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Did Turkey just convince the US that there’s no one left to fight in Syria?

With Takfiri groups military defeated and crypto-Takfiris waiting to sit at the Astana peace table, if the US actually does withdraw its support for Kurdish militants–there will be no one left to fight in Syria.

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After the Trump administration turned away from arming Takfiri jihadists in favour of virtually exclusively arming Kurdish militants in Syria, Turkey’s stance on US actions in Syria quickly turned from one of support, to pessimism to vocal opposition.

Recently, Turkey has been ever more vocal in challenging the US position not just in Syria but in the wider Middle East. When cooperating with Iraq and Iran against Kurdish ethno-nationalists in northern Iraq, President Erdogan famously told the Iraqi Kurds, “Israel cannot help you”. More recently Turkish officials, up to and including the President have called the US the greatest impediment peace in Syria, while Erdogan accused the US of funding and aiding ISIS in a recent speech.

Today, the US would appear to have effectively capitulated to Turkey’s long standing demand that the US should stop arming Kurdish militants in Syria, primarily the YPG who comprise the majority of the US led proxy force SDF in Syria.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the following at a press conference which occurred shortly after a phone call he listened in on between Presidents Trump and Erdogan.

Cavusogul said,

“According to his (Trump’s) words, it would have been better to put an end to this foolishness. We welcome this decision and will monitor its implementation”.

RT further reports that during the phone call Trump made a commitment to fighting “all” terrorist organisations in the region including what remains of ISIS,  the Turkish based Kurdish terrorist group PKK and the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation of US based, Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey officially blames for the failed coup against Erdogan which transpired last year. As Gulen’s group is not active in Syria, this statement made for somewhat of an odd read, but one which hints at the wider phenomenon which may be coming to fruition.

While an official post-phone call statement from Washington did not single out any Kurdish terrorist groups by name, it did say the following:

“President Trump also informed President Erdogan of pending adjustments to the military support provided to our partners on the ground in Syria, now that the battle of Raqqa is complete and we are progressing into a stabilisation phase to ensure that ISIS cannot return. The leaders also discussed the purchase of military equipment from the United States”.

If the United States means what it apparently said, this essentially means that the Astana group, of which Turkey is a member along with Russia and Iran, has essentially checkmated the US in Syria once and for all.

With ISIS defeated except for a few small rural pockets that Russian aerospace forces and the Syrian Arab Army are on the verge of fully obliterating and pockets of al-Qaeda/al-Nusra in the the Golan Heights, Hama and Idlib, the Takfiri terrorists are already all but defeated in Syria and everyone from Syria itself to Hezbollah, Russian and Iran have admitted this in public to much fanfare.

In respect of Kurdish militants/terrorists, since the United States is the only power arming and abetting them, if the US actually does withdraw arms from Kurdish groups, they will  not fare well against Turkish troops in Syria who stand ready to fight them and almost certainly beat them in short order. Put succinctly, if the US withdraws aims to the Kurds and there is no one else left to fight in Syria, the US will have no mission goal and therefore no no justification for remaining in Syria. Of course the US could always make up a new, even flimsier excuse for remaining, but with all major regional powers (except for Israel) dead-set against a long-time US occupation, such a position would be highly untenable in the medium and long term.

A recent Washington Post article, allegedly based on inside sources in the US government, stated that the US plans to remain in Syria for “years” in order to effectively help Syrian Kurds in carving out a statelet along the Turkish border.

US media claims American troops will stay in Syria to aid Kurdish insurgents

Based on the statements following on from the phone call between Erdogan and Trump, either the Washington Post piece was inaccurate or the US has suddenly had a change of heart–perhaps as a last ditch effort to prevent Turkey from leaving NATO as Ankara threatened to do, days ago.

Earlier, Donald Trump Tweeted the following, indicating that he is not prepared for an indefinite occupation of Syria.

