By Ceyhun Bozkurt*
Due to the earthquake, which has been tearing at all of our hearts, we have focused on the cities hit by the disaster and the search and rescue and relief activities there for a long time. The destruction is huge. Our pain and anger are great… We will talk and write about it all.
However, when we look at the events, we notice that there are interesting developments in northern Syria, where our eyes were focused on before the great disaster we experienced. When we saw the developments and American-centered analyses that I will convey in the following lines, we inevitably wondered whether our so-called ally, taking advantage of the great disaster we experienced, was trying once again to provide space to the PYD terrorist organization.
The date is February 7, 2023…
US Central Forces (CENTCOM) Commander Erik Kurilla paid a visit to the Iraqi capital Baghdad. Kurilla met with Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Sudani and Iraqi Joint Operations Commander Lieutenant General Qais Al-Muhammadawi Al-Abbasi in Baghdad. He also met with the commanders of the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, established against ISIS. In a statement released after his meetings, Kurilla said the following about the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria: “This short visit clarified the progress we continue to make in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria and the work ahead of us. Together with our partners in the Syrian Democratic Forces (i.e. the PYD-YPG terrorist organization – SDF), we continue to pressure ISIS in Syria”.
Kurilla also said that regionally ISIS has been defeated but remains a threat.
On the same day, elements of the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (i.e. the US and its allies, including PYD terrorists) in northern Syria conducted ground and air exercises in the Deir Ez-Zor and Ras al-Ayn regions. The Deir ez-Zor region is prominent in the fight against Iran. The Ras al-Ain region was cleared of terrorism as part of Operation Peace Spring. It is noteworthy that one of the two places, where the exercise took place is near Türkiye’s counter-terrorism operation zone. In the statement, the objectives of the exercise were announced as controlling weapon systems, seeing the adequacy of personnel/elements and maintaining readiness.
Military drills as a message to Türkiye
The same force, in turn, conducted the following military drills, also close to Türkiye’s counter-terrorism operation zones:
– February 8: Ground operation exercise using 120 mm mortars near Derbesiye, just across Kızıltepe.
– February 11: Air and ground operation drills in or near Ras al-Ayn areas.
– February 21: Ground operations exercise in or near the Ras al-Ayn area to check weapon systems, to see the proficiency of personnel/elements, and to maintain readiness.
The US force in Syria seems to have increased its current activities and military drills in order to keep its elements alive. Meanwhile, Türkiye is struggling with the earthquake disaster that hit 11 provinces.
On the other hand, elements of the PYD terrorist organization want to enter the Afrin region cleared of terrorists under the pretext of earthquake aid. Amberin Zaman, who constantly meets with terrorist leaders like Ferhat Abdi Şahin, code-named Şahin Cilo, and Salih Muslim, wrote an article in Al Monitor on February 13, again slandering Türkiye on behalf of the organization.
The US had already become more concerned about the operation against the PYD as a result of the opening of communication channels between Türkiye and Syria. It concentrated on Syria in the fall of last year, and with the motive of protecting PYD terrorists, it returned to some areas from which it had withdrawn in October 2019. Now it is trying to take advantage of the earthquake to gain additional positions.
The rattlesnake ISIS is active again
The ISIS terrorist organization is becoming again an important trump card for the US and the PYD terrorist organization. As ISIS increases its actions and mobility, so-called legitimate grounds for the US to stay in Syria will emerge. The recent increase in activity in this direction is noteworthy. In the last few weeks, the US-led coalition and the PYD/YPG terrorist organization under the SDF front organization have accelerated their joint operations against ISIS cells in northern and eastern Syria.
On February 16, the US and the terrorist organization conducted two operations. The first operation targeted Hamza al-Homsi, a senior Daesh leader. After al-Homsi was cornered in his hideout in Deir ez-Zor, he triggered an explosion and killed himself. Four US soldiers were wounded in the explosion.
The second operation eliminated the leader of one of the terrorist organization’s assassination cells in the region.
Then, on February 18, an ISIS leader, known only by his pseudonym Batar, was captured in an operation in Deir ez-Zor.
In other words, the ISIS locksmith seems to be back in the field.
Efforts to create public opinion
In this context, efforts to build public opinion have also increased.
William Roebuck, former Deputy Special Representative of the Global Coalition Against ISIS, argued in his January 10 article that US troops should remain in Syria and Iraq. Roebuck, who criticized the article by Christopher Alkhoury, who was an advisor to the US Coalition Against ISIS between 2017-19, which we referred to in our column titled “Is the US withdrawing from Syria?” dated October 12, 2022 (See: https://www.superhaber.tv/abd-suriyeden-cekiliyor-mu-makale-420890 ), arguing that the US should withdraw from Syria, praising the terrorist organization PYD/YPG and seeing Turkey, which fights against terrorism, as an occupier, defends the following views:
– ISIS is slowly rebuilding in Syria (as it did in Iraq). The US military presence is critical to maintain pressure on the organization.
– If the US withdraws from Syria, the SDF’s struggle will end. – If the US withdraws from Syria, it would encourage a new Turkish invasion of northeastern Syria, seeing the SDF as part of a broader Kurdish national security threat. The SDF would likely collapse.
– Our presence also prevents Russia from consolidating its military mission in Syria. (For full details of the article see https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2023/01/keep-us-troops-syria/381642/)
William Roebuck, former Deputy Special Representative of the Global Coalition Against ISIS, defends these in a nutshell.
Michael Rubin, a registered Turcophobe and friend of terrorism/terrorists, described the PYD/YPG terrorists as “the most important ally of the United States” in an article published in the American Enterprise Institute and said: “The strategic interest of the United States should be to support and strengthen a ‘Kurdish autonomy’ in the region.” (See: https://gdh.digital/american-enterprise-institute-abd-turkiyenin-sinirinda-kurt-ozerkligini-desteklemeli-56338 )
If you go to an Internet search engine, you will find many articles, news (!) and analyses like these.
However, what the US fails to calculate is that Türkiye, even in the face of this catastrophe, will always find the strength, wisdom and allies to do what is necessary for its own security.
* Turkish journalist
This artcile was previously published in Turkish on superhaber.tv here, translation by UWI.