“Everything calls peace, Schalom! Then it will occur – a new Middle East war suddenly flames up, big naval forces are facing hostiley in the Mediterranean – the situation is strained. But the actual firing spark is set on fire in the Balkan: I see a “large one” falling, a bloody dagger lies beside him – then impact is on impact. …”
The US has apparently sent more troops to the Kurdish-held regions of northern Syria and has established new outposts in the area. Local Kurdish militias believe the Americans have come to help them fend off a Turkish offensive.
“This base is of the [US-led] Coalition… It was established to counterattack the Turkish threat. The Coalition is here for the Turks,” one Kurdish fighter, identified as the “Sheikh of the Mountain,” told Ruptly video news agency. He was speaking about one of the US outposts set up not far from the northern Syrian city of Manbij, which is now controlled by the US-backed Kurdish militias. Earlier, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated that Ankara plans to target Manbij in its operation against the Kurds in northern Syria.
Footage recorded by Ruptly shows an outpost with a perimeter of large sand barriers and US flags waving. The fortified position was reportedly established on the frontline zone west of Manbij, not far from the Sajur River, which forms the border between the areas held by the Kurds and the pro-Turkish forces in northern Syria.
If the Kurds come back under the roof of Damascus, the Turkish military campaign in northern Syria will lose its relevance, political analyst Ghassan Kadi told Sputnik. Commenting on the liberation of East Ghouta, the analyst agreed that it may develop according to the “Aleppo scenario.”
If the Kurds have given up the idea of creating a sovereign entity in northern Syria, then Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan no longer has a justification to proceed with his Olive Branch operation in Afrin and Manbij, political analyst of Syrian origin Ghassan Kadi told Sputnik.
The day before YPG representative in nearby Afrin Brusk Haseke confirmed to Sputnik that Syrian forces had arrived in the city despite Turkish Air Forces’ shelling.
The Kurdish Self-Defense Forces (YPG) and the Syrian armed forces have agreed on the transfer of control over the town of Tell Rifaat in northern Aleppo province to the Syrian army, the government troops will enter the settlement in the next few hours, a Syrian security source told Sputnik on Thursday.
“An agreement has been reached to pass control of the town of Tell Rifaat in Aleppo province from YPG units to the Syrian army. The Syrian army will enter the town within a few hours,” the source said.
The decision comes amid reports that Afrin Kurds had reached an agreement with Damascus to sent the government forces in Afrin to counter the Turkish military operation in the region. Later on, reports appeared saying that the Syrian government forces had entered Afrin.
Confirming that the “enemy of my enemy is my friend”, YPG Kurdish fighters in north-western Syria – who as a reminder are backed by the US, the country which for 7 years has waged a proxy war to overthrow president Bashar al Assad – have struck a deal with the Russia-backed Assad regime for Syrian forces to enter the Afrin region and repel a Turkish offensive which began last month.
Badran Jia Kurd, an advisor to the Kurdish-led administration in northern Syria told Reuters that Syrian troops will deploy along several border positions and could enter the region within the next two days: “we can cooperate with any side that lends us a helping hand in light of the barbaric crimes and the international silence,” Jia Kurd said.
BEIRUT (AP) — Syria’s Kurdish militia is growing frustrated with its patron, the United States, and is pressing it to do more to stop Turkey’s assault on a key stronghold in Syria. The issue reflects a deeper concern among the Kurds over their alliance with the Americans, which proved vital to defeating the Islamic State group in Syria. The Kurds fear that ultimately they and their dream of self-rule will be the losers in the big powers’ play over influence in Syria. Already the U.S. is in a tough spot, juggling between the interests of the Kurds, its only ally in war-torn Syria, and its relations with Turkey, a key NATO ally.
Early on Sunday, Turkish ground forces crossed the border and pushed into northern Syria’s Afrin province on Sunday, Ankara said after launching artillery and air strikes on a U.S.-backed Kurdish militia it aims to sweep from its border.
