"And I have found both freedom and safety in my madness, the freedom of loneliness and the safety from being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us. But let me not be too proud of my safety. Even a Thief in a jail is safe from another thief. "

Khalil Gibran (How I Became a Madman)



Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Syria in a Week (19 February 2018)- Salon Syria

“Useful Syria” with United States and its Allies

14 February 2018

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said at the end of the Ministerial Meeting of the Global Coalition against ISIS in Kuwait that the United States and its allies control thirty percent of Syrian territories and oil fields. The total area of Syria is one hundred and eighty-five thousand square kilometers.
“We are very active in the discussions that are moving, all the talk toward Geneva. There are efforts to unify the opposition,” Tillerson said and added: “We are working very closely with Russia, who has the greatest influence on the Assad regime and can bring Assad and the regime to the negotiating table in Geneva in order to reach a unified Syria.”
This coincided with the meeting of fifteen defense ministers, representing countries in the Global Coalition, in which they discussed continuing their joint action. The US Defense Minister James Mattis talked about the need to reinstate public services in areas in eastern Syria, where ISIS has been driven out by Syrian Democratic Forces backed by the United States.
On the other hand, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned against “dangerous unilateral measures” taken by the United States in eastern Syria, saying that these measures “threaten the unity of the country.”

Fuss over Russian “Mercenaries”

14 February 2018

A fuss has risen in Moscow after leaks about units of ‘Russian mercenaries’ fighting alongside Syrian government forces in Syria coming under fierce attack on the night of 8 February, near the city of Deir al-Zour and US forces, which resulted in a great number of deaths.
Phone conversations made by survivors of the “massacre” were leaked, in which they described the details of the surprise attack and its consequences. They strongly criticized Russian authorities who “avoided even mentioning this disaster, as if we are not humans.”
According to media reports, the leaks came from Ukraine where “colleagues” of the “Russian mercenaries” are active in the ongoing battles, within the so-called Wagner Army, which is comprised of informal armed formations that pay good salaries in exchange for carrying out special military operations.
Details of the participation of this army alongside government forces in battles that sought to control oil positions in Syria were widely circulated. This army was strongly active in the Ukrainian war alongside Ukrainian separatists backed by Moscow. The Russian government does not formally recognize the presence of a ‘special army’ in Syria, and does not usually incorporate its losses in official Russian military losses.
In three of the phone conversations made by survivors of the US bombardment with their friends, the callers talked about the details the occurred that night.
It is worth mentioning, that a short time before the conversations were leaked, Russian volunteers in Ukraine created some chaos on the ‘tragedy’ their colleagues suffered in Syria.
The Kremlin said it had no information about reports of the killing of Russian mercenaries in Syria, and that it only knows of the presence of individuals from Russian armed forces.

Turkish Post in Idlib

16 February 2018

Turkish forces have established a new ‘observation post’ in the governorate of Idlib, according to government media reports.
The official Anatolia news agency said the post, a center with a small number of soldiers deployed to monitor clashes, is seventy kilometers away from the Turkish border in the Syrian governorate situated northwest of the country.
The news agency added that a Turkish military convoy crossed the Turkish-Syrian border. The post was established in the town of Ma’ret al-No’man, southeast of Idlib.
This is the sixth such post in the governorate, after the Turkish army established two other posts this month, in addition to three other posts previously established in October and November.
Turkish military convoys have come under attacks, including one in February resulting in the death of one soldier.

