Tuesday, January 15, 2019

"Safe Zone" In Syria A Ruse to Recreate Iraq's "Safe Zone"?

wikipedia- not perfect but you'll get the idea:

Iraqi no fly zones
"The policy was enforced by U.S., British, and French aircraft patrols until France withdrew in 1998. While the enforcing powers had cited United Nations Security Council Resolution 688 as authorizing the operations, the resolution contains no explicit authorization. The Secretary-General of the UN at the time the resolution was passed, Boutros Boutros-Ghali called the no-fly zones "illegal" in a later interview with John Pilger.[1][2]"

History repeating? The offer to Turkey is not genuine.  The US does not care about Turkey's border security concerns:  

Washington Post :

A senior Kurdish official has categorically rejected a “safe zone” that the Turkish president says his troops plan to set up in northern Syria.

Bedran Ciya Kurd says the so-called safe zone would be tantamount to Kurdish occupation but with a new cover. (Notice there is no talk of how the Kurds are occupying 1/3 of Syria?) He spoke to The Associated Press from northern Syria on Tuesday, a few hours after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his troops will establish a 20-mile- (32-kilometer) wide “safe zone” in northern Syria, and that Turkey would seek logistical and financial assistance from the United States and other allies to create the zone.

Ciya Kurd said the Kurdish administration in northern Syria would accept a “safe zone” only if it us under the auspices of the United Nations with international forces. Alternatively, he said Syrian governments troops were also a possibility.
 If the Usreal Kurds were ever serious about cooperating with the Syrian government they've had years and years to do so. Instead opting to cooperate with the US/France/UK and Israel to steal 1/3 of Syria's territory and cleanse it of her people.

Syrian Observer

The President of the Executive Agency of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) said that the recent Kurdish talks with the Syrian regime have “not yielded a result.”
During a meeting between the SDC and tribal sheikhs and notables in the al-Darbasiyeh area in the Hassakeh countryside on Sunday, Ilham Ahmed said that the talks had failed because of the Syrian regime’s insistence on its old policy and imposing its control over the area on the pretext of Syrian unity.

Ahmed said that the Kurdish groups of northeastern Syria opened the door to negotiations with the Syrian regime a number of times “but to no avail.”
How gracious of the Usrael Kurds to negotiate with Damascus for the land they stole. Very big of them. Of course, I'm being facetious.

History repeating?


4,500 Marines & F-35 Squadron on Standby as US "Mulls" Syrian Exit

Some of this news was covered Friday January 11/19:
"The withdrawal plan, whose details are classified, includes bringing hundreds of additional troops into Syria temporarily to facilitate the pullout

"The USS Kearsarge amphibious assault ship is now in the region and could provide troops and equipment to support the withdrawal."
And Saturday January 12/19:
 Mike Pompeo on Saturday described the American exit as a "tactical change" in military strategy

 Judging by this latest report there are more troops, amphibious ready groups etc., then had been initially reported... as the 'withdrawal psyop' continues on.

US Naval Institute

Two Navy amphibious ready groups and about 4,500 shipboard Marines are on standby in the Middle East to support an American exit from Syria if needed, a defense official confirmed to USNI News late Monday.

The three-ship Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit transited the Suez Canal into the Red Sea over the weekend, while the three ships of the Essex ARG and the 13th MEU are on station just outside the entrance to the Persian Gulf in the North Arabian Sea.
The 13th MEU is deployed with a squadron of Marine F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters aboard USS Essex (LHD-2), which have been used to strike targets in Afghanistan.

Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex

Last week The Wall Street Journal reported that, rather than withdraw troops from the bases in Syria immediately, the Pentagon was staging forces at key installations in Kuwait and Iraq that would be needed to pull out forces from the U.S. bases inside the country.
On Friday, The New York Times reported the U.S. had begun to pull out equipment but not personnel from the American bases in Syria.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Trump Threatens to "Devastate Turkey":Syrian Kurds Frontline to Attack Turkey & Iran

Let's get over this idea of Turkey being a NATO ally any longer. It just isn't and hasn't been the case for years. The idea of employing Kurdish proxy forces against Iran and Turkey has been written about ad nauseum. There cannot possibly be one person who reads here that can claim to be surprised that this 'development' was anything other then THE PLAN. 
I'll relink a brief sampling of posts talking about these unsurprising, totally predictable  developments


*July 11/2016: Iran’s Kurds Now Growing Restless?? Kurdish Mercenaries Attack Iranian Gov. Officials
*May 5 2016: Kurds on the Attack in Iran- As Predicted ......
*April 17 2016 : Iran's Forgotten Kurds Step Up the Struggle- So The Media Promotion Begins
*August 07/2015: P5+1 is a distraction. Early Seeds of Iranian destabilization cross the Turkish 



*Turkey's Destabilization- Kickin' It Up a Notch? Or Two,Three, Ten Notches??
*2014: Pt.2- Kurd/ ISIS Symbiosis- The impending destruction of Turkey
* Nov. 19/2014:  Kurd/ ISIS Symbiosis - The Impending Destruction of Turkey. 

Clearly the US is threatening Turkey- Not a surprise. The US is claiming they'll make a buffer zone in annexed Syrian territory to keep Turkey's border safe. This is grade A rubbish. The US is simply justifying their continued occupation of Syria's territory.
As reported the other day additional troops and equipment are coming into Syria. We already know the US has set up outposts along the Turkish border.

Occupation and a front line base to launch attacks into Turkey and Iran is THE PLAN.

The United States “will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds,” Trump tweeted.
Trump is the deep state's man
Pompeo told reporters in Riyadh that he assumed Trump meant the United States would levy sanctions on Turkey if they attacked the Kurds but that he didn’t know for certain.

“I assume he’s speaking about those kinds of things, but you would have to ask him,” said Pompeo, who noted that he had not talked to Trump about the tweet.

Why would Pompeo speak to Trump about this tweet?- It's right on message!

Pompeo said U.S. messaging over concerns about Turkish attacks on the Kurds has never changed.
“The administration has been very consistent with respect to our requirement that the Turks not go after the Kurds in ways that are inappropriate,” Pompeo said. “If they are terrorists, we’re all about taking down extremists wherever we find them. I think the president’s comments this morning are consistent with that.”

Trump’s tweet, which preceded the Turkish lira losing about 0.84 percent of its value against the dollar, included a demand that Turkey create a ” 20-mile safe zone.”

Pompeo said U.S. and Turkish diplomats had been negotiating such an arrangement this week, but nothing had been finalized.?

Will Turkey agree to this 'arrangement'Not if it's just a free pass to attack Turkey zone- Which is what it's going to be. Not if it's going to entrench a non ally, alongside another non ally, right at their border. Now more then ever Turkey and Syria are sleeping right in the same bed. Side by side.
“We want to make sure that the folks who fought with us to take down the caliphate and ISIS have security and also that terrorists [in] Syria aren’t able to attack Turkey – those are our twin aims,” he told reporters after meeting with the leaders of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh"
Pompeo is OK with Trump's message

Caveat Emptor Turkish leadership- As you all certainly know....
“Both sides are trying to negotiate the width of a potential safe zone,” said Soner Cagaptay, a Turkey scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “The idea is that Turkish troops and Ankara-backed forces would move into the rural areas in the safe zone, while the YPG would retain control of some of the Kurdish majority cities. This would be a sharing agreement that might be acceptable to all sides, if the U.S. stands behind it.”

 If the US stands behind it? If the US stands behind it? And they won't. 
They have no intention to keep this so called sharing agreement.
 Despite the presentation. Spin. Lie.

 Syria’s Kurds: The new frontline in confronting Iran and Turkey

"US President Donald J. Trump’s threat to devastate Turkey’s economy if Turkish troops attack Syrian Kurds allied with the United States in the wake of the announced withdrawal of American forces potentially serves his broader goal of letting regional forces fight for common goals like countering Iranian influence in Syria.
Mr. Trump’s threat coupled with a call on Turkey to create a 26-kilometre buffer zone to protect Turkey from a perceived Kurdish threat was designed to pre-empt a Turkish strike against the People’s Protection Units (YPG) that Ankara asserts is part of the outlawed Kurdish Workers Party (PKK)"
You'll notice Michael Rubin is quoted in the above Ekurd article?
“Simply put, as Qatar has become the go-to financier of the Muslim Brotherhood and its more radical offshoot groups around the globe, Turkey has become their armorer,” said Turkey scholar Michael Rubin"

Turkey scholar? Recall Michael Rubin's scholarship in this post?

