On November 5, Russian and Turkish forces carried out a second join patrol in northern Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry’s Zvezda TV reported.
The patrol took place in the area near the border town of Kobani. In particular, Russian and Turkish troops visited the village of Alishar, where locals threw stones and garbage at Turkish vehicles.
Zvezda TV noted that the patrol included 50 Russian and Turkish personnel and at least 8 units of military equipment (Tigr and Kipri armoured vehicles). The patrol length is 160km.
During the November 5 Russian-Turkish joint patrol in northern Syria, supporters of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) blocked vehicles near the border town of Kobani.
It remains unclear what SDF-linked elements were seeking by protesting against the implementation of the ceasefire regime under the Turkish-Russian safe zone agreement. It is unlikely that they want the resumption of the Turkish military operation. Pro-Damascus sources suggested that at least some of them tried to provoke Turkish or Russian troops in an attempt to stage a provocation that can be used by the SDF leadership and its foreign backers in their own political games.
In any case, protesters apparently feel themselves very safe when Russian forces are near. It’s hard to imagine that such behavior would be possible if they feel a threat of forceful response to their actions.
Just to understand better: The Barzani family, his allies and the PKK
President of the Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani said on Tuesday that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) had previously warned Syrian Kurdish authorities to distance themselves from the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), adding that the PKK’s struggle for legitimacy in the area led to the Turkish invasion.
“Turkey’s problem in the beginning was not Kurds in Syria, it was the PKK. They were clear in saying one thing: ‘we cannot bear seeing the flag of the PKK on our borders with Syria,’” he told a crowd at a forum hosted by the Middle East Research Institute in Erbil.
“We have always tried to make our friends in Syria understand that [Turkey’s concerns] are a grave danger,” he added.
He continued by saying that the suffering of the Syrian Kurds under the Turkish incursion came as a result of PKK “policy” to gain legitimacy in Syria.
“The biggest problem was that the PKK tried to obtain its legitimacy at the expense of Syrian Kurds. What Kurds eventually suffered came as a result of the wrong policy they followed,” he added.
President Barzani added that the best possible solution to the current crisis in the north-east enclave, known as Rojava, is for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to engage in further dialogue with Damascus.
“Emotionally, there is no doubt that all of us, any Kurd, who sees what is happening in Syria and what Kurds are suffering there, is sad and want things to happen in a different way” Barzani said.
The Turkish Army and its Syrian proxies launched Operation Peace Spring against the SDF on October 9 after US forces withdrew from the area.
Ankara repeatedly threatened a military incursion to push the SDF away from the border and establish a “safe zone” up to 30 kilometers deep.
Ankara considers the YPG – the backbone of the SDF-to be the Syrian extension of the PKK, seen as a terrorist group in Turkey .
The YPG, although ideologically inspired by PKK founder Abdullah Ocalan, denies any links to the PKK, which is based in the Qandil Mountains of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
Kurds accuse Turkey of planning to carry out ethnic cleansing and demographic change, uprooting the Kurdish population from their homes, and pushing them away from the border to make way for refugees who come from other parts of Syria.
President Barzani added that he believes Kurds should not always criticize other governments for their silence or inaction, and that “we have to criticize ourselves” too.
“When something happens, we are used to immediately criticizing others. But we never criticize ourselves and see what factors triggered the issues to happen. If we see these mistakes in the first place, we can take future steps with caution,” he said.
The Kurdish leader revealed for the first time that he has spoken with General Mazloum Abdi, general commander of the SDF on the situation unfolding in northern Syria and added he informed Abdi of his request to Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov to facilitate talks between the SDF and Damascus.
The day before the Turkish incursion began on October 9, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was in Erbil where Kurdish leadership asked him to protect Kurds in northern Syria.
He added that Mazloum Abdi, commander-in-chief of the SDF, described the prospect of talks between the SDF and Damascus as “the right thing” to do.
The Kurdish president discussed other concerns over the Turkish attack, including mass displacement and the resurgence of ISIS.
“We host around two million Iraqi and Syrian refugees and IDPs. It has now reduced to 1.1 million. The population of the Kurdistan Region increased by 25 to 30 percent. The cost on the Kurdistan Region was around 1.5 billion dollars. It is a handsome amount of money on the Kurdistan Region,” the president said.
Just a little history
The August 31 Barzani’s betrayal: Occupation of Erbil with Saddam’s tanks
Kurdistan region,— 23 years ago the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) under the leadership of Massoud Barzani invaded Erbil (Hewlêr) city, the current capital of Iraqi Kurdistan region, with the tanks of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
Saddam Hussein, who killed 182 thousand Kurds in the “Anfal Campaign” entered Erbil with tanks, cannons and heavy weapons on 31 August 1996 in response to KDP’s invitation.
During that course, which the people of Iraqi Kurdistan refer to as the “August 31, betrayal”, KDP gave the Kurdish parliament building to Saddam’s army and it was used as headquarters.
PUK Leader Jalal Talabani stated that they would support the plan to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Talabani worked on a plan to dispatch his forces from the north to Erbil, to take over the city Kirkuk and isolate it from Mosul.
But as the USA was not truly interested in the plans of the opposition, Ahmet Chelebi stopped all preparations. However, after Jalal Talabani openly set an eye on Kirkuk city. Iraq’s oppositions concluded that after Kirkuk’s conquest they would go for Mosul as well. And with the fall of those two cities, they will regain the support of the USA.
In August Jalal Talabani, launched the operation to capture Kirkuk. The swift advance of the Peshmerga forces even baffled the CIA. But a crisis was in the making.
The General President of the KDP Massoud Barzani sent on 22 August a letter to Saddam Hussein, inviting him to invade Erbil.
Letter From Barzani To Saddam
In his letter Barzani called the murderer of the 182 000 Kurds Saddam Hussein “My President” and said: “My dear Mr. President, you have to find with your success and your mind a solution for Iran’s intervention into Iraq (…) We request and plead with Your Grace to command the Iraqi army to enter Erbil against the foreign powers who are causing threats and against the collaborating betrayal of Jalal Talabani.”
According to the agreement with Saddam Hussein “the Iraqi army would to help Barzani in his conquest of Erbil city, and Barzani would in return support Saddam Hussein in clamping down all Iraqi oppositions in South Kurdistan.”
After the Barzani-Saddam agreement was reached, the Iraqi army entered the city Erbil with 150 tanks and 30 thousand soldiers. Heavy clashes broke out as they approached the city. After the KDP forces captured 13 PUK peshmergas on the way to Erbil-Giwêr alive and shot them all dead, conflicts erupted in several regions, especially in the Ainkawa neighborhood. In total 450 people have been killed and 200 others injured.
Since the beginning, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan with leadership of its late Secretary-General Jalal Talabani took a realistic and farsighted track throughout the Iraqi and Kurdish political developments. The PUK leaders question the KDP labelling of them as traitors and seek explanation for the traitorous acts. For them, the real treason is falling into the trap of the foreign advisors all guided by and linked to the Israeli and American spying agencies.