Afrin and Manbij

17 February 2018

Features of international/regional understandings to divide northern Syrian have started to emerge, in which US-Turkish forces are deployed in the town of Manbij, in exchange for a Russian-supported ‘symbolic presence’ of Syrian government forces in the town of Afrin.
Talks were held between the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Damascus to reach a deal stipulating “the symbolic entrance of Syrian government forces and security institutions to central Afrin.” This coincided with the regime allowing Kurds to demonstrate in Damascus against the Turkish operation, holding pictures of the leader of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) Abdullah Ocallan, who was arrested nineteen years ago after being expelled from Damascus according to an understanding with Ankara. The PKK has been considered a terrorist organization ever since.
This coincided with an understanding between Ankara and the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the deployment of Turkish-US forces in Manbij to kick out the YPG to east of the Euphrates.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Turkey to hand over Afrin to Syrian army once Kurds defeated- Gulf News

London: Russia gave Turkey the greenlight to attack Kurdish-controlled enclaves in northern Syria on the condition that those areas be handed over to the Syrian army once the Kurds were defeated, a source in Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Gulf News on the condition of anonymity.

During the meeting that took place two days before the operation began, Russia agreed to evacuate its military personnel from the Menagh airbase, which was assaulted by Turkish fighter jets on Saturday.

The revelation has sparked speculation that the operation’s peculiar name —Operation Olive Branch — is in fact meant for the Syrian government.

Those who help Kurdish fighters in Afrin will become Turkey’s targets – PM Yildirim- RT

Any party which provides logistical support to YPG militants in the Afrin region will become a target of Turkey’s military, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has warned.

When asked what would happen if the US provided logistical support to the Kurdish Peoples’s Protection Units (YPG), Yildirim stated that any party providing such support would be added to “Turkey’s targets.” The comment was made during a Sunday meeting between the prime minister and journalists in Istanbul, Hurriyet reported

Booby-Trapped Blast Kills 3 SDF Commanders in Northern Syria- Fars News Agency

TEHRAN (FNA)- Three field commanders of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were killed after a bomb planted in their car went off in the town of Manbij amid intensified unrest in Northeastern Aleppo, local sources said on Sunday.

Syrian military encircle Jabhat Al-Nusra's big grouping- TASS

MOSCOW, January 21. /TASS/. The Syrian military and militia encircled a big grouping of the Jabhat Al-Nusra terrorist organization (outlawed in Russia - TASS) in eastern Idlib, and liberated from militants the Abu Duhur airport, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported on Sunday.

"Assault troops of the Syrian governmental forces under command of General Hassan Suhel, while advancing along the road connecting Hama and Aleppo, joined the militia units near Herbet al Ghajar and Rasm al Harmal," the ministry said. "Thus, they have completed encirclement of a large group of terrorist belonging to the terrorist organization Jabhat Al-Nusra in the eastern part of the Idlib Province."

Besides, the ministry said, during the assault, the Syrian military repelled militants from the Abu Duhur airport, which had been under the terrorists’ control since September 2015.

Earlier reports said the militants’ defense was broken after fierce battles, the terrorists were knocked out of seven villages located in the airfield’s vicinity. Three years earlier, Abu Duhur was the Syrian army’s last stronghold in that northwestern region. The bandits continued the siege for six months.

Zeytin Dalı Harekatı'nda 2. gün: TSK 32 uçak ile 45 hedefi imha etti- Sputnik News

TSK'nın dün havadan başlattığı Zeytin Dalı Harekatı ikinci gününde devam ediyor. İstanbul'da gazetecilerle bir araya gelen Başbakan Binali Yıldırım, Türk askerinin saat 11.05'te Kilis'in Gülbaba mevkiinden Suriye'ye geçerek kara harekatını başlattığını açıkladı.
DHA, Azez'de 2:30 sularında ÖSO ile YPG arasında çatışma çıktığını duyurdu. DHA'nın ÖSO gruplarından Ceyşul Şimal'dan edindiği bilgilere göre, ÖSO'ya bağlı bazı gruplar Bursayye cephesinde harekete geçti.
ABD Savunma Bakanı Mattis, "Türkiye'nin meşru güvenlik endişeleri var. Hava saldırısı yapmadan önce bunu yapacaklarına dair bizi uyardılar” açıklamasında bulundu.
DHA'nın aktardığına göre, Afrin'e başlatılan Zeytin Dalı Harekatı kapsamında, saat 01:00 sularında Hatay'ın Hassa ilçesinde konuşlu bulunan birliklerce, YPG hedefleri obüslerle vurulmaya başlandı.

