Turkey will launch another Syria operation if area not cleared of Kurdish YPG

Turkey’s foreign minister said Ankara would launch a new military operation in northeast Syria if the area was not cleared of what he called terrorists, state-owned Anadolu Agency reported on Monday. Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was quoted as saying that United States and Russia had not done what was required under agreements that halted a Turkish offensive against the Kurdish YPG militia in northeastern Syria last month. The deals stipulated that the YPG would be removed from a swathe of land
| Asia & Americas, Europe & Russia, International Organisations |

REPORT – Women and Children First: Repatriating the Westerners Affiliated with ISIS

By International Crisis Group What’s new? Alongside the thousands of foreign fighters detained in north east Syria are thousands of non-Syrian children and women. Western governments have for months publicly wrestled with political and policy qualms about repatriating their nationals.… Continue Reading  
| Counterterrorism, Iraq, Syria |

Trump Makes Japan an Offer It Can’t Refuse

NATO has faced plenty of existential scares in the era of President Donald Trump, but now the United States’ longstanding allies in East Asia have become victims of the president’s haphazard transactional worldview. Last week, Trump announced that he would seek a fivefold increase in the nearly $1 billion a year South Korea contributes to maintain 28,500 U.S. troops that have been stationed there since the dawn of the Cold War; two
| The Insecurity Complex, National Security, Japan |

The Climate Movement Needs More Creative Tactics

The United States’ climate movement emerged unexpectedly. Following a decade of Ronald Reagan and Gordon Gekko singing the praises of the free market, climate catastrophe joined the national conversation in the early 1990s. While warnings about global warming had emerged a generation earlier , the oil and gas industry had spent decades burying the data. As a result, the climate movement of the ’90s wasn’t much of a movement. Its dominant theory of change assumed that, armed
| Climate Change, Climate, Apocalypse Soon |

Syrian exiles have mixed feelings about Israel

On Ahmad’s first day at the German language school in Berlin, the teacher asked students to introduce themselves. “It was then that I realised that the guy sitting next to me was an Israeli,” he recalls. “Honestly, I was taken aback. I did not know what to do. When he tried to initiate a conversation, my gut reaction was to cut him dead.” Ahmad was a journalist covering the ongoing war in his hometown of Deraa in southern Syria, where
| Article, Israel, Middle East |

Russian Troops Triumphantly take over US Bases in Syria, Show off Social Media Skills

By Milan Czerny | – (GlobalVoices.org ) – For Russian soldiers, posting from the battleground was strictly forbidden. Then all of a sudden, it wasn’t “Yesterday they were here, today it’s us.” On October 15, the Russian conflict journalist Oleg Blokhin published several videos on social media of himself visiting the former US military base […]
| Russia |

Turkish authorities capture Syria bomb attack suspect

Turkish authorities have captured a Syrian Kurdish YPG fighter suspected of a car bomb attack in the northern Syrian town of Al-Bab a day earlier, which killed 18 people and wounded 30 others, Turkey’s defence ministry said on Sunday, reports Reuters. The ministry said on Saturday that the car bomb was carried out by Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters in the northern Syrian border town of Al-Bab, which Turkish forces seized in a 2016 offensive. Ankara views the YPG, the main
| Asia & Americas, Europe & Russia, Middle East |

Syria: Al Bab locals protest YPG/PKK terror attack

Residents of the northern Syrian town of al-Bab on Sunday protested yesterday’s deadly bomb attack perpetrated by YPG/PKK terror group, which left 18 people dead, reports Anadolu Agency. Protesters gathered in front of the police building and called for bringing those responsible to justice. The attacks came on Saturday from bomb-laden vehicles in the bus station in the al-Bab town, an area cleared by Turkey of terrorists in 2016, according to sources on the ground. The explosions also burned a
| Europe & Russia, Middle East, News |

Russian airstrikes kill 9 civilians in Idlib, Syria

In an area of northwestern Syria supposed to be free of acts of aggression, on Sunday at least nine civilians were killed and 10 injured in Russian airstrikes, a local civil defense agency said, reports Anadolu Agency. The Russian warplanes carried out airstrikes on the villages of Bsakla, Uraynibah and two other villages in the northwestern province of Idlib, according to the Syrian opposition’s aircraft observatory. The Assad regime also carried out mortar, gun, and rocket attacks in the Kafr Nabl
| Europe & Russia, Middle East, News |

