The Race for al-Bab – TTG

Turkish air strikes pounded a group of Kurdish fighters allied to a U.S.-backed militia in northern Syria overnight, highlighting the conflicting agendas of NATO members Ankara and Washington in an increasingly complex battlefield. The jets targeted positions of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in three villages, northeast of the city of Aleppo, that the SDF had captured from Islamic State, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said late on Wednesday.

The Turkish military confirmed its warplanes had carried out 26 strikes on areas recently taken by the Kurdish YPG militia, the strongest force in the SDF, and that it had killed between 160 and 200 combatants.

The British-based Observatory monitoring group reported a much lower toll of at least 14 dead and dozens wounded. Officials of the Kurdish-led administration that controls much of northeastern Syria said dozens had been killed.

Complicating matters further, Syria's military called the strikes by Turkey an act of "blatant aggression" and said it would bring down any Turkish war planes entering Syrian air space. A senior U.S. defence official said the groups struck by Turkish jets were not themselves U.S.-backed but were "close to and friendly with" the fighters Washington is working with.  (Reuters)


Looking deeper into this situation, we see the makings of a twisted telenovela plot. The Turks claimed they struck the Afrin YPG positions because Turkish positions were shelled from YPG held Afrin territory. Maybe this shelling happened. Maybe it didn’t. The more likely reason for the Turkish airstrikes is that the Afrin YPG was making headway towards al-Bab. The areas struck were recently taken from the IS by the Kurds.

Erdogan claims his goal is to seize al-Bab from IS to close off their supply lines. We all know that’s a crock. All that will do is move the IS crossing point into Turkey a few miles south. His real goal is to prevent the Kurds in Afrin from linking up with the Kurds from Kobane. That would truly close off the IS supply lines to Turkey and Erdogan cannot allow that to happen.

The U.S. made the distinction between the Afrin Kurdish YPG and the Kobane Kurdish YPG. How talmudic. They are all Rojava Kurds. An interesting assertion made by Jack Shahine, a long time reporter with the Rojava Kurds is that the ground operation on YPG positions around Tal-Rifaat on 21 Oct was run jointly by Turkish and American officers with the Liwa al-Moua'atasim fighters. These were the same fighters that jeered American advisors as infidels a short while ago. Shahine also reports that FSA ground attacks on YPG positions have largely failed. With heavy Turkish bombardment, only one farm has fallen to the FSA as of 21 Oct.

The Russians and the SAA have not intervened to help the YPG although they have warned Turkey that they will shoot down any attacking Turkish warplanes in the future. I’m sure they realize shooting down Turkish planes, especially with U.S. advisors in the area could open up a whole new can of worms. However I think they mean it. Their relationship with the Rojava Kurds continues to evolve. Again Shahine reports on this evolving relationship. He claims that in a meeting in mid-September between top Syrian officials and the Kurdish local administration under Russian supervision in Latakia's Himemim (perhaps he meant Qamislo-Himemim), there was an offer from the Russians to stop the fighting between the two sides in Northeast Syria, under terms of changing the official name of Syria to the Syrian Republic (rather than the Syrian Arab Republic). The terms called for the recognition of a federal system of Rojava and the recognition of national Kurdish people in Syria. They also called for recognition of the YPG as Syrian national forces. Although these terms were initially rejected by the Syrian Regime, the rejection was based on the need for these proposals to be discussed in Parliament. That’s a positive start. A start that is certainly anathema to Erdogan.

In addition to the ramifications of shooting down NATO warplanes and possibly killing NATO, including American, troops, the Russians and the SAA are in no position to divert their limited forces to assist the Kurds. The rebels are massing to launch a two pronged counteroffensive to lift the siege of East Aleppo. Jaysh Al-Fateh is preparing to strike towards both the al-Ramouseh district in the south and in the north they will attempt to reopen the al-Castillo Highway. The Russians and the SAA must be prepared to crush these offensives as they continue to reduce the East Aleppo pocket. That’s a tall order.

