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BRKG SYRIAN ARMY FIRES ON ADVANCING TURKISH MILITARY COLUMNS
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  1. #41
    I have changed computers twice since then.....


    Can you please send me in the right direction for your book.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ragnarok View Post
    You should have....

    I wrote a whole book about it three years ago and made it available to everyone...

    How many folks "didn't know" compared to how many refused to discern with open minds?
    NO MORE INFRINGEMENT.
    NO MORE COMPROMISE.
    NOT ONE MORE INCH.

  2. #42

    4 RUSSIA SAYS HUNDREDS KILLED IN TURKISH OPERATION IN SYRIA'S AFRIN

    MOSCOW - Several hundred people, including civilians, have been killed during Turkey's military operation in Syria's Afrin, Interfax news agency cited Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying on Wednesday.http://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/R...s-Afrin-540297

  3. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by danielboon View Post
    BEIRUT - Lebanon's President Michel Aoun on Wednesday said Israeli comments urging firms not to bid on a Lebanese offshore energy tender were "a threat to Lebanon."

    Earlier on Wednesday [Israeli] Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman described Lebanon's offshore oil and gas licensing process as "very provocative" and urged international firms not to bid.
    . . . AND, ANOTHER "driver" defining the neocon narrative and dollar supremacy . . .


    intothegoodnight
    "Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

    — Dylan Thomas, "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night"

  4. #44
    Was listening to a Christian Radio talk channel while working outside - and some Congresswoman was saying that 3/4's of the Navy's aircraft are not flyable - then she mentioned the ships crashing.

    What percentage of snowflakes - I wonder - will go along being drafted if we get in to a BIG WAR- with anybody?

    Guesses?

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Watchman2 View Post
    I have changed computers twice since then.....


    Can you please send me in the right direction for your book.
    Link sent
    Deo adjuvante non timendum - With God Helping, Nothing is to be Feared
    "You are like a pit-bull..." - Dennis Olson
    "No man knows but that the last backward glance over his shoulder may be his last look, forever." - Ernie Pyle Born: 1900 KIA: 1945 Shima, Okinawa

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coulter View Post
    Was listening to a Christian Radio talk channel while working outside - and some Congresswoman was saying that 3/4's of the Navy's aircraft are not flyable - then she mentioned the ships crashing.

    What percentage of snowflakes - I wonder - will go along being drafted if we get in to a BIG WAR- with anybody?
    In a "big war" there won't be the luxury of time to draft and train anyone. In that scenario you're looking at nukes making up for the lack of "boots" with "firepower".

  7. #47
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    Ask some Old Tyme Football (US) players what a "Swing the Gate Block" looks like.

    Wonder if US and Soviets are playing this with Er-dog??

    Quote Originally Posted by danielboon View Post
    MOSCOW - Several hundred people, including civilians, have been killed during Turkey's military operation in Syria's Afrin, Interfax news agency cited Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying on Wednesday.http://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/R...s-Afrin-540297
    RULE 1:
    THEY want you DEAD.


    Athens, Tenn.
    Remember WHY?

    Word to the wise:

    "All skill is in vain when an Angel pees in the touch-hole of your musket!"

  8. #48
    Syria's Kurds push US to stop Turkish assault on key enclave

    By Sarah El Deeb, Associated Press
    BEIRUT — January 31, 2018, 5:24 PM ET

    Syria's Kurdish militia is growing frustrated with its patron, the United States, and is pressing it to do more to stop Turkey's assault on a key stronghold in Syria.

    The issue reflects a deeper concern among the Kurds over their alliance with the Americans, which proved vital to defeating the Islamic State group in Syria. The Kurds fear that ultimately they and their dream of self-rule will be the losers in the big powers' play over influence in Syria. Already the U.S. is in a tough spot, juggling between the interests of the Kurds, its only ally in war-torn Syria, and its relations with Turkey, a key NATO ally.

    The Kurdish militia views defending the Kurdish enclave of Afrin as an existential fight to preserve their territory. Afrin has major significance — it's one of the first Kurdish areas to rise up against President Bashar Assad and back self-rule, a base for senior fighters who pioneered the alliance with the Americans and a key link in their efforts to form a contiguous entity along Turkey's border. The offensive, which began Jan. 20, has so far killed more than 60 civilians and dozens of fighters on both sides, and displaced thousands.

    "How can they stand by and watch?" Aldar Khalil, a senior Kurdish politician said of the U.S.-led coalition against IS. "They should meet their obligations toward this force that participated with them (in the fight against terrorism.) We consider their unclear and indecisive positions as a source of concern."

    Khalil, one of the architects of the Kurds' self-administration, and three other senior Kurdish officials told The Associated Press that they have conveyed their frustration over what they consider a lack of decisive action to stop the Afrin assault to U.S. and other Western officials. They said U.S. officials have made confusing statements in public. One of the officials who agreed to discuss private meetings on condition of anonymity said some U.S. comments even amounted to tacit support for the assault.

    The fight for Afrin puts Washington in a bind with few good options. The Americans have little leverage and no troops in Afrin, which is located in a pocket of Kurdish control at the western edge of Syria's border with Turkey and is cut off from the rest of Kurdish-held territory by a Turkish-held enclave. The area is also crowded with other players. Russian troops were based there to prevent friction with Turkey until they withdrew ahead of the offensive, and the area — home to more than 300,000 civilians — is surrounded by territory held by Syrian government forces or al-Qaida-linked militants.

    The Americans' priority for the YPG — the main Kurdish militia that forms the backbone of forces allied to the U.S. — is for them to govern the large swath of territory wrested from the Islamic State group in northern and eastern Syria, including the city of Raqqa. Washington wants to prevent IS from resurging and keep Damascus' ally, Iran, out of the area.

    Afrin is not central to those American goals and U.S. officials say it will distract from the war on IS
    .

    The U.S-led coalition has distanced itself from the Kurdish forces in Afrin, saying they have not received American training and were not part of the war against the Islamic State group in eastern Syria. But it also implicitly criticized the Turkish assault as unhelpful.

    "Increased violence in Afrin disrupts what was a relatively stable area of Syria. Furthermore, it distracts from efforts to ensure the lasting defeat of Daesh and could be exploited by Daesh for resupply and safe haven," the coalition said in an emailed statement to the AP, using the Arabic acronym for IS.

    For its part, Turkey views the YPG as an extension of its own Kurdish insurgent groups and has vowed to "purge" them from its borders.

    While the U.S. may distance itself from the fighting in Afrin, it can't sit by silently if Turkey goes ahead with its threat to expand the fight to Manbij, a Syrian town to the east where American troops are deployed alongside Kurdish forces that took the town from IS in 2016.

    One option is a proposal by the Kurds to persuade Assad to deploy his troops as a buffer between the Kurds and Turks in Afrin. Nobohar Mustafa, a Kurdish envoy to Washington, said the Americans appear open to that proposal. However, so far Assad's government has refused; they want full control of the area.

    Another option could be to seek a compromise with Turkey by withdrawing U.S. and Kurdish forces from Manbij, said Elizabeth Teoman, a Turkey specialist with the Institute for the Study of War.

    "The Turks may accept that as an intermediate step, but the U.S. will consistently face threats of escalation from Turkey as long as we maintain our partnership with the Syrian Kurdish YPG," Teoman said.

    U.S. officials have reportedly said recently that they have no intention of pulling out of Manbij.

    Kurdish officials say they don't expect the Americans to go to war with Turkey or send troops to fight with them in Afrin.

    But "this doesn't mean the U.S. doesn't have a role in stopping the war on Afrin," said Mustafa, the Kurdish envoy to Washington. She said Kurdish officials weren't surprised the Americans have distanced themselves from the Afrin dispute "but we didn't expect their stance to be that low."

    She and Khalil have lobbied Washington and Europe for a more aggressive stance against Turkey's advances. Other than the proposal to allow Syrian border guards to deploy, they have suggested international observers along a narrow buffer zone. Mustafa said the U.S. could argue that the YPG presence in northwestern Syria, where al-Qaida-linked militants have their stronghold, is necessary to fight terrorism. Khalil said he has pressed other NATO members to urge Turkey to stop airstrikes.

    Meanwhile, a heated media campaign has been launched to "Save Afrin," while Kurdish supporters in Europe have staged regular protests and a senior YPG official wrote an op-ed for the New York Times.

    In Washington, U.S. officials rejected the notion that the United States hasn't tried hard enough to rein in Turkey. In addition to publicly urging Turkey to limit its operation and avoid expanding further east, they noted that President Donald Trump spoke about it directly with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The White House said that Trump used that call to urge Turkey to "deescalate, limit its military actions, and avoid civilian casualties and increases to displaced persons and refugees."

    They say that since Turkey has proceeded, the U.S. has been left with only bad options.

    Although the U.S. doesn't want to see Assad's government return to the area between Afrin and Turkey, it may be the "least worst situation," said a U.S. official involved in Syria policy.

    The United States has less ability to influence negotiations about how to secure the border than Russia, whose forces have long had a strong presence in the area, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private diplomatic discussions.

    The Trump administration has also quietly acknowledged that ultimately, the Kurds may be disappointed if they are expecting loyalty even on matters where U.S. and Kurdish interests diverge. Turkey, after all, is a NATO ally. Asked recently if Washington had a moral obligation to stick with the Kurds, senior Trump administration officials said Trump's "America first" doctrine dictated that the U.S. must always prioritize its own interests.

