Kurds and SAG reach agreement to fight Turks

Military Situation In Northern Syria After SDF-Damascus Deal (Map Update)

  • The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) reportedly reached an agreement with Damascus on the situation in northern Syria;
  • The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) started entering the SDF-held area around Manbij. SAA units will reportedly enter Kabani and move further;
  • Turkey-led forces develop their advance despite the SDF-Damascus agreement.  SF


It seems that part of the "art of the deal" is to place people in a position where not making a deal bears unacceptable consequences.  As one of us wrote, the Borg (foreign policy establishment) and Lindsey Graham must be tearing their hair out and rending their garments.

I leave it to TTG to comment in detail.  pl


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34 Responses to Kurds and SAG reach agreement to fight Turks

  1. oldman22 says:

    This is the first time I have seen Putin say that all Syrian territory must be restored.
    “I can only agree with you that all the forces deployed illegitimately inside any sovereign state – in this case Syria – must leave. This is true for everyone. If Syria’s new legitimate government chooses to say that they have no more need for Russia’s military presence, this will be just as true for Russia. Right now, we are discussing this openly with all our partners, including Iran and Turkey. We spoke about it with our American partners many times. And I will be as open with you as I have been with my counterparts: Syria must be free from other states’ military presence. And the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic must be completely restored.”
    There is a lot more here:

  2. plantman says:

    What I have not been able to find out is whether Russia will provide air cover for the advancing Syrian Army. That seems like a crucial question given Putin’s fragile alliance with Erdogan.
    I can’t imagine that Russia will sit on the sidelines while Syria and Turkey battle it out.
    How will this play out? Any ideas??

  3. Stephanie says:

    How will this work in the air?
    Will an asymmetry ensue in which SAA troops are bombed by NATO state Turkey with impunity and Turkish troops cannot be bombed by either SAA or Russia?
    Will, in fact, the Turkish air force install a no-fly zone over Northern Syria? I’m positive that’s what is wanted in Washington and Ankara, but will it come to pass?
    If Russia challenges Turkey in the air, is that an act of war against NATO? Graham and Cheney would love that.
    This all certainly contains the elements necessary to take impeachment off the front page… except that I do not believe most Americans give a damn about Syria or Turkey or, in fact, anywhere in the world outside our borders. If $600 billion a year can’t solve the world’s problems, they ain’t going to be solved.

  4. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    The following is a better description of the issue IF this is true.
    Either way, as you intimated, it spells the end of the Yinon Plan. We can live with that.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  5. turcopolier says:

    Turkey lacks the strength to impose a NFZ in Northen Syria against the Russians. A NFZ, like a blockade, must be enforced to be effective. This is not a board game. An Article 5 action is not applicable outside the sovereign territory of the NATO member.

  6. j says:

    Why is Retd. Marine Corp General John Allen being so critical of POTUS leaving Syria? IMHO I would rather see POTUS save GI lives by pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria, than squander them, which would happen if we remained in Syria like what Allen wants. Allen is now part of the Israeli connected Brookings Institute as its president.
    The Turks intentionally targeted our troops with their fire.

  7. turcopolier says:

    Allen is a Borgist.

  8. Fred says:

    If the Borg is this upset and continues to drag into public view the very real, and the imagined, atrocities being committed by Turkey, that is going to give Trump the perfect opportunity to suggest we expel Turkey from NATO. We shouldn’t be allies of a country that violates the Geneva Convention.

  9. Ghost Ship says:

    It’s a good thing the SAA and RuAF stopped their advance into southern Idlib because now their best troops are well rested, re-equipped and ready to exploit the opportunities offered by the political front in Russian Deep Battle practice.
    On the other hand Erdogan could be in on this and was offered the chance to get rid of a problem (more an opportunity really) and kick the takfiris across the border to be killed by the SAA and RuAF alongside the ISIS escapees.

  10. VietnamVet says:

    I am hopeful. An agreement to let SAA in by the Kurds to stabilize the front with Turkey and America standing down is the only way to get the thousand American troops and contractors out of Syria safely. Literally the USA does not have any allies left there. It also is the only way to halt an ISIS resurgence. It will be worth it to see Lindsey Graham and the neo-cons’ dreams of endless wars smashed. But I am very much afraid the troop withdrawal will feed into the Impeachment frenzy. Too many rice bowls smashed. The end of the Iraq occupation is next.

  11. elaine says:

    Thanks for posting this, now I’m completely confused. I also have been
    checking rudaw.net/english for up to date info from a Kurdish perspective.

  12. BraveNewWorld says:

    The Turkish economy is being propped up by Russia and China. They can squeeze Eroguan’s nuts any time they like. They are both adamant that Syria stay whole.
    I suspect Russia will still let Turkey create the buffer zone but will tell then to stay on the right side of the line. Putin is currently trying to de-escalate now that he has some thing more to work with.