August 2015: Is Turkey Heading to Partition? American Enterprise Institute
 American Enterprise Institute- Total Neo - Con, everything for Israel & Zionists, think tank. Not really a surprise considering so much of the information that’s been posted here on the subject of the collusion between Israel & Kurds. Remaking the middle east for the benefit of Israel/NATO Including the inevitable terror state creation which will be known as Kurdistan.
Or how about the Turkey 'scholar' in this post? Talking about a coup in Turkey, months before one actually took place? In July of 2016.  What a 'coincidence' right? Oh wait, I'm not a coincidence theorist. Clearly a plan.
So if the Turkish military moves to oust Erdogan and place his inner circle behind bars, could they get away with it?
In the realm of analysis rather than advocacy, the answer is yes."

 Trumps threat to Turkey con't:
Mr. Trump’s threat to devastate the Turkish economy, makes Gulf support for the Kurds more feasible.
The same could be said from a Saudi and UAE perspective for Manbij not only with regard to Turkey but also Iran’s presence in Syria. Frontlines and tactics may be shifting, US and Gulf geopolitical goals have not.

Why just the other day I stated exactly that fact. Tactics may change but the geopolitical goals are still the same- The regional remake is still on. 
Pompeo is informing us all,  straight out, in plain talk,  that the goal is the same.
Only the means/method or way to achieve the goal is changing.
NOTHING MORE.   That tells me the regional remake is still on. 
And most probably we've entered a new phase that requires this 'tactical change' 
All these years later there has been no need for this independent autodidact (self taught) analyst thinker to  deviate from the theory long presented, that we are witnessing the unfolding of a geostrategic regional remake in real time.

Destroy Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran. While remaking the region to benefit the US and Israel. While in the bigger picture keeping Russia and China in check.
We have moves and counter moves to block the planned remake.  How will this end?

 Recently discussed in these posts below:


Saturday, January 12, 2019

Is the Next Phase of the MENA Remake About to Begin? Iraq in NATO.

Yah, I know this blog is one of a very few independent autodidact  (self taught) analyst thinkers that takes the big view in the geographical region known as the Middle East/North Africa. MENA. Brief digression: Autodidacts in history One common feature that autodidacts share is they all read. They learn continuously. And think for themselves. Perhaps they too have a significant other who told them 'you think to much'? Or maybe like me, they all thought and think that life is for learning? Whatever the case may be, I do not consider myself as alternative media, in any way shape or form. I don't want that bogus label.

Some quick info:
Pompeo Says The U.S. Troop Withdrawal From Syria Is Just A 'Tactical Change'

Tactical Change? A "tactic" is an action or strategy carefully planned to achieve a specific end.
:an action or method that is planned and used to achieve a particular goal

Pompeo is informing us all,  straight out, in plain talk,  that the goal is the same. 

Only the means/method or way to achieve the goal is changing.
NOTHING MORE.   That tells me the regional remake is still on. 
And most probably we've entered a new phase that requires this 'tactical change' 

Mike Pompeo on Saturday described the American exit as a "tactical change" in military strategy
 Let's take a quick read at a link from J
Hi, Penny!
It looks more like a new war:
"IS TRUMP STARTING HIS OWN WAR, FINALLY?" - https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/01/12/is-trump-starting-his-own-war-finally.html
This is going to disappoint all those people who believe that Iraq is set to be some great ally of Syria. I'm not one of those people. And have made that quite clear.  And Flopot... one more reason why Iraq is not at Astana! Recall my suggesting repeatedly that Iraq was no ally to Syria.  While so many others claimed otherwise. No one should be fooled by the Shia/Sunni meme. It's just not that simple. Recall me suggesting that the claim that Damascus had allowed Baghdad to freely bomb Syria as bogus?  January 03/19 :U.S. Ramps Up Bombings in Eastern Syria Following Trump Withdrawal Announcement

This news is vindication of my theory that the so called Iraqi airstrikes into Syria were taken as part of the coalition strikes. Obfuscated by the big lie, spread all over the place, of an agreement between Damascus and Baghdad. Helping to take the heat off of the US and company. That claim was so absurd it should have been dismissed out of hand. But it wasn't.
Well the information posted directly below makes very clear I was right on the money!

