By Newsweek. The commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces has thanked President Donald Trump for organizing an initial ceasefire to halt a Turkish-led attack on majority-Kurdish forces across northeastern Syria, just as the U.S. leader signaled it was time for other powers to step in on Syria.
Trump ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops from northeastern Syria earlier this month as NATO ally Turkey launched an attack on the Pentagon-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, a group dominated by Kurdish militias that battled the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) but were considered terrorist organizations by Turkey. As violence ravaged the region, the Trump administration arranged a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and produced a five-day ceasefire that would end the attack by Turkish forces and allied Syrian insurgents, and facilitate the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters from a so-called “safe zone.”
After this deal was succeeded by a new arrangement between Russia and Turkey, Syrian Democratic Forces commander Mazloum Kobane said Wednesday that he “just spoke with President Trump and explained to him the Turkish violations of the truce that would not have been possible without his great efforts,” according to a tweet by spokesperson Mustafa Bali.
“We THANK President Trump for his tireless efforts that stopped the brutal Turkish attack and jihadist groups on our people,” Kobane was cited as saying. “President Trump promised to maintain partnership with SDF and long-term support at various spheres.” (Read more from “Kurds Thank Trump for Ending Turkey’s Attack” HERE)
Despite Setback, Kurds Appear Ready for Spotlight
By The Jerusalem Post. Syrian Kurdish leader Gen. Mazlum Kobani received Washington’s support on Wednesday and was on the phone with the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu – all two weeks after it seemed his Syrian Democratic Forces were on the ropes against Turkey.
Mazlum and his fighters – which number around 100,000 in different units trained by the Americans – suffered setbacks between October 9 and 14 amid hammering by Turkey and Turkish-backed jihadists, but they have come through the fire with confidence. . .
For SDF commanders, this now presents an interesting opportunity. The US wants the SDF, which it helped create, to continue to secure parts of eastern Syria, particularly 10,000 ISIS detainees and some oil fields near the Euphrates River. The US will remain in this area for an undetermined amount of time. This can help keep Iranian influence out of the strategic border area and prevent ISIS infiltrating into Iraq. It also give the SDF some room to maneuver between the US and the Russians. According to Russia’s Sputnik news agency, Moscow was in contact with Washington about the Turkish agreement.
While Moscow’s sudden appearance in eastern Syria as the arbiter appeared to humiliate Washington last week, it now appears that the US and the SDF might have an avenue to speak to the Russians about some shared interests. This is because the SDF now has signed agreements with the Syrian regime while Moscow has signed an agreement with Ankara.
Turkey is ostensibly an American NATO ally. Turkey’s main concern was to remove the SDF from the border, and it has accomplished this. It has also provided Turkey’s government a way to pretend it won, and to funnel some unsavory jihadists into Syria so Turkey doesn’t have to deal with them in Idlib province. Turkey wants to dump as many Syrian extremists back into Syria as possible to cage them in and dilute them. Ankara didn’t commit many of its own forces to fighting the SDF between October 9 and 17, seeking instead to use the Syrian rebel groups as cannon fodder. Now that the fodder has been used, Turkey and Russia signed their deal. (Read more from “Despite Setback, Kurds Appear Ready for Spotlight” HERE)