Notes to self

Analyse - HDP leader says Ankara has 'neither the power nor means' to eliminate Kurdish movement

Analyse Defence website dispatches such as Strikes Hit ISIL in Syria, Iraq

Analyse British special forces join US Marines in northern Syria Nov 2, 2015 | By Martin Barillas

There is a rumour splashing around - "Turkish Downing Of US Marine Helicopters Killing 12 American Soldiers Stuns Russia" - being promoted by brazen disinfo site EU Times. As this rumour appears to originate with Sorcha Faal, it can be simply dismissed. What the motivation is behind this disinfo is not entirely clear, however the following quote from a pro-Turkish commenter provides a possible clue:-

It's anti-Turkish propaganda just like all the other lies coming out created by Russian and pro-pkk a-holes and idiots like yourself eat it all up like everything else and say prove it if not real. How fucking retarded can you people get? Jeez…..


What is investigated here is the nature of the "support" the Rojavans are receiving from the US and Russia. It becomes clear that neither the US or Russia are truly supporting the Rojavan Experiment - if they were it would be a historical anomaly. Nevertheless, there is evidence that the US and Russia are "kinda sorta" supporting the Rojavans. Such evidence will need to be addressed and contextualised as it is possible to find claims that the Rojavans are "puppets of foreign powers" or similar such absurdities.

Media Reports (Breaking)

No terrorists at the table? Turkey ‘threatens to withdraw’ from Syria talks over Syrian Kurds 23 Jan, 2016 - RT

Ankara may boycott the upcoming Syria talks in Switzerland if Syrian Kurds are invited, media reports said, citing UN sources. Earlier, Turkey said their support for the peace process can only be ensured if there is no “representation of terrorist groups around the table.”

Turkey has privately warned that it might pull out from the Geneva talks now scheduled for January 25 if Saudi-backed Kurds and related parties are present, Foreign Policy reported Saturday citing UN-based officials.

NOTE:- What is meant by "Saudi-backed Kurds"? Prima facie absurdity - possible error. Certainly untrue.


Moreover, Davutoglu accused Russia of as much as compromising Geneva talks by inviting the representatives of YPG – Syrian Kurdish forces – to join the peace process.
"Some circles, including Russia, want to spoil the opposition side, putting some other elements in the opposition side like the YPG, which has been collaborating with the regime and attacking the moderate opposition," the PM said earlier this week.

"There should not be any representation of terrorist groups around the table," he insisted.

NOTE:- This is further spouting of the absurdist Turkish propaganda line that the PKK/YPG/etc. are pawns of the Assad regime.


Turkey wouldn’t welcome a Kurdish presence at the talks. However, the US government still believes there is hope of changing Ankara’s opinion on the subject, according to Foreign Policy. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Istanbul to discuss national security questions with the Turkish leaders on Saturday.

NOTE:- It is clear that a deeper analysis of the Turkey-US-EU relationship is required.
See also:-
Why Turkey Wants to Shut Syrian Kurds Out of Intra-Syrian Peace Talks 22/1/16 - Sputnik
Erdoğan, Biden to discuss Ankara's red lines in northern Syria 22/1/16 - Daily Sabah
U.S. and Turkey prepared for military solution in Syria, Biden says 23/1/16 - Daily Sabah
Turkey would strike YPG in Syria as it did PKK in Iraq's Qandil, PM Davutoğlu says 23/1/16 - Daily Sabah

[ Why the world questions Turkey's stance on Islamic State] 19/1/16 - Al Monitor

Syria conflict: 'US expanding air strip' in Kurdish north 22 January 2016 - BBC

Satellite imagery appearing to show the US expanding a formerly disused air strip in Kurdish-controlled northern Syria has been seen by the BBC.

The images, from the security analysts Stratfor, show a runway near the town of Rmeilan being extended from 700m (half a mile) to 1.3km.

NOTE:- This demonstrates that the headline is deceptive - no evidence is actually provided that actually substantiates its claim.


A spokesman for the US Department of Defence said its small team in Syria needed "occasional logistical support".

NOTE:- An essentially meaningless quote from an anonymous spokeman.


Rumours of US military activity in the area have been circulating for weeks, Stratfor says.

Rmeilan is in Hassakeh province in north-east Syria. In October the US dropped supply pallets containing more than 45 tonnes of ammunition to rebels in the province.

NOTE:- Rumours. Also, what "rebels" are being referred to?


The imagery appears to confirm growing rumours over the past couple of days about the presence of a runway.

This development could signify a new approach by the Americans in support of their Kurdish allies in the war against the so-called Islamic State.

But it could trigger an angry reaction from major US ally Turkey - which has long been worried about Kurdish ambitions on its southern border.

NOTE:- Overall, a lot of rumours along with another in a seemingly endless barrage of assertions about "US support for their Syrian Kurdish allies". The vibe seems to be along the lines of "Of course the US is supporting the Rojavans! But it can't help too much 'cos Turkey might get upset".

Germany wants Kurdish representatives to be part of Syria talks Fri Jan 22, 2016 - Reuters

Germany wants Kurdish groups to attend Syrian peace talks planned for January 25, a spokesman of the foreign ministry said on Friday.

NOTE:- It is not clear what Germany's motivation is here, particularly as Germany actively supports Turkey's military operations against the Kurds - see German social figures start petition against Merkel over support of Turkish military campaign

Turkey Freaks Out After Russia Insists Kurds Participate in Syrian Talks 22:27 21.01.2016(updated 03:50 22.01.2016) - Sputnik News

In the fight against Daesh, few forces have been as effective on the ground as the Kurdish YPG. While Russia has insisted that the group be part of the Syrian peace talks, Turkey has steadfastly refused, calling the YPG a "terrorist group."


Turkey’s opposition threatens to delay the UN-hosted peace talks, extending the violence in Syria. Davutoglu said that he already met with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon earlier to discuss his concerns.

NOTE:- At this juncture, it is not entirely clear what Russia's motivation is here. On the surface, it is being portrayed as part of the showdown between Turkey and Russia. It may turn out to be that simple, however Geopolitical researchers must be prepared to entertain a more complex scenario.

Syria peace talks on point of collapse over Kurds 19 Jan 2016 - The Telegraph

NOTE:- It could be easily (falsely) construed, from this headline, that somehow a collapse of the "peace talks" would be the fault of the Kurds.

Turkey "cannot accept" Russian demand that Syrian Kurds join opposition group at talks scheduled for next week

Proposed Syrian peace talks set for next week in Geneva are likely to be cancelled over a row about whether Kurdish groups will be represented among rebel ranks.

Russia is demanding that the PYD, the political arm of the main Kurdish militia fighting in the north-east of the country, be invited to the talks as part of the rebel delegation.

NOTE:- This appears to be the first time that a major power has openly "gone to bat" for the PYD.

