Syria: a truce under siege

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePrint this pageShare on Tumblr

By: Leandro Albani / Source: Resumen Medio Oriente / The Dawn News / February 29, 2016

When last Sunday the truce between Russia and the US in Syria, backed by Damascus and the UN security council, came into force, everybody knew that something was going to happen: none of the terrorist groups that operate on Syrian territory, including Islamic State and the Al-Nusra Front, were going to comply with the ceasefire.

In the first hours of Saturday, that prediction was confirmed. That morning Islamic State detonated a car bomb in the city of Hama killing four people. At the same time, the Al-Nusra Front claimed several mortar attacks in the city of Homs and Aleppo.

A few hours after Moscow and Washington announced the agreement, the government of President Bashar Al-Assad reiterated what he had said in other periods of ceasefire: his army would respond when the pact was broken or when terrorists attacked his people.

In Hama, the Syrian armed forces attacked IS and killed 35 terrorists, and destroyed four jeeps with artillery and a bulldozer. In the southeastern province of Deir Al Zur, the army advanced yesterday with its military campaign and killed 20 members of IS.

The biggest problem of this ceasefire is how can it be maintained if the more radicalized groups are not willing to comply with it. To this we must add that Turkey and Saudi Arabia (countries that support these organizations) still issue callings to overthrow Al Assad’s government and attack any kind of anti-terrorist resistance within Syria.

It was because of this that the Syrian government asked for the military intervention of the US to stop the terrorist groups. “The secretary of State, John Kerry, had said that any group that doesn’t respect the ceasefire will be considered terrorist and will be a target of the airstrikes of the international coalition”, recalled Bouthaina Shaaban, political and media adviser of the Syrian President. “The Syrian government expects Kerry to honor his words and treat groups that don’t accept the truce in Syria as terrorists”, she said.

Staffan de Mistura, special envoy of the UN for Syria, had announced that a total of 97 organizations had accepted to comply with the truce, including the Units of Protection of the People (YPG/YPJ) the Kurdish forces that control almost all of the North of Syria.

A violation of the truce was denounced

A little over two days had passed since the beginning of the ceasefire when 9 violations were denounced, said the Center of Surveillance of the Syrian Ceasefire in Russia. In declarations to Sputnik News, the Lieutenant and president of the center, Sergei Kuralenko, detailed that a locality of the province of Latakia had been attacked and that a hundred terrorist units had entered Syrian territory, from Turkey.

Kuralenko said that the Syrian city of Tel Abyad, located on the North border with Turkey, had been attacked from Turkish ground. Therefore, the Kurdish troops of the YPG/YPJ repelled the aggression and made the terrorists back off. Tel Abyad is a strategic border crossing, because it allows IS to receive arms from Turkey, and it is a route that unites the border with the city of Raqqa, headquarter of ISIS.

The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights also confirmed the attack on Tal Abyad and pointed out that “YPG combatants have regained control over the areas of the city of Tel Abyad that they had lost last Saturday at the hands of Daesh”.

The spokesman of the YPG, Redur Xelil, had previously confirmed that the Kurdish forces had been able to repel the attack and killed “all combatants of IS”. In the IS attack, at least four people died, two of them civilians.

The Russian Center of Surveillance indicated that “in general, the truce in Syria is being fulfilled”.

The Sauds against Assad

One more measure should be taken to solve the crisis in Syria: an effective action to end the financing from Turkey and Saudi Arabia to terrorists groups. For now, a measure of this kind is still a remote possibility. There is however confirmation on the intention by the Saud family and Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government to overthrow President Al Assad. In Erdogan’s case, there is also the obsession to attack and destroy the Kurdish forces in the North of Syria, who keep that area liberated from terrorist groups, and who have advanced towards Aleppo achieving victories over terrorists.

This weekend, Saudi Arabian chancellor Adel Al Jubeir attacked the Syrian President again. In a press conference in Riyadh, the officer said that “Bashar Al Assad must leave power either peacefully or by military force. He must choose between those two options”. Al Jubeir considered that “there is no place for Al Assad in Syria”. Despite the fact that Saudi Arabia supports the fall of the Syrian government and supports terrorist organizations, the minister argumented that “respect for the truce would be an important sign of commitment to arrive to a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis, that would include the creation of a transition government and the transferral of Al Assad’s power to that government”.

Erdogan against everyone else

Erdogan’s government has crossed all diplomatic and territorial barriers and already launched bombings on northern Syria, with the goal of stopping the advance of popular organizations led by the YPG/YPJ forces. Days ago, he justified the attacks in Syria because he considers Kurdish forces linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party to be “terrorist”, and currently, his government maintains a systematic repression in the Southeast of his country against the Kurdish people, bombarding cities, and submitting several townships to a state of siege. Due to this policy of annihilation ordered by Erdogan, even Barack Obama criticized him but the alliance between Washington and Ankara still holds together to combat any actors they feel are against their plans for the Middle East.

Last Thursday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu justified that “Ankara is not obliged to respect the truce if there’s a situation that threatens the security of Turkey”. He also added that his government won’t ask for anybody’s permission to deploy troops or launch attacks.

The complicity of Turkey with IS is even more evident as days go by. Last week, Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet revealed the existence of frequent phone calls between Turkish military and Mustafa Demir, a prominent figure of IS on the Syrian-Turkish border. The newspaper published that “transcriptions and documents of the investigation revealed that Demir received money from smugglers on the border and cooperated with officers in the border crossing”. According to the newspaper, in those phone calls the IS member asks the officers if they could arrange a meeting between him and the commanders and lieutenants of the Turkish army.

The British NGO Conflict Armament Research issued a document that explains that “Turkey is the most important actor in transferring the components used by Daesh to build explosives”. Their research indicated that Turkey has a great agriculture and mining industry, that uses the same chemicals which then end up in the hands of IS. They revealed that at least 51 companies in over 20 countries (including the US, China, Brazil, Japan and Iraq) are involved in the supply chain of components used by IS. In May last year, the newspaper Hurriyet revealed that Turkey sends sacks of ammonium nitrate to IS through the borders with Syria, so that the terrorist group can build bombs.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePrint this pageShare on Tumblr