nsucurrent.com May 20, 2018

Turkey signals military incursion on Kurdish-held Afrin in Syria

18 January 2018, 01:53 | Colleen Roy

Iranian women mourn during the funeral ceremony of two fighters killed in Syria in southern Tehran Iran

Iranian women mourn during the funeral ceremony of two fighters killed in Syria in southern Tehran Iran

The Syrian opposition said the previous us administration of President Barack Obama had given "Iran a free ride" in Syria.

The U.S. -backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-Arab alliance made up primarily of YPG fighters, is expected to lead the BSF. He warned US troops against coming between Turkish troops and the Kurdish forces in Syria that Ankara views as an extension of Turkey's own Kurdish insurgency.

To understand the seemingly imminent offensives, it's important to understand Turkey's relations with the Kurds, and who some of the main players are in the Syrian conflict. The decision to approve a lasting USA military presence in Syria was approved by Trump at a National Security Council meeting on December 21. Their deployment as a border security presence makes just as much sense. But there has never been agreement on what would happen to that territory once the Islamic State was vanquished. But a decision by Washington to back Kurdish forces fighting against Islamic State in recent years has angered Ankara.

The force will be essentially a restructured version of the Syrian Democratic Forces, or S.D.F., its spokesman, Mostafa Bali, said Tuesday.

The U.S.'s plan is to carve out a sphere of influence in the middle of West Asia's most unsafe conflict and have it guarded by the battle-hardened Kurdish forces. The United States however has relied on the YPG — the backbone of a Syrian force that drove the Islamic State group from much of northern and eastern Syria with the help of US -led airstrikes. The duty of these forces is to protect the peoples of Northern Syria.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacted furiously to the announcement of the plan over the weekend, denouncing the force as an "army of terror".

For instance, Tillerson says that "our expectation is that the desire for a return to normal life ... will help rally the Syrian people and individuals within the regime to compel Assad to step down".

Another Kurdish official, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to comment on the matter, said the Kurds would not bow to Turkey or to the Syrian government.

Meanwhile, the Turkey-based Syrian National Coalition (SNC) opposition group, which is involved in the peace process in the Kazakh capital of Astana, expressed strong reservations about the U.S. border force bid, warning that it would damage the political settlement of the Syria crisis.

Trump administration officials, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, had previously disclosed elements of the policy but Tillerson's speech was meant to formalize and clearly define it. The militant group's top leaders are believed to be hiding there. Only when security had improved significantly during the surge and Sunni awakening movements did the two countries strike an agreement for the US withdrawal at the end of 2011.

As for the Afrin and Manbij operations, Assad threw into doubt the assumption that Washington would allow their North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally to expel Kurdish militias from their footholds in Syria: "Erdogan will be allowed to do anything he wants except dislodge the SDF from certain designated areas".

The move has enraged Russia, Iran, the Syrian regime, and especially Turkey. Each country has been hit hard by Islamic State terror attacks.

He said that the killing of civilians in Syria would continue unabated if President Bashar al-Assad and his allies were not pressured into seeking a peaceful settlement to the conflict.

Syria, Iran and Russian Federation have also come out against the planned border force, while UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday: "If Syrians could solve their own problems, it would be much better".

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