KURDISH NEWS BRIEFING, 10 JANUARY – 10 FEBRUARY 2020

For all of the latest Kurdish news, see these sources:

ANF English: https://anfenglishmobile.com/

Hawar News: https://www.hawarnews.com/en/

Rojava Information Center: https://rojavainformationcenter.com

https://twitter.com/RojavaIC

Women Defend Rojava: http://womendefendrojava.net/en/

Rojhelat: http://rojhelat.info/en/

Rojava Centre for Strategic Studies

http://nrlsrojava.com/en/

 

 NEWS

  1. Pentagon slashes funding for Islamic State fight
  2. KODAR and PJAK announce a boycott of elections
  3. Ilham Ahmed to Asharq Al-Awsat: Damascus Agreed to Political Dialogue with Guarantee from Moscow
  4. Closure of Iranian border crossing crushes Kurdish village economy
  5. Turkey: Kurdish Mayors’ Removal Violates Voters’ Rights, Says HRW
  6. Police charge a British father with ‘terrorism’ for sending money to his son – who’s been fighting AGAINST Daesh
  7. Final Resolution of the 16th EUTCC Conference in EP
  8. DC Court: Turkey must face charges in Sheridan Circle assault on Kurdish protesters
  9. HRW: Turkey intensifying attack on pro-Kurdish party by removing mayors
  10. British Islamic State suspects to be tried in Syria by Kurdish authorities
  11. Autonomous administration in Syria to put Isis fighters on trial after international snub
  12. Exclusive: U.S. halts secretive drone program with Turkey over Syria incursion
  13. Kurdish-led forces in Syria say they will keep conscription system 
  14. UN: Northwest Syria fighting displaces over 500,000 in 2 months
  15. Syrian Kurdish party reopens office as part of Kurdish unity initiative
  16. Syrian Kurdish center sets out to defang ‘cubs of the caliphate’
  17. Turkey denies it, Swiss laboratory proves it used phosphorous
  18. Kurdish-led authorities in northeast Syria plan local tribunal for IS fighters
  19. Belgian government defies ruling of its supreme court on PKK
  20. Kurdish leaders celebrate Belgian court’s ruling that the PKK is not a terrorist organisation
  21. Belgium Court of Cassation: PKK is not a terrorist organization
  22. General: US committed to Syria fight; Missions up against IS
  23. Turkey earthquake: death toll rises as search for survivors continues
  24. ‘We have no alternative’: Syrian Kurds predict cooperation with Assad on aid deliveries
  25. Priti Patel’s proposed new terrorism offence was worrying. Her new plans are frankly terrifying.
  26. Almost 27,000 flee Syria’s Idlib to Turkey in three days – report
  27. Priti Patel is proposing a new terrorism offence that should worry us all
  28. EU cuts pre-accession aid to Turkey by 75%
  29. UN says around 350,000 people have fled Syria’s Idlib since 1 December
  30. More than 500 people, mainly children, died in Syria’s al-Hol camp in 2019: Medics
  31. Turkey’s Wikipedia ban ends after almost three years
  32. Final declaration of the SDF Military Council meeting published
  33. UK’s attempt to repatriate British children from Syria to be rejected
  34. Norway repatriates Daesh-linked woman, children from Syria
  35. Report: Syria Kurdish politician executed by Turkey-backed militia
  36. Turkish, Syrian top spies meet in first official contact in years
  37. Syrian Kurds criticize UN decision limiting humanitarian aid to Syria
  38. Russia scores victory for ally Syria in UN vote cutting aid
  39. Thousands march in Paris for Sakine, Fidan and Leyla
  40. Turkey, Russia agree to ceasefire in war-torn Idlib, Syria

