Monday, October 20, 2014

Turkey's complicated situation with the US , Syria , Islamists it supports in Syria becomes more complicated as US air drops weapons to Syrian Kurds fighting in Kobane ( October 20 , 2014 ) Iraq / Syria Regional War Updates - Focus on Turkey , with important information regarding both Syria and Iraq ......

Turkey .....

Turkey to Allow Peshmerga Fighters to Cross Into Kobani

Won't Let Other Kurdish Factions Travel Through Turkey, However

by Jason Ditz, October 20, 2014
Turkey has been clear about its opposition to aiding the Syrian Kurdish factions listed as terrorist organizations, but today offered a concession on the border town of Kobani, announcing they’ll help Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters travel from Iraq into Kobani by way of Turkey.
The Peshmerga are the fighting force of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), and the KRG is on relatively good terms with Turkey. Their territory in Iraq extends to the ISIS frontier near Mosul.
Going from ISIS’ eastern border to its far western frontier in Kobani is quite a move, but with Kurdish factions pushing for aid to save the important border town, allowing the Peshmerga through may relieve some of the criticism Turkey is facing from its own substantial Kurdish minority.
It still remains to be seen, however, how many Peshmerga fighters will actually be sent to Kobani, particularly as ISIS has launched a new offensive against Iraqi Kurdistan today. That may force the KRG to prioritize its own defenses instead of adventuring west to defend the already depopulated Kobani.

ISIS Launches Multiple Attacks Across Iraqi Kurdistan

Fighters Seize Qara Tappa Disguised as Kurdish Peshmerga

by Jason Ditz, October 20, 2014
Having apparently lulled Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) into a false sense of security, ISIS launched a series of 15 simultaneous attacks across their frontier today, testing their defenses and seizing some small villages.
Also part of the slain territory was the town of Qara Tappa, not far from the major ISIS city of Mosul, where ISIS fighters infiltrated the towndisguised as Peshmerga, and then fought off Kurdish reinforcements.
The attacks appeared to coincide with Turkey’s announcement that they are going to allow Peshmerga fighters to traverse Turkey to enter Syria and fight ISIS over Kurdish territory there.
With ISIS focused on the Syrian Kurds and the Iraqi Anbar Province lately, there hadn’t been much fighting with the Peshmerga, which would free them up to fight elsewhere. ISIS attacks today may aim at changing that equation, or may reflect that, with US airstrikes focused elsewhere, the Kurdish territory isn’t as defensible as it once was.

Erdoğan furious with US, adds al-Assad condition

President Tayyip Erdoğan has added a fourth condition to Turkey’s full cooperation against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL): The “regime problem” in Syria. Answering questions from a group of reporters on board the presidential plane returning from Afghanistan on Oct. 18, Erdoğan said he saw the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria as the source of problems there, including ISIL.

“There is nothing more useful [for the situation] than al-Assad’s departure,” he said, adding that he did not accept the “who will come after al-Assad?” question as an answer in his talks with other leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It is not something new that Erdoğan considers the removal of al-Assad as a priority in the fight against ISIL. Both he and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu have said before that they want to see “Neither ISIL, nor the al-Assad regime” on the other side of Turkey’s 910-km border with Syria.

But it is a new thing for Erdoğan to list this as a condition for full cooperation against ISIL.

So far, he has listed three conditions: 

1)    Imposing safe zones in Syrian territory next to the Turkish border for refugees from Syria (now around 1.5 million in Turkey) and for non-ISIL, native fighters like the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

2)    Imposing a no-fly zone in Syrian air space along the Turkish border above those safe zones for the protection of refugees and the FSA (mainly against Syrian air forces, since ISIL does not yet have an air force).

3)    Training and equipping rebel forces apart from ISIL and other al-Qaeda-affiliated groups.

When considered together, the anti-al-Assad stance was there all along. So why did Erdoğan decide to express it openly as a fourth condition now, when talks with the international anti-ISIL coalition, or actually with the U.S. administration, are under way?

The main reason seems to be the direct contact of a U.S. official with the Democratic Union Party (PYD) of Syria, closely linked to the Turkey-origin outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations, as confirmed on Oct. 16 by Jen Psaki, the spokeswomen for the U.S. State Department.

In the same Q&A with reporters, Erdoğan said the following: “In recent days there is an idea floating around of giving arms to the PYD in order to fight against ISIL. The PYD for us is the same as the PKK and that is a terrorist organization. It would be wrong to expect a ‘yes’ as an answer from us [for full cooperation] if a friendly country and a NATO ally like the U.S. openly admits such support for a terrorist organization.”

Erdoğan had stated on a number of occasions that he considers the PKK to be the same as ISIL, “both of them being terrorist” organizations. The PYD is the main resisting ground force in the town of Kobane (Ayn al-Arab) near the Turkish border, having been under attack from ISIL for more than three weeks now. 

