MESOP : WHAT EVER IT MEANS ? : UK to join U.S.-led training of Syrian moderate rebels

ARA News – 27 March 2015 – Geneva – British Minister of Defense Michael Fallon said on Thursday that his country intends to send 75 military personnel to participate in the U.S.-led training program for Syrian opposition forces to fight the hardline Islamic State group (IS/ISIL).

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PolicyWatch 2391 – March 26, 2015 – Featuring Adam Entous, Michael Isikoff, Josh Rogin, Cameron Hudson, and Andrew J. Tabler

On March 19, journalists Adam Entous, Michael Isikoff, and Josh Rogin addressed a Policy Forum at The Washington Institute moderated by Cameron Hudson of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The panel was introduced by Andrew Tabler, a senior fellow in the Institute’s Program on Arab Politics. The following is a rapporteur’s summary of their remarks.

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YPG clashes with IS in four villages southeast of Kobani

MESOP TODAY’S News Roundup SYRIA / KURDISTAN (YPG : Wednesday, March 25

The Islamic State [IS] attacked a YPG-controlled town in Al-Hasakah province on Tuesday, as it seeks to isolate the nearby border crossing with Turkey, a Kurdish citizen journalist told Syria Direct on Wednesday. IS “aims to control Tel Khanzir and close the door on YPG” forces holed up in the border crossing of Ras al-Ain, said Roman Yusef, the Al-Hasakah-based activist. Tel Khanzir is located on the highway between the joint YPG and rebel-controlled town of Tel Abyad and the YPG-controlled border crossing of Ras al-Ain. By winning control Tel Khanzir, IS hopes to cut off the supply line between Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain, which IS has attacked for the past month. The YPG staved off the assault on Tel Khanzir, killing and injuring an undisclosed number of IS members in the fighting, said Khalid Iskef, a Syria-based correspondent for the Lebanese pro-regime news channel Al-Mayadeen.YPG forces, aided by the regime, have been battling IS for control of key parts of Al-Hasakah province for the past month.

YPG forces are battling Islamic State (IS) fighters for control of four villages in the southeast Kobani countryside. weiterlesen / click to continue


The Kobani Precedent – MARCH 25, 2015 BY JONATHAN SPYER -Recently, I attempted to undertake a reporting trip into the Kurdish Kobani enclave in northern Syria. It would not have been my first visit, neither to Syria nor to Kobani. For the first time, however, I found myself unable to enter. Instead, I spent a frustrating but, as it turns out, instructive four days waiting in the border town of Suruc in south-east Turkey before running out of time and going home.

The episode was instructive because of what it indicated regarding the extent to which Kurdish control in the enclaves established in mid 2012 is now a fact acknowledged by all neighboring players, including the enemies of the Kurds. This in itself has larger lessons regarding US and western policy in Syria and Iraq.

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“There was a group of European radical leftists, mainly Italians, who had come after being inspired by stories of the ‘Rojava revolution.’ A little noted element of the control by the Syrian franchise of the PKK of de facto sovereign areas of Syria has been the interest that this has generated in the circles of the western radical left. These circles are ever on the lookout for something which allows their politics to encounter reality, in a way that does not bring immediate and obvious disaster. As of now, ‘Rojava,’ given the leftist credentials of the PKK, is playing this role. So the Europeans in question wanted to ‘contribute’ to what they called the ‘revolution.’

Unfortunately, their preferred mode of support was leading to a situation of complete mutual bewilderment between themselves and the local Kurds.   Offered military training by their hosts, the radical leftists demurred. They would not hold a gun for Rojava before they had seen it and been persuaded that it did indeed represent the peoples’ revolution that they hoped for.”

MESOP : U.S. cautious with Syrian Kurdistan’s PYD to avoid annoying Turkey

Cihan-tr-com – 25 March 2015 – ISTANBUL,—Despite the fact that the Syrian Kurds have proven to be reliable partners on the ground, Washington has avoided getting too close to the Kurds in Syrian Kurdistan, keeping in mind that close cooperation with the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), an affiliate of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), may damage the US-Turkish relationship.

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YPG hopes to ‘change the demographic map’ in Al-Hasakah

March 24, 2015 – By Syria Direct – Kurdish People’s Protection Units [YPG] reportedly burned at least five Arab-majority villages in the rural heart of Al-Hasakah province earlier this week after winning control of them from the Islamic State [IS] just weeks before. 

The YPG, which denies the accusations of burning homes, has been fighting with IS for hundreds of villages in the far northeast province, including around Tel Brak where this week’s burnings allegedly took place.Tel Brak, the largest and most strategically significant town located on the main highway between Al-Hasakah city and the YPG-controlled city of Qamishli, is surrounded by a collection of smaller Arab and Kurdish villages. The Kurdish Democratic Party [PYD]—the political arm of the YPG—declared self-governance in Al-Hasakah in late 2013, but have maintained a tacit agreement with the government to jointly rule the province, most notably in the provincial capital of Al-Hasakah city.The burnings are the latest of what activists in Al-Hasakah call a series of targeted attacks by the YPG against Arab villages.Some of the villages were “totally destroyed and wiped off the face of the map,” says Siraj al-Din al-Hasakawi, 28, a Hasakah-based citizen journalist.

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MESOP NEWS : EU diplomats discuss reconstruction of Kobanê

 24 March 2015 – Diplomats from EU member countries have met at the Amed (Diyarbakır) Chamber of Commerce and Industry to discuss the reconstruction of Kobanê. Tuesday, March 24, 2015 – – Anf – Diplomats from EU member countries have met at the Amed (Diyarbakır) Chamber of Commerce and Industry to discuss the reconstruction of Kobanê. Diplomats from Belgium, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the UK and Switzerland led by Ireneus Fidos of the EU Turkey Delegation have met in Amed.

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Turkey has an absolute share in liberation of Kobani, says KRG PM Barzani

24 March 2015 – AYŞE ŞAHIN – ISTANBUL – Daily Sabah – Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani has praised Turkey’s role in providing support in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in the fight to drive it out of Kobani, Syria. Although Turkey has been exerting considerable efforts to contribute to the U.S.-led coalition that was established to wipe out ISIS in Syria and Iraq, some Western media outlets, along with those close to opposition parties in Turkey, have been propagating the view that Turkey is sidelining itself in the fight against ISIS, and creating the perception that it is not actively involved in the coalition. Barzani has attempted to refute these claims in a new interview.

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MESOP FLASH : YPG (PYD/PKK) solidifies control over ethnically mixed towns / Burning houses of Arab residents

WEST KURDISTAN (SYRIA) – 24 March 2015 – Syria Direct — YPG police forces in Hasakah province announced on Monday they would begin recruitment efforts in two towns recently captured from the Islamic State (IS), reported the pro-Kurdish ANHA news outlet. Activists accuse the YPG forces of repeatedly burning the homes of Arab residents in the same area, south of Qamishli, around Tal Barak and Tal Hamees over the past month. The YPG denies the charge.  Both towns link IS territory in Iraq and Syria before being captured by YPG forces at the end of last month. Fighting for the towns caused nearly 13,000 people to flee their homes, reported the pro-Kurdish ARA news outlet, and occurred as part of a broader YPG campaign to expel IS from Hasakah province. Male and female recruits living in the villages who are in good health and possess at least a middle school diploma would be accepted into the Asayish forces, reported the pro-Kurdish ARA news outlet on Tuesday. 

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