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS

  1. How could Idlib escalation affect Syrian Kurds?
  2. Turkey, Syrian regime at last exit before all-out confrontation
  3. What Erdogan wants: Why Turkey has troops in north-east Syria
  4. Support Crumbling for Plan to Try IS Foreign Fighters in Syria 
  5. What’s it like to fight against Isis in Syria? A fighter and a local reveal shocking truth
  6. Syria’s Kurds embrace resilience, beauty in wake of Turkish attack
  7. US should follow Belgium’s lead and end PKK terror designation
  8. Rojava political reconciliation talks on ‘right path’: ENKS relations chief
  9. Intel: Turkey’s invasion of northeast Syria spurs Kurdish unity
  10. Russia and Turkey have fallen out in Syria
  11. As Syria’s conflict rolls on, a veteran journalist says Daesh is not yet fully defeated
  12. Are Russia, Turkey entering last act of Idlib fight?
  13. SDF commander says Kurds ready for dialogue if Ankara is sincere
  14. U.S.-Russia ‘engagements’ underscore danger of oil mission in Syria
  15. Banned poetry and the Kurdish question
  16. Neo-Ottomanism: the political economy of contemporary Turkey
  17. Soleimani’s killing strengthens Putin’s hand in Syria and Iraq
  18. What is next after Operation Peace Spring?
  19. Iran is closer ‘than ever before’ to regime collapse, says former Obama security
  20. Soleimani death weakens Syrian regime, will force direct talks with Kurdish authorities: Salih Muslim
  21. After the Americans
  22. UN Security Council’s scale back of Syria aid will worsen humanitarian conditions:
  23. Why instinct and ideology tell Trump to get out of the Middle East
  24. The Dangerous Unraveling of the U.S.-Turkish Alliance

 ————————————————————————————

NEWS

  1. Pentagon slashes funding for Islamic State fight

10 Feb 2020 | Jack Detsch, Al-Monitor

The Donald Trump administration is again set to slash funding for the fight against the Islamic State in a new budget request unveiled today, as Iraq’s leaders have publicly demanded an end to the US-led combat mission.

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/02/pentagon-slash-funding-islamic-state-fight-iraq.html

 

  1. KODAR and PJAK announce a boycott of elections

09 Feb 2020 | ANF English

Democratic and Free Society of East Kurdistan (KODAR) and Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK) have announced their stand regarding the general elections to be held in Iran on February 21 to elect members of the parliament for the 11th term and the Assembly of Experts for the 5th term.

https://anfenglishmobile.com/kurdistan/kodar-and-pjak-announce-a-boycott-of-elections-41481

 

  1. Ilham Ahmed to Asharq Al-Awsat: Damascus Agreed to Political Dialogue with Guarantee from Moscow

09 Feb 2020 | Asharq Al-Awsat

Head of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) Ilham Ahmed revealed that the Syrian regime has agreed to Russian-mediated political negotiations with Kurds. https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/2122816/ilham-ahmed-asharq-al-awsat-damascus-agreed-political-dialogue-guarantee-moscow

 

  1. Closure of Iranian border crossing crushes Kurdish village economy

08 Feb 2020 | Rudaw

Villagers in Qundol used to make their living at a thriving market at the semi-official border crossing into Iran. Now that Iran has closed down the crossing into Kurdistan’s Qaladze region and started regulating border trade more strictly, the village is quickly being abandoned.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/080220202

 

  1. Turkey: Kurdish Mayors’ Removal Violates Voters’ Rights, Says HRW

08 Feb 2020 | Eurasia Review

The Turkish authorities’ removal and arrest of democratically elected Kurdish mayors across southeastern Turkey violates voters’ rights, Human Rights Watch said. The Turkish government is intensifying its attack on the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) by removing the mayors and preventing the functioning of elected local councils across Turkey’s southeast.

https://www.eurasiareview.com/08022020-turkey-kurdish-mayors-removal-violates-voters-rights-says-hrw/

 

  1. Police charge a British father with ‘terrorism’ for sending money to his son – who’s been fighting AGAINST Daesh

07 Feb 2020 | Tom Anderson, The Canary

West Midlands Police have charged a father with supporting terrorism for sending £150 to his son Daniel, who is a volunteer with the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northeast Syria (aka Rojava). The YPG and its local allies have been key in defeating Daesh (Isis/Isil) in Syria, losing over 11,000 fighters during the conflict.

https://www.thecanary.co/feature/2020/02/07/police-charge-a-british-father-with-terrorism-for-sending-money-to-his-son-whos-been-fighting-against-daesh/

 

  1. Final Resolution of the 16th EUTCC Conference in EP

07 Feb 2020 | ANF English

The Annual International Conference on the EU, Turkey, the Middle East and the Kurds was hosted by the EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) in cooperation with the GUE/NGL Group, the Greens-European Free Alliance (GREENS/EFA) and the Groups of the Free Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D). The conference was successfully held on 5th and 6th of February 2020 in the European Parliament in Brussels.

https://anfenglishmobile.com/news/final-resolution-of-the-16th-eutcc-conference-in-ep-41439

 

