Sunday 24 January 2016

US stands with Turkey over Kurds

Biden: "U.S Ready for Military Intervention in Syria, PKK Are Terrorists"

Murad Sezer/Reuters

23 January, 2016

U.S Vice President Joe Biden has expressed his country's readiness to intervene militarily in Syria, if a peaceful settlement of the conflict fails. This was reported by RIA Novosti.

He also added that he considers his personal duty to be the liberation of the Iraqi city of Mosul from terrorists of "Islamic State". 

"We are in contact with Ankara and Baghdad and other stakeholders on Iraq, and will try to return to Mosul, to save it from ISIS," said Joseph Biden.

The activities of the terrorist organization "Islamic State" are declared illegal in Russia.


O.R: Other quotes from Biden's conference:

"ISIL is not the only existential threat… the PKK is equally a threat and we are aware of that."

"The PKK has shown no desire or inclination to do that (live in peace). It is a terrorist group plain and simple. And what they continue to do is absolutely outrageous.”

US & Turkey eyeing military operation in Syria against ISIS if peace talks fail

© Reuters
© Reuters

US Vice President Joe Biden says the US and Turkey are prepared for military solutions in Syria if a political settlement cannot be found. He added that Washington recognizes the Kurdistan Workers’ Party is as much of a threat to Ankara as Islamic State.

"We do know it would better if we can reach a political solution but we are prepared ..., if that's not possible, to have a military solution to this operation and taking out Daesh,” Biden said at a news conference after a meeting with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, as cited by Reuters. ‘Daesh’ is an Arabic term for Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS/ISIL).

A US official later clarified that Biden was talking about a military solution to IS, not Syria as a whole.

Biden added that he discussed with Davutoglu how the two allies could try and work together to support Syrian rebel groups who oppose President Bashar Assad. The US vice president backed Ankara in its battle with the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), saying it was as much of a threat to Ankara as Islamic State, and that Turkey must do everything necessary to protect its citizens.

However, the pair disagreed about the status of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in northern Syria, with Biden saying there is a difference between the PYD and PKK.

To say that these [groups] are separate, one should be unaware that those [PKK] guns are coming to [Turkey] from Syria,” Davutoglu said, according to Reuters.

Ankara believes the Syrian Kurds are looking to create a corridor along the northern border with Turkey, which would cut off Turkey from sharing a boundary with Syria.

The PYD is a terrorist organization that cooperates with the Syrian regime. Struggling against Daesh does not grant them legitimacy,” the Turkish prime minister said.

Turkey has carried out attacks on Kurdish forces in northern Syria. In late July, the Kurds said they had been bombed at least four times, with civilians being among the casualties. Ankara maintained its airstrikes were aimed at members of the PKK.

Kurdish fighters have proved to be some of the most effective forces in helping to combat Islamic State in northern Syria, while borders in territories under its control have been sealed to stop the flow of foreign IS militants into Syria.
On Friday, Biden said Turkey’s intimidation of the media, curtailing of internet freedom and accusations of treason made against academics was not setting a good example in the Middle East.

"The more Turkey succeeds, the stronger the message sent to the entire Middle East and parts of the world who are only beginning to grapple with the notion of freedom," Biden mentioned.

"But when the media are intimidated or imprisoned for critical reporting, when internet freedom is curtailed and social media sites like YouTube or Twitter are shut down and more than 1,000 academics are accused of treason simply by signing a petition, that's not the kind of example that needs to be set," he said.

There’ll be boots on the ground’: US making noises about ‘doing more’ in Syria and Iraq

Various parties in Washington are quietly laying down the rhetorical tarmac for an increased US military operation in Syria.

Recent remarks by US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter (see report below) in Davos appear to dovetail with similar words yesterday from US Vice President Joe Biden who stated, “We are prepared to have a military solution for this operation, and taking out Daesh (ISIS).”

The following was reported by Press TV yesterday, but as yet, we cannot corroborate the story:

The United States denies its special operations troops have taken over an airfield in northeastern Syria, near the country’s border with Iraq and Turkey.

A spokesman of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) said Friday that the military “denied that US forces have taken control of any airfield in Syria”. However, a spokesperson for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) told Al Jazeera earlier this week that the US special operations forces had taken over the airfield near the city of Rmeilan in Syria’s Hasakah province to support Kurdish fighters against the Daesh (ISIL) Takfiri group.’

Regardless, don’t think for one second that the Pentagon doesn’t already have some boots on the ground inside Syria…

DELTA FORCE: According to a report at Friends of Syria, US Delta Force units are already on the ground in southern Syria near Jordanian border (Image Source: South Front)

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has reiterated US plans to increase its military presence in the campaign to retake Mosul and Raqqa from Islamic State, but urged other members of its coalition – like Turkey – to contribute more to the war effort.

We’re looking for opportunities to do more, and there will be boots on the ground — I want to be clear about that — but it’s a strategic question, whether you are enabling local forces to take and hold, rather than trying to substitute for them,” Carter told CNBC from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland

I don’t think we or anybody else can substitute for them, but there’s a lot we can do to enable them, including being on the ground with them.”

There are currently about 3,600 US military staff in Iraq, in training and military support roles, with US officials announcing earlier this week that “hundreds, not thousands” more will be on their way shortly, though Carter himself vowed on Thursday that the numbers would “increase greatly as the momentum of the effort increases.”

The reason for the uptick is the planned offensive against Raqqa, Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) headquarters in Syria, and Mosul, Iraq’s second biggest city also overrun by IS…

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