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Tensions mounting in Syria, Turkey terrorizing Kurds

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Just because the Syrian Civil War has been won, does not mean that it’s over. The Liberation of Aleppo paired with the Fall of the Islamic State is enough grounds for the Assad regime to clinch victory. While ISIS still troubles the desert, HTS, the latest rebranding of Al-Qaeda holds a dwindling amount of territory in Syria’s northeast. Without a overly significant ISIS presence, the Syrian Arab Army and its allies have focused their attention on HTS territory as well as terrorist held territory in the suburbs of Damascus. HTS, while not officially listed as a foreign terror organization, is the evolved version of the al-Nursa Front which is. This organization may have a more active ally in Turkey. After several months of deescalating, tensions are mounting in Syria.

Turkey has already seized territory in Syria as apart of Operation Euphrates Shield using the unofficial terror organization, the FSA (Free Syrian Army), as a front for doing so. Turkey has also been undergoing operations in North Idlib and West Aleppo, territory held by the HTS. Now Turkey has commenced Operation Olive Branch, a misleading name to put it bluntly. The primary target of Operation Olive Branch is the YPG. The YPG is a Kurdish paramilitary that was a large contributor to dismantling the Islamic State’s presence in the country. They are the primary forces in control of the Afrin region in Syria. On January 19th, Turkey launched Operation Olive branch after mounting forces along the region’s border. What began as bombings and shelling escalated into mini land grabs along Afrin’s border. Turkey has also upped its propaganda game.

If this seems confusing allow this excerpt from TRTWorld to clear things up.

TRTWorld: The strategy behind Operation Olive Branch

Afrin, in northwest Syria bordering Turkey, used to be a city with a population of 80,000. Taking advantage of the chaos caused by the civil war in Syria, the YPG took control of it in 2012. During the years of civil war, since there are no clashes in Afrin, its population increased up to 300,000. And finally, after the evacuation of Aleppo in December 2016, people fled to Afrin, increasing the population to around 750,000. Around 60 percent is Arabs, five percent on the Turkish border in the northwest of the city is Turkmen, and the rest are Kurds. Hundreds of its original residents, who could flee the YPG after 2012, are in Turkey.

Afrin is located between two strategic Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA)-held areas: Azaz and Idlib. The two FSA commanders who talked to TRT World, tell of the geographical importance of Afrin in these words: We need to connect two opposition areas to support each other. But using the road in Turkey along the border from Kilis to Reyhanlı takes five hours. If we drive directly from Azaz to Idlib through Tel Rifat, it would only take less than two hours.

That makes the Tel Rifat front of upmost importance to the operation.

Turkey is trying to win support for its jihadists put shifting the majority Arabs in the Afrin region against the Kurdish forces in control of the region. They are also trying to connect to of their FSA operations in two provinces. Since this operation has been launched, there are two losers: the SAA and the YPG. The SAA is having its territorial integrity violated by the uninvited Turkish forces and the YPG, and by extension Kurds, are the primary target and are at a apparent military disadvantage of the NATO power.

TSK Engaging SAA

Turkish forces have deployed a convoy featuring armored vehicles into Syria to “facilitate a deescalation zone” but is also being escorted by HTS terrorists forces.

Along the way, Russian and Syrian forces have targeted the convoy’s path. Tensions escalated to direct shelling between SAA and TSK. Meanwhile Russia is trying to balance its relationship with the Turkish regime. As of now the SAA and the Turkish controlled area north of Aleppo have held a peaceful border as Turkey just mainly wants to target Kurds. Russia and Syria have deescalated Turkish targeting to the east by taking Kurdish militias under their wing. Turkey has mostly been non-confrontational with pro-Assad forces, but this engagement could destabilize the other Turkish controlled regions in Syria.

US Response

The US has held a very weak response to Turkey’s newest rounds of aggression. President Trump and Ergodan has a phone call on the 24th over the Operation, but little has been done by Americans to combat the latest threat to stability. In fact, YPG fighters are concerned about their continued US support. Turkey could eventually pose a threat to US forces in the country. The US has forces in the Manbij region of Syria which is east of Turkish zone captured during Euphrates Shield. After Turkey is done attacking Kurds in Afrin, they could move east towards Iraq into Manbij. The forces their have stated their right to self defense against any incoming attack which makes the possibility of an intra-NATO skirmish all that more likely.

Takeaway

Kurds have reason to worry as Turkey has a brutal history of exterminating ethnicities they don’t like and a continued success at getting others not to address their atrocities. The Turkish regime is becoming increasingly Islamic and totalitarian. Turkey’s tactics appear to be performing land grabs extending to Iraq, but the implications of its Operation on the Syrian Civil War are more clouded. So whether this is muscle flexing against a Shia power or a more nefarious jihadist mission has yet to be determined. This could destabilize the entire country that has already spent several years in war and was just seeing the light at the end. Before this, the HTS was doomed to lose, paving the way for more formal peace talks. But now they have some new life with Operation Olive Branch.

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Democrats

Ilhan Omar compares Israel blocking entry to South African apartheid

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Ilhan Omar compares Israel blocking entry to South African apartheid

Anti-Semitic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar did what she normally does. She played the race card, or more specifically, the Islamophobia card against Israel. To do this, she compared Israel’s blocking of her and Representative Rashida Tlaib to the apartheid blocking of a black Congressman by South Africa 44-years ago.

