US, Turkey Cooperate ‘Carving Up’ Syria, Blocking Damascus from Wheat, Oil Regions
Murad Sezer
04:01 12.10.2019

While US President Donald Trump continues spouting claims of bringing troops home from Syria and exchanges threats of sanctions with Turkey, the mainstream narrative is neglecting to acknowledge the two nations’ history of carving up Syria and the dozen US bases actively blocking Damascus from its own resources.

Friday marked the third day of Turkey’s "Operation Peace Spring" along the Syrian border, and despite Washington’s decision to shift some 50 soldiers out of the way, US Special Forces near Aleppo’s Kobani still ended up on the receiving end of the offensive.

Though a Friday evening Pentagon release noted that no Americans were injured by Turkish artillery fire, the Trump administration and the Turkish Foreign Ministry are still trading threats on an economic front.

In response to US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s Friday announcement of possible US sanctions to curtail Turkey’s offensive, the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a response that explained Washington was well-informed concerning “the target and scope of the operation” and that Ankara is prepared to “respond in full” against any actions from the Trump administration.

These higher-level exchanges, along with French President Emmanuel Macron’s talks with Trump, have dominated corporate media headlines and stories while simultaneously neglecting Turkey’s main objective and the US’ overwhelming presence in the region the Kurds call Rojava.

Ben Norton, a journalist with the Grayzone Project and co-host of the Moderate Rebels podcast, joined Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear on Friday to discuss the reality of US troops in Syria following Trump’s call to pull out and explain how Operation Peace Spring is business as usual in the country for Washington and Ankara.

“The US has constructed more than a dozen US military bases in illegally occupied, sovereign Syrian territory,” Norton told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou. He pointed out that despite this fact, none of the articles talking about the Turkish invasion, which received an “American green light,” touch on the subject.

In addition to corporate media outlets neglecting to mention that the oil-rich region of Rojava is “protected” by US troops, coverage of the so-called American pullout does not reveal that Damascus is still unable to get access to “major roads that are being occupied by the US military,” he said.

Not only that, but Norton noted that Rojava is the “bread basket region of the country [and] represents a quarter of Syria’s sovereign territory that is militarily occupied by the United States, and it’s extremely fertile land where there’s a lot of wheat production and [other] food production.” Frankly put, “Syria has not had access to its own oil and wheat thanks to this US military occupation.”

The journalist explained that people should be skeptical of Trump and the US government’s claims of withdrawing troops from Syria, as the orders have only specified that servicemembers be moved from the border to other parts of the region. Even if Trump is genuine in his desire to bring American troops home, Norton said he believes that the US commander-in-chief is probably not even in control of his own foreign policy.

Turkey’s intentions, on the other hand, are obvious, in Norton’s opinion.

“It’s the dictionary definition of ethnic cleansing,” Norton argued. “Turkey wants to repopulate these Kurdish-majority areas with some of the 3.7 million Syrian refugees.”

He went on to suggest that history is repeating itself, as the Pentagon and other intelligence services assisted Turkey in conducting a very similar “carving up” of Syria’s Afrin, al-Bab and Jarabulus.

“This is a continuation of a policy that Turkey has already carried out with Washington’s approval. Washington doesn’t care about the Kurds, and it certainly doesn’t care about Syria. It’s perfectly happy seeing other allies like Turkey - which is a member of NATO - carve up the country,” he asserted.

Washington’s failure to let Operation Spring Peace occur would open the door for Damascus to possibly reclaim control of its own country.

Russia to Salvage US Mess
20:32 14.10.2019
by Finian Cunningham

It’s going to be a precarious balancing act, but only one nation can possibly help bring stability to the chaos unleashed in Syria by US President Donald Trump. That’s Russia.

Reports of a deal brokered over the weekend by Russia between Syrian government forces and Kurdish militia are a prelude to a wider effort by Moscow to achieve full peace in the war-torn country. That constructive role played by Russia is no doubt due to the mutual respect it holds among warring sides.

The deal brokered by Russia will allow the Syrian Arab Army to take over control of northern border areas with Turkey which were formerly under the control of the Kurds. Since Trump threw the Kurds under the bus last week and effectively green-lighted the incursion into Syria by Turkish forces, the Kurds have had to subsequently align with the Syrian government. Russia was crucial to facilitating the new alliance.

With the Kurdish areas returning to the control of the central government in Damascus – after five years of US-backed Kurdish occupation – that arrangement of a fully integrated Syrian territory is not just legally proper. It also could placate Turkey’s long-held demands for security regarding Kurdish militants, whom Ankara accuses of being “terrorists” trying to destabilise Turkey.

Russia and Iran have in recent days both warned Turkey to respect Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. With the Russian-backed Syrian army on the border facing Turk forces, it is a fair bet that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will think twice about escalating the incursion. Having had the Kurdish autonomous area dismantled and under control of Damascus again, the Turkish leader should feel assured to back off from further military action. Again, we may reasonably surmise that Russian President Vladimir Putin has quietly, but firmly, told Erdogan to calm down. Perhaps Putin is the only person whom the bullish Erdogan will heed at this point.

One thing is apparent though. The US and its European allies are a more than ever exposed as a hopeless bunch of losers whose criminal meddling and mischief in Syria, and more widely across the Middle East, leave them without a shred of credibility to resolve conflict.

“This is a monumental failure on behalf of the United States”, commented Aaron Stein of the US-based Foreign Policy Research Institute think-tank, as quoted by Reuters.

Stein added that “it would be the Syrian government or Russia, not American sanctions, that could stop the Turkish operation… The only thing that will stop them is if the [Syrian] regime or the Russians move in significant numbers to where they stop”.

Washington and its European allies have created the entire bloody mess in Syria with their criminal, covert war for regime change against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since the war on that country erupted in March 2011 – with as many as 600,000 dead. The Americans and other NATO powers have secretly weaponised jihadist terror gangs for their regime-change plot – an intrigue which failed because of Russia’s military intervention from the end of 2015 in order to defend the Syrian nation.
American soldiers walk together during a joint U.S.-Turkey patrol, near Tel Abyad, Syria September 8, 2019
© REUTERS / Rodi Said
American soldiers walk together during a joint U.S.-Turkey patrol, near Tel Abyad, Syria September 8, 2019

The US and its NATO cronies also used Kurdish militants as proxies to break up Syria’s territorial unity. Officially, Western governments and media claim that the Kurds fought a war against jihadist terrorism. That may be partly true in the murky world of running anti-government insurgents. But, primarily, the Kurds were used by Washington to annex Syrian territory, especially the oil-rich and water-abundant northeastern regions. In doing that, however, the Americans antagonised Turkey by mobilising the Kurds and affording them a de facto state within the Syrian state.