  1. DC Court: Turkey must face charges in Sheridan Circle assault on Kurdish protesters

07 Feb 2020 | Laura Kelly, The Hill

A federal court in Washington, D.C., denied a request Thursday by Turkey to dismiss a civil suit by protesters who are seeking damages after they were violently beaten while demonstrating against the visit of the Turkish president to the Capitol in 2017.

https://thehill.com/policy/international/middle-east-north-africa/481973-dc-court-turkey-must-face-charges-in-sheridan

 

  1. HRW: Turkey intensifying attack on pro-Kurdish party by removing mayors

07 Feb 2020 | Wladimir van Wilgenburg, Kurdistan24

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Turkey’s removal and arrest of multiple democratically elected Kurdish mayors across southeastern Turkey violates voters’ rights, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a press statement on Thursday.

https://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/49620bba-f415-411a-a973-b140f7a61bcb

 

  1. British Islamic State suspects to be tried in Syria by Kurdish authorities

06 Feb 2020 | Josie Ensor, The Telegraph

British Islamic State suspects are set to go on trial in Syria from next month, ending a years-long impasse between the Kurdish authorities holding them and the UK Government over their fate.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/02/06/british-islamic-state-suspects-set-go-trial-syria/

 

  1. Autonomous administration in Syria to put Isis fighters on trial after international snub

06 Feb 2020 | Morning Star

ROJAVA is set to put foreign jihadists on trial amid inaction from international governments, the Kurdish-majority administration in north-east Syria said today.

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/w/autonomous-administration-syra-put-isis-fighers-trial-after-international-snub

 

  1. Exclusive: U.S. halts secretive drone program with Turkey over Syria incursion

05 Feb 2020 | Humeyra Pamuk, Phil Stewart, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has halted a secretive military intelligence cooperation program with Turkey that for years helped Ankara target Kurdish PKK militants, four U.S. officials told Reuters.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-security-usa-drone-exclusive/exclusive-u-s-halts-secretive-drone-program-with-turkey-over-syria-incursion-idUSKBN1ZZ1AB?il=0

 

  1. Kurdish-led forces in Syria say they will keep conscription system 

04 Feb 2020 | Middle East Monitor

A senior Kurdish official in the “Defence Board” of the so-called Autonomous Self-Administration in Syria’s northeast town of Ain Al-Issa has stated that there are no plans to stop the controversial forced military conscription of young men in the Syrian territory currently controlled by Kurdish-led forces, known as the Syrian Defence Forces (SDF).

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200204-kurdish-led-forces-in-syria-say-they-will-keep-conscription-system/

 

  1. UN: Northwest Syria fighting displaces over 500,000 in 2 months

04 Feb 2020 | Al-Jazeera

The United Nations has sounded the alarm over a severe humanitarian crisis unfolding in Syria’s northwest, where a Russian-backed Syrian government push against the country’s last rebel-held stronghold has forced more 500,000 people from their homes in two months.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/02/northwest-syria-fighting-displaces-500000-2-months-200204090158411.html

 

  1. Syrian Kurdish party reopens office as part of Kurdish unity initiative

03 Feb 2020 | Wladimir van Wilgenburg, Kurdistan24

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The presidency of the Kurdish National Council in Syria (KNC) on Sunday decided to reopen its offices in Syrian Kurdistan as a sign of good faith in response to a Kurdish unity initiative by the Commander-in-Chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Mazloum Abdi.

https://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/8edf5a1d-4933-49bf-b05a-6e2bdab5bccf

 

  1. Syrian Kurdish center sets out to defang ‘cubs of the caliphate’

31 Jan 2020 | Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor

TELL MAAROUF, northeast Syria — A boy is hunched on a bunk bed, his small fingers deftly stringing macrame beads. The result is a heart-shaped key ring. On it is inscribed the word “Love.”

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/01/syria-kurdish-center-cubs-caliphate-islamic-state.html

 

  1. Turkey denies it, Swiss laboratory proves it used phosphorous

31 Jan 2020 | Serkan Demirel, ANF English

Laboratories in Switzerland have confirmed to have found presence of white phosphorous on a sample of the skin of a Kurdish fighter, who was wounded in the Turkish attack on the town of Serekaniye.

https://anfenglishmobile.com/features/turkey-denies-it-swiss-laboratory-proves-it-used-phosphorous-41250.

