large parts of these target areas.

A Syrian source tells The Cradle that the “Qamishli model” of military reconciliation is the closest one that applies to this case: Wherein “the SAA and national defense forces (the majority of which are pro-Damascus Kurds) coordinate fully.”

He makes clear that Damascus has already provided ample self-governance mechanisms for Kurds in the country’s north:

“The (Kurdish-run) Autonomous Administration in Syria already exists. It deals directly with Syria’s Ministry of Local Administration (in Damascus) and has multiple agencies that work through local representative councils to implement government plans in terms of security, tax collection, and services,” and of course it consists of the people of the region – Kurds.

The recent statement of top Erdogan advisor Yassin Aktay may throw a wrench in those works. His insistence that Turkiye should maintain control over the city of Aleppo – Syria’s second most populous, and its industrial heart – did not come out of nowhere.

Ankara considers that its repatriation of three million Syrian refugees should start from “local administrations run by the (Turkish-backed) Syrian National Army (a rebranded version of the opposition ‘Free Syrian Army),” says the Turkish source.

He is referring to Idlib, Aleppo, and their countrysides, and the areas in which Turkiye launched its “Olive Branch” and “Euphrates Shield” military operations. These locales in Syria’s north include the northern and eastern countryside of Aleppo, including Azaz, Jarabulus, al-Bab, Afrin, and its environs.

Turkiye may consider gradually handing over these strategic zones to its allied Syrian militias, he says.

“Call it confederation or not, these areas should be controlled by the Syrian National Army factions instead of the Al-Nusra Front – in order to ensure the safe return of the refugees.”

Steady progress

In short, the Russian mediation to bring Damascus and Ankara closer is moving slowly, but according to the Turkish source, “it is closer to reconciliation because the Syrian Ministry of Local Administration is beginning to take charge of regional affairs after holding new local council elections – in compliance with plans forged in the Astana process.”

Regarding Astana, the Turkish source says, “Let the Syrians treat the Kurdish and opposition areas as one, if the Kurds agree to dismantle their factions and join the Syrian army within a certain equation, the opposition factions will also accept.”

Regarding the complicated geopolitics of Syria’s east – currently occupied by US troops and their proxies – a high-ranking Syrian official who recently visited Saudi Arabia and Cairo, proposed “Arab intervention with the Syrian tribes to disengage tribe members in the Al-Tanf region from the US forces.” But according to the official, this would be subject to “the progress of relations between Damascus, Riyadh, Cairo, and possibly even Jordan.”

A few days ago, a video message was sent by Nusra Front leader Abu Muhammad al-Julani, in which he thundered: “Where are the armies of the Muslims?” It is a topical message from Al Qaeda’s Syria boss, who is angling to maintain his sectarian “area of ​​influence” in northwest Syria – strategic Idlib on the Turkish-Syrian border. Julani’s destructive narrative may be the last barrier to break for Damascus, Ankara, and Moscow to strike a deal on the ground.

Russia Increases Military Presence in Northern Syria as Turkey Sends Reinforcements to the Border

December 01 2022

Russian military police accompany SAA troops into Deraa al-Balad. (Photo credit: @syrseal44)

Moscow has been mediating talks between Damascus and the Kurdish groups present on the border with Turkiye

ByNews Desk- 

On 30 November, Russia reportedly sent reinforcements to the Tal Rifaat region, about 15 kilometers from the Turkish border. The region is under the control of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Moscow’s move is a response to a looming Turkish ground invasion, which seems more likely after Turkiye sent reinforcements to the Syrian border and advised the Syrian National Army (SNA) to prepare for an attack.

According to The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), Russian forces have increased their presence in Kurdish-controlled areas since Turkiye launched a series of airstrikes on targets in northern Syria and Iraq in response to a bomb attack in Istanbul.

Residents from Tal Rifaat reported that Russian reinforcements have arrived and set up new barricades between Kurdish and pro-Turkish areas in the region. According to Al-Arabiya news, Tal Rifaat, which is controlled by Kurdish forces, is surrounded on one side by the Syrian army, and on the other by Turkish-backed opposition forces.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) also stated that Russian forces had consolidated their presence at the Menagh military airport close to Tal Rifaat, controlled by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).

SOHR also noted that the Russians are reinforcing their forces near Kobani. “The purpose of these reinforcements may be to hinder or delay the Turkish military operation,” SOHR security official Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

Anonymous Turkish sources also revealed to Al-Quds Al-Arabi on 30 November that serious talks mediated by Russia are taking place to ensure the withdrawal of the Kurdish units and the deployment of the Syrian Arab Army on the border with Turkey, in an effort to prevent the Turkish ground offensive.

Russian military officials have reportedly been meeting with senior SDF commanders on a regular basis over the past few days.

A Russian military base was reportedly struck on 23 November in the latest wave of Turkish air strikes in northeast Syria, according to a Kurdish official.

The air strike, which targeted a base in the Hasakah province, reportedly killed one Kurdish fighter belonging to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and wounded three others, said SDF chief Farhad Chami.

The Turkish military struck nearly 500 Kurdish targets in Iraq and Syria since it began a series of airstrikes as part of Operation Claw-Sword, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a press conference, according to The New Arab.

On the other hand, on 22 November, the White House National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, John Kirbyendorsed Turkey’s attacks on northern Syria, saying the country has a right to defend itself.

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Why is Russia Set to Tolerate Türkey’s Attempt to Launch a ‘Small, Victorious War’ in Syria?


David Narmania

As Erdogan reportedly plans his own “special military operation,” Moscow has good reasons to value a stable partnership with Ankara

Earlier this week, Reuters quoted senior officials in Ankara as saying that the Turkish army had completed preparations for a ground incursion in Syria.

“It won’t take long for the operation to begin,” one of the agency’s sources was quoted as saying in the article. “It depends only on the president giving the word.”

Strictly speaking, news of Türkiye’s potential offensive is a bit delayed. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced plans for it back in May, when it was supposed to start any day, but never did. The main goal Ankara has declared is to fight against Kurdish self-defense units, which, according to the Turkish side, are a very serious security threat.

