Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 16, 2019

A Turkish 'Security Zone' In Northeast Syria Is A Bad Idea

U.S. President Trump wants U.S. troops to leave northeast Syria. His National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tried to sabotage that move. Trump came up with idea to hand northeast Syria to Turkey, but soon was told that Turkey would fight the Kurdish YPK/PKK who the U.S. armed and used as proxy force against the Islamic State.

Turkey has no interest in fighting the Islamic State or in occupying Raqqa and other Arabic ethnic cities along the Euphrates. Its only interest is to prevent the formation of an armed Kurdish entity that could threaten its soft southern underbelly. It thus came up with the idea of a "security zone" in Syria that it would occupy to keep the Kurds away from its borders.


But that border strip is exactly where the major Kurdish settlements are. Ayn al-Arab, in Kurdish 'Kobane', and many other cities along the border all have largely Kurdish populations. These would certainly fight against a Turkish occupation. Turkey also wants to control the Manbij area west of the Euphrates.

Russia will not allow Turkish control of more Syrian land:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday the Syrian regime must take control of the country's north, after calls from the United States to set up a Turkish-controlled "security zone" in the area.

"We are convinced that the best and only solution is the transfer of these territories under the control of the Syrian government, and of Syrian security forces and administrative structures," Lavrov told reporters.

The Kurdish organizations and the Syrian government also also reject the Turkish plan:

“Syria affirms that any attempt to target its unity will be considered as a clear aggression and an occupation of its territories as well as a support and protection for the international terrorism by Turkey,” [an official source at Foreign and Expatriates Ministry] said.

Turkey moved enough troops to its border to launch an invasion but the risk for its economy is high. There are local elections in March and the Turkish President Erdogan does not want to upset them by jumping into a quagmire. Erdogan will soon visit Russia again and discuss the issue with President Putin. Most likely Erdogan will be convinced that Syrian government control over the Kurdish areas, and Russian guarantees for a mostly quiet border, are a better solution than a costly Turkish occupation of a hostile population.

Earlier today a suicide bomber killed 4 U.S. soldiers and wounded at least three in an attack in Manbij city (video). A number of YPK/PKK fighters and bystanders were also killed or wounded. The incident happened in front of a restaurant where the U.S. troops presumably were meeting someone. In March 2018 an IED attack in Manbij killed two U.S. soldiers.

Kurdish sources accused sleeper cells of Turkish supported terrorist groups of the incident. Ahmad Rahhal, a Turkish sponsored leader of the 'Free Syrian Army', accused 'Syrian government agents' within the Islamic State. A Turkish news service accused the YPG of responsibility. Others suspect the CIA initiated this to keep Trump in Syria. Neither is likely right. The Islamic State took credit through its regular outlets and even named the suicide bomber.

The killed and wounded U.S. troops were evacuated in a Sikorsky S-92 helicopter.

The S-92 is not flown by U.S., French or British forces in Syria. The armed helicopter is likely owned and operated by a private military company hired by the U.S. military for MedEvac services. This again proves that official U.S. numbers of 2,000 soldiers in northeast Syria do not paint the full picture. There are surely several thousands more, including more than 1,000 French troops, 200 British SAS and several hundreds if not thousands of U.S. contractors who are also involved in combat missions.

The suicide attack in Manbij also confirms that the Islamic State, even as it lost nearly all its territory, will continue to exist as an underground terrorist organization. One reason is that many of its fighters escape by bribing the U.S. proxy forces who evacuate civilians from the last Islamic State held territory:

[T]he Syrian Observatory learned that some of those who fled the enclave of the organization, and while being transported to Al-Omar Oilfield and before being sorted out into camps, pay large sums of money in order to get out to areas such as Al-Busayrah, Theban and Gharanij, where sums of money exceed $ 10,000 are paid for fear of being arrested when they reach the camps into which they are sorted out, and the sources suggested that in most cases, ISIS members and families of ISIS members are the ones who pay such sums of money, where they pay them to the parties that are responsible for the transport to the camps from Al-Omar Oilfield, ..