As complicated and as fraught with danger as this situation is, I have confidence that the R+6 will prevail. Once the Aleppo pocket is reduced, I don’t know if the R+6 will then seek to close the IS line to Turkey at al-Bab or further south at al-Tabqah or at any point in between. They may decide to first concentrate on the rebels in Idlib. I would prefer to see the IS lifeline to Turkey cut as soon as possible, but I think this decision will be very dependent on the timing of the liberation of Aleppo and the probable inauguration of Clinton.


Turkey bombs Syrian Kurdish militia allied to U.S.-backed force (Reuters)

PYD/PKK pushing to capture N.Syria's strategic al-Bab (Anadalu Agency)

Jaysh Al-Fateh prepares to launch massive offensive in Aleppo (Al Masdar News)


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48 Responses to The Race for al-Bab – TTG

  1. Fred says:

    “the need for these proposals to be discussed in Parliament. ”
    Sounds like a functioning government that is obeying its own laws. I’m sure no one in Washington is paying attention.

  2. Kooshy says:

    TTG thank you for your excellent analysis and report, since I was discussing this with Mike on the previous thread, I wonder if Turks have intelligence not to attack Kurd units that have American SP servicemen inbed with them. And if they don’t have the necessary intelligence, do they care if they hit and kill Americans servicemen, would they pay a price if they did. SOD was in Turkey yesterday.

  3. kao_hsien_chih says:

    Thank you for the insights. Curious how this fits in with the strange diplomatic dance that the Turks have been engaged in since the aborted coup. Erdogan seemed rather eager to disengage with the West, but have the R+6 offered him an added incentive? Are the Kurds the price that R+6 is willing to pay to gain Turkish cooperation?

  4. mike allen says:

    It is true that Americans are with Liwa al Mutasim. But I do not think that group is fighting against the Kurds. There are Daesh fighters in that area which I suspect they would be going against. Shahine though would know better than an armchair observer like me. Does he cite proof?
    Turkish tanks are now in Marea. So much for the 15km buffer incursion into Syria (but no more) that Russia was said to have blessed for Erdogan. I understood the Turkish airstrikes and the Turkish armor in Marea is in response to YPG successes against Liwa al Sultan Murad in and near that area. Not Liwa al Mutasim.
    I note that some Syrian Kurds are accusing the US of backing the attacks on YPG also. I hope that is not true. If there are Americans with Liwa al Sultan Murad or other Turkish jihadi proxies I suspect they were hoodwinked (again) by Erdogan. Ditto on the Erdogan hoodwinking if al Mutasim fired on the Kurds.
    There are also reports of a Turkish tanks on the western border of Afrin, threatening the Kurds there.

  5. mike allen says:

    kao_hsien_chih – “Are the Kurds the price that R+6 is willing to pay to gain Turkish cooperation?”
    My guess is that Russia and Syria wants to keep the Kurds just strong enough to keep fighting Daesh, but not too strong to later challenge Assad in their quest for federalization. Some have supposed that they would like to see a very narrow Kurdish land bridge between the cantons of Afrin and Kobane, but a weak one that they could easily disrupt if need be.

  6. khc,
    I think all sides are dancing around each other. No one is fully in control of the situation or is certain of the outcome. It’s much like the cemetery standoff in “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.”

  7. mike allen,
    I also doubt the U.S. advisors are in control of the actions of Liwa al Mutasim. They’re just along for the ride.

  8. Thomas says:

    “I also doubt the U.S. advisors are in control of the actions of Liwa al Mutasim. They’re just along for the ride.”
    As a tripwire for the Borg to get its desired intervention?

  9. Thomas,
    I think this more a case of massive cognitive dissonance. We want the FSA and Turkey to fight IS and we want the rebels to oust Assad. We also want the Kurds to fight IS. Turkey wants the FSA to fight Kurds and oust Assad. The Kurds fight IS and now the Turks in the hope of getting some kind of federalize independence. The rebels are jihadists at heart and will strike at anybody. The U.S. advisors can’t be comfortable in this mess.