Kilis'e roket düştü- Anadolu Ajanası

Alınan ilk bilgiye göre, Ekrem Çetin Mahallesi'nde saat 01.40 civarında Suriye tarafından birkaç dakika arayla ateşlendiği belirtilen roketler, iki ev ve bir iş yerine isabet etti. Ahmet Rasim Mahallesi'nde ise boş bir alana roket düştü.
Can kaybının meydana gelmediği olayda yüzüne cam parçaları isabet eden bir kişi hafif yaralandı. Ambulansla Kilis Devlet Hastanesine kaldırılan yaralı, ayakta tedavi edildi. 

Sınırdaki bazı alanlar 15 gün boyunca özel güvenlik bölgesi- Anadolu Ajansı

Kilis'te, Suriye sınırındaki bazı alanlar 15 gün boyunca özel güvenlik bölgesi olarak belirlendi.

Kilis Valiliğinden yapılan açıklamada, Türk Silahlı Kuvvetlerince (TSK), hudut güvenliği ve bölgede istikrarı sağlamak maksadıyla, Suriye’nin kuzeybatısında Afrin bölgesinde, PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG ve DEAŞ’a mensup teröristleri etkisiz hale getirmek, dost ve kardeş bölge halkını bunların baskı ve zulmünden kurtarmak üzere Zeytin Dalı Harekatı başlatıldığı hatırlatıldı.
Bu kapsamda, muhtemel terör olaylarının önlenmesi, örgüt mensuplarının etkisiz hale getirilmesi, kamu güvenliği ve esenliğinin korunması maksadıyla bazı kararlar alındığına değinilen açıklamada, şunlar kaydedildi:
"Kilis'in merkez ilçe mülki sınırları içerisinde yer alan Akçabağlar, Demirışık, Doğançay, Tahtalı, Duruca, Beşenli Köyü ile Aşağı ve Yamaç mezraları, Hacipoğlu, Süngütepe, Kocabeyli, Saatli, Güneşli, Mağaracık, Çalkaya, Bulamaçlı, Gözkaya, Gülbaba, Çerçili, Hisarköy, Deliosman köylerinde ve kırsalında, Zeytin Dalı Harekatı'na karşı olası terörist eylemlerden doğabilecek zararlardan vatandaşlarımızı korumak ve söz konusu terörist faaliyetlere karşı gerçekleştirilebilecek önleme harekatlarının selameti bakımından 20 Ocak Cumartesi günü saat 24.00’ten itibaren 3 Şubat Cumartesi günü saat 17.00’ye kadar olmak üzere 15 gün özel güvenlik bölgesi ilan edilmiştir. Söz konusu bölgede yerleşik olan vatandaşlarımız haricinde belirtilen süre içerisinde özel güvenlik bölgesine giriş, kolluk makamlarınca verilmiş izinler dışında yasaklanmıştır."

Saturday, January 20, 2018

US Arms Supplies to Loyal Groups in Syria Led to Turkish Op - Russian MoD- Sputnik News

The Russian Army Command in Syria is undertaking security measures for personnel present in Afrin, after the launch of the Turkish military operation against Kurdish forces.
The Russian Ministry of Defense stated that the Pentagon's arms supplies to US-backed groups in Syria triggered Turkey's military operation in Afrin and undermined the peace process.

Afrin'e Zeytin Dalı Harekatı- Euro News

Binali Yıldırım Afrin'e hava harekatının başladığını söyledi.

Türk savaş uçakları, PYD/PKK'nın işgalindeki Minniğ askeri havaalanını vurdu - AA

Rusya Savunma Bakanlığı'ndan "Rus askerlerinin güvenliğinin sağlanması amacıyla Afrin’deki Rus askerleri Tel Rıfat’a sevk edildi" açıklaması yapıldı. 