 

  1. Kurdish-led authorities in northeast Syria plan local tribunal for IS fighters

30 Jan 2020 | Anne Kauranen, Reuters

HELSINKI (Reuters) – The Kurdish-led administration that runs much of northeastern Syria is planning to organize a local tribunal to try IS fighters held captive in the region, a representative of its foreign relations committee said on Thursday.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-security-islamic-state/kurdish-led-authorities-in-northeast-syria-plan-local-tribunal-for-is-fighters-idUSKBN1ZT2M7

 

  1. Belgian government defies ruling of its supreme court on PKK

30 Jan 2020 | M. Apelbat, Brussels Times

The Belgian Court of Cassation confirmed on Tuesday a decision by the Brussels Court of Appeal that PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party in Turkey, should not be classified as a terrorist organisation. The Belgian Minster of Foreign Affairs, Philippe Goffin, responded that the ruling would not affect the government’s position.

https://www.brusselstimes.com/belgium/92787/belgian-government-defies-ruling-of-its-supreme-court-on-pkk/

 

  1. Kurdish leaders celebrate Belgian court’s ruling that the PKK is not a terrorist organisation

29 Jan 2020 | Steve Sweeney, The Morning Star

KURDISH political leaders today celebrated an “historic” verdict after a Belgian court ruled that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is not a terrorist organisation.

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/kurdish-leaders-celebrate-belgian-court-ruling-that-the-pkk-not-a-terrorist-organisation

 

  1. Belgium Court of Cassation: PKK is not a terrorist organization

28 Jan 2020, ANF English

The Court of Cassation of Belgium ratified the lower court’s judgement and ruled that PKK is not a terrorist organization.

https://anfenglish.com/rojava-syria/belgium-court-of-cassation-pkk-is-not-a-terrorist-organization-41195

 

  1. General: US committed to Syria fight; Missions up against IS

25 Jan 2020 | Lolita Baldor, AP

GREEN VILLAGE MILITARY OUTPOST (AP) — U.S. troops at military outposts ín eastern Syria asked variations of the same question to their top commander Saturday: What is our future here? What are the goals we need to think about?

https://apnews.com/326607078ac93c00b86b8e924a23da95

 

  1. Turkey earthquake: death toll rises as search for survivors continues

24 Jan 2020 | Bethan McKernan, The Guardian

A powerful 6.8-magnitude earthquake in eastern Turkey has killed at least 29 people, with the death toll expected to rise as rescuers search for survivors under the rubble in freezing winter conditions.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/24/multiple-fatalities-as-earthquake-hits-eastern-turkey

 

  1. ‘We have no alternative’: Syrian Kurds predict cooperation with Assad on aid deliveries

23 Jan 2020 | Elizabeth Hagedorn, The New Arab

Following a recent United Nations Security Council vote restricting aid deliveries to war-torn Syria, the region’s embattled Kurds say they’re backed into a corner and may turn to rival Damascus for help.

https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/indepth/2020/1/23/syrian-kurds-predict-cooperation-with-assad-on-aid-deliveries

 

  1. Priti Patel’s proposed new terrorism offence was worrying. Her new plans are frankly terrifying.

22 Jan 2020 | Emily Apple, The Canary

On 19 January, I wrote in The Canary about how we should all be worried about a new proposed piece of legislation that home secretary Priti Patel wants to introduce. As I argued, this proposal should worry us all:

https://www.thecanary.co/uk/analysis/2020/01/22/priti-patels-proposed-new-terrorism-offence-was-worrying-her-new-plans-are-frankly-terrifying/

 

  1. Almost 27,000 flee Syria’s Idlib to Turkey in three days – report

20 Jan 2020 | Ahval News

Nearly 27,000 civilians have fled toward Turkey from Syrian rebel-held areas in the province of Idlib in the last three days, state-run Anadolu news agency said on Sunday.

https://ahvalnews.com/idlib/almost-27000-flee-syrias-idlib-turkey-three-days-report

 

  1. Priti Patel is proposing a new terrorism offence that should worry us all

19 Jan 2020 | Emily Apple, The Canary

Home secretary Priti Patel is proposing a new terrorism offence. And it’s one that should worry us all. Not just because the UK already has an array of draconian terrorism laws but because of the implications for freedom of speech and what might be included.

https://www.thecanary.co/opinion/2020/01/19/priti-patel-is-proposing-a-new-terrorism-offence-that-should-worry-us-all/

 