Trump’s sell-out of the Kurds last week by withdrawing American special forces in the region aligned with them has unleashed the mayhem and violence seen over several days. Trying to claw back some credibility, the Trump administration is now moving to heap tough economic sanctions on Ankara to “wreck the Turkish economy”.

European states have also clamoured with condemnation of Turkey for its military operations against the Kurds, which have resulted in many civilian deaths and tens of thousands of terror-stricken refugees fleeing from the violence.

Germany, France, Netherlands, Norway and others have announced suspension of arms exports to Turkey.

This is an incredible debacle. NATO members are bickering with and sanctioning fellow NATO member Turkey. There are even reports of Turkish artillery shelling positions near American special forces to cut them off from their former Kurdish ally.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Erdogan has basically told Washington and the Europeans to shove their sermonising and hypocrisy. Erdogan knows that the Americans and Europeans have blood on their hands from sponsoring Syria’s covert war, just as he does too.

Washington has no moral authority whatsoever to unravel the mess it has engendered in Syria.

Russia can salvage the disastrous situation because it has earned respect from all sides due to its principled and powerful military deployment in Syria. Moscow will want to avoid delving in too deeply whereby it ends up in a war with Turkey on Syria’s border. Somehow, however, Russia has the right balance between respect, diplomatic intelligence and power to salvage the morass made by America and its NATO cronies.

If peace can be settled between Syria and Turkey and Syria’s territorial integrity restored, then Russia stands to emerge with newfound status in the Middle East as an honest broker and neighbour – unlike the scoundrels barking in Washington and European capitals.

'Equation of Power Changed': Top Iranian Official Says Middle East Is 'Safer Place' Without US
21:57 14.10.2019
by Tim Korso

Following the start of the Turkish military operation in northern Syria, the US announced that it would pull out some of its troops from the area, with President Donald Trump criticising the efforts of previous administrations that dragged Washington into wars in the Middle East.

Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani has stated that the Middle East would be "a safer place without the US", stating that Washington should withdraw its troops from the region entirely and not just from Syria. He argued that even US officials have acknowledged that getting involved in the region's wars was a mistake, apparently referring to US President Donald Trump's recent criticism of past US administrations' Middle East policies.

Commenting on the recent statement by the POTUS, Shamkhani alleged that his administration has realised that "the equation of power and politics in the Middle East has changed" and that the US can no longer claim the leading position in the region.

"Washington has now two options: either to pretend to be a superpower by incurring huge expenses, or to adopt a realistic policy, accept the realities and save itself from the costs of the exposed plot", he said.

'Iran is Defeating Its Enemies' - IRGC Commander

Major General Hossein Salami, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), has stated that judging by the current state of affairs, the Islamic Republic is "moving forward" and "defeating" its enemies. He added that Iran's "will" can't be changed by outside forces and therefore the victorious "trend" will continue.

Salami's statements come months after Iran's domestically made Khordad-3 air defence system downed an American RQ-4 drone that violated Iranian airspace and failed to respond to multiple warnings. Tehran later stated that it also had a manned P-8 Poseidon spy plane in its crosshairs, but opted to spare it.





Saudi Arabia up in Flames: Riyadh Is Headed for a Major Disaster
Federico Pieraccini
September 19, 2019

On Saturday September 14th, Yemen’s Houthi rebels announced that they had conducted a massive attack on several Aramco plants in Saudi Arabia, including the largest oil refinery in the world in Abqaiq, using 10 drones. On Twitter, dozens of videos and photos showed explosions, flames and the resulting damage.

The move is part of a retaliatory campaign by the Houthis in response to the indiscriminate bombings conducted by the Saudi air force over more than four years. UN estimates speak of more than 100,000 deaths and the largest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.

The Saudi kingdom finds itself in an increasingly dangerous situation as a result of the retaliatory capacity of the Houthis, able to inflict severe military and economic damage on Riyadh with their missile forces. Estimates suggest that Riyadh is losing something in the region of $300 million a day from the Houthi attacks. On Sunday September 15, a spokesman for the Saudi oil ministry spoke of damage that is yet to be calculated, possibly requiring weeks of repair. Meanwhile, Saudi oil production has halved following the Saturday attack. With a military budget of $200,000, the Houthis managed to inflict damage numbering in the billions of dollars.

House of Saud Isolated

The withdrawal of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates from the conflict in Yemen, driven by their desire to improve relations with Tehran, and the impossibility of the United States intervening directly in the conflict, has created significant problems for the House of Saud. The conflict is considered by the UN to be the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, and Trump has no intention of giving the Democratic presidential contenders any ammunition with which to attack him. Bolton’s dismissal could be one of those Trump signals to the deep state stating that he does not intend to sabotage his re-election hopes in 2020 by starting a new war.

This reluctance by Washington to directly support Israel and Saudi Arabia has aggravated the situation for Riyadh, which now risks seeing the conflict move to its own territory in the south of the country. The Houthi incursions into Saudi Arabia are now a daily event, and as long as Riyadh continues to commit war crimes against innocent Yemeni civilians, the situation will only worsen, with increasingly grave consequences for the internal stability of the Saudi system.

Saturday’s retaliation is the real demonstration of what could happen to the Saudi economy if Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) refuses to sit down and negotiate a way out of one of the worst military disasters of the contemporary era.

The invincibility of US weapons systems is only in Hollywood movies

The Houthis have in recent months managed to strike their targets in Saudi Arabia dozens of times using different aerial means. This highlights once again the total failure of American air-defense systems in the country.

In contrast, the multiple Russian anti-aircraft systems in Syria have achieved a 100% success rate with regard to interceptions, managing to disable (through electronic warfare) all the drones, mortars and missiles launched by jihadists against Russia’s bases in Tartus bases and Latakia.

Blame Iran!

Mike Pompeo blames Tehran for the Yemeni attack on Saudi Arabia, of course without offering any proof. Riyadh and Tel Aviv are increasingly isolated in the Middle East. Washington is only able to offer tweets and paranoia about Iran to help its allies, given that a direct intervention is seen as being too risky for the global economy, not to mention the possibility of the conflict becoming a wider regional conflagration that would sink any chance of reelection in 2020 for the present administration.

Trump, Netanyahu and MBS are concocting a witches’ brew that will bring about a disaster of unprecedented proportions to the region. It is only a matter of time before we see the baleful consequences of their handiwork.

A hypothesis to be discarded

There is some talk doing the rounds that the Saudis conducted a false-flag attack on their own oil refineries, a hypothesis that enjoys a superficial plausibility. The resulting increase in the price of oil could be seen as having a positive effect on Aramco’s share price, it is true. But for the reasons given below, this hypothesis is actually not plausible.