    From the Kurdish perspective, "the Americans are missing the whole point. If Erdogan is not stopped at Afrin, he will turn eastward and will not stop until he has destroyed the entire edifice" built by the Kurds in eastern Syria, said Nicholas Herak, of the Center for a New American Security.

    "The challenge for the YPG is that it has power only so long as it continues to act as the key, local proxy for the U.S. mission in Syria," Herak said.

    —————————————
    Associated Press writers Josh Lederman and Lolita Baldor in Washington contributed to this report.

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/...t-key-52750931

  9. #49
    The Latest: US works to avoid friction with Turkey in Syria

    By The Associated Press
    BEIRUT — January 31, 2018, 11:18 AM ET

    The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local):

    6:15 p.m.

    The top American commander for the Middle East says the U.S. military is doing "everything we absolutely can" to avoid a confrontation with Turkey in Syria.

    Turkey has launched an offensive against U.S.-allied Kurdish forces in the Afrin enclave. U.S. troops have no presence in Afrin but Turkey has threatened to expand the offensive to Manbij, in eastern Syria, where U.S. troops carry out regular patrols as part of the fight against the Islamic State group.

    Gen. Joseph Votel, of U.S. Central Command, told reporters there is a "robust" coordination mechanism to avoid such friction. He said Washington recognizes that Turkey has "a very legitimate concern about security along its border."

    NATO ally Turkey views the main Syrian Kurdish militia as an extension of the Kurdish insurgency it has battled for decades. The Syrian Kurdish force is a key ally of the U.S.-led coalition and has driven IS from large parts of northern and eastern Syria.

    Votel said the U.S. military will support the Kurdish fighters "as they continue their efforts to defeat (IS) and prevent their resurgence."

    ———

    4 p.m.

    Turkish officials say Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have agreed to "accelerate" efforts to establish Turkish observation posts in Syria's rebel-held Idlib province.

    The officials said the agreement was reached during a telephone call between the two leaders on Wednesday.

    The two spoke a day after a Turkish military convoy was targeted by a car bomb in Idlib, where Turkey is enforcing a "de-escalation zone" as part of an agreement reached between Turkey, Russia and Iran. One civilian personnel was killed in the attack.

    During their conversation, the two leaders also agreed that a Syria peace conference held Monday in the Russian city of Sochi —where an agreement to draft a new constitution for Syria was announced — was an "important achievement," according to the officials.

    The officials provided the information on condition of anonymity in line with Turkish government rules.

    — Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey

    ———

    3:15 p.m.

    Turkish media reports say two more rockets fired from Syria have struck a Turkish border town, wounding one person.

    State-run Anadolu Agency says the rockets, fired from the Syrian Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin, hit a road and an empty house in the town of Reyhanli on Wednesday. One person was hurt in the attack, the private Dogan news agency reported.

    Earlier, a teenage girl was killed when a rocket hit her home in Reyhanli, bringing to four the death toll in multiple rockets attacks on Reyhanli and the border town of Kilis since Turkey launched its cross-border operation to drive out a Syrian Kurdish militia from Afrin.

    ———

    1:10 p.m.

    Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says the French president has a "flawed understanding" of Turkey's cross-border offensive in northwestern Syria.

    Yildirim's remarks came in response to comments by French President Emmanuel Macron who warned Turkey against invading the northern Syrian enclave of Afrin.

    Yildirim says that "the whole world knows and should know that Turkey does not operate with the mentality of an invader." The Turkish premier spoke on Wednesday during a joint news conference with visiting Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

    Turkey launched the military offensive against Afrin on January 20 to drive out the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, a militia it says is an extension of the outlawed Kurdish rebels fighting inside Turkey.

    Macron earlier told French newspaper Le Figaro that Turkey must coordinate with allies and that its operation must be limited to fighting terror.

    ———

    12:10 p.m.

    French President Emmanuel Macron is warning Turkey against invading a northern Syrian enclave where Ankara is battling Syrian Kurdish fighters whom it considers to be terrorists, and to respect Syria's sovereignty.

    Macron says in an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro that Turkey must coordinate with allies, and that its operation must be limited to fighting terror.

    Macron says he will have a discussion with Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the coming days to tell him that the military offensive against Afrin should involve talks "between Europeans, and more widely between allies, because it changes the nature of this Turkish incursion."

    Turkey launched a military offensive against Afrin on January 20 to drive out the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, which is says are an extension of the outlawed Kurdish rebels inside Turkey.

    Macron says that "if it turned out that this operation had to take another turn than an action to fight against a potential terror threat at the Turkish border, and that it was an invasion operation, at that moment, this operation would pose a real problem for us."

    ———

    11:30 a.m.

    Rockets fired from northern Syria into a Turkish border town on Wednesday killed a teenage girl and wounded another person, Turkey's state-run news agency reported.

    Anadolu Agency said two rockets were fired by Syrian Kurdish fighters in the enclave of Afrin and struck a house and a garden wall in the town of Reyhanli.

    Two people were hospitalized after the attack. One of them, 17-year-old Fatma Avlar, died from her wounds, the agency said.

    It was the latest in a string of rocket attacks on Reyhanli and the border town of Kilis since January 20, when Turkey's military launched a cross-border operation to drive out the Syrian Kurdish militia from Afrin.

    The attacks have so far killed four people, including Avlar. Two of the victims were Syrian refugees.

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/...syria-52733883

  10. #50
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    I see no reason to assume our Ottoman Empire raving lunatic, Erdgoan is going to stop with Afrin. He is going to move east and directly attack Manjai. He is going to keep going south and take over Aleppo, and he hasn't shown any indication he plans to stop pouring troops into Northern Syria. Assad junior and Putin are playing a very dangerous game here. They assume they can use Turkey to destroy the US backed Kurds, kick the Kurds out of Syria and then hand it over to Assad junior when Turkey goes back to Turkey. Well, gang Erdogan doesn't want to keep the CURRENT SYRIAN TURKEY BORDER SINCE HE WANTS TO PERMANENTLY EXPAND IT TO INCLUDE MUCH OF NORTHERN SYRIA. Assad junior is now looking at the de facto PARTITION OF NORTHERN SYRIA INTO THE TURKISH STATE.

    I wonder if Putin hasn't outsmarted himself by relying on a RAVING LUNATIC LIKE ERDOGAN?
    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" is available for sale at the following url
    http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007BRLFYU

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doomer Doug View Post
    I see no reason to assume our Ottoman Empire raving lunatic, Erdgoan is going to stop with Afrin. He is going to move east and directly attack Manjai. He is going to keep going south and take over Aleppo, and he hasn't shown any indication he plans to stop pouring troops into Northern Syria. Assad junior and Putin are playing a very dangerous game here. They assume they can use Turkey to destroy the US backed Kurds, kick the Kurds out of Syria and then hand it over to Assad junior when Turkey goes back to Turkey. Well, gang Erdogan doesn't want to keep the CURRENT SYRIAN TURKEY BORDER SINCE HE WANTS TO PERMANENTLY EXPAND IT TO INCLUDE MUCH OF NORTHERN SYRIA. Assad junior is now looking at the de facto PARTITION OF NORTHERN SYRIA INTO THE TURKISH STATE.

    I wonder if Putin hasn't outsmarted himself by relying on a RAVING LUNATIC LIKE ERDOGAN?
    Russia and turkey are age old enemies. Turkey going into the hornets’nest of US-backed Kurds means the NATO alliance is being twisted to the snapping point. That would be a win-win for the Russians.
    ” 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

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doomer Doug View Post
    I see no reason to assume our Ottoman Empire raving lunatic, Erdgoan is going to stop with Afrin. He is going to move east and directly attack Manjai. He is going to keep going south and take over Aleppo, and he hasn't shown any indication he plans to stop pouring troops into Northern Syria. Assad junior and Putin are playing a very dangerous game here. They assume they can use Turkey to destroy the US backed Kurds, kick the Kurds out of Syria and then hand it over to Assad junior when Turkey goes back to Turkey. Well, gang Erdogan doesn't want to keep the CURRENT SYRIAN TURKEY BORDER SINCE HE WANTS TO PERMANENTLY EXPAND IT TO INCLUDE MUCH OF NORTHERN SYRIA. Assad junior is now looking at the de facto PARTITION OF NORTHERN SYRIA INTO THE TURKISH STATE.

    I wonder if Putin hasn't outsmarted himself by relying on a RAVING LUNATIC LIKE ERDOGAN?
    Hummm...I'm wondering if Putin is setting Erdogan up to give the Russians a "good enough reason" to cut off and smash the most vulnerable Turkish columns. Recall the Russian jet they shot down a while back that was only in "Turkish" airspace for maybe a couple of seconds, and that was territory they'd seeded with "ethnic" Turkish "militia", never mind the Russian ambassador shot and killed on live TV...

  13. #53
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    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.c6d40846403d

    WorldViews Analysis
    Turkey’s Erdogan wages a dangerous war on many fronts

    By Ishaan Tharoor January 31 Email the author
    Want smart analysis of the most important news in your inbox every weekday along with other global reads, interesting ideas and opinions to know? Sign up for the Today's WorldView newsletter.

    Without a trace of irony, Turkey has dubbed the military offensive it is waging across its southern border with Syria “Operation Olive Branch.” It's hardly an apt name, given both the bloody nature of the offensive and the wide-reaching geopolitical havoc it has caused.