However, in six months of waiting for strikes against the Syrian Kurds, Türkiye has managed to conduct a ground operation against the Iraqi Kurds and even almost started a war with Greece and Cyprus (the probability of this is certainly low, but in 2022 such scenarios are not impossible.)

The Turks even managed to carry out an air operation against the Kurds in Syria – the reason for this was a terrorist attack in Istanbul, which Türkiye blamed on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (KWP). After the tragedy, Turkish authorities looked a bit like a shipwreck in a storm: they indirectly blamed not only the KWP for what had happened. Damascus and – remarkably – Washington were also dragged in into the frame.

The allegation was that the mastermind of the attack, Syrian citizen Ahlam al-Bashir was, according to Turkish security forces, trained by American instructors in territory controlled by the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

In fact, that is why a joint base of the Western coalition and the SDF, where there was also US military personnel, was among the 89 targets of the strikes. Interestingly, the White House was not particularly outraged.

The forthcoming “ground operation” in northern Syria will be nothing new for Turkish troops – Ankara conducts them regularly, declaring the successful completion of its goals each time, but for some reason, it has failed to completely eliminate the “Kurdish threat.”

Nevertheless, there are many reasons for postponing such an event.

First and foremost, Erdogan wants to avoid clashing with Russian interests: Moscow is a reliable partner to President Bashar Assad, and its support has been pretty much the key factor that has allowed the Syrian leader to remain in power.

The Turkish president’s statements in this regard are very revealing: last Sunday he said that he did not rule out the restoration and normalization of relations with Damascus in the future.

There is no room for hard feelings in politics,” Erdogan explained.

Formally, of course, any operation would be a violation of Syrian sovereignty but, Assad’s forces have little control over the territories in question. At the same time, however, Russian officials have also warned their Turkish counterparts that such a move would hardly contribute to stability in the region.

These arguments are unlikely to calm the fervor of the Sultan – the fact is that the military campaign in this case is a prologue to his re-election campaign. Next year Türkiye will choose its next president, and there is no success to boast of in the domestic arena, where a prolonged economic crisis accompanied by record inflation creates fertile ground for the opposition. Erdogan is therefore forced to compensate for the lack of bread by looking to capitalize on pride in his country.

But even here he tries to be careful, only gently tugging at America’s beard. Take, for example, the epic tale of Sweden and Finland’s bid to join NATO.

Here it is important to note the context: Stockholm recently gained a new government, and Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson commenting in parliament on the bombing of Kurdish formations in Syria, stated that “Türkiye has the right to self-defense.” He also touched upon another important issue, which Ankara considers crucial for accepting new members into the US-led military bloc: Kristersson stressed that Sweden should not be a safe haven for terrorist organizations. Apparently, he was referring to KWP supporters, whose extradition is demanded by Ankara. His predecessor, Magdalena Andersson, was far less accommodating on this issue.

Of course, time is on Erdogan’s side here, which explains the message to Scandinavian politicians from his Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who said that Sweden and Finland still have hurdles to jump before joining NATO.

The Turkish president is very good at bargaining, and even when conducting actions that run counter to the interests of his partners – both the US and Russia – he skillfully uses attractive concessions to smooth things over.

The main thing in this situation is to understand that Moscow and Ankara are not allies, but partners and neighbors with many overlapping interests that need to be considered. Something which is part of the multipolar world that both countries hope to help build.

And of course, an independent, and at least relatively stable Türkiye is a far better option for Russia than one obedient to Washington.

Following Israel, Turkey Bombs Northern Syria Killing 11 Soldiers


Turkey bombed several sites in northern Syria in the early hours of today, Sunday, November 20, 2022, killing 11 Syrian soldiers and injuring 4 others, local sources confirmed.

The Syrian news agency SANA conveyed a military source statement confirming the Turkish aggression and the killing of Syrian soldiers without specifying the number of martyrs or wounded:

“A number of soldiers were martyred as a result of the Turkish attacks on the Syrian lands in the northern countryside of Aleppo and the countryside of Hasakah at dawn this day.”

A reporter for SANA said that Turkish fighter jets bombed several sites in the southwest of Darbassiya, in the outskirts of Al Malikiyah, and in the village of Tal Harmal to the north of Abu Rasin, all of these sites are in Hasakah countryside.

Other sources added Ain Digna, Meng Airport, Ayn Al Arab, Khafaya Al-Salem silos, Tal Rifat, and Mara’naz to the sites targeted by the Turkish bombing.

Wide destruction of houses and farmlands resulted from Turkish aggression.

The regime of the Turkish madman Erdogan claimed this aggression by NATO’s second-largest army is to avenge the Istanbul ‘terrorist’ attack earlier this month, the attack that most observers and analysts doubted the Turkish official narrative about and alleged it’s more of a false flag similar to the Zelensky’s forces S300 missile that targeted Poland.

NATO-sponsored Kurdish SDF separatist terrorists also denied their involvement in the Istanbul explosion, they would otherwise celebrate their operations.

NATO and its members, especially Turkey have a long history of false flags in Syria to justify their aggression and the war crimes they commit on daily bases against the Syrian people, the head of the Turkish ‘intelligence’ plotted an attack against Turkish soldiers to justify Turkish army aggression against the Syrian forces a couple of years ago, his conversation was leaked and the plot was exposed, he was rewarded by Erdogan for his services.

The Turkish aggression against the Syrian army posts in Hasaskah comes a day after Israel bombed Syrian army posts killing 4 soldiers and injuring a fifth, the Israeli and Turkish aggressions come after the Syrian army cleared the last stronghold of ISIS in southern Daraa city a day preceding the Israeli aggression.


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Syrian refugees in Turkey: From opportunity to Achilles heel

Even though Turkey’s massive refugee problem is a direct consequences of the AKP’s Syria policy, both the government and the opposition try to avoid its solution: ending the war in Syria.

