Weekend Reads: Syria-Turkey crisis: Putin now owns this mess - - PressFrom - Canada
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Weekend Reads Syria-Turkey crisis: Putin now owns this mess

09:25  20 october  2019
09:25  20 october  2019 Source:   cnn.com

Charity calls on Ottawa to rescue 25 Canadian kids trapped in Syria

  Charity calls on Ottawa to rescue 25 Canadian kids trapped in Syria TORONTO — At least 25 "innocent" Canadian children are trapped in a refugee camp not far from where Turkey has launched a military offensive in northeastern Syria, an international charity said Thursday as it called on Ottawa to act now to rescue them. Save the Children Canada, which has aid workers on the ground in Syria, said the kids are largely the offspring of Islamic State militants, and some of them are orphans, while others have only oneSave the Children Canada, which has aid workers on the ground in Syria, said the kids are largely the offspring of Islamic State militants, and some of them are orphans, while others have only one parent.

Pence was scheduled to leave for Turkey Wednesday evening, just hours after Trump minimized the crisis he sent his aides on an emergency mission to Pence is seeking to halt an assault on Syrian Kurds begun after Trump withdrew U.S. forces from Syria at the behest of Turkey 's President Recep

Turkey says the YPG is an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a rebel group fighting for The diplomatic debacle that has surrounded events in and around Syria is the background to Much of the criticism levelled at Mr Trump has come from within his own party. In a rare bipartisan

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Vladimir Putin are posing for a picture: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) shakes hands with his host Russian President Vladimir Putin as they visit the MAKS-2019 International Aviation and Space Salon opening day in Zhukovsky outside of Moscow on August 27, 2019. (Photo by Maxim SHIPENKOV / POOL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MAXIM SHIPENKOV/AFP/Getty Images) © MAXIM SHIPENKOV/AFP/AFP/Getty Images Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) shakes hands with his host Russian President Vladimir Putin as they visit the MAKS-2019 International Aviation and Space Salon opening day in Zhukovsky outside of Moscow on August 27, 2019. (Photo by Maxim SHIPENKOV / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read MAXIM SHIPENKOV/AFP/Getty Images)

As US President Donald Trump hailed the agreement his administration negotiated with the Turks for northern Syria as "a great day for civilization," the Turks quickly dumped cold water over the White House's euphoria, refusing to even call the deal a ceasefire.

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  Exclusive: Turkey Bombs US Special Forces in Syria Attack, Apparently by Mistake A contingent of U.S. Special Forces has been caught up in Turkish shelling against U.S.-backed Kurdish positions in northern Syria.A contingent of U.S. Special Forces was caught up in Turkish shelling against U.S.-backed Kurdish positions in northern Syria, days after President Donald Trump told his Turkish counterpart he would withdraw U.S. troops from certain positions in the area. A senior Pentagon official said shelling by the Turkish forces was so heavy that the U.S. personnel considered firing back in self-defense.

Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu just now : "We will suspend the Peace Spring operation for 120 hours for the PKK/YPG to withdraw. This is not a ceasefire." N/E Syria Official Aldar Khalil: “We've previously stated that the proposal of Turkey 's entering a depth of 30 km inside Syrian territories, is

Putin ’s Syria envoy Alexander Lavrentiev delivered the strongest statement on Turkey 's policy at a press conference in Abu Dhabi during Putin 's visit shortly after Erdogan commended on the Russian leader’s allegedly “positive approach” to the Turkish incursion.

Only a few hours later, airstrikes and artillery fire could be felt in northern Syria as the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces accused Ankara and its proxies of severe ceasefire violations.

The mood both in Washington and in the Middle East is that the ceasefire is not the real deal. It expires on Tuesday, October 22, the same day Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recip Tayyip Erdogan will meet in Sochi to discuss the future of Syria. It seems pretty clear: that's when the world will find out that the real deal will be for the future of this volatile region.

Also watch: Former Russian PM says Putin 'main beneficiary' in Syria

Putin's leadership role

It's also clear that the future will, to a large extent, be determined by the Russian President. With Trump's abandonment of the Kurds, America's main allies in the fight against ISIS, and his de facto green lighting of Turkey's invasion of northern Syria, the White House maneuvered itself out of the Syria equation. For better or worse, Putin now owns the military and political mess unfolding there.