  10. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The R+6 are constrained in what they could do for YPG and affiliated armed Kurdish formations. That could be a reason for their lack of action.
    Politically, it suits the R+6 that the foremost American ally in the region, namely Turkey, is bombing the foremost Kurdish militia allied to US – demonstrating to the Syrian Kurds – yet again – that they have no future relying on the United States. This facilitates the post-war settlement.

  11. turcopolier says:

    My guess is that in the end the Turks will decide that they can’t risk their developing relations with Russia by attacking the SAA at the east side of the Aleppo encirclement. I agree that R+6 will be able to repel what is probably the final attempt by the rebels to raise the siege of East Aleppo. A name and constitutional change for Syria would be a master stroke. pl

  12. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I suspect that Turks have sufficient intelligence; they are politically in a situation that any move they make is costly to them.
    In the analogous situation, the United States vis à vis Iran, US finally chose to accept a deal based on 2006 Gareth Evans parameters after calculating that those costs were less.
    That is why it is important for R+6 to maintain relations with the Turkish Government to enable it to accept the less costly settlement.
    Of course, Turks are not Americans – they are not beneficiaries of 2000 years of Rationalist Tradition of the Platonic Academy. And it might prove that what this old Iranian lady told me a while back obtains: ” ترک ترکه ” – Turk is turk.

  13. Babak Makkinejad says:

    A 2-stage process of constitutional change; a temporary constitution under which competing parties could form and stand for election, followed by a second constitution written by that assembly; just like South Africa.

  14. apol says:

    About your < Rationalist Tradition of the Platonic Academy >
    What’s rational about Pythagoras, Sir?
    What’s rational about the myth of ER?
    Reincarnation? And many of Plato’s views.
    And Americans have not been around for 2000 years, unless you mean the ones that were exterminated.
    The rationalist tradition stems from Aristotle.

  15. Larry M. says:

    Col. Lang
    “A name and constitutional change for Syria would be a master stroke”.
    Such a change might not only work to improve the Syrian government’s relations with the Kurds. It might also, if only slightly, complicate attempts by the next U.S. administration, the EU, etc. to increase their pressure on president Assad.
    Finally, a constitutional change, if done now, would take the four million Syrian refugees outside of Syria out of the equation. I do not know for sure, and most reporting on the refugees does not seem to focus on this, but my impression is that almost all of those four million refugees abroad are Sunni Muslim Arabs. This would mean that the biggest ethnic-religious group in Syria, the traditional source of the country’s major uprisings, has been reduced from about two-thirds of the total population to little more than half.
    Apart from the important fact that the exodus has made it hard for the Syrian army to fill its ranks, it has increased the relative weight of the religious minorities that form a disproportional share of the government’s base. So from president Assad’s view, now may be the best moment to remake the constitution in a very moderately democratic direction. That many of the Sunnis who have remained are likely to be secular and pro-government is another argument in favour of such “a master stroke”.

  16. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Well, I agree that Aristotle was the one who systematized the Greek Tradition of Rational Thought.
    I think it was the Platonic Academy and its later manifestations and realizations that propagated the rational approach to the Universe.
    Prior to 1800, the program of the Platonic Academy – the Trivium and the Quadrivium – had been adopted, in various forms and to varying degrees, from the Indus River to Tierra Del Fuego; but nowhere as strongly as in the areas West of the Diocletian Line.
    In Iran, the ancient religious schools in Qum start their students at Trivium. There is no Quadrivium taught there – has not been done for centuries – may that is why they declined and Diocletian people went forward to conquest after conquest.

  17. Haralambos says:

    Larry M.,
    Here are the recent data for Greece:
    You might want to look at the numbers for Italy this year, since I think many of the migrants/refugees are not from Syria but are from Sub-Saharan Africa. There are undoubtedly many refugees from the war-torn areas, but there are also many economic migrants wanting better lives for themselves and their children. One needs the wisdom of Solomon to sort this out. I wish I possessed it, but I do not.