  1. EU cuts pre-accession aid to Turkey by 75%

18 Jan 2020 | Deutsche Welle

In a letter seen by German media, the EU has unveiled cuts in aid to Turkey over illegal gas drilling off Cyprus’ coast and military operations in Syria. But Brussels stopped short of ending democracy-promotion projects.

https://www.dw.com/en/eu-cuts-pre-accession-aid-to-turkey-by-75/a-52049775?maca=en-Twitter-sharing

 

  1. UN says around 350,000 people have fled Syria’s Idlib since 1 December

16 Jan 2020 | Mustafa Dahnon, Middle East Eye

Around 350,000 Syrians, mostly women and children, have been displaced by a renewed Russian-backed offensive in rebel-held Idlib province since early December, and have sought shelter in border areas near Turkey, the United Nations said on Thursday.

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/un-says-around-350000-people-have-fled-syrias-idlib-1-december

 

  1. More than 500 people, mainly children, died in Syria’s al-Hol camp in 2019: Medics

16 Jan 2020|Middle East Eye

At least 517 people, mostly children, died in 2019 in an overstretched Syrian camp housing displaced people and relatives of Islamic State group (IS) fighters, the Kurdish Red Crescent said on Thursday.

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/more-500-people-mainly-children-died-syrias-al-hol-camp-2019-medics

 

  1. Turkey’s Wikipedia ban ends after almost three years

16 Jan 2020 | BBC News

Turkey is restoring access to Wikipedia after a ban that lasted almost three years. The country’s Constitutional Court ruled that the ban violated freedom of expression, the pro-government newspaper Milliyet reported.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-51133804

 

  1. Final declaration of the SDF Military Council meeting published

16 Jan 2020 | ANF English

Following Wednesday’s meeting of the Military Council of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a final declaration has been published today, in which the importance of the fight against a revival of the terrorist organization “Islamic State” (ISIS) is pointed out.

https://anfenglish.com/rojava-syria/final-declaration-of-the-sdf-military-council-meeting-published-40906

 

  1. UK’s attempt to repatriate British children from Syria to be rejected

15 Jan 2020 | Dan Sabbagh, The Guardian

Syrian-Kurdish authorities responsible for Islamic State refugee camps are likely to deny any UK request to repatriate four British children if the condition imposed to allow their return is that their mother cannot return with them.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/15/uks-attempt-to-resettle-refugee-children-from-syria-to-be-rejected

 

  1. Norway repatriates Daesh-linked woman, children from Syria

14 Jan 2020 | Arab News

OSLO: Norway said Tuesday it was repatriating from Syria a woman linked to the Daesh group and her two children, one of them reportedly seriously ill, citing humanitarian reasons.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1613106/world

 

  1. Report: Syria Kurdish politician executed by Turkey-backed militia

14 Jan 2020 | Middle East Monitor

A BBC Arabic investigation based on new findings suggests that the Syrian-Kurdish politician Hevrin Khalaf was executed by a faction of the so-called Syrian National Army (SNA) which is backed by Turkey.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200114-report-syria-kurdish-politician-executed-by-turkey-backed-militia/

 

  1. Turkish, Syrian top spies meet in first official contact in years

13 Jan 2020 | Reuters

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish and Syrian heads of intelligence met in Moscow on Monday, in the first official contact in years despite Ankara’s long-standing hostility to President Bashar al-Assad, a senior Turkish official and Syrian news agency SANA said.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-security-turkey/turkish-syrian-top-spies-meet-in-first-official-contact-in-years-idUSKBN1ZC2BJ

 

  1. Syrian Kurds criticize UN decision limiting humanitarian aid to Syria

12 Jan 2020 | Wladimir van Wilgenburg, Kurdistan24

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Syrian Kurdish party on Saturday criticized the recent decision by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to restrict the number of border crossings that can be used to bring aid to northeastern Syria, widely seen as an attempt by Russia to limit assistance to the area in support of Damascus.

https://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/0e41fe4b-ebac-4def-b455-9ae8a569a4d0

 

  1. Russia scores victory for ally Syria in UN vote cutting aid

11 Jan 2020 | Edith Lederer, AP

Russia scored a victory for its close ally Syria on Friday, using its veto threat to force the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution significantly reducing the delivery of cross-border humanitarian aid and cutting off critical medical assistance to over one million Syrians in the northeast.

https://apnews.com/b2e6f5bb76ba00f6fbc3a4c32c2c2c9b

 

