Tag Archives: Kurds

PHOTOS: For Syrian Kurds, and aid workers – the ‘safe zone’ is not so safe

PHOTOS: For Syrian Kurds, and aid workers – the ‘safe zone’ is not so safeThe Kurds are calling this area ‘the genocide zone’. The safe zone is not safe by any definition. It is the zone of the Turkish invasion.



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Israel aiding Syria's Kurds, advocating for them with U.S.: official

Israel aiding Syria's Kurds, advocating for them with U.S.: officialIsrael is assisting Syrian Kurds battered by a month-old Turkish incursion, seeing them as a counterweight to Iranian influence and advocating for them in talks with the United States, the deputy Israeli foreign minister said on Wednesday. Ankara launched its assault targeting the Kurdish YPG militia after the abrupt withdrawal of 1,000 U.S. troops from northern Syria in early October, a move Kurds deemed a betrayal by Washington, their partner in fighting Islamic State. In a rare public dissent with U.S. President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered humanitarian aid to the “gallant Kurdish people” on Oct. 10, saying they faced possible “ethnic cleansing” by Turkey and its Syrian allies.



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'We could be blind': Syria pullout may result in loss of intelligence from the Kurds

'We could be blind': Syria pullout may result in loss of intelligence from the KurdsA U.S. withdrawal from Syria will strain the links that the U.S. intelligence community has painstakingly built with both Iraqi and Syrian Kurdish forces, according to current and former government officials with long experience in the Middle East.



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This Means War: How the Kurds Could Fight the Turks with American Weapons

This Means War: How the Kurds Could Fight the Turks with American WeaponsThey won't go down without a fight.



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U.S.-Led Coalition Blocks Russia in Syria While Allowing Turkey to Terrorize the Kurds

U.S.-Led Coalition Blocks Russia in Syria While Allowing Turkey to Terrorize the KurdsSyrian Kurds are stuck between Donald Trump's 2016 campaign promise to "take the oil" and a hard place.



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15 dead in Syria clashes between pro-Turkish forces, Kurds: monitor

15 dead in Syria clashes between pro-Turkish forces, Kurds: monitorClashes in northeast Syria between pro-Ankara fighters backed by the Turkish air force and a Damascus-backed force led by Syrian Kurds left 15 dead on Saturday, a monitor said. Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP that nine pro-Turkish fighters and six members of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were killed in a zone between the towns of Tal Tamr and Ras al-Ain. State news agency SANA said earlier Syrian government forces had entered the provincial borders of Ras al-Ain near Turkey’s border on Saturday, an area that was taken by Turkish forces in the latter’s weeks-long offensive against Syria’s Kurds.



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Kurds attacked by Turkish-backed fighters day after Trump boasts of 'permanent' ceasefire

Kurds attacked by Turkish-backed fighters day after Trump boasts of 'permanent' ceasefireKurdish forces yesterday accused Turkish-backed fighters of violating the ceasefire in northeast Syria with a “vast” new ground offensive and pleaded with the US “to intervene immediately” to stop the assault.  Less than 24 hours after Donald Trump boasted of establishing a "permanent" peaceful settlement in the area, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said they were under assault from Turkish-backed Syrian rebels.   “The SDF…holds the Turkish side responsible for the deterioration of the ceasefire process and calls on the American guarantor to intervene immediately to stop this aggression against our people,” a spokesman said.  Turkey said five of its soldiers were injured when Kurdish forces attacked near the border town of Ras al-Ain with mortars and drones. A car bomb also exploded in the Turkish-controlled town of Tal Abyad, wounding several people. The renewed fighting undercut Mr Trump’s claim of "a major breakthrough" in northeast Syria and raised questions about his decision to retract sanctions on Turkey because it had halted its offensive.  Mr Trump boasted of a 'permanent' ceasefire in northern Syria Credit: SHAWN THEW/EPA-EFE/REX While Mr Trump said the US had “a very good relationship” with Turkey, several of his senior officials lashed out in frustration at Ankara. "Turkey put us all in a very terrible situation,” said Mark Esper, the US defence secretary, calling the Turkish military operation in Syria an “unwarranted invasion”.  Mr Trump’s special envoy for Syria went further in his criticism, saying the US had seen evidence of war crimes committed by Turkish-backed rebels, and had demanded an explanation from Ankara. “Many people fled because they’re very concerned about these Turkish-supported Syrian opposition forces, as we are. We’ve seen several incidents which we consider war crimes,” James Jeffrey, special representative for Syria, told a House of Representatives hearing. The Syrian rebels, known as the National Army, have been accused of human rights abuses since the first days of the Turkish offensive.  Footage has circulated in the last two weeks of Syrian rebels fighting alongside the Turkish military executing civilians at the side of the road, including Kurdish politician Hevrin Khalaf. Turkish-backed Syrian rebels have been accused of war crimes Credit: REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi An autopsy indicated that her legs and her jaw had been broken and that she was dragged by her hair until the skin of her scalp came out, before being repeatedly shot. The National Army said it was investigating the allegations.  In recent days, footage has appeared which seems to show rebels mutilating the corpse of a female Kurdish fighter.   The SDF appeared to be complying with the terms of a Russian-Turkish agreement and were withdrawing their forces 20 miles from the border, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.  Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s president, said his forces would “crush” Kurdish fighters if they did not fully withdraw.   Despite the fighting around Ras al-Ain, Russia said it believed the ceasefire deal signed by Vladimir Putin and Mr Erdoğan was holding. "We note with satisfaction that the agreements reached in Sochi are being implemented," said Sergei Vershinin, Russia’s deputy foreign minister. Mr Erdoğan also mocked European fears over an influx of Syrian refugees from Turkey. "When we say we will open the gates, they are up in arms,” he said. “The gates will be opened when the time comes.” Turkey currently hosts more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees and Mr Erdoğan said he would send some of them to “safe zones” in northern Syria. It is not clear if refugees would go willingly to the area now that Assad’s forces control much of the nearby territory.



