Saturday, October 22, 2016

Message to Kurdish Comrades - Stand for Self Reliance

US Treachery in Northern Syria : “Informed sources confirmed that the Turkey-backed attacks on SDF positions today were supported by American officers,” the PYD said in a statement on Friday. 

Turkey-backed rebels on Friday attacked positions held by the pro-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Tal Rafaat District. The Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) accused American officers of cooperating in the incursion.

Friday’s attack was preceded by Turkish airstrikes, which hit the villages of Um al-Housh, Um al-Qura and Hasiya in Aleppo’s northern countryside. Ten SDF fighters and four civilians were killed, while dozens of others were wounded.

The Islamic State (ISIS) was pushed out of these villages in August and September as part of the SDF’s drive to reach al-Bab city. The People’s Protection Units (YPG), the lead force within the SDF, seeks to seize al-Bab and thereby connect Northern Syria – Rojava’s (NSR) canton administrations.

Turkey-backed rebels on Friday attacked positions held by the pro-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Tal Rafaat District. The Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) accused American officers of cooperating in the incursion.

Friday’s attack was preceded by Turkish airstrikes, which hit the villages of Um al-Housh, Um al-Qura and Hasiya in Aleppo’s northern countryside. Ten SDF fighters and four civilians were killed, while dozens of others were wounded.

The Islamic State (ISIS) was pushed out of these villages in August and September as part of the SDF’s drive to reach al-Bab city. The People’s Protection Units (YPG), the lead force within the SDF, seeks to seize al-Bab and thereby connect Northern Syria – Rojava’s (NSR) canton administrations.

“Informed sources confirmed that the Turkey-backed attacks on SDF positions today were supported by American officers,” the PYD said in a statement on Friday.

Speaking about Turkey’s air raids, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter told reporters: “We don’t yet fully know what transpired there. We’ll find out more as the days go on. I simply can’t give you any more than that now.”

Earlier on Thursday, US State Department spokesperson John Kirby called on the Syrian rebels and the Kurds to stop fighting each other. “

We’ve called on all parties to refrain from uncoordinated movements and to focus, as I said earlier, on the common enemy, and the common enemy is Daesh,” he said.

“Both these Syrian forces and Turkey can and should operate inside the coalition, […] to focus on Daesh and not one another, and that’s what we want to see,” he said, employing an Arabic acronym for ISIS. “We don’t want to see any uncoordinated movements and these strikes would qualify as uncoordinated movements.”

Two Sides, Diametrically Opposed

The immediate goal of the Turkey-backed rebels is to preempt Kurdish territorial ambitious by capturing the ISIS-held areas between Efrin and Manbij. Their latter goal is to open a new front against the Syrian Army and the Shia militias currently laying siege to eastern Aleppo city.

“The Euphrates Shield Operation will drive the YPG out of Tal Rifaat and the surrounding area before moving eastwards towards al-Bab,” Abdurahman Harkoush, a former spokesperson for the Army of Islam, said.

These goals are irreconcilable with the widely shared Kurdish desire to establish territorial contiguity in the NSR. Kurds across Turkey condemned Thursday’s airstrikes and Friday’s incursion.

“While Turkey can and should have a crucial role in fighting ISIS, the attacks of the Turkish Army and its local [Islamic fundamentalist] allies on the SDF are providing ISIS with fresh air,”

Hisyar Ozsoy, Vice Co-chair of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), told ARA News.

“Turkey has been carrying out aggressive policies to undermine [the SDF],” Ozsoy stated. “By sacrificing the peace process with the Kurds [in Turkey] and initiating militarist policies against the Kurds in Syria, who constitute the backbone of the SDF, Turkey is foreclosing the possibilities of a peaceful future and political stability.”

According to Michael Stephens, the head of the Royal United Services Institute – Qatar, the US did not cooperate in Turkey’s attacks on the SDF.

“Basically [this is] a warning sign to the YPG; If you try to join the cantons we’ll make you pay,” Stephens told ARA News. “The two sides, [Turkey-backed rebels and the pro-Kurdish SDF], have no interest in talking. Ultimately it’s a disagreement between two sides that are diametrically opposed.”

Turkey’s Target is the Self-Administration

Tensions in Northern Aleppo Governorate have reached a fever pitch. According to Stephens, the SDF and Turkey’s rebel factions “are only able to talk through military means. What you’re seeing is the geopolitics playing out in the micro.”

Nawaf Khalil, a former PYD spokesman and head of the Rojava Centre for Strategic Studies, told ARA News that Turkey views all Kurds as enemies, regardless of their relations with Iraqi Kurdistan.