It may be that either be design or mistake, Donald Trump just killed off the last excuse the US could possibly have for a perpetual occupation of Syria. Because of the notorious unreliability of statements from US officials and the US media, it is anyone’s guess as to whether the Washington Post lied to the world or if Trump deceived the Turkish President.

However, the world may soon find out who is telling the truth as Kurdish militants in Syria just announced that they are ready to attack Turkish Army positions in Syria’s Aleppo Governorate.

In a straight battle between Kurdish militants and the Turkish Army, the Turkish Army will win. There is little doubt about that. The only power that might have been willing and militarily able to prevent such a move is of course, the American armed forces.

Erdogan hints at normalisation with Syria – says Ankara and Damascus have common enemy

If Turkey goes on to do to Syrian Kurds, what the Iraqi armed forces did to Iraqi Kurds, the Kurdish question in Syria may be solved in short order.

After such an impasse, arguments between Russia and Turkey over whether Kurdish factions belonging to the YPG-PYD should be at the Syrian National Dialogue Congress or not, will be effectively moot. If Syrian Kurds are shown that Turkey has effectively been unleashed on them, in so far as no other power will stop Turkey from going after the Kurds, it will effectively be ‘game over’ for any longer term ethno-nationalists ambitions for the Kurds. All that will be left is to either wage the kind of long-term terrorist war against Syria that the PKK has waged against Turkey, or otherwise engage in the eventual internal political process for Syria which the Astana group organises.

Of course, if the US continues to covertly aid the Kurds, or attempt to draw an artificial distinction between the YPG and SDF, Turkey will only be further alienated by an obvious US false promise. If the US does go through with its plans, while some friction between Turkey and the US will be curtailed, Turkey’s overall economic reliance/enthusiasm on its Eurasian partners will not be dented. Only in a foolish zero-sum mentality does a minor US rapprochement with Turkey negate that progress Turkey has made and intends to further with its Eurasian partners, including Russia and Iran.

The US may not be an exponent of the “win-win” mentality which defines modern Eursasian multi-lateral relations, but if someone in the US, even perhaps a Trump who today sounded as reasonable as he did while a candidate, realises that in provoking Turkey, the US will totally lose a former ally while accomplishing little in terms of retarding Syria’s progress in the long-term, someone in Washington may have realised that by going in knee-deep for Kurdish ethno-nationalists, the US would be facing a “lose-lose” situation that a member of the Turkish Parliament Metin Kulunk said would be a “another Vietnam” for the United States.

Turkish MP from Erdogan’s party praises Russian, Iranian and Turkish unity on Syria – calls US the major problem

As Donald Trump successfully ‘dodged’ time in America’s first Vietnam, perhaps he has just dodged the second. Time will shortly tell, just who is being honest and who is being duplicitous.

Either way, if Trump has told the truth in respect of US policy, the war is over as the US will have no one left to support nor to fight. If he is lying to President Erdogan, then NATO may be over.

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‘Hell on Earth’: MSF doctor tells RT of rape, violence, inhumane conditions in Lesbos refugee camp

One toilet for over 70 people, rape, and mental health issues – a doctor from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and an aid worker told RT about the dire conditions in the overcrowded Moria refugee camp in Greece.

Alex Christoforou

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Via RT


One toilet for over 70 people, rape, and mental health issues – a doctor from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and an aid worker told RT about the dire conditions in the overcrowded Moria refugee camp in Greece.

The overcrowded camp on the island of Lesbos, built to accommodate 3,100, houses around 9,000 people. “It’s a kind of hell on Earth in Europe,” Dr. Alessandro Barberio, an MSF clinical psychiatrist, said, adding that people in the camp suffer from lack of water and medical care. “It is impossible to stay there,” he said.

According to Barberio, asylum seekers are subjected to violence “during night and day.””There is also sexual violence”which leads to “mental health issues,” he said, adding that all categories of people at the camp may be subjected to it. “There is rape against men, women and children,” and the victims of sexual violence in the camp often have nightmares and hallucinations, Barberio told RT.

