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Syria Daily: Turkey Revokes License for US Aid Agency

Syria Daily: Turkey Revokes License for US Aid Agency
March 09
08:19 2017

Turkey suspends Mercy Corps, aiding between 350,000 and 500,000 Syrians each month, for “technical reasons”


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Turkey has suspended the operations of the US-based aid agency Mercy Corps, one of the largest humanitarian organizations working inside Syria.

Mercy Corps said the Turkish Government had not given a specific reason for the decision, ending regular assistance to hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians and refugees.

“Our hearts are broken by this turn of events, which comes after five years of cooperation with the government of Turkey and other local partners,” Mercy Corps said in a statement. “We continue to seek a dialogue with Turkish authorities in an effort to obtain permission to resume our operations in Turkey as soon as possible.”

The agency said it was grateful for the cooperation up to now with Turkey, “which has generously opened its doors to more than 3 million refugees since the Syria conflict began”.

A Turkish Government official told Reuters that the decision was “technical”, with Mercy Corps failing to meet some documentation requirements. He did not specify which documents the group had failed to provide.

Mercy Corps said it has assisted between 350,000 and 500,000 civilians each month.

“Our operations in Syria will continue, and our priority right now is to limit any adverse effects our departure from Turkey may have on the innocent men, women and children who depend on our assistance,” it said yesterday.

On Tuesday, the first high-level meeting between Turkish, US, and Russian military commanders ended in Ankara’s criticism of Washington, challenging US support to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. The Turks maintain that the Kurdish militia must not be involved an offensive on the city of Raqqa, the Islamic State’s main position in northern Syria.

Turkey maintains that the YPG, the military branch of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Party (PYD), is linked to the Turkish Kurdish insurgency PKK.

See Syria Daily, March 8: Turkish-US-Russia Meeting Ends in Discord Over Kurds


Video: White Helmets Rescue Child After Pro-Assad Bombing

White Helmets rescuers pull a child from rubble after the latest pro-Assad bombing of Kafranbel in Idlib Province in northwest Syria:

Regime and possibly Russian warplanes have repeatedly attacks opposition areas despite a nominal ceasefire — declared by Russia alongside Turkey and Iran — in late December. The strikes on Idlib Province have escalated in the past week, with several killed in Kafranbel in recent days.


Crowd Attacks Civil Society Organizations in East Ghouta

Offices of civil society organizations in opposition-held East Ghouta near Damascus have been attacked and vandalized by a crowd angered by an article in a magazine.

The crowd gathered because of an article, published in Rising for Freedom, which they said contained offensive sentences and blasphemy. Security forces refused to intervene, saying, “The police are unable to confront the street….We won’t be able to protect you or ourselves.” They advised evacuation of the building.

Soon after staff left, a small group vandalized furniture and office equipment, tearing down NGOs’ signs and posters and writing threats on the doors and outside the building.

The Prosecutor General in the town of Douma later declared “all offices of the Rising for Freedom Magazine, Horras Network for Child Protection, and any affiliated organization or magazine will be closed until they face a judicial hearing”.

The editorial board of Rising for Freedom removed the article from the magazine’s website and stopped distribution of the printed issue, apologizing and readers and declaring that the article did not reflect the opinion of only the writer and not the magazine.

The Violations Documentation Center, one of the affected civil society groups, issued a statement:

The decision gravely damaged the work of the involved organizations, as it suspended their daily work, which aims to support the resistance of Ghouta under siege and to continue to empower people to live a normal life despite the dire circumstances imposed by Assad’s regime and his open war against the people and society.

The Development and Small Projects Organization offers job opportunities for the civilians inside Gouta, and Hurran Network provides educational and psychos=ocial support services to more than 18,000 children in Douma and Ghouta who live under violent conditions daily. In addition, the Violations Documentation Center works to preserve documents and archives for the victims, detainees, and martyrs. The VDC tracks everything related to human rights violations, a difficult task in a complex and violence-stricken society.

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About Author

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

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12 Comments

  1. Bs As
    Bs As March 09, 17:53

    Lol, rojava´s neo-marxist “revolution” boiled down to another bourgeois nationalistic adventure administered by foreing powers.

    Reply to this comment
    • Kazemi
      Kazemi March 10, 17:46

      But but but, with ‘self-administration’ they will break the back of world-devouring imperialism. That is what Ojalan-god has promised. And Russian imperialism is not imperialism. It is anti-imperialism.

      Reply to this comment
  2. K9
    K9 March 09, 22:03

    #International: Apparently even if the regime wins the Assad government isn’t planning on reconstructing the country, nope they/regime officials plan to leech-off the international community for decades to come as this article shows:
    .
    http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/syriasource/the-reality-of-economic-reconstruction-in-syria
    .
    #National: “Prices for diesel, gasoline, and tomato paste are about 10x higher in besieged areas than others” – JohnArterbury
    .
    Proof if needed that rebels should deliberately target for permanent capture or destruction all important regime infrastructure (e.g. oil/gas/water pipeline, power stations, electricity stations, oil refineries, water treatment facilities, oil/gas fields, water springs etc) so regime has nothing. As far as I’m concerned rebels in Aleppo should start doing drone-guided (or use spotters?) shelling of Khafsa. That place provides water for Aleppo and seeing as the city is now full of either regime supporters and Hashd militias isn’t it time you give them a taste of the east Aleppo siege by denying them access to their water supply? Doesn’t matter if it gets destroyed because if you win the war the Turks/Qatar will rebuild it for you and if you lose the war then you leave Assad nothing. Same for important regime infrastructure around the Orontes river and finally rebels in Latakia should carry out a special-op against the main oil refinery in Baniyas which if rebels destroy would permanently destroy the regime’s ability to provide petrol to ALL regime areas in Syria. Rebels should target important regime infrastructure in a systematic so as to facilitate the regime’s collapse if not nation-wide then at least in provinces like Aleppo/Hama/Homs/Deraa.