Khalil shares a widespread belief that Ankara and Moscow have been cooperating to cripple Syrian Kurdish forces.

“There has been a deal between Russia and Turkey to hit the Kurds, and destroy the insurgency in Aleppo,” he said.

Khalil told ARA News: “Turkey says it openly; their target is the [NSR] Self-Administration, and [their aim] is to prevent the unification of Efrin and Kobani.”

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg

Battle for Mosul : Challenges of Reluctant Allies : Turkey the Trojan Horse inside Iraq has 18 illegal sites to complicate assault on ISIL : Turkey get out of Iraq Now !

Friday, October 21, 2016

ISIS Tightens Security in Raqqa as more Jihadists Arrive from Iraq

ISIS Tightens Security in Raqqa as More Jihadists Arrive From Iraq

The Islamic State (ISIS) on Wednesday tightened its security measures in the city of Raqqa, in northeastern Syria. According to eyewitnesses and activists, the extremist group has imposed a curfew in the city centre, installed new checkpoints and erected concrete road blocks.
Raqqa serves as a de facto capital of the self-declared Caliphate. Within the city, there has seen a week-long state of alert amongst ISIS jihadists.

“ISIS erected barriers between major districts of Raqqa city,” media activist Abdulkarim al-Yousef told ARA News in Raqqa. “New security checkpoints have been installed across the city, including near the al-Naeem Roundabout, al-Muhafaza Square, Saad Bin Muaz Mosque and al-Zedan Square.”

As previously mentioned, ISIS militants have fanned out, imposing a curfew in Raqqa. Dozens of people have reportedly been arrested at the newly established security checkpoints for violating the curfew.

While ISIS tightened its internal security, ISIS vehicles arrived in Raqqa, coming from Iraq. According to S Awad, an eyewitness, “More than 20 vehicles crossed the border and entered Raqqa on Tuesday at midnight, carrying ISIS militants and weapons.”

The Islamic State’s new redeployments and repression are likely related to the advances being made by US-backed Iraqi and Kurdish forces. On Monday, allied forces began the battle for Mosul and rapidly progressed towards the Caliphate’s Iraqi capital.

More than 4,000 Peshmerga soldiers were involved in the operation, fighting alongside Iraqi security forces. The Peshmerga soldiers liberated on Monday nine villages in the vicinity of Mosul, in an area measuring approximately 200 square kilometres.

The operation was launched from the towns of Gwer and Khazir and coincided with a simultaneous advance by the Iraqi Army who pushed north from Qayarrah.

Mosul-Raqqa Road

Hundreds of Islamic State (ISIS) militants have escaped from Iraq’s Nineveh Governorate, taking the Ba’aj road to Syria. Officials and military officers reported on Tuesday that civilians accompanied the jihadists as the fled west, ahead of advancing Kurdish and Iraqi columns.

Kurdish Peshmerga commander Qassim Shesho confirmed that a large number of ISIS jihadists have fled Mosul’s countryside through the Ba’aj road.

The Ba’aj road rarely appears on maps. It is an unofficial roadway created by ISIS, connecting Mosul city in northern Iraq to Raqqa city in central Syria.

On Saturday, dozens of ISIS jihadists arrived in the Syrian border town of Margada along with their families. The jihadists came from positions in Iraq’s northwestern Nineveh Governorate, which have been evacuated.

Local sources told ARA News that more than 90 ISIS militant had made the journey in a staggered convoy. Eyewitnesses reported that the militants were accompanied by at least 25 civilian families, who were reportedly their relatives.

Also on Saturday, several ISIS military vehicles passed through al-Qa’im crossing on the Syrian-Iraqi border. The vehicles continued on to al-Bukamal city in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor Governorate.

Local media activist Ahmed Hamwi told ARA News: “The vehicles crossed the border in the early morning on Saturday, carrying weapons and dozens of ISIS fighters.”

Reporting by: Jamil Mukarram

Source: ARA News

We Have a Solution for Mosul and Middle East Crisis: PKK Foreign Relations Head Riza Altun

                                                Riza Altun, head of PKK foreign relations 

We Have a Solution for Mosul and Middle East Crisis: PKK Foreign Relations Head Riza Altun
Riza Altun, head of foreign relations for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and a Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) Executive Council member, has spoken to journalist Erdal Er about the on-going Mosul operation, Turkey’s plans and the stance of the PKK in the upcoming period.

The Mosul operation has begun. Can you assess the first few days, what is the situation?

