Friday, August 18, 2017

Tag: SDF

More Special Operations forces are headed to Syria. Here’s what they’re going to do.

As Syrian fighters push toward the Islamic State’s de-facto capital of Raqqa in northern Syria, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter announced Saturday that additional U.S. Special Operations forces will head into the country to help the fledgling offensive. The additional 200 troops will bolster the 300 or so already in...

What is Turkey up to in northern Syria?

The Oct. 25 bombing by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces supporting the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) against the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA), which is leading Operation Euphrates Shield, is symptomatic of the struggle currently taking place in northern Syria on the al-Bab/Manbij axis. It also underlines the geopolitical conflict pitting...

Turkey demands role in Mosul battle, but coalition unconvinced

With US-led operations against the Islamic State’s strongholds of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq looming, Ankara and Washington are engaged in intense talks to determine Turkey's involvement in them. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has indicated that Turkey wants in on both operations, declaring that US President Barack Obama called for...

ISIS fighter reveals group’s plan to spread even after defeat in Iraq and Syria...

Patrick Cockburn interviews an Isis militant who claims the movement will rise again in North Africa, that Turkey turned a blind eye to shipments of weapons across the border and that Isis fighters are still present in Jarabulus. Isis will flourish and survive even if it is defeated in the...

Turkey reaches critical crossroads in Syria

Now that control of the Turkey-Syria border has been wrested from the Islamic State (IS) between al-Rai and Jarablus, what will Ankara's next target be: IS in al-Bab or the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in Manbij? On Sept. 4, 12 days into Operation Euphrates Shield, Free Syrian Army (FSA) elements...

US backing ensures Arab-Kurd alliance in Syria will survive

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), which has expanded its operation in northern Syria by sending tanks to al-Rai, needs a win. Just as important, the Turkish government needs a story about how the balances have shifted since the TSK’s intervention and how the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) led by the...

Is Turkey falling into its own Syrian trap?

The sentiment in Turkey is that, with "Operation Euphrates Shield," the country has made a thunderous return to the Middle East. But in a topography where nobody knows who is fighting who and what will tomorrow's alliances look like, there are serious traps awaiting Turkey. During the first week of the operation,...

U.S. Strategy to Fight ISIS Has Set Off a New Conflict in Syria

Five years after the start of Syria's uprising, the Turkish military directly entered the fray last week, sending troops to occupy the northern Syrian town of Jarablus, previously held by the militant group the Islamic State. Turkey’s intervention represents a significant escalation of the conflict, as well as a...

Has Turkey really stepped into Syrian quagmire?

Let's be clear: Turkey's cross-border operation that captured the Syrian town of Jarablus was dramatic and unprecedented. However, it was not really aimed at the Islamic State (IS) but actually at the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the People's Protection Units (YPG). Turkish officials at...

Turkey Is Finally Bombing Syria, But It’s Not Hitting Who the U.S. Wants

Ankara has sent tanks and commandos across the border, but its primary focus isn't ISIS — it's the Kurds trying to seize territory along its border. Turkey has a name for its newly launched military incursion into neighboring Syria: Operation Euphrates Shield. It sums up Ankara’s overriding priority when it...

Why Turkey Went to War in Syria

It’s fear of a Kurdish state — even more than the Islamic State. But things could get complicated with Washington supporting Kurdish rebels. The United States may finally have a professional military ally against the Islamic State in Syria. The Turkish-led assault on the northern Syria town of Jarablus, which...

Syrian Kurds accuse Turkey of aggression in Syria

Syrian Kurdish officials attacked Turkey's military intervention in Syria as "a blatant aggression" and warned that Ankara was entering a "quagmire" after it deployed tanks and troops against an Islamic State-held border town on Wednesday. Turkish forces and Turkey-backed Syrian rebels have crossed the border to take the town of...

Kurds claim control of Hasakah in setback for Assad’s forces

Ceasefire announced in northeastern city following warnings by US it would defend anti-Islamic State forces in city against Syrian air strikes. The pro-Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) was on Tuesday reported to be in control of the "majority" of the northeastern Syrian city of Hasakah, following clashes with pro-government forces. According...