  1. Thousands march in Paris for Sakine, Fidan and Leyla

11 Jan 2020 | ANF English

A march was organised in Paris today to mark the 7th anniversary of the murder of Sakine Cansız, one of the founders of the PKK, Fidan Doğan, KNK Paris Representative and Leyla Şaylemez, a member of the Youth Movement.

https://anfenglishmobile.com/news/thousands-march-in-paris-40776

 

  1. Turkey, Russia agree to ceasefire in war-torn Idlib, Syria

10 Jan 2020 | Thompson Reuters, CBC

Turkey’s Defence Ministry said on Friday that it had agreed with Russia that a ceasefire will be implemented on Sunday in northwestern Syria’s Idlib region to stem the flow of civilians uprooted by the violence.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/turkey-russia-idlib-1.5422193

OPINION, COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS

  1. How could Idlib escalation affect Syrian Kurds?

10 Feb 2020 | Fahim Tastekin, Al-Monitor

Amid heightened Turkish-Russian tensions in Idlib and a more assertive Iranian posture in the region, Syrian Kurds are said to be silently weighing their options in the event the conflict escalates and are not ruling out the prospect of fighting along with Syrian government forces.

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/02/turkey-syria-idlib-how-could-escalation-bear-on-syrian-kurds.html

 

  1. Turkey, Syrian regime at last exit before all-out confrontation

10 Feb 2020 | Metin Gurcan, Al-Monitor

The window for a political solution between Turkey and Russia over Syria’s Idlib is narrowing as the Syrian regime forces’ push to capture the country’s last rebel-held stronghold has left 13 Turks dead in seven days.

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/02/turkey-syria-russia-regime-at-last-exit-before-all-out-war.html

 

  1. What Erdogan wants: Why Turkey has troops in north-east Syria

09 Feb 2020 | Andrew Wilks, The National

Turkey’s goals have shifted over the course of the nine-year war in Syria as regional and domestic circumstances switched for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/what-erdogan-wants-why-turkey-has-troops-in-north-east-syria-1.976295

 

  1. Support Crumbling for Plan to Try IS Foreign Fighters in Syria 

08 Feb 2020 | Jeff Seldin, Voice of America

Syrian Kurdish officials determined to bring captured Islamic State foreign fighters to justice may have to do so without assistance from the international community. Support for a special tribunal, to the extent it existed, appeared to crumble this week as a growing number of nations are declining to back the latest proposal to put about 2,000 IS fighters who flocked to Syria on trial in the country’s Kurdish-led region.

https://www.voanews.com/middle-east/support-crumbling-plan-try-foreign-fighters-syria

 

  1. What’s it like to fight against Isis in Syria? A fighter and a local reveal shocking truth

08 Feb 2020 | Andrew Pierce, Macer Gifford (Interview), LBC Radio

Andrew Pierce was speaking with Macer Gifford, a former City worker who went to fight against Isis – and then they received this amazing call from a local man who thanked him for everything.

https://www.lbc.co.uk/radio/presenters/andrew-pierce/whats-it-like-to-fight-against-isis-in-syria/

 

  1. Syria’s Kurds embrace resilience, beauty in wake of Turkish attack

07 Feb 2020 | Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor

QAMISHLI, Syria — In a small dark room in northeast Syria, women of all ages scan one another with a critical eye. Several have gauze bandages over their noses, others strips of plaster over their eyelids. They are waiting for Edip Mahmoud Ali, Qamishli’s most celebrated cosmetic surgeon, who is so overwhelmed by demand he no longer answers his telephone.

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/02/syria-kurds-resilient-turkey-attack-qamishli.html

 

  1. US should follow Belgium’s lead and end PKK terror designation

07 Feb 2020 | Michael Rubin, Washington Examiner

Just under a decade ago, the Turkish government demanded Belgium, France, and Italy arrest several dozen Kurdish civil society activists on accusations that they were members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. The Europeans complied, taking over 40 Kurds into custody.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/us-should-follow-belgiums-lead-and-end-pkk-terror-designation

 

  1. Rojava political reconciliation talks on ‘right path’: ENKS relations chief

04 Feb 2020 | Rudaw

Kamiran Haco, head of the Syrian Kurdish National Council’s (ENKS) Relations Bureau  sat with Rudaw TV on Saturday to speak about recent efforts to strengthen ties between the council and the ruling Kurdish authorities of Northern Syria, known to Kurds as Rojava.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/interview/040220201

 

  1. Intel: Turkey’s invasion of northeast Syria spurs Kurdish unity

04 Feb 2020 | Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor

Buckling to popular and US pressure, the main Syrian Kurdish opposition umbrella group known as the Kurdish National Council (KNC) has agreed to reopen its offices in northeastern Syria. The move is intended to pave the way for Kurdish unity in future negotiations with the Syrian regime.