    Since Jan. 20, Turkish forces and Turkish-backed militias have been engaged in battles with Syrian Kurds holding an enclave called Afrin, northwest of the Syrian city of Aleppo. Turkish authorities say they are fighting units that are an extension of the PKK, a violent Kurdish separatist group in Turkey that's seen by both Ankara and Washington as a terrorist organization.

    Reports suggest Turkish air and artillery strikes have damaged villages and killed civilians there, in addition to killing dozens of Syrian Kurdish fighters. Images are circulating online of the destruction wrought by a Turkish airstrike on an ancient temple complex dating back to the first millennium B.C.

    “Step by step, we will clean our entire border,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared over the weekend. But the operation has created an international mess.


    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.c6d40846403d

    The Turkish campaign followed an announcement by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the United States would commit to an open-ended troop presence in Syria and endorse the creation of a permanent Kurdish-dominated border force in northeastern Syria. (Turkish officials described such a force as a “terrorist” entity.) Both the Obama and Trump administrations have leaned heavily on Syrian Kurdish factions in waging the ground war against the Islamic State, despite Turkish objections.

    While Washington says it does not back the Kurdish factions in Afrin, it is much more involved farther to the east, where it has helped arm and train Syrian Kurdish units that are part of a coalition known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF — and sometimes fought along with them. U.S. Special Forces have been conducting patrols in the most bitterly contested areas in a bid to keep the SDF and Turkish-backed forces from clashing, but that may soon become a much harder task.

    Video

    With Erdogan “intensifying his threats to extend the Turkish offensive to the areas farther east, where the U.S. military maintains troops, a larger conflict looms,” my colleagues wrote, "A Turkish attack on Manbij [a strategic border town] would present the United States with a major dilemma," forced to pick a side between their allies on the ground and a historic NATO partner.

    The U.S.-Turkey relationship has been in free fall over the course of the Syrian war. Erdogan grew furious with the Obama administration for not doing enough to challenge the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while also emboldening Kurdish factions on Turkey's doorstep. President Trump's arrival offered hope for a reset, but that, too, quickly faded.

    A phone call last week between Erdogan and Trump did nothing to resolve the simmering grievances. Turkish officials challenged a White House readout of the conversation, denying that Trump had “expressed concern” about anti-U.S. propaganda coming out of Ankara or the escalation of violence in Afrin.

    In Turkey, the offensive has let loose a new tide of nationalist feeling. Erdogan once championed a historic opening with Turkey's long-suppressed minority Kurdish population. Now he casts himself as the merciless enemy of Kurdish separatism, rallying right-wing Turks to his banner. Pro-Erdogan media outlets belt out a steady stream of vitriol against both Kurdish separatists and their supposed puppet masters in the West. Meanwhile, Turkish authorities have clamped down on dissent or opposition to the military offensive.

    “At least 300 people have been detained for social media posts opposing Operation Olive Branch, deemed by authorities 'terrorist propaganda,' " noted Al-Monitor's Amberin Zaman. On Tuesday, a Turkish prosecutor order the detention of 11 senior members of the Turkish Medical Association, including its chairman, after the organization denounced the cross-border raid and called for “peace immediately.”

    It's the latest indication of the deepening authoritarianism of Erdogan's rule, which indeed extends beyond Turkish borders. As Nate Schenkkan of Freedom House noted, Turkish officials have pursued an astonishing “global purge” in the wake of a failed anti-Erdogan coup attempt in 2016, revoking thousands of Turkish passports, while achieving “the arrest, deportation, or rendition of hundreds of Turkish citizens from at least 16 countries.” Thousands of ordinary Turks languish in prison in vague connection to the coup plot, including many figures from human rights organizations and other civil society groups.

    “Despite his best efforts to build a stable majority as the foundation of his new regime, his policies of demonizing the opposition have created a deeply polarized society. Half of Turkey despises him and will never accept him as its leader,” wrote Soner Cagaptay, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, for The Washington Post. “But Erdogan has failed to grasp this fact, becoming even more authoritarian since the 2017 referendum that granted him sweeping presidential powers. Erdogan’s current trajectory will deepen Turkey’s crisis, potentially even triggering civil conflict.”

    Cagaptay said NATO allies like the United States need to walk Erdogan back from his hysteria by slowing support for the Syrian Kurds and siding more clearly with Turkey’s geopolitical interests in Syria over those of Russia and Iran.

    But that’s not an easy sell. Foreign-policy and national-security elites in Washington have soured on Erdogan, while the Kurds command a great deal of affection. The Trump administration seems to have no choice but to grapple with the growing contradictions underlying its Syria policy.

    “We are asking the Western powers to act on their principles. Why are you not condemning a flagrant and unprovoked assault on the very men and women who stood shoulder to shoulder with you against the darkness of the Islamic State?” wrote Nujin Derik, a female Kurdish commander in Afrin, in the New York Times. “Now a different evil, that of Mr. Erdogan’s increasingly undemocratic Turkey, aims to destroy our fledgling democracy. And this time, it’s claiming to act in your name.”

    Want smart analysis of the most important news in your inbox every weekday along with other global reads, interesting ideas and opinions to know? Sign up for the Today's WorldView newsletter.

    33 Comments

    Ishaan Tharoor writes about foreign affairs for The Washington Post. He previously was a senior editor and correspondent at Time magazine, based first in Hong Kong and later in New York. Follow @ishaantharoor

  14. #54
    Conflict News- @Conflicts · 7 min.
    BREAKING: One Turkish soldier killed, five wounded in crossborder PKK attack from Iraq - @HDNER

  15. #55

    3 France says urgent Russia, Iran stop Syria government bombings

    France's foreign ministry on Thursday condemned a series of bombing raids in rebel-held areas of Syria and called on Russia and Iran, as allies of the government, to urgently end the attacks and ensure humanitarian aid entered the regions.


    "It is urgent that Russia and Iran, the guarantors of the Astana process and allies of the Damascus regime, make arrangements for the bombing to cease and that humanitarian assistance arrives safely, completely and without hindrance to those who need it," foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes Von der Muhll said in a statement. She described attacks in Idlib province and eastern Ghouta as "unacceptable" saying that bombings which had targeted hospitals and civilians were a violation of international humanitarian law.https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,...079428,00.html

  16. #56

    4 U.S. reserves right to use military action against Syrian government

    U.S. reserves right to use military action against Syrian government to prevent, deter chemical weapons use: Senior U.S. officialhttp://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Mid...-chemical.ashx looks like they want to light up ASSAD..

  17. #57
    Conflict News


    @Conflicts
    3h3 hours ago
    More
    BREAKING: Turkish media reporting that Turkish military and TFSA forces capture Bulbul town center in northern Afrin - @anadoluagency

  18. #58
    Strategic Sentinel

    Verified account

    @StratSentinel
    17m17 minutes ago
    More
    #BREAKING: US says the recent chemical attacks in #Syria suggest Assad government is developing new kinds of weapons - @AP

  19. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by danielboon View Post
    Strategic Sentinel

    Verified account

    @StratSentinel
    17m17 minutes ago
    More
    #BREAKING: US says the recent chemical attacks in #Syria suggest Assad government is developing new kinds of weapons - @AP
    WHO in the U.S. government has said this? Sounds like the State Department and their neocon minions.

    I have heard NOTHING about Assad/Syria developing/deploying/using chemical weapons in theater - last time this flag went up, it was determined that **somebody** had framed the Syrians, where they had NOT used chemical weapons of any sort - but, it played well in the western neocon-owned MSM mouthpieces.

    "THEY" are determined to get their war, one way or another.

    As always, TRUST by verify - a faction within the Syrian military/government COULD decide to go rogue with regard to chemicals, and FF a situation - Assad and the Russians do NOT need that sort of PR/political headache, IF such were to happen.

    Troublemakers are a dime-a-dozen in the ME, and can be purchased at bargain prices to infiltrate and perform all sorts of nefarious activities - including rogue chemical operations.


    intothegoodnight
    "Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

    — Dylan Thomas, "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night"

  20. #60

    4 This is just nuts

    Conflict News
    @Conflicts
    Breaking US. Not ruling out military strikes,after new chemical weapons attacks, in Syria officials says -AFP

  21. #61

    3

    US: Syria may be developing new types of chemical weapons - AOL ...https://www.aol.com/article/news/201...pons/23350432/

  22. #62
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    Now THAT is a scary map...
    Deo adjuvante non timendum - With God Helping, Nothing is to be Feared
    "You are like a pit-bull..." - Dennis Olson
    "No man knows but that the last backward glance over his shoulder may be his last look, forever." - Ernie Pyle Born: 1900 KIA: 1945 Shima, Okinawa

  23. #63

    Syria denies 'lies' on chemical weapons use


  24. #64
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    TURKEY'S JIHAD IN SYRIA

    Create the crisis. Exploit the crisis. Create the problem; provide the solution. Yep, standard globalist, New World Order modus operandi now in play. Trump foolishly believed the LIES about Assad junior using nerve gas when Syrian jets blew up a warehouse full of our erstwile "anti-assad allies." Trump also forgot about the SARIN GAS caught coming over the Turkish border by our allies.

    And now, Trump is being lied to yet again by the traitors in the CIA, the neocon warmongers et al. Now Assad junior, for all his faults, is the one guy not raping and murdering Christians in Syria. NO, that is our "allies" doing that.