There are several holes in this narrative. First, her claims that only she and Tlaib were blocked because they are Muslim and the rest of those traveling with them were not blocked is a bald-faced lie that takes advantage of how the block was reported. The news was that the two Congresswomen were blocked, but in reality the trip itself was denied by the Israeli government. That means everyone traveling with them, not just the two Congresswomen, were not allowed entry based on the itinerary they presented to the Israeli government.

Second, this trip, which they claimed was to “Palestine” and included an itinerary that had them exclusively visiting anti-Israel factions, was singled out. None of the potential travelers were blocked from entry, as Israel demonstrated this morning when they allowed Tlaib to enter to see her 90-year-old grandmother in the West Bank. But Tlaib, of course, declined her own request because it was a bluff, a political stunt.

Third, the Representatives’ continued attacks on Israel as well as their support for BDS and Hamas is demonstrably a threat to the nation of Israel. This is unambiguous and has not even been denied by the Congresswomen because they know it to be true. In fact, they’re proud of their opposition to Israel’s right to exist.

If you can find a time when Ilhan Omar isn’t being disingenuous or blatantly lying, it’s only because she isn’t speaking at that moment. Her hatred for Israel and America are clear. She must be voted out in 2020.

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Democrats

Rashida Tlaib tried, failed to use her grandmother to score political points against Israel

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Rashida Tlaib tried failed to use her grandmother to score political points against Israel

This story is getting way more attention than it deserves, but that’s the news cycle when “The Squad” makes moves. Whether it’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, or Rashida Tlaib causing a big fuss, legacy media jumps to their defense faster than they did with President Obama. This time, it’s Tlaib who tried to double-down on the news cycle, but Israel called her bluff.

After being blocked from coming to Israel to spread her hateful views against the Jewish state, Tlaib tried to keep the spotlight on Israel by switching tactics and asking for a humanitarian pass so she could visit her ailing 90-year-old grandmother in the West Bank. Her letter was cordial and her request was quickly approved by the Israeli government. But her intention wasn’t to actually visit her grandmother. It was a bluff. She wanted to get rejected again so she could use it as further evidence of Israel’s “racism” and “oppression” against the Palestinian people.

So, she’s not going. She’s spinning it as a political statement against Israel, as she does so natural in nearly all of her actions. But intelligent people who don’t listen like sheep to the legacy media talking heads are realizing how disingenuous her actions have become (and, to be fair, have always been).

As Guy Benson noted:

Tlaib Bumbles Into Revealing Her Undeniable Priority: Bigoted Anti-Israel Propaganda

In response, Israel’s Interior Minister marveled, “I authorized this humanitarian trip, but it turns out that it was a provocation to embarrass Israel. Her hatred for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother.”  That just about sums it up.  Her primary goal — always — was to embarrass and undermine the world’s lone Jewish state.  Her bigotry supersedes her professed love for her own flesh and blood.  I called Omar and Tlaib “clumsy, deeply unpopular stooges,” suggesting that any agitation in which they’d engage while in Israel would likely backfire and harm their own cause.  Right on cue, Tlaib managed to turn a partial PR victory into a revealing double defeat in less than 24 hours.  Israel is fortunate to have such moronic adversaries and enemies:

This won’t be treated as a loss for or a lie by Tlaib. One of the biggest reasons “The Squad” hasn’t crumbled under the weight of their own hypocrisy is because legacy media gives them cover. But conservatives know the truth. She’s a fraud.

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Foreign Affairs

Israel grants Tlaib West Bank visit on humanitarian grounds

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Israel grants Tlaib West Bank visit on humanitarian grounds

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s interior minister said Friday he has received and granted a request by Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib to enter the Israeli-occupied West Bank on humanitarian grounds.

Tlaib, who is of Palestinian origin, asked to visit her 90-year-old grandmother in the West Bank, Minister Aryeh Deri said in a statement.

Deri’s office published what it said was Tlaib’s written request, on congressional stationary. In the letter, Tlaib said she would respect any restrictions and “not promote boycotts” during her visit.

The minister’s decision marked yet another reversal concerning the high-profile West Bank tour that had been planned by Tlaib and fellow Democrat, Rep. Ilhan Omar.

On Thursday, Israel had announced it was barring the two from entry — an unprecedented move targeting members of the U.S. Congress. Israel’s decision came after President Donald Trump said in a tweet it would show “weakness” to allow in the two Democrats who have been sharply critical of him and of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.

Tlaib and Omar had planned to visit Jerusalem and several West Bank cities, starting this weekend. Both are known as supporters of “boycott, divestment and sanctions,” or BDS, a Palestinian-led global movement. Israel alleges that BDS targets Israel’s very existence, while the movement’s supporters say it is intended as leverage to end more than half a century of Israeli military rule over Palestinians.

Israel’s decision to ban the two had sparked widespread criticism, including from Israeli and Jewish organization who said it was an affront to U.S. institutions to bar the entry of members of Congress.

Deri said Friday he granted a subsequent request by Tlaib to visit the West Bank on humanitarian grounds. In her letter, Tlaib writes that this could be her last chance to see her grandmother.

Deri’s office said in a statement that he “decided to allow her entry to Israel and hopes she will stand by her commitment and that the visit will be for humanitarian needs only.”

Tlaib’s apparent pledge to conduct the visit in line with restrictions imposed by Israel was bound to anger Palestinians who had hoped the congressional tour would highly their plight.

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