Asylum seekers in Moria “are in constant fear of violence,” and these fears are not groundless, the psychiatrist said. “Such cases [of violence] take place every week.”

There is “one toilet for 72 people, one shower for 84 people. The sanitation is bad. People are suffering from bad conditions,” Michael Raeber, an aid worker at the camp, told RT. They suffer from mental health problems because they are kept for a long time in the camp, according to Raeber.

“There is no perspective, they don’t know how their case will go on, when they will ever be able to leave the island.” The camp is a “place where there is no rule of law,” with rampant violence and drug addiction among the inhabitants, Raeber said.

In its latest report, MSF, which has been working near Moria since late 2017, criticized the unprecedented health crisis in the camp – one of the biggest in Greece. About a third of the camp population consists of children, and many of them have harmed themselves, and have thought about or attempted suicide, according to the group.

Barberio was behind an MSF open letter on the state of emergency in Moria, released on Monday, in which he writes that he has never “witnessed such overwhelming numbers of people suffering from serious mental health conditions.”

Calling the camp an “island prison,” he insisted that many of his patients in the camp are unable to perform basic everyday functions, “such as sleeping, eating well, maintaining personal hygiene, and communicating.”

A number of human rights groups have strongly criticized the conditions at the camp and Greece’s “containment policy”regarding asylum seekers.

Christina Kalogirou, the regional governor of the North Aegean, which includes Lesbos, has repeatedly threatened to shut down the facility unless the government improves the conditions. On Tuesday, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said that Greece will move 2,000 asylum seekers out of the severely overcrowded camp and send them to the mainland by the end of September.

Greece, like other EU states, is experiencing the worst refugee crisis since WWII. According to International Organization for Migration estimates, 22,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Greece since the start of this year alone.

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Erdogan accepts Syria DMZ off-ramp, in deal with Putin (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 111.

Alex Christoforou

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The deal struck in Sochi averts a large scale Syria’s offensive on Idlib, as Turkey gives it guarantee to monitor what will effectively become a demilitarized zone.

According to the agreement, troops from Russia and Turkey will enforce a new demilitarized zone (DMZ) in Idlib, from which ISIS/Al Qaeda rebels will be required to withdraw by the middle of next month.

Speaking alongside Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the 15 to 20 km-wide zone would be established by October 15th. The DMZ would require a complete “withdrawal of all radical fighters” from Idlib, including the rebranded Al-Qaeda affiliated Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).

Putin also noted that heavy weapons would be withdrawn from the DMZ by all opposition forces by October 10th, which is a move supported by the Syrian government.

The Russian President described the agreement as a “serious result” further saying that “Russia and Turkey have confirmed their determination to counter terrorism in Syria in all its forms”.

Erdogan said both his country and Russia would carry out coordinated patrols in the demilitarized zone:

“We decided on the establishment of a region that is cleaned of weapons between the areas which are under the control of the opposition and the regime.”

“In return, we will ensure that radical groups, which we will designate together with Russia, won’t be active in the relevant area.”

According to Al Jazeera Iran’s foreign minister has hailed an agreement between Turkey and Russia to avert an assault on the Syrian rebel-held Idlib province, as an example of “responsible diplomacy”.

An agreement to halt plans for an offensive on the last major rebel-held stronghold was announced in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Monday after a meeting between the Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

On his Twitter account, Zarif wrote: “Intensive responsible diplomacy over the last few weeks-pursued in my visits to Ankara & Damascus, followed by the Iran-Russia-Turkey Summit in Tehran and the meeting (in) Sochi-is succeeding to avert war in #Idlib with a firm commitment to fight extremist terror. Diplomacy works.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the agreement reached in Sochi, which for now avoids full scale conflict in Idlib, Syria. Who won, who lost, and which interests were met with the DMZ agreement?

