SYRIA: Buried in the US-Turkey ‘Ceasefire’ Deal Are More Seeds of Instability


from 21st Century Wire:

Yesterday, the US and Turkey reached a supposed ‘ceasefire’ arrangement which will temporarily halt a Turkish military incursion and attack on Kurdish forces in Syria. The deal was apparently finalised after a face-to-face meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US Vice President Mike Pence. While this engineered “pause” in fighting offers a temporary calm, the situation remains tense and fraught with endemic conditions that could lead a resumption of hostilities. Those conditions include the ulterior agendas of Turkey and the US which are sure to antagonise Damascus and its allies going forward. Reading between the lines, this latest US-brokered ‘peace plan’ still leaves the door open for long-range US regime change plans for Syria. 

The new agreement calls for a 120 hour “pause” in Turkish ‘anti-terror’ operations, enough time for US-backed SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) Kurdish-led forces to withdraw from the 20 mile-wide buffer area or ‘safe zone’ located inside Syria, along its northern border with Turkey. In return for a cessation of fighting, Washington has promised to repeal any economic sanctions imposed on Turkey.

While SDF General General Mazloum Abdi has tentatively agreed to the terms of this deal, it was not received warmly by all Kurdish factions. Kurdish PYD spokesman Salih Muslim said“We will not accept the occupation of northern Syria, and we must know the details of the agreement between Pence and Erdogan.”

Turkish officials remain firm in treating the SDF as a terrorist entity. The group is mainly composed of Kurdish YPG militants who also share membership and affiliations with the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party), itself a proscribed terrorist organisation by US, UK and EU governments.

Meanwhile, as part of its own security agreement reached earlier this week between Damascus and Kurdish factions, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) took control of the border town of Ayn al Arab (Kobane). In addition to SAA forces being moved into key positions along the northern region, Russian military police have also taken over formerly held US posts around the Syria northern city of Manbij, providing a buffer designed to separate Turkish forces, and SAA and Kurdish forces in the area.

‘Tough Love’

After coming under considerable political heat at home for initially pulling US troops out of northeastern Syria, President Donald Trump claims to have coerced Turkey with some “tough love,” before hailing his administration’s ‘high-level diplomacy’ as the deciding factor in securing a peaceful outcome for the region, as he tweeted out: “This is a great day for civilization. I am proud of the United States for sticking by me in following a necessary, but somewhat unconventional, path. People have been trying to make this “Deal” for many years. Millions of lives will be saved. Congratulations to ALL!” 

Things were not looking so certain 48 hours ago, as the final negotiations were preceded by this rather flippant letter from the White House to President Erdogan:

When asked about keeping up with Trump’s various and sundry communications, Erdogan told Turkish media that his office had given up monitoring Trump’s Twitter feed, saying that, “When we take a look at Mr Trump’s Twitter posts, we can no longer follow them … We cannot keep track.”

While this deal may seem positive in terms of halting hostilities, beyond the platitudes, and upon much closer examination, we can see the visible fingerprints of the Pentagon and the CIA at work. It’s worth noting that the two men running point on this operation are the President’s deep state handlers, Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo, both sent to Turkey to secure American interests in Syria.

Here the US continues its three-pronged approach to destabilising and ultimately destroying the modern Syrian state…

‘Take the Oil’

Remember campaign Trump’s infamous adage, “Take the oil!”?  Unfortunately, this blunt policy prescription still applies here.

Priority number one for Washington and its allies is to prevent Damascus from retaking its oil fields located north of the Euphrates River, around the eastern city of Deir Ezzor. After ISIS relinquished control of them in 2016, the SDF, backed by US troops, took control Syria’s main oil fields, including Al-Omar, Tanak, Jafra, as well as the Rmeilan field further north in Hassakeh province. Not surprisingly, according to Syrian media reports, the US military is not withdrawing its assets from around Syria’s oil and gas fields because of the supposed presence of ‘Iranian forces’ said to be stationed near the eastern border region.  Al Masdar News notes that the “[t]wo largest military bases in Syria are in eastern Syria near some of the country’s largest oil fields like Al-‘Umar …. Damascus has wanted the Al-‘Umar and Conoco oil fields to be returned to their government; however, with the U.S.’ large military presence in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor, they have found themselves blocked from these critical petrol supplies.”

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