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BRKG SYRIAN ARMY FIRES ON ADVANCING TURKISH MILITARY COLUMNS
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  1. #761
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    Hummm....

    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-m...-idUSKCN1GJ0ZG

    News Maps March 7, 2018 / 1:00 AM / Updated 12 minutes ago

    Putin, Rouhani and Erdogan to meet for talks in April: TASS cites Kremlin

    Reuters Staff
    1 Min Read

    MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will meet for talks in April, the TASS news agency cited the Kremlin as saying on Wednesday.

    Russia, Turkey and Iran cooperate closely on Syria and it is likely that the situation there would be one of the main topics of any talks.

    Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Writing by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Maria Kiselyova

  2. #762
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    I wonder how Putin keeps his ties to Assad without crossing that turkey up in Turkey...
    ” Watch ye therefore and pray always that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man”
    Luke 21:36

    COLLAPSE NOW: avoid the rush

  3. #763

    4 Breaking: ISIS masses thousands of fighters for huge offensive in east Syria – reports

    BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:42 P.M.) – The Islamic State terrorist group is mobilizing thousands of fighters in Syria’s east near the Iraqi border for an all-out offensive that will most likely fall on US-backed Syrian forces, so hint a mix of official and unofficial but well-informed sources.

    Reports talk of an operation by ISIS aimed at restoring control over key areas along the Euphrates-Khabur river axis and its surrounding desert countryside – namely oil sites and some large towns.

    If true, the only plausible target for ISIS seems to be US-backed Syrian forces that are based in the Deir Ezzor and Hasakah regions given their relatively weak state compared to Syrian and Iraqi government forces which are the only other potential targets.

    This is particularly the case since thousands of seasoned US-backed fighters departed east Syria for Afrin to confront Turkey’s Olive Branch operation and following a major reduction in the amount of airstrikes by American warplanes against ISIS across the Deir Ezzor and Hasakah regions (which has given the terrorist group time to regroup).

    ISIS is known (for a matter of fact) to still possess many thousands of fighters on the east shore of the Euphrates and in a large yet unsecured desert region along Syria’s easternmost border with Iraq. https://www.almasdarnews.com/article...syria-reports/

  4. #764

    3 Breaking: ISIS launches new assault on Syrian Army near key city in Deir Ezzor

    BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:38 P.M.) – Forces of the Islamic State terrorist group have launched an assault against the Syrian Army and allied paramilitary groups along the western shore of the Euphrates, targeting government defenses near the city of Al-Mayadeen.

    Military-affiliated sources report that ISIS militants attacked Syrian troops at the hilltop of Tal Ar-Rahbeh which commands a considerable field of view over Al-Mayadeen.

    The terrorist onslaught is noted to have been launched out of a large section of yet unsecured desert space in the western countryside of Deir Ezzor province.

    At the present time, Islamic State forces are upholding their attack against government positions near and on the Tal Ar-Rahbeh and are noted to using light and medium weapons.

    According to Al-Masdar News journalist Ibrahim Joudeh, such attacks by ISIS against Syrian Army positions along the western shore of the Euphrates take place on daily basis although some are a little more vicious than others at times. https://www.almasdarnews.com/article...ty-deir-ezzor/

  5. #765

    4 Turkey calls on US to halt Kurdish redeployment in Syria

    AP|Published: 03.07.18 , 13:31
    ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey is calling on the United States to prevent US-backed Kurdish forces from sending fighters deployed against the Islamic State group to shore up Kurdish forces battling a Turkish offensive in an enclave in northwest Syria.



    President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman said Wednesday that Turkey wants the United States to "step in and prevent" the redeployment.



    A spokesman for Arab militias within the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said Tuesday that as many as 1,700 fighters would be redeployed.


    Turkey sent troops into the Afrin enclave on Jan. 20 to drive out Syrian Kurdish fighters it considers to be terrorists.



    US officials have warned that Turkey's offensive could undermine the fight against the IS. Erdogan's spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, rejected that, saying the aim was to clear Syria of all terror groups. https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,...149007,00.html

  6. #766
    Bump

  7. #767
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    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    https://www.rferl.org/a/syrian-group.../29085244.html

    RUSSIA

    Syrian Group Claims Responsibility For Deadly Russian Plane Crash

    March 07, 2018 16:01 GMT

    An Islamist group in Syria has claimed responsibility for a military plane crash that killed dozens of Russian military personnel this week, according to a statement published in a Lebanese newspaper.

    The Arabic-language daily Ad-Diyar on March 7 published a statement from the group Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam), which has been fighting against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in the six-year civil war in Syria, saying its fighters had shot the plane down.

    Jaish al-Islam is one of the main rebel groups fighting in the enclave of eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, where an offensive by Syrian government forces and their allies has killed hundreds of people since February 18.

    The Russian Defense Ministry said on March 6 that 39 of its personnel, including 33 passengers and six crew members, died when an An-26 transport plane crashed while landing at Russia's air base near the coastal city of Latakia.

    The ministry said a major general was among the dead.

    Officials said the crash was "most likely caused by a technical fault," adding that there were no indications the plane came under fire.

    Russia's Investigative Committee announced it had opened a criminal case into the crash, saying investigators would look into suggestions that flight safety rules had been flouted.

    Russia has given Assad's government crucial support throughout the Syrian conflict, which began with a government crackdown on peaceful protests.

    Moscow helped turn the tide of the conflict in Assad's favor by launching a campaign of air strikes in 2015 and by stepping up its military presence on the ground.

    Russian officials previously said that more than 40 Russian military personnel had died in Syria since Moscow launched its air campaign, in many cases using Hmemim as a base.

    Russia was also said to have lost nine military aircraft in Syria since it entered that country's civil war.

    Russia's air base and its naval facility in western Syria have recently been under attack.

    With reporting by Dozhd and Ad-Diyar

  8. #768
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    And the kettle is what color?....

    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    http://time.com/5189385/saudi-prince-turkey-iran-evil/

    Saudi Prince Says Turkey and Iran Anchor a 'Triangle of Evil'

    By BLOOMBERG 10:01 AM EST

    Saudi Arabia’s crown prince said Iran, Turkey and extremist groups represent a “triangle of evil,” and predicted the kingdom’s confrontation with Gulf Arab neighbor Qatar could last for years.

    Mohammed Bin Salman, in an interview with Egyptian newspaper editors in Cairo this week, also accused the Muslim Brotherhood of exploiting democracy in the region and said Turkey, its patron, is trying to revive a caliphate, the Al-Shorouk daily reported. Both Saudi Arabia and Egypt have designated the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.

    The prince’s comments were the latest broadside in a heated rhetorical battle among Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey as the three Middle East powerhouses vie for predominance at a time of deepening confrontation. Since his father became king in 2015, Prince Mohammed has leapfrogged other Saudi royals to become his Sunni kingdom’s undisputed leader. Along the way he has overhauled foreign policy, largely in an effort to contain the influence of Shiite Iran.

    Lumping Turkey along with radical groups and the kingdom’s main regional foe is a sudden escalation by the 32-year-old crown prince against the NATO member.

    ‘Project Collapsing’
    Turkey has acted to undermine the Saudi-led boycott of Qatar, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also sheltered members of the Muslim Brotherhood in his country.

    In Cairo, the crown prince asserted that his policies were working. Iran’s “project is collapsing and we are besieging it in every place,” the paper cited him as saying.

    For more than three years, a Saudi-led coalition has been fighting to defeat Shiite Houthi rebels backed by Iran in neighboring Yemen after they ousted a government friendly to Riyadh. The war has plunged Yemen into a humanitarian catastrophe with no end to the conflict in sight. In Syria, Saudi-backed forces have largely been defeated by President Bashar al-Assad’s army, supported by Russia and Iran.

    In June last year, the oil-rich kingdom, along with the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain, cut diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar accusing it of aiding militant groups and maintaining close ties with the Islamic Republic. Qatar has denied the claims and says the four nations are leery of another nation flexing its muscle in the region.

