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Putin and Erdogan discuss political solution for Syria but Kurds cause controversy

- Erdogan Putin Sochi Russia Nov 2017 - Putin and Erdogan discuss political solution for Syria but Kurds cause controversy


nsnbc : Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President R. Tayyip Erdogan met for a working meeting at a presidential residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Monday; Among others to discuss the prospect of a political resolution for the war in Syria.

The office of Turkey’s presidency stated “We had an opportunity to discuss the latest developments about the Syrian conflict. We both agree that at the point we have reached there is now a basis for us to focus on political resolution.” The Kremlin issued a statement quoting Putin as saying that Russia and Turkey “cooperate very closely on security in the Syrian region.”

Iran, Turkey and Russia are the guarantors of the peace talks in Astana where both the Syrian government and opposition groups not listed as international terrorist organizations by the UN Security Council participate. The Astana talks have among others led to ceasefires and de-escalation zones. The talks are held parallel to the stalled Geneva talks.

Putin told reporters “I would like to note with satisfaction that our joint work with Turkey and Iran as guarantors of the ‘Astana process’ continues to yield concrete results. … The level of violence has certainly decreased and favorable conditions are being created for promoting inter-Syrian dialogue under the auspices of the UN.”

Russia and Turkey began a process to normalize relations following Turkey downing a Russian military jet in late 2015. Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov was also killed by a Turkish off duty police officer under extremely suspicious circumstances in December 2016. However, Putin called Turkish-Russian relations “almost fully restored” as he and Erdogan prepared their teams for the talks. “

Naturally, our bilateral relations as well as cooperation in solving regional issues give us a chance to look to the future with greater clarity,” added Erdogan, according to the Kremlin.

Putin_Trump_APEC_Vietnam_Nov 2017  - Putin Trump APEC Vietnam Nov 2017 300x184 - Putin and Erdogan discuss political solution for Syria but Kurds cause controversy

However, prior to the meeting, Erdogan expressed his frustration at the presence of US and Russian troops in Syria. The Turkish daily Hürriyet quoted Erdogan as saying: “I am having trouble understanding these comments. … If a military solution is out of the question, then those who say this should pull their troops out.”

That said, Turkey has troops deployed in Syria as part of agreements reached in Astana, but Turkey has, since the onset of the war had troops, including special forces deployed among “rebels” in Syria and backed both al-Nusra and ISIS militarily. Erdogan’s remark came in response to a joint statement by Putin and Trump on Saturday following their meeting in Vietnam where the two agreed that only a political solution could end the war in Syria.

Neglecting the fact that Turkey participated in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein and that Turkey still has troops there, Erdogan reminded reporters that “the United States had promised to leave Iraq but hasn’t done so”. “The United States has 13 bases in Syria in total and Russia has five others,” Erdogan said.

The US-led international coalition against ISIS has supported Kurdish YPG / YPJ fighters in northern Syria. Turkey has opposed the alliance, claiming the forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG).  The U.S.-backed YPG/YPJ constitute the main and core fighting force within the also U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Turkey has sharply criticized the United States for its support of and cooperation with the Kurds. Ankara designated the PYD, YPG/YPJ nexus as terrorist organizations allied and on par with Turkey’s Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK).

Ankara has since relations with Moscow were restored tried to lobby against the inclusion of the PYD, YPG/YPJ in peace talks in Geneva and Astana. However, Turkey has difficulties with convincing Russia despite the fact that the YPG/YPJ enjoy U.S. military support. The PKK and Syrian Kurds have traditionally been backed by Moscow and Damascus as “stay-behind” assets in the case of a war between Turkey and Syria or a war between Russia (ex Soviet Union) and NATO.

ISIS families_Rojava_Syria_Nov 2017_1  - 1510659919 421 ISIS families Rojava Syria Nov 2017 1 300x190 - Putin and Erdogan discuss political solution for Syria but Kurds cause controversyIt is safe to presume that the YPG’s release of Russian ISIS women and children was well-timed to coincide with Erdogan’s visit in Sochi. Abdulkarim Omar, Head of Jazira Foreign Relations Commission said Kurdish military and civilian authorities in Syrian Rojava handed over to the Russian government 52 Russian citizens known as ISIS families on Sunday. The families numbered nine women and 43 children. Abdulkarim Omar said Kurds in Syria appreciated Russia’s support for their efforts to achieve self-rule as well as Kurdish participation in Syria’s political process. He added that the handover of the “ISIS families” was a gesture of reciprocity between Kurds and Russia. Omar added:

“From our commitment to human rights and international treaties and agreements, today a number of Russian citizens will be handed over on their own accord and without any force as long as they have not taken part in combat and have no blood of Syrians on their hands, they’ll be handed over to the Russian government.” 

YPG_ISIS families_Rojava_Syria_Nov 2017  - YPG ISIS families Rojava Syria Nov 2017 300x191 - Putin and Erdogan discuss political solution for Syria but Kurds cause controversyAt a ceremony attended by Kurdish and Russian military and civilian envoy the families were put on buses and under Russian government responsibility. Nuri Mahmoud an official spokesman for the People’s protection Units (YPG) told reporters:

“We’re handing over ISIS families to the Russian state. I’d like to say that as YPG, YPJ and the SDF we treated those women humanely.” 

Dr. Ziad al-Sabsabi, Deputy Head of Foreign Relations Commission at the Russian Duma also told reporters that: “Russia always insists on the participation of Kurds in the Geneva talks, Astana talks, and future conferences. ..- But we’ve to be also realistic. Russia cannot completely ignore the Geneva talks just to impose a Kurdish participation. It’s no secret that Russia always represents Kurdish interests and takes into account their side in all negotiations.”