At the end of last year, on December 5, Baghdad was the venue of an intriguing conference when the recently established NATO Mission in Iraq (NMI) conducted an “Introduction Event” at the Iraqi Ministry of Defence. According to the press release issued by the NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command in Naples, the conference was attended by “key leaders from across the Iraqi Security and Defence sector, including the Iraqi Chief of Staff, General Othman Al-Ghanimi” and by representatives coming from various international partner missions, organizations and entities such as the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, the European Union Advise Mission in Iraq, the United Nations Assistance Mission Iraq, and the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq and Diplomatic Missions.
The NMI Commander, Canadian Army Major General Dany Fortin, introduced the mission’s mandate, vision and aim as a "new iteration of a long-standing relationship” between NATO and Iraq, one that will bring together "expertise and best practice in security/defence sector reform, institution building and training and education from the entire Alliance and its partners.”
After a series of presentations and a Q&A session, the Iraqi army chief General Othman Al-Ghanimi concluded with a clear endorsement of NMI and stressed the importance of a long-term cooperation between the Republic of Iraq and the NATO Mission.
That event took place just a fortnight before the US President Donald Trump made his dramatic announcement on the withdrawal of American troops from Syria. Exactly three weeks after the NMI appeared in Baghdad, Trump proceeded to make a “surprise visit” to al-Asad Air Base, situated in western Iraq between Baghdad and the Syrian border, which was also highly symbolic, being his first trip to troops stationed in a combat zone.
Of course, the most important remark made by Trump during the visit was that he has no plans to withdraw American forces from Iraq. He added, “In fact, we could use this (Iraq) as the base if we wanted to do something in Syria.”
That these three developments through December are inter-related is not yet sinking in among analysts who are caught up in the cacophony of Trump’s withdrawal decision from Syria and the subsequent shifting US statements, especially the combustive remark by National Security Advisor John Bolton ostensibly rolling back the POTUS’ decision, which he made while on a visit to Israel.
The NMI is a potent vehicle for the US’ regional strategies. But first and foremost, the NMI is important for transatlantic relations. It addresses one of the main causes of tension between the US and Europe since the very inception of NATO – the alliance’s engagement in the Middle East. Historically, the Alliance’s command structure and military capabilities were developed to ensure effective deterrence of the former Soviet Union. The European states feared that NATO involvement in the Middle East would have negative consequences for security in Europe. This led to the development of flexible mechanisms in the post-Cold War era that support so-called out-of-area operations that rely on European structures, “coalitions of the willing”, and cooperation with partner countries. Yet, the European countries’ efforts were scattered, and were often overlooked by the US, leading to greater pressure on NATO involvement.
The NMI, on the contrary, is a full-bodied mission, similar to the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan in some ways but actually much more than that potentially. To an extent, NMI also may lead to a more even distribution of security-related costs between the European members of the alliance and the US. This is indeed a particularly important consideration for Trump. Since 2014, NATO allies are expected to increase their national defence budgets to at least 2% of GDP by 2024 but only half are projected to meet the target. Meanwhile, US has significantly stepped up its spending to strengthen its military presence in Europe – from $1 billion in 2015 to a planned $6.5 billion in 2019. The NMI means more support from the US’ allies to stabilize the situation in the Middle East (which impacts Europe’s security, too.)
Above all, although some NATO members perceive terrorism and uncontrolled migration as major threats, one of the principal objectives of the NMI – from the US perspective, most certainly – will be to provide a platform for building consensus within the western alliance on further adaptation to the foreign and security policy challenges emanating from Russia.
Indeed, from 2014, NATO has set up a hub at its Naples headquarters to coordinate regional activities crucial for maintaining security in its southern operation area (which includes the Mediterranean and the Middle East, although this hub has not been operational for lack of necessary personnel). Prima facie, the NMI may be presented as additional support for the fight against terrorism and uncontrolled migration so as to avoid divergent opinions within the alliance regarding its raison d’etre, and instead to strengthen political cohesion amongst members who would have different threat perceptions.
There is a saying that every US president in modern times has started a war. (Actually, out of 12 Republican presidents in the 20th century, only Warren Harding and Gerald Ford were the only two noble exceptions who managed to stay away from initiating military aggression.) Does the NMI become the harbinger of a war that Trump is starting?
Indeed, this is what makes Trump’s recent visit to Iraq in the backdrop of the NMI rather strange. The Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi said he was informed about Trump’s impending visit in the morning and set out two conditions. "First, he (Trump) shall land on Iraqi land and be given an Iraqi reception like any other foreign official. Second, there shall be an agenda with specific matters and a short meeting." The Americans initially agreed to the terms, but later backed out. Trump arrived at al-Assad air base in the evening and stayed about three and a half hours. He had no face-to-face meeting with Iraqi officials, but held a phone call with Abdul-Mahdi. 
Iran’s top general Maj. Gen. Mohammed Hossein Baqeri wasn’t far off the mark calling it a “humiliating and sneaky” trip. Interestingly, Abdul-Mahdi also corrected reports that implied Trump had visited an American military base. "There are talks about the visit of President Trump to a US base. This is wrong. There is no US base in Iraq. There are only Iraqi bases where some US and non-US soldiers are present,” he said. 
Suffice to say, the current discourses regarding Trump and Syria stem from what one can only call a tunnel vision.
The ‘big picture’ remains elusive unless the ramifications of the NATO Mission in Iraq are properly understood. Reports suggest that the US is stepping up deployments to Iraq. The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just made “surprise visits” to Erbil and Baghdad. He was plainly dismissive that "there's no contradiction whatsoever" in the shifting US strategy on Syria. Simply put, Trump hopes to expand the scope of the Syrian war by bringing Iraq into it and drawing the western alliance system into the enterprise.
No doubt, chancelleries as far apart as Paris, Berlin and Moscow – and, most certainly, Ankara, Tel Aviv and Tehran – would be sensing that a paradigm shift is under way.
Additional reading on the NATO/Iraq alliance :