    Prince Mohammed compared the standoff among key members of the Gulf Cooperation Council to the decades-long isolation of Cuba by the U.S.

    It’s “wrong to focus on this very trivial problem as it could continue for a long time,” he said in the Egyptian capital, according to Al-Shorouk. The Saudi official responsible for handling the dispute holds a position lower than a government minister, he said. Saudi Arabia wouldn’t accept outside mediation, he said, “but this doesn’t mean that we will prevent Qatar from attending the next Arab summit.” Both Kuwait and the U.S. have attempted to bridge differences between the sides.

    Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, who spearheaded the military-backed popular uprising that ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi from office in 2013, has been a staunch backer of Saudi Arabia.

    El-Sisi has launched a broad crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, which fielded Mursi for office, leaving hundreds dead and thousands in jail. The Brotherhood, which advocates Islam via the ballot box, is perceived by the absolute Gulf monarchies as a threat to their rule.

  9. #769
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    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/ir...nt-state-iran/

    Iraq as a ‘client state’ of Iran

    7 Mar 2018|Isaac Kfir

    Iraq is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections in May. At least 28 Iraqi political parties associated with paramilitaries that fought Islamic State (IS) have registered to run candidates. Many of these parties, like their ‘parent’ militias, have close ties to Tehran.

    Most of these militias formed after IS captured Mosul. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s senior Shiite cleric, issued a fatwa proclaiming that fighting against IS was ‘a sacred defence’. Those who died would be revered as ‘martyrs’.

    The fatwa led to the formation of the Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF)), which attracted around 60,000 fighters organised into some 60 units. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei directs at least 44 of these 60 Shia paramilitaries; others are under the authority of Sistani or are affiliated with Moqtada al-Sadr. These fighters played a central role in countering IS in Fallujah, Ramadi and Baiji. Many in Iraq believe the PMFs probably ‘saved’ Baghdad from IS.

    To understand why Iran is determined to see a sympathetic government in Baghdad, it’s important to recall two key events that took place soon after the Iranian Revolution began in 1979, and which have come to define Iranian national security considerations.

    First, the US government attempted to free the 53 diplomats who had been taken hostage in November 1979 after students had overrun the US embassy in Tehran. In April 1980, as diplomatic negotiations continued to secure their release, Washington sent a military force into Iran in a failed attempt to free the hostages. Iran has come to see Operation Eagle Claw as typifying American perfidy.

    Second, within months of the revolution, Saddam Hussein launched an all-out war against Iran. Between 300,000 and 1 million Iranians died in the eight-year conflict.

    These experiences have instilled in Iran’s ruling elite (many of whom were alive during the war) a sense that Iran is always under threat. One Iranian strategy to ensure its security has been the development and support of proxies such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Taliban in Afghanistan , Shia militias in Iraq and the Houthis in Yemen. These entities promote Iranian national interests by engaging Iran’s enemies, whether they are Israelis, Americans or Saudis.

    After the fall of Saddam Hussein, Tehran held the view that a pro-US administration in Baghdad was unacceptable. Iran fears encirclement by the Americans. It already shares a 920-kilometre border with Afghanistan and a 960-kilometre border with Pakistan, both American allies.

    Now the regime wants a pro-Tehran government in Baghdad. That would give Iran a safe western border, allow it to influence oil prices (Iraq has the world’s fifth-largest proven oil reserves with 140 billion barrels), and enable Tehran to continue to challenge Saudi dominance in the region.

    In the early 2000s, Tehran preferred that both Iraq and Afghanistan should remain in a state of manageable chaos that kept the Americans occupied and unable to focus on Iran. Thus, from the moment that the Americans took charge of rebuilding Iraq, the Iranians sought ways to bleed the Americans dry, primarily through their campaign in Anbar province.

    Iran’s growing influence in Iraq became clear in 2008 when David Petraeus, then-commander of US Central Command, received a text message from Qassem Suleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite al-Quds Force. The message read:

    General Petraeus, you should know that I, Qassem Suleimani, control the policy for Iran with respect to Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza, and Afghanistan. And indeed, the ambassador in Baghdad is a Quds Force member. The individual who’s going to replace him is a Quds Force member.

    The message highlighted the brazenness of Suleimani and of Iran when it came to dealing with Iraq. And it illustrates why Iraq’s former national security minister, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, later noted that nothing got done in Iraq without the approval of Suleimani.

    Following the 2010 parliamentary elections, when Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was struggling to form a government, a group of Iraqi parliamentarians went to Qom to celebrate the Eid al Fitr holiday. They met with Suleimani, who then persuaded Moqtada al-Sadr to support Maliki. In return, Maliki agreed to work towards removing US forces from Iraq.

    Seven years later, Iran’s influence across Iraq remains obvious. With the rise and fall of IS, Tehran has another opportunity to shape political developments in Iraq. This is bound to concern Iran’s neighbours, particularly the Saudis, who appear determined to stop Iran’s growing influence in the region.

    AUTHOR
    Isaac Kfir is the director of the National Security Program and head of the Counter-terrorism Policy Centre at ASPI. Image courtesy of Tasnim News Agency via Wikemedia Commons.

  10. #770
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    It looks like things aren't going very well for Turkey. The link is here

    http://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/syria/070320182


    Turkey boosts tank defences in Afrin as SDF claims 96 armoured vehicles destroyed
    By Rudaw 11 hours ago

    ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Turkey will begin installing domestically-made protection systems on its tanks in Afrin, to shield them from missiles and rocket fire, the defence minister stated on Wednesday as a conflict monitor noted an “escalated” pace of operations in the Syrian Kurdish enclave.

    “We will begin to install PULAT system to our tanks participating in Afrin operation by the end of this month or beginning of April,” Turkish Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli told Anadolu Agency in an interview.

    The system, with 360 degrees of range, detects and intercepts approaching anti-tank missiles, Anadolu reported.

    The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) claimed on Wednesday that they have destroyed 96 armoured vehicles, including tanks, belonging to Turkey and their Syrian allies and have damaged another 32 in operations in Afrin since January 20. They have also reported shooting down two helicopters and damaging a third.

    Turkey launched its Operation Olive Branch against the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northwestern Syria on January 20 with the stated aim of clearing “terrorists” from its borders. Ankara alleges the Kurdish armed forces, YPG and YPJ, and the ruling PYD are branches of the PKK, a named terror organization. The Kurdish groups deny the charge.

    Turkey ‘targets’ communication towers

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the “continuous flight of Turkish warplanes over Afrin area” on Wednesday, noting violent clashes in Shera district, northeastern Afrin, and on the outskirts of Jandaris town in the southwest.

    According to the SDF, so far in operations they have lost 283 fighters among their own ranks and claimed to have killed 1,588 members of the Turkish armed forces and their allied Syrian militias.

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed their forces have “neutralized” 2,960 “terrorists” in operations in Afrin to date. Turkey uses the term “neutralized” to refer to those removed from the battlefield, whether they were killed or injured.

    Turkey has targeted communication towers in the past 24 hours, “which resulted in interruption of the communication networks and the internet almost completely,” the UK-based conflict monitor stated on Wednesday.

    As Turkey advances from the borders, much of the civilian population, numbering some 323,000 according to UN figures, has been gathering in central Afrin where humanitarian conditions are deteriorating and medical supplies and food are in short supply.

    The SDF reported 165 civilian deaths due to Turkish airstrikes and artillery shelling. Another 650 civilians have been injured.

    The Observatory has documented 185 civilian deaths, 69 of whom were killed after the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a 30-day humanitarian ceasefire that council members insist also applies to Afrin.

    Turkey has denied harming civilians during its military offensive and insists that the ceasefire does not apply to Afrin.

    The Kurdish forces have stated their acceptance of the truce, but maintain the right to self-defence.

    Turkey wants US to stop SDF redeployment

    Asked about Turkey’s intent to take Afrin city, US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the United States has “real concerns about that because of an escalation of violence,” explaining that Washington has been calling for a de-escalation of violence since Turkey began its operation.

