Turkey Concerned With Russia’s Kurdish Policy

Tug-of-war between Russia and Turkey.

Rosneft, Russia’s main oil company, last week made a agreement “to take control of 60% of a central oil pipeline in northern Iraq and to increase its investments in the region to $3.5 billion.”

Turkey does not want the Kurds in Syria linking up with Iraqi Kurdistan and controlling large areas of northern Syria; then encouraging the ethnic Kurdish in Turkey to follow suit.

Turkey is gloating over the humiliating defeat of Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters in Kirkuk by forces attached to Baghdad following the independence referendum held by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on Sept. 25.

US and European opposition to the referendum in the name of preserving Iraq’s unity also pleased Ankara. Russia’s ambivalent position, however, was noted with silent disapproval.

Following the referendum, Moscow underscored its “unwavering commitment to the sovereignty, unity and integrity” of Iraq, according to a press statement issued by the Foreign Ministry. Moscow also added, however, that it “respects the national aspirations of the Kurds,” which is not what Ankara wanted to hear.

Speaking to the Kurdish daily Rudaw a few weeks before the referendum, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, “The desires and legal goals of the Kurds must be fulfilled like that of all other peoples.”

He added for good measure that the Kurds should “express their aspirations through a peaceful mechanism,” and that the goals of the referendum should also be “done peacefully … taking into account the view of Iraq’s neighbors.”

The key issue for Ankara, despite Moscow’s “unwavering commitment” to the unity of Iraq, is that Russia is not opposed to Kurdish political aspirations. Any form of self-rule, even under a federal or confederal system, is seen as a threat by Turkey, which fears the effect it will have on its restive Kurds.

Another disturbing development for Ankara was the agreement that Rosneft, Russia’s main oil company, concluded with the KRG last week to take control of 60% of a central oil pipeline in northern Iraq and to increase its investments in the region to $3.5 billion. Al-Monitor

Turkey Slams U.S. Plan To Arm Syrian Kurdish Fighters, Demands Decision Reversed

The Kurds have proven to be the most effective force in fighting ISIS.

President Trump has approved a plan to arm Syrian Kurds so they can participate in the battle to retake Raqqa from the Islamic State, a strategy that has drawn deep opposition from Turkey, a NATO ally.

American military commanders have long argued that arming the Y.P.G., a Kurdish militia fighting alongside Syrian Arab forces against the Islamic State, is the fastest way to seize Raqqa, the capital of the militants’ self-proclaimed caliphate. NYTimes

The United States must support its NATO ally Turkey and reverse its decision to arm Syrian Kurds in the battle against the Islamic State, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday. USA Today

Turkey slammed the Trump administration’s decision to supply Syrian Kurdish fighters with weapons against the Islamic State group and demanded Wednesday that it be reversed, heightening tensions between the NATO allies days before the Turkish leader heads to Washington for a meeting with President Donald Trump.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the fight against terrorism “should not be led with another terror organization” — a reference to the Syrian Kurdish militia, known as the YPG, which Turkey considers an extension of the decades-long Kurdish insurgency raging in its southeast. “We want to know that our allies will side with us and not with terror organizations,” he said.

Turkey, which has sent troops to northern Syrian in an effort to curtail Kurdish expansion along its borders, has for months tried to lobby Washington to cut off ties with the Kurds and work instead with Turkish-backed opposition fighters in the fight for Raqqa.

But the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, of SDF, which has driven IS from much of northern Syria over the past two years with the help of U.S.-led airstrikes, are among the most effective ground forces battling the extremists. In announcing the decision on Tuesday to arm the Kurds, the Pentagon’s chief spokeswoman, Dana W. White, called the militia “the only force on the ground that can successfully seize Raqqa in the near future.”

On Wednesday, the SDF said it captured the country’s largest dam from the Islamic State group. The fighters, which are Kurdish-led but also include some Arab fighters, said they expelled the extremists from the Tabqa Dam and a nearby town, also called Tabqa.

It was the latest IS stronghold to fall to the Kurdish-led fighters as they advance toward Raqqa — the seat of the militants’ so-called caliphate along the Euphrates River. The fall of Tabqa leaves no other major urban settlements on the road to Raqqa, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) away. NYDailyNews

Islamic Fighters Confused And Incompetent

This is like watching the three stooges.