Moscow signaled clearly again, that Russia has insisted and continues to insist that Kurds, that is the PYD and its military wings the YPG and the all-female YPJ should be represented in Geneva and Astana to find a political solution. With regards to the Kurdish question there is, in other words, and despite “restored bilateral relations” a greater convergence in the policies of Moscow and Washington than there is in the policies of Ankara and Moscow.

CH/L & F/AK – nsnbc 14.11.2017

NSNBC

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kurdistan

US-led coalition strikes kill 150 Islamic State militants in Syria



A pair of US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles flying over northern Iraq  - 3607 - US-led coalition strikes kill 150 Islamic State militants in Syria

US-led coalition strikes kill 150 Islamic State militants in Syria

Strikes near As Shafah come as the US urged Turkey to focus on fighting Isis and show restraint in its campaign against Kurdish forces







A pair of US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles flying over northern Iraq  - 3607 - US-led coalition strikes kill 150 Islamic State militants in Syria









The US has signalled an open-ended military presence in Syria as part of a broader strategy to prevent Islamic State’s resurgence
Photograph: Senior Airman Matthew Bruch/AFP/Getty Images

The US-led coalition fighting Islamic State has said it has killed nearly 150 militants in strikesin the Syrian middle Euphrates valley.

The strikes on Saturday come as the US urged Turkey to show restraint in its campaign against Kurdish forces in northern Syria and to focus on fighting Isis. On Tuesday, Turkey claimed to have killed 260 Kurdish and Isis fighters in a four-day offensive the north of the country.

The US has signalled an open-ended military presence in Syria as part of a broader strategy to prevent a resurgence of Isis, pave the way diplomatically for the eventual departure of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and curtail Iran’s influence.

“The precision strikes were a culmination of extensive intelligence preparation to confirm an Isis headquarters and command and control center in an exclusively Isis-occupied location in the contested middle Euphrates river valley,” said a statement issued on Tuesday by the coalition.

The strikes took place near As Shafah, Syria and killed between 145 and 150 militants. The statement added that US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which includes Kurdish YPG fighters, helped in target observation.

Turkey seeks to avoid any clash with US, Russian or Syrian forces but will take any steps needed for its security, a Turkish minister said on Tuesday, the fourth day of its air and ground offensive against Kurdish forces.

The United States and Russia both have military forces in Syria and have urged Turkey to show restraint in its campaign, named Operation Olive Branch, to crush the US-backed Kurdish YPG in the Afrin region on Turkey’s southern border.

“Our SDF partners are still making daily progress and sacrifices, and together we are still finding, targeting and killing ISIS terrorists intent on keeping their extremist hold on the region,” maj gen James Jarrard, commander of special operations for the coalition, said in the statement.

The United States has led an international coalition conducting air strikes against Islamic State since 2014. US troops have served as advisers on the ground with Iraqi government forces and with Kurdish and Arab groups in Syria.

The coalition has said in the past that fewer than 1,000 Islamic State fighters remain in Iraq and Syria, but that the militant group still remains a threat. The figure excludes areas in western Syria under the control of Assadss government and his allies.



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Kurds in Canada urge Turkey to ‘stop spilling Kurdish blood’ in Afrin

- KACOttawa - Kurds in Canada urge Turkey to ‘stop spilling Kurdish blood’ in Afrin


Rojen Rahmani, head of lobbying and advocacy for KAC, said the Canadian government needs to respond and condemn Turkey’s violent campaign in Rojava.

“I think Canada’s response to Turkey’s attack on Afrin needs to be louder,” she told Kurdistan 24. “[Canada] needs to play a larger role taking into account the YPG forces are an ally of America and Canada.”

Turkish warplanes began striking the Kurdish city of Afrin on Saturday as ground troops entered the region the following day.

The campaign dubbed “Operation Olive Branch” is meant to clear Syria’s Kurdish-held northwest district of People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters who Turkey claims are an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Ankara has labeled the US-backed Kurdish forces a “terrorist organization” and has been infuriated by Washington’s support for the YPG.

The US, which is backing the YPG in the ongoing battle against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria, said it was concerned regarding the situation.



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New Governor Steps Up Arabisation Campaign in Kirkuk

- 955d54c3357369ad15d1991b10e69675 L - New Governor Steps Up Arabisation Campaign in Kirkuk


KIRKUK — The new governor of Kirkuk who was appointed by the Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi, Rakan Saeed, helps the Arabisation campaign against the indigenous Kurdish population of the province.

According to a written document, a copy of which was obtained by BasNews, signed by the governor himself, Saeed urges the security forces based in Nawroz district of Kirkuk to send him the list of names who have been given lands by the directorate of the area.

The documents also show that the people whom their names are in the wanted list have to leave the place in 7 days otherwise they bear the responsibility.

According to the information obtained by BasNews, the number of residents who have been warned to leave their properties is estimated to be 130 families who had built their houses 14 years ago in Kirkuk.

Political observers believe that Saeed’s documents are to intensify the Arabisation in Kirkuk province, therefore he should be stopped.

On October 16th, 2017, Hashed-al Shaabi in collaboration with a few other militias which were allied by some “traitors” in Kurdish military forces, invaded Kirkuk, Tuz Khurmatu, and Khanaqin. During the invasion, hundreds of citizens were killed or severely injured despite the fact that approximately 200,000 people fled their cities.





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