June 23 2022

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Erman Çete

In a recent TV interview, one of the most powerful political figures in Turkey, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, could barely restrain his anger.

Turning to Umit Ozdag, president of the newly-established Zafer (Victory) Party, Solyu lashed out: “This man is lower than an animal…an intelligence agent…the son of Soros.”

Ozdag is a former member of the Nationalist Action Party (MHP), a party now staunchly allied to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

A political science professor and a hardline Turkish nationalist, Ozdag reciprocated in kind, calling Soylu a “coward” for his lack of leadership at the Interior Ministry.

Ozdag’s Zafer Party has been at the forefront of harsh criticism against Erdogan’s refugee policy within the Turkish political scene. His popularity has been growing recently, with his anti-refugee and anti-AKP policies galvanizing Turkey’s dispirited urban youth.

The issue of refugees, now a critical one in the Turkish political landscape – alongside the country’s catastrophic economic decline – has become a focal point for upcoming elections.

The geopolitics of displacement

The AKP’s Syria policy is one of the main issues at stake. Their aggressive policies towards ‘former Ottoman regions’ have dramatically shifted traditional Turkish foreign policy away from Kemal Ataturk’s motto “peace at home, peace in the world.”

Turkish academic Ozgur Balkilic writes about the AKP’s geopolitical interpretation of the refugee question in a broader context.

He argues that Turkey’s various responses to the Syrian refugee crisis are the product of a geopolitical discourse based on Islamist ideology, highlighted by the AKP discourse on civilization, and the effort to build a completely different moral and political space for Turkey.

“The geographical vision of Kemalism produced an ideological framework in which Turkey tried to integrate with the west and stay as far away from the east as possible,” Balkilic told The Cradle.

By criticizing the ‘old Turkey’ as defensive, ineffective and obsessed with security, the AKP views Turkey’s new geopolitical orientation as “indispensable” in the new international system.

“The AKP reads the Syrian refugee crisis as a repercussion of the larger political and moral crises of the international system, in which it demarcates a leadership role for Turkey. State discourse on the Syrian refugee crisis can only be understood within this geopolitical scenario,” Balkilic says.

The AKP uses the legal framework in relation to refugees for its own agenda. While party to the 1951 Refugee Convention, Turkey maintains the geographical limitation only to people originating from Europe.

In reference to Syrian migrants and refugees, the AKP uses a religious definition of the word ‘guest’, not one clearly defined by official regulations.

Balkilic points out that authority-led public debates about Syrians are not shaped around the classic immigrant problems such as integration issues, legal and economic rights, and the labor market.

The language used by AKP officials is, instead, geopolitical. When Syrian immigrants are referred to as guests, they are viewed as part of the larger Islamic community, the Ummah, Balkilic stated.

This concept does not exist in the universal literature of migration, and Turkey has, as a result, been freed from its many obligations and responsibilities toward refugees and/or immigrants.

While Turkey uses a religious term to refer to Syrian refugees as guests of the nation, Turkey’s own role is expressed using another Islamic term –Ansar – which means hosting those in need.

The refugee issue as a weapon

Despite all this, the AKP’s policy towards Syria and the Syrian refugees has been forced to shift over time. First, its ‘regime change’ operation in Syria hit a brick wall. Second, the migration issue became a fault line in domestic politics.

After 2016, Turkey initiated various military operations in Syria: Operation Euphrates Shield, Operation Olive Branch, Operation Peace Spring, and Operation Spring Shield.

One of the announced goals of these operations was the settlement of Syrian refugees inside so-called ‘safe zones.’

Senior AKP executives have also often underlined the ‘cheap labor’ value of Syrian (and Afghan) refugees. Erhan Nalcaci, a Turkish professor and a columnist of the leftist daily Sol, believes the AKP sought to use refugees as “cheap labor and a large reserve army.”

“This was a unique opportunity to reduce wages, ignore social rights and make commodities produced in Turkey advantageous in international competition,” Nalcaci says, adding that the Turkish bourgeoisie has an “unspoken annexation agenda for northern Cyprus and the north-west of Syria.”

According to Nalcaci, Turkey considers these locations in Cyprus and Syria “areas of Turkish dominion.”

Nalcaci argues that placing Syrian refugees within this agenda “appears to be aimed at changing the ethnic structure of northern Syria from west to east and establishing a sharia management model, as well as Turkish hegemony over a region that is economically and politically dependent on Turkey.”

Some opposition politicians argue against hosting Afghan and Syrian refugees due to the possibility of AKP using them against their domestic political opponents.

Nalcaci agrees with this claim, saying “refugees provided a suitable basis for building a rented jihadist army if they needed it, just like in northern Syria.”

Turkey as a buffer zone for Europe

A further aspect is Turkey’s role in EU refugee policy. In 2016, the EU and Turkey reached an agreement on refugees. This was a re-admission agreement and had three important aspects.

Turkey would take any measure necessary to stop people travelling irregularly from Turkey to the Greek islands; anyone who arrived on the islands irregularly from Turkey could be returned to Greece; and for every Syrian returned from the islands, the EU would accept one Syrian refugee who had waited inside Turkey.

In return, Turkey would receive six billion euros from the EU.

Human right groups and the Turkish opposition have criticized this refugee agreement. In 2013, before the deal, Turkey had re-adjusted its Law on Foreigners and International Protection to the EU legislation.

According to Nalcaci, due to imperialist interventions and poor economic situations in their home countries, people have been forced to turn to the west as a better option for living conditions, and this mass migration is a threat to western imperialism.

Nalcaci claims that in the face of this migration, it is obvious that the EU used Turkey as a buffer country to attract qualified workforce and overlook refugees in Turkey, rather than in their own territory.

However, the AKP ambition to create a dependent area in northern Syria may backfire. On one hand, Nalcaci says, Syrian refugees are valued by the AKP as an expansionist tool in the region. On the other hand, he says, it is impossible for the imperialist mind to not anticipate that up to 10 million refugees in Turkey would create instability and open an area of ​​intervention.