A clash between ISIS fighters and Kurds took place north of Mosul.  The fighting starts at 1:19 with ISIS fighters in a military vehicle scrambling to find the correct weapons in fight the Kurds.

Turkey Hands Over Six Kurdish YPG Fighters To Al Qaida Terrorist (Al-Nusra) In Syria

Video capture.
Video capture.

Turkey handed over six injured Kurdish YPG fighters to the jihadist Al-Nusra terrorist group.  Six YPG were taken into custody following a raid in the Turkish capital Ankara.

The six wounded combatants were, however, deported not through the YPG/YPJ-held Mürşitpınar border gate leading to Kobane, but through the Al-Nusra-held Cilvegözü (Bab El Hewa) border gate in Reyhanlı district of Hatay.

Thus, the Turkish state handed over six YPG fighters, who had been wounded defending their homeland against jihadist gangs, to the Jabhat Al-Nusra, another organization of fascist jihadists in the Syrian territory. KurdishInfo

The YPG said the six fighters were wounded in a battle against Islamic State (IS) in Kobane last month and transported over the Mürşitpinar border crossing for treatment in Turkey. Soon after, they went missing inside Turkish Hospital.

After few days searching, finally they find information that: all those six YPG members were handed over by Turkish army to t Al-Qaeda group in Syria.

There have been recent clashes between the AL-Nusra Front terrorist organisation in Syria and the Kurdish YPG, close to the town of Afrin. The YPG has said Turkey is directly supporting Al- Nusra operations against Kurds in Syria especially in Afrin canton. CNN

Turkey Continues Airstrikes On Kurds

Kurdish-inhabited_area_by_CIA_(2002)-2Turkey continues bombing PKK  in Northern Iraq.

Turkey is pressing ahead with airstrikes against Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq amid international calls for restraint.

The state-run Anadolu Agency said as many as 28 F-16 jets raided 65 Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, targets in northern Iraq, including shelters and ammunition depots on Friday. A day earlier, as many as 80 jets hit more than 100 targets, the agency said.

Anadolu claimed some 260 PKK rebels were killed and 400 were wounded since the start of the raids. The PKK has not reported rebel casualties. Turkey’s allies have urged it to resume a Kurdish peace process.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told the daily Bild the Turkish government “should not tear down the bridges to the Kurds that have been arduously built in the last few years.” Stripes

Is Turkey Creeping Toward Civil War? Continue reading “Turkey Continues Airstrikes On Kurds”

Kurds Fight ISIS Group While Being Bombed By Turkey

Peshmerga on a T-55-Tank outside Kirkuk in June 2014
Peshmerga on a T-55-Tank outside Kirkuk in June 2014

Turkey opposition to the Kurds in Iraq and the Kurdish fighters in northern Syria, could help and encourage the Kurdish separatists Turkey.

Turkey has supported ISIS against an Iranian-backed Shiite-oriented government.  Turkey’s recent shift to fight against ISIS comes because of closer cooperation between the US and Iran.  Turkey does not want its strategic importance sidelined, prompting it to cooperate with the U.S.-led strikes against ISIS.

Turkish jets struck camps belonging to Kurdish militants in northern Iraq Friday and Saturday in what were the first strikes since a peace deal was announced in 2013.

The strikes in Iraq targeted the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, whose affiliates have been effective in battling the Islamic State group.

The Kurds of Syria and Iraq have become a major part of the war against the Islamic State group, with Kurdish populations in both countries threatened by the militants’ advance. Syrian, Iraqi and Turkish Kurds took part in cross-border operations to help rescue tens of thousands of displaced people from the minority Yazidi group from Iraq’s Sinjar Mountain in August last year and they continue to fight in cooperation with one another against the Islamic State group in areas along the Iraq-Syria border.

They have been somewhat effective in limiting the expansion of the Islamic State militants across northern Iraq but there are concerns that Turkish airstrikes on the PKK could jeopardize Kurdish positions.Stars and Stripes

The pro-US Kurds get sold out for Turkey joining in attacking ISIS.

