Rod Reuven Dovid Bryant and Jerry Gordon bring back Dilliman Abdulkader, a Kurdish policy expert. He is director of external relations at Allegiance Strategies, a Washington, DC -based public affairs consulting firm. Abdulkader’s family fled from Kirkuk, Iraq during the Gulf War and spent seven years as a child in the Al-Hol refugee camp in northeastern Syria now filled with 70,000 ISIS fighters and families. Abdulkader said Erdogan’s Turkish Armed Forces unleased a jihadist terror war using former Al Qaeda, Al Nusra and ISIS fighters to ethnically cleanse Kurds from their ancestral homeland in northeastern Syria. He noted Friday preaching in Turkish Mosques of the Quranic Mohammedan Army verses promoting jihad against Kurds, Jews, Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities. Abdulkader noted that Pakistan and Hamas support Erdogan’s terror war against the Syrian Kurds. The irony is Turkey is a NATO partner committing this jihadist terror war in Syria. The Turkish attack on October 9th followed a phone call on October 6th with President Trump who acceded to Erdogan’s demands for withdrawal of US special operators at the border. Abdulkader believes that President Trump was “duped” during that call. Erdogan already had a security arrangement acceptable to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Force with joint US patrols, and removal of border barriers. The model for this jihad terror campaign was the Turkish Operation Olive Branch in early 2018 that overran the Kurdish enclave in Afrin in Northwest Syria with 1.5 million people terrorizing and Islamizing the population. These jihadists, rebranded as the Syrian National Army, were originally members of the Free Syrian Army trained and equipped by the CIA. They were used by Erdogan in Idlib province in Syria. The Turkish-backed jihadists have committed documented war crimes against Kurdish civilians. They have videoed the execution and beheading of prisoners, that in one example included a 35-year-old woman Kurdish politician. Many children have been maimed by random Turkish artillery bombardments. Abdulkader noted that upwards of 200,000 people have been internally displaced during the first week creating a massive humanitarian crisis. The only realistic option for many fleeing the conflict is Iraqi Kurdistan, which is united in support of Syrian Kurds. Abdulkader revealed Turkish Armed Forces, a NATO partner bombarding within 100 meters from a US special operator camp located in Kobani. The Turkish forces also bombed ISIS prison camps guarded by Kurdish forces, freeing detained fighters. Further, there are indications that Iran may be poised to takeover oil resources in eastern Syria. Abdulkader noted that without air support and heavy weapons, the SDF has adopted tactics including use of tunnels to stymie the advance of Turkish and jihadist troops to less than 3 to 5 kilometers. Their original goal for the “safe zone” was 30 kilometers. The main position lost was Manbij, a largely Arab town, which was handed over to Assad forces. It now flies a Russian flag. He noted the last-minute deal with Assad that SDF commander, General Mazloum Kobani said he who would rather have the ‘leverage’ of Syrian Forces on the border. This could signal the end of the tacit agreement with the Russians and Assad about autonomy and defense of the Kurdish homeland. As a result, Assad now controls 65% of Syria. Abdulkader thinks President Trump’s proposed sanctions are not as tough as those in proposed bi- partisan legislation co-sponsored by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Chris Van Holen (D-MD). The President has dispatched Vice President Pence and team to Ankara seeking a possible withdrawal and cease fire. Abdulkader thinks it would be in Israel’s long-term interest to support Kurdish interests in northeastern Syria. He suggests Israel reduce exports to Turkey akin to EU arms embargoes. He contends that the US presence on the ground while symbolic is necessary to preserve the gains of Kurds and other religious minorities to stabilize the area. The alternative facing the US is the resurgence of ISIS that cost 11,000 Syrian Kurdish lives to defeat the Caliphate. Meanwhile, Russia has gained ground in the region, as evidenced by meetings with Saudi Arabia and the UAE concerned over US withdrawal from the region.
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