    “The more that we would see Turkish forces enter into Syria proper, deeper into Syria, the more that it stands to create a potential humanitarian crisis,” she said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

    She added that the situation in Afrin “underscores” the importance of a nation-wide ceasefire.

    France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian explained on Tuesday that French officials have told Turkey to “put an end” to its offensive in Afrin.

    Defence Minister Canikli, who attended a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels last month, rebuffed international opposition to its offensive, telling Anadolu that he “talked to most of my counterparts and there was no criticism for Afrin operation.”

    Turkey is upset about a shift in US-backed SDF fighters from the war against ISIS in eastern Syria to join the defence of Afrin.

    “The US is expected to step in to stop YPG/PYD forces shifting – under US control – from Manbij to Afrin,” Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said on Wednesday.

    “This is our most natural right. Whether they do it or not is a separate question but we have taken all the necessary measures on the ground,” he said.

    The United States has not immediately responded.

    Arab forces who have families among the IDPs sheltering in Afrin announced on Tuesday that they were redeploying some 1,700 troops from Deir ez-Zor to Afrin.

    State Department spokesperson Nauert said the United States was concerned by the move. “We would like to see the focus stay on the fight against ISIS,” she said.
    Doomer Doug, a.k.a. Doug McIntosh now has a blog at www.doomerdoug.wordpress.com
    My end of the world e book "Day of the Dogs" will soon be available for sale at smashwords. The url is
    https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/267340 It is also at the following url
    http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007BRLFYU

  11. #771
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    And the great big saw came nearer and nearer.
    I like this quip 'Top US general says Russia is 'both arsonist and firefighter' in Syria'


    Intel Crab
    ‏ @IntelCrab
    6h6 hours ago

    US watching pro-Syrian regime forces amassing near #US troops.
    https://twitter.com/intelcrab?lang=en&lang=enWashington (CNN)


    US watching pro-Syrian regime forces amassing near US troops

    By Ryan Browne

    Updated 5:26 PM ET, Wed March 7, 2018


    Pro-Syrian regime forces have begun massing east of the Euphrates River near where US troops are present while advising local allies
    , according to three US military officials. They are assembling near where similar pro-regime forces allied with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad initiated an unprovoked attack on US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, the officials said.
    One US military official said that the coalition had used the pre-established de-confliction hotline to raise the increased pro-regime presence with the Russian military.
    The US military is monitoring the situation in Deir Ezzor to see if the pro-regime troops attempt to once again attack areas controlled by the SDF.

    "While we do not seek confrontation with pro-regime forces, as we have demonstrated repeatedly, Coalition forces will not hesitate to protect themselves when they are threatened," Pentagon spokesman Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway told CNN.

    "Coalition forces maintain good situational awareness of military developments throughout Syria and take appropriate force protection measures to ensure our forces are safe and can carry out their combat missions to rid Syria of ISIS," he added.
    The US-led coalition said that the February attack by forces aligned with Assad was likely intended to seize nearby lucrative oil fields that US-backed forces had captured from ISIS.
    During that attack pro-regime forces using tanks and artillery fired on a Syrian Democratic Forces headquarters where US Special Operations Forces were present. The US advisers called in for artillery and air support which included F-15E jets, MQ-9 drones, B-52 bombers, an AC-130 gunship and AH-64 Apache helicopters. Those strikes were estimated to have killed 100 pro-regime fighters, including several Russian military contractors according to US officials. A few days later the US-led coalition struck a pro-regime tank that was perceived to be threatening coalition forces in the same area.


    Top US general says Russia is 'both arsonist and firefighter' in Syria
    The clash took place east of the "de-confliction line" which was established by the US and Russia to prevent accidental incidents by keeping US and Russian backed forces apart. The line largely runs along the Euphrates River.
    Despite the significant losses suffered during their previous attempt to take the area, the pro-regime forces may believe that the Syrian Democratic Forces' positions are now less well defended given recent news that SDF fighters have left the Middle Euphrates River Valley to join the fight against Turkish troops in the northwestern area of Afrin, Syria.
    The departure of these forces has been publicly acknowledged by US and coalition military officials as well as the SDF.

    The US-backed SDF announced on Tuesday that they will redeploy 1,700 fighters to fend off a Turkish offensive on Kurdish militias in Afrin.
    A coalition official told CNN last week that these departures had already negatively impacted the ability of US-backed forces in the region to carry out major offensive operations against ISIS.

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/07/polit...tle/index.html
    “Then the creatures of the high air answered to the battle, .., and the woods trembled and the wind sobbed telling them, the earth shook,; the witches of the valley, and the wolves of the forests, howled from every quarter and on every side of the armies, urging them against one another.”
    ― Lady Gregory, Gods and Fighting Men: The Story of the Tuatha De Danaan and the Fianna of Ireland

  12. #772

    3 Iran's Khamenei says won't negotiate with West over regional presence

    Reuters|Published: 03.08.18 , 14:33
    Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Thursday that Tehran would not negotiate over its presence in the Middle East region with the United States and Europe.


    "European countries come (to Tehran) and say we want to negotiate with Iran over its presence in the region. It's none of your business. It is our region. Why are you here?" Khamenei was quoted as saying by his official website.


    Khamenei said Iran would only negotiate on that issue with other states in the region.


    https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,...150706,00.html

  13. #773

    4 Syria: US-backed Kurds brace for dramatic escalation of Turkish invasion that could be bloodier than Alep

    In a field beside an abandoned railway station close to the Turkish border in northern Syria, Kurdish fighters are retraining to withstand Turkish air strikes. “We acted like a regular army when we were fighting Daesh [Isis] with US air support,” says Rojva, a veteran Kurdish commander of the People’s Protection Units (YPG). “But now it is us who may be under Turkish air attack and we will have to behave more like guerrillas.”

    Rojva and his brigade have just returned from 45 days fighting Isis in Deir Ezzor province in eastern Syria and are waiting orders which may redeploy them to face the Turkish army that invaded the Kurdish enclave of Afrin on 20 January. Rojva says that “we are mainly armed with light weapons like the Kalashnikov, RPG [rocket propelled grenade launcher] and light machine guns, but we will be resisting tanks and aircraft”. He makes clear that, whatever happened, they would fight to the end.

    Kurdish and allied Arab units are streaming north from the front to the east of the Euphrates, where Isis is beginning to counter-attack, in order to stop the Turkish advance. Some 1,700 Arab militia left the area for Afrin on Tuesday and Turkey is demanding that the US stop them. The invasion is now in its seventh week and Rojva and his fighters take some comfort in the fact that it is moving so slowly. But the Turkish strategy has been to take rural areas before mowing methodically to surround and besiege Afrin City and residential areas.The big battles in Afrin are still to come and are likely to be as destructive and bloody as anything seen in Eastern Ghouta, Raqqa or East Aleppo. YPG fighters have battle experience stretching back to at least 2012, much of its gained against fanatical opponents like Isis. The likelihood is that, as in Ghouta, the Turkish generals will seek to avoid the heavy losses inevitable in street fighting and pound Afrin into ruins with air strikes and artillery fire. Civilian casualties are bound to be horrendous.The Syrian Kurds believe they are facing an existential threat. They believe Turkey wants to eliminate not just the enclave of Afrin, but the 25 per cent of Syria that the Kurds have taken with US backing since 2015. Some think that defeat will mean the ethnic cleansing of Kurds from Afrin, which has traditionally been one of their core majority areas. They cite a speech by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the day after the start of the invasion started, claiming that “55 per cent of Afrin is Arab, 35 per cent are the Kurds ... and about 7 per cent are Turkmen. [We aim] to give Afrin back to its rightful owners.” There is a suspicion among Kurdish leaders that Erdogan plans to create a Sunni bloc of territory north and west of Aleppo which will be under direct or indirect Turkish control. The Kurdish leaders are convinced that Erdogan is determined to destroy their de facto state in the long run, but differ about the timing and objectives of the present attack. Elham Ahmad, the co-president of the Syrian Democratic Council that helps administer the Kurdish-held area, believes that the Turkish assault on Afrin, if successful, will set “a precedent for a further Turkish military advance”.

