Category: Middle East

Two opposing factions regarding Syrian foreign policies have agreed to join forces in protecting a strategic Kurdish town against Turkey. The United States and Russia have turned against their ally with both forces using buffer zones to fend off Turkish assaults against the Kurdish Peshmerga Forces — the latter responsible for driving out ISIS in key locations in Iraq and Syria.

According to Middle East Conflict Centre’s head Alexander Shumilin, an Institute for US and Canada Studies in Moscow, the two countries have found themselves “thrown together” by circumstance. Washington directly sponsors the Kurdish forces. Russia also provides support for the Peshmerga for their capability to drive out IS forces in campaigns.

According to Bloomberg, it was Russia who took the lead to resolve the almost-decade long Syrian Civil War through diplomacy. Despite no official statement from US President Donald Trump regarding continuing support for anti-terrorism in the Syrian Civil War, analysts see that the two countries have now taken a mutual stance.

Previously, Turkey asked for the support of the United States and NATO forces to drive out Kurds in former IS-held areas — a request that the US denied as it sees the Kurds as a valuable asset of the battle against the Islamic state. Turkish Prime MInister Binali Yildirim said that a “terror group could not be destroyed by another terror group” and if “coordination could not be established the risk of confrontation” between Turkey and the two countries is inevitable.

failure of dialogue and cooperation between the United States coalition forces and Russian peace efforts had resulted to a breakdown of a unified stance on the issue.

The United States had accused Russia of supporting the Assad military as it bombed hospitals including rebel-held areas known to have heavy concentrations of civilians.

The use of indiscriminate weaponry such as barrel bombs have led to a high amount of civilian deaths.

Russia’s bombing runs have also flushed out and killed many US and Saudi-Arabia-backed opposition rebels against Syria’s regime.

According to Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova:

The problem is that for the whole time we were involved in Russian-American negotiations… we realized very clearly that the US had no joint position. Different organizations, different structures in Washington were taking different positions on what’s going on Syria. They had absolutely different views,” Zakharova said.

The Americans “were changing their opinion and their point of view on what’s going on in Syria, actually, every day… Probably, that was the main reason why they failed in fulfilling those agreements that we achieved,” she added.

According to the Spokeswoman, the United States should have been ‘honest’.

“The reality was very clear. We had two main tasks. First one was the separation of Jabhat al-Nusra [terrorists] and moderate opposition. And our American colleagues failed in fulfilling their promise. The second task was to pull back the governmental forces and moderate opposition forces from Castello Road. And our American colleagues, unfortunately, failed for the second time,” she said.

According to the spokeswoman, the Americans “told us that they have no possibilities to influence the moderate opposition.”

About 167 civilians had been killed in the US-led air strikes in different areas of Syria. The area, held by the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant, has been heavily assaulted by US air forces.

About 56 civilians including 11 children were killed in air strikes on Tokhar in the northern city of Manbij.

Coalition strikes had also killed 10 more civilians including four children.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in the United Kingdom said the total number of civilians killed by coalition strikes in Manbij is now at 167 with 44 children including.

Manbij is the large tract of land along Syria’s Northern Border with Turkey. The area is currently locked down by the Islamic State. It is a crucial supply point between Raqqa and Turkey. Now the US-backed Kurdish and Arab militias have entered the city and are defending it.

The National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces confirmed that the attack in Manbij had killed 95 people and a great number of civilians had been buried beneath rubble.

“The bombing of al-Tukhar may have resulted in the largest loss of civilian life by coalition operations in Syria. There must be a prompt, independent and transparent investigation to determine what happened, who was responsible, and how to avoid further needless loss of civilian life,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, interim deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

“Anyone responsible for violations of international humanitarian law must be brought to justice and victims and their families should receive full reparation.”

With the Syrian Regime and Rebels again at each other’s throats, peace talks in Syria remain deadlocked. The Syrian ceasefire and peace talks revolve around Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s position in Syria and his involvement in the future parliament.

Syrian analysts believe that negotiations had fallen apart as the ceasefire between rebels and the Syrian regime had proven non-existent.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said he is in Geneva “intensely” working on another ceasefire for both parties.

Due to the resume of Syrian conflict, the Islamic State and other terrorist groups could inflate the situation further.

According to US Defence Secretary Ash Carter, Syrian peace is still a long way off.

“Our strategy … is that Assad leaves, the structures of the government remain in place — but without Assad — and that the moderate opposition becomes part of the government and there is a government that can give the Syrian people what they deserve, which is a country that runs and a country that’s moderate and a country that treats its people decently,” Carter told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“We’re a long way from that now, but that’s the vision for Syria,” he continued.

Turkey is calling for the United States and other allies to provide ground support as Russian-backed Syrian regime forces are closing in on Turkey’s borders.

Washington said a large-scale joint ground operation is highly unlikely despite the Turkish call.

Kurdish Militia have dominated several parts of Iraq and Syria from the Islamic State. Russian-backed regime forces have taken back several areas of Syria from both Saudi-backed rebels and IS.

Shiite Militias backed by Iran along with Russian air strikes had provided help for Syrian forces.

Meanwhile, the Kurdish YPG militia has become a prime target of Turkish artillery fire. Turkey considers the militia to be hostile insurgents in the region.

Turkey has accused Russia of “obvious war crimes” following its missile attacks against hospitals and an MSF facility in the northern region of Syria. Syrian ambassador to Russia Riad Haddad blamed the US for the airstrikes. In response, a US official denied all claims as no IS presence had been noted in the northern provinces.

