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October 2019: Turkey into Syria to Deal With Kurds

The Bread Guy

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One NATO member steps aside while another NATO member vows to take on forces (including some Canadians) fighting ISIS ...
The White House said Sunday that U.S. forces in northeast Syria will move aside and clear the way for an expected Turkish assault, essentially abandoning Kurdish fighters who fought alongside American forces in the yearslong battle to defeat Islamic State militants.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened for months to launch the military operation across the border. He views the Kurdish forces as a threat to his country. Republicans and Democrats have warned that allowing the Turkish attack could lead to a massacre of the Kurds and send a troubling message to American allies across the globe.

U.S. troops “will not support or be involved in the operation” and “will no longer be in the immediate area,” in northern Syria, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in an unusual late-Sunday statement that was silent on the fate of the Kurds. There are about 1,000 U.S. troops in northern Syria, and a senior U.S. official said they will pull back from the area — and potentially depart the country entirely should widespread fighting break out between Turkish and Kurdish forces.

The announcement followed a call between President Donald Trump and Erdogan, the White House said.

The decision is a stark illustration of Trump’s focus on ending American overseas entanglements — one of his key campaign promises. But his goal of swift withdrawals in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan have been stymied by concerns from U.S. officials and American allies about the dangerous voids that would remain. As he faces an impeachment inquiry at home, Trump has appeared more focused on making good on his political pledges, even at the risk of sending a troubling signal to American allies abroad.

In December, Trump announced he was withdrawing American troops from Syria but was met with widespread condemnation for abandoning Kurdish allies to the Turkish assault. The announcement prompted the resignation in protest of then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and a coordinated effort by then-national security adviser John Bolton to try to protect the Kurds.

Since January, U.S. officials have tried to broker the creation of a “safe zone” in northern Syria to provide a security buffer between the Turkish military and Kurdish forces, but Turkey has repeatedly objected to its slow implementation.

The White House announcement Sunday came a day after Erdogan offered the strongest warning yet of a unilateral military operation into northeastern Syria, as the Turkish military has been dispatching units and defense equipment to its border with the area.

“We have given all kinds of warning regarding the (area) east of the Euphrates to the relevant parties. We have acted with enough patience,” Erdogan said.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces threatened to respond forcefully to any Turkish incursion.

“We will not hesitate to turn any unprovoked attack by Turkey into an all-out war on the entire border to DEFEND ourselves and our people,” SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted Saturday.

A Kurdish official speaking on condition of anonymity because he’s not authorized to brief reporters said Monday they expect a limited Turkish operation and are still working to ascertain what will happen with American forces in the region. The official said the view is that Kurdish-led forces have a legitimate right to self-defense.

Turkey considers the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has waged an insurgency against Turkey for 35 years ...
... with this from Turkish media:
The U.S.-backed terrorist YPG/PKK forces in northern Syria deployed its members in Tal Abyad and Ras-al Ayn ahead of a potential military operation by Turkey and Free Syrian Army (FSA).

The YPG -- Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror group -- deployed Saturday night a group of Arab-origin members who were forcibly recruited in the regions of Tal Abyad, the northern city of Raqqah, and Ras-al Ayn, the northeastern city of Al-Hasakah, close to the Turkey-Syria border east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria.

The terror group also carried sharpshooters, improved explosives, and ammunition in two military vehicles to the region.

The first convoy departed Jalabiya, one of the largest military bases of the U.S. in the northern city of Raqqa -- northeast of the Euprates in Syria, while the second convoy departed Al-Hasakah and Qamishli regions.

Meanwhile, the U.S. warplanes were seen flying over the Turkey-Syria border.

US’ military, logistic support to YPG/PKK continues

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

However, the U.S. has been providing support to the YPG/PKK since 2015, citing the fight against Daesh, and has 18 military bases with 2,000 personnel in Syria.

The U.S. forces have been providing terrorists with military and logistical support, sending them 300 trucks through the Semalka border gate between Iraq and Syria over the last 10 days.

On Sept. 21, the U.S. also sent 200 trucks to the YPG/PKK occupied areas in Syria, which carries construction materials, box bodies, prefabricated houses and fuel trucks.

Although U.S. President Donald Trump announced last year that he wants to withdraw his troops in Syria, Washington maintains its military presence in the country ...
:pop:
 

Jarnhamar

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The White House said Sunday that U.S. forces in northeast Syria will move aside and clear the way for an expected Turkish assault, essentially abandoning Kurdish fighters who fought alongside American forces in the yearslong battle to defeat Islamic State militants.

Not the first time. Won't be the last time.  Not really unexpected when the boss is a business man through and through.
 

tomahawk6

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The latest challenge is to keep the Turks out of Kurdish areas of Syria as they seem to be straining at their leash.
 

The Bread Guy

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Fabulous "Coles Notes" guide to the conflict via BBC.com ...
The Story in 100 Words

Why is Turkey planning an assault?  One main reason: Turkey considers the biggest militia in the Kurdish-led alliance a terrorist group. It says it is an extension of a Kurdish rebel group fighting in Turkey.  Turkish leaders want a 32km (20-mile) deep "safe zone" along the Syrian side of the border clear of Kurdish fighters. They also hope to resettle up to 2 million Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey there.  The Kurdish-led alliance says it will defend its territory and that the US is "leaving the area to turn into a war zone" and risking the re-emergence of IS.

