Subscribe to Secularism is a Womens Issue

Secularism is a Women’s Issue

Home > fundamentalism / shrinking secular space > Turkey’s Safe-Zone And Refugee Peace-Corridor Is A Cover For (...)

Turkey’s Safe-Zone And Refugee Peace-Corridor Is A Cover For Encroachment

US Plans Permanent Occupation Of Syrian Territory

Friday 11 October 2019, by siawi3


Turkey’s Safe-Zone And Refugee Peace-Corridor Is A Cover For Encroachment

By Sarah Abed

October 10, 2019

On Saturday, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that preparations have been made for a unilateral cross border air and land military operation in the next day or two, in northern Syria, east of the Euphrates River. Erdogan expressed his frustration with Washington’s lack of adherence to a September 30th deadline to establish a thirty-kilometer-deep safe zone on Syria’s northern border.

In response to Erdogan’s threat, the US-backed Kurdish militia group known as The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stated that they are ready to respond to an unprovoked Turkish attack with an all-out war if necessary.

Sandwiched between the Turkish-backed Free Syrian army and their affiliates and the US-backed Kurdish militias are Syrian civilians who are at risk of losing their homes, land, and lives. They are opposed to both entities and want the war to end.

Erdogan has made this same threat to target Kurdish militias on Syria’s northern border numerous times over the past year. Each time Washington strongly condemns any sort of unilateral military operation that could put US troops and their Kurdish militia allies in harm’s way. Then at the eleventh-hour placates Turkey by agreeing to help protect their national security by establishing a safe zone on the Syrian border or creating a “peace corridor†for Syrian refugees to return from Turkey to Syria. Wash, rinse and repeat every few weeks.

In August, an agreement between the United States and Turkey was made to establish the safe zone and peace corridor on Syria’s northern border. Some People’s Protection Units Kurdish YPG fighters removed their posts and left the safe zone area. Three Turkish/US joint patrol operations have taken place since August. But Turkey still feels that not enough has been done and there are disagreements between the two regarding, depth, who should oversee the safe zone, and who needs to be removed from it. Turkey isn’t satisfied with a 10-15 km safe zone; they want 30 km and to be in total control of it.

It’s worth noting that the Syrian government has been vocal in their opposition to the creation of a Turkish safe zone or peace corridors on its land as well as joint patrol operations. Damascus knows that Turkey’s true intentions are expansion and changing the demographics and forcing the return of millions of Syrian refugees to areas in northern Syria where they do not originate from.

On the surface, establishing a safe zone for refugees might not seem like much of an issue. Especially if one thinks of Syria in the same terms as the United States and considers Aleppo, Damascus, Homs, Al Hassaka etc. as just states within a united country. But it is an issue, and there are major differences in tribes, religion, ideologies, political affiliations and loyalties that are not being taken into consideration.

Now, this isn’t to say that Syrians are incapable of peacefully coexisting, they can and have, but forcing entire populations to shift creating huge demographical changes on Syrian soil is problematic and if Turkey is truly worried about their national security they can establish a safe zone on Turkish land to protect themselves but they do not have a right to encroach on Syrian land.

In addition to the safe zone and peace corridor, Turkey has consistently demanded that the United States end their alliance with the Kurdish militias in Syria, the YPG and SDF who they consider to be an extension of the Kurdish Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) whom they have been at war with for over three decades.

Rather than cut ties to make their NATO ally happy, the United States has continued to support Kurdish militias since 2015, even assisting in a name change from YPG to SDF to disassociate them from the Turkish PKK.

Earlier this week another large convoy of US military trucks destined for the SDF made its way into northeastern Syria from Iraq.

If Turkey does carry out their alleged cross border military operation it will be the third of its kind in as many years. Just a few days ago, fragmented Turkish-backed militia groups including the Free Syrian Army merged into one with roughly 60,000 fighters, in preparation for this military operation.

The US is caught between supporting their Kurdish militia allies and supporting Turkey, their NATO ally. If US President Donald Trump truly wants to withdraw US troops from Syria like he has publicly stated numerous times, then he should use this opportunity as a perfect excuse. Pulling US troops would of course anger the Kurdish militias who the United States has supported for the past four years with weapons, funds, military equipment, intelligence etc. but it would cause the SDF to try to work things out with the Syrian government and army and unite with them.

Turkey has drawn out a detailed plan for resettling two million Syrian refugees in the safe zone and many are concerned that once these Turkish loyalists have resettled on Turkey’s border, Ankara will claim ownership on Syria’s northern region. Turkey’s plan would cost roughly $27 billion and Turkey is not planning on footing the entire bill and has asked for other nations to assist funds to carry out its plan.

Turkey’s plan includes establishing 140 villages, 10 towns, a Turkish university with three faculties including an Islamic Sciences faculty in Azaz, an Education Faculty in Afrin and an Economics and Administrative Sciences faculty in Al Bab. Each village would have 1,000 homes which would house 5,000 people. Each town would have 6,000 homes and house 30,000 people. The project would have a total of 200,000 homes to house an estimated 1 million people.

Turkey is attempting to repeat across northern Syria what they accomplished in Afrin during the Olive Branch operation. They drove out the Kurdish population and replaced them with Turkish aligned Syrian refugees, changing the demographics.