Syrian Government Delegation Meets With Kurds in Secret – Media 19.01.2016 - Sputnik News

Kurds in Syria have long demanded participation in the peace talks in Geneva. Not long ago, a delegation from Damascus paid a secret visit to the Hasakah province to negotiate terms, according to reports.


Top-level Syrian officials recently met with leading Kurdish self-defense units and political parties to discuss their involvement in the forthcoming Geneva 3 talks on the future of Syria to be held January 25, Iraqi Kurdish news outlet BasNews reported.


The Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) hosted their negotiations with the People’s Protection Units (YPG) alongside the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), according to BasNews.


Russia objected to excluding Kurds from Syrian peace negotiations after they were not invited to the Syrian opposition summit in Saudi Arabia mid-December 2015. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed that the Vienna-format talks on resolving the long term Syrian civil war must include of all the country’s opposition groups, as well as a delegation from Damascus.

See also Kurds, Christians Called ‘Traitors’, Abandon Syrian Opposition Bloc

NOTE:- It would be good to get further confirmation of this story, however it seems plausible. While The Syndicate and its playthings would probably prefer it if they could simply ignore the Rojavans altogether (which is certainly what they did for years, and are largely doing currently), it is obvious that they're a force to be reckoned with.

Media Reports (Historical)

More than 5500 ISIS militants killed in clashes with Syrian Kurds in 2015 January 1, 2016 - ARA News

In cooperation with allied armed forces and with the support of the U.S.-led coalition’s air force, the Kurdish units have regained control of strategic towns and cities from ISIS’s fist in northern Syrian last year, including Kobane, Tel Abyad, Ain Issa, Tel Temir, Hasakah, Tel Hamis, Tel Brak, Suluk, Dahmaa, Mount Abdulaziz, army bases of ’93’ and Melabiyah, beside dozens of villages.

NOTE: "US support" is simply asserted, the precise nature of the "cooperation" and "support" is not discussed

Also, while there is allusion to "allied armed forces", what this means is not explained. Confusingly, the article then goes on to state:-

The YPG leadership notified that these records do not include the gains of their joint operations in the ranks of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Emphasis on "The Kurds"

Syrian Kurds demand more support from U.S.-led coalition against ISIS March 14, 2015 - ARA News

NOTE: Deceptive headline - what is actually quasi-said is:-

The YPG spokesman also appealed to the U.S.-led international coalition to take part in the battle of Tel Temir, similar to their support to the Kurdish forces in Tel Brak and Tel Hamis.

NOTE: The YPG spokesman, who is quoted on other matters in this article, is not actually quoted on the subject of the headline! Note also the conflation of "demand" and "appeal". Assertion of "similar…support…to…Kurdish forces

To counter this attack, [the YPG’s official spokesman] called on the Kurdish youth to join the ranks of the YPG forces.

NOTE: Again, the YPG spokesman is not actually quoted, it is simply asserted that he called on "Kurdish youth". Again, emphasis on "The Kurds".

Kurdish sources said that in the last four days, the coalition’s warplanes did not attack any IS targets in the vicinity of Tel Temir and Sere Kaniye in Hasakah province.

NOTE: Reference to (unquoted) "Kurdish sources", though the assertion is that the [US] coalition did not assist.

Anti-ISIS forces in Assyrian town demand U.S. support March 30, 2015 - ARA News

NOTE: Deceptive headline - there is no demand even alleged.

On Sunday, the Joint Command of the U.S.-led international coalition forces said that its warplanes carried out a number of new airstrikes on locations of the Islamic State group (IS/ISIS) in Syria and Iraq.

The coalition’s warplanes targeted an IS-linked site near the Kurdish city of Kobane in the province of Aleppo, in northern Syria.

The coalition’s forces also struck fourteen targets of the Islamic State in areas near the cities of Mosul, Tikrit and Fallujah in Iraq, without revealing the results of the airstrikes in both Syria and Iraq.

NOTE: Various claims made about coalition airstrikes without any substantiation whatsoever.

Speaking to ARA News in Hasakah, civil rights activist Ghassan Mohammed said that despite the ongoing battles between IS militants and the Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) backed by fighters from the Assyrian Military Council and Haras al-Khabur, the U.S.-led coalition’s warplanes are still absent from the countryside of the city of Tel Temir and Sere Kaniye (Ras al-Ain) in Hasakah province.

NOTE: It is unclear why a "civil rights activist" is being (un!-)quoted, but the assertions made here are about the absence of airstrikes.

U.S.-led coalition disappointed us in anti-IS battles: Assyrian commander April 1, 2015 - ARA News

NOTE: This article is in stark contrast to the above ARA News pieces. It provides extensive and relevant quoting of the Assyrian commander. Some noteworthy extracts:-

Malkay Rabo, the official spokesman of the Assyrian Military Council, said that the U.S.-led international coalition’s strikes on locations of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS) in the town of Tel Temir “haven’t achieve any success yet”, adding that the U.S. and allies “are not serious in their efforts to deter the IS group in Tel Temir and its surrounding Assyrian villages”.

“The coalition has offered a limited support to the defending forces of Tel Temir through few anti-IS airstrikes, but we consider the efforts so far as merely for media coverage matters no more. The coalition hasn’t directly hit the ranks of the radical group in our area, unlike what happened in the town of Tal Hamis last month,” Rabo stated, answering a question posed by ARA News regarding the effectiveness of the airstrikes in Tel Temir.

NOTE: It is implied here that coalition airstrikes have at times been more effective than the current events being reported

“Cooperation with the coalition’s air force does not give us any positive result,” Rabo said.

“Our enemy is a common one and we invite all parties to emphasize the peaceful coexistence between Assyrians, Kurds and Arabs in the region and join our efforts to defeat this terrorist group and resist its offensive against civilians,” Rabo told ARA News.

NOTE: Clearly this article - in stark contrast to the above ARA News articles (note that the journalist named here is Ahmed Shiwesh) - is actually substantially quoting relevant actors, is not emphasising "The Kurds" (quite the opposite, in fact) and is highlighting the media-spectacle nature of coalition airstrikes.

US rejects criticism over Turkey’s strikes on Kurdish groups Monday 27 July 2015 James Reinl Middle East Eye

NEW YORK – The United States faced criticism on Monday over claims that it condoned Turkish strikes on Kurdish militants as a quid pro quo for Ankara’s boosted support against the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said it was a “coincidence” that Turkey had launched strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets at the same time that Ankara increased its role in the US-led military coalition against IS.

“There’s no connection between what they [Turkey] did against PKK and to what we’re going to try to do together against ISIL,” Kirby told reporters in Washington, using an alternate acronym for the Sunni fighters.

He said Ankara had acted in “self-defence” against the PKK, which has waged a three-decade insurgency against the Turkish state partly from bases in northern Iraq and is listed as a terrorist group by Turkey, the US and the European Union.

