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Soapy
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Jan 13 2016 17:29

This is the first I've heard of the SDF, where do they operate?

I was under the impression that the three main groups in Syria is the Assad regime, ISIS, and a combination of Jabhat-al Nusra Ahrar al Sham and other Islamist groups (supported by Turkey, US, and Saudis) styling themselves as the Awakening.

Flint
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Jan 13 2016 17:45

1. Yes. They always have.

2. the HPG is the armed wing of the PKK. What do all these acronyms mean?

3. Supposedly Bookchin, not Bakunin. Though I wouldn't be surprised if there was some Bakunin in their PKK/HPG cadre trainings. The largest expression of democratic confederalism in civil society and economics is in Rojava, but there are also efforts towards it Bakur--Turkey. Democratic Autonomy in Northern Kurdistan describes some of the efforts in Bakur; but the movement there is under a lot of repression from the state of Turkey. In Rojava, there is a dual power situation with the decaying elements of the Assad regime. The balance seems to have tipped with TEV-DEM/YPG having the greater share of control of the area and handling most of the aspects of civil society (such as education). See Introduction To The Political And Social Structures Of Democratic Autonomy In Rojava, Zanyar Omrani for a description of the councils in practice.

There is a lot of vague and contradictory information about how the economy is being organized.

Good news is that electricity from the Tishrin Dam is now available in Kobane.

Flint
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Jan 13 2016 17:45
Soapy wrote:
This is the first I've heard of the SDF, where do they operate?

Soapy, with all due respect, could you read some of my earlier posts in this very thread. I describe the formation of the SDF/HSD/QSD (and the YPG's role in it), as well as the formation of the Syrian Democratic Congress (MSD) and TEV-DEM/PYD's role in it.

SDF is basically YPG + Arab allies.

Soapy wrote:
where do they operate?

Everywhere the YPG and its allies operate. There have been two major offensives under the SDF banners--the first was the expansion southward Hasakah to capturing Al-Howl and pushing on towards Ash-Shaddadi. The second was pushing south from Afrin, crossing the Euphrates, taking the Tishrin dam and now pushing towards Manbij. Also, it is under the banner of the SDF that Jaysh al-Thuwar/Jabhat al-Akrad have been fighting against Jabhat al-Nusra and their allies over a string of villages east of Afrin and southwest of A'zaz.

I maintain this pretty detailed map.

Quote:
I was under the impression that the three main groups in Syria is the Assad regime, ISIS, and a combination of Jabhat-al Nusra Ahrar al Sham and other Islamist groups (supported by Turkey, US, and Saudis) styling themselves as the Awakening.

For armed factions, there have always been five: Assad Regime, ISIS, other Salafi Jihadists (Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar ash-Sham, and others), Free Syrian Army (secularists and not Salafi enough Islamists) and the Democratic Confederalists (YPG and its allies). TEV-DEM has been pushing its courtship of Arabs and Assyrians pretty hard and it has seemed to have gained momentum.

One problem is that their sensitivity to ethnic charges means delay in some of their socialist program, such as land reform. For example, there was a law proposed for TEV-DEM to take control/ownership of property abandoned by refugees--but some Assyrians opposed it on grounds that doing so would amount to ethnic cleansing. So the law was not passed.

The FSA is in decay. It seems like the FSA elements are now being split between the Salafi Jihadists and the Democratic Confederalists. In that area east of Afrin, different FSA groups are fighting each other along that split.

Flint
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Jan 13 2016 18:18

Groups in SDF/HSD/QSD:

  • YPG
  • YPJ
  • MFS
  • Jabhat Thuwwar al-Raqqa
  • Al-Sanadid Tribal Forces
  • Al-Shaitat Tribal Forces
  • Furat Jarabulus
  • Liwaa Siqur El-Badiye
  • Al-Tahrir Brigade
  • Euphrates Martyrs Battalion
  • Brigade Groups of Al-Jazira
  • Idlib Countryside Martyrs Brigade
  • Ayn Jalout Brigade
  • al-Hamzah Brigade
  • al-Qaqa Brigade
  • Ahrar al-Shamal Brigade
  • New Syrian Forces
  • Seljuk Brigade
  • Jaysh al-Thuwar

Jaysh al-Thuwar includes:

  • Northern Sun Battalion
  • Jabhat al-Akrad
  • 99th Infantry Brigade
  • Liwa al-Sultan Selim
  • Tajammu Thuwar Homs
  • Liwa Ahfad al-Othman
  • Harakat al-Fedayeen al-Thawriya
  • Liwa 313
  • Liwa Shuhadah al-Atareb
  • Liwa al-Salajiqah al-Turkmani
  • Martyr Yusuf al-Quzhul Brigade
  • Southern Storm Brigade
  • Eagles of the Sunnah Brigade
  • Truthful Promise Brigade
  • Fighters for Justice Brigade
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Jan 14 2016 13:52

Turkey: Car bomb by Kurdish rebels' at police station kills five

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/turkey-car-bomb-by-kurdish-rebels-at-police-station-kills-five-a6811276.html

Neither condemning or supporting, just thought it's relevant. Also why is there an apostrophe at the end of "rebels'"?