    Let me clear here: Erdogan has unleashed the beast and it will not be restrained now. Putin, Hezzbollah and Iran, and assad junior are not going to tolerate any serious threat to the Syrian state. Erdogan is going to annex NORTHERN SYRIA. And I can't say whether Putin gets that, or is just applying political analysis to what is a Turkish NATIONALIST, RESTORED OTTOMAN EMPIRE, AND MILITANT ISLAM IDEOLOGY. Most of them, the US, the EU, NATO, and Putin maybe don't get that we are dealing with a TURKISH JIHAD FOUNDED ON MILITANT ISLAM AND OTTOMAN IMPERIAL DESIRES.

    Oh, yeah, ain't things going to get interesting NOW.
    Doomer Doug, a.k.a. Doug McIntosh now has a blog at www.doomerdoug.wordpress.com
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  25. #65
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    http://www.france24.com/en/20180201-...rds-yyg-turkey

    Syrian regime gains ground as Turkish-backed rebels turn guns on Kurds

    Latest update : 2018-02-01

    Syrian government forces pushed into an opposition stronghold on Thursday, as rebels forces allied with Turkey joined Ankara’s offensive against Kurdish militants in nearby Afrin.
    Syrian troops and allied militia forces moved within 14 kilometres (9 miles) of the town of Saraqeb, in Idlib, the opposition's largest stronghold in the country, a war monitoring group reported.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said pro-government forces were inching closer to a key highway connecting two of Syria's largest cities, Damascus and Aleppo, which passes just east of Saraqeb.

    Syria's military leveraged its monopoly on air power to carve a path deep inside Idlib to reach the Abu Dhuhour air base, 26 kilometres (16 miles) southeast of Saraqeb, last month. It then started marching toward Saraqeb, an important military centre for rebels and al Qaeda-linked insurgents in control of Idlib.

    "The bombing has been non-stop," said local media activist Abdulghani Dabaan.

    The regime’s advance has been aided by Turkey’s move to mobilise some 10,000 Syrian opposition fighters to join its campaign against a Kurdish militant group approximately 50 kilometres (31 miles) to the north.

    That campaign, codenamed Operation Olive Branch, has drawn protest from the US and France, who have relied heavily on the Kurds in the war against the Islamic State (IS) group.

    French ‘insult’

    Turkey considers the Kurdish People's Protection Units - or YPG - to be an extension of a Kurdish insurgency inside Turkey and views the group at its borders as a national security threat.

    Ankara took umbrage at remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron, who warned against an "invasion operation".

    Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called the warning an "insult" and said Thursday that France was in no position to "teach a lesson" to Turkey over its cross-border offensive, referring to past French military interventions in Algeria and other parts of Africa.

    Cavusoglu said France understood that Turkey was fighting "terrorists" and did not aim to invade Afrin.

    Video

    Some 15,000 civilians have been driven by the joint Turkish-Syrian opposition campaign into the Kurdish-controlled city of Afrin, according to UN humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland.

    Egeland spoke Thursday to reporters in Geneva after a regular meeting of world and regional powers in a UN humanitarian "task force" for Syria.

    He said booby traps and mines planted by the IS group in Raqqa have killed or wounded an average 50 people per week since US-backed fighters - notably the YPG - expelled the jihadist group from the city in October.

    Opposition wants UN to lead constitutional reform

    Also on Thursday, the Syrian opposition's Higher Negotiations Committee (HNC) said it was ready to back a Russian-brokered constitutional reform initiative for Syria, so long as it's led by the United Nations.

    Any constitutional committee must be formed at the UN, and include representation from the HNC, which represents the Syrian opposition in UN talks with the government in Geneva, said HNC chief Nasr al-Hariri.

    He spoke in Istanbul at a press conference on Thursday, two days after Russia convened a peace conference for Syria that was boycotted by the HNC as well as the Kurds and Western powers.

    Deciding the committee's makeup could doom the initiative before it even takes wing. Syrian state media, a government mouthpiece, says Damascus will have two-thirds of the representation on the committee.

    Hariri said the HNC would not accept having a committee appointed in Sochi, the Black Sea resort where the Russian-brokered talks have taken place.

    (FRANCE 24 with AP)

  26. #66
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    http://www.ekathimerini.com/225418/o...-a-nato-crisis

    COSTAS IORDANIDIS

    The beginnings of a NATO crisis

    10 COMMENTS 20:51

    It appears that NATO is sliding into the most serious crisis since its foundation as Turkish troops have engaged in a war against Kurdish rebels in northern Syria where the United States maintains a significant military presence.

    This means that the risk of a military engagement between two member-states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is significant.

    The military leader of US forces in northern Syria ignored an appeal by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for an American withdrawal from the region.

    It was the only possible outcome.

    A superpower would never retreat on the basis of an ultimatum by an ally, even if the strategic significance of the country in question is considerable.

    On the other hand, however, Washington cannot ignore the fact that the Kurdish question poses a major security problem for Turkey, threatening the country’s very territorial integrity. As a result, all of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s political rivals, bar the Kurdish party, have backed him on this issue.

    The problem with the “circumstantial alliances” that Washington uses to tackle crises in regions beyond NATO’s remit is that, at the end of these ad hoc cooperations, these allies tend to go their own way.

    The use of Islamist fundamentalists by the US against Soviet forces in the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 contributed to the broadening radicalization of Islamic extremists who have now transferred their terrorist activities to the West.

    The arming of Kurds in Syria by the West, and in particular by Washington, in order to face down the forces of Bashar al-Assad and the so-called Islamic State, led Turkey to extreme, though predictable, reactions.

    Something is clearly amiss with the West’s “occasional allies.” Some in Greece may claim that the alienation of Ankara or even a rupture with the West could eventually prove beneficial as Greece would become the West’s advanced outpost in the region.

    But this line of reasoning overlooks an extremely significant fact: that a potential armed conflict between Greece and Turkey has been repeatedly averted since the 1950s because the two countries are members of NATO, despite the fact that the alliance was not active in preventing an escalation of tensions.

    A potentially fatal threat for Greece would be an unchecked Turkey outside NATO, but the risk of such an eventuality appears to be disappearing.

  27. #67
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    Hummm......

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    https://www.economist.com/news/europ...-growing-apart

    The unhappy marriage

    Turkey and NATO are growing apart

    But they will probably have to stick together

    Print Edition | Europe
    Feb 1st 2018

    ANXIETIES about Donald Trump’s commitment to NATO and Russia’s military assertiveness remain at the top of the alliance’s agenda. But close behind looms the problem of semi-detached Turkey, a country that not only possesses NATO’s second-biggest armed force, but also straddles a critical geopolitical fault-line between west and east.

    Turkey is not only unpredictable. It also pursues a nationalist agenda that can put it at odds with its obligations to allies. The most recent source of tension is the simmering row between Turkey and America over Turkey’s incursion into Afrin, a Kurdish enclave in north-west Syria. This is not, strictly speaking, a matter for NATO. However, American troops could soon find themselves under direct attack from their NATO ally if Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, carries out a promise to “strangle…before it is born” a 30,000-strong American-backed “border security force”, composed largely of YPG Kurdish fighters whom Turkey regards as terrorists.

    Mr Erdogan probably calculates that he can face down America, which is less interested in the region than he is. He may be right, but clashing interests in Syria are only one element in Turkey’s troubled relationship with NATO members. Well before an attempted coup in the summer of 2016, there were growing concerns within NATO about Turkey’s drift towards authoritarianism. In the aftermath of the botched coup, those fears have intensified. Mr Erdogan, resentful of what he took to be insincere expressions of support from the West (in contrast with Vladimir Putin’s full-throated congratulations), has embarked on a brutal purge of anyone suspected of disloyalty. Among the 50,000 arrested and 110,000 dismissed from their jobs for supposed links with the exiled cleric, Fethullah Gulen (regarded as the plotter-in-chief), are about 11,000 military officers and pilots.

    According to one Turkish military analyst, 38% of Turkey’s generals were sacked. Many were singled out for being pro-Western secularists. Some 400 Turkish military envoys to NATO were fired and ordered home—many fled abroad rather than face jail—to be replaced by less qualified Erdogan loyalists, some of whom are actively hostile to NATO and sympathetic to its adversaries. General Curtis Scaparrotti, the alliance’s supreme commander, has complained of “degradation” in staff quality.

    In another episode, German MPs were last year (not for the first time) refused permission to visit German air crews flying support missions into Iraq from two bases in Turkey, Incirlik and Konya. It looked like punishment after Germany had banned Mr Erdogan’s supporters from holding rallies on its soil in support of his campaign to extend the powers of the presidency. (He called the ban a return to “Nazi practices”.) After an intervention by NATO’s civilian chief, Jens Stoltenberg, the Turks eventually allowed the lawmakers access to the AWACS crews at Konya. But the Germans still moved their Tornados from Incirlik to Muwaffaq Salti, an air base in Jordan which America is expanding, at a cost of $143m, as an insurance policy in case they need to leave Incirlik.

    The warmth of Turkey’s relations with Russia, particularly since the coup, is another worry. Mr Erdogan looks to his opposite number in the Kremlin as the man to do business with in Syria. He sees in him a strong and purposeful leader like himself. By cosying up to Mr Putin, he sends a message to NATO that he has other options. From Mr Putin’s point of view, Mr Erdogan gives him a means of dividing and weakening NATO and the West, which is his overriding strategic objective.