Turkey arrests 4 foreign Daesh terror suspects

Turkish police arrested four Daesh terror suspects in Adana province, according to security sources Sunday, reports Anadolu Agency. The suspects were arrested by provincial police in Adana at dawn, said the source who asked not to be named due to the security concerns. The Syrian nationals suspects entered Turkey from the Syria border and were plotting a terror attack in the southern province. READ: Germany arrests citizen accused of Daesh membership upon return home Since recognising Daesh as a terror
| Europe & Russia, Middle East, News |

After terrorism gone, agriculture reviving in Northern Syria

Since it was liberated from YPG/PKK terrorists, livestock and agriculture are coming alive again in Ras al-Ayn, northern Syria, reports Anadolu Agency. Turkey’s National Defense Ministry on Sunday said that since Ras al-Ayn was saved from terrorist YPG/PKK oppression, life is returning to normal in the region. “After the removal of the terror threat, the locals have returned to raising livestock and agriculture, which is their primary source of livelihood,” said the ministry on Twitter, with a video of livestock and agriculture activities by locals.
| Europe & Russia, Middle East, News |

Germany arrests citizen accused of Daesh membership upon return home

A federal judge on Saturday ordered that a German citizen arrested on her return to the country on suspicion of being a member of Daesh should remain in custody, prosecutors said. Authorities said the suspect, identified only as Nasim A., had left Germany for Syria in 2014, married a fighter and moved with him to Iraq. There she was paid to maintain a Daesh-controlled house and carried a weapon. She and her husband later moved to Syria, where she also
| Europe & Russia, Germany, Iraq |

Trump’s Abandonment Of Syria’s Kurds: A Catalyst For Division In Europe? – Analysis

By Pieter-Jan Dockx* On 6 October, after a phone call with his Turkish counterpart, US President Donald Trump ordered the The post Trump’s Abandonment Of Syria’s Kurds: A Catalyst For Division In Europe? – Analysis appeared first on Eurasia Review .
| 1, Analysis, Social Issues |

Concern Islamic State May Not Have Suffered ‘Enduring Defeat’ – OpEd

By J C Suresh The broad-based Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh claims to have “liberated Iraq and northeast Syria from Daesh/ISIS’s grip” The post Concern Islamic State May Not Have Suffered ‘Enduring Defeat’ – OpEd appeared first on Eurasia Review .
| 1, Opinion |

Turkey: Over 6,000 Syrians moved from Istanbul

Turkey has sent more than 6,000 Syrian migrants in Istanbul to temporary housing centres in other provinces since early July, the local governor’s office said on Friday, two weeks after a deadline for Syrians not registered in the city to leave. Authorities had given Syrians not registered in Istanbul until October 30 to move to another province or face forced removal from the city, reported Reuters. Turkey hosts more than 3.6 million Syrians, the largest population of Syrians displaced by an eight-year civil war. The number of Syrians in Istanbul, a city of some 15 million, has swelled to more than half
| Europe & Russia, Middle East, News |

It’s Not Too Late for Rojava

By Edward Hunt As Turkey continues its devastating military assault on Rojava, the Kurdish-led region of northeastern Syria, officials in Washington are facing a critical decision: allow Turkey to prevail in its campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Kurds or take action to… Continue Reading  
| Analysis, Syria, Turkey |

Russia lands forces at former U.S. air base in northern Syria

Russia landed attack helicopters and troops at a sprawling air base in northern Syria vacated by U.S. forces, the Russian Defence Ministry’s Zvezda TV channel said on Friday. Armed Russian military police were shown in footage aired on Zvezda flying into the Syrian air base in northern Aleppo province near the border with Turkey and fanning out to secure the area. The move comes after U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops from parts of Syria
| News |

U.S. wrong to push Turkey to drop Russian defences – Erdogan

Turkey’s president Tayyip Erdogan said Washington was not right to propose that Ankara get rid of the Russian S-400 missile defences it purchased, calling it an infringement of sovereign rights, according to Turkish media. In a meeting at the White House on Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump urged Erdogan to abandon the S-400 systems that began arriving in Turkey in July despite threats of sanctions from Washington. Asked after his meeting whether Turkey would consider not activating the S-400s, Erdogan
| News |

U.S. Senate foreign relations chairman wants to hold off on Turkey sanctions bills

The Republican chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee said on Thursday he did not want lawmakers to pass legislation imposing sanctions on Turkey for now, to lessen friction during talks over Turkey’s purchase of a Russian missile defence system. “Probably it’s best we don’t pass a sanctions bill at this moment,” Senator Jim Risch said during a meeting with reporters in his office. Risch was among a group of Republican senators President Donald Trump called to the White
| News |