American officials say that the US and Turkey are working on military plans to clear IS from stretches of northern Syria and carve out an “IS-free zone” that would bring more stability to the Turkey-Syria border.

Syrian Democratic Forces’ official: ‘We fight ISIS in coordination with U.S.-led coalition. No contact with Russia’ November 9, 2015 - ARA News

This article is clear evidence that the Rojavans are indeed being assisted by the coalition. However, caution is required….

Colonel Talal Ali Silo, the official spokesman of the Kurdish-Arab alliance of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and commander of the Jaish al-Thuwar group in Hasakah, said their forces coordinate with the U.S.-led international coalition in the military operations against the extremist group of Islamic State (ISIS).

“Our forces are coordinating with the U.S.-led coalition in every step in the anti-ISIS operations in Hasakah,” Silo said in an exclusive interview with ARA News.

NOTE: What is talked about here is coordination - the good Colonel makes no claims regarding what he perceives to be coalition intentions, nor does he go into any detail about the nature of said coordination.

“We have a high degree of coordination with the international coalition in every step during our battles against ISIS terrorists. The air cover provided by the U.S.-led coalition facilitates our advance against the terror group on the ground,” he said

NOTE: This is consistent with a hypothesis that the Rojavans are taking advantage of coalition airstrikes, and the said airstrikes are certainly not impeding the Rojavans.

“Our forces provide the coalition with the targets of the terrorists,” Silo added, ruling out any contact with Russia.

NOTE: This is evidence that the Rojavan forces are providing logistical assistance to the coalition - a favour which they at times return. Also, contact with Russia is explicitly ruled out, though it must be noted that this 9th November 2015 - some weeks before Turkey shot down a Russian bomber.

U.S. sends new batch of ammunition to anti-ISIS Syrian forces November 16, 2015 - ARA News

The United States has delivered a second batch of ammunition to fighters of the Kurdish-Arab alliance battling the extremist group of Islamic State (ISIS) in northern Syria, a U.S. official reported.

NOTE: Caution! An assertion made about (IE: not by) an anonymous "US official". There are no quotes in this article from Rojavan militia spokesmen stating that they have received ammunition.

The first batch of weapon shipment was delivered on October 11 through an air drop.

NOTE: Mere assertion.

In a shift in its anti-ISIS strategy, the U.S. second batch of weaponry was delivered on Saturday by land, the U.S. official added, without further details.

NOTE: Again, mere anonymous assertion. The assertion does however beg the question of how weaponry was delivered to (presently - 3rd January 2016) landlocked Rojava "by land".

After stopping the plan of training fighters outside Syria, Washington started supplying groups headed by U.S.-vetted commanders inside the country as a new strategy for combatting ISIS.

NOTE: This assertion contains the implication that the Rojavan fighters are "US vetted", which fuels the absurd notion that the Rojavans are "US puppets".

The U.S. military has expressed confidence that the ammunition helped the SDF who were able to recapture territories in the northeastern province of Hasakah, including the key town of al-Hawl ــthe main ISIS bastion in northeastern Syria.

NOTE: Even if one assumes that this assertion is correct, why is there no reportage of Rojavans "expressing confidence" about how this alleged ammunition helped them?

Western-backed Syrian Democratic Forces bomb major ISIS stronghold December 14, 2015 - ARA News

The western-backed Kurdish-Arab alliance of the SDF has regained more than 220 villages and towns in Hasakah province from ISIS over nearly two months of military operations.

NOTE: This article is not primarily about the "Western backed" allegation, however that notion is asserted in the headline and the above extract.

Turkey may finally be 'accepting the inevitable' in Syria Dec 30 2015, 6:26 AM - Business Insider Australia

The operation to take back Tishrin Dam was staged by the Western-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG — the military arm of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).

NOTE: The assertion is made here that the Rojavans are "Western backed". It is also inaccurate to describe the YPG as the military arm of the PYD.

Former City trader Macer Gifford vows to return to Syria to continue fight against Isis January 4, 2015 - Evening Standard

His latest comments came as it emerged Britain has carried out a total of four air strikes in Syria since MPs voted to back military action in the region in December.

U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish Fighters Advance Against ISIS in Raqqa John Davison Jan 04, 2016 - Haaretz

Syria Feature: US-Kurdish Alliance, Special Forces, & A Reassurance for Turkey January 08 2016 - EA WorldView

NOTE: Brazen gossip, rumours and absurdities

The US has tried to reassure Turkey, amid reports that American special forces are playing an important role in the Kurdish-led offensive against the Islamic State in northern Syria.

The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph F. Dunford, met Turkish counterpart General Hulusi Akar, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, and other top military officials on Wednesday.


In advance of a visit from US Vice President Joe Biden, Dunford reportedly told Turkish officials that the US still sees the PYD as an affiliate of Turkey’s Kurdish movement PKK, which has been declared a terrorist organization by Washington. The General supposedly said that the US Government will not tolerate a PYD “fait accompli” establishing power aound the area of the Euphrates.

Although the focus of the meetings were on the Kurdish situation, Dunford also said that the US still sees the Assad regime as the “source of the crisis”, according to the Turkish outlets.


Dunford’s visit came amid reports in Syrian opposition media of an arrangement in which US special forces, rather than Kurds, hold the recently-claimed territory west of the Euphrates.

The Local Coordination Committees claim from “several sources” that US troops are holding the area west of the Tishreen Dam, thus allowing Turkish authorities to say that the Kurds have not crossed the river.

The LCC had already reported the arrival of US special forces in the Kurdish town of Kobane in November. The site also said that a joint operations room was established by the US and the Syrian Democratic Forces on December 22, days before the takeover of the dam.

{{NOTE: See NOTE: See also U.S., Turkey Have ‘Common Sight Picture’ of ISIL, Dunford Says

ProQuest Search Terms:- 'General Joseph Dunford Turkey' obtained:-

Top US commander arrives in Turkey to discuss Iraq, Islamic State BBC Monitoring European [London] 05 Jan 2016.

Turkish minister, US envoy discuss border security, fighting terrorism BBC Monitoring European [London] 08 Jan 2016.

Turkey/Syria/United States: Turkey Warns US of Kurds' Attempts to Create Corridor in Syria Asia News Monitor [Bangkok] 11 Jan 2016.

Syria: Kurdish Forces Battle IS to Keep Control of Strategic Syrian Dam Asia News Monitor [Bangkok] 11 Jan 2016.