  13. Barbara Ann says:

    Well I guess there are a few ways to look at what just happened. Brett McGurk sums up one major school of thought well in one of his twittery lamentations; “..it’s shameful to leave partners to their fate and the mercies of hostile actors with no thought, plan or process in place”. This school would have us believe that a clueless Trump was ‘rolled’ by Erdogan into an impulsive act with no care for what followed. In this reading the return of the prodigal Kurds under the protective wing of Damascus is a sad but inevitable consequence.
    But the fact is that it is this reconciliation (and the coming return of SAG control over NE Syria) that forces US troops out, helping to make good on a campaign promise. Without it the Borg would doubtless apply huge pressure on Trump to keep them there indefinitely. An alternative thesis then presents itself; that this is in fact the result of plenty of thought, plan and process. If so, the art of this deal was artful indeed – both diabolically clever and bold. The work of Trump alone, or was a ghost writer involved?

  14. The Beaver says:

    French Operation Chammal is over as far as Syria is concerned

  15. HK Leo Strauss says:

    As much as I want to be optimistic, Erdogan has proven to be a strategic player.
    Netanyahu‘s (and his allies) urge to destabilize their neighbors will overwhelm any fidelity to the Kurds.

  16. Leith says:

    The deal as I understood it was that Assad agreed to deploy to Manbij, Ayn al-Arab (AKA Kobane), and Qamishli. There is no Turkish cross border ground in Kobane and Qamishli, only cross border artillery and airstrikes.
    I believe that elements of the SAA and some Russians are already in Manbij, and so far the only threat there is TFSA intermittent shelling and boasting by the Erdogan’s Syrian Turkmen Jihadis that they will enter Manbij. Maybe a diversion?
    Turkish ground forces attack is about 50km SE of Kobane at Tel Abyad, and stretches from there to about 100km WSW of Qamishli at Ras al-Ayn. That is where the civilians are being killed by Erdogan’s jihadi SNA, many of which are former ISIS and Nusra Front. The only other ground fighting going on seems to be a so far very minor incursion at Diwar about 90km east of Qamishli near the Turkish city of Silopi.
    So the question is when will the SAA confront Erdogan’s proxy army at Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ayn. Or has a deal been made with Erdogan to let his liver-eaters have some fun there for awhile so he can resettle three million refugees on land belonging to Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, & Armenians who had stayed in Syria to fight AQ & ISIS?

  17. chris moffatt says:

    which didn’t stop NATO member countries and wannabes from joining in the festivities in Afghanistan using the 9/11 attack on a member as their pretext. In this case however I am sure Turkey is on its own; no other NATO member will want to be involved. Optics too bad.

  18. JohninMK says:

    This is a twitter post, I hope I can post it here.
    The SAA have already taken over the whole Al-Taqba area including the dam and airfield. As an indication of how welcome the SAA are it seems that most of the soldiers are being transported in buses. This is the tweet.
    Danny Makki
    ‏ @Dannymakkisyria
    2h2 hours ago
    These are the main points in the agreement between the #SDF and the Syrian government.
    1/ The abolishment of the #SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces), with all the current Kurdish forces and military groups joining the 5th Corps (Assault Legion) under Russian control
    3:12 AM – 14 Oct 2019
    2/ A solid guarantee of full Kurdish rights in the new Syrian constitution with autonomy which will be agreed upon by Kurdish leadership & Syrian state.
    3/ Joint coordinated effort by Syrian/Kurdish forces to remove Turkish presence in northern #Syria including #Afrin (Idleb doesn’t count)
    4/ #Manbej & #Kobani were agreed upon for #SAA to enter quickly, whilst #Hasakeh has seen a wide scale deployment of Syrian troops, this will continue in #Qamishly and other joint areas
    5/ With Syrian forces now on the border area with #Turkey it’s clear that this starts a new phase in the 8-year-long war where some sort of endgame is now taking shape – all border areas and administrational centres will be taken over by the Syrian government
    6/ Within one month Kurdish leadership with start to take up some official roles within the current Syrian government to ease the transition period of N. #Syria until an new constitution/government is formed in the future
    7/ #Tabqa in #Raqqa was also on the agreement, Syrian forces entered the city and took control of the military airbase earlier today
    8/ #Russia had brokered a similar deal a few days ago, yet it was rejected by #Damascus who wanted more concessions from the #SDF.
    9/ As per-agreement Syrian forces entered Ein Issa in N. #Raqqa today
    10/ The agreement between #SDF and Syrian gov is yet to be fully completed, the finer details will be fleshed out over the next four days.
    11/ For now all #ISIS prisoners remain under the control of the #Kurds
    12/ The agreement thus far is effectively a military one, based on self-defense and mutual interest with a number of set aims. The governance/land delegation/isis prisoners part will follow later

  19. CK says:

    The reports I read said the Turkish artillery bracketed some American troops after Kurdish troops fired on Turkish positions from positions close to the American troops. This is sop for the Kurds, lets you and him fight.

  20. CK says:

    The deals were always Trump’s; the after the fact books had ghost writers because they were less valuable per unit of Trump’s time than the next deal.
    I don’t think that anything has changed now that he is President of a country.

  21. prawnik says:

    If NATO wants Article 5 to be applicable, then Article 5 will apply.
    Just as a country with territorial disputes cannot be a NATO member, but nobody is using that to block Georgia (Abkhazia and South Ossetia) or Ukraine (Donbass and Crimea) from NATO membership.