Bir Rus milletvekili Moskova'nın Türkiye'nin askeri operasyonlarını durdurması için BM nezdinde Suriye'ye diplomatik destek sağlayacaklarını söyledi. RIA haber ajansına konuşan milletvekili, "Bu operasyonları durdurma talebi sadece Suriye'den gelmeyecek. Rusya bu talebi destekleyecek ve Suriye'ye diplomatik destek verecek." dedi.

ABD, İran ve Rusya'nın Ankara'daki büyükelçilik misyon şeflerinin Dışişleri Bakanlığına çağrılarak Afrin bağlamındaki son gelişmeler hakkında bilgilendirildiği belirtildi.

    Erdogan Says Operation in Syria's Afrin De-Facto Started On The Ground- Sputnik News

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has confirmed that an operation in Syria's Afrin has de-facto started on the ground.
    "The Afrin operation has de-facto been started on the ground," Erdogan said in a televised speech, adding that "this will be followed by Manbij," referring to another Kurdish-controlled Syrian town.
    Following Erdogan's speech, a senior Turkish official told Reuters that after Afrin, the Turkish military would free nearby Manbij with the aim to rebuild social and economic infrastructure in the region.
    The day before, Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said in an interview with the Haberturk broadcaster that an operation in Afrin had "de-facto" started with cross-border shelling.

    Erdoğan: Afrin operasyonu sahada fiilen başlamıştır, bunu Münbiç takip edecek- BBC News

    Cumhurbaşkanı Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Suriye'nin kuzeyinde kontrolü 2012 yılından bu yana Kürtlerin elinde olan Afrin'e yönelik operasyonun sahada fiilen başladığını söyledi.
    Kütahya'da Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi'nin İlk Kongresi'nde bir konuşma yapan Erdoğan, Afrin'i Menbiç operasyonunun takip edeceğini vurguladı.
    Erdoğan, "Madem Münbiç'te bize verilen sözler şu ana kadar yerine getirilmedi, bunun gereğini yapmamıza kimsenin söyleyecek sözü olamaz" diye konuştu.
    Cumhurbaşkanı'nın geçen hafta Cumartesi günü Elazığ'daki konuşmasında verdiği bir haftalık süre doldu. Erdoğan, Elazığ konuşmasında, "Afrin'de "teröristler teslim olmazsa orayı başlarını yıkacağız. Münbiç'te bize verilen sözler yerine getirilmezse kendi göbeğimizi keseceğiz. Bir haftaya kalmaz ne yapacağımızı görecekler" demişti.

    Syrian Army Enters Abu Duhur Airbase In South Idlib- Muraselon

    On Saturday ,The government troops resume its missions in the southern countryside of Idlib, aiming to advance north towards the years-lasting airbase of Abu al-Duhur.
    Military War Media said that the Syrian Army – Tiger forces –  launched an offensive toward Abu al-Duhur airbase from the south axis with heavy clashes against HTS militants .
    The source confirmed that the Syrian troops already entered to the Abu al-Duhur airbase , clashed with HTS militants inside the airbase .
    The Syrian Army unites were able to recapture some villages in the Southwest axis of the Abu al-Duhur airbase which were lost during the last HTS offensive in south Idlibe countryside

    Friday, January 19, 2018

    China May Be the Biggest Winner of All If Assad Takes Over Syria- Newsweek

    Russia's bombardment of Syrian rebel positions and open backing of the Bashar al-Assad government in Syria meant that Moscow's role in the six-year civil war got most of the limelight in 2017. But the turnaround in Assad's fortunes in Syria was also made possible by a lesser-known sponsor: China. 
    China's rise on the global stage is nothing new, but October's Communist Party Congress shed light on just how powerful Chinese President Xi Jinping has become. Xi has committed extensive resources toward reforming China's military and developed its historic trade routes across Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. And in both of those endeavors, Assad's comeback in Syria has had benefits for Beijing.

    Lavrov: Rus askerlerin Afrin’den çekildiklerine yönelik haberler yalanlandı- Sputnik News

    Lavrov, Rus askerlerin Afrin'den çekildiklerine yönelik haberleri yalanladı.

