Syria Daily: Kurdish-Led SDF Advances in ISIS-Held Raqqa

Fighters of the Kurdish YPG, the leading element in the Syrian Democratic Forces, east of Raqqa, June 2017 (Spiegel Online)

Syrian Democratic Forces take another district in west of Raqqa on Sunday


The Kurdish-led, US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces advanced further on Sunday inside the city of Raqqa, the Islamic State’s central position in Syria.

The SDF took the al-Qadisia district, their sixth in Raqqa, after three days of intense fighting.

After months of preparation and political maneuvers, the SDF finally moved into Raqqa in early June, backed by US weapons, special forces, and airstrikes. They have advanced from both the west, where al-Qadisia is located, and the east, and have cut off ISIS to the south by taking positions along the Euphrates River.

Several hundred civilians have been killed in and near Raqqa this year. The head of the UN inquiry team on Syria spoke in mid-June of the “staggering” death toll and said 160,000 people had been displaced from the area.

Erdoğan: US Arms to Kurdish YPG Violates NATO Treaty — “You Will Not Have a Future with Us”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has renewed his attack on US support to the Kurdish militia YPG, the leading element in the SDF, declaring that weapons supplies are a violation of the NATO Treaty.

“We will be together in NATO, and you will act together with terrorist groups. What kind of business is this? In this case, the NATO treaty should be revised,” Erdoğan said on Sunday at a rally of his Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Turkey considered the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Party (PYD) and its YPG militia to be part of the Turkish Kurdish insurgency PKK, which has fought Ankara’s security forces for more than 30 years.

In May the Trump Administration formally confirmed the arrangement, established soon after the SDF’s creation in autumn 2015, of US weapons supplies to the forces, despite Washington’s designation of the PKK as a terrorist group.

“Unfortunately, the countries we say are our allies, countries we consider friends see no problem in cooperating with terror organizations targeting Turkey’s unity,” Erdoğan said on Sunday. He continued:

Those who think that they can fool Turkey by saying that they will get those weapons back will eventually understand the vital mistake they made, but it will be too late. We will call to account the real owners of those weapons for every drop of blood they shed with those weapons.

I don’t know what kinds of a future you will have in Syria with the terrorist organization you chose, but you must know that you will not have a future with us.

Erdoğan also denounced the US for its refusal to extradite his former ally Fethullah Gülen, a cleric whom the President accuses of being behind an attempt to overhim him last July: “You inflict deep wounds in Turkey’s heart by harboring a terrorist leader who led a coup attempt in our country.”

Assad Regime Approves UN Aid to Mainly-Kurdish Qamishli in Northeast

The Assad regime has allowed the first overland delivery of aid to the mainly-Kurdish city of Qamishli in northeast Syria since December 2015.

The area has been inaccessible until recently because the Islamic State held much of the territory between Damascus and Qamishli. The World Food Program had to airlift assistance to about 190,000 people, with two flights per day, six days per week.

However, with the capture of the city of Manbij by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces this spring, the land route was established.

A convoy of three trucks carried food from Damascus to the city’s residents, including newly-displaced people from the SDF offensive on ISIS-held Raqqa. The delivery provides a month’s supply of food for 15,000 people.

“This humanitarian breakthrough will allow us to increase regular support for all 250,000 people in need in Hasakeh, compared to the 190,000 people we were able to assist through airlifts,” said Jakob Kern, WFP Country Director and Representative in Syria. “Road deliveries are also far more cost-efficient.”

The Assad regime has blocked almost all assistance to opposition areas, with the UN unable to make any deliveries for almost two months.

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  1. #International: The Stalinist autocrat of Tajikistan issues another decree “Unpopular Move. Tajikistan bans ‘Idgardak’ tradition (neighborhood children going door to door to get sweets on Eid)” – FarangisN
    #Quneitra: 1) “Unconfirmed reports that Israeli tanks shelled pro-Assad positions in Quneitra earlier today.” – fuadhud
    Mission creep by the Israeli military? It seems the Israeli army is getting dragged into the Syrian conflict step by step.
    2) “Regime BMP destroyed at S. entrance of Baath City.” – QalaatAlMudiq
    I have rebels have studied how the Turks (e.g. assault from 2 different axis – with each axis led by 3 different [right/centre/left] main assault groups and with each assault group having a large number of mobile artillery and tanks to spearhead the assault) captured Al-Bab because the capture of Baath City is probably going to need a similar approach. Baath City is going to be tough nut to crack as the regime had a long term to fortify that area. The assault on Baath City is going to need alot of coordination and use of resources and one of the ways rebels can get around this could be to use spotters. Someone who spots regime/IRGC/Hezbollah targets, finds that location on google maps &sends those coordinates to rebel artillery/rocket teams using ‘Whatsapp?’. It would improve shelling accuracy as much as using drones, in fact drones could be used to confirm what the spotters seen. This information could be then combined with the information reconnaissance teams learn during operations by making sure every front-line unit commander has a constantly updated map (through a monitoring device – preferably one Russians can’t track?) of skirmishes other rebel units as well as making sure small unit commanders are always sending back to the Ops room and to their fellow commanders the number of regime troops they’ve encountered during a skirmish as well as any snipers/IEDs they found in an area.
    Why? Because this allows small unit commanders to link up with each other (ie sharing information quickly, consulting and coordinating quickly with other rebel commanders) so they can help each other achieve an objective quickly with as little resources (and if resources like ATGMs or tanks are needed it can be quickly sent to that front-line if the situation demands it – and used the coordinates of spotter to shell at the target like a battery?) possible. This kind of approach would be incredibly useful during night-time operations especially if it allows rebel units (especially tanks?) to encircle (like the rebels of Deraa did in Rus Suffa?) regime units more quickly.
    #Afrin: Overdue if true “Continues to deploy 155mm self propelled artillery guns and APCs at night to the Kilis border area adjacent #Afrin” – CombatChris1

    • What happened to cultural relativism? Tajikestan has so many of its own traditions – why adopt foreign culture? Why should it adopt a foreign and Islamic culture and appropriate that? Isn’t cultural appropriation nasty? I mean all those folks who wear Indian costumes on Halloween are so despicable. Or is it that Islam is excepted, and Islamic culture should be spread? I wish the Left would make up its mind.