Most of the civilian population of the town - around 150,000 people - has already fled to Turkey. The Turkish government is under pressure to open up a corridor for those who want to go there and fight ISIL and for more arms to cross through Turkish territory. The government suspects that most of the fighters would be PKK militants.

The government has been in dialogue with the PKK’s imprisoned leader, Abdullah Öcalan, via the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) in pursuit of a political settlement, but is also keeping the PKK on its terrorism list until that settlement finally comes, if it comes. PM Davutoğlu said yesterday that if that dialogue had evolved differently, his government’s stance regarding Kobane could also have been different.

The developments indicate that Turkey is not likely to be in full military cooperation with the U.S.-led coalition against ISIL, especially when land forces and Turkish territories are involved, unless the “al-Assad condition” is somehow met.

“İncirlik is another issue,” Erdoğan said during the same session with reporters, mentioning the NATO main operation base south of Turkey, near the Syrian border. “We do not exactly know what [the Americans] want from us yet. We can say ‘yes’ if they are up to our needs,” he said, hinting at a limited use of the base for military purposes and perhaps opening up Turkish air space for military operations.

US military says air-drops weapons for Kurdish fighters near Kobane


Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, as it is seen from the southeastern village of Mursitpinar, in Turkey's southeastern province of Kobane. AFP photo
Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, as it is seen from the southeastern village of Mursitpinar, in Turkey's southeastern province of Kobane. AFP photo
The U.S. military said it had air-dropped arms to Syrian rebels fighting Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants near Kobane Oct. 19 in what appeared to be the Pentagon's first public acknowledgment it has delivered lethal aid to the rebels. 

The U.S. Central Command said it had delivered weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to the Syrian rebels who for weeks have sought to stave off an onslaught by ISIL fighters that have overrun swathes of Syria and Iraq this year. 

The United States gave Turkey advance notice of its plans to deliver arms to the Syrian Kurds, a group Turkey views with deep distrust because of its links to Turkish Kurds who have fought a decades-long insurgency in which 40,000 people were killed. 

"President Obama spoke to [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan yesterday and was able to notify him of our intent to do this and the importance that we put on it," one senior U.S. official told reporters. 

"We understand the longstanding Turkish concern with the range of groups, including Kurdish groups, that they have been engaged in conflict with," he added. "However, our very strong belief is that both the United States and Turkey face a common enemy in ISIL and that we need to act on an urgent basis." 

The United States began carrying out air strikes against ISIL targets in Iraq in August and about a month later started bombing the militant group in neighboring Syria, in part to prevent it from enjoying safe haven on Syrian territory. 

In a brief statement, the U.S. Central Command said U.S. Air Force C-130 aircraft "delivered weapons, ammunition and medical supplies that were provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq and intended to enable continued resistance against ISIL's attempts to overtake Kobane."

The Central Command said 135 U.S. air strikes near Kobane in recent days, combined with continued resistance against ISIL on the ground, had slowed the group's advances into the town and killed hundreds of its fighters. 

"However, the security situation in Kobane remains fragile as ISIL continues to threaten the city and Kurdish forces continue to resist," the statement said. 

The Central Command mentioned no new air strikes around Kobani, whose strategic location has blocked the radical Sunni Muslim militants from consolidating their gains across northern Syria. 

A spokesman for Kurdish forces fighting ISIL militants in Kobane later confirmed on his Twitter feed that a "large quantity of ammunition and weapons" had reached the town. 

U.S. officials, speaking in a conference call, described the weapons delivered as "small arms" but gave no details. 

Three U.S. C-130 transport aircraft dropped 27 bundles of weapons and medical supplies to the Syrian Kurds, said a second U.S. official, adding the planes left Syrian air space unharmed and that the majority of the bundles had reached their targets.


Evening tweets.....

You just have to check these pics coming out of right now. Getty Images

Unprecedented wave of multiple VBIEDs in past 24h, from Kobani to Mosul dam, Qarah Tappah, Bayji and Karbala'.

An truck SVBIED at a Peshmerga checkpoint on the Mosul dam security perimeter killed Peshmerga Brig. Gen. Safar Amedi.

What's most noteworthy is not the geographic breadth of the attacks, but the intensity. 4x VBIEDs in Karbala (1/2)

3x in the vicinity of Bayji, 3x in Kobani, 1x in Qarah Tappah and Mosul dam, Twelve VBIEDs in 24h (2/2).

Union of National Forces MP: blew up the shrine of Sheikh Sharafadeen in this evening.

State Department spokesperson Marie Harf: It would be possible that some of the Peshmerga weapons delivered to...

Morning Tweets.....