The White House said late Saturday Turkey has the right to defend itself against terror attacks by Kurdish rebels, after bombing Kurds in northern Iraq. FoxNews

U.S. Continues To Block Weapon Deliveries To The Kurds

kurdpeshmergaThe Kurdish fighters  in Syria (YPG) and Iraq (Peshmerga) are the only forces to that have been successful in fighting ISIS and driving them back.  The Peshmerga with the support of the Kurds in Syria have  regained control over parts of Iraq’s north-west with  no heavy and modern weaponry.

Some U.S. military aid to the Kurds was limited to light weapons from “U.S. intelligence agencies.”  Military aid is given to the Iraq government.  To receive weapons from U.S. Defense Department the current White House administration would need to approve plans for the Pentagon to arm the Kurds.

One of the core complaints of the Kurds is that the Iraqi army has abandoned so many weapons in the face of Isil attack, the Peshmerga are fighting modern American weaponry with out-of-date Soviet equipment.

Some of America’s closest allies say President Barack Obama and other Western leaders, including David Cameron, are failing to show strategic leadership over the world’s gravest security crisis for decades.

They now say they are willing to “go it alone” in supplying heavy weapons to the Kurds, even if means defying the Iraqi authorities and their American backers, who demand all weapons be channelled through Baghdad.

High level officials from Gulf and other states have told this newspaper that all attempts to persuade Mr Obama of the need to arm the Kurds directly as part of more vigorous plans to take on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) have failed. The Senate voted down one attempt by supporters of the Kurdish cause last month.

The officials say they are looking at new ways to take the fight to Isil without seeking US approval.  Telegraph

 

Turkey Plans Invasion of Syria, To Stop The Kurds Not ISIS

erdogan photo
Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey is talking of military intervention in Syria, claiming to push ISIS back from its border.

“President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has authorised a change in the rules of engagement previously agreed by the Turkish parliament to allow the army to strike at Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, as well as the Assad regime,” reported the Telegraph.

As Kurdish fighters in northern Syria gains against ISIS, Erdogan states Turkey will not accept a move by Syrian Kurds to set up their own state in Syria.

“I am saying this to the whole world: We will never allow the establishment of a state on our southern border in the north of Syria,” Erdogan said.  In the same speech Erodgan alleged that Syrian Kurds were engaged in ethnic cleansing, signaling an end to Turkey’s brief support for Kurd self-rule.

Turkey is holding a security meeting amid reports that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is pushing for the creation of a buffer zone along the Turkish border with Syria.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was quoted as saying that Turkey is prepared for any security threats along its borders. “If any harm is to come to Turkey’s border security, if Turkey reaches the conclusion that this garden of peace is being threatened, it is prepared for any eventuality,” Davutoglu said in comments broadcast late on Sunday.

“We will take the necessary measures to reduce the risks related to cross-border security.”

Over the weekend Syrian Kurdish forces secured Kobani near the Turkish border, beating back Islamic State two days after the militants launched an attack.

Ankara has looked askance as the Syrian Kurds have made military advances against Islamic State, fearing the creation of an autonomous Kurdish state there that would further embolden Turkey’s own 14 million Kurds. Haaretz

Photo by theglobalpanorama

Kurdish Peshmerga Survives After Stepping On ISIS IED In Iraq

Kurdish fighter, Hajar, steps on an ISIS IED and survives the blast.  Walking away Hajar is not slowed down, he walks away asking for a weapon and speaking of his love for his nation.

“It is nothing. I am ok leave me alone”….”Give me a weapon, it is nothing.”…”This is for Kurdistan!”

LiveLeek Translation (starts from 0:25):

Cameraman: Hajar is there anybody inside?
Cameraman: Hajar?

**IED EXPLOSION**

Cameraman: HAJAR? (8X)
Cameraman: What happened?
Cameraman: What?

Hajar: I left my weapon…
Hajar: It is nothing. I am ok leave me alone.

Cameraman: Hajar?

Hajar: Give me a weapon, it is nothing.

Cameraman: It is nothing!
Cameraman: Hajar, sit down, sit…sit

Hajar: Come…

Cameraman: Hajar, sit down, sit…sit
Cameraman: Brothers we got a wounded!
Cameraman: Sit down.
Cameraman: Hajar, how do you feel?

Hajar: This is for Kurdistan!

Cameraman: Hajar my brother! Just sit down.

Hajar: Long live Kurdistan!
Hajar: Help me….Help me

Cameraman: I love you my friend.

Hajar: Help me.