    Red on blue

    The most flagrant demonstration of Mr Erdogan’s Janus-faced foreign policy was the announcement in December that Turkey has signed an agreement to purchase two batteries of advanced S-400 surface-to-air missiles from Russia. The S-400 system cannot be integrated with NATO air-defence systems and, at least at first, will be set up and operated by Russians. Unless Turkey is frozen out of NATO information-sharing on countermeasures aimed at defeating the S-400, Russia can expect a windfall of intelligence.

    Most worrying, Turkey is a partner in the F-35 programme and is due to take delivery of 116 of the stealthy fighter jets that will be the mainstay of NATO’s combat air capability for the next 30 years. Turkey will be in a unique position to hone the S-400 against the F-35, knowledge that Russia may well take advantage of. Some national-security commentators in America argue that Turkey should either cancel the S-400 or be told it cannot buy the F-35. The resulting confrontation could lead to Turkey marching out of NATO.

    NATO officials are doing their best to put on a brave face. They point out that Turkey has also signed a deal with Eurosam, a European consortium building air-defence missiles, and that the S-400 may be just a stopgap. They also say that, in other ways, it is business as usual. Turkey is fulfilling its commitments to the alliance, for example by guarding Kabul airport and doing nothing to hinder a NATO-EU security agreement, which it could have blocked. There is sympathy, too, for Turkey’s vulnerability to terrorism and praise for the refugee burden it has borne. And even if there were a mechanism for suspending or expelling Turkey from NATO, which there is not (although its tarnished democratic credentials would prevent it joining the alliance as a new member), its geopolitical importance is as great as ever.

    The hope is that Mr Erdogan knows that Russia is using Turkey for its own purposes, and that it is no substitute for NATO as a long-term security partner. It is possible, too, that his post-coup paranoia will abate, although there is little sign of it. But as with many unhappy marriages, the reality is that—however fraught their relationship—Turkey and NATO have little choice but to try to make it work.

    This article appeared in the Europe section of the print edition under the headline "An unhappy marriage"

  28. #68
    Quote Originally Posted by Ragnarok View Post


    Now THAT is a scary map...
    Indeed

  29. #69
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    https://www.buzzfeed.com/borzoudarag...dB5#.dpwJWrLVQ

    The War In Syria Has Gotten More Unstable As Turkey Fights US Allies For Control

    It's been slow going in the 11 days since Turkey launched what it calls "Operation Olive Branch" inside Syria. It could take many, many more to the detriment of both its relations with the US and the lives of civilians.

    Posted on February 1, 2018, at 12:32 p.m.

    Borzou Daragahi
    BuzzFeed News Reporter

    Munzer al-Awad
    BuzzFeed Contributor

    Up above, past the muddy embankment, through the tree cover and scrub at the top of Bursaya Mountain, the forces of the Kurdish militia known as the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, lay in wait.

    For days the men of the Levantine Front, one of several Syrian Arab rebel groups fighting alongside Turkey, had been locked in combat with the Kurds. It had been a draining, relentless back-and-forth battle over control of Bursaya, which at 2,800 feet is one of the highest peaks in the strategic 900-square-mile corner of northwest Syria known as Afrin. Both sides in the conflict told BuzzFeed News controlling Bursaya and other hilltops was key to controlling Afrin. After a week of fighting, the weather had caused a brief halt.

    “The battles with the Kurdish separatist parties are always fierce because they grew up on the belief that they are oppressed and have rights to build their independent state,” Mohammed Abu Saleh, a Free Syrian Army military commander who serves as a Levantine Front brigade leader, told BuzzFeed News. “We have failed in several incursions to control the mountain because of the weather.”

    The grueling battle over Bursaya is one of at least eight military incursions by Turkey and its Syrian allies, mostly former rebels who fought against the Assad regime, into the Afrin pocket, the latest dimension of Syria’s messy seven-year war. It has been slow going, and some analysts predict the fight could stretch on for months, introducing a fresh layer of unpredictability to a war that has for more than half a decade shaken the region, tested alliances, and created the worst humanitarian disaster since World War II. Already Turks claim hundreds of YPG fighters have been neutralized while Kurds have claimed more than a dozen Turkish casualties, while civilian casualties mount. The fight only looks to get tougher as it moves toward the city of Afrin.

    “Urban warfare with PKK will be one of the crucial stages for this operation,” Murat Yesiltas, director of security studies at SETA, a think tank close to the Ankara government, told BuzzFeed News. “The duration of the operation may also potentially weaken Turkey’s military decisiveness.”

    After Afrin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insists Turkish forces will continue the operation all the way until the Iraqi border. That may be a stretch: Capturing the Afrin pocket may take many months, as it did for Turkey and its Syrian rebel allies to dislodge ISIS from the Jarablus area, the stretch of Syria’s north captured in a seven-month operation that began in August 2016. More realistically, Turks may set their sights on the Manbij area, a sector of northern Syria east of the Euphrates River where US military personnel are based. The US has warned Turkey not to attack Manbij, announcing that it has no plans to withdraw from the area, and dispatched an envoy from Washington to Ankara to get the point across.

    How well Kurds perform in Afrin could determine Turks’ future plans, raising the stakes of the current battle. “In the long term, the YPG can’t win,” said Michael A. Horowitz, an analyst at Le Beck, a security and risk management consultancy. “But they can make sure the operation will be costly enough that the Turkish threat to extend their operations to Manbij and eastern Syria will lose some of its edge.”

    But Turks, equipped with state-of-the-art warplanes and tanks, will likely win Afrin. “The Kurds depend on first-class snipers, artillery, and tanks, and we face fierce resistance at the beginning of entering any occupied village,” said Laith, a 22-year-old Syrian rebel fighter who has been battling against both ISIS and the YPG for much of his adult life. “But they have two choices because of the heavy pressure on them from Turkish heavy artillery shelling — either withdraw or get detained.”

    Turkish armed forces and allied militias numbering at least 25,000 fighters began their offensive to gain control of Afrin on Jan. 20. The reasons are complicated. Turkey says it’s to defend the country against terrorist threats, but the country’s law enforcement and intelligence apparatuses have successfully prevented any major terrorist attacks for more than a year.

    Turkey also says it sees a growing threat to its south. The enclave is run by the YPG, a Kurdish militia that is a sister organization to the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which imagines it as part of a future autonomously run region of Syria. It remains unclear what, if anything, triggered the operation. Turkey has been warning about the solidifying YPG presence to the south of its border for years, and has repeatedly criticized the US for arming and training the Kurds.

    “We neither have our eye on anyone's land nor ever intend to unjustly and unwarrantedly target anyone,” Erdogan said in a speech Tuesday. “That is why we exercised patience for six, seven years until it was no longer bearable. But from now on, we do not take heed of anyone.”

    But unlike Turkey’s fight to take Jarablus from ISIS last year, the Afrin offensive carries much more domestic and international risk the longer it continues.

    At home, the YPG has the sympathy of many of Turkey’s Kurds and some leftists. Most of Turkey’s political parties have endorsed the military intervention, and it seems well received by a public that sees the PKK as a longtime nemesis. But Turkey’s government has also severely cracked down on any Turks who’ve questioned the war, a further sign of the erosion of political space under Erdogan. On Tuesday, 11 members of the Turkish Medical Association’s central council were arrested for signing a statement opposing the incursion into Afrin.

    Turkish officials are vague about when they will finished in Afrin. “How long will the operation be?” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ told Anadolu Agency on Jan. 29. “This operation will continue until the last terrorist is neutralized. It is not possible to tell a certain period of time. The length of the operation depends on its success.”

    For Turkey, Operation Olive Branch, as it’s called, also carries enormous diplomatic risks by challenging clients of two global superpowers. The US appears to be nervously watching the Afrin operation, as its Kurdish allies criticize it for not taking a firmer stance in their defense, while publicly insisting that Turkey limits the operation in Afrin and be sensitive to civilian casualties.

    Though Turkey opposes the Assad regime, it has also managed to cultivate a broad, fairly solid understanding over Syria with Damascus’ primary patrons, Russia and Iran. Tehran has already protested the Turkish incursion, not wanting to allow Syrian rebels who oppose Assad expand their influence in northern Syria. Russia has signed off on the operation, at least for now. The longer the offensive continues, the more of chances of a battlefield encounters with Russian, Syrian or Iranian forces watching nervously from the sidelines.

    “The Turkey–Russia and the US triangle will be determinant factors,” said Yesiltas. “At this stage, both Russia and the US seem to accept Turkey’s operation. But it does not necessarily mean that this politics will not change. Turkey’s next military move will depend on whether Russia and the US will close their eyes against the continuation of military operation.”

    The multidimensional conflict in Syria has long been bedeviled by local and international players’ contradictory aims and opportunism. Syrian people wanted freedom from Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship, but watched helplessly as their uprising was largely hijacked by jihadi extremists seeking to establish various forms of harsh Islamic rule. Assad sought help from Iran and Russia, who have used his country as a geopolitical tool to confront the US and its partners. To wrest territory from ISIS, Washington partnered with YPG and its front groups, only to watch them seek to establish an autonomous state based on PKK principles in territories they capture.

    For the US, the outbreak of fighting in Afrin represents a glaring but heavily predicted complication in its efforts to fight against ISIS and play a role in determining Syria’s future: Turkey, a NATO ally, and US-trained Syrian rebel fighters are fighting Washington’s premier ally in northern Syria.