Flint
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Jan 14 2016 15:16
Soapy wrote:
Turkey: Car bomb by Kurdish rebels' at police station kills five

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/turkey-car-bomb-by-kurdish-rebels-at-police-station-kills-five-a6811276.html

Neither condemning or supporting, just thought it's relevant. "

Its actually a bigger deal than that.

Concurrent Attacks In 11 Points Across Turkey And Kurdistan


  • A suicide attack was carried out on the Çinar Police Headquarters in Amed (Diyarbakir).

  • A rocket attack on the Police Living Quarters in Çinar.

  • An attack on the Mardin Botas Police Staion.

  • A rocket attack on the Police Living Quarters in Silopi.

  • News of clashes and explosions in Van.

  • News of clashes in Amed's Sur district and missing special operations team members.

  • A raid on the Izmir Menemem Asirlik Police Station.

  • A bomb attack on the Haci Ahmet police point in Istanbul.

  • A bomb attack on an armoured vehicle on the Batman-Bismil road.

Quote:
The attacks come following a call by People's Defence Forces (HPG) Central Command leader Murat Karayilan to PKK guerrillas to "not wait for the spring" in retaliating against Turkish state attacks on Kurdish civilian areas.

This is a significant escalation in Turkey.

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Jan 14 2016 15:29

Must say that it plays right into Erdogan's hands. He ran on a platform of cracking down on the Kurds and now assuredly Turkey has a pretext to attack Kurdish groups with the extreme violence it is used to using. KRG probably encouraging attacks so that they can show themselves as the only protection against Turkish state violence.

Flint
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Jan 14 2016 18:02

Bakur

Quote:
the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan is engaged in a full-scale military campaign against ethnic Kurdish militants that has killed thousands, displaced hundreds of thousands and left parts of several large towns in ruins...

The Kurdish population under siege is not to be confused with that of northern Iraq or northern Syria, where Kurdish forces backed by the United States and other Western governments are fighting the Islamic State and carving out their own autonomous areas. The target of Mr. Erdogan’s offensive are Turkish citizens who live in the southeastern part of the country, where Kurds often are the majority ethnic group."

Mr. Erdogan's Offensive, Washington Post, January 10, 2016

23 soldiers resign from Turkish army in Şırnak, ANF News, January 13, 2016

More Than 1000 Academics Call For Peace Talks To Resume Between Turkey And PKK, Kurdish Question, January 11, 2016

Erdoğan To Academics Calling For Peace: You Are Traitors, Kurdish Question, January 12, 2016

Chomsky: Erdoğan Has Supported ISIS, Is Saying Anything Else Necessary?, Kurdish Question, January 13, 2016

Chomsky hits back at Erdoğan, accusing him of double standards on terrorism, The Guardian, January 14, 2016

Internationalist fighters in Rojava call on youth to join Bakur's resistance, ANF News, January 14, 2016

Rojava

Thoughts on Rojava: an interview with Janet Biehl, Zanyar Omrani, Roar Magazine, January 13, 2016

Euphrates Martyrs Battalion Officially Declares joining QSD (SDF), January 13, 2016.

Unit history of the Euphrates Martyrs Battalion that joined the SDF yesterday. They originated as a rebel group in and around the village of Qubbah., Hawar News, January 14, 2016

YPG opens military academy for Arabs in Tel Brak, Hawar News, January 13, 2016

Quote:
When I gave some lectures about Kurdish history at the Mesopotamia Academy (Qamishlo, district Jazira) in October 2015, several students afterwards put questions like "Why don't the democratic American and European governments help us more than they do now?", "Why are we with our democratic society not welcome in the West?" and "Is Russia aware of what is going on in the revolution of Rojava?".