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Via Xinhuanet

An anticipated Syrian military offensive on the northwestern province of Idlib is on hold after Turkey and Russia reached a deal following Ankara’s guarantee on behalf of the rebel groups, experts said.

The deal was reached Monday by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia, as the two sides agreed to create a demilitarized buffer zone in Idlib, the last rebel stronghold.

This agreement brings Turkey to a position of giving a guarantee on behalf of the rebel groups, the experts said.

“Moscow is convinced that it would not be able to handle the burden of a humanitarian tragedy in case of a military offensive in Idlib,” said Metin Gurcan, a Turkish security analyst with the Istanbul Policy Center of Sabanci University.

Russia has also secured its airbases in northern Syria, including its airbase in Hmeymim as a guarantee by Turkey under the Sochi agreement, he said.

Gurcan recalled a trilateral summit of Turkey, Iran and Russia held in Iranian capital Tehran early September, which ended without agreement as Erdogan’s call for a ceasefire in Idlib was rejected by Moscow and Tehran.

Erdogan’s proposal for a ceasefire by all parties in Idlib was rejected by Putin on the grounds that those groups were not represented at the table there, he said.

“Now Turkey has given a guarantee on behalf of radical groups which Putin earlier said that ceasefire cannot be discussed because they were not represented at Tehran meeting,” Gurcan said.

Now everyone is curious how Turkey has given guarantee to Moscow and how will those radical groups accept a proposal for demilitarization by surrendering heavy weapons and withdrawing from the demilitarized zone, Gurcan noted.

“Ankara has given this promise relying on its military power on the ground and on its capacity to convince armed opposition groups,” he said.

Turkish army has reinforced its presence in Idlib in the past few months, and Turkey has 12 military outposts with 1,200-1,300 troops on the border line of the province separating the rebel stronghold from the pro-Iran militia-controlled South of Aleppo and the government-controlled southeast, Gurcan said.

Rebel groups, including the Free Syrian Army, in the region are gathered with Turkish backing under the banner of the “National Front for Liberation.”

Putin and Erdogan agreed on Monday in Sochi to create a 15-20 km buffer zone along the line of contact between rebels and regime troops by Oct. 15.

The agreement entails the “withdrawal of all radical fighters” from Idlib as well as “heavy weaponry from this zone,” Putin said at the joint press conference after signing the deal with Erdogan.

By the end of the year, transportation routes between the key port of Latakia and Aleppo as well as the city of Hama must be restored, Putin added.

The Russian leader also said all heavy weapons had to be withdrawn from the zone by Oct. 10, according to Erdogan’s proposal.

Ankara has been warning against any military offensive by Russia-backed Syrian regime forces in Idlib, warning that it would lead to a humanitarian crisis and refugee influx to the Turkish border.

Turkey and Russia, along with Iran, are guarantors of the Astana deal which declared ceasefire in four de-escalation zones in Syria, including Idlib.

Turkey will deploy more troops in Idlib province after the Sochi deal, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday.

“We will need extra troop reinforcements. Turkey and Russia will patrol on the border areas. Civilians and moderate (opposition) will stay here,” Cavusoglu said.

Another outcome of the Sochi deal is that Turkey and Russia prevented a possible attack by the United States in Idlib, Naim Baburoglu from Aydin University said.

He recalled that the U.S. was giving signals that it wanted to intervene in the situation in Idlib, if Syrian government troops launch an assault on the rebel stronghold.

Washington recently threatened to take swift and decisive actions against any use of chemical weapons in Idlib.

“This agreement showed that the U.S. has room for maneuver only in the east of Euphrates and Manbij region,” Baburoglu said.

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Pat Buchanan: “The Late Hit” On Judge Kavanaugh

Wha exactly is professor Ford’s case against Judge Kavanaugh?

Patrick J. Buchanan

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Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org:


Upon the memory and truthfulness of Christine Blasey Ford hangs the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, his reputation and possibly his career on the nation’s second-highest court.