NATO helps Iraq to strengthen its force planning capacity

NATO Mission Iraq conducted introduction at Baghdad

 There has been a whole lot of misinformation around about Iraq being an ally of Damascus at this time. It's not happening presently. It's not going to happen in the near future. Iraq is too compromised at this time. And, are about to become even more embroiled in the regional remake and their own final destruction. The die is cast. It's up to the Astana 3 and Syria to delay or prevent this regional remake from continuing on/concluding (which is years away still) or they may as well write their own nation state obits.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Syrian Withdrawal Requires More US Troops? Syrian Air Defences Fire on Enemy Target!

I feel that old cognitive dissonance coming on, yet again.  The uncomfortable feeling that comes when someone wants me to believe that which cannot and should not be believed.

Let's define: more-(quantity) "a greater quantity, number, or amount"
Let's define: less (quantity)- "constituting a more limited number or an amount less than

In my opinion the withdrawal psyop is continuing. Reality and unreality are competing for your heart and mind.We're going for reality 'round these parts. Hope you are too?
Let's start now, where today's previous post ended.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. defense official says no U.S. troops have withdrawn from Syria but equipment is being pulled out.

Onto the latest... 

AP- US starts withdrawing supplies, but not troops, from Syria....
Or - Seattle Times

"The withdrawal plan, whose details are classified, includes bringing hundreds of additional troops into Syria temporarily to facilitate the pullout. These include troops to provide extra security for those who are preparing to leave. The full withdrawal is expected to take several months"
 So you would bring in additional troops of an unknown numbers to 'facilitate' the pullout?
Less does not equal more.And still the 'full withdrawal' is expected to take several months?

"The USS Kearsarge amphibious assault ship is now in the region and could provide troops and equipment to support the withdrawal."