    Ahmad had just returned from Afrin where she was born and where her family still lives. “Our convoy of 150 civilian cars was hit by a Turkish air strike,” she said. “We ran away from the cars, but 30 of them were destroyed and one person killed.” She is angry that the outside world is exclusively preoccupied with the bombardment of Eastern Ghouta by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, but ignores similar bombing and shelling in Afrin where, she says, 204 civilians had been killed, including 61 children, as of last weekend.She expects that the next Turkish target, if its so-called Operation Olive Branch succeeds in Afrin, will be the Arab city of Manbij that was taken by the YPG in 2016. Strategically placed on the main road from Aleppo to the Kurdish heartlands, with a diversion where part of the highway is held by Turkish forces, it is a prosperous looking place full of shops crammed with goods and produce. Local rumour has it that one small shop recently changed hands for $1m (£720,000). It is the main supply line to the Kurdish zone, the highway crowded with oil tankers bringing crude oil from Kurdish-held oilfields far to the east to the Syrian government refinery at Homs.If local people are nervous about the prospect of being submerged by the impending battle for northern Syria, they are not showing it. After being occupied by Isis and besieged by the YPG, they have strong nerves. They may also reflect that, if war is coming to their city and its 300,000 people, there is not a lot they can do to avert it. The main reason they might feel secure is a US pledge to defend their city against a Turkish attack, a promise backed up by regular and highly visible patrols of five or six US armoured vehicles carrying large Stars and Stripes. But the US willingness to confront its Nato partner Turkey is nuanced, particularly since Isis was defeated last year, though the movement is not entirely dead.Syria is subject to a complex web of competing international influences
    There is a sense of phoney war on the front line between the forces of the Manbij Military Council and the Turkish army and its allied anti-Assad militias, who are dug in three or four miles north of the city. Most of the front lines in the Syrian civil war are a depressing scene of abandoned and half-wrecked buildings, even when there is no fighting going on. The Manbij front is idyllic by comparison, though just how long it will stay that way is another question.

    This is a fertile heavily populated country with a Mediterranean feel to it, its hills and small fields full of olive trees, pines, poplars and almond trees which are covered in little white flowers. There are tractors on the roads and, just behind the front, we drove through the Arab village of Dadat, whose streets full of cheerful-looking children excited by the sight of military vehicles.A trench and rampart gauged out the hillside by bulldozers zigzags upwards through a green field to a fortified position on a hilltop. Peering through gun slits in a sandbagged post on top of an earth bank, one could see Turkish positions not far away on the far side of the Sajur river. “They have tanks and artillery on every hilltop and they fire randomly with heavy machine guns every night,” says Farhat Kobani, a local commander whose orders come from the Manbij Military Council. The Turkish army is backed up by Ahrar al-Sham, a militant Islamist movement long allied to Turkey, whose men act as auxiliaries.

    These exchanges of fire do not seem very serious because everybody, at least in day time, is standing upright in easy range of the other side and Farhat says his men have not suffered any dead or wounded. Phoney war is often derided, but there is a lot to be said for it when compared to the real thing – and, unfortunately, that may not be too far away. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...-a8243981.html

  14. #774

    3 Turkey demands Greece arrest flag-burners – report

    Turkey’s foreign ministry on Wednesday demanded that Greece arrest people who burned a Turkish flag at a rally in Athens this week.

    "We strongly condemn the burning of our flag during a rally against Turkey organized by a racist political party in Athens on March 5”, the foreign ministry said in a written statement, according to state-run Anadolu news agency.

    "We demand that the Greek authorities arrest the perpetrators, who committed this heinous act against our flag, and bring them to justice as soon as possible.”

    Political and military tensions between Greece and Turkey have increased in recent months after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for the re-negotiation of the two countries’ borders and a Turkish patrol boat hit a Greek coastguard vessel in the Aegean. Turkey is also holding two Greek soldiers on espionage charges after they crossed its border. A Turkish court refused their release on Monday. Greece has also failed to hand over Turkish soldiers suspected of involvement in the July 2016 failed coup.

    Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy also criticised statements regarding Turkey and its territorial integrity by Greek President Prokopios Pavlopoulos, Anadolu said.

    “We invite President Pavlopoulos to respect international law and our borders, and to refrain from a rhetoric which is not befitting his position, and that could cause unnecessary tension,” Aksoy said.

    On Tuesday, the Greek press reported Pavlopoulos as saying: "We might not have the territory that we should have had historically… If history compels us, we will do what our ancestors had done”, Anadolu said. https://ahvalnews.com/greece-turkey/...burners-report

  15. #775
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    Turkey To Add Ukrainian Active Defenses To Its German and U.S. Tanks Operating In Syria
    A Turkish company will build a version of a Ukrainian hard-kill active protection system to protect the tanks against rockets and missiles.
    BY JOSEPH TREVITHICK MARCH 7, 2018

    http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone...ating-in-syria (fair use)

    Turkey is racing to add active protection systems to its tanks as its armored units continue to suffer losses at the hands Kurdish rebels. But with relations strained between Turkish authorities and many of their traditional partners, including the United States, Israel, and Germany, the government in Ankara has now turned to a Ukrainian firm to help supply the new defensive equipment.

    According to a report by Defense Update, the Turkish government recently put out an urgent request for 120 complete active protection systems to go on M60A3, M60T, and Leopard 2A4 tanks. In response, Turkish defense contractor Aselsan obtained a license from Ukraine’s Microtek to produce a version of their Zaslon-L system, which it calls the Akkor Pulat. Aselsan’s own Akkor system is still in development after nearly a decade of work.
    In February 2018, Turkey’s Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said that Microtek was still finishing testing of the Zaslon-L in Ukraine. Afterwards, Aselsan will begin working to integrate the system onto Turkish tanks. It’s not clear how long it will take before the first tanks with an operational active protection system will reach units in the field.

    The 120 systems will only cover a small portion of the country’s more than 600 American-made M60A3s and upgraded M60Ts and more than 300 German-built Leopard 2A4s, as well. They will likely go to tanks Turkey has committed to its intervention in Syria or has deployed on domestic operations against Kurdish militants.
    Turkey appears to have chosen the Ukrainian setup in no small part because it represents a relatively easy to install option. Zaslon-L is a so-called “hard-kill” system that consists of a number of countermeasure modules and the necessary cables to connect them to a central control unit.

    Each one of the modules is a self-contained unit, with both a radar sensor to detect incoming anti-tank rockets or guided missiles and a high explosive fragmentation charge to neutralize them before they hit the vehicle. Microtek says the system can have as many modules as a customer deems appropriate, but Aselsan says the Akkor Pulat variant will have six in total, one facing forward, another pointing backwards, and two on each side of the tank.
    Turkish tankers, who are presently facing opponents armed with Russian, Iranian, and American-made anti-tank guided missiles in Syria, are no doubt eager to get this added defensive suite. Kurdish fighters have claimed to have damaged or destroyed a number of M60s and Leopard 2A4s since Turkey’s intervention in the far northwestern Afrin region began in January 2018.
    It’s not the first time Turkey’s armored formations have run into trouble in Syria, either. In 2016, the country launched another foray into Syria, but further to the east, engaging both Kurdish groups and ISIS. The terrorist group claimed to have destroyed between eight and 10 Turkish tanks over the course of that operation.

    Guided anti-tank missiles and shoulder-fired unguided anti-tank weapons are only continuing to proliferate more widely among nation state and non-state actors in general. Newer weapons, such as Russia’s RPG-30, are now incorporating features to try and defeat present generation active protection systems, as well.
    But the Akkor Pulat’s relatively simplicity and ease of installation will likely come at the cost of reduced effectiveness compared to other active protection systems on the market. Each module can engage just one projectile, which would leave the front and rear aspects vulnerable after a single use or to an attack involving multiple rockets or missiles.