An opposition smeared by the same brush

The views of the main Turkish opposition barely differ from those of the AKP government in relation to the Syrian problem. A north Cyprus-type ‘solution’ to the Syrian crisis is also on the CHP (Republican People’s Party) agenda.

The leader of the CHP, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, has often promised to send Syrian refugees back to Syria “with a flourish of trumpets.”

The newcomer party of Zafer is also committed to the expulsion of the refugees. The party’s so-called Fortress Anadolu project claims to deal with eight million refugees in Turkey. Within this framework, Ozdag announced that a commission from Zafer was to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Neither the CHP nor the Zafer party responded to our questions.

Nalcaci underlines the opposition’s stand on Syria and its refugees: “They do not include any substantive foreign policy changes in their program. Moreover, they have always supported AKP initiatives in the parliament, especially the resolutions to send soldiers.”

The most anti-refugee politician Umit Ozdag and his party Zafer have not raised any objection to sending Turkish troops to Syria. When it comes to ‘national security,’ the opposition sings the same tune as the AKP.

Although CHP voted against the last motion to send Turkish troops to Iraq and Syria, battling the ‘national security’ narrative is a difficult task.

“The practice of establishing a hegemonic zone on Syrian territory will continue unless there is a great upheaval that overturns the situation,” Nalcaci asserts.

It seems that things will have to change in order to remain the same.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.



South Front

Israel and Turkey escalated their military operations in Syria recently, in what appears to be an attempt to further their interests and expand their influence in the war-torn country while Russia is thought to be busy with its military operation in Ukraine.

Israeli attacks on Syria are becoming more frequent. Late on June 6, warplanes of the Israeli Air Force launched several guided missiles from the direction of the occupied Golan Heights at the southern outskirts of the Syrian capital, Damascus.

A source in the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) said that many of the missiles were intercepted. However, some damage was reported near the town of the town of al-Kiswah, where several bases and research facilities of the SAA are located.

Early on June 8, the Israeli Defence Forces attacked again. Several Israeli battle tanks advanced in the UN-monitored buffer zone in the southern governorate of al-Quneitra and targeted an observation post of the SAA near the town of al-Malgah. The attack was a blatant violation of the 1974 separation of forces agreement.

Following the attack, the Israeli military dropped leaflets over al-Qunitra warning the officers and soldiers of the SAA against operating within the buffer zone.

Israel’s recent attacks were likely meant to further pressure Damascus over its alliance with Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah as well as to weaken its authority over the al-Quneitra buffer zone.

Meanwhile, Turkey continues to prepare to launch a new military operation against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northern and northeastern Syria.

As of June 8, the Turkish military and its proxies continue to shell SDF-held areas in the northern and northeastern Aleppo countryside, the northern Raqqa countryside and the northern countryside of al-Hasakah. The presence of Russian forces and SAA units in these areas didn’t deter Ankara.

The Turkish military and its proxies also continue to amass their forces near the SDF-held towns of Tell Rifaat and Manbij in the northern Aleppo countryside. The two towns are expected to be the main targets of Turkey’s upcoming operation.

Russia has been working to restrain the actions of both Israel and Turkey in Syria by developing its cooperation with the SAA and expanding its military presence in hot regions.

On June 7, the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) and the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) concluded a joint live-fire exercise, which simulated facing “hostile” fighter jets and drones that violated Syrian airspace. During the exercise, Syrian and Russian fighter jets monitored and shot down hostile aerial threats at day and night.

Su-35s, Su-34 and Su-24M fighter jets from the VKS as well as MiG-23ML and MiG-29SM fighter jets from the SyAAF took part in the exercise.

Syrian and Russian warplanes also conducted a joint patrol along the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights as well as over the country’s eastern and northern regions, where Turkish forces are present.

The exercise, which demonstrated Russia’s commitment to the safety and security of Syria, was likely a message to Israel and Turkey. Both countries have been attempting to marginalize the Russian role in the country.

Assad: Syria Will Stand Firm against Any Turkish Onslaught on Its Territory

June 9, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has once again rejected Turkish military operations in the occupied northern part of the country, saying  the army will directly confront the Ankara government’s incursions and offensives wherever military facilities are present.

“If Turkish forces launch an attack in areas where Syrian military troops are present, the latter will definitely fight back and put up defense,” Assad said in an interview with Russia’s state-owned and Arabic-language RT Arabic television news network, which is scheduled to be broadcast in full on Thursday evening.

He added, “Two and a half years ago, there was a direct confrontation between Syrian and Turkish forces, and Syrian soldiers managed to strike a number of Turkish units that had encroached into our territories.”

“If it is not possible for Syrian army forces to face up to Turkish incursions, popular resistance will swing into action in the first place,” Assad pointed out.

On Saturday, Syria vehemently condemned Turkey’s acts of aggression against the Arab country, saying Turkish forces incursions into its territory violate international law.

“The aggressive threats of the Turkish regime pose a blatant violation of the international law and the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Syria,” the official news agency SANA cited an unnamed source in Syria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates as saying in a statement.

The statement added that Turkey’s incursions into the Syrian territory contradict the understandings and agreements reached through the Astana process and constitute a serious threat to peace and security in the region while undermining internationally-sponsored agreements on the lines of the de-escalation zones in Syria.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Assad censured the recent Western hawkish stance against Russia over its military campaign in neighboring Ukraine.

“Russia is facing a war that I personally believe has nothing to do with the eastward expansion of the [US-led] North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO]. This is a war that existed before communism and World War II, and has been going on for a long time,” the Syrian president said.

He emphasized, “We can look at Russia from two perspectives. If we view Moscow as an ally of Damascus, either its victory in Ukraine campaign or stronger political role at the world stage will be highly beneficial for us.

“Moreover, Russia’s power can restore the lost international balance, albeit partially. This is the balance we are looking for as it will primarily affect small countries like Syria in the first place,” Assad said.

Statement by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy at UNSC Briefing on the Political and Humanitarian Situation in Syria



We thank Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria Geir Pedersen, Head of UN OCHA Martin Griffiths, as well as Assistant Secretary-General of the Leagues of Arab States Hossam Zaki for their insights.