    For the last three years, the Syrian branch of the PKK and its front groups have served as the main partner in US efforts against ISIS in Syria. The PKK is a decades-old militant group fighting the Turkish government for a measure of autonomy for the country’s large Kurdish minority. Though feted in some Western circles either for its left-leaning stances it or its Syrian partners’ military skills, the PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by the US, European Union, and Turkey. In a further twist, the Syrian branch of the PKK and its front groups are also the main partner in US efforts against ISIS in Syria.

    With the war against ISIS drawing to a close, Turkey and its Syrian clients ignoring Washington, and Assad and his Iranian and Russian patrons nearly triumphant, the US finds it has few if any allies on the ground left, except for the YPG.

    “The problem is that Washington doesn't have many cards left in its hands in Syria,” said Horowitz. The YPG is the last one, he told BuzzFeed News. “After that, it's basically game over.”

    For the Turks, the battle for Afrin represents something of a milestone as Turkish forces for the first time robustly confront a PKK affiliate inside Syria. It’s a chance for Turkey to help shape the future of its southern neighbor even at the cost of alienating its NATO partners, especially the US, but also Germany, which has protested against weapons it has sold to Ankara being used in Afrin.

    Winning control of Afrin would also connect Syrian territories held by Turkey’s rebel allies in Aleppo to Idlib province, giving Ankara’s proxies dominion over a large section of the border. It would also deny the Kurds an enclave overseen by a PKK affiliate to the south of its border, which Ankara says it won’t tolerate.

    Turkey’s aim is to roll back territory controlled by the PKK’s allies degrade their military capacity, Yesiltas said. “At this stage, Turkey will not compromise over its strategic aims,” he said.

    Syria’s Kurds on the other hand hope to unite Afrin with the rest of their self-ruled region, which they call Rojava, across the country’s northeast. Syria’s Kurds were long oppressed under the dictatorship of Assad and his father, Hafez, who stripped them of their citizenship and deprived them of their language and cultural rights. They fought valiantly against ISIS, losing hundreds of fighters, eventually drawing the support of the US in the quest to dislodge the jihadi group from northern and northwest Syria, including from its capital, Raqqa. They now insist they will fight until the end to defend Afrin and reap the rewards for their tremendous sacrifices.

    “Turkey is the fourth-most-powerful army in the world and the second [largest] army in NATO,” Sihanouk Dibu, an adviser to the Rojava government, told BuzzFeed News. “It uses all kinds of weapons, in addition to [thousands of rebel fighters] alongside the Turkish army. They have not succeeded yet, and this in itself is a failure for them and a victory for us.”

    The big winner of Turkey’s endeavors could be Russia. Erdogan met Russian President Vladimir Putin five times last year, and certainly obtained a green light from the Kremlin before ordering tanks into Afrin. That bolsters Moscow’s status as arbiter of Syria’s future. The operation also forces Syria’s Kurds to decide whether to fight Turkey on their own or seek some kind of accommodation with Assad, which is ultimately Moscow’s aim.

    The newest layer of the Syria conflict also puts further strains on the lives of civilians, many trapped between warring forces and closed borders. Turkey insists it is taking care to limit disruption of civilian lives, noting that it hosts more Syrian refugees than any other country in the world. But the Kurdistan Red Crescent issued a statement on Wednesday saying at least 64 civilians had been killed in the fighting since the conflict began. At least 20 were children. Many families have taken shelter in basements of residential building for fear of being struck by rockets or airstrikes. Turkish armed forces said Wednesday at least 712 militants had been “neutralized.”

    At least 30 rockets allegedly fired by the Syrian Kurds have also reportedly struck inside Turkey, according to a Turkish official. One killed a 17-year-old female in Reyhanli on Wednesday, Turkish media reported.

    For ordinary people on the ground the war creates more death and destruction. Up to a million people live in Afrin, according to Syrian Kurdish officials.

    “Not a single neighborhood has been spared," Akram Salih, a reporter for the Iraqi-based Kurdistan 24 channel said in a report from Jandairis, a town inside Afrin that had been hit by Turkish airstrikes. “Most parts of the town have been destroyed. Many civilians whose homes have been destroyed are now living out in the open in very bad conditions."

    By late Saturday, the rain and snow had ceased and it was time for Turkey’s allies to move again. Turkish warplanes that had been at the leading edge of the offensive scoured the skies, launching airstrikes, while Turkish artillery hammered suspected YPG positions in the mountains and hilltops. The fighters moved up the slope in armored vehicles, some men equipped with night vision goggles. The clashes continued for five hours as Syrian fighters serving as a ground force for the Turks sought to seize well-fortified and strategically located YPG positions manned with snipers.

    By Sunday afternoon, Turkey claimed the fighting was finished when it had won control of Bursaya, though Kurdish media on Monday insisted some fighters were holding out. Syrian rebels said they killed and captured dozens of men. Gruesome photos showed FSA fighters standing on the bodies of YPG soldiers. Control of the mountain will make it easier to cordon off Afrin.

    “We are still on the top of the mountain,” Abu Saleh told BuzzFeed News in a conversation over WhatsApp. “We are protecting it as the key to liberating the rest of the region.”

    Burcu Karakas contributed additional reporting to this story.

    Borzou Daragahi is a Middle East correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Istanbul.

    Contact Borzou Daragahi at borzou.daragahi@buzzfeed.com.

    Munzer al-Awad is a journalist based in Istanbul.

    Contact Munzer al-Awad at munzer.alawad@buzzfeed.com.

  30. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doomer Doug View Post
    Create the crisis. Exploit the crisis. Create the problem; provide the solution. Yep, standard globalist, New World Order modus operandi now in play. Trump foolishly believed the LIES about Assad junior using nerve gas when Syrian jets blew up a warehouse full of our erstwile "anti-assad allies." Trump also forgot about the SARIN GAS caught coming over the Turkish border by our allies.

    And now, Trump is being lied to yet again by the traitors in the CIA, the neocon warmongers et al. Now Assad junior, for all his faults, is the one guy not raping and murdering Christians in Syria. NO, that is our "allies" doing that.

    Let me clear here: Erdogan has unleashed the beast and it will not be restrained now. Putin, Hezzbollah and Iran, and assad junior are not going to tolerate any serious threat to the Syrian state. Erdogan is going to annex NORTHERN SYRIA. And I can't say whether Putin gets that, or is just applying political analysis to what is a Turkish NATIONALIST, RESTORED OTTOMAN EMPIRE, AND MILITANT ISLAM IDEOLOGY. Most of them, the US, the EU, NATO, and Putin maybe don't get that we are dealing with a TURKISH JIHAD FOUNDED ON MILITANT ISLAM AND OTTOMAN IMPERIAL DESIRES.

    Oh, yeah, ain't things going to get interesting NOW.
    In part IMHO Erdogan is gambling that with all the crap flying inside the Beltway he has an opening to grab as much as the Iranians, Syrians and Russians will let him without Trump doing anything. That is a very dangerous assumption on his part particularly given that aside from Afrin, US forces are embedded with the YPG units that are being struck by the Turks.

    Considering Erdogan wants another Ottoman Empire lead by him as much as the Ayatollahs want a Shia run Persian Empire and Putin wants the greater Russian state back there are too many lit matches in a room 4 inches deep in gasoline for something a lot bigger not to happen.

  31. #71
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    BLACK HUMOR

    Hmm, Housecarl, a little bit of black humor there. NATO at the beginning of "crisis."
    NATO is way past the beginning of the crisis phase now. Like I posted, Erdogan is now operating on Islamic Jihad ideology and Imperial mandates now. NATO, well I almost, not really, feel sorry for some of those female defense chiefs in their pants suits trying to figure out Turkey's military ambitions. If we weren't on the edge of yet another regional Middle Eastern war, if we are lucky, it would be even more black humor to watch as a NATO meeting tried to figure out what to do about a guy who wants to the sultan of a restored Ottoman Empire.

    Now, one of the scenarios was while the cats away, the mice will play. Ergo, while Erdogan and his "allies" are pounding the Kurds, Assad junior sends his armor columns into the mix. Well now, gang AT SOME POINT ASSAD JUNIOR, THE RUSSIANS, HEZZBOLLAH/IRAN ARE GOING TO MIX IT UP WITH THE TURKS, THE USA, OR THE KURDS.

    Sorry Daniel Boone and Housecarl, you really can't have enough whiskey and ammo to really deal with it once that happens. At that point, you should be measuring your whiskey supply in gallons and not fifths.
    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" is available for sale at the following url
    http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007BRLFYU

  32. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doomer Doug View Post
    Create the crisis. Exploit the crisis. Create the problem; provide the solution. Yep, standard globalist, New World Order modus operandi now in play. Trump foolishly believed the LIES about Assad junior using nerve gas when Syrian jets blew up a warehouse full of our erstwile "anti-assad allies." Trump also forgot about the SARIN GAS caught coming over the Turkish border by our allies.

    And now, Trump is being lied to yet again by the traitors in the CIA, the neocon warmongers et al. Now Assad junior, for all his faults, is the one guy not raping and murdering Christians in Syria. NO, that is our "allies" doing that.

    Let me clear here: Erdogan has unleashed the beast and it will not be restrained now. Putin, Hezzbollah and Iran, and assad junior are not going to tolerate any serious threat to the Syrian state. Erdogan is going to annex NORTHERN SYRIA. And I can't say whether Putin gets that, or is just applying political analysis to what is a Turkish NATIONALIST, RESTORED OTTOMAN EMPIRE, AND MILITANT ISLAM IDEOLOGY. Most of them, the US, the EU, NATO, and Putin maybe don't get that we are dealing with a TURKISH JIHAD FOUNDED ON MILITANT ISLAM AND OTTOMAN IMPERIAL DESIRES.