Russia’s Middle East Resurgence Isn’t Just About the Money

By Samuel Ramani and Theodore Karasik Russian foreign policy had a Great October. Last month, Russia brokered a safe zone agreement with Turkey in northern Syria, watched its President Vladimir Putin be feted as a global statesman in Saudi Arabia… Continue Reading  
| Analysis, Russia, Samuel Ramani |

Pentagon chief: US to keep 600 troops in Syria

The United States has decided to keep about 600 military personnel in Syria despite President Donald Trump’s desire to stop US involvement in “endless wars”, Pentagon Chief Mark Esper said yesterday. “We’re still moving troops out of northeastern Syria. We’re going to have about 500 to 600-ish troops there, at the end of the day,” Agence France-Presse quoted Esper as saying. Asked if the figure includes the 200 troops stationed at the Al-Tanf base on the border with Jordan, Esper
| Asia & Americas, Middle East, News |

Far-right German politicians to visit Syria to prove it is ‘safe country’ for refugees

Far-right German politicians are to travel to Syria in an attempt to prove that it is a “safe country of origin” to which Syrian refugees can return, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) and Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) have reported. Four representatives of the extremist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party are reported to be heading for Damascus on Monday, where they will meet with representatives and officials from the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad. This trip will be the second that members of Germany’s
| Europe & Russia, Germany, Middle East |

Syria army launches 2nd military operation against Idlib

Syrian regime forces yesterday launched their second military operation against the southeast of Idlib, aiming at regaining full control over the war-torn province. Russia’s Sputnik reported that the Syrian forces were able to take control of Idlib’s Tal Khaznah and Lobidiyah towns following “heavy air strikes backed by the Russian air forces.” The offensive comes days after Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad said that he would start an operation to recapture the Idlib province. “The Syrian army is considering giving civilians a chance
| Europe & Russia, Middle East, News |

It’s Still Not Too Late for Rojava

As Turkey continues its devastating military assault on Rojava, the Kurdish-led region of northeastern Syria, officials in Washington are facing a critical decision: allow Turkey to prevail in its campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Kurds or take action to protect them. The Turkish invasion, which began on October 9, has been devastating for Rojava. More The post It’s Still Not Too Late for Rojava appeared first on CounterPunch.org .
| articles 2015 |

Iran’s Rouhani: Trump too Erratic to Deal with, but is Open about Ambitions to Steal ME Oil

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said this week that the United States used to justify its military presence in Syria on the grounds that it was fighting terrorism. He said that Donald Trump has let the cat out of the bag and admitted that the real reason is to steal Syrian […]
| Donald Trump, Featured, Iran |

Operation Peace Spring Is Europe’s Problem Too

By Tristan Ober Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring, which Ankara launched on October 9, appears to have come to a halt. Compared to Russia’s role in resolving the crisis, involvement of the United States is far less prominent, underscoring the extent… Continue Reading  
| Analysis, EU, Syria |

Erdogan: Turkey won’t give up on Russia’s S-400

Turkey will not give up on Russian S-400 air defense system to acquire US Patriots, the Turkish president said on Wednesday, stressing his country “can buy Patriots too”, Anadolu Agency reports. “It is out of question to completely leave Russian S-400 to buy US Patriots. We can buy Patriots too. However, we will buy S-400 as well,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in his flight en route to Ankara from Washington. “Turkey can buy US Patriots, but we consider offers to
| Asia & Americas, Europe & Russia, News |

UK police arrest terror suspect at Heathrow Airport

British police on Thursday said a 26-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences upon his arrival at the Heathrow Airport, Anadolu Agency reports. “Officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command have today, 14 November, arrested a man on suspicion of terrorism offences,” a statement from the Metropolitan Police said. The man was arrested “after arriving at Heathrow airport on an inbound flight to the UK from Turkey,” and “the arrest is Syria-related,” according to the statement. The man was
| Europe & Russia, Middle East, News |

Turkey says Germany, Netherlands agree to take back Islamic State detainees

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Wednesday that Germany and the Netherlands had agreed to take back German and Dutch Islamic State detainees and their families from Turkey, after Ankara started to repatriate the fighters this week. On Monday, Turkey said it had deported two of the detainees, a German and an American, and added that it will deport another 23 European nationals in the coming days. Turkey holds hundreds of Islamic State suspects in its jails and says
| News |

Russia establishes airbase in Syria at former US site

Russia has announced the arrival of new combat helicopters and the establishment of an airbase at a site which was formerly a US-controlled stronghold in northern Syria, the state-run TASS news agency reported today. The site became vacant when the US military left the northern Syrian city of Qamishli – the Kurdish-dominated administrative centre of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) – last month amid Turkey’s launch of Operation Peace Spring. The operation was brought to a halt when a deal
| Asia & Americas, Europe & Russia, Middle East |