The operation isn’t moving forward in consensus. Iraqi forces are spearheading the operation officially and the international coalition is supporting it. These are the main forces that will enter Mosul. Turkey has been left out of this process. Peshmerga forces will not enter the city and remain on the outskirts. So will the Shi’ite Al-Hashd Al-Sha’abi [PMU]. It seems that this is also the case for Al-Hashd Al-Watani. This is the basis the operation has been founded on.

What are the dangers without a consensus?

The operation’s command centre is problematic. Each force has a different calculation in Mosul and it’s not an easy target. These forces want to carve a place for themselves in Middle Eastern politics with the operation.

There are many different forces in Mosul. There are potential forces that could ally with Daesh (IS/ISIS).

There are powers like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who despite saying they want to be involved in the operation, have ties to Daesh. It is not clear what role they will play yet. The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) is in the middle and it isn’t clear yet what it will do in a situation that is constantly changing. So it is difficult to say what will happen at this moment.

What will happen if the coalition or Iraqi forces cannot get results and the operation fails?
Then the operation will withdraw –which will be a disaster and lead to Daesh taking initiative– or the coalition and Iraqi forces will have to form an alliance with other powers. This will be difficult from the beginning. However it looks very likely.

Let’s say Daesh is defeated, what will happen to Mosul?

That is when the real problems will start. Kurds, various Sunni groups have claims [on Mosul]. Shi’ites have claims, so do regional powers.

International powers

International forces’ plans aren’t that clear, but we all know that they have deep-rooted, extensive calculations. They want to make claims on the Middle East and/or secure their interests. They are moving forward wearily, constantly evaluating each moment, their relations and conflicts and the results of these.


The central Iraqi government wants to protect its federal structure. If it finds the opportunity it wants to consolidate its power and form hegemony. For example it has issues with Kurds. Even though there is a federation there are still areas under contention. In this regard there are problems with the federal structure arising due to the central government.

South Kurdistan

There are serious poblems and demands in the South Kurdistan front. There are the disputed areas. There is the issue of Kirkuk. There are issues with what we call Iraq’s central region. In other words the designating of a Kurdish border, the expansion of the Kurdish federation’s authority, and similar matters. Furthermore there is Tuz Khurmatu, Diyala and other areas with serious issues and disputes. These need to be solved. There are two approaches: continuing with a federal structure or an independent Kurdistan. Both approaches are still valid. Even though there are still uncertainties the Kurdish people want a solution.


Iran approaches issues from a Shi’ite perspective. It wants to be a regional hegemonic power and constantly incites the Iraqi government’s Shi’ite character and then supports it to consolidate Shia dominance in Iraq.


Turkey is implementing a similar policy to Iran using Sunnis. It also has historical claims due to its Ottoman past; Erdogan and the AKP government are using these as strategic claims. From the beginning they have constructed their Middle East policy based on this and see Mosul as Ottoman land. Erdogan’s invocation of the Lausanne Agreement recently is due to this. He wants the National Pact of 1920 to be reviewed to claim rights on Aleppo, Mosul and Kirkuk. Turkey’s calculation in this regard is very dark and dirty. On one hand it wants to wreak havoc to form hegemony based on the Ottoman tradition and on the other it is trying to create Sunni domination using its ties with Salafist forces in Iraq and Syria.

Amongst all these contradictions and conflicts, what do you as the PKK think about the Mosul operation, what are your suggestions?

We want the issues of the Middle East to be solved within a perspective that is egalitarian, liberationist, just and democratic and are struggling for this. This is a policy for Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran. Our leader (Abdullah Öcalan) has reiterated this many times. We are struggling against religious, racial, ethnic and sexual discrimination. Our principle for solving problems is equality. We want this also for Mosul.

Could you elaborate a little?

We base our struggle on the unity and fraternity of peoples and democracy. This approach, as the Middle East is being reshaped, means freedom for everyone. We are waging a struggle and also trying to grow it. It will be difficult to create a free Kurdistan in a Middle East that isn’t free. We want a free Kurdistan in a Middle East where all diversities have a place and voice.

The political-military struggle we were waging in the Middle East and Kurdistan before Daesh was based on this axis. We furthered our fight based on the democratisation of Kurdistan and the Middle East. After Daesh this was better understood. It affected the Middle East because it appealed to its reality. When the Salafist line gained headway, we proved our position and the side we were on with this political and military approach. We gained positive results in Syria, Iraq, Mosul, Kirkuk and many other places. This is our approach to Mosul too.

Can the PKK’s suggestion be a model for Mosul?