Requires further analysis (as of 10th January 2016), but it seems clear that the openly "anti-Kurdish" claims quasi-attributed to General Joseph Dunford all originate from the Turkish press and anonymous sources. The DoD press release contains usual platitudes and clichés.}}


ITV News exclusive: As Britain votes on Syria airstrikes, we go on the road to Raqqa with the Kurdish YPG 2 December 2015

Related Footage

Two VBIED bombings: Kurds in deadly battle against ISIS suicide bombers [HD]

Articles Requiring Analysis

Paper says Turkey faces choice between Kurds, Al-Qa'idah in Syria 05 Aug 2013 BBC Monitoring European [London] - via ProQuest (Search terms:- Rojava Pentagon)

ProQuest Abstract

No need to elaborate much. Al-Qa'idah had made Iraq its base of operations for a long time but was unable to achieve its goal so it moved to Syria, and made considerable progress. If Syria's neighbouring countries including Turkey had wanted to they could have prevented this development. However, it must be because they want to see Beshar al-Asad's regime come down immediately that they have said very little about Al-Qa'idah taking up residence on their front porches. However, when Al-Qa'idah began attacking the Kurds in the north of Syria, in that part the Kurds call Rojava, Ankara was forced to make a decision that it really did not want to make: either stay distant from the Kurds and thus jeopardize regional stability and its own Kurd solution process, or take part in efforts to purge Al-Qa'idah from Syria, which was now very much feeling the pressure. This latter option would make Turkey a primary target for this transnational network.

1. In my last column called "Al-Qa'idah's failed charm" ([1] ) we stressed that Al-Qa'idah has been running "national and regional" activities not "global" ones for some time now and that they are fighting local (almost all of them Muslim) elements rather than Western ones. They can be expected to be preparing to hit a high-profile Western (preferably American) target at just this time in order to correct bad image created by this.

Turkish commentary views links between Syria, Kurdish peace process 08 Sep 2013 BBC Monitoring European [London] - via ProQuest (Search terms:- Rojava Pentagon)

ProQuest Abstract

There are also assessments "from within the region" to the effect that any American attack will not so much "turn the tide of the civil war to the opposition's advantage" but instead "lead to even more chaos" that Al-Nusrah and similar organizations will take advantage of.

In an assessment he gave to the Al-Safirdaily the other day, Lebanese leader Walid Jamblat, one of the region's most experienced political actors, asserted that "the blow to be delivered will add to the chaos in Lebanon" and switching the topic to the Syrian opposition he complained that the Syrian opposition "was not united" and he said: "The streets of Syria are today filled with fighters from everywhere. The large number of suicide bombings and Jihadist elements are harming the Syrian people's and the national opposition's interests."

If the "choice" favours the Kurds, this would mean Ankara playing midwife to the birth of an "autonomous" Kurdish entity under the PYD's (actually PKK) weight, just across the border. This development would go a long way to securing a quick and successful outcome to the "solution process" in Turkey.

The consequences of benign neglect 15 July 2014 Cyprus Mail [Nicosia] By Atilla Yesilada - via ProQuest (Search terms:- Rojava Pentagon)

Partial Extract

An accurate report of how ISIS became a major regional actor has yet to be written, but Turkey is largely to blame. Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (A.K.P.) did not create ISIS or orchestrate its rapid spread in Syria and Iraq, but it committed a bigger sin: benign neglect.

Living by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan's philosophy that true Muslims can't be terrorists, Ankara allowed thousands of jihadists from Libya and Chechnya to flood into Syria to combat Erdoan's archenemy, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

State agencies provided health care, training grounds, and a fertile recruitment field in the numerous refugee camps around the Syrian border, over which the United Nations has no supervision. Later, ISIS and its more moderate cousin, Al Nusra Front, were used to punish the Kurds of Rojava, who were declaring autonomy.

The incestuous relationship between Turkey, ISIS, and Al Nusra became so blatant that the Pentagon cut off supplies to Syria's northern front, fearing they would be routed away from the Free Syrian Army (F.S.A.). It is fair to say that in his haste to depose Assad, Erdoan actually handed him a victory on a golden platter, as ISIS and Al Nusra turned against the F.S.A.

The A.K.P. steadfastly denies these allegations, but the evidence is irrefutable. It comes from journalists who visited the border towns of Turkey. It comes from Turkey's Muslim minority Alawites, who are increasingly the subject of hate crimes by jihadists and their Turkish followers. It comes from Rojavan Kurds who accuse Ankara of actually ferrying terrorists through Turkey behind their defensive lines and cutting off humanitarian aid to their besieged towns.

Turkish commentary views possible Turkish actions against ISIL 02 Sep 2014 BBC Monitoring European [London] - via ProQuest (Search terms:- Rojava Pentagon)

Partial Extracts

US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel is coming to our country this week. His main agenda item is the joint struggle against ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or with its new name, just IS, that is, the Islamic State). Defence Department (Pentagon) spokesman John Kirby has said that Turkey is an important NATO member that borders Syria and Iraq, and that it shares Washington's concerns in terms of the danger ISIL is causing for the region.

The American administration is seeking to form a regional coalition against ISIL, but it is unknown who will be included in this, and to what degree. Naturally, the real problem here is that it is clear, from the statements that various American leaders have made to date, that they have no strategy in terms of how the struggle against ISIL should be conducted.


It is evident, however, that Ankara, which has been engaged in toppling the [Syrian President Bashar] Al-Asad's Ba'thist regime since shortly after the civil war broke out in Syria, is not going to feel itself very close to this plan. Yet another dimension of the affair is that ISIL (just like the Nusrah Front) is waging a merciless war against the PYD [Democratic Union Party], which on the line of the PKK [Kurdistan People's Congress, KGK] of Abdullah Ocalan has been working to establish a sort of autonomous formation in the region known as the Rojava [Kurdish term for 'west,' used in reference to northern Syria]. It has been known since the outset that Ankara does not want an autonomous Kurdish region in Syria along its own borders. But it can be useful to look at the matter from the other direction as well: If not for the PYD and its military wing, the YPG [People's Protection Units] and the YPJ [Women's Protection Units], Turkey's borders would in large measure be under the control of ISIL and similar formations.

Protests against ISIL's Kobane siege continue across Turkey 29 Sep 2014 Cihan News Agency [Istanbul] - via ProQuest (Search terms:- Rojava Pentagon)

Partial Extract

ISTANBUL (CIHAN)- Demonstrators have gathered in cities across Turkey to protest the terrorist Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's (ISIL) siege of the strategic Syrian town of Kobane, which is inhabited predominantly by ethnic Kurds.

An all-female protest including women from some 36 civil society organizations gathered in Istanbul to protest against ISIL over the weekend, marching towards the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) headquarters in Kadiköy.

The group included women activists from civil society organizations such as the Human Rights Association (IHD) and the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP). The group chanted slogans, saying, "If there is no Rojava [the Kurdish-populated region of northern Syria], there won't be peace," "Women's solidarity against ISIL" and "Murderer ISIL, collaborator AK Party."

The group said in a statement made during the protest that the ISIL attacks are also targeting the settlement process in Turkey, which aims to solve the Kurdish problem in the country, and called on the international community to take action for Kobane. The statement said the Turkish government should not allow ISIL members to cross into Syria from Turkey.

