Syria Daily: Turkish-US-Russia Meeting Ends in Discord Over Kurds

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Turkish official: “If [Raqqa] operation is carried out in this manner there will be a cost for Turkey-U.S. relations.”


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The first meeting between Turkish, American, and Russian military commanders over Syria’s conflict has ended in discord, with Ankara criticizing Washington for its support of the Kurdish YPG militia.

The discussion between the Chiefs of Staff of the military — Turkey’s Hulsi Akar, the US’s Joseph Dunford, and Russia’s Valery Gerasimov — was seeking agreement on an offensive against the city of Raqqa, the central Islamic State position in Syria.

But “a senior Turkish official” said afterwards that the US appeared to have decided on the involvement of the YPG, the leading group in the US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces, in the operations.

Turkey has insisted that the YPG be excluded from any offensive. Ankara considers the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its militia to be part of the Turkish Kurdish insurgency PKK, which has fought for decades for independence.

The Turkish official said:

It appears that the U.S. may carry out this operation with the YPG, not with Turkey. And at the same time the US is giving weapons to the YPG,” the official said.

If this operation is carried out in this manner there will be a cost for Turkey-U.S. relations, because the YPG is a terrorist organization.

A US defense official said that Dunford did not inform his Turkish counterpart of any decision about the Raqqa offensive.

The US has backed the Kurdish-led SDF since its creation in autumn 2015 to fight the Islamic State, supplying special forces, armored vehicles, and weapons.

Turkey had set the Euphrates River in northeast Syria as a “red line”, but the SDF moved west of the river in December 2015 and has advanced as far as the city of Manbij in Aleppo Province, capturing it in June 2016.

The prospect of a showdown has arisen in the past month with a Turkish-rebel offensive taking nearby al-Bab, 30 km (19 miles) south of the Turkish-Syrian border and 40 km (25 miles) northeast of Aleppo city. Meanwhile, pro-Assad forces have seized areas south and east of al-Bab, establishing their first link with Kurdish-held territory.

In a sign of the developing alliance against Turkey and the rebels, the SDF handed villages west of Manbij to the Assad regime, in a deal brokered by Russia.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has promised that the Turkish-rebel offensive will take Manbij on its way to Raqqa.

However, Prime Minster Binali Yildirim said that the operations needed to be coordinated with the US and Russia.

TOP PHOTO: Meeting of the Generals — the US’s Joseph Dunford, Turkey’s Hulsi Akar, and Russia’s Valery Gerasimov on Tuesday


Anti-Assad Blocs Agree to End In-Fighting in Northwest

The anti-Assad blocs Ahrar al-Sham and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham have reached an agreement to end their clashes in Idlib Province in northwest Syria.

HTS, led by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra), has been criticized for months for attacks on rebel groups, including headquarters and warehouses, in Idlib and Aleppo Provinces.

On Monday, fighting was reported in the town of al-Mastoumeh in Idlib Province. Ahrar al-Sham issued a statement accusing HTS of trying to block a merger for unity, and calling on the bloc to take any dispute to Sharia court.

Tuesday’s agreement includes the lifting of barricades on roads, release of detainees, and an end to abusive propaganda. A joint committee will return arms seized by each side.


Pro-Assad Forces Claim Capture of Aleppo’s Water Source

Pro-Assad forces claim they have captured the main water pumping station for Aleppo city from the Islamic State.

An outlet linked to Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which fights with regime forces, said the al-Khafsa area on the western bank of the Euphrates River had been taken.

The Syrian military and its Hezbollah and Iranian-led allies, supported by Russian airstrikes, have pushed back ISIS to the east of Aleppo city. The Islamic State had held the water treatment and pumping plants for two months.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Discord, eh? LOL, who could have seen that one coming? The very fact that the peace-loving Rooskies have to mediate like this between ostensible NATO ‘allies’ Yankistan & Turkey to keep them from each others throats speaks volumes:
    https://www.rt.com/op-edge/379750-us-russia-turkey-antalya/
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    Tayyip is also practically at war with his NATO ‘brothers’ in Deutschland, as it seems the whole EU has unofficially moved to cock-block him from electioneering on their turf:
    https://www.rt.com/news/379787-turkey-cavusoglu-hamburg-referendum/
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    He is angry as the poll results indicate the “King’s Gambit” referendum trending to fail … so these gutless Euro-Bastardos could easily cost him his throne … ouchies, bigly! [many more Kurds will pay with their lives]
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    But maybe it is time for another régime-change coup in Turkey, this time done right and not botched by the serial loser Obomber? Hyper-competent intelligence professional Michael Flynn could easily manage it, now that he has more spare time on his hands:
    https://youtu.be/p1mG4aVFEiI?t=730

