Friday, November 9, 2018

Raqqa Assassination of Influentail Sheik May End Dream of Independent Syrian Kurdistan

 I'd seen the news of this assassination earlier this week. 

1-Article dated November 04/2018:Tensions in Raqqa Following Assassination of Tribal Sheikh 
Rubble of Raqqa
Tensions were high in the city of Raqqa, northeastern Syria, on Saturday following the mysterious killing of Sheikh Bashir Faisal al-Huwaidi, one of the most important tribal leaders in the region.

He was assassinated by unknown assailants while he was insider his car near al-Nour Mosque, in eastern Raqqa.

“We have received a communication about the presence of a person killed in his car which was parked al-Nour Street and that this person had received two shots directly in his jaw and head causing his loss of life,” said a source from the Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which controls the city after its liberation from ISIS terrorists.

ISIS later claimed responsibility for the assassination in a statement published on social media networks.
It's not exactly accurate that ISIS claimed responsibility for this attack. And it's not likely they did undertake the attack.  But it seems a certain party, unknown, managed to post the news of this attack on the ISIS website, albeit in an incorrect fashion. Making it not likely to have been their killing. Additionally, as stated by the family the Sheik lived in Raqqa the entire time ISIS was present- They didn't kill him then and he stayed put. So claims of this being an ISIS killing don't ring true.
It said that Huwaidi was killed with a firearm equipped with a silencer.

However, sources close to his family doubted the ISIS claim.

“Sheikh Bashir did not leave Raqqa the entire period during which ISIS controlled the city. They could have killed him then. Maybe there is another party, other than ISIS, standing behind the assassination,” the sources explained.

Activists from the Raqqa province accused Kurdish intelligence of killing Huwaidi.
  Now the Kurds may well have killed him in order to demoralize his followers. Make them feel threatened etc., It's a chance they may have thought worth taking? But was it?

Today this more extensive report appeared on line: 

2-Al Huweidi assassination ends dream of an autonomous Syrian Kurdistan

 Bashir Faisal Al Huweidi was an important dignitary of the Arabian tribes of the Northeast Syrian, allied with the Kurds. (??) But he was against the supremacy of the Kurds. Daesh's claim for his murder was a "fake news": the Islamist website had been hacked. Now the Arab tribes consider the Syrian Kurds an "occupation force".

Sheikh Bashir Faisal Al Huweidi
Al Raqqah (AsiaNews) - The dream of an autonomous Syrian Kurdistan is vanishing between the objections posed by the local Arab population and the Turkish threats on the other.

The almost definitive rupture between Kurds and Arabs in Raqqa occurred last week. While the Turkish army struck positions at Tal Jihan (Hassake), held by Al Sanadid an Arab Shemmar tribe militia, joined by the Forces of Democratic Syria (Kassad), on 2 November the body of one of the most important Arab dignitaries, was found in Ar Raqqah shot dead at close range.

The victim is Sheikh Bashir Faisal Al Huweidi, one of the most prominent dignitaries of the Syrian Arab tribe of Al Afadila, who support the anti-government revolt and favor the administrative and political autonomy of the Syrian Northeast in view of a future federal system.

At the beginning, all suspicions were directed towards Damascus, or towards Ankara, which had already stated its intent to continue the fight against the "terrorists" (read: Kurds) separatists and their supporters even beyond the east bank of the Euphrates.

Yet no one has accused the Syrian or Turkish government, indeed on the contrary, Kassad immediately turned the accusatory finger against Daesh (IS). Not even an hour later, a claim of the Islamic State on the official Daesh website appeared that they had "liquidated the unfaithful ally of the Kurds".
However, a mundane error exonerates Daesh and unveils that the statement was forged. The claim, in fact, shows the date of the year 2018 DC, but Daesh has always used the date of the Islamic year of the Hegira.
The error was immediately corrected, but raised questions: how was it possible to publish a falsified statement on the official Daesh website? Are there organizations outside of Daesh that have access codes for the sites of the Islamic Caliphate?