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  Ottawa Kurds calling for action as Turkey attacks northern Syria Ottawa's Kurdish community is calling for action to stop the Turkish incursion into northern Syria that they say has put their family members and friends in danger. Organizations for Kurds in Ottawa are planning a rally Saturday at the U.S. Embassy to protest President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw American forces from the border region, leaving their Kurdish allies behind.Turkish forces began the offence on Wednesday and have continued their offensive against U.S.-allied Syrian Kurdish fighters. Casualties have continued to climb and thousands of civilians are fleeing the violence.

Turkey -backed Syrian rebel fighters return from the Syrian border town of Tal Abyad as they are pictured in Akcakale in Sanliurfa province, Turkey , Oct. 22 trip to Sochi for talks with Putin . "Our goal is that PKK terrorists are cleared from the territories that are now under control of the Syrian regime.

This time, Turkey is invading Syria with claims that the Kurds present an existential danger. Now , there is yet another excuse for wider involvement in Syria . The US is not out of the war; the war is Trump is not the only world leader to pull this kind of stunt, either. Vladimir Putin did the same thing in

But unlike the Trump administration's hectic efforts at last-minute diplomacy to try to end the bloodshed it helped unleash, Putin at least seemed like a man with a plan.

Russia immediately started negotiations with the Kurds and Moscow's main ally, the Assad government, quickly reaching a deal to allow the Syrian military into Kurdish-held areas where Damascus has not had a presence for years in order to stave off the Turkish-led offensive. Moscow also quickly deployed its own military as a buffer to keep the Turks and their forces apart from the Kurds and Syrian government troops.

The move caused a good deal of chest thumping among Putin's military: "When the Russian flag appears, combat stops -- neither Turks nor Kurds want to harm us, so fighting stops thanks to our work," a Russian army officer, Safar Safarov, was quoted as saying by Tass state news agency, as the country's military police units began patrolling Manbij.

COMMENTARY: Canada is complicit in the shameful betrayal of the Kurds

  COMMENTARY: Canada is complicit in the shameful betrayal of the Kurds As much as we should condemn Trump for his craven abandonment of the Kurds, we should also look at why Canada hasn’t been doing more, says Rob Breakenridge.After all the sacrifices that Kurdish forces have made in taking the fight to ISIS and bringing about the end of the so-called caliphate, for the American president to throw them under the bus and subject them to this Turkish onslaught is beyond shameful.

That leaves north-eastern Syria divided between Syrian regime forces, Syrian opposition militia and Turkey claims the PKK has continued to wage war on the Turkish state, even as it has assisted in the fight The offensive has been widely condemned for triggering a humanitarian crisis and risking the

Turkey has confirmed reaching an agreement with the US on temporarily halting its military operation against Kurdish-led militias in northern Syria but refused to call it a Trump repeatedly threatened Turkey with the destruction of its economy, if it did anything that Washington considers “off limits.”

Also watch: Erdogan vows to 'crush the heads' of Kurdish fighters if ceasefire fails (Provided by Reuters)

Russia's high-risk game

With Russia's new role as the undisputed lead nation also come grave risks. The situation in northeastern Syria is more than volatile. The Turks have made clear they will not allow a Kurdish military presence near their border. But Ankara's ground force consists largely of Syrian rebel groups, many of them hardline Islamists whom the Kurds fear could unleash a campaign of ethnic cleansing against minorities in this diverse region.

To add to all this, Syrian government forces and the rebels allied with Ankara also have an ax to grind with one another after all the atrocities committed during the devastating eight-year civil war.

Moscow seems to understand the dangerous situation it has been propelled into with its new leadership role.

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Vladimir Putin has called Turkey “accomplices of terrorists” and warned of “serious consequences” after a Turkish F-16 jet shot down a Russian warplane on Tuesday morning, the first time a Nato country and Moscow have been involved in direct fire over the crisis in Syria .

“Vladimir Putin must be smiling — even laughing out loud — at the bungling Donald Trump’s crazy mess in Syria ,” wrote David Cay Johnston, in an essay Johnston listed several way in which Trump’s abrupt decision and the aftermath has been to Putin ’s benefit, potentially causing Putin to be “thrilled

"We tried to draw attention for many years to the explosive policies of the USA and the coalition, headed for the collapse of Syria and the creation of quasi-state formations on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, pushing Kurds to separatism and confrontation with Arab tribes," Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday as he addressed heads of security services.

