The U.S.'s proposal for an accord with #Russia over #Syria, the purpose of which is to get #Iran out, is broadly known from reporting. Folks familiar with the Syria policy discussions clarified some details. <Thread below>
As an aside: the Syria policy seems to have been taken away from the State Department, wholly into the White House, specifically into the hands of John Bolton, in the run-up to this summit with Putin.
The U.S. will propose:
- Withdrawal of #Iran's personnel (inc. #Hizballah) from Syria, *not* in a "phased" manner but as Stage One of the process;
- After six months, with verification Iran is gone, the U.S. will shut down its bases, not just Tanf, all in the SDF/PKK area
A group calling itself "The Committee of Peaceful movement in #Raqqa" called for a peaceful uprising against the Kurdish-led #SDF. The statement demanded the Syrian Democratic Forces to leave the city and hand it over to its people.
Clashes have broken out between the “#Raqqa Revolutionary Brigade” and the Kurdish-led #SDF in the northern suburbs of Raqqa, northern #Syria.
The Kurdish #YPG component of the #SDF have besieged the HQ of the #FSA “Raqqa Revolutionaries Brigade” and clashed with them at several points. They have called upon the people of #Raqqa to go out and demonstrate immediately against these militias and their actions.
My critique has always been about the imbalance/s created in northern #Syria by U.S. counter-#ISIS policy.
The #YPG was/is the #PKK - all U.S. officials admit that in private. That didn’t necessarily have to preclude working with them, but ignoring it caused big, big problems.
#pt: As an analyst of terrorist groups, I did see a certain irony & short-sightedness in the words of one top, serving U.S. official, “allying with a terrorist group (#PKK) to fight another terrorist group (#ISIS).”
It’s got nothing to do with any position on #Kurds, whatsoever.
BREAKING: The White House has said that US President #Trump is canceling his upcoming South America trip to remain in the US "to oversee the American response to Syria." - @NBCNews
This sounds like the US is planning to strike #Syria and Trump will remain in the US to closely monitor responses by #Russia. This is terrible.
BREAKING - British forces are now mobilizing at their bases in #Cyprus for strikes against #Syria. It appears very likely that the US, France and U.K. will strike Syria in the next 24 hours. This is dreadful.
Instead of giving back the city of Afrin to the central government of #Damascus, #YPG took the decision on behalf of all inhabitants, #Kurdxs and Arabs, to pull out and allow #Turkey to occupy it: #YPG "greatest" strategy. No place for Kurds even in the mountains now.
#YPG militants were described for years as "best fighters" and "best military partners" but the war in #Afrin showed they are not best fighters and they are worse planners with no strategy.
In both #Iraq and #Syria, #Kurds political leadership pushed the Kurdish population future and dreams for at least another 100 year back (and I am positive here) as a result of their alliance with the #USA in both cases and countries.
What are strategic options for the US in Syria over Turkey-#YPG debacle? Only four, none perfect: 1) Strategic procrastination 2) Prefer Turkey over #YPG 3) Prefer YPG over Turkey 4) Play an active role in reconciling Turkey and YPG/#PKK
+ First option is strategic procrastination: trying to put a bandaid on big problems with / between Turkey & YPG, hoping things will eventually work themselves out. They won’t, they’ll only get worse, & US will eventually be blamed by *both* Turkey & YPG +
+Strategic procrastination also includes “piecemeal concessions” to both Turkey and YPG to temporarily calm them down. This won’t work. Divide & conflict between TR & YPG is real, and deepening every day. No “smart, cheap, fast” solutions here. Big problem requires big solution +
2. The author also says U.S should “cut a deal” w. #Erdogan, in which “the #YPG will sever all support for the #PKK” … [despite the vast majority of #PYD/YPG leadership being long-time PKK/KCK veterans.]
Speak to anyone who regularly visits #SDF in NE - PKK calls the shots.
3. The author also links recent pictures of #Aleppo’s public park to compare “2016 charnel house” to 2018 "civilians strolling through its rebuilt public park.”
Except the park sat in regime-held territory & was barely touched in 4yrs of war. How does conquered east Aleppo look?
#Russia is discussing/finalising with #Turkey the cease-fire in #Afrin to allow 4000 #SAA men to take control of the entire city, surrounding villages, establish 52 positions in the enclave and deploy forces on the borders with #Turkey.
Thos who believe the deployment of the Syrian army will only be on the 160 km along the borders with #Turkey are mistaken because that was the initial request of the Afrin administration from day one, rejected by the government of #Damascus.
#SRO - What happened in Kusham area is the first real and strong #US action to protect its interests, the #SDF and its military advisors... Be sure this will reinforce #SDF recuitment policy and popularity... (1)
#SRO - Since weeks, as #Afrin offensive began and since #US administration thretened to cut support of clashes against #Turkey, recruitment for #SDF ranks was decreasing seriously (it was clear for #Raqqa governorate and #Manbij area) (2).