    • I am not sure which is more evil – Erdo’an or Putin. Not sure what your animosity is with Erdo’an. You know very well that he is a coward whimp when it comes to standing up to Russia or anyone slightly larger than himself. Neither is he a friend of NATO and Yankistan. So why not make friends with him and wish him a real presidency? Make him win by manipulating his referendum and he will forever be your pal. I fail to see the dynamics of confrontation between Erdo and Putin.

      • I have no animosity towards Abu Tayyip — he is a ruthless and ambitious Führer who urgently needs more Lebensraum for the expanding Turkish Volk, adroitly instrumentalises religion to cement his power, believes in free speech for himself and torture in prisons for those who complain, has a predilection for genocide and ethnic cleansing of rebellious Kurds and at the drop of a hat is ready to betray and [help] destroy any ally when it becomes expedient, see Gülen & Ghadaffi for example.
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        However, I should imagine the Vladster intends not to end up like Moamar, thus, while diplomatically posing as a ‘friend’ to exploit Tayyip for whatever he’s worth to further the interests of Russia, shan’t neglect to tightly lace up his titanium corset whenever this well-studied serial backstabber is about.

  2. [And beyond]
    ­
    Blasts, gunfire hit Kabul military hospital
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    “At least 30 people have been killed and dozens others wounded in a bomb and gun attack on a military hospital in Afghanistan’s capital, officials said. Defence ministry officials said the attack started at 9:00 with a blast at the front gate of the Sardar Daud Khan hospital in the Wazir Akbar Khan area, central Kabul on Wednesday. The gunmen, dressed as medical personnel, took position on upper floors of the hospital and engaged special forces sent to the scene, officials said.”
    ­
    “The attack comes a week after 16 people were killed in simultaneous Taliban suicide assaults on two security compounds in Kabul. Dozens of others were wounded as a suicide car bomber struck an Afghan police precinct in western Kabul and a five-hour gun battle ensued after another attacker snuck in, sending clouds of smoke billowing into the sky. In the second attack, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the gates of an Afghan intelligence agency branch in eastern Kabul.”
    ­­
    Kabul is helluva exciting place to live in.

  3. LOL, enraged Tayyip has reacted to the Yanki snub re. Raqqa by cutting off CIA’s ‘Meals on Wheels’ welfare program for Al Nusra* in Idlib:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/turkey-shuts-down-a-us-aid-group-that-helped-syrians/2017/03/07/e510d272-0374-11e7-9d14-9724d48f5666_story.html
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    Well, that escalated quickly … now let’s see what Russia can do to add further momentum to this beneficial trend 😀
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    [* hence Nusra will be forced to break the truce signed yesterday and revert to robbing whatever Tayyip delivers to AAS, keeping the intra-JI-Joe civil war nicely inflamed]

  4. #International: This article (see below link) is interesting for what it reveals about Daeesh’s urban warfare tactics.
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    https://apnews.com/fbaa65aa1d8d4076bc91f99d3d39210c
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    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.”
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    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.
    .
    #National: Turkey/Russia/USA meet to discuss anti-ISIS strategy. Ignore the title just scrolled down to the 9th paragraph of the article in the below link –
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    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/03/syria-isis-hulusi-akar-nusra-ypg-manbij-raqqa.html
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    Excerpt from the above link: “…Turkey has long insisted that unless the Syrian Kurds pull out of the town it will take matters into its own hands. And so it did, advancing with its FSA proxies on villages to the west of Manbij last week.. The United States also deployed additional forces to the north of Manbij to “reassure” their SDF allies, as Defense Department Navy Capt. Jeff Davis put it, and to head off further clashes. But coalition officials speaking on condition of anonymity told Al-Monitor that the United States will not offer protection or intervene west of the YPG’s forward line of its own troops in Arima.”
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    Translation: West of Arima (e.g. Yunanli) the YPG position is based purely on a bluff, all rebels have to do is to answer that bluff by infiltrating those areas with sleeper-cells using fighters preferably from rebel’s Kurdish units (ie ‘Sons of Saladin FSA’ and Kurdish Ahrar Al-Sham) and take it quickly (multi-axis night-time assault after sleeper cells have been activated?) because the US troops in the area are only there to stop the Turks so their attention won’t be on any rebels moving on YPG areas west of Arima.
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    And I’ll also say this now is the time for rebels in northern Aleppo 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 YPG positions? To see what damage weaponised drones can do see below link:
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    https://warisboring.com/iraqi-federal-police-weaponize-off-the-shelf-drones-isis-style-e6d3e80364c8#.cs7b6hesp