The Houthis develop their own weapons, assisted by the Yemeni army. Used drones would cost less than $20,000 a piece. The military embargo on Yemen (enforced by the US and UK) has created a humanitarian disaster, limiting food and medicine. The delivery of weapons by sea therefore seems unlikely. As repeatedly stated by Mohammad Javad Zarif, the foreign minister of Iran, as well as representatives of Ansarullah, Tehran has no influence on the Houthis.

The Yemeni response is part of an increasing asymmetric logic, which has as its primary objectives the halt to Riyadh’s bombings of Yemen by increasing the costs of doing so such that they become unsustainable. The obvious pressure point is the 20 billion barrels in strategic reserves.

There is no need for a false flag to blame Iran for the work of the Houthis. The corporate media is enough to have the false accusations repeated without the help of the Israelis or US-based neocons.

The Saudis are more cautious, even if unable to decide how to proceed. In Yemen, they have no more cards to play: they do not want to sit down and deal with Ansarullah, Tehran is unassailable, while Tel Aviv is pushing for a conflict, with Riyadh offered to be sacrificed.

I have been writing for months that, sooner or later, an event will occur that will change the regional balance in a possible conflict with Iran. This happened on Saturday, when half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production was brought to a halt by an attack.


There could not be any worse news for the neocons, Wahhabis and Zionists. If the Houthis could inflict such damage using 10 drones, then Tel Aviv, Riyadh and Washington must be having conniptions at the thought of what the Iranians would be capable of doing in the event that they themselves were attacked.

Any power (in this case the US and their air-defense systems) and its close ally would do everything to avoid suffering such a humiliation that would only serve to reveal their military vulnerabilities.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow is seen by many in Israel as a failure. It is confirmed in Tel Aviv that the Zionist state’s recent attacks in Syria have been quashed by Russian intervention, sending an unambiguous message to Netanyahu.

Netanyahu and MBS, I reiterate, are heading towards the political abyss. And given their inability to handle the situation, they will do everything in their power to draw Washington into their plans against Iran.

It is all certainly vain. But in the coming weeks, I expect further provocations and tensions in the Middle East.

Three Saudi Brigades Annihilated in Devastating Houthi Offensive in Saudi Arabia
Federico Pieraccini
September 30, 2019

Many may have hitherto been led to believe that the Houthis were a ragtag armed force lacking in sophistication. Many, seeing the drone and missile attacks on Saudi oil plants, may have declared it to be a false-flag attack carried out by Riyadh to boost Aramco’s market value; either that or it was an operation carried out by Iran or even Israel. On Saturday September 28, the Houthis put paid to such speculation by confirming what many, like myself, have been writing for months; that is, that the asymmetrical tactics of the Houthis, combined with the conventional capabilities of the Yemeni army, are capable of bringing the Saudi kingdom of Mohammed Bin Salman to its knees.

The Yemeni army’s missile forces are able to carry out highly complex attacks, no doubt as a result of reconnaissance provided by the local Shia population within the Kingdom that is against the House of Saud’s dictatorship. These Houthi sympathisers within Saudi Arabia helped in target identification, carried out reconnaissance within the plants, found the most vulnerable and impactful points, and passed this intelligence on to the Houthis and Yemeni army. These Yemeni forces employed locally produced means to severely degrade Saudi Arabia’s crude-oil-extraction and processing plants. The deadly strikes halved oil production and threatened to continue with other targets if the Saudi-conducted genocide in Yemen did not stop.

On Saturday 29 the Houthis and the Yemeni army conducted an incredible conventional attack lasting three days that began from within Yemen’s borders. The operation would have involved months of intelligence gathering and operational planning. It was a far more complex attack than that conducted against Aramco’s oil facilities. Initial reports indicate that the forces of the Saudi-led coalition were lured into vulnerable positions and then, through a pincer movement conducted quickly within Saudi territory, the Houthis surrounded the town of Najran and its outskirts and got the better of three Saudi brigades numbering in the thousands and including dozens of senior officers as well as numerous combat vehicles. This event is a game changer, leaving the US, Mike Pompeo and the Israelis and Saudis unable to lay the blame on Iran as all this took place a long way from Iran.

The large-scale operation was preceded by Yemeni rocket artillery targeting Jizan airport, with 10 missiles paralyzing any movements to and from the airport, including denying the possibility of air support for the encircled troops. The Houthis also hit the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh in a key operation that targeted Apache helicopters, forcing them to leave the area. Nearby military bases were also targeted so as to cut off any reinforcements and disrupt the chain of command. This led to the Saudi forces fleeing in disorganization. Images shown by the Houthis show a road in the middle of a valley on the outskirts of Najran with dozens of Saudi armored vehicles trying to flee while being attacked from both sides by Houthi RPGs together with heavy and light weapons. Visual confirmation of the debacle can be seen in the number of casualties as well as in the number of prisoners taken. Images show lines of Saudi prisoners walking under Yemeni guard towards prison camps. This is something extraordinary to behold: the Saudi army, the third largest purchaser of weapons in the world, getting comprehensively walloped by one of the poorest countries in the world. The numbers say it all: the Houthis were able to control more than 350 kilometers of Saudi territory. Given that the Saudi military budget is almost 90 billion dollars a year, this achievement is made all the more extraordinary.

Houthi forces employed drones, missiles, anti-aircraft systems, as well as electronic warfare to prevent the Saudis from supporting their troops with aviation or other means to assist their trapped men. Testimony from Saudi soldiers suggest that efforts to rescue them were half-hearted and of little effect. Saudi prisoners of war accuse their military leaders of having left them prey to their opponents.

The Yemeni army and the Houthis were within less than 10 days able to inflict a devastating blow to both the credibility of US defense systems and the Saudi military. They did this by employing creative methods suitable for the objective at hand.

They initially revealed the internal vulnerability of the Kingdom through such a level of penetration into Saudi Arabia that they were able to conduct internal reconnaissance through the assistance of infiltrators or local collaborators so as to know exactly where to hit the oil installations for maximum effect and damage.

They subsequently demonstrated their technical and cyber capabilities through an asymmetrical operation employing drones of various types as well as electronic warfare to blind the US Patriot system’s radars, in the process halving Saudi Arabia’s oil production for a period of time Aramco is yet to determine.