    Microtek designed the units to be disposable, which means crews will need to replace a module in its entirety after it detonates, something that could be difficult to do in the field. The original, full-size Zaslon system uses reloadable modules with two countermeasure charges each.
    Turkey already plans to add additional defensive measures to its tanks in addition to Akkor Pulat, which could help mitigate some of these limitations. According to Defense Update, Turkish tanks may also get explosive reactive armor to blow up incoming rockets and missiles, stand-off bar or slat armor to detonate them prematurely, or automatic smoke grenade launchers to obscure the tank against enemy personnel using optically aimed and guided weapons.

    Unfortunately, none of this will change the fact that the cylindrical explosive charges are also dangerous to any who happens to be within 1,300 feet when they detonate. This means that the Akkor Pulat might be able to protect the tank, but poses a real danger to any nearby friendly infantry or innocent civilians caught in the crossfire. (a concern of the trophy system being installed on US M1 tanks as well)

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  16. #776
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    Twitter is alive with reports (in Arabic) and tweets (in English) that Turkey has taken Jindaris, (very quickly, I might add).


    Ali Özkök
    ‏ @Ozkok_
    7h7 hours ago

    Visual confirmation! #Turkey-backed rebels stand in the city center of #Jinderes. This means: #YPG lost all major cities in #Afrin district, except Afrin City. #Syria

    https://twitter.com/Ozkok_/status/971663404598472704

    photo here: (lately my twitter photos won't copy no matter what tricks...)

    http://pbs.twimg.com/media/DXwXHkKWsAAXE0f.png

  17. #777

    4 Breaking: Syrian Forces gain more ground in East Ghouta

    DAMASCUS, SYRIA (3:10 P.M.) – Moments ago, the Syrian Army declared Hawsh Asha’ari and Hawsh Qubaybat towns completely under control following fierce battles against Islamist militants.

    The offensive launched by government troops continues with artillery units targeting the nearby Afris town to the west.

    With the longtime rebel-held enclave almost split into two parts, it is a matter of time before the government troops meet up at the Amy Vehicle Base in Harasta.

    “We are roughly 1 km from literally cut the enclave into halves”, a military commander said.

    Meanwhile, civilians in several East Ghouta towns took the street, calling on militants to leave their towns in order to hand it over to the Syrian government. https://www.almasdarnews.com/article...n-east-ghouta/

  18. #778

    3 Syria’s Security Forces Confiscate Huge Amount Of Ammo Heading To Eastern Ghouta

    On Thursday morning, the security forces of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) apprehended a vehicle loaded with a large amount of ammunition in Syria’s eastern Qalamoun area.

    The Syrian army has uncovered a large amount of weapons, ranging from machine guns, mortars, sniper rifles, pistol silencers, ATGM shells to different types of ammunition, the army said, releasing photos of the spoils. https://muraselon.com/en/2018/03/syr...astern-ghouta/

  19. #779
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    Looking across the chessboard, its important to see all of the pieces.
    http://www.ekathimerini.com/226483/a...-in-cyprus-eez (fair use)

    US ships arrive in Cyprus EEZ

    07.03.2018 : 08:54 Vassilis Nedos

    The increased US naval presence in the Eastern Mediterranean until the end of the month is seen as an indication of the concern triggered by Turkey’s recent hostility in the region, which last month led to the suspension of Italian energy company Eni’s drilling operations in Block 3 of Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

    The incident with the Italian drillship was condemned by the governments of Cyprus, Italy and the US and the European Commission.

    Even though the bolstered American presence is mainly due to a planned exercise by the US and Israel, it almost coincides with scheduled hydrocarbon drilling in Block 10 of Cyprus’s EEZ by American energy giant Exxon Mobil.
    According to sources, the US will begin strengthening its naval presence as of Wednesday in the region between southern Cyprus and Israel, but this is reportedly not directly linked to exploration activities by Exxon which are due to start on Sunday and last until April 20.

    Kathimerini understands a US naval group and its amphibious USS Iwo Jima flagship will, in collaboration with Israeli forces, conduct a population evacuation exercise Wednesday.

    It will also include the USS New York and USS Oak Hill and will last until March 18 in a region stretching from northern Israel to southern Cyprus. The three American ships are expected to remain in the area until at least March 25, which means their presence in the region around the island’s EEZ – along with that of the Israeli Navy – will coincide for around two weeks with Noble’s hydrocarbon exploration in Block 10.

    Turkey has made no claims to Block 10 as it has done for Block 3, but nonetheless warned the US in recent days against sending its Sixth Fleet to the Eastern Mediterranean.

    If anything, the warning is an indication of the strain on US-Turkish relations, which is also reflected in Ankara’s dismay at the US naval presence in the Black Sea.
    Turkish objections appear to coincide with Moscow’s view that the US is testing the 1936 Montreux Convention that gives Turkey control over the Bosporus Strait and the Dardanelles and regulates the transit of naval warships. It also restricts the passage of naval ships not belonging to Black Sea states.
    Last edited by Zagdid; 03-08-2018 at 11:42 AM. Reason: added link

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  20. #780
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    Yeah, the Kurds need manpads and anti-armor missiles and launchers. I am thinking they are starting to get them too. Afrin is going to be Stalingrad light. Erdogan won't be able to upgrade his tanks in time to do any good. I am waiting for the Kurds in Iraq to start heading towards Afrin.
    Doomer Doug, a.k.a. Doug McIntosh now has a blog at www.doomerdoug.wordpress.com
    My end of the world e book "Day of the Dogs" will soon be available for sale at smashwords. The url is
    https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/267340 It is also at the following url
    http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007BRLFYU

  21. #781
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doomer Doug View Post
    Yeah, the Kurds need manpads and anti-armor missiles and launchers. I am thinking they are starting to get them too. Afrin is going to be Stalingrad light. Erdogan won't be able to upgrade his tanks in time to do any good. I am waiting for the Kurds in Iraq to start heading towards Afrin.
    Thanks for the insight, DD. The speed with which the Turks captured all the other towns in Afrin does suggest that the Kurds decided to hole up in the big one, pull all defenses together, and make a stand there. In fact, I'm sure I read of the same strategy used in a fiction novel set in a past age.

    We'll see.

  22. #782
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    opening up another front in the planning

    http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/201..._137025506.htm (fair use)

    Turkey to carry out cross-border operation against PKK in Iraq
    Source: Xinhua| 2018-03-09 00:42:49|Editor: Mu Xuequan

    ANKARA, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Turkey said Thursday it could launch a cross-border military operation against Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) elements in Iraq in cooperation with the Iraqi army.

    Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu confirmed that common understanding has been reached between Turkey and Iraq, CNN Turk reported.

    "We have reached to consensus with the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on the issue to carry out the offensive together," Cavusoglu said during his visit to Austria.

    He said Abadi "wants to clear all terrorist organizations off the country," the minister said.

    Cavusoglu warned against the PKK members' advance to the Sulaymaniyah and Kirkuk provinces of northern Iraq, establishing canton-like structures in Iraq as Syrian Kurds did in Syria.

    The PKK is a threat posed not only to Baghdad but also to the Iraqi Kurdish administration in the north of the country, he added.

    The joint operation with Iraqi army may start after the elections in Iraq scheduled for May 12.

    The foreign minister said "Operation Olive Branch" in Syria's Afrin against the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) group may end by May.

    He added that even if the current cross-border operation into Syria has not been completed, his country is capable of carrying out two cross-border operations simultaneously.

    The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and the EU, resumed its 30-year armed campaign against Turkey government in July 2015 after a brief reconciliation period.

    Turkish air forces regularly strike weapon depots and hideouts used by PKK in northern Iraq, where the group uses as a base for years.

    The group uses Qandil Mountain near the Iraq-Iran border to launch attacks on Turkey.

    Turkey has long been urging Iraqi government to take action against the PKK presence in northern Iraq, but for several years no Iraqi government did so.

    Al-Abadi was against Turkey's military intervention into his country as bilateral relations hit new lows after the Turkish army deployed troops in Bashiqa region in northern Iraq in order to train Sunni local militia and Kurdish fighters as part of efforts to defeat Islamic State (IS).