The protesters also stressed that they do not want a buffer zone in Syria.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoan has insisted that a buffer zone to protect Turkey's borders with Iraq and Syria, as well as a no-fly zone over Syria, must be established. US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made clear at a Pentagon news conference that the US is not actively considering a buffer zone.

Daily sees Washington conference as "turning point" in Kurdish-US relations 30 Sep 2014 BBC Monitoring European [London] - via ProQuest (Search terms:- Rojava Pentagon)

ProQuest Abstract

Conference Pregnant With Significant Outcomes The participants of the conference, which was organized by the HDP [Peoples' Democratic Party] and took place on Friday in the US capital Washington, welcomed the fact that HDP Cochair Selahattin Demirtas, PYD [Democratic Union Party] Cochair Salih Muslim, Governor of Kirkuk Governorate Najmiddin Karim of the YNK [Patriotic Union of Kurdistan], Karwan Zebari of the KDP [Kurdistan Democratic Party] who is the Washington representative for the federal Kurdistan government, and Sezgin Tanrikulu of the CHP [Republican People's Party] all sent a clear and joint message to the US administration regarding Kobane.

Partial Extracts

Resolution Process Linked to Rojava

Taking part as a speaker in the session called "Resolution Process," HDP Deputy Nazmi Gur said, "while Kobane is under attack in this very moment, I find it hard to speak about the resolution process" and stressed the severity of the situation. During the speeches they made, both Gur and Demirtas essentially said that healthy progression of the resolution process depended on the Turkish state's attitude towards Rojava [Kurdish term for west, used in reference to northern Syria]. The Kurdish politicians underlined that the resolution process and Rojava resistance were closely linked to one another and told the AKP [Justice and Development Party] government to "stop supporting ISIL otherwise you will lose the Kurds in Turkey as well as those in Rojava."


When Muslim Said "Situation Is Critical'

When the PYD Cochair Salih Muslim relayed in a Skype call that the situation in Kobane was critical, the morale in the conference hall suddenly became very low. Speaking about the latest situation in the region, Salih Muslim said: "The situation in Kobane is highly serious; we even do not know what is going to happen in the next couple of hours." He also criticized Turkey's position regarding the Kobane crisis and added, "the Turkish state is saying something different to our faces but according to witnesses, Turkey is in collaboration with ISIL."


Conference Ended Bombardment Started

Kobane was still the main topic during the conversations that followed the conference. Responding to a statement released by Pentagon, the HDP delegation and academicians opined that with the remarks in the US Department of Defence statement, which said "our planes are monitoring, we are aware of the situation," the United States was sending a message that it was about to take action in Kobane as well. That a day after the conference the US war planes hit ISIL positions near Kobane proved that observation to be accurate. Even certain circles saw the air strikes around Kobane as confirmation that "the Obama administration took into consideration the demands of representatives of the HDP, KDP, YNK, and PYD."

Kurds make peace with each other to forge new state [Edition 2] 22 Oct 2014 Syria Tom Coghlan; Christie-Miller, Alexander. The Times [London (UK)] - via ProQuest (Search terms:- Rojava Pentagon)

ProQuest Abstract

The move is opposed by the Turkish government, and the ruling party in the Kurdish region in neighbouring Iraq, the Kurdish Democratic party (KDP) of President Barzani, is also wary.

Partial Extracts

Syrian Kurdish leaders were set to redraw the map of the Middle East last night with the imminent declaration of a self-governing region inside Syria.

Once deeply divided, the leaders held a critical meeting in Dohuk, close to Iraq's borders with Syria and Turkey, hoping to unify behind a new political entity in three territories in Syria.

Factions that took control in 2012 of three "cantons" — Cizire, Efrin and Kobani — will continue today with a ninth day of talks aimed at establishing a semi-autonomous Kurdish region, to be called Rojava.

Representatives of the main Syrian Kurdish faction, the Democratic Union party (PYD), said that the announcement of a formal entity would be followed by elections for a regional parliament and the formation of defence forces.


Turkey has demanded that the PYD merge its forces with the Free Syrian Army, the moderate opposition group allied to the West, and sever ties with the Turkey-based Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Syrian Kurdish leaders say that, in declaring formal self-government, they are merely formalising what is already a reality in the partly contiguous cantons.

Mounting pressure from Washington to support the Kurds in the battle for Kobani has led to Turkey offering — grudgingly — to facilitate reinforcements from Iraqi Kurdistan. However, Syrian Kurdish fighters, who have defended the town for almost a month, expressed scepticism that Turkey would honour that promise.


"We have enough fighters, we need heavy weapons," Idris Nassan, a spokesman for the PYD in Kobani canton, said. PYD leaders want to have Syrian Kurdish, rather than Iraqi Kurdish, reinforcements.

A spokesman for the Kurdish fighters in Kobani said that morale had been raised by US arms drops on Sunday night, but that the weapons "will not be enough to decide the battle". Isis seized at least one of the 27 bundles of small arms and ammunition dropped.

Turkish commentary views objectives of different countries in Syria's Kobane 29 Oct 2014 BBC Monitoring European [London] - via ProQuest (Search terms:- Rojava Pentagon)

ProQuest Abstract

[…]the Barzani administration opened its arms to 150,000 Syrian Kurdish refugees in August 2013. According to the plans of the coalition formed against ISIL, he will not send troops into the field.

Partial Extracts

Kobani (Ayn al-Arab) is a town in the province of Aleppo in northern Syria on Turkey's border. The town is populated mostly by Kurds but also by Arabs, Turkmens, and Armenians. In 2012, as civil war raged in Syria, regime forces withdrew from West Kurdistan (Rojavaye Kurdistane) [Rojava] and left the control of the region to the PYD [Democratic Union Party], which is the extension of the PKK [Kurdistan People's Congress, KGK] in Syria. Subsequently, the PYD created three autonomous regions (cantons) in Afrin, Cizire [Jazira], and Kobani and declared that it was establishing a provisional government in Rojava. The Kurdish National Council [of Syria] and the Kurdish parties making up the council accused the PYD of forming a one-party regime in Rojava. Since then, the PYD has unlawfully retained control of administrative and legal authority related to the military, security forces, and public services.


In those days, the PKK media accused the Barzani administration of supporting ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant]. This was based on disinformation such as pictures of atrocities committed by Al-Asad militia in Banyas shared by Sirri Sureyya Onder with the caption "massacre is under way in Rojava."


At this time, the PKK/PYD is enjoying the excitement of being a favoured child even as it gets confused by the forces pulling it left and right. This was echoed in the five different (at least) messages [PYD Cochair] Salih Muslim sent on Friday while discussing the same subject. They want to create the government they dream of in Rojava but they are losing Arbil and Ankara, the only friends Syrian Kurdistan has in the region, because they misjudge every wolf to be their friend.

What Ankara and Arbil want is clear: First, a multiparty administration, that is a democracy, in Rojava. Second, an end to their status as Al-Asad's puppet. After all, this is what will end this war.