Syrian refugees urge Norway to investigate Assad war crimes

Syrian refugees living in Norway have made a request to the local authorities and police to investigate the allegations of atrocities, war crimes and human rights violations committed by the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad during the country’s ongoing civil war. Five survivors of torture inflicted by the regime have filed sworn statements regarding what they witnessed and underwent in over a dozen prisons in the vast network created by Syria’s security services. They provided evidence linking their experience and
| Europe & Russia, Middle East, News |

Headlines for November 14, 2019

U.S. Diplomats Testify Trump Pressured Ukraine to Dig Up Political Dirt on Bidens, Trump Claims He Was "Too Busy" to Watch Impeachment Inquiry, Trump Hosts President Erdogan at White House Amid Turkish Attacks in Syria, 34 Palestinians Killed in Two Days as Israel Bombs Gaza Strip, Exiled Bolivian President Evo Morales Calls for "National Dialogue", Protests Rage as Bolivia's Self-Proclaimed Interim President Swears In Cabinet, Lebanese Soldiers Shoot and Kill Man as Protests Enter Fifth Week, Zimbabwe: Millions at Risk
| News |

Did Ancient Iraq’s Huge Assyrian Empire Rise and Fall on Climate Change?

By Ashish Sinha and Gayatri Kathayat | – Ancient Mesopotamia, the fabled land between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, was the command and control center of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. This ancient superpower was the largest empire of its time, lasting from 912 BC to 609 BC in what is now modern Iraq and Syria. […]
| Archaeology, Climate Change, History |

Pentagon’s Esper sees Syria pullback taking another “week or so”

The US military pullback from the Kobani area in northeastern Syria near Turkey’s border should take “another week or so” to complete, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Wednesday, as the US military repositions and reduces its forces in Syria, Reuters reports. Esper said that once the partial US withdrawal was finished, the US military would still have roughly around 600 troops in Syria, down from about 1,000 before Trump’s withdrawal order last month. Esper said the United States was
| Asia & Americas, Middle East, News |

Amid tensions with Turkey, Trump lauds relation with Erdogan

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday lauded his relationship with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan as the leaders met to overcome mounting differences between the two NATO allies ranging from Syria policy to Turkey’s purchase of a Russian missile defense system, Reuters reports. Trump’s warm welcome of the Turkish president comes amid anger in the US Congress about Ankara’s offensive into Syria to drive out a Kurdish militia, Washington’s main partner in the fight against Islamic State. “We’ve been friends for
| Asia & Americas, Europe & Russia, News |

Russian airstrikes kill 3 civilians in Idlib, Syria

Three civilians were killed in Russian airstrikes on residential areas in the de-escalation zone of Idlib, Syria, the Syrian civil defense group White Helmets said on Wednesday, Anadolu reports. The agency stated that three siblings were killed in the town of Kafar Sijnah. According to the Syrian opposition’s aircraft observatory, Russian warplanes targeted Kafranbil in Kafar Roma and the villages Rakhaya and Bidhama. The targeted areas fall within the de-escalation zone laid out in Turkey’s deal reached with Russia in late 2018. Since then,
| Europe & Russia, Middle East, News |

Turkey’s dirty war

The Turkish bombardment of northern Syria has left casualties suffering from horrific burns injuries, probably from the illegal use of incendiary weapons. So why is the international community not investigating? The burned schoolboy screaming in agony on a hospital gurney, arms held away from his sides so that flayed flesh would not touch flayed flesh, was fake news. “Dad, Dad, Dad,”
| News |

As Trump and Erdogan Meet, the U.S. Hopes to Resume F‑35 Arms Sales to Turkey

Despite Turkey’s recent human rights abuses in Syria, the Trump administration would like Turkey to rejoin the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. The post As Trump and Erdogan Meet, the U.S. Hopes to Resume F‑35 Arms Sales to Turkey appeared first on The Intercept .
| National Security |

Thousands of Daesh detainees in Syria a ‘ticking time-bomb’

Around 10,000 Daesh detainees and their families in nearby camps in northeastern Syria present a big security risk, a senior State Department official said on Tuesday, even though the US-allied Syrian Kurdish militia was fully capable of keeping them secure, reports Reuters. “It’s not a particularly secure situation,” the official told reporters in a conference call. “It’s a ticking time bomb to simply have the better part of 10,000 detainees, many of them foreign fighters,” he said, and repeated Washington’s
| Asia & Americas, Europe & Russia, Iraq |

Will the ongoing tension between Israel and Gaza end tonight?