Difficult questions to answer within half an hour. So I first had to explain that Syria as a state is an artificial construction, a former mandate made by the French in 1919 directly after World War I with no interests in the living conditions and political aspirations of the peoples within Syria's borders, but only in oil. And then that the Americans only guarantee a no fly zone above Bashur (Iraqi Kurdistan), because of their safeguarding the oil fields in the region and the offices of their twelve oil companies in Erbil, but not above Rojava, because their NATO ally Turkey wouldn't agree with such a policy, because in that case fewer Kurds could be killed in Rojava. In other words, that support from the West is not to be expected and that the population of Rojava should just rely upon the brave members of the YPG and YPJ in this situation. As for Russia, I explained that since the Tsarist Empire a totalitarian government has proven to be the only solution for keeping the huge land masses of Russia and Siberia together, so that any future help from this side would be just a temporary one in order to keep the Americans and Mr. Erdogan irritated. The fifty students in front of me were, to put it mildly, a bit shocked, but at least back to reality

Rojava, Solidarianism, Dr. Jan Best de Vries, Pasewan, January 3, 2016

Basur/KRG

Can Democracy Exist with Barzani in Charge, Rauf Naqishbendi, Kurdistan Tribune, January 5, 2016

Army of the Gorran Movement: Will the KDP Change the Strategy of Gorran?, Mohammed Rauf, Pasewan, December 20, 2016

Quote:
the KRG is founded upon the principle of preservation and institutionalization of factions rather than their restraint. Corporative power sharing without the moderating influence of additional federal institutions (e.g. bicameral legislature or an independent court) has effectively preserved the civil war era system of the 1990s in which the Politburos separately, within their mutually recognized territorial zones of influence (i.e. the Yellow zone comprised of Duhok and Erbil under the KDP and the Green zone comprised of Sulaimaniya under the PUK), act as legislature, judiciary and executive. Thus, pursuant to the fulfillment of the said power sharing arrangement (or more precisely, "balance of power"), the KDP and PUK have overridden election results, nullified legislation and issued decrees; actions which have made the Kurdistan Regional Assembly practically irrelevant. As we have seen with the disruption to KDP/PUK power-sharing caused by Gorran's rise to power and the crisis of its subsequent exile from Erbil, the legal basis of the KRG not only makes it difficult for opposition parties to participate in the Region's political institutions, it precludes their participation and their legitimacy.

While the Kurdish parties' de jure authority is based in the aforementioned Unification Agreement, their de facto legitimacy to govern is based in their territorially separate but theoretically equal control over economic activity and security forces in their respective zones of influence...

neither party has committed itself to integration of their commands. Brigades commanded independently of the Ministry of Peshmerga by the PUK and PDK (the groups of 70 and 80, respectively) comprise nearly 75% of the total Peshmerga forces...

In Kurdistan, however, nearly 20 years after the end of the sherr-i bra kuzhi, the security forces of the PUK and KDP exercise exclusive jurisdiction over their territorial spheres of influence. Crossing into Kurdistan from Ibrahim Khalil (the Yellow zone), for example, travellers are processed by Zerivani, the KDP's private gendarme. When crossing into the Green Zone from Erbil, however, one is processed by PUK ‘Asayish. Partisan persuasion of security forces in a given area, is of course, easily identifiable by party banners and is even indicated on ID cards, and so there is never any mistake about which party controls any given area.

Intelligence services (Parastin and Dezgay Zanyari) and ‘Asayish are also divided along party lines although they are legally integrated into the Regional ‘Asayish Council. In a conversation with a high-ranking ‘Asayish official and PUK bureau member in Sulaimaniyah (1)last year, I was informed, power-sharing commitments notwithstanding, inter-party Regional ‘Asayish Council relations were extremely poor:...

what is occurring in the Kurdistan Region is not political competition or even power sharing: it is a fragile balance of power in which the participants have divided the Region into their own political spheres and nervously watch the other if, by chance, one party should gain more than its fair share in the arrangement.

Comparing the Dual Party Systems in the KRG and United States: A False Analogy, Megan Connelly-Amin, Pasewan, January 2, 2016

Flint
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Jan 14 2016 15:43
Soapy wrote:
Must say that it plays right into Erdogan's hands. He ran on a platform of cracking down on the Kurds and now assuredly Turkey has a pretext to attack Kurdish groups with the extreme violence it is used to using. KRG probably encouraging attacks so that they can show themselves as the only protection against Turkish state violence.

There is a line of thought that certain actions give the state carte blanche to engage in violent repression. I don't subscribe to that because almost any action (non-violent or otherwise) a state supporter can argue gives the state the pretext for repression. I don't think you think that. The question on violence is "was it justified?" Its a high bar to meet. Status quo media opinion almost always favors the state in that calculation and usually argues that non-state actors violent actions are not justified. I'm not so quick to make that evaluation.

Alternatively, Erdogan's violent oppression of the YDG-H, the HDP and Kurds in general plays right into the hands of the PKK. Erdogan bombed the PKK in Qandil repeatedly before the eleciton. He had the YPG shelled in Rojava before the election. He had attacks orchestrated by mobs against the HDP before the election. After the election, he escalated against Kurdish communities throughout the south east with the curfrews; increasing repression. He had the mayors and others calling for self-rule imprisoned. He refused to acknowledge every offer of a cease fire the PKK made before the election.