Turkey had promised the YPG the “harshest reaction” if it should capture a town near the Turkish Border.

UN Syria Envoy Staffan de Mistura conversed with Syria’s foreign minister to end hostilities and have the country’s support to bring in humanitarian aid.

About 2,500 Syrian refugees die trying to cross the Mediterranean from Turkey according to the UN Human Commission on Refugees.

On Wednesday a boat from Turkey heading to Europe capsized. Two young brothers, Galip and Aylan, died trying to swim to Greek Islands. Turkish authorities discovered their bodies washed-up in a Turkish tourist resort.

The image spread in Turkish social networks and the rest of the world. The little boy, Aylan, was wearing a bright red t-shirt and shorts lying face down in a beach surf. A Turkish policeman sadly carried his tiny body away. The boy was three-years-old.

the hashtag “#KivivaVuranInsanlik” or ‘Humanity Washed Ashore’ became a top trending topic on Twitter as people retweeted the image.

The boat the two boys were riding capsized. It was carrying 23 people and had set off separately from the Akyarlar area of the Bodrum peninsula in Turkey, according to Turkish naval officers. Aside from the two children, one woman and five other children had died. Seven had survived and two more had reached the Turkish shore in lifejackets. There are two people yet to be found.

Many debated the ethics of spreading the photo of a dead child in publications reasoning it left no dignity for the dead.

Tony Abbott has stopped seven people in Australia before they could travel to the Middle East. The individuals were allegedly trying to contact terrorist groups, including the Islamic State, on their journey.

Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton said an incident occurred but would not go into specifics:

“We are concerned about the number of people presenting at airports, particularly younger people, who might be seeking to travel overseas for reasons that would horrify Australians and their parents and family and community no doubt as well.”

Abbott also didn’t provide details about the reported operation. However, he said it showed the increasing influence of the Islamic State and other terrorist groups in the Middle East.

The Australian Border Force had stopped the individuals. Their units have been working at all international airports.

According to Dutton, the details of the incident might be available by Friday.

“It wouldn’t be appropriate for us to respond and I don’t think, as a responsible journalist, you would expect us to say anything beyond that,” he said.

“We have provided the detail that we reasonably can at this point in time.”

Australians, Europeans and Americans have been part of the increasing numbers of Middle East terrorist groups, including the Islamic State. Britain had also issued its own safeguards to block anybody heading to the Middle East under suspicion of joining a terrorist network.

The Kurdish Peshmerga Forces, the probably champions against the Islamic State as seen by most Middle East forces, cannot receive aid from the latter. One of the most direct ways to win the war, the US has blocked aid. The US has refused to allow supplying heavy weapons directly to the Kurdish YPG Militia.

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The US-allied Middle East countries had criticised Obama and Cameron for providing a clear strategy and basically a reason to help them beat the IS, who had clearly outgunned and outclassed the Iraqi government.

A Senior Arab official said to a local newspaper that Arab nations may need to find a new way to deal with the threat if the United States is unwilling to make a move.

In the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron is pushing to win votes to have the RAF participate in bombing runs in Syria to defeat the Islamic State. This comes after Defence Secretary Michael Fallon suggested that IS militants in Syria planned the Tunisian massacre of 29 British tourists.

The United States, Canada and Arab Allies had led bombing runs in Iraq and Syria over the past year, destroying crucial IS headquarters in different territories.

For slapping a journalist, Saudi Arabian King Salman had sacked one senior aide who had followed right behind him.

The incident, caught on camera as King Salman greeted Morocco’s King Mohammed at Riyadh airport, Senior Aide Mohammed al-Tobayshi, who is the head of the Royal Protocol, turned to a photographer and slapped him.

Tobayshi was immediately removed as senior aide and was replaced by Khalid al-Abad, a 56-year-old official. However, Saudi Arabian journalists, including prominent journalist Abdullah al-Bergawi said that it was “a great day for journalists and the media.”

Al-Bergawi said that King Salman is showing that no-one, not even those closest to him is above the law. His actions also show that people, including officials, will hold their actions as their responsibilities and will pay for not respecting a person’s right to dignity.

One past incident had the King sanction a senior member of the Saudi Royal Family Prince Mamdouh bin Abdul Rahman after making racist comments in an Arabian TV Show.

Daily Trojan Writer Athanasius Georgy believes that the entire Middle East and the rest of the world had been blind to Yemen’s true state. Georgy states that Yemen is a failed state after Former President Ali Abdullah Saleh had been ousted.

Saleh was ousted during the 2011 Arab Spring as protests in different Middle Eastern countries began to oust their long-time dictators. It was believed that Yemen would turn into a democratic country.

However, Saleh’s Vice President and first Voted President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi were seen as a corrupt government. As militant Houthis moved against the government, Iran’s Shiite ties with the Houthis ensured support for the militants.

Meanwhile, Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia had been displeased with Iran’s actions.

Georgy does not blame the Arab Spring nor the Hadi Government for starting another conflict in the country. He said that upon Saleh’s ousting, a vacuum appeared and deeply-rooted problems as people adjusted politically into a new spectrum of ideals had re-surfaced.

With the lack of genuine leadership, Yemen’s infrastructures and systems were dilapidated. All these crumbled slowly as days passed, according to Georgy.

Yemen’s ill-adjusted people had become oppressive as extreme water and food shortages cause grave incidents in different areas. Women are still mistreated.

Georgy said that negotiations would be the only way to guarantee peace and productivity in Yemen once again.