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Our volunteers inside #Afrin confirm that #Turkish army has closed the border crossing in village of Nisria of Jindirese town, where #FSA fractions used to smuggle armament and people into #Turkey, after a dispute between smugglers. The smugglers have instead started to++
use the border crosssing at village of Hamam of the same town.

Sources on the ground told AAN that #Turkish troops closely collaborate with the smugglers to use the crossing into Turkey in exchange for $1.500 per person. The smuggling activities on the border with #Turkey++
video of which has just been released and been circulated on social media platforms, has increased after the recent operations by #YPG targeting terrorists and other local groups targeting both terrorists and their families.
Read 3 tweets
1) Today—on the 4th anniversary of the Kocho Massacre, when #IS slaughtered an entire town as part of the Yazidi Genocide—#Turkey bombed a #Yazidi convoy in #Sinjar that was returning from the Kocho Massacre memorial ceremony, killing Mam Zaki, an important Yazidi #PKK leader.
2) The convoy contained leaders & members of the Yazidi #YBŞ defense force and affiliated political institutions, including Mazlum Shingal, the military commander of the #YBŞ, who—like Mam Zaki—is also a #Yazidi. Mazlum (shown in photo) was injured but not killed in the attack.
3) A #Yazidi from #Sinjar (Tel Ezeir) named Harbo, a member of the Self-Administrative Council (a local governing institution that is a civilian political counterpart to the YBŞ defense force), was injured in the attack. Two others were killed; their identities are not yet known.
Read 39 tweets
Will Turkey Drop the US Dollar? @FortRussNews fort-russ.com/2018/08/will-t…
Can anyone tell me what exactly #Turkey has gained from its war against #Syria besides a collapsing currency, millions of refugees, an increase in terrorist attacks, the establishment of the #YPG and sanctions?
“Erdogan's speech is not helping the [Turkish] lira.” - @adamsamson
Read 10 tweets
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Preparations appear to be underway for a pro-#Assad offensive on #Idlib.

12hrs of on/off air & artillery strikes vs. southeastern & western #Idlib & northern #Hama - see marks on map (original by @ETANA_Syria + my additions).

+ multiple large pro-regime convoys moving north.
@ETANA_Syria #pt: If/when any major military campaign gets underway, expect the #Assad regime (+ #Russia & #Iran-backed militias) to focus on these 2 fronts:

1) West #Idlib (Jisr al-Shughour)
2) N. #Hama/#SE #Idlib (Latamineh, Khan Sheikhoun, Kafrazita)

-> a gradual push ‘inland’ & north.
@ETANA_Syria Very good by @theIRC’s @DMiliband:

- The West must “re-assert” itself & protect civilians in NW #Syria & as a backstop, safe-routes should be opened for civilians to flee into #Turkey.

- UNSC must demand full access to S #Syria; for aid, monitoring etc.

washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-w…
Read 83 tweets
The #YPG/#PKK announces that its operatives have murdered Akash Ahmad Ali, a member of the ruling council in Efrin. #Syria nedaa-sy.com/en/news/7735
The #YPG/#PKK put out a video of its sleeper agents in the Efrin zone assassinating a member of Faylaq al-Sham in a drive-by shooting on 28 July. #Syria
The #YPG/#PKK also put out a video yesterday from the EUPHRATES SHIELD zone of its forces killing a rebel fighter, ostensibly a member of Ahrar al-Sham. #Syria
Read 4 tweets
Our partner force in #Syria, the #SDF/#PKK is further formalizing its close relationship with the #Asad/#Iran system and mulling joint offensive operations against a #NATO member. So that's all going well. reut.rs/2LD074A
As @Reuters notes: our partner in #Syria, the #SDF/#PKK, a paragon of liberalism and Western values, "indefinitely postponed" the final stage of an election that was already a Soviet-style sham, excluding thousands of Arabs and run under conditions of suffocating autocracy.
Be interesting to see if the U.S. responds publicly to the #SDF/#PKK's suggestion it will help in #Asad-#Iran-#Russia's proposed campaign of mass-slaughter in Idlib and in joint attacks on NATO's #Turkey.

One highly doubts it; the PKK has literally got away with murder so far.
Read 5 tweets
Amid #Assad regime offensive in south #Syria, worth bearing in mind its continued bombing of areas in #Idlib - also under a so-called “de-escalation zone.”