  18. VietnamVet says:

    Thanks for keeping us informed. This could be titled “The Wild Wild East”.
    If the Abrahamic religions can’t live together after thousands of years of history when stirred up by outsiders; there is no chance for peace until the West stops its headlong dismantling of sovereign states for profit. It is the height of cognitive dissonance to start a hybrid war against Russia and not expect counter moves. Hillary Clinton and the the Elite’s contempt was shown by her naming 40% of Americans as irredeemable Deplorables. It is pure hubris to ignore the likelihood that the ethnic religious conflicts that permeate the Balkans or the Fertile Crescent will not be stirred up in the USA among immigrants and their descendants by outsiders; not to mention, the old-time rifts with “Latinx” or African Americans. The only way that the USA can work is if everyone is treated the same. This is clearly not the case since the wealthy have thrown 80% of Americans living outside the big coastal cities under the bus. Without the return of the rule of law and an end to meritocracy, Aleppo and Mosul won’t be the end but are the beginning of the end of our world.

  19. Will says:

    It sounded good about the Syrian Kurds being refugees from Turkey, but apparently it’s a charade. Concerted historic action by Turkey, Syria, and Iraq to dispossess Kurds of their identity- further manipulated as a cat’s paw by Israel. Syria had always been known as the Syrian Republic until the breakup with Egypt. Then they went from the United Arab Republic to the Syrian Arab Republic. The “Arab” part is foolish for a state that purports to be secular, multiconfessional, and indeed should be multi-cultural.

  20. mike allen says:

    Speaking of ‘multiconfessional’. Church bells are ringing again in Bartella and other Assyrian cities and towns near Mosul. Daesh fighters there were taken down by Iraqi SOF Golden Brigade assisted by Nineveh Plains Forces aka Syriac militia.
    Those church bells were never silent for over 1600 years until August 2014. Although mostly Shia Arab, the Iraqi SOF Commander is Major General Fadhil Jamil al-Barwari, a Kurd. And it was American trained. The Nineveh Plains Forces are both Syriac Catholic and Syriac Orthodox. Diversity at its best.

  21. Babak Makkinejad says:

    That identity is in all its non-Islamic manifestations is culturally and linguistically Iranic. Neither Arabs nor Turks can countenance that.
    I do not think that the Arab part of the Syrian Arab Republic was foolish; it tried to bring together – across several religions – different Arabic speaking peoples; they were copying the French, Italian, German Nation-Building programs of the 19-th century.
    The ancestors of present Kurds across several countries had no qualms dispossessing Armenians.

  22. kooshy says:

    “I suspect that Turks have sufficient intelligence; they are politically in a situation that any move they make is costly to them.”
    Yes, it is amazing to me, to see Turkey, which just a few years back was supposedly an exemplary country for the rest of the muslim nations, has in just few years, on false wishful assumptions, strategically messed her self up so badly that her only regional allies are KSA, Qatar, Fateh al-Sham, Al-Nusra Front and a few small Turkeman tribes. Of course I am sure you know, how important, a legal,stable, legitimate, prosperous government in Turkey is for Iran security. For centuries Turkey is and has been and will remain the only viable land route between Iran and Europe. Last week it was in Iranian news that the trucks cue trying to clear customs and enter Iran from turkey was 30 miles and about two weeks to pass inspection and cross into Iran.

  23. charly says:

    To get a ticket to Europe you need money. It was the poor that is Sunni & religious. I think you are wrong.

  24. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You wrote: “…how important, a legal, stable, legitimate, prosperous government in Turkey is for Iran security.”
    In my opinion, you are not going far enough; “how important, a legal, stable, legitimate, prosperous government in Turkey is for the world of Sunni Islam.”
    The way I see it, Muslims are, at the moment, not sufficiently appreciative of the core state of their civilization, may be they could chose to subject themselves to the civilizing influence of Turkey.
    In the analogous situation, France has always been appreciated, even by her enemies – such as the Russian Empire and Germany. There is a long road ahead….

