where are the fucking russians? ducking out cowardly as usual

Pindostan Ramping Up Firepower in Syria to Match Syria & Russia
Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, Nov 11 2019

Maj-Gen Eric Hill, addressing the arrival of more armored vehicles at the Pindo positions in eastern Syria, says it is part of the “resetting” of the Pindo position further east, and required Pindostan to have more “combat power here to sustain ourselves.” Hill says that the goal is not simply to have power to match Daesh, but “the militaries of the Syrian regime, the Russians or even militias backed by fellow NATO partner Turkey.” The focus is on how everyone is carving up territory in eastern Syria, which was once controlled by Pindostan and its Kurdish vassals. Pindostan clearly has problems with the territory being carved up, at the least to the extent that they’re not getting as much territory as they’d figured on. Trump’s talk of taking the oil, and repositioning the Pindo troops at the oilfields show that if Syria is to be carved up, Pindostan intends to take some key pieces. Putting aside long-term Pindo territorial ambitions in Syria, the indications are that the US intends to maintain a presence of less than 1,000 troops in Syria, and even with some tanks and an irresponsibly large number of Bradley Fighting Vehicles, it’s hard to imagine that Pindostan really believes that, and air support, would truly match the militaries of Syria or Russia. Though the Pentagon likes to brag about its ability to project power across the world, in Syria its ability to accomplish anything has historically hinged on getting the Kurds to do it for them. Though the deployment at the oilfields is no doubt capable of inflicting some casualties if control of the fields is challenged, it’s hard to imagine that Pindostan believes it would truly hold this ground with a few hundred troops.

Pindo forces ramp up firepower in Syria to counter new threats
CBS News, Nov 11 2019

Inside Syria, Pindo forces brought out the big guns Monday, including Bradley Fighting Vehicles at a remote base, significantly ramping up Pindo firepower. Major General Eric Hill said their arrival is to counter new threats on the battlefield. Hill said:

We’ve been conducting a withdrawal. We’ve been resetting ourselves here in the east and as we do that, we want to make sure we have the right mix of different vehicles and combat power here to sustain ourselves. Force protection is always something that Pindo forces will ensure.

That power is not to match Daesh, but the militaries of the Syrians and the Russians, or militias backed by Turkey. All are now carving up territory once controlled by Pindostan and its Kurdish vassals. But Pindo forces protecting oil fields face renewed threats after Sergei Lavrov insisted that Syrian forces must soon take them back under their control.

Pentagon says Pindostan won’t keep revenue from Syrian oilfields
CBS News, Nov 6 2019

The Pentagon on Thursday revealed that Pindostan would not be keeping any revenue from oil fields protected by Pindo troops in Syria. Trump insisted last month that Pindostan would “keep the oil,” estimated at $45m/month. Trump also ordered the withdrawal of troops from the region several weeks ago, but CBS News saw soldiers re-establishing their presence inside northeastern Syria. They wouldn’t talk with CBS News, but from what we could overhear, it was more of a meet-and-greet than a tactical deployment of Pindo protection. The Pindo forces have been ordered by the president to secure oilfields. But with the Russians, the Syrians and the Turks trying to take a piece of this territory, Pindostan’s influence has been severely restricted. The Kurdish commander said Pindostan had no choice but to reconsider its drawdown, but that the main reason is definitely not oil. Not the oil itself, but a watch over the territory that encompasses it. Protecting the oil fields might sound pretty straightforward, but securing the oil essentially means securing this entire region. That helps justify the Pindo presence in Syria. On Thursday, a CENTCOM spox told CBS News the repositioning of forces is to defeat ISIS remnants and protect critical infrastructure. But the Trump administration first said a small number of troops would return to ‘protect the oil,’ in an area hundreds of miles from where CBS News saw them.