All the risks in Mosul could be eliminated if the policies we foresee are implemented. Mosul is a mosaic of peoples: Shi’ites, Sunnis, Kurds, Assyrians, Yazidis. I listed how the other forces view this mosaic above. Each one views it from its own perspective.

Their approaches are problematic because they are self-centred. This is also how they are approaching the operation. How much can the Shi’ites accept the Sunnis, the Turkmen the Arabs or Kurds? There is not a single force or political line that represents all these groups or approaches them in an equal way.

Of course these issues cannot be solved with traditional approaches. We are talking about a political, social organisation in which all these diverse groups can find representation. A relationship and administration that is founded on equal rights. Our proposal for a confederal system is a model that can resolve the crisis in the Middle East. Therefore we want to participate in the Mosul operation with this approach.

Will you join the operation?

We have a political strategy we have developed in the Middle East. Our approach and path is evident.
When no other force could fight against Daesh we stood up and stopped them in Sinjar, Makhmour and Kirkuk fronts. Now some powers have said they don’t want our participation. We believe this is because of regional powers.

Who are these regional powers?

Turkey is active in this regard. Turkey’s new anti-Kurdish policy was founded on the premise, ‘The PKK fought Daesh and became a power in the region. If we can take the Daesh card away from the PKK and present ourselves as the best force against Daesh we can defeat the PKK and bury the Kurds’ in the dustbin of history.’ This is why Turkey is so intent on joining the Mosul operation and preventing the PKK’s participation.

Turkey hasn’t limited its stance to political and military means; it has also resorted to blackmail policies that have put the region and relations at risk. It has turned the PKK’s involvement into a matter of life or death. Turkey’s worry isn’t to solve the problems in Iraq or Mosul. It is to prevent the Kurds from gaining rights and the PKK from becoming a part of the process. This is why it is pressuring the coalition forces and Iraqi regime.

Of course this isn’t just limited to Turkey; Saudi Arabia and Qatar are also involved. They are also in an active position. They want to also eliminate the PKK. We know that the KDP has a role in this too. The PKK was declared a red line in recent meetings between [Iraq Prime Minister] Abadi and the KDP. There is a common axis that is trying to prevent the PKK from expanding its political area of influence. They see this as a danger to their interests.

We will continue our struggle in the Middle East based on our principles. Turkey and other similar powers do not have a solution but we do. Naturally we are going to continue defending the existence and gains of our people.

What is your plan of action from now on?

We will continue walking our own path but will also view how the Mosul operation develops, how it will affect the balance of power and its results. We have never had and will never have the intention of severing ourselves from the process. There is an anti-Kurdish stance led by the Turkish state. We know that the Turkish state wants to eradicate the PKK as part of this anti-Kurdish policy.

We have known for a long time that as part of this policy they want to conduct an operation on Sinjar. A potential operation is definitely connected to the Mosul operation. It is a reflection of the political-military plans in Mosul. Secondly, it is not clear what Turkey and the KDP want to do with Makhmour and Kirkuk. Furthermore the same goes for the Medya Defence Zones [areas controlled by the PKK in South Kurdistan (KRG)]. Naturally we will continue defending our positions.

Are you prepared?

Of course. We have been making preparations since we declared our readiness to join the Mosul operation. Both militarily and politically. We have arrived at this moment by engaging in political, diplomatic efforts. This is a result. We are also ready militarily to take action when the situation arises.

Are diplomatic efforts continuing with coalition forces, the Iraqi government and other powers?
Certainly. However there are no concrete results as of yet. As I said, they have started but we will see how things develop and what results we get. We can say this though: the PKK isn’t going to watch the process from the sidelines, it is going to be leading the way for a solution.

Source: Yeni Özgür Politika

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Iraq : Mosul and its Post Liberation Cantonisation on Ethnic Lines warns York University professor Sabah Alnasseriy

Democracy and Class Struggle says The Mosul Model is a  film from the recent past - from the film you can see the contradictions which led to the rise of ISIL especially treatment of Baath Party members and ex soldiers.

Sabah Alnasseriy of York University in Canada paints a worrying picture of the future of Mosul with its possible Cantonisation in the Real News Interview above.

We only hope that the Liberation of Mosul will bring a multi ethnic council to rule Mosul and sectarianism will be avoided - but that may be just wishful thinking - the reality may be much worse.

Syria and Iraq Military Report for October 20th 2016 : Tal Rifaat and Syrian Kurdish struggle with Turkey

Democracy and Class Struggle says this Report covers Tal Rifaat and Kurdish Struggle with Turkey and its proxies like FSA.

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