Operation Euphrates Shield Undermines Kurdish Hopes for Autonomy in Syria

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On August 24, Turkey, in close cooperation with the United States, destroyed the hopes of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) to link up Kurdish cantons in northern Syria and de facto set up a semi-independent state along the Turkish border. The Turkish Armed Forces and militant groups loyal to Ankara entered Syria, supported by the US Air Force, and seized the strategic city of Jarablus and nearby villages from ISIS. First clashes with usage of small arms, military equipment and artillery, were reported between the Turkish-led forces and the forces loyal to the PYD (they operate under the brand of the so-called “Syrian Democratic Forces or SDF”) south of Jarablus late on this day.

The US clearly supported Ankara’s wiliness to knock out Kurds from the west of the Euphrates River the very same day when Vice President Biden warned Kurdish forces that the US will cut all support to them if they do not comply with the Turkish demands.

Initially, YPG Spokesman Rêdur Xelil said that they will withdraw their forces from west of Euphrates and nobody can subject them to such an imposition and blamed Ankara for the intervention. However, on August 25, the US Department of Defense informed that the SDF have moved east across the Euphrates to prepare for the eventual liberation of Raqqa. It remains unclear what forces will keep control of Manbij after this. Another prize in northern Aleppo province is the ISIS-controlled city of al-Bab. The Turkish-led forces will likely advance on it after securing the area along the Syrian-Turkish border.

Following the Hasakah incident and repetitive claims that the Kurds are ready to coordinate their actions in Syria only with the US, the PYD leadership faced the reality of such coordination. Officially Moscow and Damascus condemned the Turkish intervention. However, a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry unofficially said that Moscow’s attitude towards the Turkish actions will depend on the level of their coordination with Moscow and Damascus.

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  • Athassino

    What happend now? It looks like Erdogan is again with USA….poor Kurds.

    • Aquartertoseven

      So bizarre to vehemently drive towards Manbij and provide airstrikes, only to immediately want the opposite now. If the Kurds were still pals with the Russians, this might not have happened.

      • Mahmoud Larfi

        Manbij was just liberated by SDF from ISIS to be given 2 weeks later by the US to the moderate beheaders of the criminal Sultan.
        Kurds = useful idiots.

        • χρηστος

          “moderate beheaders” …true very true indeed…..

    • Sergio González

      Seems to me that the US caught wind of the Kurds trying to be too greedy and fully conquer the whole of northern syria. Just look at the recent events at Hasakah and Qamisli, where syrian troops and many civilians were forcefully expelled from their places (many died). And I think that, since the US doesn’t want to mess with Russia’s allies (SAA, NDF) too much, they just terminated the Kurds’ dream of Rojava. But they had it coming – Kurds betrayed SAA and got betrayed by the US.

      • Barry

        Lol that backfire though

      • Brandon Thompson

        I don’t think it is right to say the ‘Kurds betrayed SAA”. Some did, but that was in that area only; so not all. And it is really well known that turkey prefers ISIS and FSA over Kurds. So of course they are going to block Kurdish gains that would eventually cut the supply from the terrorist.

        • Sergio González

          Agreed. I’m not cheering on the turks, we all know for a fact that they’ve been trading with ISIS for months until russia’s foreign ministry started publishing pics of ISIS trucks loaded with oil on the border crossings.
          And no, it was not in that area only. Kurds in Sheikh Maqsoud shelled the Castello highway for a period of time. Same with the Kurds near Nubl and Zarhaa, look it up.

      • wimroffel

        Did you hear the US protest the Kurds over Hasakah? It seems to me quite probable that they were involved. Maybe it was a kind of consolation prize for giving up Manbij.

        • Sergio González

          What was a really hypocrite move from the US, was to threaten to shoot down any syrian or russian warplane conducting airstrikes near their forces.. which are dissemined within the Kurds.
          So they invaded Syria illegally, set up a base illegally, sponsored armed groups that attacked the government forces, but once assad started retaliating they whined and tried to spin it around as a threat towards the US.

    • Bill Rood

      Looks also like Russia, Syria and Iran have been severely snookered by Erdogan, with US help of course. I have to say it was a masterful plan. First, organize a coup deliberately intended to fail and leak it to Russians who “warn” Erdogan about something he knew very well was coming down. Erdogan pretends he’s hurt by US treachery, feigns gratitude for Russia’s warning and pretends he’s going to seal the border. Meanwhile, US snookers Kruds into alienating Russia and the Syrian government. Now, Turkey gets its “safe zone” in Northern Syria, the border is not sealed and things look very dire for both Kurds and Syrian government.

      • jj

        Plus Erdogan also gets to crackdown on all opposition and go on witch hunts for being the supposed poor victim of the coup attempt.

      • Obama K Huntman

        It really doesn’t matter aside from Idlib Province and the city of Aleppo, the war is essentially over for the most part.
        The U.S military and the Kurds will surround Raqqa by the end of the year.
        The Deir Al Zour siege is almost over as well given heavy Russian Bombardment

        • Bill Rood

          It matters quite a bit. If the war “ends” with Turkey in possession of northern Syria (some predict including Aleppo) and the US and its Kurd allies in possession of Raqqa, Syria is effectively partitioned.

    • Rojava isn’t dead.. but it will not include anything west of the Euphrates. Most likely outcome: Kurds get NE corner of Syria, FSA-Turky gets NW Syria (including Jarabulus, Aleppo, Raqaa, Deir Zor), Assad gets western Syria (including Idlib, Latakia, Homs, Damasq). Essentially all parties sit at a table with a gigantic map and scissors and the war ends.

    • BMWA1

      Its a question now as to whether Erdo is a triple crosser or a quadruple crosser.