We welcome the beginning of the 7th round of the Editorial Board of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva. We are convinced that there is no alternative to Syrian-owned and Syrian-led political settlement under UN assistance that should be free of external interference and artificial deadlines, and should remain within the framework of UNSC resolution 2254.

We do hope that “methodological” reservations will not impede fruitful conclusion of this round, and the work will mainly focus on dialogue between the Syrian delegations and their readiness to come to an agreement on the issue of constitutional reform. We call on Geir Pedersen to concentrate on this without getting distracted by other initiatives.


Progress of political settlement is in even greater demand now that the situation on the ground remains tense and potentially explosive. Main security threats to Syria have to do with the rise of activity of terrorists who found refuge at Damascus-uncontrolled territories in Idlib, cross-Euphrates area, and Al-Tanf. This problem can be solved if the uncompromising fight against internationally-recognized terrorist groups, first of all ISIL and HTS continues; illegal foreign military presence that violates Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is put an end to; and Israel’s arbitrary air strikes stop for good.

We believe the key reason creating this hazardous situation is the West showing indulgence towards terrorists and trying to use them for own purposes. Among the resent consequences of this dangerous stance we can name a large-scale terrorist attack on al-Sinaa prison in Hasakeh. When cleansing the prison and surrounding urban areas from militants, US aviation and armored vehicles were used. Measures for protection of civilians were ignored, which is richly illustrated by mass outflow of peaceful population from combat zone: more than 45,000 people by OCHA estimates.

Even though Washington poses its military presence as a counter-terrorism operation, we see no active fight against terrorists there. Besides, by available records, ISIL and other extremists from across the Euphrates are being transferred to other hotspots where spreading chaos is beneficial for the US. It is worth reminding that the United States and its allies repeatedly launched massive missile and bombing raids against Syria’s military and industrial infrastructure in violation of the international law and the UN Charter – on a far-fetched pretext of eliminating chemical weapons. Apparently, this is what West-promoted “rules-based order” looks like.

This being said, and also in view of the fact that the Secretary-General stepped back from conventional “neutral language” that is appropriate for an international civil servant in the context of Ukraine, we request A.Guterres to be consistent and give an assessment to whether the presence of the US and other forces in Syria meets the UN Charter. We count on him to call the names of those who illegally occupies the Syrian territory, first of all in Al-Tanf, and specify who is responsible for the situation in IDP camps that are out of control of Damascus. Otherwise we will have to perceive his silence as a manifestation of double standards.

We also remind the Secretary-General that we never heard him give an assessment to the US bombardments of Raqqa, Hajin, and Baghouz. By UN data, there was no single medical facility in Raqqa left unaffected by hostilities. At least 80 people (most of them women and children) died during the bombardment of Baghouz. After his emotional assessments of the developments in Ukraine that were based on unverified or even unverifiable data, Head of the United Nations is obliged to call things by their real names in the context of continuing US occupation of Syrian territories based on data that is confirmed by international agencies.


At the humanitarian track, we share the assessments of M.Griffiths that the international community is failing Syrians from year to year. Implementation of UNSC resolution 2585 that is called to boost comprehensive humanitarian assistance to Syria is stalled. Planned cross-line convoys from Aleppo to Sarmada were blocked by militants in Idlib. According to the incoming reports, Nusra fighters openly say that they would not let through any internal convoys (that carry aid to approximately 43,000 people in need) until the renewal of the cross-border mechanism (CBM) in July, of which they are somehow convinced. There is also no access to the three other zones of Turkish operations – even COVID-19 vaccines cannot be delivered there.

In parallel to this, our Western colleagues try to connect member states’ obligations under the unanimously adopted resolution 2585 with political preconditions. While politicizing humanitarian assistance, Europeans and Americans keep suffocating Syria with unilateral sanctions that erode the humanitarian situation and seriously complicate efforts of specialized organizations, i.a. due to related chilling effect and overcompliance by banks, insurance companies and economic operators. Again, didn’t we make decisions defining hunger as an unacceptable method of warfare that contradicts the IHL?

We must not relax our attention to assisting Syrian IDPs and facilitating refugee return – this task remains on the agenda. Host countries – Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey do not conceal that there are limits to their accommodating capacities.

We believe we need to uphold the fundamental right of refugees to return, as stated in UNSC resolution 2254 and given scrupulous coordination of such efforts with Damascus.


As we all know, the CBM mandate expires this summer. Of all provisions of the resolution, only one is being implemented at the moment – cross-border humanitarian deliveries. It seems no one is going to implement the other provisions. At the same time, Damascus has proven that cross-line deliveries to Idlib are possible and that peaceful population can receive humanitarian aid if it departed from the territory of Syria. We strongly call you to not forget this and not expect that we turn a blind eye to nonfulfillment of resolution 2585 that becomes more and more outspoken.

Thank you.

أزمة أوكرانيا تثبت: حياد لبنان أمر غير قابل للتطبيق

الجمعة 4 آذار 2022

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

منذ فترة من الزمن يروّج في لبنان مع اندلاع العدوان على سورية بحرب كونية قادتها الولايات المتحدة، ابتدع لبنان شعار النأي بالنفس حتى يتنصّل من موجباته التي يفرضها العديد من المعاهدات المعقودة بينه وبين الدولة السورية ويؤمّن لأميركا ما تبتغيه من حصار.

 شعار رفعته آنذاك الحكومة التي كان يرأسها نجيب ميقاتي رئيس الحكومة الحالي الذي يجاهر اليوم بانّ «السعودية هي قبلته السياسية كما هي قبلته الدينية»، رغم انه يُصرّ أو يتظاهر بأنه ملتزم بسياسة النأي بالنفس وهو كلام تنفيه الوقائع.