Finally, the most surprising and astounding aspect of these recent events is this most recent Yemeni ground operation that was carried out in hostile territory and succeeded in surrounding three brigades consisting of thousands of men and their equipment. Thousands of Yemeni soldiers loyal to Ansarullah (Houthis) took part in this successful operation, supported by drones, ground-attack aircraft and air-defense batteries. Such capabilities are ordinarily better associated with well-trained and well-equipped militaries rather than militaries coming from the Third World.

The Houthis issued a clear message to Riyadh when they hit its oil installations. They effectively let it be known that they had the means and capability to damage the Kingdom irreparably, leading ultimately to the overthrow of the House of Saud.

The Yemeni army spokesman announced, after hitting the Saudi oil facilities, that they would stop all offensive actions using drones and missiles, leaving it up to Riyadh to decide whether things stopped there and they sat down at the negotiating table to end the conflict, or whether Saudi Arabia was in the mood for more of the same treatment.

Mohammed bin Salman would no doubt have received manifold reassurances from the Americans, explaining away the failure of the Patriot systems and assuring him that more American assistance was on the way; and that it would, moreover, be impossible to come to an agreement with the Houthis, especially given that they are considered to be a proxy of the Iranians (a debunked lie); not to mention, of course, the huge loss of prestige that would befall the Saudis, Israelis and Americans were such a capitulation to occur.

There is already talk in Riyadh of receiving new supplies of the THAAD system (similarly useless against Houthi asymmetrical warfare) and other very expensive American air-defense systems. It is too bad for the Saudis that the US has nothing like the Pantsir and the Russian BUK systems, which allow for a multi-layered air defense, ideal for defending against small, low-flying drones and missiles that are difficult to intercept with such systems as the Patriot and THAAD.

Instead of starting peace talks to stop the ongoing genocide in Yemen and being hit again by the Houthis in response, Mohammed bin Salman and his advisors seem to have seen it fit to commit further war crimes in Yemen.

Faced with such intransigence, the Houthis went ahead with a new attack even more devastating for Saudi morale and discombobulating for Western policy-makers. Thousands of men and their equipment were either killed, wounded, or taken captive in a pincer movement reminiscent of the DPR and LNR’s actions in Ukraine in 2015 where Kiev’s forces was similarly surrounded and destroyed.

Usually such pincer movements require thorough reconnaissance to determine where best to surround the enemy. Furthermore, air support and air-defense systems would be necessary to ward off American and Saudi responses. In addition to all this, troops and their equipment are needed together with the necessary training for such assaults that require coordination as well as quick and effective execution of orders. All these requirements were met as a result of the excellent preparation and knowledge of the terrain by the Yemeni army and the Houthis.

If the attack on Saudi oil facilities had such an impact, then the even more dramatic attack of this last Saturday will have forced Mohammed bin Salman and his American allies to face a very harsh reality. Saudi Arabia, it will now need to be recognized, does not have the capacity to defend its borders from Yemen, leaving the Houthis and the Yemeni army free to enter Saudi territory at will while showing little regard for the opinion and feelings of the Saudis and Americans.

This is a triple checkmate for the Houthis against Riyadh. Firstly, they showed that they had enough local support within Saudi Arabia to have ready internal saboteurs in the event of an all-out war with Iran or Yemen. Then they showed they have the capacity to cripple Saudi Arabia’s oil production. Ultimately, Yemen’s conventional forces could redraw the boundaries between Saudi Arabia and Yemen in the latter’s favor should Yemeni leaders decide to invade and occupy a strip of Saudi territory to secure a buffer zone, given that Saudi forces have been violating Yemen’s sovereignty and massacring civilians willy nilly for the last five years.

It bears reflecting on the significance of these events. The third-biggest arms spender in the world is incapable of defeating the poorest Arab country in the world. It is, moreover, incapable of protecting its national interest and borders from this impoverished Arab country. The Houthis are showing to the world what a poor but organized and motivated armed force can do using asymmetrical methods to bring one of the best-equipped militaries in the world to its knees. This conflict will be studied all over the world as an example of how a new means of warfare is possible when technological and cyber capabilities are democratized and available to those who know how to use them appropriately, as the Houthis have shown with their use of drones and electronic warfare.

With the Houthis enjoying a high level of leverage, through a combination of missile capabilities, the holding of many prisoners of war, and saboteurs spread throughout Saudi Arabia (apropos, a strange fire occurred in Jeddah on Sunday at the Al-Haramain railway station), it may be time for Riyadh to accept the tragic consequences of this useless war and sit down at the negotiating table with Ansarullah.

Washington and Tel Aviv will try in every way to prevent such negotiations. But if Mohammed bin Salman and his family wish to save their kingdom, it is better to start talking to the Houthis immediately. Otherwise it is only a matter of time before another attack by Ansarullah leads to the complete collapse and ruin of the House of Saud and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

「トランプのクルド切り捨てで米政界大混乱」は茶番 事前に調整済み クルドへの通告はツイッター(笑)






Arab League Urges Turkey to Immediately Withdraw Troops From Syria
15:52 12.10.2019

CAIRO (Sputnik) - The secretary-general of the League of Arab States (LAS), Ahmed Aboul Gheit, on Saturday called upon Turkey to immediately halt the military operation in Syria's north and withdraw troops from the territory of the war-torn Arab republic.

"We condemn this aggression. We call upon Turkey to immediately and completely stop all military action and withdraw troops, which have entered the Syrian territory," Aboul Gheit said during the opening address to the emergency LAS session amid the Turkish military operation in Syria.

'What Is This Sh*t?': Syrian Kurds Learnt About US Pull-Out From Twitter – Report
20:04 13.10.2019
by Tim Korso

Two days ahead of the start of the Turkish military operation against Syrian Kurds, the US announced that it would be withdrawing its troops from the area in order to avoid getting caught in the cross-fire between the warring parties. Some, however, including the Kurds, saw this as a "betrayal" of groups that had helped the US fight Daesh*.

Washington’s decision to withdraw from northern Syria came as a surprise both to US officials and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, whom the US has long supported in their fight against terrorist groups in Syria, Newsweek reported, citing its own sources on the ground.

"No one in the US government told us. When we heard the news of American withdrawals, well, it was over Twitter, we had no idea, we were like, 'What is this sh*t?'", an anonymous Kurdish intelligence official told the media outlet.

The same official noted that prior to this news, the militant group was planning a strategy to wipe out the remnants of both Daesh* and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (a group believed to be led by the leaders of Jabhat al-Nusra*) on Syrian territory with the help of American forces.

Now the Kurds are busy trying to repel the Turkish offensive and, in order to succeed, they might "cut a deal" with Russia, Newsweek reported, citing an anonymous senior Pentagon official. According to the source, the SDF could ask Russia to help negotiate with Damascus in order to gain its support in their fight against Turkey.