    • Farisian

      You guys didn’t get it.
      – Erdogan = Muslim Brotherhood = islamic reactionaries who are eager to play by the US rules (elections and WTO), to take power from the secular governments
      – Turkey = NATO pawn since 1952, whose airspace was used as training camp for the IDF jets
      – US narrative = “the inevitable march towards multicultural liberal democracy” => supports implementation of “democracy” (= rule of relativism = rule of money), through War & InfoWar, even if the Muslim Brotherhood wins elections or islamists win civil war. They then expect to beat the islamists, through dialectics.
      => hence their support of Erdogan in 2003, “Arab Spring” in 2011, Morsi in 2012-13, islamists in Syria, etc.
      – There is an Israeli plan, the Yinon plan, to balkanize the Middle-East into “democracies” using local identities as leverage. Being spread over 4 key countries, the Kurds are essential.

      – Russia = opponent of NATO and American-Israeli imperialism since Stalin refused a world UN government.
      Since USSR, they have ties with the Kurdish PKK, but Öcallan has moved towards Trotskysm and CIA. Putin keeps the Kurdish card in the event Turkey would use the Chechen card.

      Now, antizionism is very strong in the Muslim world, no matter where you look.
      In Turkey, the AK Party is not zionist. It looks like they played the US game of democracy, and, after some cheating over press freedom, they won.

      Note the US can’t say much now. They need Turkey. Now that the Kemalists, and even Gülenists, are removed from the State and Deep State, the US have little leverage on Turkey, to keep it in line.

      Davutoğlu (PM 2014-2016, FM 2009-2014) is the mindmaster of Turkey’s strategy since the AK Party rose to power. In 2001 he wrote a book called “Strategic Depth” in which he argued that Turkey has the capacity to be a regional power, under some conditions.
      – “at home, solve the Kurdish question and the secularism question”
      – “zero problem with neighbours policy” – this is a strategy, not an article of faith
      Yet this was tried at first. The AKP received votes from the Kurdish regions. And Turkish diplomacy restored ties with Armenia, Iran, Syria.

      Davutoğlu also said that Turkey’s relationship with Israel was “unnatural” and should instead foster ties with Turkic minorities. Erdogan clashed with Shimon Peres in 2009. In 2010 Turkey sent a Flotilla
      to Gaza, the Israelis killed 10+, and Israeli-Turkish relationships were
      damaged for 6 years.

      With the Arab spring and the Syrian war, the “0 problem policy” was a mere dream.
      Davutoğlu himself lost it. War in Syria, War in Karabagh, no ties with Russia, no ties with Israel, civil war with the Kurds, strained relationship with the EU, and criticism from the US.

      He was replaced in May 2016 by Yıldırım, who immediately restored ties with Israel and let Gülenists attempt their coup. What better idea than a purge, to “solve all domestic issues”? He then moved on to restore ties with Russia, and Syria. “0 problem policy”.

      The Muslim brotherhood ideology is at odds with the US/Zionist imperialism. But Turkey is still going to get as much as they can.

  • Doom Sternz

    Poland trained putchists two months in advance of the Maidan, even the Polish press had disclosed the role of Donald Tusk’s government in preparing the coup. This illustrates the role assigned by NATO to Poland in Ukraine. To overthrow the government of its neighbour state, Poland resorted to neo-Nazi activists in the same way that NATO in Turkey uses Al-Qaeda (Al Nusra Front) to overthrow the Syrian government.

    • BofBof

      Nobody cares anymore if you use the term of Nazi or Neo-nazi. The grandfathers of all russian people were allied with Hitler till 1941, don’t you know ?

      • Death to Imperialism, freedom

        >Allied
        Lmao, the USSR was never allied to Nazis, it was merely an agreement setting up ceasefire.

    • BMWA1

      Yes, I have read this too about the training program, but not abut the Tusk ;heritage’. Thanks.

    • Barry

      And this has exactly what to do with Syria?

  • Mustafa

    Long live President Erdogan, the man of the people, by the people, for the people!

    • ASA

      long live erdogan in prison

    • Random guy

      which people?

  • Ronald

    Syria could fly troops into Manbij , and armor , before the Turks reach that far south. The Kurds could have given the government a heads up, but they still have not realized that the Americans are only pretend friends. What will it take to wake them up ?

    • Barry

      Not sure if you realize that the SAA is tied up with trying to stay alive. They cannot airlift anything without Iranian or Russian planes doing it (and carrying HA or Iranian/Afghan/Iraqi forces).

  • Barry

    Obama and Biden betrayed the Kurds, again. Great American tradition of stabbing allies in the back to try to impress your worst enemies who continue to hate you. Sigh.

  • enemies R among us

    Overall, a quarter of Russian men die before reaching 55, compared with 7% of men in the UK and about 10% in the United States. The life expectancy for men in Russia is 64 years, placing it among the lowest 50 countries in the world in that category.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/31/russian-men-losing-years-to-vodka

    Russia’s Depopulation Bomb:

    http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/article/drunken-nation-russia%E2%80%99s-depopulation-bomb

    High mortality, low fertility and emigration of the well-educated are shrinking Russia

    http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/russian-demographics-perfect-storm

    Russia’s Great Shift Downward:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-28/russia-s-economy-faces-long-term-decline

    Earlier in the week an independent report had concluded urine samples of Russian athletes had been manipulated across the “vast majority” of Summer and Winter Olympic sports from 2011 through to August 2015.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2016/07/21/sport/russia-doping-ban-rio-2016-olympic-games/

    Russia Has Highest Level Of Wealth Inequality:

    http://www.rferl.mobi/a/russia-billionaire-wealth-inequality/25132471.html

    Which arises from massive political corruption.