    Reply to this comment
    • Barbar
      Barbar March 10, 07:31

      So now the citizens of Aleppo are to be denied water for failing to live up to your NATO-conform expectations and overthrow Assad?
      .
      This is brilliant revolutionary thinking, reminiscent of the Supreme Führer Hitler in his Berlin bunker, who, with the Rooskies rapidly closing in, famously condemned the German people all to Hell for having failed him, then popped a cap behind his own ear.

      Reply to this comment
  3. K9
    K9 March 09, 22:07

    #International: I mentioned this yesterday. This article (see below link) is interesting for what it reveals about Daeesh’s urban warfare tactics.
    .
    https://apnews.com/fbaa65aa1d8d4076bc91f99d3d39210c
    .
    Excerpt from the above link: “Iraqi forces launched a daring nighttime raid in the early hours of Tuesday morning on the sprawling complex of municipal buildings in western Mosul along the Tigris River. Beginning just after midnight, Iraq’s emergency response division, an elite arm of the Federal Police, led the attack. Initially advancing some half a dozen blocks past the front line in armored vehicles, but breaching the complex itself on foot…He traced his troops’ advances on a tablet showing a satellite map of Mosul — boasting of their quick progress — but the markers showed that the soldiers has just pushed up the two main roads leading to the complex and hadn’t cleared the dozens of tightly packed homes on either side…Snipers began to fire down on Iraqi forces from the buildings above and previously concealed suicide car bombs rammed their convoys. Ibrahim said he was trapped in the complex for hours as IS fighters moved out from un-cleared neighborhoods and cut the routes his forces used to enter.”
    .
    Note how Daeesh launch their counter-offensives (ie in waves/multiple-phases, from multiple directions, cutting off retreat routes through uncleared housing blocks, using VBIED to attack enemy rear whilst snipers pick off infantry hiding between vehicles etc) and thereby turn their counter-offensives into a giant ambush when the Iraqi government tried to raid their positions.
    .
    I wonder if rebels in Deraa/Hama/Homs/Aleppo/Damascus do something similar against regime troops in their urban battles against regime?
    .
    And I’ll also say this now is the time for rebels to start using weaponised drones. The YPG uses alot of berms to slow down potential VBIED attacks which leaves rebels options of either attacking at YPG targets from distance using ATGMs or from the sky using weaponised drones. Perhaps rebels could use all ATGMs and weaponised drones as well as sleeper-cells to target entrenched regime positions? To see what damage weaponised drones can do see below link:
    .
    https://warisboring.com/iraqi-federal-police-weaponize-off-the-shelf-drones-isis-style-e6d3e80364c8#.cs7b6hesp

    Reply to this comment
  4. Bs As
    Bs As March 10, 00:22

    US support for YPG threatens a ‘train wreck’:

    “During a tense exchange with Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander Gen. Joseph Votel, Senator John McCain said he doubted the Donald Trump administration had a full grasp on the extent of Ankara’s concerns regarding the group.

    “Unless something changes, I foresee a train wreck here and I’m not sure that the administration recognizes how seriously particularly [Turkish] President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan views the threat that he views the Kurds pose,” he said, referring to the YPG.”

    Asked by Sen. Lindsey Graham about the YPG’s “Marxist view of governing”, Votel said “I think it’s fair to say that there is some affinity back towards that.”

    http://aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-support-for-ypg-threatens-a-train-wreck-senator/767882

    Reply to this comment
    • Amir in Tel Aviv
      Amir in Tel Aviv March 10, 03:00

      What is “Marxist governing” ?

      Reply to this comment
      • Don Cox
        Don Cox March 10, 09:21

        Marxist governing is rule by the Party in a one-party state.

        Reply to this comment
      • Kazemi
        Kazemi March 10, 17:54

        A Marxist government is a dictatorship by the self-appointed representative of the proletariat. You know, it is “my way or the gulag’s way”. Throughout the history of civilization there were times when it was not all a lovey dovey “safe space” liberal democracy, you know. Lefties who never studied history may have difficulty figuring this one.

        Reply to this comment
  5. Kazemi
    Kazemi March 10, 17:40

    Interesting that the Kurds in the past several years have taken over Arab land in Iraq and Syria that is five or more times larger than mandated lands that Israel took over in 1948. Where is the chorus of hyperventilated hypocritical leftwing anti-imperialists that daily condemn Jewish takeover of mandated lands to condemn the Kurds? Even the two resident postcolonials support takeover and partitioning of Arab lands.

    Reply to this comment

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