    Turkish ground troops, from time to time, enter northern Iraq for short-term operations in "hot pursuit" to hunt Kurdish militants in the border region.

    The Iraqi governments since former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki do not favor Turkey's military operations involving ground troops.

    Since early 2017, both Ankara and Baghdad are in process of restoring strained ties and seeking to boost cooperation in fields of economy, defense, politics and trade.

    As the Syrian Kurdish group has advanced its influence in a war-torn country both in terms of militarily and territory, Turkey rang the alarm bells since the Turkish state assumes the YPG as an offshoot of the PKK and considers it as an existential threat for the unity of its own country due to its own Kurdish population.

    Turkey has battled a decades-old insurgency in its mainly Kurdish southeast and sees the Syrian Kurdish group a growing power on its southern border threatening Turkish security.

    Ankara has launched military incursion on Jan. 20 against Kurdish YPG fighters in Kurdish-led autonomous Afrin and declared that the military campaign will continue until all PKK related groups are cleared from Turkey's southern borders, all the way to Iraq.

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeatedly vows to "clean the region from this trouble completely," signaling that the offensive against PKK and the affiliated group will not remain merely with the operation in Afrin.

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  23. #783
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    Erdogan has failed to realize he is facing Kurdish combat veterans. Veterans who have been fighting ISIS since August of 2014. Combat veterans with nearly four years recent combat experience against brutal ISIS. Next, it is clear to me the strategy adopted by the Kurds was to engage the Turks just enough to slow them down. Sun Tzu says "When the enemy is strong, retreat, and when he is weak attack." Obviously, the Kurds have been doing that.

    They have withdrawn either into the mountains, where the terrain favors them, or into the city of Afrin, where the urban zone favors them. Further, they have now had nearly 2 months to fortify Afrin. Yes, the Turks now control most of the general area, and many of the outlying cities. Still, as the defense zone contracts the Turks lose mobility, they extend their supply lines, and they become more vulnerable to attacks on their rear areas and supply convoys.

    The Kurds are now mobilizing thousands of combat veteran troops form both Syria and Iraq. The Kurds are now getting direct support from Assad Junior, Iran and Russia. Turkey is going to impale itself on the fixed Afrin defenses. Turkey clearly thinks they can bomb and shell Afrin into surrendering. I doubt that. What I know is we are going to see a humanitarian disaster, much like east Damascus, and when that happens Turkey is going to become a rogue state. The UN, Russia etc will then deploy peacekeeper troops to create a buffer zone. If Turkey starts a general massacre at Afrin, the entire Kurdish world will explode and we will see TENS OF THOUSANDS OF ARMED KURDS POUR INTO NORTHERN SYRIA, AS WELL AS ASSAD JUNIOR SENDING IN HIS REGULAR MILITARY. IRAN AND HEZZBOLLAH WILL ALSO DEPLOY.

    I expect all of the above to happen in the next 3 to 12 days time frame.
    Doomer Doug, a.k.a. Doug McIntosh now has a blog at www.doomerdoug.wordpress.com
    My end of the world e book "Day of the Dogs" will soon be available for sale at smashwords. The url is
    https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/267340 It is also at the following url
    http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007BRLFYU

  24. #784
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    WHAT PART OF STUPID DOESN'T IRAQ GET?

    Gee, I can think of NO OTHER SINGLE IDIOT IDEA THAN FOR THE SHIA IRAQ CENTRAL GOVERNMENT TO JOIN WITH TURKEY TO ATTACK KURDS INSIDE OF IRAQ.

    Iraq is on the verge of civil war. Iraq just barely avoided civil war when Baghdad went into Kirkuk. If/When Baghdad goes after the Kurds, inside of Iraq, EVERY SINGLE OTHER KURD IN IRAQ, REGARDLESS OF THEIR POLITICAL VIEWS WILL HELP DEFEND THEIR KURDISH NEIGHBORS. IF Iran and Hezzbolah support Baghdad's central government, it will unleash the Kurds inside of Iran.

    Oh yeah, this is one seriously stupid idea Erdgoan is planning on.

    And you can be sure, ISIS will take advantage of the looming chaos in Iraq when a Kurdish, Turkish, Shia central government free for all starts in mid May.
    Doomer Doug, a.k.a. Doug McIntosh now has a blog at www.doomerdoug.wordpress.com
    My end of the world e book "Day of the Dogs" will soon be available for sale at smashwords. The url is
    https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/267340 It is also at the following url
    http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007BRLFYU

  25. #785
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    This expansion into another front gives a whole new meaning to the term "March madness".

  26. #786

    Turkey flexes muscles as soft power melts away

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/turkey-...way-1520505001 could someone please post this article thanks

  27. #787
    Rudaw English
    @RudawEnglish
    Breaking reports of an explosion Qamishil, city Rojava , northern Syria https://mobile.twitter.com/RudawEnglish

  28. #788

    4 US weighing attacks for Syrian regime for chemical weapons use

    Oh here come some more tomahawk missiles..https://mobile.twitter.com/RudawEnglish

  29. #789
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    https://www.wsj.com/articles/turkey-...way-1520505001

    Turkey Flexes Muscles as Soft Power Melts Away
    Turkish cultural influence in the Arab world gives way to military action

    By Yaroslav Trofimov
    March 8, 2018 5:30 a.m. ET
    30 COMMENTS

    AMMAN, Jordan—There were two big events in the Turkish news in recent days. Turkey’s army showed prowess in Syria, advancing on the Kurdish enclave of Afrin. And the Saudi-owned, pan-Arab broadcaster MBC took Turkish TV dramas, massively popular across the Arab world, off the air.

    These two developments—seemingly unrelated—highlight Turkey’s transformation at a key moment in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s 15-year rule.

    Turkey, once admired across the Middle East and beyond for marrying Islam with democracy and prosperity, has squandered much of the “soft power” it used to enjoy. Instead, it is increasingly getting into armed conflict and acrimonious fights with its neighbors and allies.
    A scene from ‘The Magnificent Century,’ a Turkish historical drama set in the Ottoman era that has been broadcast across the Arab world and in dozens of countries.
    A scene from ‘The Magnificent Century,’ a Turkish historical drama set in the Ottoman era that has been broadcast across the Arab world and in dozens of countries. Photo: TIMS&B Productions

    Turkey’s TV dramas, which brought the country’s much freer lifestyle into Arab living rooms, were a key instrument of its influence, instilling admiration for Turkey the way Hollywood bolstered America’s image around the world.

    A popular Turkey also meant acceptance of Mr. Erdogan’s oft-expressed nostalgia for the Ottoman imperial past.

    Now, Mr. Erdogan’s musings on the Ottoman Empire, abolished in 1922, have gone from appreciations of common history and culture to thinly veiled territorial claims and complaints about the “disgrace” of losing lands.

    That, naturally, elicits little sympathy among the Ottomans’ historical foes, the ruling families of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. The Syrian regime—and the Kurds—have stoked similar resentment by describing Turkish troops in Afrin as “Ottoman invaders.”

    MBC’s decision to cancel all of its Turkish TV series—the company didn’t explain the move—came weeks after a spat between Mr. Erdogan and the U.A.E. about the behavior of an Ottoman commander in Medina (in current Saudi Arabia) during World War I.
    Turkey’s army has made recent gains in Afrin, Syria. Here, a Turkish soldier holds a position in the district on March 3.
    Turkey’s army has made recent gains in Afrin, Syria. Here, a Turkish soldier holds a position in the district on March 3. Photo: EMRAH GUREL/ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in a conversation Monday with Egyptian newspaper editors on a visit to Cairo, accused Mr. Erdogan of trying to revive an “Ottoman Caliphate” and described Turkey as part of a “triangle of evil” alongside Iran and terrorist organizations, according to Egypt’s state-run al Ahram newspaper.

    “Saber-rattling is not what builds soft power,” said Saudi analyst Mohammed Alyahya, a senior fellow at the Gulf Research Center. “Turkey has a lot to offer, but Erdogan’s politics have been overshadowing those things.”