  25. Amir says:

    However, one thing is certain: The Kurds will again get the short end of the stick, as a reward for their shortsightedness and willingness to sell themselves cheap the same people who support their enemies.

  26. F5F5F5 says:

    It looks to me as though the right hand of the US/Allies is coming ever closer to fighting its own left hand. Just like a child knocking two toy cars against each other.

  27. Peter Reichard says:

    Lost in the focus on Aleppo and Mosul is the fact that the Turkish invasion is a major escalation and complication of this conflict. Of course the Turks want to prevent a link up of the Afrin and Kobane Kurds as part of their standing fear of Kurdish power but the larger issue is that the fall of al-Bab cuts the last supply line to all the rebels south and east of Aleppo including ISIS, thus game over for them. The rapid withdrawal of ISIS makes me suspicious that a deal was cut with them to pave the road to al-Bab for Turkish and allied rebel forces so as to preserve this lifeline. The best solution is for al-Bab to fall to the SAA but alas, their hands are full in Aleppo and elsewhere.

  28. aleksandar says:

    IMO the next COA is to break Deir ez Zor siège and then go north to Tabqah along Euphrat to cut crossing possibilies and ISIS reinforcements.
    That will also let Syrian have back oil fields.

  29. Vic says:

    I do not believe that the IC has a clue concerning what the Turks military objectives are in Syria. It must now be obvious to even Secretary of State Kerry, that the stated reasons for the invasion are not the real reasons.
    Will Turkey go on to attack and occupy all Kurdish areas of Syria? Do they intend to establish a safe haven for civilians (and ISIS/JN)? Will they move on Aleppo? Or are they aiming for the big prize, to spear had the rebels to topple Assad?
    Also don’t forget about Turkish forces in Iraq. They demand to fight in Mosul. At the same time they talk about their historic claims to Mosul. What is up with that?
    What are they up to? Kerry and Ash Carter are seemingly being lied to and believing these lies (if not cheer leading the Turks actions). I also believe that the intelligence services of NATO also don’t have a clue. NATO has expressed no concern over Turkish actions that could result in a brush up with Russian forces in Syria. Also, no western country objected at the UN to a the blatant invasion of Syria by Turkey, why?
    I have more questions than answers.

  30. Anna says:
    Asking for your comments on the following statements in the Thierry Meyssan’ article:
    1. “Contrary to what has been reported, the operation of 15 July 2016 was not an attempted coup d’état, but an attempt to eliminate Recep Tayyip Erdoğan alone. The CIA used Turko-US industrial and military connections in order to recruit a small team within the Air Force to execute the President during his holidays…. However, this team was betrayed by Islamist officers…”
    2. Saudi Arabia is just as indispensable for the United States as Turkey… the CIA organized … the succession of King Abdallah in January 2015. On the night of the sovereign’s death, the majority of the inefficient civil servants was relieved of its functions, and the country was reorganised according to a pre-established plan.”

  31. Kooshy says:

    IMO, Turkey and Erdogan, are very disappointed and dismayed with their American partners, and I believe they blame the American for not achieving their FP goals. Erdogan wanted to be treated as player in every important strategic plans the west had for the region. Starting with Iran’ reactor fuel negotiations where he was sent to make a deal and when he did, he was publicly refuted by US and HRC. Same goes with his stand on Egypt’ Morsi and his support for Akhvans, and on to Libya and Syria. IMO he blames the US for his bad FP decisions he feels he is deceived. He feels he has paid to play but is not allowed to play.

