‘Very Soon’ US forces will Arrive in Syria; Russia bombs near Turkey

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Turkey’s government is very unhappy today about developments in Syria.

President Obama’s special envoy, Brett McGurk, said Sunday that the some 50 men from special operations forces will arrive in Syria in the very near future. But Turkey has been upset that the US troops will be deployed in support of the YPG, the leftist Kurdish party. Turkey is afraid that autonomy or semi-autonomy for Syrian Kurds with make Turkish Kurds restive.

The US has also stepped up its diplomatic campaign, with Sec. of State John Kerry commenting on the recent meeting on Syria that we could be “weeks away” from the beginning of a transition:

“”AT this time there is a genuine process which presents certain possibilities. Four weeks ago we did not have such a process. In other words, until we convened in Vienna approximately four weeks ago, we did not have a viable political process. We have found a common agreement on the principles and established a concept of giving life to a negotiation with Iran and Russia at the table. When we look at the past four and a half years, we see that this is a unique development. And we have reached the next phase in Vienna, we have determined the dates– specific target dates. In a very important manner, all the sides have agreed on a cease-fire. Currently we are only in need of launching a political process and with that, the cease-fire will go into effect. This is a gigantic step. [French President Francois] Hollande also noted this. If we can get that done, that opens up the aperture for a whole bunch of things.”

The Vienna process imagines regime talks with the ‘moderate’ rebels beginning in January, with a ceasefire in May of 2016 and new elections in May of 2017.

Turkish journalist Cengiz Candar wondered in Radikal whether Kerry’s Syria efforts are doomed to the same fate as his Palestine-Israel negotiations. He also worried that Turkey has no ‘plan B’ beyond its current policies.

Meanwhile, the Russian department of defense said Monday that its air force had launched 141 airstrikes and hit 472 ‘terrorist’ targets in Syria since the beginning of November. The targets have been in the privinces of Aleppo, Damascus, Idlib, Latakia, Hama, al-Raqq, Homs and Deir al-Zor.

One of the groups bombed is the Turkmen on the northwest border near Turkey. Turkey is seeking an urgent UNSC meeting over the bombing.

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Related video added by Juan Cole:

Wochit News: ” US Special Forces To Touch Down In Syria ‘Very Soon’ ”

19 Responses

  1. Count one involved aware American citizen very much in favor of Obama sending his special forces to work with the relatively left-wing — and relatively enlightened in allowing female participation and leadership in their own social/military organization — Kurds of the YPG grouping in Iraq and Syria. To the extent that they are NOT carrying out bombings within Turkey, they are a very positive local development in a region that is, to most outside observers, quite lacking in positive developments.

    Kurds and Turks, Sunnis and Shias, Arabs and Americans, all there groups are going to have to find a way to “all just get along” — or we all going to be swept away by the “climate catastrophe” of suffocating in our own waste products, which I am increasingly convinced is quite upon us already.

    I retain my natural optimism, because I must, but unless we all start working together and not “against,” CO2 is now at 4 % of the atmosphere when it was at 2.8 when I was a kid learning these things, we’re not proving the “evolutionary advantages” of our so-called “Western Civilization.” And Trump is close to Hilary in the polls. We’re not that smart, and we may well be going down.

  2. ISIS can’t steal & sell Syrian/Iraq oil anymore.. that equates to game over.

    Would like to know, who has been buying oil from them.

    • The oil is “re-branded” in Turkey and re-sold on the global market as oil from some other place. Rumors are that Israel is buying a lot (they may or may not know it is ISIS oil). Israel has quietly purchased a lot of “re-branded” oil through Turkey for many years.

  3. Erdogan is more upset at losing the trucks stealing Syrian oil than anything else. His son Bilal is an owner of the transportation company. “What happens to my son’s inheritance now?”

    • Maybe Erdogan will do what so many leaders in countries do. Influence peddling and embezzlement to see that his heirs get a large inheritance.

  4. ..a genuine process which presents certain possibilities. Humph! Did they really manage to reconcile those who insist Assad be dumped at all costs and those, including Russia and the UN, who feel the Syrian people should make the decision.

    • The West wants Assad gone. Russia and Iran want a regime sympathetic to them. These are not irreconcilable. It’s those who want an extremist Islamic regime – mostly the Gulf Arabs; maybe Turkey – who are not really reconcilable with the others.

    • The latest AFP report has strikes targeting 283 fuel tankers that were being used to transport oil to help fund the Islamic State group in eastern Syria, between Al Hasakah and Dayr Az Zawr in the east.

      Hundreds of oil tankers destroyed in a week and officials do not disclose their destination? Is the funding of ISIS through oil sales too embarrassing to mention publicly? If it is indeed the Syrian regime supporting ISIS , why aren’t the US providing drone images and details of their double dealing?

      I note Al Hasakah is only 80 km from the Turkish border.

  5. >Turkey is seeking an urgent UNSC meeting over the bombing.

    Good luck getting the Security Council to do something over the objections of *both* the US and Russia.

  6. So are these YPG fighters the new Syrian ‘moderates’ to take control of the future Syria. These countries in Vienna have been ‘resolving’ the civil war without an acceptable (and VIABLE) force on the gound.

    Sure ISIS needs to be confronted militarily, but the short-sighted ‘coalition’ is clobbering them in Syria, while they’re enhancing recruitment by its drone warfare. Statistics came out that out of 216 killed, only 35 were the intended targets. Yet nothing about this in our MSM!

  7. It looks like Hillary Clinton got her no-fly zone sooner than expected. The Turks shot down a Russian war plane over northern Syria this morning. The next move is Putin’s. There are a couple of scenarios here that lead to actual war between Russia and NATO.

  8. What a mess. All we can be sure of is not to listen to those “experts” who got us into these messes in the first place. Yet that is who is all over the US media…the situation is
    not resolvable by force, yet those are the only tools in the toolkit of anyone: the Saudis, the Turks, Assad, the Russians, the USA. Ok it’s an impossible situation, but even so, the degree of idiocy being brought to bear by all sides is remarkable. And the result for ordinary lives is horrible beyond measure.

  9. Turkmen are not fighting the Syrian government–there are foreign supported jihadists supported by Turkey that are causing havoc.

    Turkey is mad because it’s multiple-faced game is being exposed, and moves are being engaged that will make It more difficult to generate money from stolen oil, as well as funnel weapons and fighters into Syria to sow terror.

    The lack of focus on Turkey’s support for agression and terror groups for years is quite…predictable.

    Putin is smart enough not to fall for this US/Turkey trap.

    In fact, this attack on the Russian jet will allow Russia and Syria to definately deal with the issue of Turkey, a blatant state-sponsor of illegal agression and terrorism.

    But let the loser jackals gloat for a bit–the pain is coming.

    • Turkey is NATO member, the ones entrapped are us. And if you think that the US was involved with that shot-down of the Russian jet, than you have lost all bearings.

    • Exacly, this:

      “Turkey is mad because it’s multiple-faced game is being exposed, and moves are being engaged that will make It more difficult to generate money from stolen oil, as well as funnel weapons and fighters into Syria to sow terror.”

      The question is: will the US, as the senior NATO member, finally stand up to Turkey?

  10. Have the ‘moderate rebels’ ever been explicitly identified? Opinions as to which groups are ‘moderate’ probably depends on who you ask- Turkey, Saudi Government and Russians probably have very different ideas on this, which will need need to be resolved before anyone is invited to the negotiating table. eg, is the Gulf’s favourite salafist group, Ahrar al-Sham, considered ‘moderate’?

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