SDF General Mazloum Kobani openly indicated in an interview with CNN that this scenario is an option if the US fails to protect the Kurds from Turkey.

"I need to know if you are capable of protecting my people, of stopping these bombs falling on us or not. I need to know, because if you're not, I need to make a deal with Russia and the regime now and invite their planes to protect this region", Kobani said.

US Defence Secretary Mark Esper also expressed an opinion in an interview with CBS on 13 October that the Kurds may ask for Damascus' and Russia's help. He said that if this were to be case, then the US would end up caught between two military forces and to avoid this, Washington decided to pull out some 1,000 soldiers from northern Syria.

Newsweek's report that the withdrawal came as a total surprise to US officials contradicts an earlier one by Yahoo News, which cited an unnamed senior Trump administration official as saying that the decision had been "discussed among senior leadership at the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon".

....down, watching over a quagmire, & spending big dollars to do so. When I took over, our Military was totally depleted. Now it is stronger than ever before. The endless and ridiculous wars are ENDING! We will be focused on the big picture, knowing we can always go back & BLAST!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2019

US to Pull About 1,000 Troops From Syria's North Due to Turkish Offensive - Pentagon
16:00 13.10.2019
by Tim Korso

The Pentagon earlier confirmed that some Turkish shelling near the city of Kobani in northern Syria was in close proximity to American troops stationed at an observation post there. Washington insists that Ankara was aware of where its troops were located, while Turkey insists that it never intended to attack American forces.

Trump Says to Issue Executive Order Authorising Sanctions Against Turkish Officials
23:01 14.10.2019

The US president also said that the steel tariffs will be increased up to 50 per cent and Washington will stop negotiations with Turkey on a $100 billion trade deal.

Trump Says Syria’s Assad Should Protect Kurds After US Troops Pullout
22:58 14.10.2019

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - US President Donald Trump said Monday he hoped that Syrian President Bashar Assad would do a great job protecting Syrian Kurds from Turkey after most of US troops were withdrawn.

Democrats, Republicans Draft Bipartisan Bills To Reverse Trump Policy on Syria, Turkey – Reports
05:40 14.10.2019

The Syria pullout by the Trump administration has angered both parties in both chambers of the US Congress, and now lawmakers are preparing to bury the president under bills and resolutions condemning the move, while slapping sanctions on Ankara over its invasion of Kurdish-controlled northern Syria.

After Syria debacle, Congress must act for Kurdish region of Iraq
After training almost 100,000 members of the Syrian Democratic Forces in eastern Syria the US suddenly announced a withdrawal, without a road map to stability
By Seth J. Frantzman, ERIC R MANDEL
October 14, 2019 23:07

In 2016, Donald Trump excoriated the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq in 2011 after the successful American surge in Iraq under President George W. Bush had stabilized the country. He blamed the US withdrawal for the rise of Islamic State (ISIS). His analysis was correct, that the American withdrawal led to the rise of sectarian violence, particularly at the hands of Iraqi Shi’ite strongman Nouri al-Maliki. ISIS was able to gain a greater foothold as a result.

The October 6 decision by the White House to abandon and betray America’s partners in northern Syria, our best fighting partner against ISIS, is inappropriate on so many levels. When was it ever in American interests to empower Iran, Russia, Syria’s regime, or Turkish-backed extremists, leaving America looking like a paper tiger, and an unreliable ally? After training almost 100,000 members of the Syrian Democratic Forces in eastern Syria the US suddenly announced a withdrawal, without a road map to stability or even acknowledgement of the important the SDF played in the defeat of ISIS. The SDF, being bombed by Turkey which accused them of being linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and suffering attacks from extremists, signed a deal with the Syrian regime on October 13.

Now, while Syrian Kurds fear ethnic cleansing and the loss of their freedom, pushed through no fault of their own into the arms of the Syrians, Russians and Iranian militias, Congress has to act now to protect our even more important Kurdish allies in norther Iraq, or Iran will sense weakness and seek to exploit America’s perceived retreat.

The Kurdistan Region of Iraq is an autonomous region under Iraq’s 2005 constitution that the US supported after the 2003 defeat of Saddam Hussein. For decades the Kurdish leadership in the Kurdistan Regional Government capital of Erbil has been close to the US and has created a region that is stable and prosperous. They were key allies against ISIS and the US has supported their armed forces, called Peshmerga, through training and budgetary assistance.

However in recent years the Kurdistan region has been sandwiched between a rising Iran and questions about US policy in Iraq and Syria. When the US decided to leave Syria it became clear that the Kurdistan region of Iraq could also be threatened. Unlike the US partnership with the SDF, the US relationship with the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is one of two governments, because the KRG is an autonomous region under the Iraqi constitution, akin to Scotland or Quebec. While there were critics of the US partnership with the SDF, critically Turkey, there is no criticism of the US work with the KRG. That is why it is essential now to shore up support for Kurdish allies in Iraq and make sure they understand that the US is standing behind them. Uncertainty in the Middle East leads to US enemies trying exploit division and pry away US allies.

Washington cannot allow another retreat from the region after the collapse of eastern Syria. Northern Iraq is now the hinge, a strategic key, to the border areas of Iran, Turkey, Syria and Iraq. Iran must not be allowed to consume Iraq and Syria like an octopus. It is time for Congress to move fast and make clear the Kurdistan region is a key ally. That means support for security and the economy of the region. It means supporting the Kurdish region which hosts Yazidis and has large numbers of Christians. It means support for reconstruction and enabling the region to spread its wings at this key moment when US allies and interests appear under siege. An invite to the Kurdistan Regional president Nechirvan Barzani would be a good message from the US that the region is important. Listening to Erbil’s concerns is also important.

In other areas of Iraq protesters are being shot down by Iranian-backed militias. Not so in the Kurdistan region, an island of stability. But as we saw with eastern Syria, an island of stability can be threatened. The US needs to do the right thing and Congress has the tools to make that happen.

Seth J. Frantzman is the author of ‘After ISIS: America, Iran and the Struggle for the Middle East,’ and Oped Editor of The Jerusalem Post. Eric R Mandel is the director of MEPIN, the Middle East Political Information Network, and regularly briefs members of the Senate, House and their foreign policy advisers.

Pentagon Says Turkey’s Operation in Syria ‘Growing Threat’, US Continues Troop Withdrawal
01:08 15.10.2019

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The Pentagon considers Turkey’s operation in Syria an "impulsive" move that undermines efforts to defeat the Daesh* terror group, US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper said in a statement, stressing that the United States continues its troop withdrawal from northern Syria.