US airdrops to YPG in extremely important at a political level as well. Just yesterday Erdoğan called YPG 'terrorists'. |

- A great day for Kobani and it's brave people as supplies, ammunition, etc. are provided in air drop by USA

Counter-Terrorism Group supplies have reached the after Air Force dropped them into .

US arming YPG awkward for Erdogan domestically, not least bc/ his press depicts bloody riots as work of Kobane Kurds

To date, U.S. forces have conducted more than 135 airstrikes against in .

Press TV say their reporter has been killed in "mysterious circumstances" in via

did u see the final report she broadcast before her death?

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan rules out possibilities of further improving imprisoned leader Abdullah .

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: is equal to the for us and both are terrorist organizations.


Anti War....

146 Are Killed in Battles and Bombings Across Iraq
by , October 19, 2014
At least 146 people were killed today and 63 more were wounded. Islamic State militants staged an attack just a few miles from Baghdad on Sunday.
The U.N. Mission in Iraq and the U.N. Human Rights Office issued a joint report on the death penalty in Iraq. The report warns that the death penalty could be fueling even more violence due to the unfair practices employed in the courts system. It also does not appear to be acting as a deterrent to extremism.
Baghdad is now admitting 200 Australian special forces members into the country in order to train Iraqi soldiers. The unit had been forced to wait in the United Arab Emirates pending an agreement between the two countries.
In Baghdad, a suicide bomber struck at a funeral in the Harthiya neighborhood,killing 22 and wounded 27 more.
Seven soldiers were killed in an attack in Zaidan that also left 28 wounded. Zaidan is just on the other side of Abu Ghraib from the capital.
suicide bomber driving a military vehicle near the Baiji Refinery killed four soldiers and wounded seven more. A car bomb near the city wounded the police chiefof Salah ad Din province.
suicide bomber attacked a military post in Amiriyat al-Falluja, where he killed three personnel including a major general.
A bomb in Yankja killed two Peshmerga.
Gunmen killed a civilian in Taji.
In Mosul, militants arrested a number of security personnel even though the men claimed to have "repented."
Sixty militants were killed across Anbar province.
Airstrikes in Shirqat killed 30 militants.
Six militants were killed while planting roadside bombs in Moltaqa.
In Jurf al-Sakhar, security forces killed three snipers.
A roadside bomb killed two militants in Muqdadiya.
Many militants were killed, including a wali, in the effort to free a highway betweenBaiji and Tikrit. A number of militants were killed in an airstrike. Security forceskilled two suicide bombers.
Peshmerga forces killed dozens of militants in Zumer.
A failed attack on al-Baghdadi left dozens of casualties.

Suicide Bombing Kills Mourners at Baghdad Shi’ite Mosque

Bomber Targeted Funeral at Key Shi'ite Mosque

by Jason Ditz, October 19, 2014
A suicide bomber infiltrated the crowd at the entrance of a Shi’ite mosque during a funeral today, detonating himself and killing at least 19 people, wounding 28 others.
It is just the latest in a surgeof suicide bombings in the past month, with ISIS forces drawing ever closer to the Iraqi capital, and the escalating sectarian war bringing increasing violence nationwide.
Though ISIS has increasingly transitioning to a more traditional military in fighting against Iraq, it continues to have capabilities for carrying out large numbers of suicide attacks, and has been doing so alongside the conflict.
Though ISIS has yet to claim responsibility for the mosque attack, it is all but certainly them or one of their affiliates, as such groups are constantly carrying out attacks on Iraq’s Shi’ite majority.

Tweets ....

Tonight is the heaviest firefight I've heard in central this year. Seems to be dying down now

31 suicide bombers in in 45 days 46% of them are Saudis. Over 50 tons of explosives used. via

and representatives in reject parliament office in the city, which was opened yesterday.

BREAKING: Rudaw correspondent in Baghdad said, a suicide car bomber exploded in Haritha neighborhood of ,...


This is city center, street near restaurant, totally destroyed.

Follow the latest developments in the war and battle against at The Daily Star

and representatives in reject parliament office in the city, which was opened yesterday.

Airstrikes mapped. Kobani dominates, although US officials have said it's not a strategic priority |

Fate of Syrian Kurds caught in the conflict could depend on political deal between rival factions tied to competing regional powers

Salih Muslim is in Dohuk holding meetings with Syrian Kurd factions; meeting organized by KRG; PYD wants weapons to fight

Syrian Kurds opposed to PYD say it needs to work w/ Syrian opposition, end ties with Syrian regime, Turkey should not be their enemy

Salih Muslim's opponents want him to meet certain conditions if the PYD wants to be part of the intl coalition against

Salih Muslim told us he is under pressure to cede some power to other Syrian Kurd factions as condition to receive arms to battle ISIL