  32. mike allen says:

    Back at the end of August, the US said Turkey’s actions after taking Jarabulus were “unacceptable”. Key word here being ‘after’ as we supported Turkey’s intial push into Jarabulus to secure their borders. But we did complain when they went further south. I agree with you that Obama, Kerry and NATO should have spoken out more forcefully so that Erdo would get the message. My guess is they were afraid Turkey would kick them out of Incirlik. Or drop out of the NATO alliance?
    I wonder whatever happened with the rumors that we were rebuilding an airfield in the Syrian Kurdish Canton of Cizre in order to lessen dependence on Incirlik?
    At the time of the initial Turkish incursion into Jarabulus, CENTCOM commander Joseph Votel said that “the US will continue to support the YPG” and then withdrew support from Euphrates Shield when Turkish troops and proxies went further south. This infuriated Erdogan who has had a long running feud with General Votel. But I note that Obama and Carter have not bowed to Turkish pressure to relieve Votel, as he is still firmly in command of CENTCOM.

  33. Babak Makkinejad says:

    On your second item – the Wiki states: “Puppet state of the Soviet Union”.
    That is accurate.
    I think when Soviets refused to leave, in 1948, Iranian government took the issue to UNSC – supported by the United States. That contributed to the (misplaced, as future events established) trust in the United States as a benign power – as far as Iranian interests were concerned.

  34. Babak Makkinejad says:

    That was my sense of it too. But then he went and provoked the Bear, and for what?

  35. Gitte Jensen says:

    Agreed. 48 hours ago I predicted that the limit of TUR invasion would be along rough axis AZAZ-EL-BAB-MANBIJ-FURAT(Euphrates). TUR would then declare a “Green Line” for a “safe haven/buffer zone”status and dig in, permanently just like they did in Cyprus some 40 years ago, and like the Israelis in Golan they’re still there !!. As other have pointed out, their favorite Islamic terrorist proxies re-badged FSA in the lead, DaIISH mysteriously withrawing in good order and TUR conducting virtual Relief-In-Place sequence with latest M60 T Sabra III tanks (google for specs) plus heavy 155 mm SP artillery all now threatening Halab N Sheikh Maqsood area held by YPG. Now to cut to the chase, who can/will defend the Syrian Kurds against TUR genocide in NW Syria enclave or west of Euphrates ? No-one, the Kurds are finished, they trusted the Americans for support, can anyone really think the Americans would fight TUR on their behalf ? Meanwhile we have the faux battle for Mosul, telegraphed months in advance so that DaIISH can redeploy forces and heavy weapons west in time for the major attack on Deir az-Zour. Sorry guys but the chances of Syria surviving within current borders as a sovreign nation-state look slim, the unholy evil cabal of US-GB-FR-ISR-SA-QTR-TUR are hell bent on finishing the destruction and dismembering of Syria which has been their goal all along. The Syrian people, noble and brave. will resist to the end, but unless Russia can show some backbone and stand up to TUR for once the aggression will continue

  36. LeaNder says:

    but unless Russia can show some backbone and stand
    Gitte, are you new here? If so, welcome.
    I don’t think it’s about Russia showing some backbone. Maybe about the other side trying to do something that seems almost illusinary? Besides, if you don’t mind it feels a bit of a standard. No idea, how to put it. Maybe this way: If you “feel” that “your own larger camp/authorities/alliances” (in this case) are totally fucked up, it makes sense to look for some type of outside savior.
    permanently just like they did in Cyprus some 40 years ago, and like the Israelis in Golan they’re still there !!.
    I vaguely thought about that, wondering about land gains by war in the larger region. Not least since it seems to be often both on the back of the mind of commenters and maybe vaguely too on mine, just as allegedly on the side of e.g. ISIS. Only a very, very limited grasp on the mental universe in the region… What’s the larger history of central paradigms on the side of “our” camp versus the “other” side?
    Admittedly at the moment it reminds me that have no solid background in the relevant history. Only glimpses. But: I have this edition of Lawrence of Arabia on my Kindle, and maybe finally should read it. And not worry too much about if it is or is or isn’t an abbreviated version. There were several war related statements by a favorite prof in his lectures on Modernism, that related to a battle. I think it was Gallipoli:
    Which only remains on my mind, since it didn’t make sense at the time.