Turkey Launched Operation in Syria Because US Failed to Observe Commitments - Minister
04:38 15.10.2019

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Turkey has launched the military operation in Kurd-populated north of Syria because the United States failed to observe its commitments on establishing a jointly controlled demilitarized zone in the area, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday.

America must protect the Kurds from the Turkish tyrant
President Trump’s decision to fire missiles at Syria following a chemical weapons attack early in his term showed a moral conviction that president Obama – for all his talk – lacked.
By Shmuley Boteach
October 15, 2019 00:50

KURDS LIVING in Greece shout slogans while burning a poster depicting Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan during a demonstration against Turkey’s military action in northeastern Syria, in Athens, Friday. (photo credit: ALKIS KONSTANTINIDIS / REUTERS)

There are three unpardonable sins in modern society. I’m not talking about sins from the Bible, although these are indeed violations of universal Jewish values. I am referring specifically to a phenomenon that goes beyond the fundamental commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.”

The first and most abominable sin is to commit genocide, defined in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide as the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” Mass murder has become all too familiar in the last century:
• In 1915, the Turks slaughtered perhaps 1.5 million people.
• Six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.
• From 1975-1979, Pol Pot killed as many as three million Cambodians.
• More than 800,000 Tutsi were massacred in Rwanda in 1994.
• The ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims by Serbs in 1995.
The second sin is to be a bystander as these slaughters take place. Genocide would not be possible if world leaders acted to prevent mass murder and acted against those who ignore their warnings. Ethnic cleansing does not occur in secret. Despite the lengths to which they went to conceal their crimes, the world knew the Nazis were exterminating the Jews. The pope, Franklin Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill all were aware of the Holocaust and failed to stop it before nearly all European Jewry was destroyed.

The third sin is to in any way facilitate or give even the impression of approval of genocide. Knowingly allowing someone who has threatened genocide to carry out their plan is unforgivable. Failing to speak out when leaders threaten to exterminate a people or act against them is equally indefensible. Worst of all is to allow them to acquire the means to fulfill their threats. When the Iranians repeatedly vowed to wipe Israel off the map, it was unforgivable for then-president Barack Obama to reward them with a $150 billion windfall and sign a nuclear agreement that did not prevent them from engaging in terrorism, developing ballistic missiles or pursuing their goal of building a nuclear weapon. It was his support for this deal and his failure to speak out against Iran’s plans to annihilate the Jewish people over which Sen. Cory Booker – once my closest friend – and I suffered a serious rupture in our relationship.

President Donald Trump reversed Obama’s catastrophic Iran policy and has been a staunch defender of Israel. He has also defended Arab life by firing cruise missiles at the arch-butcher Bashar Assad after the President of Syria gassed innocent Muslims in Aleppo and other parts of the country, something President Obama refused to do, which is why the president must commit to protecting our Kurdish allies from the Muslim extremist tyrant of Turkey.

The Syrian government, with the help of Russia and Iran, has been engaged in what meets the definition of genocide against the people of Syria since 2011. The massacres have included the use of chemical weapons by Assad on his own people, sparing no one, including women and children. The entire Western world is guilty of the second sin of standing by and allowing this to go on for the last eight years.

President Obama gave his own green light to these mass atrocities when he said that the use of chemical weapons was a red line, and then did nothing when the Syrian government crossed it and continued to gas its own people. The rest of the world never bothered establishing any red lines, giving the murderers the freedom to kill tens of thousands of innocent civilians and create a massive refugee problem.

President Trump’s decision to fire missiles at Syria following a chemical weapons attack early in his term showed a moral conviction that president Obama – for all his talk – lacked. But we must now do more as the use of chemical weapons has continued.

Obama’s failure to enforce his red line emboldened Assad to continue his genocidal campaign. Now it’s Erdogan of Turkey who wants to take it further, using the withdrawal from Syria of US troops – who, though only fifty in number, served as a tripwire against Turkish aggression – to decimate our Kurdish allies who are unprotected from the Turkish Army. We cannot betray our ally and acquiesce to the wishes of the Turkish autocrat. President Trump was right to threaten Erdogan with the most severe sanctions if his aggression continues, but Erdogan took the president’s withdrawal of US troops as a signal, in the first place, that his aggression would go unchallenged.

The removal of these troops has been criticized by the president’s staunchest Republican allies as well as military leaders and Middle East experts. The president may wish to extricate America from endless Middle East wars. But as many of these critics noted, this action has several negative consequences. Besides potentially rejuvenating ISIS, the most serious is to make our allies not only in the Middle East but around the world question whether the United States will stand by them.

One of those allies is Israel. This president has been the most pro-Israel US president in history. But Israel is rightly alarmed by unchecked Turkish aggression.

ERDOGAN IS an antisemite. His hatred of the Jewish people and Israel is not transactional but ideological. He has accused Israelis of being Nazis and has repeatedly and falsely accused Israel of genocide. He has also destroyed Turkey’s democracy. He must be stopped from destroying the Kurds.

Turkey’s aggression also harms Israel by hurting one of its allies – the Kurds – and giving new confidence to the Iranians that the United States will not take military action to prevent their hegemonic activities and consolidation of forces inside Syria. It was Obama’s withdrawal of US troops from Iraq that first emboldened the Iranians. That mistake should not be repeated by a president who has proven himself to be Israel’s staunchest ally.

While the American withdrawal of troops has been the focus of critics, let us not ignore the continued complicity of the Europeans who have stood on the sidelines throughout the mass slaughter in Syria. They are doing nothing now to prevent Turkey from conducting its own campaign of ethnic cleansing.

Perhaps the only silver lining is the betrayal of the Kurds is a validation of Zionism. I agree with Yossi Alpher, who wrote in the Forward, “For anyone who has entertained doubts about the need for a state for the Jewish people, the Kurds represent a tragic reminder. They are consistently being abandoned to an ugly fate because they don’t have a country.”

Mr. President, you have shown your commitment to protecting innocent Arab life with your attack on Assad when he gassed his people. Now the United States must show the same commitment in making it clear to Erdogan that slaughtering the Kurds is a red line that he dare not cross lest he incur American wrath. Set up a no-fly zone and tell Erdogan in no uncertain terms that his atrocities against the Kurds will be punished. Europe is feckless, Mr. President. Only the United States can stand for morality and serve as the defender of all people against the threat of genocide.

You did it with Assad. Now do it with Erdogan and Turkey.

The writer, ‘America’s Rabbi,’ whom The Washington Post calls ‘the most famous Rabbi in America,’ is the author of Judaism for Everyone and Renewal: The Seven Vital Values of the Jewish Faith. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @RabbiShmuley.