#SRO - #US intervention to strike a regime offensive, killing dozens and destroying dozen tanks, isn't about to erase #US stance on #Afrin, but population in Northern Federation to consider their ally with another point of view : yes, #US can be a good ally when needed... (END).
#SRO | HISTORY | MAP - Here is a map (the only one on the web) based on documented places and elements showing #Aleppo and its countryside in August 22, 2012 [One month after start of Maarakat al-Furqan in July 21, 2012] | #Syria.
- Azaz is secured by rebellion in July 19, 2012
- Silent cells taking over Salah ad-Din in #Aleppo city in July 20, 2012
- Anadan secured in July 29, 2012
- Al-Bab and Tadef secured in July 29, 2012
- Most of E-#Aleppo under rebellion in August 6, 2012
CHRONOLOGY AROUND #ALEPPO :
- Taanah battalion under rebels in September 2012.
- Military academy is taken by Liwa al-Tawhid in December 2012.
- Battalion 135 is falling in January 2013.
- Police academy is falling in March 2013.
- Kindi and Prison besieged since April 29, 2013.
#SRO - If we compare Day 1 to Day 16, the onlyreal and interesting advances by #Turkey suppletives and tanks are Bersaya and Bulbul town. It took three weeks for that. The maximum advance "deep" is 5.5 km (1).
#SRO - In the same time, to compare, #Turkey, in three weeks of Euphrates Shield, took control of a city, #Jarablus, a town, #Rai and maximum extent deep of 11 km. #Turkey clearly believed #YPG were weak as #IS... What a mistake... (2).
#SRO - Pro or anti, we must see facts : the Olive Branch operation is turning into a little Viet Nam situation for #Turkey. Just remember #Turkey lost... 0 soldiers in three weeks of Euphrates Shield. It lost already 21 in three weeks of Olive Branch and only for hills... (3).
#SRO - #YPG and #YPJ had years to prepare themselves to this expected move by #Turkey. But if we note the #YPG resistance is strong, yes, the #Syria'n mostly turkmen factions are also so... weak. Without #Turkey Leopard and airstrikes, no advances (2).
#SRO - #Turkey don't want to involve its own forces at frontlines, still keeping them at borders (only tanks crews are killed for now) but it will be forced to. The fact is that their turkmen suppletives are showing no capacity to lead the fight (3).
Over 110 killed of #Turkey proxy and #YPG today following fierce clashes on the borders of #Afrin enclave when the Turkish forces failed to make any serious advance. However, this is the largest number of casualties in one day for #Kurds.
The Syrian Army received instructions to allow #Kurds to transit from and to #Afrin through its controlled area without any restrictions or control during the "Olive Branch" Turkish ops.
The Syrian government gave instructions to all hospitals to receive as a priority any casualties among #Kurds due to Turkish "Olive Branch" military ops against #Afrin
The #SDF had denied Turkish reports that the border town of #Reyhanlı was shelled by #YPG, stating two days ago: "We have nothing to do in shelling [of Reyhanlı] civilian settlements. We never target the territory outside of our borders."
#Afrin fact thread of before Turkey's 'Operation Olive Branch'
This is Afrin on July 2017, the biggest pro-#SDF rally which was carried out against #Turkish assaults on the canton. Arab tribal leaders also joined.
On the other hand, the Yazidi Union in the #Afrin Canton had declared their 'endless' support for the Northern Syria Federation Project. #Yazidis inhabit 21 villages in the area of Turkey's operation led with the FSA. @YazdaOrg raised risks of ethnic cleansing and persecution.
1. Afrin Syria Saturday am 20 Jan. I can't confirm this report but it would not surprise me. I've followed the #YPG & #YPJ since Fall 2014. I note equipment changes Kept count of force size. Posted dozens of clips of every @CJTFOIR presser on my YouTube channel. Afrin
2. Afrin was always a black box. I saw what appeared to be US small arms with Afrin YPG in contrast to the SDF forces in the rest of Syria. Possible they were beneficiaries of CIA Train & Equip debacle. Won't report estimates of force size but by 2016 it was already large.
3. One thing I observed starting in #Kobane and continuing on uninterrupted is when #Kurds capture weapons and arms they police it up, inventory it and put it to use. Neat rows of weapons and ammo. Documented each time with video and photos. I've seen many dozens of such posts.
#Afrin Offensive: following weeks of #TSK reinforcements near border with #Syria but also in Syria itself (N. #Aleppo & N. #Idlib), #FSA-led National Army started also to mobilize. Multiple convoys moving.