Assad vows to defend de-escalation zones/ The X Files of Turkey & US: The Conflict Is Out There/ ‘Both PKK & YPG are terrorist organisations’ – Turkey angered by Pentagon’s decision to arm Kurds/ Could Geneva Become as Effective as Astana?/ US-backed Kurds fully liberate Tabqa city & Dam, Raqqa in sight/ In The Midst Of Crisis, Syria’s Grand Mufti Has This To Say On Religion, Faith, And Humanity/ The X Files of Turkey & US: The Conflict Is Out There/
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to defend de-escalation zones which are established with the aim of ending the conflict in the battle-torn country.In an interview with a Belarusian TV channel, Assad said the de-escalation zones gave foreign-backed militants a chance to hand over their weapons and reconcile with the government. He stressed that he would have a firm response to any breach of the ceasefire in those zones. The Syrian president also added that he would not back down from fighting the terror groups operating inside the country. The creation of de-escalation zones was agreed by Russia, Iran and Turkey during negotiations in the Kazakh capital Astana earlier this month. According to the deal, four de-escalation zones have been set up across Syria, where the most intense fighting has been underway between government troops and the militants.
The X Files of Turkey & US: The Conflict Is Out There
by Sophie Mangal:
According to Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on May 12, 2017, that the U.S. support of the Syrian Kurds harms the strategic relations between the two countries. He explained his position on the issue by the fact that such terrorist organization as the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) is extremely dangerous for Turkey.
By associating Kurdish forces with illegal armed groups Turkish president actually accuses the United States of supporting terrorism. “I want to believe that our NATO allies stand shoulder to shoulder with us and not with the terrorist organizations,” quoted Hurriyet Daily News. The Turkish president also said the U.S. is still in the process of transferring the authority after Donald Trump was elected president
Apparently, the Turkish leader is trying to convince NATO allies that Turkey’s interests cannot be ignored and the contribution of the Syrian Kurds has no value if there are troubles with Ankara. Erdogan even plans to make sure his counterpart to give up the idea of using Kurdish detachments in capturing the main stronghold of ISIS in Syria during the meeting with Trump in Washington in mid-May
According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. responded by openly demonstrating its flag within the framework of their mission in the northern part of Syria in order to prevent Turkey from hitting U.S. allies. Moreover, D. Trump decided not to depart from the policy of destabilizing the situation in the Middle East. Approving a plan of sending arms to Kurdish rebels fighting ISIS, he aggravated the situation in the Middle East even more
Now, the only question is, how far do Trump and Erdogan extend, realizing their geostrategic ambitions? The security analyst, former Turkish diplomat Aydin Selgen, believes Ankara is able to unilaterally take actions to protect its own interests if a threat to national security from Syria and Iraq becomes possible. Turkish air strikes carried out against Kurds in Syria and Iraq last week displayed Erdogan’s seriousness of purpose and resolve.
Meanwhile, Kurdish analyst Mutlu Chiviroglu said the U.S. considers Turkey’s arguments unconvincing, as there is no real threat to Ankara from the Kurdish militia. Moreover, the expert is sure that at the moment the Kurds in Syria, unlike the Peshmerga in Iraq, do not plan any hostilities or subversive activity against Turkey.
In fact, the Turkish side periodically uses NATO partners for its purposes when it is beneficial for Turkey. At the same time Erdogan’s actions periodically demonstrate that Turkey does not share the goals and the main principals of the alliance. One of the most painful issues is Ankara’s reluctance to truly fight ISIS. Turkey along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar from the very beginning have been supporting the Sunni radicals, who eventually transformed into a powerful terrorist organization. It’s high time for members of the alliance to pay attention to the aggressive and unpredictable behavior of one of its members, as well as the hypocritical arguments of the head of Turkey. One of the best decisions for NATO would be the exclusion of Turkey from the Alliance.
Such a confrontation between NATO partners clearly shows how the six-year war in Syria has turned over strategic alliances. The conflict between NATO countries (mostly between the U.S. and the EU from the one hand and Turkey from the other) has been brewing for a long time. It looks like the U.S-Turkey’s conflict can lead to an open confrontation on the ground in Syria and Iraq.
Turkey has reacted with anger to the Pentagon’s latest decision to supply new weapons to Kurdish forces – who Ankara view as terrorists. The Turkish President has vowed to take up the issue with Donald Trump when they meet next week. Washington’s latest moves seems to have further strained an already fragile relationship with Ankara.Coming just two weeks after the U.S. condemned Turkish airstrikes that killed Kurdish fighters in Syria and Iraq.But U.S. Defence Secretary, James Mattis, says America still wants co-operation on all fronts. And just today, a Kurdish militia – known as the YPG – released a response to the U.S. deployment. They called it a demonstration of confidence, saying it’s – quote – a historic decision that will yield important results. We heard from a Middle-East expert who says the U.S. has more interests in the region than just fighting ISIL.
Could Geneva Become as Effective as Astana?
by Firas Samuri:
The next round of the Syrian talks under the auspices of the United Nations between the Syrian government and the opposition will take place in Geneva from May 16-19. During the upcoming meeting, the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura expects to conduct intensive work with both delegations. But could the talks in Geneva become as effective as Astana?
Commenting on the format of meeting de Mistura noted that it would be held in the same format, with his direct involvement. He believes that in this way it will be possible to achieve greater success rather than in a general meeting
Within this framework, Syrian President Bashar Assad is skeptic about the prospects of Geneva talks and considers them ineffective. Assad also mentioned that talks in Geneva were formal and the diplomats were not able to achieve any positive results
According to Assad, the main purpose of the Geneva talks was to force the Syrian government to make concessions that in fact had contradicted the Syrian constitution, national interests and territorial integrity.