An amphibious assault ship is now in the region. To provide extra troops and equipment for the withdrawal. Or extra troops and equipment for extra/expanded military operations?

Something doesn't smell right here. As the withdrawl psyop continues on. The US isn't going anywhere and they are going to bring in extra troops and extra equipment...  

“Let me be clear: America will not retreat until the terror fight is over,” Pompeo said.

And there it is. No retreat. No withdrawal.

Jan.01/2019: Trump’s Syria withdrawal plan sounds suspiciously like a plan to stay in Syria

UPDATE: It's early reporting but here we go. Syrian air defence fires on enemy targets above Damascus
Syrian air defence units fired on enemy targets above Damascus and destroyed several, state news agency SANA said late on Friday. 

It was not immediately clear if the targets were missiles or planes. Video footage showed explosions above the city.
Jerusalem Post is reporting IDF struck Iranian Targets

The Syrian air defense system is dealing with hostile targets over Damascus, the official Syrian news agency SANA reported. Explosions were also reported in the skies of the Syrian capital.

Syrian air defense units fired on enemy targets above Damascus and destroyed several, state news agency SANA said late on Friday.

It was not immediately clear if the targets were missiles or planes. Video footage showed explosions above the city.

Sources in the Syrian opposition reported that the Israeli Air Force attacked the bases of Iranian militias and Assad's regime forces southwest of Damascus.
Israeli media was really out in front with this latest attack

Syrian anti-aircraft fired on 'enemy targets' near Damascus on Friday night, state media SANA reported. 

Updated: US "Withdrawing" From Syria? Troops Not Included.

Lots and lots of reports claiming that this morning..

All reports are dependent on this:
"A convoy of ten US military vehicles was seen leaving a base in Hasakah province in northeast Syria and heading towards the Iraqi border, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights"
10 Military Vehicles leaving from Hasakah province headed for the Iraqi border.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict in Syria through a network of activists on the ground, said the withdrawal began Thursday night. It said a convoy of about 10 armored vehicles, in addition to some trucks, pulled out from Syria’s northeastern town of Rmeilan into Iraq.
10 Vehicles heading for the Iraqi border. Has a withdrawal begun?
Or are we supposed to believe that one has?

TIME also included an out of context quote
Col. Sean Ryan, spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group, said “the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria” has started.
Notice the has started is not in quotations? Is not attributed to Col Sean Ryan?

“Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troops movements,” the Baghdad-based official said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press.
If Col Ryan will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troop movements should we believe the out of context quote that the withdrawal has started? 

There were no other details, and it was not immediately clear how many vehicles or whether any troop units had withdrawn.
Should we believe that the movement of 10 vehicles between Syria and Iraq constitutes withdrawal?

I don't. 

Movement between Iraq and Syria of US military, equipment and vehicles has been covered for years here at the blog. Therefore it's going to take more then this latest claim to convince me the US is withdrawing.

How about you? 

Additional reading here 

UPDATE 10:40 am 

 U.S. defense official says no U.S. troops have withdrawn from Syria but equipment is being pulled out

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. defense official says no U.S. troops have withdrawn from Syria but equipment is being pulled out.

Equipment being pulled out. That's not a withdrawal.


Thursday, January 10, 2019

Five Point Paper Delivered by Bolton to Turkey

Keep this latest information and that from the previous two posts under your hat


Previous posts

1:Russian & Turkish Deal on Idlib?

2:US Non Withdrawal from Syria: Of Course, Blame Turkey

"US diplomats and military officials failed to present any specific details to their Turkish counterparts about Washington's plans to withdraw its forces from northern Syria during National Security Adviser John Bolton's visit to Ankara on Tuesday, Middle East Eye has learned.

Turkish officials had been expecting Bolton and his entourage to bring with them draft plans for the withdrawal of about 2,000 soldiers deployed as part of the US-led campaign against Islamic State (IS) militants following US President Donald Trump's announcement last month of his intention to pull them out of Syria.
But the US delegation instead delivered what Turkish officials described as a "non-paper", an unofficial diplomatic note listing a country's position on certain matters which is open for discussion.