The Observatory also reports that the escaping ISIS elements often carry six digit dollar amounts that can be used for future attacks. It will take years, and a lot of cooperation from the local people, to completely root these elements out.

Those U.S. politicians who want to continue the U.S. occupation in Syria will use the Manbij incident to argue for an unlimited U.S. stay. ISIS would have won. Those who, like Trump, want the U.S. out will use the incident to argue for an urgent retreat from the area.

Trump is likely to win that argument.

Posted by b on January 16, 2019 at 16:51 UTC | Permalink

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@John 97

You are talking absolute nonsense, as usual.
You accuse Turkey of stealing Syrian archeological heritage and yet the link you provided as 'well documented' evidence says 'regime, jihadists and local thieves' destroyed the sites and took the artifacts to Europe via Turkey.

ISIS oil smuggling into Turkey is BS too, and it is NOT 'well documented' either as you claim in the link you provided. The 'well documented' evidence is based on a black propaganda opinion written by an anti-turkist zionist. He is typical a zionist liar whose agenda got distrupted by Erdogan.

Weapons delivery via Turkey to the FSA (there are Kurdish groups with the FSA too, they fight against ISIS and PKK/YPG terrorist who get their weapons from the coalition) a fact though. Is that a wrong thing to do? Did the Americans give tens of thousands of trucks full of weapons to the two major terrorist groups namely ISIS and PKK? The UAE guys delivered armored vehicles to the regime so that the son of a butcher could run over the protestors at the beginning of the uprising? And Turkey gave weapons to ISIS? Lol.

Please refrain from using swear words which makes it even harder for me to measure (or even detect the existence of) your intellectual capacity.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 19 2019 11:50 utc | 101


the issue of archeological theft is perhaps somewhat more indirect, but pretty much all of the 'moderate' headchoppers were/are involved and Turkey has facilitated, both directly and indirectly, pretty much all of them. and as i said much of this contraband was moved through Turkey to Europe.

ISIS oil smuggling into Turkey is BS too...

check out this.

look dude, you're entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts, for which you've provided no corroboration.

now, when you've pulled your head out of your ass, fuck off!

Posted by: john | Jan 19 2019 12:14 utc | 102


Yup, I checked out yet another black propaganda piece provided by you. I suspect there is consanguineous marriage amongst them all and you too are with the family. Stop swearing at me you twittish twat, and show me some real facts if you want to get anywhere!


Yes, beavers, thanks for the correction.
I do hate dams especially the ones in Turkey, the small ones, which destroyed the nature on and around the site they were constructed. I know the intention was good, that they were meant to provide energy to the people in need but the result is not very nice. Strangely enough, the other types of energy providers such as nuclear, natural gas or thermoelectric plant builders and operators also agree with me that dams are bad for the ecological system. Wink wink.

The larger dams in Turkey are frown upon by many foreign interest groups but those dams sit on Kurdish populated areas in Turkey and Kurds in Iraq and Syria pretend they are not very happy. I don't understand it, who is stealing what from whom? I guess we should ask the Kurds who comprise more than half of Erdogan's cabinet who built the dams or the British, French, Americans and Israelis who keep talking about the same dams. You are right, the otters do not build dams but do like building their dens in abandoned beaver dams apparately.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 19 2019 16:09 utc | 103

More On The Turkey-ISIS Connection

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 19 2019 17:20 utc | 107

i can only guess the cp response to those links... the headchoppers in idlib have no connection or support from turkey will be the ongoing position here too...

Posted by: james | Jan 19 2019 17:47 utc | 108

IMO SDF proposal to Damascus is a nonstarter. This denial of reality reeks of 'Assad must go!' Coalition stubbornness. They simply do not want to return northeastern Syria to Syria.

And so it comes as no suprise that Syria, Iraq, and Iran are planning accordingly, as described by Magnier: Will Trump and Soleimani trade Iraq for Syria?