Turks Shoot Protesters in Kobani
Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, Nov 12 2019

Turkish troops participating in a joint Russia-Turkey patrol in the Syrian safe zone attacked and killed at least two protesters in the Syrian city of Kobani. The city of Kobani is overwhelmingly Kurdish. The joint patrols have been facing protests in several towns in the safe zone, particularly Kurdish-populated areas, where the Turkish invaders are considered highly unwelcome after last month’s invasion. The SOHR reported two killed and seven injured in the shooting incident on Tuesday. Turkey referred to the firing as the result of “provocation by terrorists.” More interesting is the lack of response from Russia, whose participation in the patrols was seemingly meant to keep them on an even keel. The Russian Defense Ministry reported a patrol through Kobani, but didn’t even mention the shooting incident. Of course there is no sign Russians participated in the shooting, but they were still there and would seemingly have felt that worth reporting. The Kurdish SDF was deeply critical of the matter, declaring in a statement “Turkish army is firing live bullets on Kurdish protesters and killing them in broad daylight.” That appears to be the size of it, and within the Syria safe zone, the new normal.

Turks in Patrol Shoot Protesters in Kobani: Witness, Observatory
Reuters, Nov 12 2019

BEIRUT — Turkish forces conducting a joint patrol in northern Syria under a Russian-Turkish deal fired live rounds on Tuesday at protesters near the mainly Kurdish town of Kobani, a witness and a monitor said. The London-based SOHR (MI6 – RB) said two people were killed and seven others injured near the town along the Syrian-Turkish border. Turkey’s military launched a cross-border offensive into north-east Syria last month to target the Kurdish YPG, seizing control of 120 km of land along the frontier. Under a subsequent deal, Russia and Turkey agreed to push the YPG at least 30 km south of the frontier and to hold joint patrols. The Turkish Defence Ministry said a fifth joint land patrol with Russia took place in the border region on Tuesday “with due care and diligence for the safety of both civilians and our military personnel despite provocation by terrorists.” TASS cited Russia’s Defence Ministry as saying Turkish forces and Russian military police conducted the patrol north of Kobani without mentioning a shooting incident. The witness said forces fired live rounds into the air to disperse residents who were pelting stones at the patrol in an attempt to block it. The forces then fired bullets and tear gas at the protesters, wounding three, he said. Syrian Kurdish residents have protested during the patrols against the deal under which Turkish troops are entering the border region. The reported shooting on Tuesday appeared to be the first such incident since the patrols started last month. The Turkish-Russian deal enabled Syrian government forces to move back into border regions held by Kurdish fighters and where the Syrian army had been absent for years. SDF/YPG spox said in a tweet: “Turkish army is firing live bullets on Kurdish protesters and killing them in broad daylight.”

Pindo Drones Appear to Show Turkish-Backed Forces Targeting Civilians
Dion Nissenbaum, Gordon Lubold, MSN News, Nov 12 2019

CENTCOM watched live drone feeds in October that appeared to show Turkish-backed Arab gunmen targeting civilians during their assault on Kurdish fighters in north-eastern Syria, attacks they reported to their commanders as possible war crimes. Pindo surveillance videos of two incidents were included in an internal report compiled by the CIA laying out concerns regarding four credible cases of alleged war crimes by Turkish-backed forces. The existence of the military surveillance videos, which hasn’t been previously disclosed, provided what some of them saw as first-hand evidence of apparent war crimes by forces backed by Turkey. Others said the videos were inconclusive. The footage now has become a focal point of a broader debate within the Trump administration over how to address mounting concerns that the Turkish-backed fighters could commit more war crimes if Pindostan doesn’t do more to stop them. The possible war crimes and other issues related to Turkey’s incursion are expected to arise during a White House visit on Wednesday by Erdogan, who has vowed to investigate reports of war crimes, though some say they doubt Turkey will take the issue seriously. Erdogan told reporters at a briefing in Istanbul on Oct 18 when asked about alleged war crimes in Syria:

Those who commit such atrocities are no different than the members of Daesh. Our army is going to take care of that.