    Even more so, a crackdown on the press and political opposition in Turkey itself, particularly after the failed 2016 coup attempt against Mr. Erdogan, has taken the luster off Turkey’s image. A controversial referendum last year, marred by reports of fraud, was another blow: It gave the Turkish president near-absolute powers—and could allow Mr. Erdogan to rule for another decade.

    “Before, people in the Arab world were coming to Turkey to see freedom, democracy, the rule of law. They were seeing Turkey as a model,” said Turkish lawmaker Ozturk Yilmaz, vice chairman of the country’s biggest opposition party, CHP. “Now, they see that Turkey is like any Arab country.”

    What is left is military force—something that Mr. Erdogan is increasingly willing to exercise in Syria.

    The Turkish army, weakened by purges before and after the 2016 coup attempt, struggled against Islamic State in the so-called Euphrates Shield operation in northern Syria that year. But it is showing more rapid progress in the Olive Branch operation launched this January to seize the Syrian mountainous enclave of Afrin from a U.S.-backed Kurdish militia.
    Doomer Doug, a.k.a. Doug McIntosh now has a blog at www.doomerdoug.wordpress.com
    My end of the world e book "Day of the Dogs" will soon be available for sale at smashwords. The url is
    https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/267340 It is also at the following url
    http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007BRLFYU

  30. #790
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doomer Doug View Post
    Gee, I can think of NO OTHER SINGLE IDIOT IDEA THAN FOR THE SHIA IRAQ CENTRAL GOVERNMENT TO JOIN WITH TURKEY TO ATTACK KURDS INSIDE OF IRAQ.

    Iraq is on the verge of civil war. Iraq just barely avoided civil war when Baghdad went into Kirkuk. If/When Baghdad goes after the Kurds, inside of Iraq, EVERY SINGLE OTHER KURD IN IRAQ, REGARDLESS OF THEIR POLITICAL VIEWS WILL HELP DEFEND THEIR KURDISH NEIGHBORS. IF Iran and Hezzbolah support Baghdad's central government, it will unleash the Kurds inside of Iran.

    Oh yeah, this is one seriously stupid idea Erdgoan is planning on.

    And you can be sure, ISIS will take advantage of the looming chaos in Iraq when a Kurdish, Turkish, Shia central government free for all starts in mid May.
    Considering this is still the same Shia government that fired the US trained officers and replaced them with political cronies before the IS/Daesh emergence, at this point I wouldn't put it past them to some degree, though I think their benefactors in Tehran will definitely have a vote on what they do.

  31. #791
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    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-m...-idUSKCN1GK354

    WORLD NEWS MARCH 8, 2018 / 2:33 PM / UPDATED 13 MINUTES AGO

    Iraq's Shi'ite militias formally inducted into security forces

    Reuters Staff
    3 MIN READ

    BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi issued a decree on Thursday formalizing the inclusion of Shi’ite paramilitary groups in the country’s security forces.

    According to the decree, members of the Shi’ite militias, an assortment of militia groups known collectively as the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), which are mostly backed and trained by Iran, will be granted many of the same rights as members the military.

    Paramilitary members will be given equivalent salaries to those members of the military under the Ministry of Defense’s control, the decree said. They will also be subject to the laws of military service and will gain access to military institutes and colleges.

    The decree had been expected for some time and comes two months ahead of a high-stakes general election. The PMF commands popular support among Iraq’s majority Shi’ite population and is expected to sway voters.

    Tens of thousands of Iraqis heeded a call to arms in 2014 after Islamic State seized a third of the country’s territory, forming the PMF. The paramilitaries supported Iraq’s military in ejecting Islamic State from areas the militants overran in 2014, when Iraqi military and police divisions deserted en masse.

    Iraq declared victory over the militants in December, but the militias, estimated to comprise more than 60,000 fighters, are still deployed in many of the predominantly Sunni areas which saw heavy fighting during the three-year war to oust Islamic State.

    Iraq’s parliament passed a law in 2016 to bring the PMF into the state apparatus, with the militias reporting directly to the prime minister, who is a Shi’ite under Iraq’s governing system.

    Iran has a clear hand in coordinating the PMF leadership, which frequently meets and consults with Qassem Suleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

    In October, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said it was time for the Iran-backed militias “to go home” as the fight against Islamic State was winding down.

    Reporting by Raya Jalabi; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

  32. #792
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    Housecarl, the Shia central government in Baghdad doesn't FART without permission from Tehran. The Kurds in Iraq are looking at this and thinking Genocide from Turkey and Erdogan and Genocide from the Shia in Iraq and in Iran.

    Iran is now making its final move: in Iraq, in Syria and in Lebanon. The so called "Persian Arc," from Tehran, through Iraq, through Syria and through Lebanon is what Tehran is after. It is their version of China's "Silk Road." Of course, gang, this will bring Iran, and their proxy Iraqi government, and Hezzbollah, and Assad Junior into, eventually direct combat with the USA, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

    Ergo, when Turkey joins the SHIA MILITA, AND NO IRAQ DOESN'T HAVE AN ARMY: THEY HAVE A SHIA MILITIA POSING AS AN ARMY, and goes after the Kurds inside of Iraq, well the rest of the Kurds ain't stupid. The Kurds will realize, and act upon that realization, that once the SHIA forces of Iraq and Iran and the Turkish forces under Erdogan are finished they will come after ALL THE KURDS NO MATTER WHERE THEY ARE: IN IRAN, IN IRAQ, IN SYRIA AND IN TURKEY.

    So, we will see a free for all with the Kurds fighting like their lives depend on it, because they do. At that point, Putin will realize he has been had by Iran, by Turkey, by Assad Junior and by Hezzbollah. The goal of all this will be to create a SHIA Persian/Iranian state from Iran in the east, Syria and Iraq in the center, and Lebanon in the West. So, how will Armenia and Russia, and all the others react to this. I think they will BOMB THE LIVING FECAL MATTER OUT OF ANY SHIA FORCES, AND TURKISH FORCES THEY CAN FIND.

    It will also be the case that Erdogan will attack Greece just to stir things up, or Saudi Arabia, or Israel will attack Lebanon.

    Sheesh, the more I study this situation the more it wiggles out of the box. Pandora's box for sure.
    Doomer Doug, a.k.a. Doug McIntosh now has a blog at www.doomerdoug.wordpress.com
    My end of the world e book "Day of the Dogs" will soon be available for sale at smashwords. The url is
    https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/267340 It is also at the following url
    http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007BRLFYU

  33. #793
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    of course their is oil and money involved too
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-m...-idUSKBN1GH2OG (fair use)

    Russia's Rosneft holds key to fixing Iraqi Kurdistan oil flows: sources

    Ahmed Aboulenein, Dmitry Zhdannikov MARCH 5, 2018

    ERBIL, Iraq/LONDON (Reuters) - Russian state oil company Rosneft has emerged with an important role in talks between Iraq’s government and Iraqi Kurdistan on resuming full oil exports from the semi-autonomous region, two industry sources said.
    The central government took charge of half of the oil fields that were under Iraqi Kurdistan’s control last October, soon after the northern region voted for independence in a referendum opposed by Baghdad. Exports, via Turkey, were halved.

    Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Feb. 27 that an agreement had been reached at talks with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), based in the city of Erbil, for full oil exports to resume soon.

    But he gave no more detail of when exports would resume and said some differences would have to be resolved later. The two sides are at odds over payment of Iraqi Kurdistan’s debts and the transfer of funds to the region from the national budget.

    The two industry sources, who are involved in the talks, said the KRG has told Baghdad it is ready to resume full exports and transfer the funds raised to the Iraqi government on two conditions - that some oil is kept for local refining and Baghdad pays pumping tariffs to Rosneft.

    The Russian oil major took over ownership of the region’s export oil and gas pipelines last year and agreed to provide it with over $2 billion in loans, but the deal is not recognized by Baghdad, which says independent Kurdish oil exports are illegal.