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/02/intel-turkey-invasion-syria-unity-kurdish-parties.html

 

  1. Russia and Turkey have fallen out in Syria

04 Feb 2020 | David Gardner, Financial Times

The twisted geopolitics of the Middle East may be taking another turn. Turkey has collided with Russia, its regional ally of convenience, in the Syrian cockpit that has previously helped Moscow bounce back as a subprime superpower and allowed Ankara to indulge its neo-Ottoman nostalgia. This story has long been triggering tremors, the epicentre of which is Idlib in north-west Syria.

https://www.ft.com/content/7a409232-475c-11ea-aeb3-955839e06441

 

  1. As Syria’s conflict rolls on, a veteran journalist says Daesh is not yet fully defeated

04 Feb 2020 | Ed Skyes, The Canary

NATO member Turkey has long faced accusations of collaborating with extremists like Daesh (Isis/Isil). And in October 2019, it invaded northern Syria (aka Rojava), seriously hindering the region’s fight against Daesh. As the Rojava Information Center detailed on 27 January, the number of Daesh attacks since the invasion “has consistently risen” while the rate of local anti-Daesh raids has fallen. Rojavan defence forces had previously been key in defeating Daesh in Syria, losing over 11,000 fighters during the conflict.

https://www.thecanary.co/feature/2020/02/04/as-syrias-conflict-rolls-on-a-veteran-journalist-says-daesh-is-not-yet-fully-defeated/

 

  1. Are Russia, Turkey entering last act of Idlib fight?

27 Jan 2020 | Maxim Suchkov, Al-Monitor

On Jan. 27, a Russian delegation composed of President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin and unnamed high-level military officials visited Damascus for talks with President Bashar al-Assad. Earlier in the day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held a phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/01/russia-turkey-syria-idlib.html

 

  1. SDF commander says Kurds ready for dialogue if Ankara is sincere

23 Jan 2020 | Amberin Zaman, Mazlum Kobane (interview), Al-Monitor

In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor in northeast Syria, Gen. Mazlum Kobane speaks on a range of issues including prospects for reviving dialogue with Turkey, US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria and the impact of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani’s killing in Iraq.

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/01/syria-turkey-kobani-kurds-russia-us-sdf.html

 

  1. U.S.-Russia ‘engagements’ underscore danger of oil mission in Syria

22 Jan 2020 | Ben Wolfgang, Washington Times

President Trump says he is determined to keep control of Syrian oil fields as the country’s civil war plays out, but exactly how far the U.S. military is willing to go to protect those valuable energy reserves remains a mystery and represents a key question for the administration’s broader policy in the Middle East.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/jan/22/us-russia-engagements-show-risk-oil-mission-syria/

 

  1. Banned poetry and the Kurdish question

22 Jan 2020 | Hagay Hacohen, Jerusalem Post

When Kurdish writer Firat Ceweri was a teenager in 1980, he stuffed bits of paper into his underwear and fled his native Turkey to Sweden. The papers contained titles of his poems, written in Kurdish, at a time when the publication of Kurdish language materials in Turkey was forbidden.

https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Culture/Banned-poetry-and-the-Kurdish-question-615006

 

  1. Neo-Ottomanism: the political economy of contemporary Turkey

20 Jan 2020 | Kemal Okuyan, Morning Star

AFTER failure in Syria, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is busy developing a second version of his neo-Ottoman project, which he first brought onto the political agenda in the second half of the early 2000s.