    Oh, yeah, ain't things going to get interesting NOW.
    Please send Trump this memo.

  33. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doomer Doug View Post
    Hmm, Housecarl, a little bit of black humor there. NATO at the beginning of "crisis."
    NATO is way past the beginning of the crisis phase now. Like I posted, Erdogan is now operating on Islamic Jihad ideology and Imperial mandates now. NATO, well I almost, not really, feel sorry for some of those female defense chiefs in their pants suits trying to figure out Turkey's military ambitions. If we weren't on the edge of yet another regional Middle Eastern war, if we are lucky, it would be even more black humor to watch as a NATO meeting tried to figure out what to do about a guy who wants to the sultan of a restored Ottoman Empire.

    Now, one of the scenarios was while the cats away, the mice will play. Ergo, while Erdogan and his "allies" are pounding the Kurds, Assad junior sends his armor columns into the mix. Well now, gang AT SOME POINT ASSAD JUNIOR, THE RUSSIANS, HEZZBOLLAH/IRAN ARE GOING TO MIX IT UP WITH THE TURKS, THE USA, OR THE KURDS.

    Sorry Daniel Boone and Housecarl, you really can't have enough whiskey and ammo to really deal with it once that happens. At that point, you should be measuring your whiskey supply in gallons and not fifths.
    Yeah all the more to help wash down the KI (potassium iodide) tablets that will be the de rigueur at that point...

  34. #74
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    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    https://www.military.com/daily-news/...y-enclave.html

    Syria's Kurds Push US to Stop Turkish Assault on Key Enclave

    The Associated Press 1 Feb 2018 By Sarah El Deeb
    BEIRUT — Syria's Kurdish militia is growing frustrated with its patron, the United States, and is pressing it to do more to stop Turkey's assault on a key stronghold in Syria.

    The issue reflects a deeper concern among the Kurds over their alliance with the Americans, which proved vital to defeating the Islamic State group in Syria. The Kurds fear that ultimately they and their dream of self-rule will be the losers in the big powers' play over influence in Syria. Already the U.S. is in a tough spot, juggling between the interests of the Kurds, its only ally in war-torn Syria, and its relations with Turkey, a key NATO ally.

    The Kurdish militia views defending the Kurdish enclave of Afrin as an existential fight to preserve their territory. Afrin has major significance — it's one of the first Kurdish areas to rise up against President Bashar Assad and back self-rule, a base for senior fighters who pioneered the alliance with the Americans and a key link in their efforts to form a contiguous entity along Turkey's border. The offensive, which began Jan. 20, has so far killed more than 60 civilians and dozens of fighters on both sides, and displaced thousands.

    "How can they stand by and watch?" Aldar Khalil, a senior Kurdish politician said of the U.S.-led coalition against IS. "They should meet their obligations toward this force that participated with them (in the fight against terrorism.) We consider their unclear and indecisive positions as a source of concern."

    Khalil, one of the architects of the Kurds' self-administration, and three other senior Kurdish officials told The Associated Press that they have conveyed their frustration over what they consider a lack of decisive action to stop the Afrin assault to U.S. and other Western officials. They said U.S. officials have made confusing statements in public. One of the officials who agreed to discuss private meetings on condition of anonymity said some U.S. comments even amounted to tacit support for the assault.

    The fight for Afrin puts Washington in a bind with few good options. The Americans have little leverage and no troops in Afrin, which is located in a pocket of Kurdish control at the western edge of Syria's border with Turkey and is cut off from the rest of Kurdish-held territory by a Turkish-held enclave. The area is also crowded with other players. Russian troops were based there to prevent friction with Turkey until they withdrew ahead of the offensive, and the area — home to more than 300,000 civilians — is surrounded by territory held by Syrian government forces or al-Qaida-linked militants.

    The Americans' priority for the YPG — the main Kurdish militia that forms the backbone of forces allied to the U.S. — is for them to govern the large swath of territory wrested from the Islamic State group in northern and eastern Syria, including the city of Raqqa. Washington wants to prevent IS from resurging and keep Damascus' ally, Iran, out of the area.

    Afrin is not central to those American goals and U.S. officials say it will distract from the war on IS.

    The U.S-led coalition has distanced itself from the Kurdish forces in Afrin, saying they have not received American training and were not part of the war against the Islamic State group in eastern Syria. But it also implicitly criticized the Turkish assault as unhelpful.

    "Increased violence in Afrin disrupts what was a relatively stable area of Syria. Furthermore, it distracts from efforts to ensure the lasting defeat of Daesh and could be exploited by Daesh for resupply and safe haven," the coalition said in an emailed statement to the AP, using the Arabic acronym for IS.

    For its part, Turkey views the YPG as an extension of its own Kurdish insurgent groups and has vowed to "purge" them from its borders.

    While the U.S. may distance itself from the fighting in Afrin, it can't sit by silently if Turkey goes ahead with its threat to expand the fight to Manbij, a Syrian town to the east where American troops are deployed alongside Kurdish forces that took the town from IS in 2016.

    One option is a proposal by the Kurds to persuade Assad to deploy his troops as a buffer between the Kurds and Turks in Afrin. Nobohar Mustafa, a Kurdish envoy to Washington, said the Americans appear open to that proposal. However, so far Assad's government has refused; they want full control of the area.

    Another option could be to seek a compromise with Turkey by withdrawing U.S. and Kurdish forces from Manbij, said Elizabeth Teoman, a Turkey specialist with the Institute for the Study of War.

    "The Turks may accept that as an intermediate step, but the U.S. will consistently face threats of escalation from Turkey as long as we maintain our partnership with the Syrian Kurdish YPG," Teoman said.

    U.S. officials have reportedly said recently that they have no intention of pulling out of Manbij.

    Kurdish officials say they don't expect the Americans to go to war with Turkey or send troops to fight with them in Afrin.

    But "this doesn't mean the U.S. doesn't have a role in stopping the war on Afrin," said Mustafa, the Kurdish envoy to Washington. She said Kurdish officials weren't surprised the Americans have distanced themselves from the Afrin dispute "but we didn't expect their stance to be that low."

    She and Khalil have lobbied Washington and Europe for a more aggressive stance against Turkey's advances. Other than the proposal to allow Syrian border guards to deploy, they have suggested international observers along a narrow buffer zone. Mustafa said the U.S. could argue that the YPG presence in northwestern Syria, where al-Qaida-linked militants have their stronghold, is necessary to fight terrorism. Khalil said he has pressed other NATO members to urge Turkey to stop airstrikes.

    Meanwhile, a heated media campaign has been launched to "Save Afrin," while Kurdish supporters in Europe have staged regular protests and a senior YPG official wrote an op-ed for the New York Times.

    In Washington, U.S. officials rejected the notion that the United States hasn't tried hard enough to rein in Turkey. In addition to publicly urging Turkey to limit its operation and avoid expanding further east, they noted that President Donald Trump spoke about it directly with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The White House said that Trump used that call to urge Turkey to "deescalate, limit its military actions, and avoid civilian casualties and increases to displaced persons and refugees."

    They say that since Turkey has proceeded, the U.S. has been left with only bad options.

    Although the U.S. doesn't want to see Assad's government return to the area between Afrin and Turkey, it may be the "least worst situation," said a U.S. official involved in Syria policy.

    The United States has less ability to influence negotiations about how to secure the border than Russia, whose forces have long had a strong presence in the area, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private diplomatic discussions.

    The Trump administration has also quietly acknowledged that ultimately, the Kurds may be disappointed if they are expecting loyalty even on matters where U.S. and Kurdish interests diverge. Turkey, after all, is a NATO ally. Asked recently if Washington had a moral obligation to stick with the Kurds, senior Trump administration officials said Trump's "America first" doctrine dictated that the U.S. must always prioritize its own interests.

    From the Kurdish perspective, "the Americans are missing the whole point. If Erdogan is not stopped at Afrin, he will turn eastward and will not stop until he has destroyed the entire edifice" built by the Kurds in eastern Syria, said Nicholas Heras, of the Center for a New American Security.

    "The challenge for the YPG is that it has power only so long as it continues to act as the key, local proxy for the U.S. mission in Syria," Heras said.

    _____________

    Associated Press writers Josh Lederman and Lolita Baldor in Washington contributed to this report.

  35. #75
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    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....
    https://www.stripes.com/news/middle-...clave-1.509535

    Turkey-backed forces push into Syrian Kurdish enclave

    By PHILIP ISSA AND SARAH EL DEEB | Associated Press | Published: February 1, 2018

    BEIRUT — Intense battles raged Thursday as Kurdish fighters attempted to repel a new advance by Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters on their encircled enclave in northwestern Syria.

    Meanwhile, Syrian government forces pushed into Idlib province, an opposition stronghold nearby, inching closer to a key highway that connects Syria's two largest cities, Damascus and Aleppo.

    The separate offensives have sharply worsened the humanitarian situation in northern Syria. Some 15,000 civilians have been displaced inside the Kurdish-controlled enclave Afrin, with no place to run except the district's center, according to U.N. humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland. The figure could not be independently verified.

    The U.N. says more than 270,000 have been displaced in Idlib because of the government onslaught since Dec. 15.