And much more. If Kavanaugh is voted down or forced to withdraw, the Republican Party and conservative movement could lose their last best hope for recapturing the high court for constitutionalism.

No new nominee could be vetted and approved in six weeks. And the November election could bring in a Democratic Senate, an insuperable obstacle to the elevation of a new strict constructionist like Kavanaugh.

The stakes are thus historic and huge.

And what is professor Ford’s case against Judge Kavanaugh?

When she was 15 in the summer of ’82, she went to a beer party with four boys in Montgomery County, Maryland, in a home where the parents were away.

She says she was dragged into a bedroom by Brett Kavanaugh, a 17-year-old at Georgetown Prep, who jumped her, groped her, tried to tear off her clothes and cupped her mouth with his hand to stop her screams.

Only when Kavanaugh’s friend Mark Judge, laughing “maniacally,” piled on and they all tumbled off the bed, did she escape and lock herself in a bathroom as the “stumbling drunks” went downstairs. She fled the house and told no one of the alleged rape attempt.

Not until 30 years later in 2012 did Ford, now a clinical psychologist in California, relate, in a couples therapy session with her husband, what happened. She says she named Kavanaugh as her assailant, but the therapist’s notes of the session make no mention of Kavanaugh.

During the assault, says Ford, she was traumatized. “I thought he might inadvertently kill me.”

Here the story grows vague. She does not remember who drove her to the party. She does not say how much she drank. She does not remember whose house it was. She does not recall who, if anyone, drove her home. She does not recall what day it was.

She did not tell her parents, Ford says, as she did not want them to know she had been drinking. She did not tell any friend or family member of this traumatic event that has so adversely affected her life.

Said Kavanaugh in response, “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”

Mark Judge says it never happened.

Given the seriousness of the charges, Ford must be heard out. But she also needs to be cross-examined and have her story and character probed as Kavanaugh’s has been by FBI investigators as an attorney for the Ken Starr impeachment investigation of Bill Clinton, a White House aide to George Bush, a U.S. appellate judge and a Supreme Court nominee.

During the many investigations of Kavanaugh’s background, nothing was unearthed to suggest something like this was in character.

Some 65 women who grew up in the Chevy Chase and Bethesda area and knew Kavanaugh in his high school days have come out and spoken highly of his treatment of girls and women.

Moreover, the way in which all of this arose, at five minutes to midnight in the long confirmation process, suggests that this is political hardball, if not dirt ball.

When Ford, a Democrat, sent a letter detailing her accusations against Kavanaugh to her California congresswoman, Anna Eshoo, Ford insisted that her name not be revealed as the accuser.

She seemingly sought to damage or destroy the judge’s career behind a cloak of anonymity. Eshoo sent the letter on to Sen. Diane Feinstein, who held it for two months.

Excising Ford’s name, Feinstein then sent it to the FBI, who sent it to the White House, who sent it on to the Senate to be included in the background material on the judge.

Thus, Ford’s explosive charge, along with her name, did not surface until this weekend.

What is being done here stinks. It is a transparently late hit, a kill shot to assassinate a nominee who, before the weekend, was all but certain to be confirmed and whose elevation to the Supreme Court is a result of victories in free elections by President Trump and the Republican Party.

Palpable here is the desperation of the left to derail Kavanaugh, lest his elevation to the high court imperil their agenda and the social revolution that the Warren Court and its progeny have been able to impose upon the nation.

If Kavanaugh is elevated, the judicial dictatorship of decades past, going back to the salad days of Earl Warren, William Brennan, Hugo Black and “Wild Bill” Douglas, will have reached its end. A new era will have begun.

That is what is at stake.

The Republican Senate should continue with its calendar to confirm Kavanaugh before Oct. 1, while giving Ford some way to be heard, and then Kavanaugh the right to refute. Then let the senators decide.

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