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/f/neo-ottomanism-political-economy-contemporary-turkey

 

  1. Soleimani’s killing strengthens Putin’s hand in Syria and Iraq

15 Jan 2020 | Anton Mardasov, Al Jazeera

On January 7, Russian President Vladimir Putin travelled to Syria for the second time in three years. During his previous trip to Syria in December 2017, Putin landed at Russia’s Hmeimim airbase for security reasons.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/soleimani-killing-strengthens-putin-hand-syria-iraq-200115080353213.html

 

  1. What is next after Operation Peace Spring?

15 Jan 2020 | Stasa Salacanin, The New Arab

The Turkish military “Operation Peace Spring” aimed to achieve two goals – to establish a “safe zone” where it could resettle mostly Arab Syrian refugees who have fled to Turkey and to push the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit, or YPG, who Turkey regards as terrorists, out of the area.

https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/indepth/2020/1/15/what-is-next-after-operation-peace-spring

 

  1. Iran is closer ‘than ever before’ to regime collapse, says former Obama security advisor

13 Jan 2020 | Natasha Turak, CNBC

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Iran has had a turbulent past week, marked by more than a hundred Iranian deaths and dramatically increased tensions with the U.S. As it enters into the third day of protests fueled by popular anger over the government’s handling of a downed passenger jet, some observers argue this is the most vulnerable the Islamic Republic’s regime has been since its founding in 1979.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/13/iran-is-closer-than-ever-before-to-regime-collapse-says-former-obama-security-adviser.html

 

  1. Soleimani death weakens Syrian regime, will force direct talks with Kurdish authorities: Salih Muslim

13 Jan 2020 | Rudaw, Salih Muslim (interview)

Salih Muslim Muhammad, former co-chair of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and leading figure of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (NES), says the killing of Qasem Soleimani – commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, responsible for much of the country’s proxy warfare in the Middle East – will likely weaken President Bashar al-Assad’s rule and render his regime more likely to engage in direct discussion with the northeast Syrian administration.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/syria/130120201

 

  1. After the Americans

13 Jan 2020 | Justin Higginbottom, Spectator

I’m sitting under an olive tree about a mile from the front with ‘Agir’, a Kurdish soldier from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The sharp cracks and dull rumbles of fighting make their way to us over dusty farmland; the shade protects us from the scorching mid-morning sun and omnipresent Turkish drones.

https://spectator.us/after-americans-northern-syria/

 

  1. UN Security Council’s scale back of Syria aid will worsen humanitarian conditions: Kurdish officials

13 Jan 2020 | Rudaw

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A UN Security Council decision to solely use Turkish border crossings to send humanitarian aid to northern Syria will only exacerbate dire humanitarian conditions in the country, officials in the Kurdish-majority northeast have told Rudaw.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/syria/13012020

 

Why instinct and ideology tell Trump to get out of the Middle East

11 Jan 2020 | Simon Tisdall, The Guardian

The crisis triggered by Donald Trump’s assassination of General Qassem Suleimani has crystallised Iran’s official thinking around a single, overriding demand: that American military forces should pack up their weapons, close their bases, and leave the Middle East for ever. The odd thing is, Trump seems to agree.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jan/11/why-instinct-and-ideology-tell-trump-to-get-out-of-the-middle-east-suleimani-iran

  

  1. The Dangerous Unraveling of the U.S.-Turkish Alliance

10 Jan 2020 | Philip Gordon & Amanda Sloat, Foreign Affairs

The United States and Turkey are on a collision course. Although the two countries have been NATO allies for nearly 70 years, that partnership has gradually deteriorated over the past few years, as Washington wondered if it could rely on Turkey and Ankara feared that the United States didn’t take its security concerns seriously. In the last six months, however, relations have taken a real nose-dive.

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/turkey/2020-01-10/dangerous-unraveling-us-turkish-alliance

 

Peace in Kurdistan

Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question

Email: estella24@tiscali.co.uk

http://www.peaceinkurdistancampaign.com

Contacts Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie Gingell – Tel: 020 7272 7890

Fax: 020 7263 0596

Patrons: John Austin, Christine Blower, NUT International Secretary, Prof Bill Bowring, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, Jeremy Corbyn MP,  Prof Mary Davis, Lord Dholakia, Simon Dubbins, UNITE International Director,  Jill Evans MEP, Lindsey German, Convenor STWC, Melanie Gingell, Rahila Gupta, Nick Hildyard, Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru, James Kelman, Bruce Kent, Jean Lambert MEP, Elfyn Llwyd, Aonghas MacNeacail, Scottish Gaelic poet, Mike Mansfield QC, Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, GFTU, Dr. Jessica Ayesha Northey, International Coordinator, Green Party of England and Wales; Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy, Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Kate Osamor MP, Margaret Owen OBE, Gareth Peirce, Maxine Peake, Lord Rea, Joe Ryan, Stephen Smellie, Steve Sweeney, Dr Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Dr Tom Wakeford, Dr Derek Wall, Julie Ward MEP, Hywel Williams MP.

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