Syrian Civil War

Turkey accused of plundering olive oil from Syria to sell in the EU

Α Swiss MP has accused the Turkish government of passing off olive oil plundered from Syria as Turkish in order to sell it in European Union countries, including Spain. James Badcock The Telegraph Bernhard Guhl of Switzerland’s Conservative Democratic Party has alerted the Swiss government to the possibility of olive oil seized as loot from the conflict in Syria entering the European Union single market falsely labelled as Turkish, with the… “In Turkish-occupied Afrin, the olive groves are being pillaged by ... Read More »

The Turkish president’s epic distortion of facts on Syria

On Jan. 7, the New York Times published an opinion piece by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that is a masterpiece in historical revisionism better suited to Turkey’s state-controlled media. Brian Glyn Williams The Hill Erdogan relies upon most Americans’ lack of awareness of the situation on the ground in Syria and makes bold claims with outright falsehoods. For example, Erdogan begins by stating: “In 2016, Turkey became the first country to deploy ground combat troops to fight the so-called Islamic State ... Read More »

Trump threatens to ‘devastate’ Turkish economy over Syrian Kurds

US President Donald Trump has threatened to “devastate Turkey economically” if it attacks Kurdish forces in Syria following a planned pullout of US troops. BBC In two tweets on Sunday, Mr Trump said that he did not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey either. US forces have fought alongside a Kurdish militia in northern Syria against the Islamic State (IS) group. Turkey, however, regards the People’s Protection Units (YPG) as terrorists. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken angrily about American ... Read More »

Is Turkey Capable of Defeating ISIS in Syria?

The first responders in the case of a threat like ISIS should be those nations most affected. Doug Bandow The National Interest The Islamic State exploded in the Middle East, gaining control of large sections of Iraq and Syria. No nation was safe from its ambition to create an Islamic caliphate. But Turkey initially accommodated Daesh, even profiting from illicit oil sales. Eventually, the insurgents turned terrorist inside Turkey, forcing the Erdogan government to respond. However, Turkish forces still targeted ... Read More »

US withdrawing gear from Syria, but not troops

The US military has begun moving non-essential gear out of Syria but is not withdrawing troops for now, defense officials said amid uncertainty over America’s planned exit from the war-battered nation. Washington – AFP Hurriyet President Donald Trump last month claimed ISIL had been defeated in Syria and said all US troops were “coming back now.” But in the weeks since he gave the order, and the Pentagon began to implement it, Trump himself and members of his administration have delivered mixed messages about when ... Read More »

Don’t Blame Everything on Erdogan

The Turkish government doesn’t have a soft spot for the Islamic State, and Ankara stands to lose more than anyone if the terrorist group makes a comeback. Selim Sazak FP Washington’s Turkey experts were left working overtime during the holidays when a routine conversation between Donald Trump and Recep Tayyip Erdogan ended with the announcement that the… Trump’s maneuver had raised worries that a premature withdrawal risks reversing the gains that have been made against the Islamic State. Indeed, on ... Read More »

Turkey and the Kurds turn to Russia to solve problems sparked by U.S. exit from Syria

BEIRUT — Both Turkey and the Syrian Kurds are now pinning their hopes on Russia to resolve the problems created by President Trump’s abrupt decision last month to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, which has threatened to ignite a… Liz Sly The Washington Post Turkish officials said Wednesday that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is planning to visit Moscow this month for talks on Syria and other issues with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Kurds have already reached out to Russia ... Read More »

Trump gives in to calls to slow down troop pullout from Syria

United States President Donald Trump has given in to pressure to slow down his planned troop pullout from Syria, permitting the US military four months to withdraw. PreesTV The New York Times reported the decision on Monday. Trump had initially given the American forces 30 days for the procedure. The American president had hinted at a more extensive pullout timetable earlier on Monday, tweeting about “slowly sending our troops back home.” Many military and Pentagon officials had sought to entirely change the president’s mind ... Read More »

In Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces a make-or-break year

Adnan R. Khan: For more than a decade and a half, Turkey has aggressively pursued a more prominent role in the world. In 2019, it will pay the price. The goal was unity. Adnan R. Khan Maclean’s At least, that’s what Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, claimed about his campaign to transform Turkey’s fractious parliamentary democracy into a highly centralized presidency. When his “yes” side prevailed in an April 2017 constitutional referendum, the ambitious and polarizing leader promised ... Read More »

Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Hinges on Turkey

Whether pulling the remaining U.S. troops from Syria turns out to be a bold and beneficial move or a stupid, harmful one depends on what Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will do. Angelo M. Codevilla American Greatness That, in turn, depends in no small part on what constraints he senses from President Trump—as well as from Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Here, to the best of my understanding, are the circumstances and the possible consequences of the president’s decision to withdraw from Syria. ... Read More »

Turkey says the US just agreed to more of its demands as Ankara sees expanded power in Syria

President Donald Trump’s administration may have just handed Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan another win. Natasha Turak CNBC Less than a week after Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, Turkey’s foreign minister said Tuesday the U.S. has agreed to complete its previously established “roadmap” to remove all Kurdish militia fighters from the Northern Syrian town of… Ankara has been waiting for this guarantee for a while, complaining since its agreement in June that Washington was dragging its ... Read More »

Australian troops to stay in Middle East despite US pullout: Morrison

Australian troops will remain in the Middle East despite US President Donald Trump announcing the withdrawal of thousands of soldiers from Syria and Afghanistan in a… Eryk Bagshaw Brisbane Times Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia’s presence “will remain” in the region, where more than 600 troops continue to conduct operations and train local troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. “We have to be conscious of the potential for a resilient and a resurgent [Islamic State],” he said.  “We’re in regular ... Read More »

Trump Says Turkey Should Easily Be Able to Mop Up ISIS in Syria

Days after handing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a diplomatic win by announcing he’ll pull U.S. troops out of Syria, President Donald Trump defended the move, saying Turkey “should be able to… By Onur Ant, Nick Wadhams, and Selcan Hacaoglu Bloomberg Trump’s action on Syria, which was announced on Twitter and triggered the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and later Brett McGurk, a leading U.S. diplomat, came a week after the… Instead, during a lengthy phone call on Dec. 14, Trump shocked ... Read More »

Avoiding a Free-for-all in Syria’s North East

President Donald Trump has ordered U.S. troops to withdraw from north-east Syria. ICG This risks chaos and drives home the urgent need for a deal that restores Syrian state sovereignty to its north east, assuages Turkish security concerns and allows for some degree of Kurdish self-rule. What’s new? President Trump’s surprise decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria followed previous warnings that he justified their presence only as part of the campaign to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS). Trump said ... Read More »

The biggest winner of Trump’s Syria withdrawal? Turkey.

When President Trump announced Wednesday that he was pulling U.S. forces out of Syria, it came as a shock to much of Washington. Ishaan Tharoor The Washington Post Key U.S. military officials reportedly felt hoodwinked by the drastic shift in policy; Trump’s secretary of defense quit. Counterterrorism experts warned that a departure could lead to an Islamic State resurgence. Critics in the foreign-policy community declared that Trump was giving “a Christmas gift to our enemies” — namely Russia and Iran, whose influence the… ... Read More »

Anger, confusion greet Trump’s surprise decision on Syria

Senate Republicans uncharacteristically lashed out at President Trump on Wednesday for announcing a sudden and immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, a decision that came without consulting Congress and seemed to catch the Pentagon off guard. Rebecca Kheel The Hill Several lawmakers said Congress received no advance notice of Trump’s announcement, leaving them fuming and scratching their heads. “I don’t know what they’ve done, but this is chaos,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a staunch Trump ally and Armed Services Committee ... Read More »