    Rusya Dışişleri Bakanı Sergey Lavrov, Rus askerlerin Afrin’den çekildiklerine yönelik haberleri yalanladı.
    Lavrov, Rus askerlerin Afrin’den çekildiklerine yönelik haberlerin gerçeği yansıtmadığını söyledi.
    ‘Rusya’nın Afrin’deki silahlı kuvvetlerini gerçekten çekmeye başladı mı?’ sorusuna yanıt olarak Lavrov, “Bu yöndeki haberler daha sonra yalanlandı” ifadelerini kullandı.

    ÖSO, Kilis'ten otobüslerle sınırı geçti- Sputnik News

    Özgür Suriye Ordusu (ÖSO), otobüslerle Suriye tarafına taşındı. Sınırdan geçen yaklaşık 20 otobüs, Azez'e doğru ilerledi.
    ÖSO mensuplarının bulunduğu yaklaşık 20 otobüs, Öncüpınar Sınır Kapısı'ndan geçerek Azez'e ilerledi.
    Afrin'e yönelik olası bir harekatta önce topçu birliklerinin yoğun bombardıman ile arazi temizliği yapacağı, ardından ÖSO, daha sonra TSK'ya bağlı zırhlı birliklerin Suriye'ye gireceği belirtilmişti.

    Thursday, January 18, 2018

    ABD’den 'Afrin’e Operasyon Yapmayın' Çağrısı- VOA Türkçe

    ABD Dışişleri Bakanlığı, Türkiye’yi Afrin’e operasyon düzenlememesi için çağrıda bulundu.

    Bakanlık Sözcüsü Heather Nauert, günlük basın toplantısında, kendisine, Türkiye’nin Afrin’e olası operasyon hazırlıklarının sorulması üzerine, “Operasyon düzenlenip-düzenlenmeyeceğini elbette bilmiyorum. Türkleri bu tür bir adım atmaktan kaçınmaya çağırıyoruz” dedi.

    Nauert, herkesten “dikkatlerini IŞİD’e vermelerini” istediklerini vurgulayarak, “Dolayısıyla şiddete başvurulmamasını ve IŞİD’e odaklanmaya devam edilmesini istiyoruz” ifadesini kullandı.

    Şoygu, Akar ve Fidan'la görüştü- Sputnik News

    Rusya Savunma Bakanı Sergey Şoygu'nun Moskova'ya giden Genelkurmay Başkanı Hulusi Akar ve MİT Müsteşarı Hakan Fidan'la bir araya geldiği belirtildi.

    Rusya Savunma Bakanlığı'ndan yapılan açıklamaya göre Bakan Şoygu, Akar ve Fidan'la yaptığı görüşmede Ortadoğu'daki durumu ve diğer güncel konuları ele aldı. Bakanlık, görüşmenin yapıcı geçtiğini belirtti.
    Akar ve Fidan, bugün Suriye gündemiyle Moskova'ya gitmişti.

    Turkey Says It Will Coordinate Military Operation In Afrin With Iran And Russia- South Front

    Turkey will coordinate its air operation against Kurdish militias in Syria’s Afrin with Iran and Russia, the country’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told CNN Turk on January 18. The minister added that Moscow should not oppose the opeartion and Ankara will coordinate on the situation of Russian observers in the area.
    Meanwhile, Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Undersecretary Hakan Fidan departed for Moscow for talks on Syria with Russian Chief of General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov and other officials.

    Wednesday, January 17, 2018

    Turkey says could act in Syria unless U.S. withdraws support for Kurdish force- Reuters

    HATAY, Turkey (Reuters) - Turkey said on Wednesday it would not hesitate to take action in Syria’s Afrin district and other areas unless the United States withdrew support for a Kurdish-led force there, but Washington denied such plans and said “some people misspoke”.

    Turkish President Erdogan has repeatedly warned of an imminent incursion in Afrin after Washington said it would help the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), led by the Kurdish YPG militia, set up a new 30,000-strong border force.