Ankara has articulated the same condition to Washington for supporting the coalition: Al-Asad must go together with ISIL. After all, this war cannot end without Al-Asad stepping down and neither Rojava nor anywhere else can be secure if this war does not end.

On the borderline - Turkey's ambiguous approach to Islamic State Nov 1, 2014 Sariibrahimoglu, Lale. Jane's Intelligence Review - via ProQuest (Search terms:- Rojava Pentagon)

ProQuest Abstract

[…]Erdogan branded Islamic State a terrorist organisation only after its 20 September release of 46 Turkish hostages, which included diplomats and special forces soldiers who had been held for 101 days following the group's seizure of Mosul, Iraq, in early June. […]a motion adopted in the Turkish parliament on 2 October sanctioning the deployment of Turkish troops into Iraq and Syria to join the US-led coalition in the fight against Islamic State militants did not categorise the group as a direct threat to Turkey, while Ankara has repeatedly insisted on the need to topple Syrian president Bashar al-Assad as part of the coalition's campaign against Islamic State.

Partial Extract

Conflicting demands

A Western military source told IHS Jane's in early October that by including wording in the parliamentary motion to allow foreign forces to be stationed on Turkish territory, Ankara has accepted that it must co-operate with NATO if it wants to stem the rise of Islamic State and leverage its efforts with NATO and the US-led coalition to create a no-fly zone and buffer in Syria as part of its anti-Assad effort.

On 9-10 October, Turkish authorities and US chief coalition envoy retired General John Allen met to discuss the details of Turkey's support for the coalition. Turkish officials agreed to take part in a US-led programme to train and equip moderate Syrian opposition forces, according to US Department of State spokesperson Marie Harf on 10 October, with a Pentagon planning team travelling to Ankara to further discuss Turkey's exact role in the effort, which has yet to be defined. Erdogan himself confirmed on 10 October that Turkey would participate in the train-and-equip programme, affirming that arming "moderate" anti-Assad insurgents was one of Turkey's key demands for taking on a role in the anti-Islamic State coalition.

Erdogan also reiterated calls for a buffer zone enforced by a no-fly zone, but US secretary of defence Chuck Hagel subsequently told the media that Ankara's repeated request for the US to establish a safe zone along Turkey's 910 kilometre-long border with Syria was not "actively being considered… but American leaders are open to a discussion about it".

JTIC Brief: Victory at any cost - symbolism transcends strategy in battle for Kobanê Nov 1, 2014 Jane's Terrorism & Security Monitor - via ProQuest (Search terms:- Rojava Pentagon)

ProQuest Abstract

The fight for the Syrian border town of Kobanê between Kurdish militants and Islamic State has quickly become a prominent and highly symbolic battle in the ongoing Syrian conflict.

Partial Extracts

Ankara's refusal to aid Kobanê's Kurdish defenders has ensured they remain short of vital supplies and reliant on US-led airstrikes to hold back Islamic State.

Claiming victory in the battle for the town has become of paramount importance to both Islamic State and the Kurds, but is coming at an increasingly high cost.

Militant Islamist group Islamic State's siege of the predominantly Kurdish town of Kobanê in the north of Syria's Aleppo governorate, on the border with Turkey, has been under way since mid-September. Although it is true that the media's relative ease of access to the crisis in Kobanê has brought disproportionate attention to one of Syria's many battles, it is a key fight nonetheless.


Kobanê is one of the last border crossings with Turkey in Aleppo governorate that is not controlled by Islamist militants. Due to the town's significant Kurdish population, the Syrian-based Kurdish militant group Yekîneyên Parastina Gel (YPG) seized control from the Syrian government in July 2012, and it has since been under the de-facto rule of the YPG's political wing, the Democratic Union Party (Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat: PYD), and its Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) administrative project, co-chaired by Salih Muslim and Asya Abdullah. The YPG has sent emphatic messages to the world that it will defend Kobanê to the last man or woman, while Islamic State's relentless attacks on the town and deployment of reinforcements equally underlines its determination to erase this prominent Kurdish enclave in its area of operations around Aleppo.


Kurdish frustration

The YPG's control of Kobanê since 2012 has created a barrier between Turkish security forces and Islamist militants on the other side of the border fence, resulting in a somewhat lax approach by Turkey to border control. However, as the battle for Kobanê has intensified since late September, Turkish forces have tightened their control of the border fence and refused to allow the resupply of YPG forces across the border. This has created a palpable sense of frustration among Kurds on both sides of the border, with the perception that the YPG in Kobanê is trapped between Islamic State and the Turkish security forces with no imminent prospect of relief.

Ankara has so far maintained a bifurcated policy with regard to Kobanê and the wider Kurdish question. It considers the YPG/PYD a terrorist organisation and has been reluctant to permit aid to the group for fear that any such arms and materiel would end up reaching Turkish Kurdish militant group the Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan (PKK). Simultaneously, however, Ankara has maintained dialogue with Salih Muslim likely in an attempt to see if he is pliable enough to implement a pro-Turkish agenda in Syrian Kurdistan - to which he has not been amenable.

Too Little, Too Late; For hundreds of thousands of Yazidis, airstrikes in Iraq and Syria are 15 Nov 2014 Glavin, TerryView The Ottawa Citizen - via ProQuest (Search terms:- Rojava Pentagon)

ProQuest Abstract

A minority within a minority, the Yazidis follow a pre-Abrahamic faith with a peacock-angel for a deity, and they are found only among the Kurds - a stateless people whose homelands straddle the mountainous frontiers of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. On Aug. 7, Obama announced that American fighter jets would bomb Islamic State convoys advancing across the Nineveh Plain towards Irbil, the capital city of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government.

Partial Extracts

It was only when thousands of Yazidis found themselves encircled and trapped on the barren massif of Mount Sinjar, dying by the dozen from exposure and thirst, that the outside world took notice.

It was at Mount Sinjar that the curtain was raised on the United States' disastrous foreign-policy incoherence in the Middle East, and on the NATO capitals' indifference.

By those early days of August, the contradictory and wa ing half-measures that U.S. President Barack Obama had pursued in Syria and Iraq had cost him the confidence of almost all his senior advisers, along with a majority of American opinion-poll respondents. With the American public riveted to the horror unfolding on Mount Sinjar, he finally decided it was time to act.

On Aug. 7, Obama announced that American fighter jets would bomb Islamic State convoys advancing across the Nineveh Plain towards Irbil, the capital city of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government. "American personnel" were at risk there. In tandem, the U.S. air force was to begin humanitarian airdrops to the Yazidis trapped on Mount Sinjar.

"When we face a situation like we do on that mountain…then I believe the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye," Obama declared. "We can act, carefully and responsibly, to prevent a potential act of genocide. That's what we're doing on that mountain."

Within days, Canada, France and Germany were airlifting arms to the faltering peshmerga ("those who face death") of the Kurdish Regional Government, and ramping up humanitarian aid.


