Erdogan says Turkey will lay siege to Syria’s Afrin in coming days

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Turkey will lay siege to Afrin in northern Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday a month after Ankara launched an offensive against Kurdish militia in the region. “In the coming days, swiftly, we will lay siege to the center of the town of Afrin,” Erdogan told parliament. His remarks came as Turkey’s operation “Olive Branch”, a ground and air offensive against the People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia which Ankara brands ...

Turkey says unclear whether Syrian government forces will enter Afrin

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Syrian government forces have yet to enter the Afrin region and it was unclear if they would, Turkey’s foreign minister said on Tuesday. Mevlut Cavusoglu made the comment in an interview with broadcaster Kanal 24. Syrian state media said on Monday morning that pro-government militia would enter Afrin “within hours” but by sunset there were no signs of a deployment there. Turkey has said it would confront Syrian government forces if they entered the ...

Turkey welcomes Syrian forces entering Afrin

Monday, 19 February 2018

Militias allied to the Syrian government will enter the Afrin region, Syrian media reported on Monday, after a Kurdish official said a deal had been struck with the Syrian army to help Kurdish forces end a Turkish offensive. Turkey said it would welcome any move by Damascus into Afrin to get rid of the YPG Kurdish militia, but if Syrian troops were entering to protect the Kurdish fighters, then the Turkish assault would go on. A second Syrian Kurdish official said no pro-government military ...

WATCH: War of words heats up between Turkish FM and Arab League chief

Monday, 19 February 2018

Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit this week became embroiled in a heated exchange regarding Turkey’s operations in Syria. Cavusoglu on Sunday told a panel at the Munich Security Conference that Ankara is using its “legitimate right of self-defense” in its intervention against Kurdish militia groups in northwestern Syria. Aboul-Gheit had earlier decried the presence of so many foreign forces in the country, including ...

Syria: Looking for ways out of the maze

Sunday, 18 February 2018

In Western political and diplomatic circles the received idea these days is that war in Syria has reached its end and that what one should now focus on is reconstruction.However, like all other received ideas this one, too, is as full of holes and Swiss cheese.The first hole is that what we have witnessed in Syria over the past seven years was not a war in any classical sense of the term. What we saw was several wars woven into each other in the context of a humanitarian disaster sharpened by ...

Amir Taheri

Kurdish doctors report suspected Turkish gas attack on Syria’s Afrin

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Six civilians suffered breathing difficulties and other symptoms indicative of poison gas inhalation after an attack launched by Turkey on the Kurdish-controlled enclave of Afrin, Syrian Kurdish news outlets and Syria's state-run news agency reported Saturday.The news outlets quoted local doctors in Afrin as saying the hospital treated six cases of people who suffered shortness of breath, vomiting and skin rashes. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group also quoted local doctors ...

US, Turkey agrees to normalize relations, Turkish Foreign Minister

Friday, 16 February 2018

During a joint news conference on Friday in Ankara the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said that Turkey has agreed to normalize relations with the United States again. Speaking at the conference with the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, the Turkish minister said that both parties have decided to establish mechanism to tackle issues on terrorism.   On his part, the secretary of state also expressed the US’ reaffirmation of the deep and important relations ...

Turkish president says helicopter downed in northern Syria

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Turkey’s president has announced that a Turkish military helicopter has been “downed” in northern Syria during Ankara’s offensive on Syrian Kurdish militia there. Speaking in Istanbul on Saturday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan didn’t mention by name the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units or YPG but said those responsible will pay for it. The Turkish military has not made a statement. A spokesman for the Kurdish militia, Mustafa Bali, confirmed his ...

Tillerson sees tough talks with Turkey on northern Syria

Friday, 9 February 2018

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will press Turkey to rein in its military operation in northern Syria during a visit to the NATO ally next week, a senior US official said on Friday. Briefing reporters on Tillerson’s February 11-16 trip to Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Kuwait, US officials said there would be tough conversations at each stop, notably in Jordan, upset by the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and by the US limiting aid for the ...

Tehran’s view of Turkey’s Afrin campaign

Friday, 9 February 2018

The Middle East’s sectarian divisions have challenged Iran to overcome perceptions that it is inherently and exclusively committed to empowering Shi’ites at the Sunnis’ expense. Given that Shi’ites are minorities in most Arab countries, Iranian officials have long recognized the necessity of engaging Sunnis in the region to heighten Tehran’s influence beyond areas of Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and northern Yemen.By investing in closer relations with Sunni-majority Arab ...

Giorgio Cafiero

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