    “Erbil offered a quick-fix solution and has written to Baghdad but has yet to hear a final answer,” one of the sources said, requesting anonymity because the talks are not public.

    “In the long run, we need to agree on budget transfers and debts to find a long-lasting compromise over exports,” the source added.

    Rosneft declined to comment. Moscow did not oppose the referendum, which the United Sates and the European Union urged the KRG to postpone.
    Rosneft’s role in the talks underlines its growing international clout under chief executive Igor Sechin, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, despite Western sanctions on Russia over its role in the Ukraine conflict.


    Rosneft’s role was discussed by one of the company’s vice presidents, Didier Casimiro, during a visit to Baghdad in February and by Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari in talks in Moscow last month, the industry sources said.

    Jafari said Iraq was not closing the door on any foreign oil company, and Iraq’s oil minister has said Baghdad has no problem with Rosneft operating in the Kurdistan region.

    KRG spokesman Safeen Dizayee said no “concrete agreement” was in place yet but he was hopeful Baghdad would agree to the KRG-proposed plan, which included proposals on Rosneft and local refining. He declined further comment.

    ELECTION FACTOR
    Sources in Iraqi Kurdistan say Baghdad’s takeover of half the oilfields near the Kirkuk area had cost the region nearly $3 billion in lost revenues. The KRG also says Baghdad owes it billions of dollars in unpaid transfers from the state budget.

    Since the fall of dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003, Kurdistan has traditionally been allocated 17 percent of the federal budget after sovereign expenses but the regional government says it has not been receiving that amount. The federal government says it stopped the transfer of funds after Iraqi Kurdistan began independent oil exports which Baghdad says are illegal.

    The dispute has been complicated by the 2018 budget, approved by the national parliament on Saturday in a vote boycotted by Kurdish parties.

    Iraqi Kurdistan’s will now receive a budget allocation after sovereign expenses which reflects its share of the Iraqi population, which Abadi says is 12.67 percent.

    Industry and political sources in Baghdad and Erbil said differences were still too big to reach a lasting deal on oil exports before Iraq holds a parliamentary election on May 12.
    “Erbil will not commit to a deal with Abadi until he gets re-elected. And Abadi doesn’t seem to be willing to commit to a deal that could weaken his position before the election,” a source involved in talks in Erbil told Reuters.

    An ally of Abadi who is taking part in the talks said: “Both sides are betting on time. We are in election season, and faces might change... But any delay in solving the Kurdistan problem is not helpful to either side.”

    Debts have piled up over the years as the Iraqi Kurds borrowed money from Turkey, trading houses such as Glencore and Vitol, and Rosneft to pay state salaries and develop the infrastructure of its pipelines and oilfields.

    Baghdad says only SOMO has the right to export Iraqi crude.

    “This is a massive problem. Their (the Kurds’) view is if they are to hand over exports to SOMO then the Iraqi government should take on that debt,” said the Baghdad negotiator. “Baghdad will pay salaries for oil but will not take on the KRG’s debts.”

    Before the independence referendum last September, Iraqi Kurdistan was hoping to raise oil exports above 1 million barrels per day from around 600,000 bpd, becoming one of the world’s fastest growing oil regions.
    But after Iraqi troops took control of the Kirkuk oil fields with the help of pro-Iranian militias, KRG’s exports have been running at around 300,000 bpd. Another 300,000 bpd, worth $18 million a day at current prices, are trapped under the ground.

    FORTE EST VINUM, FORTIOR EST REX, FORTIORES SUNT MULIERES:

    SUPER OMNIA VINCIT VERITAS.


  34. #794
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    In CLE again
    Posts
    51,226
    Do we have to re-enact the LAST Deir Ezzor defense-in-depth for ISIS to get the hunt we have Moscow a week or so ago???

    (Shakes head and walls away heavily bemused.)
    Mookie War Creed
    "I am the Sword of my Family and Shield of my Nation. If sent, I will crush everything you have built, burn all that you love, and kill every one of you."
    Welcome to dar al harab -dar al kufre.


    Gentle reminder: It is entirely possible to think that generalizations are true and to judge each real live person you meet as an individual

  35. #795
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Beaverland
    Posts
    11,308
    ISIS is laughing its barbarian ass off right now. The Kurds are redeploying from the East to Afrin. The Turks are tied up with the Kurds. Assad Junior is tied up with East Damascus. The Iraqi government and the Shia militias are prepping for a general war with the Kurds in Northern Iraq. The US Coalition is collapsing. So, who exactly is going to fight ISIS in Eastern Syria. After all the "we beat ISIS" press conferences exactly where did the thousands of ISIS fighters come from that are now reclaiming the Euphrates river valley?

    I said ISIS was still in the game. I said they would exploit all the Kurdish, Iraqi and Syrian chaos. And so they have. ISIS war, round two now underway.
    Doomer Doug, a.k.a. Doug McIntosh now has a blog at www.doomerdoug.wordpress.com
    My end of the world e book "Day of the Dogs" will soon be available for sale at smashwords. The url is
    https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/267340 It is also at the following url
    http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007BRLFYU

  36. #796

    4 Air strikes hit town in Syria's eastern Ghouta

    Reuters|Published: 03.09.18 , 12:52
    BEIRUT – A witness and a war monitoring group said warplanes struck Douma in Syria's besieged eastern Ghouta enclave on Friday just as aid agencies prepared to deliver food to the town.



    A resident in Douma and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said the planes were still circling in the skies. An emergency aid convoy crossed front lines into the rebel enclave and was headed for Douma, Red Cross officials said shortly beforehand. https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,...151947,00.html

  37. #797

    4 Turkey's Erdoğan says Syria's Afrin town under siege, entry imminent

    Reuters|Published: 03.09.18 , 14:53
    ANKARA – Turkish forces have besieged northern Syria's Afrin town and entry into the city centre is imminent, President Tayyip Erdoğan said on Friday, zeroing on the main goal of its operation in the region.


    On Thursday, Turkish forces and their Syrian rebel allies seized control of the town of Jinderes, state media reported, giving them control of one of the largest settlements in Syria's northwest Afrin region.



    Erdoğan made the comments during a televised speech in Ankara.



    https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,...152086,00.html

  38. #798

    4 Russian forces deployed to Afrin crossing as new government fighters arrive

    DAMASCUS, SYRIA (4:40 P.M,) – The 3rd batch of Syrian popular forces made it into the northwestern city of Afrin through al-Ziyara crossing to help defend the predominantly-Kurdish region from the Turkish aggression.

    The first two batches have entered Afrin during the past few days as per an agreement concluded earlier between the Syrian government and Kurdish factions.

    Last month, Turkey and its proxy militants have launched a full-scale offensive on Afrin region with the aim to ‘liberate the area from the terrorist Kurdish militiamen”.

    The arrival of the Syrian forces will definitely make things harder for the already troubled Turkish-backed militants who failed to make substantial gains on the ground.

    Meanwhile, members of the Russian military police were seen escorting the convoys at the Ziyara crossing in order to prevent the Turkish military from targeting the crossing as it was the case a few days ago when the 1st batch arrived.https://www.almasdarnews.com/article...ghters-arrive/

  39. #799

    4 Afrin erupts in celebrations as large convoy from Deir Ezzor enters city

    BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:00 P.M.) – Car loads of people drove into Afrin on Thursday, where celebrations rocked the Syrian city following the reported arrival of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) troops, who are allegedly being brought in to help fight against the Turkish offensive.

    Footage shows buses and cars filled with civilians who have travelled to Afrin from Shingal, Qamishli, al-Hasakah, Amouda and Kobani.

    According to local reports, SDF fighters are allegedly leaving the front in the Deir ez-Zor region to join Kurdish forces fighting Turkish troops in Afrin.

    In September 2017, US-backed SDF forces launched an offensive against the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in the Deir ez-Zor Governate with the purpose of recapturing territory east of the Euphrates.

    On Monday, the US Pentagon announced an “operational pause” due to the Turkish military operations in Afrin.https://www.almasdarnews.com/article...rs-city-video/

  40. #800

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