Erdogan has played both sides but as the end game plays out it will be increasingly difficult to do that. As I've said repeatedly, Turkey's animosity toward the Kurds has been beneficial to Erdogan (dictators need external threats), and USA (which has played protector). Erdogan's threat to invade and occupy a "buffer zone" is just more of the same. IMO Turkey will only execute this plan if it looks like the Kurds will make a separate deal with Assad. US would publicly denounce such action but will privately be pleased.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 19 2019 17:57 utc | 109


probably just another black propaganda piece, but check this out.

Posted by: john | Jan 19 2019 18:25 utc | 110

Lyndsey Graham is in Turkey trying to smooth things over with Erdogan.

"He highlighted that the planned U.S. pullout from Syria must work to rectify past mistakes and that a withdrawal failing to destroy the Daesh terror group, contain Iran, and protect Turkey would only result in a broader conflict and “chaos.” "

Of course his main motive is preventing a US withdrawal from Syria but he sounds a little conflicted. He even admits that arming the YPG was a mistake and Turkey needs to be protected.

Posted by: dh | Jan 19 2019 18:34 utc | 111

@108 jr..thanks for the links from pl and magnier... why do you think the kurds are presenting won't fly? i think some of it can work.. maybe not all of it.. i am not sure what erdogan hopes to see at this point... his support for trying to overthrow assad has brought him a lot of enemies - however not the usa and etc.. what he decides to do at this point, to hang onto his turkish fiefdom, i have no idea, but he is walking between the usa on the one hand and russia on the other... not a great combo to be trying to walk a tightrope on in front of.. i can see the kurds cutting a deal with assad.. that would be the prudent move here..

@110 dh.. so is graham the new mccain? is there any transparency in the usa with regard to the money graham gets from the uae and etc to continue on with all his bullshit? or is it just assumed this idiot is some type of usa rep, doing the good work for usa-israel? how does it work regarding grahams being plied by the various lobbies and what the usa public can know about that?

Posted by: james | Jan 19 2019 19:28 utc | 112

@111 I don't know what it is with Graham james or where he gets his money. I do recall that his friend McCain was into arming anybody who fought against Assad, including some really bad guys.

But Graham was upset about Khashoggi too and he even gives Turkey credit for exposing MBS. Go figure.

He sure doesn't like Donald's plan to leave Syria.

Posted by: dh | Jan 19 2019 19:39 utc | 113

@112 dh... who knows how much the military industrial complex is paying for him as lobbyist for war 24/7 as well... this stuff really needs to be public knowledge... i had heard he was getting funding from uae which would explain why he supported turkey in the mbs revelations... uae and ksa have an ongoing battle going on, when they are not banding together to murder innocent yemen people, with tacit approval from the usa of course..

Posted by: james | Jan 19 2019 19:56 utc | 114


They are demanding a country within a country:

- Autonomous regions have their own flag;

- SDF patrols the border, and internal policing is fully controlled by the region itself ("local councils");

- local language and culture is primary, not co-equal;

- They demand a say in external relations.

And asserting rights to "Syrian wealth" generated by the Syrian central government ("Distributing the Syrian wealth to the Syrian regions in a fair manner."):
- Apparently they don't think this is already addressed by #3 which demands that Autonomous Regions have representation in Syrian Parliament.

- Reciprocity? No mention of sharing Autonomous Region wealth - will/do they accept the taxing authority of Syrian central government?

- Delaying tactic? Negotiating what is "fair" could take months/years?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 19 2019 21:03 utc | 115


Thanks for all the links.

What I noticed was that the last one is a memri link, voice of mossad, yes? Their article quotes from zionist sources in Turkey, Birgun, Hurriyet, Daily News, Cumhuriyet, CHP etc. to prove their point. Of course most foreigners wouldn't know this. Maybe Erdogan is not very pally with the zionist people and they want to undermine his image in the media? A lot of guys are from those sources are in jail now. Anyway, I wouldn't believe memri even if they said California is situated in the USA.

