MESOPOTAMIA NEWS TODAYS FOCAL OPINION : Turkey chides US for failing to honor Manbij accord / LAST ORDERS TO PKK/PYD
Semih Idiz September 19, 2018 – AL MONITOR – Article Summary : Ankara is caught between two superpowers that are pursuing their own agendas in Syria, while its efforts to implement its own agenda there only seem to be growing more difficult with time.
Turkey has been preoccupied for weeks with trying to prevent a Russian-backed operation by the Syrian regime against Idlib. But the developments in Manbij, the city just west of the Euphrates that is under control of the US-armed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), continue to be of prime concern for Ankara.The deal brokered by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin over the weekend, forestalling an attack against Idlib for the time being, is expected to refocus Ankara’s attention on this issue.The main fighting force in the SDF is the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YGP), which is considered by Ankara to be a terrorist organization that poses an existential threat to Turkey’s security.
ISIS Has Not Vanished. It Is Fighting a Guerrilla War Against the Iraqi State. – September 16 2018, 3:00 p.m. BY SIMONA FOLTYN – THE INTERCEPT
The knock came one night late last year, a persistent bang on the metal door. The family inside shuddered as the sound echoed through the sparsely furnished farmhouse. Officially, their village had been liberated from the so-called Islamic State in October 2017, along with the nearby town of Hawija. But the military campaign had been hasty. The militants had sought refuge in the nearby mountains, leaving Iraqi forces to sweep through the area unchallenged.
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS MESOP EXCLUSIVE (II) : Facsimile text of Turkey-Russia memorandum on Idlib revealed
The President of the Security Council presents her compliments to the members of the Council and has the honour to transmit herewith, for their information, a copy of a letter dated 18 September 2018 from the Permanent Representatives of the Russian Federation and Turkey to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council, and its enclosure.
This letter and its enclosure will be issued as document of the Security Council under the symbol S/2018/852. 18 September 2018
Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations New York, “ ” September 2018
The document, obtained exclusively by The National, lists a 10-point plan to avoid an offensive in the northwestern Syrian province. Aside from the demilitarized zone, which would go “15-20 kms deep in the de-escalation area”, the document grants the Iranian-Russian-Turkish coordination centre a role in implementing the ceasefires. The centre was established under Astana talks.
“Effective measures will be taken for ensuring sustainable ceasefire regime within the Idlib de-escalation area. In this regard, the functions of the Joint Iranian-Russian-Turkish Coordination Center will be enhanced,” it said.
Both the Assad government and Iran welcomed the agreement on Tuesday.
The document also declares that transit traffic “on the routes M4 (Aleppo-Latakia) and M5 (Aleppo-Hama) will be restored by the end of 2018.”
These routes have not been active since 2014, but have become viable again after the government, backed by Russia and Iran, recaptured Aleppo in December 2016. Those routes would help resume trade between neighboring Turkey and regime-held areas. The document says these steps are a way “to ensuring free movement of local residents and goods and restoring trade and economic relations”.
It indicates that more work needs to be done for a full agreement on the 15 km demilitarised zone. It says that “the delineation of exact lines of the demilitarised zone will be determined through further consultations”. It also adds that “the two sides reiterated their determination to combat terrorism in Syria in all forms and manifestations”.
The document has been already sent to the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and current President of the Security Council, US Permanent Representative to the United Nations Nikki Haley.
Lincoln Pigman @lincolnpigman 19 Sept 2018 –Vladimir Frolov: Russia decided against retaking Idlib Province by force, deterred by the threat of US military action and afraid of jeopardizing its efforts to improve Damascus’s image abroad and convince the West to finance Syria’s postwar reconstruction
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS BERICHT: WAS DIE BUNDESWEHR FÜR DIE KURDISCHEN PESCHMERGAE TUT – Von der Leyen sichert kurdischen Peschmerga-Kämpfern im Irak weitere Hilfe zu
THE GERMAN CHAPTER – 17.09.2018 – mesop / afp – Bundesverteidigungsministerin Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) hat den kurdischen Peschmerga-Kämpfern im Nordirak die weitere Unterstützung Deutschlands zugesichert. Nach dem erfolgreichen Kampf gegen die Dschihadistenmiliz Islamischer Staat (IS) konzentriere sich die Hilfe der Bundeswehr nun aber auf Bereiche wie Logistik, Minenabwehr und medizinische Versorgung, sagte von der Leyen am Montag bei einem Besuch in Erbil. Die Bundeswehr hatte in den vergangenen Jahren Peschmerga-Kämpfer ausgebildet und ihnen auch Waffen geliefert.
Syria Daily: Putin to Israel on Assad Regime Downing Russian Plane — OK, But Don’t Let It Happen Again
19 Sept 2018 – President Vladimir Putin has backed away from Russia’s criticism of Israel over the Assad regime’s downing of a Russian surveillance plane, killing 14 personnel — but has told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to ensure it does not happen again. www.mesop.de
Russia accuses Israel of pushing its missing spy plane into Syrian line of fire – 18 Sept 2018
Russia blames Israeli military planes for creating a “dangerous” situation in Latakia, by exposing its missing IL-20 spy plane to friendly Syrian missile fire that was directed against an Israeli air raid nearby on Sept. 17. Moscow reserves the right to take appropriate measures.
The defense ministry in Moscow said in an angry statement that Israel gave Russia one minute’s warning of the planned operation, not long enough to get the Russian military plane to safety. In a harsh telephone call on Tuesday, Sept. 18, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told his Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, that 15 Russian military service people had died because of Israel’s “irresponsible actions.” The MoD accused Israeli jets attacking targets in the area of “using the Russian plane as cover, exposing it to fire from Syrian air defenses.” The plane disappeared from radar 35km from the Syrian coast Sunday night as it was returning to the Russian Khmeimim air base in Latakia.
Read this >> #Russia‘s forces describe, as only Russians can, the catastrophic state of the Asad regime’s forces: incompetent, brutal and rapacious toward civilians, unwilling to fight armed foes. https://capx.co/HjIQr Brilliant by @Ayei_Eloheichem for @CapX
Assad is in a weaker position than most think
New Autonomous Administration to focus on reconstruction, services, diplomacy – by Meghan Bodette 15/09/2018 – THE REGION
The newly-formed Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, established last week in Ain Issa, will focus on the reconstruction of areas destroyed by years of war, providing much-needed public services, and presenting a unified front for diplomatic efforts. Statements from several officials suggest that these key issues will be among the main tasks of the new administration, which will coordinate between the seven autonomous administrations previously established across SDF-held Northern Syria. ANHA reported that the administration’s General Assembly is to have 70 members— 49 being members of elected local administrations, and 21 being “specialists” or “experts,” likely in crucial technical fields.The leaders of the new council— Siham Qariou and Ferhad Atti— both have extensive experience in the existing democratic autonomous administrations. Qariou, who belongs to the Syriac Union Party, served as the co-chair of Cizire Canton’s Economy and Trade Committee when the canton was founded, and later held a position as co-chair of the region’s Foreign Relations Committee. Atti, a lawyer from Kobane, served in various judicial and legal positions.