Exclusive: Behind Turkey’s Erdoğan, Kurdish SDF, Trump ceasefire
SAN DIEGO: Talks between senior American officials, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and Kurdish Syrian Defense Forces result in a short-term ceasefire, says the Whitehouse. The U.S. delegation including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien flew to Ankara to meet Erdoğan face-to-face.
What President Trump calls “tough love” along with the threat of biting sanctions and tariffs to Turkish President Erdoğan ended with a ceasefire deal between the two NATO giants. Also, participating in the talks indirectly, was the commander-in-chief of Kurdish Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) General Mazlum Abdi. Here’s how the negotiations affect U.S partners in Syria.
From the Whitehouse:
- Turkey will pause Operation Peace Spring to allow for the withdrawal of mostly Kurdish YPG forces from the 20-mile safe zone for 120 hours
- All military operations under Operation Peace Spring will be paused, and Operation Peace Spring will be halted entirely on completion of the withdrawal
- Turkey agrees to take no military action against the town of Kobani
- Turkey and the United States mutually commit to stifling any ISIS activities in northeast Syria, which includes coordination on ISIS detention facilities”
Kurdish SDF accepts the ceasefire deal.
“The leader of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced on Friday during a Syrian Clans Forum in the northern city of Ain al-Issa that his group has taken part in indirect negotiations with Turkey through unnamed intermediaries,” reported Kurdistan 24.
“SDF Commander-in-Chief Mazlum Abdi stressed that the US-backed and Kurdish-led organization is ready to negotiate with Ankara to resolve outstanding problems, not least among them security along the Syrian-Turkish border, through peaceful dialogue,” adds Kurdistan 24.
Abdi stressed that Turkey must return Afrin to its people if it wants a political solution, as reported by the Hawar News Agency.
Abdi added there is still a need for US-led coalition forces and Russia to fight militant Islamist groups in the region.
The Defense Post reports:
“SDF commander General Mazlum Abdi said later that the force had been part of talks and accepted the ceasefire. He said Washington gave the SDF “guarantees” and that the deal would be only for the current area of hostilities, and that there should be no demographic changes to the area.”
“Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had said that it would cover a 20-mile (30-km) zone.”
“The deal comes just days after the SDF signed up to a military agreement with the Syrian regime and Russia in a bid to push Turkey-backed rebels out of northeast Syria,” says The Defense Post.
Is the deal a ‘pause’ or a ‘ceasefire’ asks some officials.
Operation Peace Spring launched on October 9 to remove the SDF from the border buffer zone. This, in order to resettle some two million Syrian refugees in the area. President Donald Trump decides to move U.S. forces from key posts along the border. Critics blast him with hellfire. Warmongers want him to jump feet first, to ditch a non-war strategy and solution, and fight ally to ally.
This is the recipe for a broader conflict. Government officials and media across the board said Trump abandoned the Kurdish YPG forces, who fight ISIS with the Coalition. The results of today prove Trump did not abandon the YPG or SDF. Instead, he builds a bridge between opposing forces that provide a bloodless blueprint to act upon with trust and honor.
Foreign Policy.com stated,
“The United States will always be grateful for our partnership with [the] SDF in defeating ISIS, but we recognize the importance and value of a safe zone to create a buffer between Syria proper and the Kurdish population and the Turkish border,” Pence said, using an acronym for the Islamic State. “President [Donald] Trump sent us here to end the violence and to achieve an immediate cease-fire.”
Brett McGurk, the former U.S. envoy for the coalition to defeat the Islamic State, slams Trump for bringing peace, no matter how long, about.
The US just ratified Turkey’s plan to effectively extend its border 30km into Syria with no ability to meaningfully influence facts on the ground. Turkey says it’s the entire border from the Euphrates to Iraq (450x30km) to be controlled by its military forces. Non-implementable.
— Brett McGurk (@brett_mcgurk) October 17, 2019
We save lives whenever the bombs and bullets stop. A commendable coup for all parties involved in the ceasefire negotiations. War is the harder choice always.
Turkey fights for Turkey and the self-governing Kurds fight to keep their ancestral homeland.
After World War 1, in 1920, The Treaty of Sevres liquidated the Ottoman Empire, according to All About Turkey. The treaty concluded the dispute between the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) and the Allies (excluding Russia and the United States).
In Asia, Turkey renounced sovereignty over Mesopotamia (Iraq) and Palestine (including Trans – Jordan), which became British mandates; Syria (including Lebanon), which became a French mandate; and the kingdom of Hejaz. Turkey retained Anatolia but was to grant autonomy to Kurdistan.
The Treaty of Lausanne defined the borders of the modern Turkish Republic.
Turkey recovered sovereign rights over all its territory. In return, Turkey renounced all claims on former Turkish territories outside its new boundaries, says All About Turkey.
The Kurdish Syrian dispute has reportedly been with the size of those boundaries. Tribal re-engineering that leads to Kurdish Syrian displacement is a concern. Some fear the Arabization of the strong Kurdish ethnic minorities.
The Kurdish emerged within a Northwest Iranian group during the Medieval Period.
President Trump talks it out rather than fights it out with Turkey.
Trump’s priorities are clear,
“American soldiers can no longer be sacrificed in endless wars across the Middle East. That’s one of the most important promises he made to the American people as a candidate, and he will always honor it.”
The question of refugee resettlement is a core motive of Turkey’s armed offensive into Syria. The Whitehouse summary of the ceasefire did not say where the refugees will go. Forces inflict lot of heart-breaking damage in 7 days of the violent border dispute, while answers await.
“The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a UK-based monitoring group, said on Wednesday at least 300,000 people have been displaced and 71 civilians had been killed in Syria since Turkey launched its cross-border incursion last Wednesday.”
The talks say the U.S. will continue with the enduring defeat of ISIS in northeast Syria. The commitment includes helping to coordinate 60k ISIS detainees in al Hol camp. Security at the camp is a huge job for anyone. Like corralling the winds of terror and the ISIS families who support it.
Let’s hope the ceasefire deal goes further than ‘pause’ towards a permanent non-violent border solution. To both preserve ethnic differences yet live in peace.
President Donald J. Trump,
“This is a great day for civilization. I am proud of the United States for sticking by me in following a necessary, but somewhat unconventional, path. People have been trying to make this “Deal” for many years. Millions of lives will be saved. Congratulations to ALL!”
This is a great day for civilization. I am proud of the United States for sticking by me in following a necessary, but somewhat unconventional, path. People have been trying to make this “Deal” for many years. Millions of lives will be saved. Congratulations to ALL!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2019
Featured Photo: Left to right: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Photo by Glenn Fawcett. U.S. President Donald J. Trump. Photo by Lisa Ferdinando. General commander of the SDF, Mazlum Kobanê Abdi. Photo by Sirwan Kajjo for VOA. https://www.dvidshub.net/image/1578095/nato-summit-newport-wales https://www.dvidshub.net/image/5614231/trump-pence-welcome-esper-full-honors-welcome-ceremony https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:General_Commander_Mazlum_Abdi.png