While the death toll from the Yazidi pogrom remains unknown, the authors of a recent UN report released in Geneva managed to enumerate 4,692 civilians in northern Iraq who were summarily executed, buried alive, beheaded, crucified or tortured to death between June and September.

The report also estimated that as many as 2,500 people, almost all of them women and girls, had been abducted. Yazidi women were "allotted to ISIL fighters or were being trafficked as slaves," and in Mosul, the captives were being sold at open markets, adorned with pricetags.

Following the weeklong airdrops at Mount Sinjar, the Pentagon called offan evacuation and announced that the crisis had passed.

The crisis has not passed. "We cannot go back. Da'ash is still there," Sanjar Sununi, a 24-year-old truck driver, told me. "I went on the mountain after there were 18 men who were beheaded by Da'ash. With my own eyes I saw the bodies of 350 people they killed at the side of Mount Sinjar, at the village of Jidar," he said. "We cannot go back."

More than two months after the Pentagon halted its airdrops, the Kurdish Regional Government reported that 10,000 Yazidis were still hiding in the mountains around Mount Sinjar, in desperate need of blankets and tents. During the first week of October, Islamic State forces overran three local villages, effectively closing offany escape route by road. By early November, a column of Islamic State fighters was reported to have advanced to within a kilometre of Mount Sinjar, where at least 700 Yazidi families were again besieged.

Nearly 300,000 Yazidis are now scattered across northern Iraq, as far east as the city of Sulaymaniyah.

Of the 150,000 Yazidis who traversed a rebel-held cordon in northeastern Syria during their long march out the Shingal Range, perhaps 20,000 remain there, in Rojava, the YPG-controlled Kurdish region of Syria. At least 30,000 Yazidis appear to have made it into Turkey.


As horrific as their sufferings have been, the Yazidis make up only a small number of the 1.9 million Iraqis recently uprooted by the mayhem in that country. In Rojava, the Kurdish-held region of northern Syria that runs along the Turkish frontier, the story is the same.

"The Yazidis have come here to us, but so many others have come here as well, to save themselves," Abdulsalam Ahmad, the cochair of the Rojava's provisional government, told me. The influx began almost as soon as the Kurdish YPG guerrillas drove out

Assad's forces in the weeks after the Syrian uprising began in 2011.

Rojava's population has nearly doubled to about 4.6 million. The newcomers are Sunni and Shia Syrian Arabs who have fled the scorched wasteland that Assad has made of his country.

They are also Orthodox Assyrian Christians, Chaldean Catholics, and others, from out of the jihadist dystopia that has taken up so much of the space where Assad's police state used to be.

I met Abdulsalam Ahmad in Derike, one of the principal towns of Rojava's Jazeera canton, in Syria's mountainous northeastern corner. While there are no UNHCR camps in Rojava there is a camp the Derike municipality has established for about 10,000 refugees, mostly Yazidis, on a rocky desert plain at the district's Nowruz festival grounds.

House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Middle East and North Africa Hearing Jun 3, 2015 Congressional Documents and Publications. - via ProQuest (Search terms:- Rojava Pentagon)

ProQuest Abstract

[…]the United States wastes time debating terminology. […]the White House and State Department continue to interpret the rise of the Islamic State through the lens of grievance.

Partial Extract

Perhaps the greatest American oversight with regard to Kurds involves Syria. To date, no group has had more consistent success against the Islamic State than the Popular Protection Units (Yekeneyan Parastina Gel, YPG), a Kurdish militia affiliated with the Democratic Union Party (Partiya Yeketiya Demokrat, PYD). Boycotted by the Turkish government and the Syrian government, and fighting radical Islamists simultaneously, these Syrian Kurdish peshmerga have carved out a federal entity in northeastern Turkey which they call Rojava. Like Iraqi Kurdistan, it protects freedom of religion and plays host to tens of thousands of displaced Arabs. I visited Rojava last year and saw schools and a judiciary functioning, municipal trash pickup, and other signs of normalcy. Yezidis from Sinjar have turned to the YPG for protection against the Islamic State rather than the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga because it is less compromised by politics, nepotism, and tribal concerns.

It is inexcusable that the United States would turn a blind eye to the only stable, secure, and secular region in Syria when the only alternatives are the Islamic State, a Syrian opposition that is moderate by no measure other than comparison to the Islamic State, and Bashar al-Assad's murderous regime. Deference to Turkey because of Ankara's fear of Kurdish autonomy or because of Turkey's previous struggle against Kurdish insurgency should not be reason to sacrifice secured territory to the Islamic State.

The State Department suggests that they will not work with Rojava until Syrian Kurds accept the opposition umbrella group assembled in Istanbul. The problem with this demand is two-fold: First, the Istanbul-based opposition has little real influence inside Syria. Secondly, it refuses to acknowledge Syrian federalism. The Kurds in Syria, however, having fought too hard to defend themselves, are as loath to subordinate themselves again to Damascus, as Iraqi Kurds have been to Baghdad.

Suspicion Grows Between Syrian Rebels, Kurds Jul 7, 2015 Dettmer, Jamie. Voice of America News - via ProQuest (Search terms:- Rojava Pentagon)

Partial Extracts

President Barack Obama told reporters Monday at the Pentagon his strategy for defeating Islamic State (IS) militants will take time to work, and there is no substitute for working through indigenous forces in the region.

One of the biggest challenges for Washington, however, is getting those indigenous forces to trust each other, and political activists say that is getting harder in Syria.

Mutual suspicion between mainly Arab rebel militias and Kurds is deepening as Kurdish-led forces go beyond their home territory and reach into traditional Arab villages as they seek to roll back Islamic extremists.

Some rebel commanders and other opposition leaders say the distrust risks flaring into open hostility and clashes.

"When we are more into the endgame with Daesh, then it will be a fight between Arabs and Kurds in northern Syria," said activist Ahmad Abdulkader, using the Arab acronym for IS.

Abdulkader, who oversees a network of anti-Daesh activists called Eye-On-The-Homeland, is not alone in predicting that outcome. Militia commanders aligned with the Western-backed Free Syrian Army, as well as more powerful Islamist brigades, have become increasingly wary of the Kurds, whom they accuse of seeking a land grab. They also distrust the Kurds' denials of wanting to establish a breakaway state for themselves in the northeast of the country.


IS propagandists have been eagerly fomenting discord between their Arab and Kurdish foes, promoting the idea that Kurds loot captured Arab villages and are engineering a demographic change along the border with Turkey.

In the lead-up to the mainly Kurdish capture of the Syrian border town of Tal Abayad last month, Islamic extremists panicked the town's Arab population by warning that fighters with the YPG, People's Protection Units, which are dominated by Syria's Democratic Union Party (PYD), would run amok. This prompted thousands of Arab residents to flee to Turkey.