The five-point document proposed a negotiated solution addressing Turkish security concerns about the YPG, the Syrian Kurdish militia which Ankara accuses of links to the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) but which has played a leading role as a US ally in the ground campaign against IS.

It also reiterated that the US withdrawal would be "deliberate and orderly", but US officials did not present any operational information or discuss a timetable or post-pullout planning during Tuesday's two-hour meeting at the presidential palace, a Turkish official told MEE, speaking on condition of anonymity due to government protocol.
 A senior Trump administration official briefed on objectives outlined at the meeting, speaking to MEE, confirmed that five conditions were delivered to Turkish officials.

Those attending the meeting with Bolton included General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest-ranking officer in the US military and the principal military adviser to Trump and senior officials, and James Jeffrey, the US special envoy to the anti-IS coalition.
Turkish officials attending the talks were led by Ibrahim Kalin, the spokesperson for the Turkish presidency.
Their main message, the Turkish official said, was to stress their concerns for the safety of YPG fighters following the US withdrawal, the Turkish official said.

Firstly, the US reiterated that the withdrawal of its anti-IS forces in northeastern Syria would happen in a deliberate, orderly and strong manner. The United States opposes any mistreatment of opposition forces who fought with the US
Secondly, the US, in the non-paper, committed itself to defeating the remnants of IS and continuing to damage IS targets throughout the withdrawal period.
While IS fighters have been ousted from the major towns and cities they once held, fighting between US-backed forces and IS militants has continued in the Middle Euphrates River Valley with the US continuing to launch regular air strikes in support of allied forces.

"As the president has stated, the US will maintain whatever capability is necessary for operations needed to prevent IS's resurgence," the administration official said.

Thirdly, the US declared that it wants a negotiated solution to Turkish security concerns with regard to the YPG.

The official said: "The US will cooperate with Turkey and other coalition members on continuing [anti-IS] operations and de-conflicting the airspace over northeast Syria. The United States opposes any mistreatment of opposition forces who fought with the US against IS."

Withdrawal of Iran-backed forces

Fourthly, the official also made clear that the US would pursue the withdrawal of Iranian-backed forces from Syria and a political solution in Syria.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has drawn heavily on Iranian military support, including units of the Revolutionary Guards Corps and Iran-backed Hezbollah militia fighters, during the country's eight-year civil war.

“The US is not withdrawing from the base at al-Tanf at this time,” the official said, referring to the only US military site in southern Syria that currently provides a refuge for some Free Syrian Army opposition forces and refugees.

The base, which is close to the Iraqi and Jordanian borders, is considered as a significant leverage against pro-Assad and Iranian forces in the area.

Finally, the US made clear that the release of captured IS militants - described as "foreign terrorists" by the US official - held by the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces is "unacceptable". An appropriate disposition of those prisoners is a top priority, the official said.

A source with knowledge of the talks said Turkish officials, in the meeting in Ankara, agreed not to conduct military operations against YPG targets while US forces remained in Syria, but repeated Ankara’s position that the YPG is a terrorist organisation which Ankara had every right to expel from its borders.

The source also said Bolton had inquired about the state of negotiations between Turkey and Russia over the post-US withdrawal. In response, Turkish officials declined to reveal the particulars of their diplomatic conversations.

120 days

Turkish officials expect that the withdrawal will take place in 120 days, and during this time, according to the source, US officials need to show some goodwill to satisfy Turkish concerns.

This is why Turkish officials urged their counterparts to uphold the already agreed Manbij roadmap and quickly remove YPG elements from Manbij and its military council accordingly. Otherwise, they said, Syrian government or allied Russian forces could take the control of the town.

Russian military police have already started to patrol the area near Manbij town, Russian state media reported on Wednesday.
Both Turkish and American statements about the discussion between the military leaders specifically focused on the need to quickly implement the remaining components of the Manbij roadmap.

Murat Yesiltas, the director of security studies at the Ankara-based SETA thinktank, said Manbij could be the first area where progress towards a wider resolution could be made.

“There is an understanding between Turkey and Russia about Manbij as well,” he said.
There are other signs in the Turkish media suggesting that an agreement on Manbij is likely.