Steven Sahiounie, political commentator
Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have continued to pull back as agreed, while the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and their Russian military allies have taken positions through much of the northeast of Syria, to counter the Turkish invasion. There are clashes sporadically, and the Turkish backed sectarian militias have committed murders of unarmed civilians reportedly. Generally, the agreement between Turkey and the US, and between the SDF and the Syrian government, brokered by Russia, has been holding.
On Oct. 29 the US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to officially recognize the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Turkey has spent the last 100 years denying the crimes, while the belated condemnation is aimed at rebuking Turkey for their recent invasion of Syria.
There was a time when Erdogan was a respected leader of a large modern nation and member of NATO. However, after 19 years in power, he has become a rogue leader who is chastised by the US, the EU, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. Erdogan rules Turkey with a heavy hand, and he does not tolerate criticism as over 150 people have been detained for posts on social media critical of the Syrian invasion, including the well-known journalist Nurcan Baysal who was arrested and later released on bail.
The Eastern Europe and Central Asia Chair of ‘Reporters Without Borders’, Johann Bihr, said “The new flood of propaganda, the increase in the witch hunt against critics and the almost complete absence of any debate about this military offensive all highlight the degree to which pluralism has collapsed in Turkey… Not content with its stranglehold on the media landscape, the government is now trying to assert complete control over everything that the media report, at the risk of undermining public trust and fueling tension.”
Protesters in Turkey tried to stage a demonstration, and to hang posters against the military invasion of Syria; however, they were arrested. One of the posters read: “The occupiers will be defeated, the resisting peoples will win.”
The SDF has been supported by the US and received funding and weapons. The SDF saw themselves as military allies of the US in their joint fight against ISIS. However, the US treated the SDF as an armed militia who were expendable.
President Bashar al-Assad has said he will eventually reclaim all Kurdish-held areas of the country. Aron Lund, a fellow with The Century Foundation, said “the SDF bubble has burst”: “Sooner or later, Kurdish-held cities in the northeastern interior are going to fall under his sway again. That means agriculture, hydroelectric dams, borders,” he predicted. “There are armed groups and we cannot expect they would hand over weapons immediately, but the final goal is to return to the previous situation, which is the complete control of the state,” President Assad said.
The Seyfo massacre was the slaughter of an estimated 300,000 Christians by the Turkish Ottoman Empire during World War I, and some are predicting Erdogan’s sectarian militia will ‘cleanse’ the area they invaded, which includes about 100,000 Syrian Christians, who had lived in harmony alongside their Muslim neighbors.
The Syrian conflict began in 2011 in Deraa, but was well planned in foreign capitals years before the first BBC news reports claimed to show the ‘peaceful protesters’. President Obama and President Sarkozy were the architects of the US-NATO attack on Syria, for ‘regime change’. Obama needed ‘boots on the ground’ and Syrian followers of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is a global political party which follows Radical Islam as a political ideology, presented themselves as “The Free Syrian Army” (FSA). They were funded, trained, and organized by the CIA office in Southern Turkey. Senator John McCain and Vice President Joe Biden became their lobbyists in the US Congress, and they were officially supported with weapons, paychecks, training and Turkey hosted their families as refugees, safely tucked away just over the border. VP Biden admitted that the FSA was not the moderate ‘freedom-fighters’ that the US media was pushing.
The Western media portrayed them as young Syrians fighting for freedom and democracy in white tennis shoes. The fact they were sectarian murderers, serial rapists, kidnappers, and church burners was kept out of the US nightly-news. However, their war crimes were noticed and the atrocities they committed have been documented.
The FSA was forced to call upon their brothers in arms, Al Qaeda, who came pouring through Turkey from the four corners of the globe. The FSA became just a name, with no hold on the ground in Syria, as the various radical groups occupied the areas, and the FSA was finally cut off entirely by President Trump. At that point, they went over the border to Turkey and the Turkish government formally adopted them as a Muslim Brotherhood armed militia. President Erdogan became their supporter and protector, and he knew there would be a day when he needed an armed militia, who were vicious, blood-thirsty and expendable.
Recent videos have been posted by the Erdogan backed FSA in northeast Syria, as they torture, maim and kill men and women who they call “infidels”. The fact that most of the people they have killed are Sunni Muslims like themselves doesn’t register with their ideology, which is not based on a religion or a sect, but has been described by experts as a “Death Cult”. The FSA has consistently acted as sectarian serial murderers from 2011 on the Obama payroll, to 2019 on the Erdogan payroll.
“Many people fled because they’re very concerned about these Turkish-supported Syrian opposition forces,” James Jeffrey, US special envoy for Syria, told Congress. “We’d say that Turkey-supported Syrian opposition forces who were under general Turkish command, at least in one instance did carry out war crimes.”
Turkey has been supporting terrorists in Syria since 2011. “I ran the ISIS [Islamic State group] campaign – 40,000 foreign fighters, jihadists from 110 countries around the world, all came into Syria to fight in that war and they all came through Turkey,” Brett McGurk, former US President Special Envoy in the coalition against IS, told CNN last month.