The Kremlin is gravely concerned that Russians who fought with ISIS and other rebels groups could return to their homeland and cause instability there. From the moment Turkey launched its offensive in Northern Syria the Kremlin voiced extreme doubts about Turkey's ability to keep a lid on the thousands of ISIS prisoners and their relatives that the Kurds had been guarding.

"There are areas in northern Syria where ISIS militants are concentrated and until recently, they were guarded by the Kurdish military. The Turkish army entered these areas and the Kurds left... Now [ISIS fighters] can simply run away and I am not sure that the Turkish army can -- and how fast -- get this under control," Putin said last week at The Commonwealth of Independent States forum in Ashgabat.

Russia faced a sustained insurgency in Chechnya in the 1990s and prosecuted a bloody war there for several years. The last thing Vladimir Putin wants is for former Russian ISIS members to go back to the Caucasus region, possibly leading to the return of instability. At that same forum in Turkmenistan, Putin warned other leaders of the region to brace for the situation. "We are talking about hundreds of militants there, thousands when it comes to CIS countries. This is a real threat to us. How and where will they head?" Putin said.

Local Kurdish community hosts rally to protest against Turkish military intervention in northern Syria

  Local Kurdish community hosts rally to protest against Turkish military intervention in northern Syria As 100,000 Syrians hid in woods, schools and packed apartments as Turkish forces advanced on the Syrian town of Ras al-Ayn, 150 people rallied outside city hall in Calgary protesting the military action. Kamal Azar, a member of the Kurdish community in Calgary, said governments need to step in and better support the Kurdish fighters. “The world should support them — everyone should support them. This is our responsibility, a human responsibility,” said Azar. “However, our governments should take the initiative as soon as possible. “Canada most definitely can help and stop this genocide right now.

Turkey -backed Syrian fighters patrol on a street near a postition that they are holding in the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ain on Oct. Getting out of the mess the U.S. created by allying with a terrorist affiliated group in Syria will only be possible if Washington fixes its ties with Ankara and works

Trump’s Syria withdrawal a ‘lottery win’ for Putin . There might be chaos in the Middle East, but Russia says it’s a win for Vladimir Putin . This is how Russian media see the Syrian crisis . Trump's shock decision to withdraw troops from Syria has prompted Turkey to launch an offensive against northern

"We need to understand this and mobilize the resources of our special services to cut short this emerging new threat," Putin added.

All Syrian roads lead to Moscow

But despite all the dangers facing Putin's high-stakes Syria gambit the Russian leader still seems to be in a position to possibly prevent the situation from blowing up even more than it already has.

Russia has a devastating track record in the Syrian conflict. Human rights groups have accused Moscow of committing war crimes in its campaign to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The US says Moscow has systematically bombed civilian infrastructure, especially hospitals, and aided Assad in covering up alleged chemical weapons use by the Syrian military. Russian vehemently denies all these allegations.

And despite many US and European officials lamenting Moscow's alleged lies and deception, pretty much all the countries and parties involved in the Syrian crisis seem to agree that Moscow is more reliable than Washington in this crisis.

NATO ally Turkey has been working with the Russians for years, despite the fact they back opposing factions in the Syrian civil war. Even arch-enemies Israel and Iran seem to agree that the road to making sure their interests are met runs through Moscow.

And when the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces -- which were backed by the US and lost nearly 11,000 fighters in the war against ISIS -- found out they'd been dumped by Trump and left to be invaded by Erdogan's proxy force, they too went straight to the Russians because guess what: Moscow has been working with and talking to the SDF for years as well.

So it was never going to be the Trump White House that could try and broker a solution to the messy situation in northeastern Syria. If there will be deal it will be reached next Tuesday in Sochi by Putin and Erdogan -- on their terms.

a man riding on the back of a truck: Turkish-backed Syrian rebel fighters head to an area near the Syrian-Turkish border north of Aleppo on October 8, 2019. © Nazeer Al-Khatib/AFP/Getty Images Turkish-backed Syrian rebel fighters head to an area near the Syrian-Turkish border north of Aleppo on October 8, 2019.

Trump Betrayed the Kurds. He Couldn’t Help Himself. .
Trump Betrayed the Kurds. He Couldn’t Help Himself.U.S. President Donald Trump’s betrayal of the Kurds stung deeply. “They trusted us and we broke that trust. It’s a stain on the American conscience.” These, according to The New York Times, are the searing words of an Army officer who has worked alongside the Kurds in northern Syria.

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