بيد أنّ الشعار المرفوع الذي يوحي بأنّ لبنان لن يكون مع طرف دون آخر في الحرب على سورية، هذا الشعار لم يطبّق في الميدان من قبل أحد فلا الحكومة عملت به ولا مكونات السياسة اللبنانية احترمته، حيث انّ الحكومة انصاعت لأوامر الغرب بالقيادة الأميركية في أكثر من ملف يعني سورية، بخاصة في مسألة النازحين السوريين كما وفي مسائل مالية وسياسية أخرى ولم يسجل من النأي بالنفس سوى بعض المواقف اليتيمة التي اتخذها مندوب لبنان في الجامعة العربية وما عدا ذلك فقد كان انحياز لبنان الرسمي الى خصوم الحكومة السورية واضحاً من غير التباس.

أما اللبنانيون فقد كان انقسامهم واضحاً أيضاً حيال المسألة، ففي حين ذهب فريق منهم للقتال الى جانب الدولة السورية قتالاً رأى فيه انه من طبيعة العمل الاستباقي للدفاع المشروع عن النفس، فقد التزم أطراف آخرون يعملون بأوامر وإملاءات أميركية موقع العداء للحكومة السورية ونصرة من يقاتلها من مجموعات داخلية مسلحة او إرهابية استقدمت من الخارج او حتى تشكيلات عسكرية احتلت أرضاً سورية، كما هو حال القوات الأميركية والتركية. مواقف متناقضة أظهرت انّ الانقسام عمودي حادّ بين اللبنانيين دون أن يكون هناك بين الطرفين مساحة مشتركة للتفاهم.

في ظلّ هذا الوضع الخلافي أطلق البطريرك الماروني الدعوة الى حياد لبنان وأيّده في دعوته معظم الأطراف الذين جاهروا بالعداء للدولة السورية والعداء للمقاومة التي وقفت الى جانب سورية في حربها الدفاعية ضدّ الإرهاب والاحتلال الأجنبي لأراضيها، وكان بديهياً أن تنظر المقاومة الى الدعوة هذه بعين الريبة والحذر خاصة أنها ترى في سلوك من أطلقها ومن أيّده كامل الانحياز الى الغرب بقيادة أميركية وكامل الانصياع للإملاءات الأميركية وكامل الانبطاح أمام دول الخليج المنصاعة أصلاً لأميركا والتي تنفذ عدواناً تدميرياً على اليمن.

في ظلّ هذا المشهد انفجر الوضع في أوكرانيا وبدأت روسيا بتنفيذ عملية عسكرية خاصة عبر حدودها، عملية حددت أهدافها بأنها ذات طبيعة دفاعيّة من أجل ضمان حياد أوكرانيا وعدم تحوّلها الى منصة للحلف الأطلسي الذي يجاهر بالعداء لروسيا وبأنها لا تنوي احتلالاً للدولة تلك بل جلّ ما تريده ضمان أمنها القومي الذي ينتهك بالخطط الأطلسية بقيادة أميركية. أما الغرب فقد نظر الى العملية العسكرية الروسية بأنها عدوان موصوف، وأنه سيواجهه بشتى الوسائل السياسية والإعلامية والاقتصادية وتقديم المساعدات العسكرية لحكومة كييف من غير التورّط بإرسال تشكيلات من جيوش الغرب خشية الانزلاق الى حرب عالمية أطرافها دول نووية.

لقد ظهر الصراع في أوكرانيا وحولها انه صراع بين روسيا التي تبرّر أعمالها العسكرية بحق الدفاع عن النفس بأسلوب استباقي وبين الغرب بقيادة أميركا التي جهدت لاستدراج روسيا الى هذا الموقع من أجل الإجهاز عليها وتفكيكها بتكرار ما قامت به ضدّ الاتحاد السوفياتي بعد احتلال أفغانستان. ورغم هذا الوضوح في طبيعة الصراع فإنّ لبنان سارع وفي الساعات الأولى لبدء العملية العسكرية الروسية، لإدانة روسيا والمطالبة بوقف عمليتها ثم صوّت في الجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة لصالح مشروع قرار أميركي أوروبي اعتمد ضدّ روسيا، مؤكداً في مواقفه بأنه ليس على الحياد ولا يتقيّد بما ورد في البيان الوزاري للحكومة من شعار النأي بالنفس، فهل أصاب لبنان أم أخطأ في مواقفه؟ وهل الحياد ممكن والنأي بالنفس مستطاع؟

من البديهي أن يكون لبنان وهو من الدول المؤسسة للأمم المتحدة صاحب سياسة تدعو الى الأمن والسلام وحلّ النزاعات بالطرق السلميّة بعيداً عن الاحتكام الى القوة والسلاح مع ما يستتبعه من قتل وتدمير وتشريد وهو الدولة التي عانت ولا تزال تعاني من العدوان والاحتلال «الإسرائيلي» وعلى أرضها وحقوقها وسيادتها. ولكن على لبنان قبل ان يتخذ موقفاً من صراع دولي أن يتحقق ويمحّص انعكاسات موقفه وتداعياته عليه وعلى سياسة الحياد التي يدّعيها. ولكن هل يستطيع لبنان أن يصمد أمام الضغوط الأجنبية عامة والأميركية ـ الأوروبية ـ الخليجية خاصة؟

لقد أثبتت التجربة في لبنان أنّ القول شيء والفعل والممارسة شيء آخر، والأمر رهن بمن يتولى زمام الأمور في البلاد، فإذا تذكرنا أيام تلت طرد «إسرائيل» من جنوب لبنان في العام ٢٠٠٠ وكم صمد لبنان أمام الضغط الأميركي الرامي لحمله على التنازل امام «إسرائيل» عن حقوقه في أرضه، لوصلنا الي نتيجة مفادها انّ لبنان المتمسك بحقه وبجيشه وبمقاومته قادر على مواجهة الضغوط الأميركية، فقد حاولت مادلين أولبريت وزيرة الخارجية الأميركية وعبر مكالمات هاتفية لمدة أربع ساعات ان تثني لبنان عن مواقفه ولم تستطع وانتزع لبنان حقه في أرضه كما رآه.