  22. JP Billen says:

    Elaine, Rudaw is an Iraqi-Kurdistan network, specifically the Barzani’s KRG which is known to have a bit of bad blood with they YPG. For better coverage of Syrian Kurdish perspective see Kurdistan24.net or ANF News (although the Turks claim ANF is a PKK mouthpiece)

  23. charly says:

    If you mean by Russia and China the EU then you are right. 50%+ of exports go to the EU. And EU is piss-off about Turkeys behavior to Cypress

  24. charly says:

    New York is inside NATO territory, Northern Syria isn’t. There is also the whole some people are more equal than other people and the love the EU has at the moment for Turkey.

  25. charly says:

    Actual they are.

  26. JP Billen says:

    That is Turkish BS. That close artillery fire on those US Special Forces was a message from Erdogan to yank Trump’s chain for threatening sanctions.
    The ‘lets you and him fight’ meme is what the Izzies and Saudis do. The Kurds have done some heavy fighting against ISIS. Even long before the US started helping with airstrikes and material support.

  27. prawnik says:

    Not sure I understand. The reason that Ukraine and Georgia are not NATO members is that they have not applied, as doing so would bring a swift reaction from Russia.

  28. CK says:

    I thought Erdogan was supposed to be smart, firing on a nominal NATO ally to “yank the chain” is not smart. Let’s you and him fight has been Kurdish SOP since the first Kurd.

  29. JP Billen says:

    firing close, NOT “firing on”. Who said Erdogan was smart? You must be Turkish.
    Actually your let’s-you-and-him-fight meme is what the US, UK, and France have been using the Kurds for to fight Isis since 2014.

  30. elaine says:


  31. elaine says:

    JP Billen, Rudaw.net is reporting VP Pence has negotiated a 120 hour cease fire to
    accommodate the safe withdrawal of the YPG, however I checked Kurdistan 24 & didn’t
    see the story. What should I conclude?

  32. Elaine, whatever Pence and Erdogan agreed to has no effect on the YPG, the SAA or the Russians. For that matter, it has little effect on the jihadis, either. The SAA has taken over the Kobani border post and have started to move heavy weapons into the area. The dog and pony show in Ankara means nothing.

  33. JP Billen says:

    Regarding the potential Pence cease-fire. SDF Commander-in-Chief of General Mazlum Abdi said this is a start. But the Turkish state has not stopped the invasion.
    Commander Abdi added that the ceasefire agreement covered the area between Girê Spi and Serêkaniyê. YPG and SDF forces remain in other areas within what the Turks call their Safe Zone. But other than that he says “We will do everything necessary to make the ceasefire a success.”
    And he added: “The US are responsible for watching over the agreemeent which includes the return of displaced people to their homes and does not include changing the demographic of the area. The aims of the attackers must not be realized. Nothing has been discussed for the other regions. Our forces remain there.”
    I don’t see any way possible that the US can ensure the Turks don’t change the demographics in those areas unless boots on the ground are there – but that is not gonna happen. Unless Russia steps in? At least 275,000 people have been displaced since the Turkish invasion. The Turkish jihadis have already taken over their homes and will fight attempts to evict them.

  34. confusedponderer says:

    re: “The work of Trump alone, or was a ghost writer involved?”
    I read that Trump’s withdrawal order – & dropping the kurds “who didn’t help the USA in Normandy” (neither did Germany, Russia and Japan by the way, and two of those are now US allies for a long time) & giving Erdogan that long desired green light – was not discussed with the Pentagon or the state department, nor was Trump again advised on the matter.
    When Trump discussed that southern border to Mexico with DHS folks and lawyers he was advised and advised that what he wanted was very illegal (shooting them), very illegal (shooting them in the legs) and very illegal (a long trench with toxic snakes and hungry crocodiles – what, no cannibal tribes?) and, after a few yell & freak out episodes, he rewarded the people who told him all that with being fired. Dr. Nielsen – head of the DHS – was faster and quit by herself before being twittered away.
    Abandoning the Kurds was apparently an impulsive Trump solo act, likely his gut telling him something, and I don’t want to know what.
    I read Trump commented all that by saying that he doesn’t care much about what’s happening in Syria since all that is some 7000 miles away anyway. Well, on 9/11 ObL and Saudi Arabia were some 7000 miles away, too.
    Trump in Syria got basically nothing, congratulates himself to be a fearsome strategist, that Pence and O’Brien negotiating was nothing but an emergency fire alert mission, Erdogan got another shot at the kurds – and the kurds bleed.
    Alas, in the last hours Mick Mulvaney also commented that the Miami Trump hotel in which the next G7 will be held is perfectly perfect for that event – as if it was built for it – and (that is not really convincing) that Trump would of course not profit from the other 6 G nations having to rent places in that hotel for the event. No, of course not.
    Obviouisly, whitehouse priorities are firmly set. Maybe the other 6 G’s go and hire Nuland to hand out cookies to Trump then. She certainly has already proved her competence in that regard.

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