The Kurdish Question? – ConspiracyOz

Battle for Syrian Town Pits Turkey Against Assad Regime

Turkish forces are advancing on Tal Tamar in an apparent bid to expand the area under their control without Russian joint supervision

A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency on Sunday shows residents of the village of Abu Rasayn, near the town of Ras al-Ain in northeastern Syria, cheering Syrian army units. Photo: SANA/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Turkey’s weekslong efforts to seize Kurdish-held territories in Syria have put the Turkish military on a collision course with the army of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad despite a recent agreement between Moscow and Ankara to prevent hostilities.

The Turks and the Assad regime are battling to control the Syrian town of Tal Tamar and surrounding villages, located at a strategic highway intersection.

Fighting intensified over the weekend, with Turkish troops reaching the eastern side of Tal Tamar, the Assad regime sending reinforcements to shore up Kurdish positions, and U.S. officials saying a U.S. convoy witnessed artillery strikes landing close to its position.

The battle for Tal Tamar is emblematic of a volatile race under way in northeastern Syria as rival forces seek to fill the void created by President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from areas Turkey covets.

After launching its cross-border offensive on Oct. 9, Turkey reached successive agreements with the U.S. and Russia to suspend military operations. In exchange for the truces, Washington and Moscow vowed to help pull back Kurdish fighters—who had helped reclaim the region from Islamic State but whom Ankara views as a terrorist threat—at least 20 miles from the Turkish border.

The pacts had similar terms but one significant difference. The agreement struck with the U.S., and which covers a 70-mile stretch between the towns of Tal Abiad and Ras al-Ain, essentially gives Turkey a free hand to administer the territory. The one struck with Russia, which covers the remaining portions of Turkey’s proposed buffer zone totaling 300 miles, is more restrictive. It calls for joint supervision and limits how deeply Turkish troops can foray inside Syria.

Syrian government forces deployed near Tal Tamar on Oct. 22. Photo: Baderkhan Ahmad/Associated Press

The Kurds, meanwhile, struck a deal for protection with the Assad regime after the U.S. pullout.

Maps released by Turkey following the Oct. 22 pact with Russia suggested Turkish troops wouldn’t seize Tal Tamar. But Turkey’s weekend advance toward the town suggests Ankara is trying to extend the contours of the area where it has sole control, said Ismail Hakki Pekin, a retired Turkish general.

“It’s a big problem,” he said. “Turkey would like to control the town, the Assad regime would like to control the town, and the Americans say, ‘This is your hell.’ ”

Ibrahim Kalin, the Turkish presidential spokesman, on Monday said Tal Tamar was outside the Turkish area of military operations in Syria, but accused the Kurdish militia of using the town to fire at Turkish troops.

“It’s a smear campaign,” Mr. Kalin said. “The aim of these attacks is to provoke a counterattack.”

A map released by the Russian Defense Ministry depicting battle lines as of Sunday morning showed Turkish troops had moved several miles east from their initial position and stood at Tal Tamar’s doorstep.

U.S. officials declined to attribute the strikes that landed close to the U.S. convoy traveling on the strategic M4 highway running parallel to the border with Turkey. But the Russian Defense Ministry on Sunday said they had come from areas controlled by Turkish-backed fighters.

An aid group, the Free Burma Rangers, said one of its workers was killed and another wounded by a Turkish drone strike near Tal Tamar on Sunday. The Turkish Defense Ministry rejected reports it had fired at civilians.

Turkey severed diplomatic relations with Syria in early 2012, siding with anti-Assad rebels. But Turkish officials say Ankara’s deepening military cooperation with Russia, the Syrian president’s main backer, will force the Turkish government to renew direct contact with Damascus.

Russian authorities stopped short of condemning the Turkish move on Tal Tamar, but Mr. Pekin said he expected Moscow to take Mr. Assad’s side. “I think they will ask Turkey to step back,” he said.

The Turkish-backed fighters sought to capture areas south of the M4 highway Monday morning, leading to clashes between them and the Kurdish militia around a number of villages near Tal Tamar, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The militia pushed back the attempted advance of the Turkish-backed groups, the war monitor said.

The Kurdish militia also reported that clashes continued with Turkish-backed forces on Monday in villages around Tal Tamar, saying it had killed 57 of the Turkish-backed fighters.

The Assad regime, which has vowed to confront what it calls Turkish aggression, continued to send reinforcements to areas east of Ras al-Ain and around Tal Tamar, state media reported.

The Syrian regime has used Turkey’s expansion into northern Syria as an opportunity to deploy into towns and villages that had been under sole control of the Kurdish militia for years.

As they have entered these new areas, the Syrian military units have raised the national Syrian flag, as they have done in areas reclaimed from rebels, to make clear the return of the Assad regime to the northeast.



Posted on November 10, 2019, in ConspiracyOz Posts. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. More links (Time line) to this Article – Mick Raven

    Kurds – Wikipedia

    Risking Turkey’s ire, Iraqi Kurds back Syrian brethren

    Car bomb explodes in Syrian town captured by Turkey from Kurds

    Scenes of turmoil: Kurds protest Turkey’s incursion into Syria, lament U.S. withdrawal

    Turkish Military Attacking Til Tamir, Syria

    In Syria, Russia Is the Only Winner

    Kurdish civilians throw potatoes, stones at US military vehicles leaving Syria

    Republican critic of US President Donald Trump’s Syria troop withdrawal says plan could actually work

    US troops leave Syria as Kurdish fighters and civilians withdraw from Turkey’s proposed ‘safe zone’

    Turkey’s Erdogan vows to ‘crush heads’ of Kurdish fighters

    Turkey-Syria offensive: Not our border, says Donald Trump

    As Syrian troops move in, Australian IS captives plead ‘don’t let us fall into the hands of the regime’

    Syria Sends Troops North Towards Turkey

    Kurds strike deal to get Syrian help fighting Turkey, Trump pulls US troops back

    Abandoned by U.S. in Syria, Kurds Find New Ally in American Foe

    Kurdish militia call for no fly zone as international condemnation of Turkey grows

    Russia brokers deal for Kurdish forces, Syria to partner against Turkey

    Why Donald Trump Finally Actually Made The Right Move! Strategy Explained

    War in Syria: Can the Kurdish forces fight back?

    Turkey’s military gets into position at Syria-Iraq border, anticipating withdrawal by US

    Why is Donald Trump clearing the way for Turkey’s attack on the Kurds after they helped the US defeat IS?

    Looming Turkish invasion of northern Syria after US withdrawal raises fears for Kurdish-Australian with family on border

    Why Turkey wants to invade the Kurdish region in north-eastern Syria

    Turkey and Russia redraw the map in northeast Syria


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