بيد انّ نتائج الضغط الأميركي على لبنان في المسألة الأوكرانية جاءت بنتيجة معاكسة، حيث إنّ هاتف او زيارة من سفيرة أميركا الى المسؤولين أنتجت بيان إدانة لروسيا بسرعة قياسية سبق لبنان فيها كلّ الدول العربية ومعظم الدول الأوروبية، ثم كانت زيارة أخرى حملت لبنان على دعم الموقف الأميركيّ في مجلس الأمن ضدّ روسيا.

وهنا قد يروق للبنانيين الذين اتخذوا هذه المواقف من غير العودة الى مجلس الوزراء الذي هو حسب الدستور السلطة التنفيذية التي ترسم وتنفذ سياسات الدولة، قد يروق لهم القول بأنّ موقف لبنان منسجم مع مبادئه الرافضة للعدوان والاحتكام للقوة في حلّ النزاعات. ولكن أيضاً من مبادئ لبنان دعم الحق المشروع بالدفاع عن النفس، وهنا يجب ان نأخذ بالاعتبار الهواجس المشروعة لكلّ من الطرفين، الامر الذي لم يعمل به لبنان بنتيجة الضغط الأميركي.

هذه الوقائع تفضي بنا الى نتيجة واحدة وهي انّ الحياد المطلوب هو أمر غير مضمون في بلد كلبنان في ظلّ ضعف الدولة ووهنها ووجود ساسة لديهم مصالح يخشون عليها، فالحياد موقف لا يمكن ان يتخذه إلا قوي لا يخشى تهديداً ولا يستجيب لإملاء، أما الضعيف الخائف على مصلحة مالية او سواها، فإنه ينظر الي مصلحته ويتخذ الموقف الذي يحفظها دون التوقف عند تأثير ذلك على الدولة والوطن الذي يتولى مسؤولية فيه، وأخيراً نذكر بشروط الحياد التي هي الى جانب القوة الذاتية، هناك القبول الخارجيّ فهل يقبل الخارج بحياد لبنان ويدعه وشأنه أم يريد لبنان منصة ومسرحاً وقاعدة لعملياته وسياسته؟ الواقع يثبت انّ من يطلب حياد لبنان هو كمن يبحث عن النجوم في رابعة النهار. فتحوّلوا الى امتلاك القوة والبحث عمن يتولى الشأن العام ويقدّمه على أموره الخاصة.

*أستاذ جامعيّ ـ باحث استراتيجيّ

NATO Turkey Accelerates War Crimes while Hyenas Bark over Ukraine Nazimaidans


NATO Turkey has accelerated its war crimes against Syria, while the NATO junta is holding its war meeting on Russia and Ukraine, at the United Nations. Madman Erdogan has launched a two-prong attack on Syria, obviously knowing that the eyes of humanity are now glued to the rabid dogs of war now salivating over Russia.

On Thursday, NATO Erdogan occupation forces launched a series of artillery bombings against the village of Khirbet Bakr, southwest of Tal Abyad city, in the governate of al Raqqa. Several homes were damaged, and an undisclosed number of indigenous Syrians fled their homes. Like invasion and occupation, ethnic cleansing is a war crime, a crime against humanity.

Please note that Tal Abyad falls within the annexation map that Madman Erdogan showed to UNGA in 2019, a map of land theft that the NATO klansmen bleated was a ‘security zone.’

Erdogan annexation map of Syria shown at UNGA meeting.
Madman Erdogan’s annexation map received tacit approval by the UN NATO klan at the General Assembly meeting in September 2019.

At approximately the same time NATO Erdogan’s troops were bombing and ethnic cleansing Khirbet Bakr, his terrorist militias were engaging in another round of fratricide in the city of Al-Bab, Aleppo governate, Syria. Al-Bab, Syria, has been under NATO Erdogan occupation since December 2016, ignored by the UN junta sworn to uphold the noble Charter.

Military occupation with terrorists blowing each other up, is also part of the war crime of ethnic cleansing, as indigenous Syrian flee to safer parts of their homeland.

NATO fratricide in Erdogan occupied Al Bab, Syria.
NATO fratricide in Erdogan occupied Al-Bab, Syria.

As there has been little or no news regarding the war crimes of Israel against Syria, as the war crimes of ObamaTrump, and Biden against Syria have been legitimized by NATO propagandists, as the United Nations allows the murderous junta to besmirch the noble principles of its Charter, as these demonic, supremacists, mobsters have demonstrated that Arab lives do not matter beyond being maligned, and exterminated, this Syria News journalist has no expectation of Thursday’s war crimes to even cause a blurb in the news.

We shall, therefore, move this report to the sudden howling of these rabid dogs of war, and touch upon just some of the hypocrisy of these drooling, rabid dogs, their double standards, and their mass genocide that they Orwellianly refer to as democracy.

We must turn to our friends, the maps, and also remind our readers that NATO is an acronym for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. First, however, we are obligated to remind our readers of a few, somewhat consequential things.

In December 2013, Victoria Nuland bragged that the US taxpayer had spent five billion bipartisan dollars to fund the Nazimaidan Coup in Ukraine. We must also note that. Nazimaidan is no hyperbole, and wherever John McCain appeared to preach about democracy, the ensuing mass death and destruction suggested he was the Emissary of Beelzebub.

Senator John McCain. Al-Qaeda & NATO Representative in US. Senate, illegally in Libya with ‘protesters.’
US Senator John McCain with Syrian FSA commander & Nusra supporter Salim Idris and terrorists responsible for kidn
McCain was “honored” to meet Nazimaidan icon reputed to hate Jews.
Nazimaidan freedom fighters, 2014
Kiev Rabbi Moshe Reuven Asman warned the Nazimaidans were plotting a pogram against the Jewish community
McCain’s Nazimaidan pal, Oleh Tyahybok. CNN had no complaints over his Hitler salute.
An actual “Sieg Heil,” not a flip off gesture of contempt..
stepan bandera nazi

Here is the map showing the location of the North Atlantic:

This map of the  North Atlantic shows the original geography of NATO.
This map of the North Atlantic shows the original geography of NATO.