For Kurds, Trump’s era was a complete betrayal
The great human sacrifices that the Kurds have given in the battle against ISIS were not enough for Trump to side with them in many fundamental issues
October 15, 2019 04:03

Two years ago ,when Trump took office, Kurds wondered, like the rest of the world who will be the new president of the United States .The Kurds, who have given great human sacrifices in their fight against Islamic State (ISIS), were observing anxiously the positions and new policies of the new administration.

The Kurdish issue at that time was in a critical stage in light of the huge changes that hit the Middle East region because of the fight against ISIS and the Arab spring .The Kurds always remember how the super powers were unfair to them in the 1920s, when Kurdistan was divided and Kurdish demands were abandoned to satisfy Turkey's desire. And since then, with almost a century of oppression and injustice ,the Kurdish uprisings did not stop to achieve the aspirations of the Kurdish nation in all parts of Kurdistan .
Kurdish hopes

In the early months of Trump presidency, there were Kurdish hopes ,and a sense of optimism in the Kurdish street with the arrival of the new administration. The Kurdish people hoped that President Trump will correct the historical mistake made by the West which prevented the formation of a Kurdish state in the twentieth century and to recognize the map of the Kurdish state. They hoped that the Trump administration will put an end to a chapter of abandonments and disappointments in the history of relations between the Kurds and Americans ,wishing that these bitter memories will be vanished forever, so eventually they will be able to determine their future.

As a sign of their love to the new president, new Kurdish babies and restaurants were named Trump .

I was among those people who were optimistic about Trump and argued that he might be the godfather of the Kurdish state in an article I wrote two years ago.

Kurdish disappointments

After Two years of Trump presidency ,the Kurds are disappointed again and facing a complete betrayal in all parts of Kurdistan .The great human sacrifices that the Kurds have given in the battle against ISIS were not enough for Trump to side with them in many fundamental issues. Most recently, The Kurdish areas in Syria are under attacks of the forces of darkness, where there is a war of ethnic cleansing and demographic changes by the Turkish army and its proxies. The Syrian Kurds have been sidelined in any plans for Syria’s future.

Under Trump administration ,the Kurds lost control of two key Kurdish cities in Kirkuk and Afrin .Civilians suffer from demographic changes and displacement after they living in stability and peacefulness under the Kurdish administration .

Trump did not support the biggest Kurdish dream of independence, the referendum of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, which was very successful with a very high percentage of Kurdish votes.

In Kurdish regions of Turkey, Kurdish leaders, politicians and parliamentarians are in the jails of the tyrant Erdogan .

Kurdish citizens in Iran are still subject to executions and arrests and do not have any national and cultural rights .

It worth to mention that despite of all these disappointments ,there have been no single cases of retaliation and assault on the U.S forces not even by throwing a stone on American soldiers ,and the American flag has not been burned anywhere in the Kurdish areas .

The Kurdish people are peaceful and respect the honor of friendship ,but they are victims of Geography which put them among wolves and bloody thirst vampires ,and the broken American promises.

To the Kurdish civilians who are the target of Turkish invasion due to president Trump wrong decisions and policies, they will remember Trump as a man who left them to be slaughtered, and his era was a complete betrayal , for them Trump is a traitor.

The best Kurdish message that he can receive are the words of the Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani “The blood of the Kurds is far more valuable than money and weapons”

The author is a Syrian Kurd journalist and Kurdish affairs analyst based in Erbil ,Iraqi Kurdistan.

Six years of work destroyed in six days: The collapse of eastern Syria
Turkish media, all supporting the invasion, would call the murder of Khalaf a “neutralization” of a “terrorist."
By Seth J. Frantzman
October 15, 2019 01:01

The US decision on October 6 threw the future of eastern Syria up in the air, leaving whoever captures it the winner of America’s withdrawal.

The withdrawal comes after years of American involvement in helping the mostly Kurdish fighters defeat ISIS, and years in which the Kurds had fended for themselves amid the Syrian civil war, a Turkish invasion, brutal atrocities by Turkish-backed Syrian rebel groups, and a deal with Moscow and Damascus sealed the fate of eastern Syria. Some 200,000 people have fled their homes, a well-known Kurdish female politician, Hevrin Khalaf, her driver and several others were killed by fighters supposedly allied with Ankara on a road outside Tel Abyad in northern Syria, and uncertainty remains as thousands of ISIS supporters appear ready to flee their detention facilities.

The cynical decision by the US to leave parts of eastern Syria left many questions about what US President Donald Trump had decided in his conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The US said Turkey would move forward with a long-planned operation and US forces would not be in the area. Turkey had threatened for more than a year to attack the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in eastern Syria, which Turkey claims is linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and is a terrorist organization. Turkey expanded its rhetoric in the spring of 2019 to demand a “safe zone” along the border. Then Turkey said it wanted a zone 32 km. deep into Syria, and to resettle millions of Arab refugees in Kurdish areas by building 200,000 homes in 140 new towns, thus changing the area’s demography.

The US military, which was left out of the loop of White House decision-making, tried to deal with Turkey’s threats and concerns, by establishing a “security mechanism” and getting the SDF to destroy forts and obstacles to Turkey’s upcoming attack. The US thought it was building trust, but Turkey was merely getting the US to do its work for it. The US military had been training 110,000 SDF fighters and had no idea that in Washington they were about to be thrown into chaos, watching those they trained be killed and ordered to leave.

The US decision also said “Turkey will now be responsible for all ISIS fighters” in eastern Syria. Turkey hadn’t agreed to this, but Trump wanted to force European countries or others to deal with the ISIS detainees. Except for renditioning several of them, the US walked away as the ISIS fighters tried to flee their facilities. The SDF was told it was all alone, the skies would be opened to Turkish airstrikes, and the SDF was told to keep holding ISIS detainees while Turkey, a NATO member, attacked it. The US had trained the SDF, only to then allow it to be destroyed.

Turkey sought to invade parts of northeast Syria near Tel Abyad and other border cities such as Ras al-Ayn. But Turkey would do it in a unique way. While Turkish artillery and planes hammered the SDF, Turkey would inject the recently formed Syrian National Army into the border towns, using them as cannon fodder. The concept in Ankara was to get a plethora of Syrian Arab rebel groups to die fighting the PKK, so that hopefully they could cancel each other out while Turkey watched. The rebel groups chanted jihadist slogans and vowed that they would kill the “kuffar” (infidels), some of them even chanted the same slogans ISIS had chanted in 2014 when ISIS attacked Kobane.