The Story in 300 Words

Turkey has vowed to push back from its border members of a Syrian Kurdish militia called the People's Protection Units (YPG).

Turkish leaders view the YPG as an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has fought for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey for three decades.

The YPG dominates an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias called the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which has driven IS out of a third of Syria over the past four years with the help of air strikes by a US-led coalition.

Turkey has condemned the US for supporting the YPG and has carried out two cross-border offensives against the Kurdish forces.

In 2018, Turkey attacked the Kurdish-controlled of Afrin, in western Syria. Dozens of civilians were killed and tens of thousands displaced.

_109139586_syria_control_07_10_camps_map-nc.png

That December, with IS close to defeat, President Donald Trump said the US would begin withdrawing its troops from Syria. When commanders and allies expressed concern about the fate of the Kurds, he vowed to "devastate Turkey economically" it attacked them and proposed a "20-mile safe zone" along the border.

Mr Trump later suspended the withdrawal, but Turkish President Recep Erdogan continued pressing for a safe zone.

In August, the US and Turkey agreed to establish one together. Kurdish officials expressed support and the YPG dismantled border fortifications.

But two months later, Mr Trump decided to let Turkish troops set up the safe zone alone.

Mr Erdogan is confident his proposed 480km-long corridor will ensure Turkey's border security and become home to between 1 and 2 million Syrian refugees.

Turkey will also take responsibility for all captured IS militants there, according to the White House.

The SDF says it has been "stabbed in the back" by the US, and warns that a Turkish offensive will create a "permanent warzone" and reverse the defeat of IS.

(...)
The 800-word version is @ the link.
 

MilEME09

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And so the kurds, our biggest ally in fighting ISIS are left hung out to dry, my only hope is that we trained them well enough that they kick Turkey's ass, and send them packing home. It's dishonorable in my opinion, and lack morality, and the spin to stand up to Turkey to let the Kurds fight and die needlessly.
 

The Bread Guy

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From the "can't do everything" file ...
U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters have halted operations for now against Islamic State in Syria as Turkey launches a military offensive in Syria’s northeast, two U.S. officials and a Kurdish military source said on Wednesday.

“The SDF stopped the anti-ISIS operations because it’s impossible to carry out any operation while you are being threatened by a large army right on the northern border,” the Kurdish military source said.

One of the U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the suspension also impacted U.S. training of stabilization forces in Syria.

It was unclear whether the pause affected every aspect of U.S.-partnered operations against Islamic State or whether there might be exceptions. The U.S. military was not immediately available for comment.

But any suspension in such activities would represent a direct setback to the central U.S. goal of helping the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) secure territory seized from Islamic State.

It would also show how the Kurdish-led SDF are rapidly shifting their focus to the fight against Turkey — at the cost of preparations to prevent Islamic State’s resurgence ...
More @ link
 

daftandbarmy

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Shall be known as OP MISS MUFFET because, according to the Turks, there are too many Kurds in the way....
 

The Bread Guy

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daftandbarmy said:
Shall be known as OP MISS MUFFET because, according to the Turks, there are too many Kurds in the way....
facepalm-statue.jpg
 

The Bread Guy

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CBH99

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Great...

So a fanatic group of truly evil sadists now gets a reprieve from NATO & US SOF operations because Turkey, our 'great ally' has decided their hatred for the Kurds outweighs their hatred for ISIS.

This is a group that has massacred entire families, engaged in genocide, taken thousands of young girls as sex slaves (how does that fit into a strict interpretation of religion again?) and even burned a pilot alive who was handcuffed in a cage & broadcast it live... they now get a reprieve from operations because a NATO country has decided their petty little feud with a local ethnic group needs to take precedence over the destruction of a group that doesn't even pretend not to be truly evil.


If NATO membership can't be reviewed from time to time, it really loses a lot of it's meaning.  F**k Turkey.
 

brihard

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daftandbarmy said:
Shall be known as OP MISS MUFFET because, according to the Turks, there are too many Kurds in the way....

How obscenely pleased with yourself are you for thinking that groaner up?
 

daftandbarmy

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Brihard said:
How obscenely pleased with yourself are you for thinking that groaner up?

With all due respect to the human tragedy no doubt unfolding as we speak....

I can't take 100% credit for it as I'm pretty sure that I heard it somewhere before. But, in my own insignificant little orbit I believe that I have achieved something like the apogee of Dad-joke-dom and, in a small way, when my time comes, I can now die a little happier. :)
 

CBH99

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This really is an age thing...

Growing up, my dad always had the WORST groaner jokes.  I'd just look at him, busting a gut over his own joke, and wonder about his mental health  ???

Now, as I get older, I'm starting to appreciate the simplicity & self reward of making other people cringe.  Nicely done D&B  ;) :facepalm:
 

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