Turkey sent armored divisions into northwest Syria after a day of airstrikes as part of ‘Operation Olive Branch’ which bombed Kurdish YPG forces (“People’s Protection Units”) in and around Afrin to drive the US-allied Kurdish militia from the area. Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighters along with Turkish troops are now moving into the area, according to state-run Anadolu news agency.
1/ The ground offensive against Afrin enclave has indeed started. Clashes now inside Afrin province. Kurdish YPG claims it destroyed at least 1 Turkish tank. See video. pic.twitter.com/k81T2OPlbe
“Our jets took off and started bombing. And now, the ground operation is underway. Now we see how the YPG … are fleeing in Afrin,” President Tayyip Erdogan said. “We will chase them. God willing, we will complete this operation very quickly.”
Quoted by Reuters, Erdogan also accused some of Turkey’s allies of providing the YPG with 2,000 plane shipments and 5,000 truckloads of ammunition; the comments were clearly aimed at the United States.
Contradiction has become the norm for US foreign policy over the past many years – an observation that is clear to anyone even remotely paying attention.
On Tuesday the US State Department spokesperson was asked during the daily press briefing about the obvious contradiction inherent in US ally and NATO member Turkey shelling US-backed Kurdish forces in Afrin – the Kurdish held zone in northwest Syria near the Turkish border.
Thus far US military officials have sought to distance themselves from YPG (Kurdish People’s Protection Units) operations in Afrin while simultaneously promising to ramp up support for the Kurdish YPG-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) throughout the rest of Northern Syria. US Coalition spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon said Tuesday of the Syrian Kurds in Afrin, “We don’t support them, we have nothing to do with them” – in what was a clear case of the Pentagon trying to dance around the issue with old-fashioned double speak, pretending as if the Syrian Kurds themselves don’t see “Rojava” Kurds as a single entity.
Turkey is poised for an imminent massive ground invasion of Northern Syria to quash Kurdish militia groups currently holding Afrin near the Turkish border. Multiple regional outlets have reported a build-up of forces that could constitute the largest external intervening force thus far in the entirety of the Syrian war.
According to Middle East based Al-Sura News, Turkey’s military build-up currently underway includes special forces troops, Army units, Turkish-backed Syrian Rebels and Turkey’s air force. The Kurdish YPG/J (People’s Protection Units) has held Afrin since the Syrian government withdrew from the area in 2012, which constitutes the western-most part of the self-declared Rojava autonomous Kurdish zone.
High-ranking sources in Kurdistan (Erbil) said that the Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani “expected the sanctions already announced by Baghdad and expects many more sanctions to come in the future”. Nevertheless, “the referendum was an essential step to undertake,” otherwise Barzani would no longer be considered the Kurdish leader.
“We are not afraid of Turkish sanctions because Ankara would lose more than it will gain if the common borders are closed. The Turkish representative promised us (months before the referendum) that harsh political measures will be adopted against Kurdistan but that no economic sanctions would be seriously considered. After all it is up to Turkey to stop sending its oil tankers to recover our oil production at a cheap price if Erdogan considers it a practical move within his own economy,” said the source.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister says the possibility of attacking the Kurds is “on the table.”
(ANTIWAR.COM) — Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu today warned that every option is on the table for dealing with Iraqi Kurdistan’s independence bid, and that they are considering a joint military operation with the Iraqi central government against the Kurds.
Iran chimed in shortly thereafter, saying they’re eager to stand with both Iraq and Turkey to rule out any possible secession of the Kurds. Top Khamenei adviser Ali Akbar Velayati termed the big “an abhorrent deviation,” adding that the region would “not allow the creation of a second Israel.”
Iraqi Kurds voted “yes” in the referendum to start materializing the dream of the 30 million Kurds inhabiting Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Armenia – a dream which begins by establishing an independent state in Iraqi Kurdistan.
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s government will never accept a separate Kurdish state in neighboring Iraq and won’t refrain from taking steps to prevent it, the Turkish prime minister said Friday. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim again called on Iraqi Kurdish leaders to abandon plans for a referendum on independence, saying it wasn’t too late for them to turn away “from this adventure.”
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