Despite these facts, a number of Syrian analysts continue to believe that the Special Envoy could actually activate the negotiation process between the conflict sides, which would lead to significant success. For instance, the signing of document on creating constitutional commission of Syria may become a positive outcome. It should be mentioned, the leader of the Astana political platform of Syrian opposition, Randa Kassis seeks to involve the UN Security Council members in a discussion on constitutional changes in Syria. Thus, she showed the interest of a separate part of the opposition on this issue
The Syrians hope that within the frameworks of the upcoming round of talks in Geneva the Syrian opposition will be ready for full-fledged dialogue with the authorities of Syria instead of making empty promises. As through the political dialogue between the parties rather than continuous battles is possible to establish peace throughout Syria.
Syria’s largest dam in the city of Tabqa has been liberated from ISIS control by Syrian Democratic forces. Those forces are comprised mainly of U.S.-backed Kurds. The victory paves the way for an advance on the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa.
In The Midst Of Crisis, Syria’s Grand Mufti Has This To Say On Religion, Faith, And Humanity
by Brandon Turberville, Activist Post:
While the mainstream corporate press continues to paint the Syrian crisis as a civil war between religious denominations (since it works right along with the idiotic narrative painted of the Middle East peddled in the West for decades), Syrians have proven MSM outlets wrong every day for the last six years. That is, if anyone bothers to speak to them about what is happening in their country and their own views on the situation.
Many Americans would particularly be interested to learn how Syria was a multi-ethnic multi-religious state without civil war and religious warfare prior to America’s rebels. Indeed, while America’s religious leaders are consistently focused on promoting a military mindset and war across the world, Syria’s religious leaders are doing the opposite, focusing on inter-faith dialogue, peace, and unity.
In fact, a man who has been leading the efforts for peace in Syria, the Grand Mufti himself, has been repeatedly maligned in the Western press as someone who is complicit in war crimes and even being personally involved in the handpicking torture victims. These narratives have repeatedly fallen apart, since they are nothing more than propaganda. The Grand Mufti has often angered Western journalists and Western politicians by refusing to play along with their idiotic narratives that Assad is murdering his own people and engaging in wanton atrocities and refusing to engage in primitive religious nitpicking and division.
However, despite the negative press Sheikh Ahmad Bahreddin Hassoun has received in the West, he continues to remain stalwart in the face of Western media pressure. He also continues to push for understanding and dialogue between the various faiths as well as the denominations within his own.
Many journalists and activists have traveled to Syria and have had the opportunity to meet with the Grand Mufti. In my own personal interviews and discussions with these individuals, I have consistently been told of the kindness and compassion of Sheikh Hassoun as well as his extraordinary wisdom when it comes to issue of spirituality, religion, and humanity in general.
Recently, speaking to journalist Vanessa Beeley in Damascus, Sheikh Hassoun had this to say about religion and human identity.
In the UK Theresa May made dangerous statement, when asked if she regrets the Balfour Treaty. If she had just said no, it would have been better. But she said, that the Balfour treaty is a religious promise, we are very proud of it. That she said that, is very dangerous. She put herself in the place of God, making such promises..and that is not true. God is in our heart, He does not have a particular place, not in Saudi Arabia, not in Palestine..just in our hearts.
As a human being in any land on earth, the land is my mother, my hand is from the sand, my soul from God, from heaven, our souls have the same source, our bodies are from the same source so why would God force us to leave one land because one land is of God and another is not?
I criticise Saudi Arabia because they forbid Jews and Christians to go to Saudi Arabia. It is Abraham’s land not Saudi land, Abraham built the Kaaba, we all believe in Abraham. Saudi Arabia is only a political authority disguised as a religious authority.When I am asked if I am the Mufti for all Muslims, I say, no, I am just the Mufti of Syria, I have responsibility for the Jews, the Christians, for all the people in Syria. That is why its important to think globally.
All people grow old, but love never grows old. As love grows older, it grows stronger. Love is the soul of belief, I dont love those I cannot believe in. Thank God, that God is not Jewish, Christian or Muslim..God is for all people. That is why I should not be for one particular faith, you will not find me in the mosque or in the church.
God is in the hearts of children. The heart, when it beats has energy, this energy is God.
A lot of people have a lot of medicine, a lot of food..but their hearts will still stop because God decided to let it go. A person can replace his heart, but it will still die,
because God says “stop”. It is God who started the heart in the beginning. A lot of young people ask me how the heart stops. I ask them how the first beat happened. Only the one who started the first beat can stop it in the end.
The true Christian, Jew and Muslim are those who live in our hearts…
Hassoun’s philosophy is thus markedly different from the philosophy Western media outlets accuse Syrian religious leaders of espousing. It is also markedly different from the warlike rage machines of religions being peddled in places like Saudi Arabia, the United States, and Israel. If the United States and its own religious contingents truly wanted to see an end to conflict, they would allow the peaceful to live in peace and take Sheikh Hassoun’s words to heart.
US trying to save Zionist-Wahhabi axis in Middle East: Analyst – The United States is concerned about the faltering Wahhabi-Zionist alliance between Saudi Arabia and Israel, and that’s why US President Donald Trump is going to visit Riyadh and Tel Aviv on his first foreign trip, according to an American analyst.