Camerman: Sit dont go back to the front! Brothers Ardalan!

Hajar: Where is Ardalan?

Camerman: Ardalan!

Hajar: If I am martyred, forgive me…

Camerman: God forbid!
Camerman: Brother Ardalan, we have a wounded!

Iraq Christians Guard Village Taken From ISIS Group

Assyrian Patriotic Flag
Assyrian Patriotic Flag

The Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters pushed the ISIS Fighters out of the town and helped  the Christians form their own militia.

The flag of an Iraqi Christian minority party is hoisted high over the village of Bakufa in northern Iraq, less than a month after Islamic State militants were pushed out and the extremists’ black banner was taken down.

The predominantly Christian Assyrian hamlet of 95 houses that once had about 500 people, located some 390 kilometers (243 miles) north of Baghdad, was overrun by the Islamic State group during its shocking blitz this summer, along with 22 other villages nearby.

In a counter-offensive, the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters swept in from the north, battling the Islamic State group house-to-house. The fighting forced the villagers to flee to Kurdish towns and cities elsewhere in northern Iraq.

Once Bakufa was retaken, the Kurdish fighters helped set up the village militia, made up of about 70 volunteers and known as Dwekh Nawsha, or “self-sacrifice” in Assyrian.

The men of Dwekh Nawsha now patrol Bakufa round-the-clock, in the hope that the village stays free long enough so their families can return.

Online & Interesting Video:  Iraq Christians guard village taken from IS group

No ISIS In Kobane

 US air strike on Kobane
US air strike on Kobane

Kurds Announce ISIS Routed From Kobane.

Islamist militants have been pushed out of Kobane and fighters of the Peoples Protection Units (YPG) are now in control of the town, a Kurdish official in Kobane told Rudaw.

“There is no ISIS in Kobane now,” said Omar Alush, co-chair of the TEV-DEM movement in Kobane.

Alush said that following the recent air strikes on positions of the Islamic State (IS) militants in Kobane, the YPG managed to drive the rest of the jihadis out of town and that they are now in control.

“YPG fighters are now searching the homes for bombs and explosives that the Islamist militants might have left behind,” said Alush. IS militants laid siege to the Kurdish town of Kobane on the Turkish-Syrian border last month, pounding the town with heavy artillery and tanks.

With support from US air strikes, the YPG held the town and eventually managed to turn the tide against the IS. “Kobane is quiet now and the flag of ISIS is gone,” Alush maintained.  Alush said that the jihadis still hold Kani Arab and Gire Mishtanur, close to Kobane.

“Fighting is still going on between the ISIS and YPG on the eastern outskirts of the town,” he said.

Alush said that the air strikes were effective in pushing back the militants, however, he said, the coalition forces should cut off the ISIS supply route from other parts of Syria “because we have information that the group is preparing for another assault on Kobane.”  Rudaw

Online:  Has Kobane become vortex of death for ISIS? As U.S. jets obliterate fanatics from the air and Kurds suck them into street ‘meat grinder’, experts believe jihadists have finally made strategic miscalculation

Netherlands: It’s OK For Members Of Biker Gang To Fight ISIS In Iraq

dutchmotorcyclegangfightingisis
Ex-military biker in Mosul, posing with a Kurdish fighter.

The Dutch public prosecutor says biker gangs travelling to help Kurds fight ISIS aren’t breaking any laws.  The Dutch prosecutor made the ruling after pictures started showing up on pro-Kurdish social media of Dutch biker gang members in Iraq fighting with the Kurds.

Dutch biker gangs are free to send their members to the Middle East to fight ISIS, according to the country’s public prosecutor.

The turmoil in the Middle East has already attracted hundreds of people throughout Europe of Kurdish heritage who are flying to Iraq and Syria to take up arms against the Islamist militants, but the Netherlands has now apparently cleared three members of the No Surrender biker gang to do so as well.

“Joining a foreign armed force was previously punishable, now it’s no longer forbidden,” a spokesman for the Dutch public prosecution service told AFP on Tuesday. “You just can’t join a fight against the Netherlands.”

According to Dutch news reports, the head of the No Surrender bike gang says the three members who travelled to northern Iraq — said to be former soldiers — were from Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Breda. They reportedly spend two weeks on the front before commuting back to the Netherlands for a week.  Canada.com