The Takeaway: Syria’s Kurds turn to US as Turkey threatens ground operation

As President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan Officials from the Kurdish-controlled region have been pleading with the Biden administration to intervene, warning of a possible incursion into neighboring Syria.

Ilham Ahmed The Syrian Democratic Council, the political wing of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northeast Syria, wrote to the foreign minister Antony BlinkenAl-Monitor learned, urging the administration to speak forcefully against a potential Turkish invasion.

In a letter to Blinken sent on Tuesday, the president of the SDC’s executive committee outlined concerns that Turkey is seeking to occupy new Syrian land. Ahmed argued that the renewed offensive would weaken the SDF’s ability to fight Islamic State, as well as secure the notorious al-Hol camp, which houses displaced families linked to the extremist group.

Ahmed’s appeal comes as Turkish warplanes continue to target towns across northern Syria in retaliation for a Nov. 13 bombing in central Istanbul that killed six people and wounded more than 80 others. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, and in her letter, Ahmed denied SDF involvement.

Syrian Kurdish officials said more than two dozen civilians, including civilians, have been killed since Sunday in Turkish attacks targeting the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a militia that forms the backbone of the SDF. Two SDF fighters were killed Tuesday in a suspected Turkish drone strike 130 meters from a base used by American forces, a day after the Pentagon called for de-escalation. Jared Szuba Reports.

Washington’s support for Syrian Kurdish fighters has been a source of tension in its relationship with Ankara, which sees them as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Both Turkey and the United States consider the PKK a terrorist group that has fought a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state.

On Monday, Turkish authorities blamed Kurdish militants for a mortar attack that killed two people — a 5-year-old boy and a teacher — in the southern Turkish province of Gaziantep.

Reached for comment, a Turkish official said the latest military operation in Syria, dubbed “Claw-Sword,” was aimed at “ensuring the protection of Turkey’s borders and striking at the source of terrorism.”

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The Biden administration has warned that Turkey has the right to defend itself but could undermine Ankara and Washington’s shared goal of defeating Islamic State militants, who number between 6,000 and 10,000 across Syria and Iraq. Nearly four years after the collapse of IS’s self-proclaimed caliphate, several hundred US troops remain in Kurdish-held territory to help contain the extremist group’s remnants.

The US has “consistently communicated our serious concerns to Turkey, both publicly and privately,” a State Department spokesman told Al-Monitor. “We urge Turkey against such activities, just as we urge our Syrian partners against attacks or escalation.”

Such statements are “absolutely not strong enough,” the SDF commander said Mazlam Kobane Said Amberin Zaman Tuesday is the day. “They need to do more,” he said of the Biden administration. (You can read his full interview here.)

But Dareen KhalifaA senior Syria analyst at the International Crisis Group warned that the SDF should not rely solely on the United States to deter Turkish military action.

“Turkey is an important NATO ally for the US, and no matter how bad the relationship is, it has a floor,” Khalifa said. “The US could – and probably will – impose some sanctions on Turkey if there is a Turkish ground invasion in certain areas, but beyond that, they will not damage their relations with Turkey.”

Officials at the Turkish Embassy in Washington said the avenues of conflict with the Americans were open. On Wednesday, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley He spoke to his Turkish counterpart General over the phone. Yasser Guler. The Pentagon’s description of their call did not mention Syria, but said they discussed “a number of issues of mutual strategic interest.”

Also on Wednesday, Sinam Mohammad, SDC’s top representative in Washington, held meetings with Biden administration officials. “They told us, ‘We don’t want the destabilization of this region,'” Mohamed said. “But will Turkey listen? No, I don’t think so.”

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Iran ‘deluded’ to use nuclear escalation as leverage

Iran is now enriching uranium to within one step of weapons-grade levels at its underground Fordow plant. Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Raphael Grassi Iran confirmed claims on Tuesday that it had begun producing uranium enriched to 60 percent at a second nuclear plant.

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This comes after the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors passed a resolution last week ordering Iran to cooperate with a years-long investigation into undeclared uranium traces. Talks to restore the landmark nuclear deal have been derailed after the Iranians insisted on dropping a UN watchdog investigation.

A State Department spokesman accused Washington of what it perceived as an attempt by Tehran to increase leverage with the IAEA.

“Iran’s apparent notion that it can somehow pressure the IAEA or its member states on the issue of ongoing defense investigations by further increasing uranium enrichment activities is delusional,” the spokesman said.

such as Ben Caspit Reported for us, the IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi met with top officials in Washington this week to share new intelligence about Iran’s enrichment intentions. Despite US assurances, Israel is concerned that the Biden administration could resume indirect talks on the nuclear deal with the midterm elections behind it.

Two Americans injured in Jerusalem blasts

Two U.S. citizens were among those injured in twin explosions in Jerusalem that killed a 16-year-old boy at a bus stop on Wednesday, the U.S. ambassador to Israel said. Tom Needs confirmed in a tweet.

Israeli police are searching for the Palestinian attackers who injured more than 20 people in the bombings. Police believe the blasts were coordinated and caused by remotely detonated explosive devices packed with nails.

The incoming prime minister was attacked Benjamin Netanyahu Palestine will hold talks to form a new moderate coalition government that is expected to take a tough line on extremism.

The Democratic administration in Washington is worried about the appointment of an ultranationalist Knesset member Itamar ben Zvir As Minister of Public Security, Israel puts him in charge of the police force. Rina is the bassist Ben Zivir, who rushed to the site of the first attack on Wednesday, told the crowd that Israel “must go back to targeting killings.”

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US citizen detained in Saudi Arabia amid OPEC tensions

A US citizen from Michigan has been detained without charge in Saudi Arabia for three weeks, his lawyer told Al-Monitor as relations between Riyadh and Washington soured over oil supply cuts.

Details of Mohammed SalemThe arrests were confusing. A 63-year-old Yemeni-American was visiting the holy city of Mecca on Nov. 1 to perform the Umrah pilgrimage when his family’s Michigan lawyer got into an altercation with security guards. Abdallah Maughani Said. Desperate, Salem later told two men who identified themselves as Libyans, “If there is no Mecca and Medina, we will burn this country to the ground.”

The men revealed themselves to be agents of the Saudi government and arrested him, Maughani said. Salem is now in the maximum security Dahaban Central Jail and is not allowed contact with his family.

“Saudi Arabia should be able to investigate any situation that they believe could harm their country,” Moughani said. “But detaining someone for 20 days for speaking negatively against the government without legal representation is wrong.”

The story, which first appeared in local Detroit media, followed the Saudi American’s prison sentence Saad Ibrahim Almadi and brief detention of a US citizen Carly Morris This month. Many other dual nationals are under a travel ban in the kingdom.

Other top articles from our contributors

• Fehim Tastekin Explains why Iran is more concerned about Azerbaijan and Turkish geopolitical gains in the region.

Netanyahu’s deal to legalize dozens of West Bank settlements further undermined hope for a peace process, Ahmed Melhem He writes that

• Nazlan Ertan Analyzes what is a spirited handshake between Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi And Erdogan is on the World Cup sidelines for their nations’ seeding.

Qatar spent $300 billion on the World Cup, making it the most expensive tournament ever. For Al-Monitor PRO, Samuel Wendell Explores scenarios for how Doha’s big gamble could pay off.

Jared Szuba contributed to this report.


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