Now, in 2019, it would be with Turkish support that extremists would be unleashed against US-trained SDF. Covered by air, these groups, such as Jaysh al-Sharyiqa, would be videoed carrying out atrocities. They would capture the MF 4 highway junction, trying to stop traffic reaching toward Kobane, Ayn Isa and other border areas. At checkpoints, the Turkish-backed groups would harass and murder civilians, including Khalaf, who ran the local Future Syria Party. Turkish media, all supporting the invasion, would call the murder of Khalaf a “neutralization” of a “terrorist.” At least some US officials saw the videos of the atrocities and thought they were likely war crimes.

From October 6 to 9, Turkey prepared its operation. Its forces were in place and the Syrian rebel groups, formed into the “National Army” just days before, were being moved to position. The SDF seemed hapless to oppose the attack. Until the last minute, they hoped Trump’s October 6 decision would be like his December 2018 decision to leave Syria. The EU expressed concern to Turkey on October 9 and the heads of NATO and the UN said that Turkey should show “restraint.” NATO and the UN both gave tacit approval for the attack. Turkey presented no evidence that the SDF was involved with “terrorism” or that it posed an “existential threat,” but Ankara mobilized supporters to argue that the US had mistakenly allied with the YPG in 2015, which formed part of the SDF, and the US had “used terrorists to fight terrorists.” US officials who helped create and train the SDF saw it differently, arguing that the US had sought to work with other Syrian rebel groups but they had failed.

With the airspace open, the green light was given to Turkey to begin the operation on October 9. US Special Forces in eastern Syria briefly tweeted what seemed like support for the SDF. Others would later say they felt ashamed at the attack on their SDF partners. But they had no say. Turkey had coordinated its offensive with Russia, even though the SDF was already putting out feelers to Damascus and Moscow that it might need to negotiate. Putin had returned from a vacation to the Siberian taiga for his birthday. He monitored the developments closely.

Further to the east of Syria in northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region, former president Masoud Barzani and the KRG President Nechirvan Barzani both expressed concern, asking the US to stop the ensuing chaos. Washington wasn’t listening.

As Turkish bombs began to fall, Kurds in Kobane, the city that had resisted ISIS in 2014, fled toward the US base, demanding support and protection. There would be no protection. Instead, Turkey shelled areas near the base, causing concern for US forces. In Washington, US Senator Lindsey Graham was saying that the US would need to sanction Turkey over its attack on America’s Kurdish allies. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US had not given Ankara a “green light” to attack.

In response to criticism, Erdogan warned Europe to remain silent or Turkey would send millions of refugees to Europe in a replay of 2015. European leaders took it in stride. Germany’s leader would eventually critique the operation and France would end arms shipments. Harsher condemnation came from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said Israel could extend humanitarian aid. Trump disagreed, arguing that the US had to leave or force war with Turkey. He wanted the US out of the “endless wars.” He argued that Kurds and Turks were ancient enemies, and that Kurds had not helped the US in the World War II. By October 11, more than 70,000 people had fled their homes in eastern Syria. Within days, that number swelled to 150,000.

The SDF suffered withering attacks from October 9 to 12, in which Turkey said around 500 “terrorists” were killed in more than 200 airstrikes. SDF Gen. Mazloum Kobani told the Americans that they had abandoned his fighters to be slaughtered. He was angry with William Roebuck, the deputy US envoy for the anti-ISIS campaign. On October 12, he told the Americans that if they couldn’t protect his people, then the SDF would have to speak to Moscow and Damascus. “Either you stop this bombing or move aside,” he said. He would not allow another Afrin, where Kurds were ethnically cleansed from their peaceful villages in northwest Syria in 2018 by a similar Turkish operation.

The Americans, who knew that Turkey had impunity to bomb eastern Syria, were coy, telling Mazloum to wait. Later, on the evening of October 12, videos emerged of Turkish-backed rebels executing Kurdish prisoners. It was now clear to the SDF leadership that this is what awaited them: their families would be bombed and driven from their homes and they would be killed, either in battle or executed after. Civilian politicians would also be hunted down and murdered, like Khalaf. Their executions would be filmed, like ISIS had done, with jihadists chanting religious slogans and kicking and beheading Kurdish bodies.

Understanding that the US had abandoned them to be ethnically cleansed and murdered, the Kurdish leadership knew they had to find a way to stop the attacks via Damascus. A video of a Kurdish woman cradling her dead child shocked locals as they saw more evidence of what was in store. After noon on October 13, after just four days of fighting, the Syrian regime media announced its forces would move to oppose the invasion. But it would take hours for Syrian regime vehicles, some from Hasakah and Qamishli, where regime elements had small bases, to do much. Meanwhile, almost 1,000 ISIS detainees fled a camp near Ayn Issa. US vehicles fled Kobane but remained in Manbij across the Euphrates River. American soldiers indicated they feared the deteriorating situation and being isolated. US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper indicated the US was withdrawing. Orders for the soldiers on the ground were unclear.

They had been unclear the whole time as the US opened the airspace to Turkey but remained in some areas. Clearly the US had agreed to Turkey’s attack in the area of the “security mechanism” near Tel Abyad. But it was not clear what US forces knew in other areas.

Abroad, there were protests against the attack on Kurdish areas, such as Rojava. But fears for the fall of Rojava were too late. It was already falling. Chris Scurfield, whose son had fought and died alongside the YPG against ISIS, wrote on Twitter how tragic it all had ended. “What a waste of time five years, thousands of lives, including my son, for what?” Former CIA head David Petraeus was also shocked and “deeply concerned” about the American withdrawal.

A local Kurdish official named Ismet Sheikh explained the logic that drove his people to sign a deal with Damascus. They had asked the UN to stop the attack, and appealed to the Arab League, but there was no solution. To save people, they reached an agreement, he said.

By 10 p.m. of October 13, there were mixed celebrations in Hasaka and Qamishli to the idea that the Syrian regime would return and stop the bloodshed. The Internet was cut in Qamishli and journalists began to pack their bags. They would now be hunted by the Syrian regime if they stayed, they feared. They headed for the bridge that connected the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to Syria. Mazloum was circumspect: “If we have to choose between compromises and the genocide of our people, we will surely choose life.”

Amid rumors that Russia would impose a no-fly zone, images circulated of Syrian forces moving toward Manbij, Tabqa, Tel Tamer and other areas. The Syrian regime was returning after seven years. The whole area that the YPG and SDF had helped build for six years had been destroyed in six days, at the whim of the American president. The 110,000 SDF fighters trained would likely be incorporated into the Syrian regime forces, bolstering Bashar Assad’s manpower. Turkey’s invasion had accelerated the regime’s success.

Retired US Marine general John Allen spared no words of outrage: “There is blood on Trump’s hands for abandoning our Kurdish allies.”