  37. LeaNder says:

    just as allegedly on the side of e.g. ISIS
    OK, maybe I should have dropped the “allegedly”, but I never seriously looked into the multi-language propaganda of ISIS or any other parties involved, beyond the documents spread supposedly originating with Bin Laden … for the very simple reason, I do not read or understand Arabic*. And I am a Thomas, I am hesitant about matters, if I cannot “touch the wound”.
    * maybe that helps me to not get caught up in a larger rumor mill?

  38. Babak Makkinejad says:

    In Cyprus, there is a Turkic population which supports the occupation by Turkey. No such equivalent population exists in Syria or in Iraq. Furthermore, even the anti-Iran/anti-Shia Arab governments oppose any changes to the borders of Iraq as well as Syria. Turkish occupying forces, in my opinion, will be harassed for as long as they stay there; they would be forced to withdraw – just like the Israelis were forced to withdraw after 18 years from Lebanon.

  39. mike allen says:

    Kurdish media reporting:
    ISTANBUL — Russia and Turkey have agreed to share intelligence on Syria. Russia will send intelligence it has on Syria to aid Turkey in conducting its operation Euphrates Shield. This was agreed upon during Putin’s latest visit to Turkey earlier this October.
    The Russian delegation which also included the Chief of General Staff of Russia Valery Gerasimov, spoke on this subject with his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar.
    The first deputy chairman of the Defense and Security Committee of the Federation Council Franz Klintsevich, told the Russian news outlet Izvestiya, that Turkey has joined the pool of intelligence sharing created by Russia, Syria, Iraq and Iran.
    “We pass intercepted radio data, electronic and optical imagery intelligence that may be of interest to the Turkish side. In turn, they also share information. The Turks have a very effective special service and very good agents in Syria,” he said.

    Not sure where they got this. I could not find it elsewhere, in English anyway. Perhaps a translation of Turkish or Russian news media??

  40. Thomas says:

    “And I am a Thomas, I am hesitant about matters, if I cannot “touch the wound”.”
    This trait comes from quick adaptability of hard lessons learned in life through dealing with fools, f-ck-ups and liars.
    Consider it an essential survival skill.

  41. Kooshy says:

    Mike I read this on AMN al masdar this morning apparently they got that from Russian news sites

  42. Annem says:

    Actually, a large number of the Kurds living in Rojava are indeed from Turkey and that is why the Assad government years ago took their Syrian citizenship away during a conflict. There were about 100,000+ that were suddenly stateless. At the start of this civil war, the regime offered to give back their citizenship in exchange for loyalty, etc. These people came to Syria after the Sheikh Said Rebellion in southeastern Turkey in the 1920s against the centralizing efforts of the new Turkish republic.

  43. The Putin brokered deal sounds unlikely, and not just because King Bashar doesn’t share, or play well with others.
    While the SDF is mainly Kudish, there is a significant contingent of Syriacs, Arabs and others, who are not interested in seeing Assad in any position, outside of a box.

  44. Larry M. says:

    Larry M. said in reply to charly
    most of the four million Syrians who have left Syria during the war are staying in three neighbouring countries: Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Going there costs only a fraction of the trip to Germany or Sweden. My point is that all of those four million are now outside Syria, regardless of whether they are in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon or in Europe.
    I was just talking about Syrian refugees (asylum seekers), in neighbouring countries or in Europe, not about the hundreds of thousands of Afghans, Africans and others who try to get into European Union countries.

  45. charly says:

    But my expectation is that a very high percentage of the TLJ refugees will be returned.

  46. Larry M. says:

    I share your expectation that most Syrian refugees now in neighbouring countries will return after the war. As for those in Europe, only time will tell whether they will become a means of EU pressure on Damascus or vice versa.

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