Reassuring appeals by the Kurds for the refugees to return have been only partly heeded; many Arabs remain fearful.

Turkish officials have not helped, with accusations of "ethnic cleansing" of Arabs and Turkmen, as well as claims the PYD wants to carve out a corridor along the border with Turkey to have access to the Mediterranean. The Kurds will break away from Syria if given the chance, Ankara has claimed, something Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned he won't accept.


In an interview last month after Tal Abayad fell to Kurdish-led forces, Rami Abdulrahman, the head of the Syrian Observatory For Human Rights, a London-based rights network of political activists opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, told German human rights workers there has been no "ethnic cleansing" in the border town.

He also said he has not heard of ethnic cleansing cases in villages further east, around the city of Qamishli, where the Kurds have been in control since the early stages of the four-year-long civil war.

"There are dozens of Arabic villages near Qamishli," Abdulrahman said. "The Arabs are still living there and are also protected by the YPG. Indeed, there are civilian casualties in the fights between YPG and IS, but there is no specific and systematic persecution on account of a certain religion or ethnicity by YPG."

But Tarik Sulo, spokesman for northern Syria's minority Turkmen, said YPG forces and the U.S. airstrikes "are changing the demography of the area," and that Turkmen "are losing lands where they have been living for centuries."

YPG fighters, who asked not to named for this article, admitted to VOA in Skype calls that there has been looting in Arab villages that have clearly had a high proportion of IS sympathizers, to which their own YPG commanders turn a blind eye. But they also said there is no policy to drive Arabs from their homes.

The situation is further complicated, they added, by the need to make sure no IS supporters are left in villages they have captured, and to ensure that mines and booby-trap bombs are cleared before villagers are encouraged to return.

Plans by U.S. to capture Islamic State's capital already go awry (Posted 2015-10-22 16:37:15): Weapons airdropped for Arab fighters appear to have been claimed by Kurds. Sly, Liz. The Washington Post - via ProQuest (Search terms:- Rojava Pentagon)

ProQuest Abstract

According to YPG commanders, however, the supplies were always to be used at the discretion of a newly created umbrella entity, the Syrian Democratic Forces, which announced its existence on the day the ammunition was delivered.

Partial Extracts

AIN ISSA, Syria — In this abandoned desert town on the front line of the war against the Islamic State in Raqqa, local fighters are fired up by announcements in Washington that the militants' self-proclaimed capital is to be the next focus of the war.

But there is still no sign of the help the United States has delivered ostensibly for the use of the Arab groups fighting the Islamic State, nor is there any indication it will imminently arrive, calling into question whether there can be an offensive to capture Raqqa anytime soon.

Fifty tons of ammunition air dropped by the U.S. military last week and intended for Arab groups has instead been claimed by the overall command of the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, which is fighting alongside Arab units but overwhelmingly dominates their uneasy alliance, according to Kurdish and Arab commanders.

The question of whether Arab or Kurdish fighters get the weapons is crucial, in part because of Turkish sensitivities surrounding the United States' burgeoning relationship with the Syrian Kurds. Turkey accuses the YPG of affiliation with the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, designated a terrorist organization by Ankara and Washington, and has already lodged a complaint with the U.S. Embassy in Ankara that the YPG received the weapons intended for Arabs.


U.S. officials insist that the ammunition was received by Arab fighters and that it is imminently to be used to bring "additional and renewed pressure on ISIL in the vicinity of Raqqa," Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters at the Pentagon on Wednesday, using an acronym for the Islamic State.

A Pentagon spokesman, Col. Patrick Ryder, reiterated in an e-mail that the U.S. military has "high confidence that the ammunition we dropped was retrieved by the intended recipients, which were Syrian Arab groups fighting ISIL."

According to YPG commanders, however, the supplies were always to be used at the discretion of a newly created umbrella entity, the Syrian Democratic Forces, which announced its existence on the day the ammunition was delivered. It includes Arab and Syrian minority groups but is overwhelmingly dominated by the Kurdish YPG, whose fighters outnumber the others in the alliance by a ratio of at least 4 to 1.

Haki Kobane, who commands a coalition of Arab and Kurdish forces fighting on the Raqqa front called Burkan al-Furat, or Euphrates Volcano, said the supplies could be deployed at any point along the 435-mile front line that the YPG maintains against the Islamic State, in many places without the participation of any other groups, Arab or otherwise.

"The Syrian Democratic Forces will decide which front the weapons will be given to, where the battle will be fought and who will get the weapons," he said in an interview at the Euphrates Volcano's headquarters in the town of Ain al-Aroush, near the Turkish border. In addition, "50 tons of ammunition is not enough to do anything," he said. "We are fighting along a 700-kilometer front line."

Meet the soldiers fighting ISIS with hunting rifles and homemade mortars 27 Oct 2015 Lister, Tim; Ward, Clarissa. CNN Wire Service [Atlanta] - via ProQuest (Search terms:- Rojava Pentagon)

ProQuest Abstract

CNN traveled to Syria to visit Kurdish soldiers fighting on the front line against ISIS

The troops are lightly armed and poorly equipped — riding around in old minibuses and firing hunting rifles

The United States parachuted pallet-loads of ammunition in to the country, but its whereabouts are a mystery

Syria exclusive: Kurdish forces dig in just outside ISIS headquarters in Raqqa 22 Nov 2015 Nick Paton Walsh. CNN Wire Service [Atlanta] - via ProQuest (Search terms:- Rojava Pentagon)

ProQuest Abstract

Forces are massing for an offensive to retake Raqqa, ISIS's headquarters in Syria

Kurdish forces tell CNN there's been a big rise in the number of airstrikes nearby

One commander says thousands of local tribesmen are prepared to join in the fight

Partial Extracts

Yet the Kurdish morale is high, lifted by a sense that their fight — which for months has been about protecting the territory they want to see become a Kurdish homeland called Rojava — has now taken on an international tone.

"If French, Russian or American fighters come here to fight we will cooperate with them, as we are all fighting to clean the area of ISIS for humanity," one commander there, Sarhad, told us.


Fighting with the YPG is a new alliance called the Syrian Democratic Forces, a collection of Kurdish fighters and other Sunni Arab Syrian armed units.

Many see the alliance as an American idea to try and secure Sunni Arabs as allies for the Kurdish units, so their advance into the predominantly Sunni areas ISIS currently holds is not seen as a land grab by Kurdish forces seeking to create their own homeland.

These forces are the recipients of Pentagon training and equipment and are said to be where the 50 American special forces are applying their training efforts.

A YPG commander in the Syrian Democratic Forces said coordination with the American special forces had begun, but would not confirm their presence in the area.

Another commander, one with the Sunni Arab group the Revolutionary Army of Raqqa, said that the preparation for the attack on Raqqa had secured a major victory because many of the local Sunni tribesmen had agreed to rise up against ISIS when the assault began.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License