    Turkey has mobilized some 10,000 Syrian opposition fighters to fight in its campaign against a Kurdish militant group in Afrin. That campaign, codenamed Operation Olive Branch, has drawn protest from the U.S. and France, who consider the Kurdish militia an ally in the war on the Islamic State group.

    Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency said the Turkish military cleared Bulbul, an area north of Afrin, Thursday. But the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that while the Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters have reached Bulbul, "crushing" battles were continuing with the Kurdish fighters.

    A video emerged Thursday showing the mutilated body of a Kurdish female fighter as what appears to be Turkey-backed Syrian fighters mill around, mocking her and touching her chest.

    Observatory director Rami Abdurrahman said he obtained the video from Syrian fighters, who managed to pull the body out of the battlefield. A Kurdish official, Rezan Hiddo, said the woman and another female fighter were killed during battles on Jan. 20 in north Afrin when the offensive began. Hiddo condemned the "barbaric" act.

    The Observatory said in 13 days, Turkish troops and allied fighters have seized control of 3 percent of the enclave, which has around 350 villages, relying heavily on airstrikes to advance.

    Turkey considers the Kurdish People's Protection Units - or YPG - to be an extension of a Kurdish insurgency inside Turkey and views the group at its borders as a national security threat.

    On Thursday, Turkey's military said its own Kurdish rebels have carried out two separate attacks against Turkish troops in Turkey and northern Iraq, killing at least three soldiers.

    The military said rebels belonging to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, attacked Turkish troops stationed in northern Iraq on Thursday, killing two soldiers and wounding two others.

    Another soldier was killed in an attack on his base near the town of Cukurca, in Turkey's Hakkari province that borders Iraq, according to the military. Five other soldiers were wounded in that assault.

    The PKK, which has been waging a three-decade long insurgency in Turkey, maintains bases in northern Iraq. Ankara considers the Syrian Kurdish fighters an extension of the PKK.

    Approximately 31 miles to the south of Afrin, pro-government forces pushed their way toward Saraqeb, in Idlib, the opposition's largest stronghold in the country, coming within 9 miles of the town, the Observatory reported. The highway that links Damascus and Aleppo passes just east of Saraqeb.

    Syria's military leveraged its monopoly on air power to carve a path deep inside Idlib to reach the Abu Dhuhour air base, 16 miles southeast of Saraqeb, last month. It then started marching toward Saraqeb, an important military center for rebels and al-Qaida-linked insurgents in control of Idlib.

    "The bombing has been non-stop," said local media activist Abdulghani Dabaan.

    Meanwhile, Turkey took umbrage at remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron, who warned against an "invasion operation" of Afrin.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called the warning an "insult" and said Thursday that France was in no position to "teach a lesson" to Turkey over its cross-border offensive, referring to past French military interventions in Algeria and other parts of Africa.

    Cavusoglu said France understood that Turkey was fighting "terrorists" and did not aim to invade Afrin.

    Turkish officials said a rocket fired from Syria hit a restaurant in the Turkish border town Kilis on Thursday, injuring at least five people.

    Kilis and the town of Reyhanli, both of which border Afrin, have been the targets of multiple rocket attacks that have killed at least four people, including a teenage girl, and injured dozens of others.

    Egeland, the U.N. humanitarian adviser, also said that aid deliveries to "besieged areas" in Syria have fallen to their lowest level since 2015 — before the task force was created — with no access to them at all for the last two months.

    ___

    Associated Press writers Jamey Keaten in Geneva and Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey, contributed to this report.

  36. #76
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    A video emerged Thursday showing the mutilated body of a Kurdish female fighter as what appears to be Turkey-backed Syrian fighters mill around, mocking her and touching her chest.

    On Thursday, Turkey's military said its own Kurdish rebels have carried out two separate attacks against Turkish troops in Turkey and northern Iraq, killing at least three soldiers.

    Approximately 31 miles to the south of Afrin, pro-government forces pushed their way toward Saraqeb, in Idlib, the opposition's largest stronghold in the country, coming within 9 miles of the town, the Observatory reported. The highway that links Damascus and Aleppo passes just east of Saraqeb.

    Kilis and the town of Reyhanli, both of which border Afrin, have been the targets of multiple rocket attacks that have killed at least four people, including a teenage girl, and injured dozens of others.


    The war is now spreading directly into Turkey. The Turks, and their allies, are now engaged in war crimes. The Kurds are kicking ass, even in the face of Turkish air superiority. Assad junior is closing in on Afrin AND DIRECT COMBAT WITH TURKISH TROOPS AND THEIR ALLIES.

    Yep, BUY WHISKEY WHILE YOU CAN!
    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" is available for sale at the following url
    http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007BRLFYU

  37. #77
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    Here are a few more details and allegations.
    SS

    US says Syria making new chemical weapons despite 2013 deal
    By JOSH LEDERMAN
    1 hour ago
    https://apnews.com/902856354ef34c04935e1b20fd9b080a Link copied!

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration on Thursday accused Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government of producing and using “new kinds of weapons” to deliver deadly chemicals despite committing to abolish its program in 2013, and said the world must find a way to stop it.

    President Donald Trump has not ruled out additional military action to deter attacks or punish Assad, administration officials said, although they did not suggest any action was imminent. They emphasized that the United States was seeking a new way to hold chemical weapons-users accountable and wanted cooperation from Russia, Assad’s patron, in pressuring him to end the attacks.

    Raising the alarm about the continued threat, U.S. officials said it was “highly likely” that Assad kept a hidden stockpile of chemical weapons after 2013 that he failed to properly disclose. They said information gathered from recent alleged attacks also suggested that Assad retained a “continued production capacity” — also banned under the 2013 deal.

    There were no indications that the Syria government, after seven years of civil war, had developed new, deadlier chemicals. Rather, the officials said Assad’s forces are using the same chemicals — chlorine and sarin — but in more sophisticated ways, potentially to evade international accountability by making the origins of attacks harder to trace.

    Barrel bombs used earlier in the war to disperse chemicals indiscriminately, for example, have been replaced by ground-launched munitions, officials said. More recent attacks have involved both chlorine, which has nonchemical uses and is easier to acquire, and the more sophisticated chemical sarin, the officials said.

    The officials weren’t authorized to speak on the record and briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.

    Though evidence-collection is different in the middle of a war zone, the officials said the U.S. has a firm understanding of the extent of chemical use in Syria through a combination of intelligence, sample testing by third countries, and social media and other open-source information, the officials said.

    Assad’s government has denied using chemical weapons. Syria’s chief ally, Russia, has claimed that the reports are false attempts to pressure Syria’s government or provocations perpetrated by opposition groups.

    Syria and Russia have dismissed the conclusions of the Joint Investigative Mission, an expert body set up by the United Nations and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, that Assad’s government used chlorine gas in 2014 and 2015, and sarin in April 2017. Late last year, Russia used its U.N. Security Council veto to prevent the investigative body from being renewed, arguing it had been discredited. That led the U.S. and other nations to accuse Moscow of covering for chemical use by Assad’s forces.

    Use of such widely deplored weapons comes with great risk for Assad, raising questions about why he would take the chance. But the officials said the U.S. believes Assad’s government sees chemical attacks as an effective way to terrorize rebels and sympathetic populations into fleeing, therefore altering the demographic balance in the Alawite heartland where Assad is trying to consolidate control. Assad is a member of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam that forms a minority of Syria’s population.

    Yet Syria’s government isn’t the only chemical weapons threat in the region, according to the officials. The Islamic State group continues to use them, they said, although the militants’ arms are said to be more rudimentary.

    Though IS no longer controls large parts of Syria or Iraq, the officials said the extremist group continues to use sulfur mustard, via artillery shells, and chlorine, delivered by improvised explosive devices. The officials noted that the underlying chemicals are easy to acquire or produce, and said the U.S. does not believe IS has gotten ahold of military stockpiles in either Iraq or Syria.

    Years of efforts by two U.S. presidents have failed to end the harrowing reports on chemical weapons use in Syria.

    Under President Barack Obama, the United States stopped short of striking Assad’s forces in response, but brokered a deal with Russia to rid Syria of its stockpiles. After another alleged attack in April 2017, President Donald Trump ordered a retaliatory missile strike, but 10 months later, the U.S. and international observers say the weapons are still used.

    Reports of chemical attacks have continued to stream in from Syria, including as recently as Thursday, when rescue workers in the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma reported what they described as a suspected chlorine gas attack that injured a number of civilians. The opposition-run Ghouta Media Center reported in a posting on its Facebook page that three people were killed and dozens suffered shortness of breath as a result of surface-to-surface missiles, some of them carrying chlorine gas.

    The reports could not be independently verified and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war in Syria via activists on the ground, was unable to confirm the reports either. The accounts followed a suspected attack in late January near Damascus that activists and rescue teams said affected nearly 20 civilians.

    https://apnews.com/902856354ef34c049...&utm_medium=AP
    “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

  38. #78
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    This is where Trump shows what a moron he is. It really pisses me off. It is too late to change your position when you have already let the good (er) guys get wiped out.

  39. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by LightEcho View Post
    This is where Trump shows what a moron he is. It really pisses me off. It is too late to change your position when you have already let the good (er) guys get wiped out.
    A big part of the problem is there are no "white hats" in this mess, only varying shadings of grey/black.

  40. #80
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    The Middle East doesn't really have "good guys." They never have, and likely never will. What you have is bad people, worse people, mediocre people, and then the lawyers and politicians get involved.
    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" is available for sale at the following url
    http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007BRLFYU

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