U.S.-backed forces wrest control of Syria’s Manbij from Islamic State

U.S.-backed forces have seized full control of the northern Syrian city of Manbij near the Turkish border after the last remaining Islamic State fighters, who had been using civilians as human shields, left, a spokesman for the group said Friday. Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) were now sweeping the city after...

Jordanians worry over new Syria front

Jordan's pundits reacted swiftly to statements made by US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on July 26 that the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State (IS) is planning to open a new front in southern Syria in addition to its ongoing offensive in the north of the war-torn country. Most...

Russia accuses U.S. of backing Syrian rebels who use poison gas on civilians

Russia's foreign ministry sharply criticized U.S. behavior in Syria on Thursday, accusing Washington of backing rebels who use poison gas against civilians and of killing hundreds in air strikes. The ministry's spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, referred to rebels supported by Washington as "animals" and said Washington and its allies were recklessly...

US jets in showdown with Russian warplanes over Syria after bombing of Pentagon-backed rebels

Russian and American warplanes confronted one another in the skies above Syria after Moscow bombed an elite force of US-trained rebels. The Pentagon on Friday scrambled F/A-18 fighters to fend off an attack by Moscow's most advanced bombers on moderate opposition fighters it is supporting. When the F/A-18s approached the Russians...

U.S. State Department Officials Call for Strikes Against Syria’s Assad

Dozens of officials sign confidential document protesting Obama administration policy, urge regime change. BEIRUT—Dozens of State Department officials this week protested against U.S. policy in Syria, signing an internal document that calls for targeted military strikes against the Damascus government and urging regime change as the only way to defeat...

France Deploys Special Forces in Syria as IS Loses Ground

ROME, ITALY - French special forces in northern Syria are assisting Kurdish-led militias in a drive to retake a pocket of territory west of the Euphrates River from the Islamic State terror group, according to French officials. The French news agency, AFP, reports the commandos are not participating in combat...
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Defense Dept: It’s primarily al-Nusra who holds Aleppo, Colonel Steve Warren

Excerpt from the Video: COL. WARREN: ... That said, it's primarily al-Nusra who holds Aleppo, and of course, al-Nusra is not part of the cessation of hostilities. So it's complicated. We're watching it. Our focus, though, as the Combined Joint Task Force, is ISIL. And so don't forget that, that's...

Kurd turns on Kurd as Turkey backs new faction in Syria

'Grandsons of Salahadin' claims to be backed by Ankara and armed by US and ready to fight both IS and fellow Kurds for territory. ERBIL, Iraq - Turkey is backing a new Kurdish faction within the Free Syrian Army to take back territory from the Islamic State (IS) group and...

U.S. builds two air bases in Kurdish-controlled north Syria: Kurdish report

The United States has nearly finished setting up an air base in Kurdish-controlled northern Syria and was proceeding with the construction of a second base for dual military and civilian use, a Kurdish website said on Sunday. A spokesman for U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said, however, the United States was...

How the Kurds Became Syria’s New Power Brokers

And why Erdogan's war against them threatens to undermine his relationship with the United States and spark a civil war in Turkey. Tal Rifaat, Menagh air base, Kefir Naya, Kefir Neris — town after town, village after village is falling to Kurdish-led forces as they blaze their way across northern...

Why Turkey is losing hope in Syrian border town of Azaz

While speculation continues about whether Turkey and Saudi Arabia will march into the Syrian war, Turkey is already fighting on two fronts without even entering Syria. In the first, Turkey is launching heavy artillery fire at Syrian Democratic Forces advancing toward Azaz in northwestern Syria, while declaring that the objective is to stop the advances of the...

US takes control of Rmeilan airfield in Syria

Under a deal with Kurdish group, activists say US will use airfield to support fighters against ISIL in northern Syria. US troops have taken control of Rmeilan airfield in Syria's northern province of Hasakah to support Kurdish fighters against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a spokesperson...

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