Since the early morning, the continuous Israeli strikes in Gaza have resulted in the death of five Palestinians, including Bahaa Abu Al-Ata, the senior commander of the Jerusalem Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, and wounded, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza over 30 others. Israeli army sources said that more than 160 rockets had been fired from Gaza towards Israeli targets, mainly the towns around Gaza, causing about 20 injuries, including 17 people wounded while making
| Article, Israel, Middle East |

France to take back 11 suspected jihadists from Turkey

France will take back 11 suspected French jihadists from Turkey, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said on Tuesday, a day after Ankara said it was deporting foreign citizens linked to the group, reports Reuters. Turkey’s unilateral offensive has angered Washington and Turkey’s main European NATO allies who fear a return of Daesh in the region. European countries are especially concerned about foreign Daesh fighters and adults returning to Europe. France, which has between 400-500 nationals held in Kurdish-controlled northern Syria, including
| Europe & Russia, France, International Organisations |

Turkish forces in Syria fired on protesters

Turkish forces are said to have fired live ammunition at protesters during a joint patrol with Russian troops on the Syrian border. A UK-based monitoring group says two protesters were killed, but the account has not been verified. Video obtained by Reuters shows protesters hurling rocks at a military convoy near the town of Kobani, Syria. Turkish forces in patrol shoot at protesters in Syria’s Kobani https://t.co/OCxXaie2oS pic.twitter.com/80cqrx5KwM — Mutlu Civiroglu (@mutludc) November 12, 2019 The Syrian Observatory for Human
| Europe & Russia, Middle East, News |

Israel kills Islamic Jihad commander, rockets rain from Gaza

Israel killed a top commander from the Iranian-backed Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad in a rare targeted strike in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, drawing retaliatory rocket salvoes that reached as far as Tel Aviv. In the most serious escalation in months, an Israeli missile attack also hit the home of an Islamic Jihad official in Damascus, Syrian state media said. The strike killed two people including one of the official’s sons, the group and Syrian state media said. Israel
| News |

Assad: ‘We lost 100,000 soldiers and there is no torture in our prisons’

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad said yesterday that his army had lost nearly 100,000 soldiers during the eight-year war. In an interview with RT, Al-Assad said that the Syrian soldiers did not die to defend him, rather they were sacrificing their lives for their homeland. Al-Assad denied that there was torture in Syrian prisons, despite the existence of numerous documents and photos confirming human right abuses in the regime’s jails, saying the intelligence services had all the necessary information about its
| Asia & Americas, Europe & Russia, Middle East |

British politician links Russia to death of White Helmets supporter

A senior British politician has said that he is “deeply concerned” to hear about the death of a co-founder and significant supporter of the Syrian White Helmets group on Sunday. Tom Tugendhat added that he has urged an investigation into the incident, while suggesting the possibility of Russian involvement. The comments by the outgoing Chair of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee come a day after James Gustaf Edward Le Mesurier was found dead on the street outside his
| Europe & Russia, Middle East, News |

Iran: the eternal geopolitical empire

A current has swept throughout the Levant from a subtly-felt but well recognised influence. From the protests in Iraq and Lebanon to the Sunni insurgents and opposition groups in Syria, public dissatisfaction with the direct and indirect interference of Iran in the region has been exposed. This influence may not be the sole reason for the protests and insurgency, but it is a core factor. Iran’s influence lies not only in its Shi’ism or revolutionary stance, but also in its
| Article, Asia & Americas, Iran |

Russia FM slams US’ ‘robbery’ of Syria oil fields

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said yesterday that the US plans to keep troops in Syria under the pretext of protecting the country’s oil fields is “tantamount to robbery”. “A few words about what the United States has been doing in northern Syria. Of course, its attempt to put oil fields there under control is illegal. In fact, it’s tantamount to robbery,” Lavrov told reporters in Moscow. “It spells nothing good for the Syrian settlement. It merely preserves a major
| Asia & Americas, Europe & Russia, Middle East |

Trump’s Syrian See-Saw: From Pullout to Pillage

To withdraw, or not to withdraw? That is the question Donald Trump, in his own inimitable way, has answered both ways. First came the withdrawal. It was real, and had a significant effect. Trump ordered the removal of US troops from Kurdish areas, putting an end to the prospect of an independent Kurdish statelet, split off from Syria. Such a partition was always implausible, given the general balance of forces in the region and the specific refusal of NATO-member Turkey
| articles 2015, Leading Article |