Having watched the southern zone dissolved w/o response from #Jordan or #Israel, #Turkey’s now warning #Idlib = “red line."
#Turkey has deployed its own armed forces to x12 “observation posts” fencing in opposition areas & enforcing de-escalation.

#Russia seems invested in stability in #Idlib - but for how long?

After #Deraa, will #Assad & #Iran destroy the last remaining “de-escalation zone”?
For now, expect periodic regime bombing raids & notably, also ‘spoiling’ attacks by fighters unrestrained by #Turkey’s iron grip.

#HTS will remain internally divided on de-escalation -- the more regime bombings, the heavier the pressure for #HTS to respond = #Assad opportunity.
Read 26 tweets
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
Read 9 tweets
Two car bombs detonated in front of the Headquarters of a Free Syrian Army faction in #Afrin town centre in northwestern Syria. At least 10 people dead, including civilians.
"Afrin Hawks" or the "Afrin Falcons" have claimed responsibility for the twin attacks. The brigade is supposedly a unit of the US-backed Kurdish #YPG.
The Afrin Hawks vow to continue terror attacks in #Afrin if the Arab settlers from East Ghouta do not leave the Kurdish majority region.
Read 3 tweets
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.
Read 6 tweets
It’s extraordinary just how much BS gets created in people’s minds.

I never once expressed “support” for #Turkey’s #Afrin operation.

- Did I say it was inevitable? Yes.
- Did I observe it & comment on its advance vis-a-vis broader #Syria dynamics (i.e. my job)? Yes.
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.
Read 7 tweets
U.S. counter-#ISIS strategy & its insistence on ignoring/denying the #YPG’s roots helped give birth to problems like #Afrin today.

Everything was driven by short-term objectives, with their long-term implications constantly swept aside as inconvenient distractions.

Now look.
Was the U.S. right [at the time] to partner with the #YPG? Absolutely.

Were sufficient, honest efforts put in place to balance the consequences of working with the #YPG? No.

The result = a profound imbalance & a security challenge that #Turkey was always going to hit back at.
#pt: The #YPG did a superb job at liberating territory from #ISIS control; they were a truly reliable partner.

BUT, the U.S’s creation of a profound imbalance in northern #Syria - ironically - created the conditions in which the #YPG stood to lose a great deal.

Look at #Afrin.
Read 5 tweets
Interesting [alleged] details on possible US-#Turkey roadmap on #Manbij, #Syria - from @ragipsoylu.

#PKK “advisors” to leave… followed later by #YPG… TSK to control 5/11 observation posts & train new local security force to replace #SDF in ~6 months.
@ragipsoylu Unsurprisingly, the #PKK-controlled, #YPG/#SDF-run #Manbij Military Council (MMC) has refused any TSK presence.

Seems U.S. did not pre-consult with MMC - why? Would seem the logical thing to work out internal issues first…

Does someone want spoilers?

reuters.com/article/us-mid…
@ragipsoylu The #YPG/#SDF’s political “co-chair,” Ilham Ahmed (a #PKK veteran) has reportedly arrived in #Damascus for talks with the #Assad regime.

Ilham Ahmed is a regular visitor to Washington DC - a close partner to the U.S/@CJTFOIR/@StateDept.
Read 3 tweets
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.
Read 182 tweets
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.
Read 6 tweets
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

#thread +
+ 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 +
Read 25 tweets
The logic driving this “humanitarian” narrative is riddled with inaccuracies & contradiction.

1. @MaxBoot says we should “let #Assad win,” but that at the same time, the U.S. should “stand with” the #SDF in 25% of #Syria (the northeast) -- how does that work, exactly?
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?
Read 7 tweets
#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.
#Few minutes ago, #Damascus was informed that #Turkey is still rejecting few articles in the deal regarding #Afrin. Negotiators are still positive and hope to undo the problem in the next hours.
Read 11 tweets
#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).
Read 4 tweets
#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.
CHRONOLOGY :
- 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.
Read 5 tweets
#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).
Read 4 tweets
#SRO - #YPG and #YPJ are showing impressive resistance at #Afrin borders. Pro-#Turkey activists recognizing it. Note Jaysh al-Thuwar and #SDF #FSAare still stationned at #Tal_Rifaat and Shahbah frontlines, so, not involved (1).
#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).
Read 4 tweets
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
Read 4 tweets
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.
Read 7 tweets
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