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UPDATE 1-Kremlin says U.S. betrayed Kurds in Syria, tells Kurds to withdraw or be mauled

UPDATE 1-Kremlin says U.S. betrayed Kurds in Syria, tells Kurds to withdraw or be mauledThe Kremlin said on Wednesday that the United States had betrayed and abandoned the Syrian Kurds and advised the Kurds to withdraw from the Syrian border as per a deal between Moscow and Ankara or be mauled by the Turkish army. The comments by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov to Russian news agencies followed a deal agreed on Tuesday between Russia and Turkey that will see Syrian and Russian forces deploy to northeast Syria to remove Kurdish YPG fighters and their weapons from the border with Turkey. Peskov, who was reported to be reacting to comments by U.S. President Donald Trump's special envoy for Syria James Jeffrey, complained that it appeared that the United States was encouraging the Kurds to stay close to the Syrian border and fight the Turkish army.



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Russia Joins Turkey in Expelling Kurds from Northern Syria

Russia Joins Turkey in Expelling Kurds from Northern SyriaTurkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian president Vladimir Putin agreed to a deal Tuesday to oversee the removal of Syrian Kurdish YPG forces from a safe zone more than three times the size of the zone agreed on between the United States and Turkey last week.Under the agreement, Turkish and Russian forces will remove Kurdish forces and weapons up to 30 kilometers from the Turkish border starting Wednesday, before patrolling a narrower ten kilometer strip of “safe zone” along the border in six days.The territory allotted to the Turks under the deal extends past the prior U.S.-Turkey agreement, which only included the central part of the border between the Syrian towns of Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain, where Turkish forces had focused their military offensive. Under the deal struck between Erdogan and Putin, Turkey will retain most of the area it initially said it would capture as part of “Operation Peace Spring.”Hours after the announcement, the Turkish defense ministry reported that the United States had told Turkey that the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters from the “safe zone” was complete. Vice President Mike Pence received a letter on Tuesday from Syrian Democratic Forces commander Mazloum Kobani, who stated the Kurds had withdrawn “from the relevant area of operations.”After six hours of talks with Erdogan in Sochi, Russia, Putin described the deal as “very important, if not momentous, to resolve what is a pretty tense situation which has developed on the Syrian-Turkish border.” The deal mirrors a 1998 agreement between Turkey and the Syrian government.The move evidences Russia’s influence in the region following the U.S. withdrawal. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper arrived in Baghdad Wednesday for talks with the Iraqi government over the retreat of U.S. forces into western Iraq. On Sunday, Esper stated the move was “to help defend Iraq” and “to perform a counter-ISIS mission as we sort through the next steps,” although Iraq said Tuesday that “There is no agreement for these forces to stay in Iraq.”



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Russia Joins Turkey in Expelling Kurds from Northern Syria

Russia Joins Turkey in Expelling Kurds from Northern SyriaTurkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian president Vladimir Putin agreed to a deal Tuesday to oversee the removal of Syrian Kurdish YPG forces from a safe zone more than three times the size of the zone agreed on between the United States and Turkey last week.Under the agreement, Turkish and Russian forces will remove Kurdish forces and weapons up to 30 kilometers from the Turkish border starting Wednesday, before patrolling a narrower ten kilometer strip of “safe zone” along the border in six days.The territory allotted to the Turks under the deal extends past the prior U.S.-Turkey agreement, which only included the central part of the border between the Syrian towns of Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain, where Turkish forces had focused their military offensive. Under the deal struck between Erdogan and Putin, Turkey will retain most of the area it initially said it would capture as part of “Operation Peace Spring.”Hours after the announcement, the Turkish defense ministry reported that the United States had told Turkey that the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters from the “safe zone” was complete. Vice President Mike Pence received a letter on Tuesday from Syrian Democratic Forces commander Mazloum Kobani, who stated the Kurds had withdrawn “from the relevant area of operations.”After six hours of talks with Erdogan in Sochi, Russia, Putin described the deal as “very important, if not momentous, to resolve what is a pretty tense situation which has developed on the Syrian-Turkish border.” The deal mirrors a 1998 agreement between Turkey and the Syrian government.The move evidences Russia’s influence in the region following the U.S. withdrawal. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper arrived in Baghdad Wednesday for talks with the Iraqi government over the retreat of U.S. forces into western Iraq. On Sunday, Esper stated the move was “to help defend Iraq” and “to perform a counter-ISIS mission as we sort through the next steps,” although Iraq said Tuesday that “There is no agreement for these forces to stay in Iraq.”



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