Tag Archives: Tel Rifaat

Turkey’s Afrin Offensive and Russia’s Policy in Syria

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 21 January 2018

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, threatened on Jan. 13 to begin a military operation “in about a week ” to evict Kurdish militants from Afrin in northwestern Syria. Erdoğan has repeatedly threatened to “cleanse ” Afrin of the fighters over the last two years. It turned out he really meant it this time: on Jan. 20 Turkey commenced Operation Olive Branch against Afrin.

Kurdish forces, affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), have constituted an important element of the Coalition’s ground force in Syria against the Islamic State (ISIS) since late 2014, expanding their “Rojava” statelet by capturing vast swathes of territory from ISIS in northern and eastern Syria that is connected to Afrin under a deal with the pro-regime coalition—Bashar al-Assad, Iran, and Russia.

Any Turkish government would see this situation as a threat, and be angry at the United States for supporting the Kurds. The PKK regards Rojava and the ruling Democratic Union Party (PYD) as strategic elements in its long war against the Turkish state. Indeed, Kurds in Rojava have already provided at least logistical support for PKK attacks inside Turkey. Continue reading

The “Syrian Kurds” Helped Assad Take Aleppo City

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on November 30, 2016

YPG flags flying with the Assad regime’s over Bustan al-Basha, Aleppo city, 28 November 2016

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on 28 November 2016 about the assistance provided by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)—which operates in Syria under the banners of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)—to the forces fighting in the name of Bashar al-Assad’s regime, led by Iran on the ground and supported by Russian airstrikes, to crush the Syrian rebellion in Aleppo city: Continue reading