The second thing I noticed was that all links predate the failed coup of 15 july 2016 against Erdogan. Erdogan didn't even have the full control of the country before then. He doesn't even fully control it even now. There wasn't a wall between TR-SR border.

First link you posted also has another link in the page:
Putin: ISIS financed from 40 countries, including G20 members

I have several things to say: We should trust both links or only the one which claims Kurds sold ISIS oil to Turkey via Iraq? This article was published less than 1 month after the Gulenists shot down the Russian fighter jet. It was happy days for the neocons and the US I think. Can't say the same thing for the Russians. The article in the link has this line: 'the US has defended Turkey, denying any ties between Ankara and IS.' The ISIS oil sales amount to $1m a day. Even if all oil went to Turkey, that's called 'smugling' ? 1m per day? Wow, that is huge business. ISIS couldn't even buy a dozen lightsabers from ToysRus with that money and Turkey is an oil smuggler?

So what happened to the TR-US relations since then anyway?

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 19 2019 21:27 utc | 116

@114 Your guess is as good as mine james. Maybe it's 'Be Nice To Erdogan Week'. He did say something about buying f-35s. And Donald threatened to destroy the Turkish economy.

Posted by: dh | Jan 19 2019 22:11 utc | 117


I added the MEMRI link because it had a compilation of multiple sources. Cumhuriyet in particular seems to have done an excellent job uncovering Turkish links to Jihadis in Syria. Erdogan was feuding with Cumhuriyet for years.

You suggest that Turkey's support for Jihadi/ISIS was the work of Gulen. That is a transparent attempt to whitewash Erdogan's involvement. Erdogan and Gulen were friendly for many many years. Right up to the point when Erdogan needed a scapegoat to pin his failed policies on. And that point culminated in the 2016 apparent coup-attempt (Erdogan called it a "gift from God").

Funny how this apparent coup-attempt brought such good things to Erdogan - and to USA, which could then pose as protector to Kurds. Funny how Erdogan still works with USA/NATO (despite his claims that USA was going to dispose him) - including USA's threat in August 2018 to bomb Syria if SAA attacked Idlib for any reason at all.

Erdogan participated in the Syrian conspiracy. Now he finds it convenient to pretend animosity for his former friends in Israel, USA, Kurds, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulen Movement.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 19 2019 22:13 utc | 118

@115 jr... thanks... the way you lay it out their doesn't look as acceptable to the syrian gov't... i suppose we will have to wait and see how it goes.. obviously the kurds are being used as pawns in this by the same folks seeking regime change.. too bad the kurds are so slow to see how they are being used, or they don't seem to care because they have little to lose.. having the usa/israel and etc. as partners ain't pretty..

@117 dh... obviously a game is being played here.. my problem with the usa is why the fuck should this guys opinion matter for anything? i know the answer... the msm is bought and paid for by the same war party that is running most everything in the usa at this point.. that is why we hear about this doofus..

@188jr... thanks for articulating all that.. cp seems to have swallowed the erdogan koolaid full stop.. that their are any alternative views, or that erdogan was intent on the game of overthrowing assad seems to be ignored by these same erdogan fans.. there is no way erdogan can be as clean as the white snow as some of his supporters suggest, but breaking this bubble is a real task, especially now that erdogan has gotten rid of any opposition voices - cumhuriyet news being the most obvious example of shutting down the media if they didn't tow erdogans line.. if they don't tow erdogans line, they must be zionist.. bullshit to that..

Posted by: james | Jan 20 2019 0:16 utc | 119


I have a question for you.

You think 'Erdogan and Gulen were friendly for many years'.

The opposition and their tentacles in the media have always been friendly with Gulen too and they still are where as Erdogan has fallen out.

How do you explain that to a student studying politics or criminology?