An exponent of the Al Afadila tribe - who demands anonymity - denies that Daesh is behind the assassination. He told AsiaNews: "Sheikh Al Huweida, may Allah have mercy on him, has never fled from Ar Raqqah not even in the most difficult moments when Ar Raqqah was under occupation of Daesh. If Daesh wanted to kill him why did it not do it then? "
In fact, the murdered Sheikh had bad relations with the Kurds and was considered the number one enemy of the alliance between the Arab tribes and the Syrian Kurds. This alliance is important for the Kurds in the Northeast, who are not a majority, but who seek the support of the majority Arabs to create Syrian or Rojava Kurdistan. But the Sheikh was opposed to the growing Kurdish supremacy in those Arab lands for centuries and where the Kurds arrived fleeing Turkish persecution immediately after the First World War.
The murdered sheikh had opposed the enlargement of Kurdish influence in this Arab region, where for a year now, the laws of the local administration tend to make the Kurdish language dominant, even closing schools that refuse to adopt the education system imposed by them, maintaining the school books chosen by Damascus Ministry of Education.

At this point, the Arab tribes accused the Kurds of Kassad of being behind the assassination and announced the breaking of the military, political, economic and social alliance with the Kurds of Northern Syria, at a particular moment when Daesh has managed to impose itself once again in large areas on the border with Iraq.
If this report is true- And the compliant Arabs are now set to turn on the PKK/YPG the situation in Raqqa is set to worsen. Quite likely a whole lot.

The Arab tribes, among them the tribes of Al Walda, Al Sabkha, Al Ajil, Al Omeyrat, Al Huleisat and Abu Assaf announced in a statement to Ar Raqqah that they want to start a revolt against Kassad and fight against the presence of the Democratic Syria in the Region, stating "that anyone who comes into contact with the Kurds or Kassad will be considered a traitor". The Abu Assaf tribe has even declared the Forces of Democratic Syria as an "Occupation Force".
The Arabs of Ar Raqqah refused to welcome Kurdish delegations who came to express condolences and attend the funeral and three-day mourning of the dead Sheikh. Two days ago, 200 dignitaries of Ar Raqqah appealed to the American troops in the region asking them to "conduct an independent and transparent investigation into the assassination and stop any form of support for Kurdish Kassad militias".

They accuse the Kurds of having caused, "demographic distortions, forced displacement of the inhabitants, destruction, house fire, arbitrary arrests, torture, armed robbery, disorder, terror, recruitment of adolescents in militias, drug dealing, up to the imposition of prices to agricultural producers and the use of segregation and discrimination in the supply of water, electricity and municipal assignments ".
Basically the Kurds have been extorting the resident population under the watchful eye of the US.

The balance is broken and perhaps the dream of a Syrian Kurdistan, (is broken also)  an area rich in water, oil and agrarian land on which all Syria depends. The haste of the Syrian Kurds to imitate their compatriots in Iraq, with laws in favor of separatism and relying only on armed force, have made the illusion of the so-called Rojava fail. And all this while there is a greater advancement of the Syrian regular army from the south and the Turkish army from the west.
"All this while there is a greater advancement of the Syrian regular army from the south and the Turkish army from the west."
Could there be coordination?

3- Syrian tribes call for boycott of YPG after leader killed in Raqqa

Raqqa PKK/YPG Patrols
Could the assassination of the Sheik, November 4th, have anything to do with the multiple assassinations of SDF leaders on November 03/18

Senior SDF YPG/PKK Commander, Two Fighters Killed by Unknown Gunmen in Eastern Syria

 A security commander as well as two fighters of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were killed on Saturday by unidentified armed men in Syria's Deir Ezzur.
The SDF commander was gunned down on a road to Ziban al-Tiyanah region in eastern Deir Ezzur, said Fars News Agency, adding that the US-backed Kurdish armed group put its fighters on alert after the offensive and deployed more forces and military equipment to the scene.
Meanwhile, unknown gunmen, in a similar raid, targeted a couple of SDF troops, and wounded several more near al-Omar oilfield, the report added.

Assassinations of 5 individuals prior to the Sheik being killed

Attrition: it's a bitch! 

I'm using 'bitch' in an urban slang sort of way like this. Term used to exclaim hardship.

Of course this is linked to the fact of ethnic cleansing having already taken place in Raqqa

Thousands of corpses from US-led airstrikes found under Raqqa rubble, says diplomat

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