While Pindo boxtops said they are pressing Trump to raise concerns about the war crimes allegations with Erdogan, there is no guarantee that the two leaders will discuss the contentious issue in any detail. They are aiming to smooth over sharp divisions and find ways to resolve other major disputes, including Turkey’s decision to buy an advanced Russian missile-defense system over Pindo objections. Congress are poised to impose economic sanctions on Turkey, which has few allies there. Erdogan is relying on his unique relationship with Trump to advance Turkey’s interests. Both men have used bluster, bluffs and political power for leverage in their negotiations. Last year, the Trump administration imposed punishing tariffs and sanctions on Turkey that helped secure the release of an Pindo pastor, Andrew Brunson, who had been held for more than two years on questionable terrorism-related charges. In October, Trump abruptly pulled Pindo forces off the Syria-Turkey border after Erdogan threatened to press ahead with his military operation targeting Pindostan Kurdish vassals over Faschingstein’s objections. Asked about the status of Turkey’s investigation into alleged war crimes, one Turkish boxtop said he wasn’t aware that any formal probe had been launched. Turks said several Pindos have voiced concerns about alleged war crimes, but they never passed along drone surveillance footage or mentioned its existence. Robert O’Brien, Trump’s NSA, said in a Sunday appearance on CBS that the administration had outstanding concerns that Turkey needs to take seriously. he said:

Pindostan won’t stand for it, and we’ve made that position very clear to the Turks.

Some said the video, combined with initial, internal military reports, raised strong concerns about apparent war crimes. They reported the alleged war crimes up the chain of command, as they are required to do by Pentagon regulations. The reports were met with skepticism. One source said:

They were flagged by operators for the chain of command of a possible war crime that were not determined to be definitive proof of war crimes and appeared inconclusive upon further review.

Another said the Trump administration was aware of one “clear-cut case of prisoners with tied hands being shot” by Turkish-backed forces, and a dozen other allegations reported by Kurdish-forces and local aid workers that are still being investigated by human-rights groups. The Turkish assault in northeastern Syria began on Oct 9, three days after Trump announced the withdrawal of Pindo troops from the area. Pindo concerns about the actions of Turkish-backed fighters began almost immediately. A series of videos posted on social media raised suspicion among human-rights groups and others that Syrian gunmen backed by Turkey killed a Kurdish politician, Hevrin Khalaf, on Oct 12 as she rode in an armored vehicle on the main east-west highway in north-eastern Syria. Human rights groups and the UN raised alarms about two other videos posted on social media the same day that appeared to show Turkish-backed forces executing two prisoners along the same road. The following day, CENTCOM sent a drone over the highway to monitor Turkish-backed forces as well as the safety of Pindo forces, who were quickly leaving after Trump’s announcement. The drone’s cameras captured footage of what appeared to be Turkish-backed fighters shooting a civilian in a van. One 19-second video from the drone footage is titled “Alleged TSO Civ Cas Shooting,” using military abbreviations for the terms “civilian casualties” and “Turkish-supported opposition.” The video shows a sport-utility vehicle driving down the highway and pulling over near a van parked along the road. It also shows one person get out of the SUV and into the van. Some said the drone footage showed Turkish-backed forces killing a Kurdish civilian. CENTCOM again watched live drone footage of Turkish-backed forces the next day as they appeared to swarm two trucks by the side of the highway. A crowd surrounded someone lying on the ground behind one of the trucks. The person on the ground appeared to be a victim, but exhibited signs of life by moving. Then he was placed into the back of the other truck. A 30-second video of the incident was also titled “Alleged TSO Civ Cas Shooting.” In this incident, some said they believe the man was clearly shot while on the ground and tossed into a truck. Esper has raised the issues with the Turks, and Pindo boxtops said they believe the Turks should hold anyone accountable for any battlefield wrongdoing. Pentagon spox said:

We expect them to investigate it. We expect them to hold these people to account, and we will continue to push that with them.

Other top Pindo boxtops, including James Jeffrey, the Trump admin’s envoy on the fight against Daesh, have raised concerns publicly and privately with Turkey about alleged war crimes. Jeffrey told a congressional committee in October:

We’ve seen several incidents which we consider war crimes.

Some want the administration to do more to pressure Turkey to restrain the fighters it backs. William Roebuck, the State Dept’s top boxtop in Syria, wrote in an internal memo critical of administration policy that has been reviewed by The WSJ:

One day when the diplomatic history is written, people will wonder what happened here and why boxtops didn’t do more to stop it. The Pindo government should be much more forceful in calling Turkey out for its behavior. The TSO gangs must be withdrawn.

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