My guess is that Erdogan had to look friendly because Gulen (read the bosses of Gulen) controlled the army. police, media and judiciary (and hence now the other tentacles of the aggressors in the world cry faul accusing Erdogan of jailing journalists, lawyers, judges, prosecuters and soldiers whom Americans refer to as 'our friends in the army jailed by Erdogan' etc)

Jack, I don't think you'll have a proper answer to my question.

Also you tell me you added the Memri link because it had a compilation of multiple sources.

Well I am very sorry to disappoint you but there are no 'multiple sources' in that link. It's one voice. All belong to the same company. It's MSoffice, Paint, internet explorer. It's MS. You are being fooled. They are like the children of Marlon Brando. They are the members of the same syndicate. So no multiple, as if to say various, sources there.

Your perspective is important factor here. Should Erdogan have followed the path Mursi, Gadaffi, Saddam took and get hit on the head or pretend to get on well with the octopus and be criticised for the family photos? Erdogan did use this sentence a few months ago though 'the tentacles of the octopus have been cut off'.

If you think no mater what Erdogan should have acted more straight well then we have a local saying for it 'it is easier for a bachelor to get a divorce' meaning you are in a too comfy position to be able to judge mine.

Erdogan did participate in Syrian conspiracy in those days when he was weak, when country was encircled by tentacles within. Did he have any choice? No. Does he participate now? No.

The Turks have realised that the USA is the most notorious terrorist organisation in the world and are rearranging their positions accordingly whether they will be led by Erdogan or not. The successor will inevitably follow his politics.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 20 2019 10:11 utc | 120

ConfusedPundit says:

Erdogan did participate in Syrian conspiracy in those days...

which is essentially what i said from the very beginning of this little tit for tat. that that participation encompassed all of the crimes against humanity mentioned above is fully documented.

i could care less if Erdogan has had some kind of epiphany, that remains to be seen, but he's still responsible for mucho death and destruction...and your confession just corroborates that, and confirms that you're a disingenuous camper.

Posted by: john | Jan 20 2019 11:28 utc | 121

Confused Pundit

Did he have any choice?
Maybe not. But appears to an outsider that his involvement in overthrowing Assad came natural to him given his Islamist sympathies.

Does he participate now?
It's unclear to me. I don't follow Turkey closely enough to know. We shall see.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 20 2019 15:58 utc | 122


You don't know what you are talking about. Cumhuriyet is not run by the opposition but rather financed and run by foreigners in a colonial fashion. What do you want the goverment to do, let them have their way? That's not possible because the Turks don't like the Cumhuriyet and Erdogan has to listen to the people. I might be flawed but we have democracy here. Erdogan doesn't represent the will of the people? Then he'll lose votes. You mean you'd disregard people's demands if you were in Erdogan's shoes? You naughty closet dictator.


Erdogan's crimes against humanity? Like what, hosting 4 million Syrian refugees? Feeding 300.000 Syrian Kurdish refugees who escaped YPG persecution? Participating in the regime and Russian parachute & barrel bombing campaigns? Syria was home to the PKK leader from 1979 to 1998. The Syrian regime was very sarcastic in those days while the PKK was massacring civilians in Turkey.

Your opinion is not spreading disinformation or ignorance, I think you are a bit crazy. I am on the opposite side of Erdogan on the political spectrum and I'm afraid your madness will make me look like a supporter.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 21 2019 11:36 utc | 123

FYI. 20Km is an agreed on 'hot chase zone' negotiated in the past and still a legally binding contract with Syria. Of course Turkey is demanding more, but what is not being talked about extensively is Idlib Governorate, Turk controlled zone that is now out of control. It may be that the Turks, who want to flex muscle will have to do the dirty and dangerous sweep of HTS territory and all the talk against the Kurds is a show. No one wants to deal with HTS, so it is to reason that they are 'dead men walking'. Oh and on the Syrian side of this, the Kurds, if they get the blessing from Damascus, will have to do a 'show of loyalty' and that is going to be part of this messy HTS shit show.

Posted by: Tom | Jan 22 2019 2:13 utc | 124

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