  5. #International: Brilliant article by Der Spiegel “Assad’s Syria now a warlord’s paradise”.
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    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/assad-power-slips-in-syria-as-warlords-grow-more-powerful-a-1137475.html
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    #Deraa: “an IED planted by Hezbollah killed 6 #FSA fighters on road near Naimah.” – QalaatAlMudiq
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    This is indicates: A) Regime trying to divert rebel offensive elsewhere in Deraa by attacking Naimah. B) That regime fears rebels opening up another front in this area so they’ve decided to busy rebels by planting IEDs around Naimah. C) The rebels need to open up (see link below) the Al-Kashef by digging and activating multiple underground-mines on military positions in that area as well as attempting to destroy all regime positions north of Naimah if rebels want to capture Ataman.
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    http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=32.652095&lon=36.154976&z=13&m=b
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    #Observation: 1) Excellent tweet “Months ago, @JohnArterbury fwded me message from Syrian friend comparing mukhabarat branches (regime’s true backbone) to Mexican cartels…Assad regime has always been thuggish at core. Difference now being that formal institutions mitigating these inclinations have collapsed. The NDF system was one early attempt to control/shape that dynamic, but the result has primarily been to formalize rather than contain…State regularly intervenes against these guys. However, at increasing rate, warlords (a) fight back, (b) win those fights, (c) are the state. Fighting around Baarin in Hama last year clear example: Three different state branches, three different warlords involved. No consequences. Situation aggravates humanitarian concerns, feeds conflict, limits regime effectiveness, freedom of movement & ability to hold territory.” – tobiaschneider
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    Proof positive that if rebels don’t have the military means to over-run a regime position then the next best thing to do is to infiltrate such regime positions with sleeper-cells?
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    2) To the rebels shelling Nayrab airbase, if you have spare ammo 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.

  6. #Observation: Interesting if true “A few months ago, people started raising concerns over (severe) fertilizer shortages in #Syria. Leading to #Damascus in mid-January saying they approved the imported of 30,000tons of fertilizer to solve the issue. Which afaik never arrived, leading to predictions in mid-February of a 40-50% drop in the Hama wheat harvest. and comments that the coming absence of fertilizer will lead to an “unprecedented” drop in wheat production. But luckily, #Damascus a week ago said they approved the import of 25K tons of fertilizer, saying it would arrive. in “days” on March 4. Afaik, no fertilizer has arrived. Today, a #Hama fertilizer plant was reopened to provide for. needs. Could be wrong, but I’m willing to bet #Damascus doesnt have the cash to import the fertilizer it needs & never signed those deals.. and is now scrambling to locally produce what’s needed before the harvest is seriously harmed.” – Jacm212
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    If the above is true then the rebels in Deraa/Damascus/Latakia/Hama should keep an eye-out for these amateur fertiliser factories because not only are fertiliser factories extra inflammatory (weaponised drones anyone?) if rebels successfully raid and seize these fertiliser products then not only would rebels deny the regime the ability to feed it’s supporters in places like Hama/Deraa/Tartous/Aleppo. Furthermore if the regime does decide to import large quantities of fertiliser products then it’ll either travel in truck convoys via the Lebanese border or through the Latakia/Hama border and those areas are perfect ATGM ambush territory.

  7. cant really feel sorry for Erdogan, who has repeatedly used every opportunity to create mistrust and make America out to be the boogey man, when we don’t give a shit about his interests any more. I guess the military didn’t particularly care for all the blame bullshit when it came to the coup attempt. And please, run off to Russia. Give live with the likes of Andre and Barbar and Co, see how much fun that is!

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