      • What if the people want to adopt the foreign culture? Who the heck are the rulers to decide on behalf of those people against their will?

        Tajikistan’s situation is similar to Ataturk’s turkey where Ataturk ordered everybody to wear hats to look western and sent the ones who refused to wear hats to gallows.

        Seculo-faschism failed in turkey, in zain al abidin bin ali’s Tunisia and it will fail in central asia dictatorships insha Allah.

    • Makes a lot of sense for Israel to nurture the secular FSA and Druze, and create a permanent buffer zone around Golan Heights to prevent future Islamic and Baath attacks on Israel.

  2. #Russia and #Turkey send troops to #Syria, build gas pipeline at home
    #Idlib #Afrin… 6/24/2017

    As Turkey’s invasion movement on Northern Syria centering on Rojava launched on August 24, 2016 continues, military dispatching has intensified in the last week. The Turkish state under Erdoğan’s rule had their plans foiled with the Great Battle to liberate Raqqa launched by the YPG-led SDF with support from the US-led International Coalition and this latest military dispatch is seen as an attempt at a more extensive invasion on Efrîn and Shehba with the Baath regime’s, Iran’s and Russia’s approval. 6/26/2017

    “The people are afraid of a huge attack from Turkey and the Syrian Islamists on Afrin and the Shahba region with support from Russia, the Syrian regime and Iran,” Dr Kamal Sido, a consultant for ‘the Society for Threatened Peoples’ (STP), told ARA News.

    “The occupation of the Shahba [northern Aleppo] by Turkey could worsen the humanitarian situation in Efrin [Afrin]. The United States should not stay neutral. US president Trump should support the people in Efrin,” he added.

    Jihad Abdo, a local journalist in Afrin, told ARA News that there is currently an ‘embargo’ on Afrin district by Turkey, the Syrian rebels, the Syrian government and al-Qaida. “All roads leading to Afrin are blocked,” he said. 6/24/2017

  3. #Breaking
    #USA Armored Corps are going toward #Tal_Abyad on Turkish boarder to prevent Turkish army attacking on the city after threats 6/26/2017

    US officials on Wednesday [May 3] made clear their dissatisfaction with ongoing challenges from Ankara to US support for the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

    On Tuesday [May 2], Ilnur Cevik, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s chief advisor on Kurdish affairs, warned that the US troops acting as “armor” for the YPG “could accidentally get hit by a few rockets.” 5/4/2017

    On June 11, Turkish-backed FSA forces mortared Kurdish forces near the city of Manbij, where U.S. forces are operating on a deterrence mission to keep the numerous warring parties in Syria focused on ISIS. Those mortar strikes landed near U.S. positions, according to Kurdish activists in the region.

    Officials in Baghdad confirmed the reports of indirect fire in Manbij to Military Times. “We are aware of reports of indirect fire in the area,” said an official at U.S. Central Command.

    Shervan Derwish, the commander of the Manbij Military Council, described the attacks by the Turkish proxy force as an attempt to delay operations in Raqqa. 6/23/2017

    • That rainbow Eid socks is for the purpose of attracting LGBT to the Islamist’s Eid, so they can push them off tall buildings. Trudeau has no idea what he has done.

  4. #Deraa: “Furqan Brigades ambush on groups of the regime’s 90th Brigade & 7th Brigade w/ 11 KIA/25 WIA #Samadaniyah #Quenitra” – badly_xeroxed
    This x100. I hope rebels now realise that all the roads regime units use to travel to an active front-line make ideal ambush sites. And that the more active (ie rebels have a real chance of gaining alot of territory quickly) front-line is the more opportunities rebels will get (because regime will be desperate to re-enforce that collapsing front-line with regime units whilst Russian jets are pinning down rebel attackers) to ambush regime convoys sent to re-enforce that front-line. The general rule is simple – if rebels want to ambush regime troops at a particular highway/neighbourhood then launch an offensive near that highway/neighbourhood so when the regime re-enforcement come they can be picked off by rebel sniper/ATGM operators.

  5. Will Tayyip Chavez (oops Erdo’an) finally decide he is backing the wrong horse in the conflict. With ISIS gone and Tayyip feeling secure at home, maybe he does not need to put up a fight with Assad anymore. He rather take on KSA and Israel and the Wes, and his interests would lie in linking with Russia, Iran, Iraq, Assad, Qatar. The FSA are about to be dropped like a hot potato and Al Bab reverted to Assad control. That is when the FSA will realize that the only friends they have on the ground are the Kurds and Israel.

    There is nobody more principle-less than an Islamist like Erdo’an. They can justify any atrocity in the name of god, and get away with it.

  6. The Kurds are about to regret fighting the FSA (which brought in Turkey) and allying with Russia and Assad. If Turkey goes in bed with Russia and Iran, both the FSA and Kurds will discover that they have been duped by Turkey and Qatar, and should have united a long time ago. YPG being Marxists are congenitally stupid, and FSA like all others get easily fooled by Islamist rhetoric. You can’t liberate/partition a country when you start fighting among yourselves.

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