US Plans Permanent Occupation Of Syrian Territory

By Stephen Lendman,

October 10, 2019

The US has a long history of seeking to dominate Syria going back to the first CIA coup attempt in 1949, two years after the CIA was created which was followed by a series of coup’s that led Syria away from democracy and into dictatorship. It was also followed by the ‘successful’ 1953 coup in Iran which also involved the State Department, where the US removed a democratically elected government and installed a dictator who brutally ruled the country until the 1979 Iranian Revolution. The US has continued efforts to dominate Syria in more modern times as can be seen in this 1986 document describing strategies to achieve regime change in Syria. It is a long history of the US seeking to decide who rules Syria so it can be controlled by the United States. Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Kurdish region in the face of Turkey’s planned military attack was met with howls of bi-partisan opposition because it is inconsistent with longtime US foreign policy goals. While we are concerned for the Kurds, who have always been abused in the region where they deserve their own country, we are pleased Trump is finally removing US troops. In the article below Stephen Lendman describes the history of US efforts to dominate Syria and argues that the US is planning a permanent occupation. KZ

International law is clear and unequivocal. No nation may interfere in the internal affairs of others.

No foreign military of proxy force may occupy another country’s territory. No nation may attack another state without Security Council authorization — permitted only in self-defense, never preemptively for any reasons.

As a signatory to the UN Charter, international laws of war and related ones are automatically US constitutional law under its Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Paragraph 2).

Both right wings of the US one-party state repeatedly and egregiously flaunt international, constitutional, and US statute laws, pertaining to war and related geopolitical issues — the international community doing nothing to hold it accountable.

Many of its member-states partner in its wars of aggression, by other means, and/or other illegal actions against targeted nations.

All sovereign independent countries the US doesn’t control are on its target list for regime change — by brute force if other methods face.

Along with Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Iran, Venezuela, Russia, China, Somalia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Donbass (Ukraine), and Occupied Palestine, Syria is in the eye of the US storm.

Its troops and proxy jihadists illegally occupy around 30% of its territory. Under both wings of its war party, the US came to Syria to stay, seeking another imperial trophy, wanting Iran isolated regionally, aiming to replace its legitimate government with US-controlled puppet rule.

All of the above is what the scourge of imperialism is all about. US rage for unchallenged global dominance is humanity’s greatest threat — at home and abroad.

Deceptive headlines falsely claim Trump intends withdrawing from Syria, a sampling:

NYT: “Trump Throws Middle East Policy Into Turmoil Over Syria…vow(ing) to withdraw American forces…â€

Washington Post: “Trump withdrawing US from Syria…â€

WSJ: “Trump’s Call to Leave Syria Draws Fire From GOP Alliesâ€

Fox News: “Trump defends decision to withdraw troops from Syriaâ€

CNN: Trump ignores his own warning in Syria…dec(ides) to remove the remaining American troops…â€

AP News: “Trump defends decision to abandon Kurdish allies in Syriaâ€

Reuters: “ ‘Buckle up:’ Abrupt Syria policy shift is sign of Trump unchainedâ€

Haaretz: “Trump defies Pentagon, withdraws from Syria: Israel caught by surprise at Trump’s decisionâ€

Countless other headlines and reports are similar — no Western ones explaining Obama’s war, now Trump’s, nothing about illegal US occupation of Syrian territory, a flagrant breach of international and US constitutional law.

Fact: The US came to Syria to stay, Pentagon forces and proxy jihadists operating from around 18 bases in the country’s north near Turkey’s border and south near Iraq and Jordan.

Fact: Trump is redeploying US forces in Turkey away from Turkey’s border, not withdrawing them from the country as falsely reported.

A White House statement said the US will neither support or be involved in Turkey’s planned cross-border offensive against Syrian Kurdish fighters — US proxies against Damascus.

What’s coming is naked aggression by any standard, part of President Erdogan aim to annex Syrian territory, especially its oil-producing areas.

On Tuesday, Turkey’s war ministry said “(a)ll preparations for the (cross-border) operation have been completed…ahead of a long-planned…operation.â€

On the same day, Turkish Hurriyet News reported that the Pentagon “shut Turkey off on Oct. 7 from the air space in northeastern Syria, taking a series of actions that reduce the possibility that Turkish jets could support a planned military operation there,†adding:

US troops were redeployed away from the “security mechanism area between Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn in (Syria’s) north.â€

An unnamed State Department official said two small Pentagon detachments were moved “a very short distance†away from positions near Turkey’s border, adding:

“There’s no change to our military posture in the northeast,†including Pentagon control of its airspace.

On Monday, Turkish warplanes reportedly struck Kurdish forces in northern Syria in al-Hasakah province.

On Tuesday, the Syrian Arab News Agency said “the Turkish regime’s army on Monday evening launched an assault on a number of areas in Hasaka northeastern countryside,†adding:

No casualties were reported, “material damages†alone. Turkey’s Anadolu news agency said Turkish warplanes struck Kurdish elements in northern Iraq’s Gara region, denying a Syria offensive was launched.

On Monday after meeting with his Iraqi counterpart Mohamad Ali Alhakim, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the following:

“We have a common position on Syria. It is necessary to complete the rout of the terrorists groups in that country.â€

“We agreed to continue focusing on these issues of Syrian settlement in the Astana process, which was recently joined by Iraq as an observer.â€

“We have common views on ways of deescalating tensions in the Persian Gulf area.â€

He said nothing about illegal US occupation of northern or southern Syrian territory. Nor did he address Turkey’s planned cross-border aggression along areas bordering both countries.

Note: On Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif tweeted:

“US is an irrelevant occupier in Syria—futile to seek its permission or rely on it for security.â€

“Achieving peace & fighting terror in Syria will only succeed thru respect for its territorial integrity & its people.â€

“Adana provides framework for Turkey & Syria—Iran ready to help.â€

In 1998, both countries adopted the Adana Interstate Agreement on Combating Terrorism — Damascus vowing to prevent terrorist elements in its territory from threatening Turkey.

Endless US-led aggression in Syria for regime change continues because bipartisan hardliners in Washington oppose restoration of peace and stability to the country.

Trump is captive to dark forces controlling him in charge of US geopolitical aims — continuing on his watch without letup.