As war — or warmongering — is no longer the basis of Westerners’ knowledge of geography, we also include a map showing the border of Russia and Ukraine, followed by a map showing the distance between the US and Ukraine.

NATO complaints of Russian military near the border ignores Russia being in Russia.
NATO complaints of Russian military near the border ignores Russia being in Russia.

We ask our readers to note and compare the distance between Russia and Ukraine, and the distance between the US and Ukraine.

No amount of NATO saber-rattling can put the US on the border with the Ukraine.
No amount of NATO saber-rattling can put the US on the border with Ukraine.

US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd J. Austin, is especially in dire need of a map; he actually claimed that Russian troops were encroaching on “NATO’s doorstep.

Defense Sec. Austin claimed Russia is at NATO's doorstep.
Defense Sec. Austin claimed Russia is at NATO’s doorstep.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrogantly made a similar demand, that Russia send “its troops, tanks, and planes back to their barracks and hangars,” forcing Deputy Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy to remind the US of the NATO-Russia Founding Act. Were cooler heads prevailing in 2014, when NATO wrote that “immediate concerns about the Euro-Atlantic architecture are justified – Moscow has long stated its opposition to NATO and its enlargement, and even its desire to attempt to roll back NATO’s influence if the opportunity presents itself” — or were these just diplomatic mouth noises to bide time?

NATO leaders and assorted stenographers continue to throw shade on Crimea; at every opportunity, the lying thugs continue to claim that this country was “annexed” –a word meaning preceded by occupation and military conquest — by Russia, despite the fact that the country held a democratic vote to decide to become part of the Federation.

Here, yet again, we note the imperial double standards in both word, and action: Turkey’s attempt to annex part of the Syrian Arab Republic is wrongfully called ‘safety’, and a legitimate vote is wrongfully called ‘annexation.’

March 2014, Crimea voted to join the Russian Federation. NATO persists in calling the vote, an "annexation."
March 2014, Crimea voted to join the Russian Federation. NATO persists in calling the vote, an “annexation.”

Similarly, these rabid dogs of war — along with their dutiful, underling stenographers — keep to two definitions of the false flag, one of which defames and diminishes those using it, and the other as another bludgeon for pimping acts of military aggression. We consider that the Gulf of Tonkin ‘incident’ was the cover story for the US to begin its slow genocide campaign in Vietnam. We also consider that the lies of the British al Qaeda operative whose medical license was revoked in the UK, offered the false flag of Syrians murdered by terrorists in Khan Sheikhoun, for the Trump regime to legitimize his war criminal bombing of the SAR.

This Syrian child was one of the dozens kidnapped, poisoned for the cameras, and degraded into the false flag operation used by NATO US to bomb Syria for al Qaeda terrorists.

OPCW pimps for al Qaeda for perpetual war.
Remember this child? Stripped naked, pummeled with a power hose, poisoned in snuff porn which showed painful agonal breathing. One of dozens murdered by al Qaeda 4 April 2017.

Since 2016, we have been told that the false flag is the rantings of paranoid conspiracy lunatics — until 14 January, when Jen Psaki abruptly announced, without a shred of evidence, that Russia is busy at work “has prepositioned a group of operatives to conduct a false-flag operation in Ukraine. The operatives are trained in urban warfare and using explosives to conduct acts of sabotage.”

The false flag & imperial NATO double standards.
The false flag & imperial NATO double standards.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has been pummeling the war drums against the Russian Federation, pimping the lie of imminent invasion, though it is NATO countries that are sending in their troops, and massive amounts of military equipment (as usual, at the expense of the taxpayer, besieged by inflation nearing Weimar, suffering both food and housing insecurity).

Despite war pimping being part of Stoltenberg’s job description, one might wonder if his passion for it could be a form of rage sublimation against the sadism of the aging process.

NATO Gen. Jens Stoltenberg.
NATO threatens Russia for Nazimaidans?

This abrupt crisis is not new; shorter-lived hysterical outbursts have been erupting since before 2016.

This report would be incomplete without a look at President Joe Biden’s statements — no matter what anyone may think of his cognitive abilities.

Biden has been a NATO war pimp since his days in the US Senate. He was part of the 57% of the Democrats who supported the Bush/Cheneyac/Halliburton killing machine which destroyed the sovereignty of Iraq, butchered upwards of four million, and caused massive birth defects from the illicit use of white phosphorus and depleted uranium in the bombings of Fallujah.

Though Biden changed the lying reasons for his support of this genocide — non-existent WMDs, ‘evil Arab dictator,’ Iraqis yearning to breathe free — he never relented in his deadly faux piety, and practically threw himself laurels as he gave the keynote speech at the University of Delaware Commencement.

Missing marbles or not, POTUS’ statement in support of “sovereignty and territorial” integrity is especially evil. His illegal troops have breached the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic, where they slaughter Syrians, engage in collective punishment and forced displacement, murder and kidnap Syrians during criminal airdrops, train other terrorists in how to murder more Syrians, loot Syrian oil, starve Syrians by stealing their grain, and outright bombs Syrians within their sovereign homeland.

The US is the largest contributor to NATO.
The US is the largest contributor to NATO.
Biden projecting NATO's threats onto the Russian Federation.
Biden projecting NATO’s threats onto the Russian Federation.
Biden projecting NATO's threats onto the Russian Federation.
Biden projecting NATO’s threats onto the Russian Federation.
Biden defended his criminal vote with more NATO lies.

Here is a visual reminder of unindicted war criminal Biden on nations having the right to sovereignty, the right to territorial integrity:

NATO respect for sovereignty -- American illegals in Syria.
NATO respect for sovereignty — American illegals in Syria.

NATO Turkey continues to occupy and bomb Syria. NATO US continues to bomb Syria, lead armed insurrectionist terrorists, and loot Syrian raw materials.

The fascist dictum, might makes right, currently is being applied by NATO, in its threats to the Russian Federation.

— Miri Wood

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