If Erdogan makes it impossible for the HDP to even propose some reforms while he continues to impose violence on whole cities--then he leaves little options for the movement except violence--either defensive such as the trenches and YPS; or offensive such as attacks on police buildings.

He may have regarded the restraint the PKK showed as weakness on the part of the PKK. That seems to have been a miscalculation on his part.

I don't think the KRG (or the KDP) has anything to do with either when Erdogan decides to attack the PKK, or when the PKK decides to attack Erdogan.

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Jan 14 2016 16:07

Your are correct that I am not making any comment on the morality of the PKK's actions in this particular situation as that is a complicated question that I am not able to address.

I am simply saying that Erdogan has sold himself as the strongman politician that can crackdown on the Kurds and these actions today will only solidify this role.

I think it is of some relevance to look at which side the US will support. In the 1990s the Clinton administration strongly supported the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds, selling massive amounts of arms to the Turkish state so they could kill and displace thousands. All this while they wrung their hands about Milosevic's crimes claiming "how can we let this happen on the border of NATO" while right within the borders of NATO in Turkey they were helping in the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds.

Now it is a little different as the US needs allies against the ISIS threat. The US has thrown the Kurds under the bus so many times that I wouldn't be surprised if they did so again the moment they no longer prove their usefulness.

Sorry if I'm going on off on a tangent here, but I think people seem to have forgotten that it was the US who sold Saddam the chemical weapons that he used on the Kurds in Halabja. Whole villages wiped out, thousands killed, barely a word of protest in the West. It was the US who then invaded in 1991, encouraged a Kurdish rebellion, and then allowed Saddam to stamp it out all while the US was still occupying the country.

Now, just like in 1991 the Kurds and the US are on the same side again, we will see how long this alliance lasts.

Flint
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Jan 14 2016 16:37
Soapy wrote:
Sorry if I'm going on off on a tangent here, but I think people seem to have forgotten that it was the US who sold Saddam the chemical weapons that he used on the Kurds in Halabja. Whole villages wiped out, thousands killed, barely a word of protest in the West. It was the US who then invaded in 1991, encouraged a Kurdish rebellion, and then allowed Saddam to stamp it out all while the US was still occupying the country.

Now, just like in 1991 the Kurds and the US are on the same side again, we will see how long this alliance lasts.

I don't think anyone (who is informed about the current situation) has forgotten that. Nor have they forgotten that Barzani/KDP allied with Saddam against the PUK in the "Kurdish Civil War", before then turning to Turkey for help against the PKK when they supported the PUK.

The U.S. is an unreliable ally (to anyone, but especially the Kurds).

I think the question, "how is this different than the 1990s?" is a good one. There are some different policy issues the U.S. has (defeating ISIS, where in the past the U.S. would have armed ISIS and al-Nusra to killed the socialist PYD). I think the main differences are:

  • the changed ideology, strategy and tactics of the KCK/PKK
  • which in turn has made the KCK and its affiliates far more popular than in the past
  • the electoral success of the HDP which also shows the growing popularity of the KCK's politics
  • the degree of organization on the ground in Bakur and in the dual power situation and defacto autonomy of the PYD/TEV-DEM in Rojava
  • the growing weakness of Barzani's hold on power in KRG and his declining popularity that has forced him into a dictatorship to remain in power
  • the growing popularity of the PUK-split Gorran in KRG
  • The AKP granting some rights to Kurds and moving towards a peace process but then retracting them and doubling down on repression as an electoral gambit appeal to Turkish nationalism
  • I think the last point is very important. When things were improving, people gained a sense of hope and efficacy. Those are feelings that remain even after the AKP-state shifted to a policy of repression. Its feelings like hope and efficacy that drive revolutions forward, not feelings of desperation.

    The KCK/PKK has probably never been more popular than it is right at this very moment. The U.S. is confused about its foreign policy objectives.

    Flint
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    Jan 14 2016 18:08

    A comrade from Turkey asked that I share this with Libcom:

    ----

    Dear Professors and Colleagues,

    In the Kurdish region of Turkey, since 16 August 2015, there have been 58 officially confirmed, open-ended curfews in 19 districts of 7 cities. Human causalities increase day by day, hundreds of civilians lost their lives. You can find more information about the situation in the following links.

    1. Fact sheet by Human Rights Foundation of Turkey http://en.tihv.org.tr/fact-sheet-on-declared-curfews-in-turkey-between-11-december-2015-8-january-2016/

    2. Call by Amnesty International http://www.amnestyusa.org/get-involved/take-action-now/turkey-stop-imposing-arbitrary-restrictions-on-freedom-of-movement-ua-616

    A group of academics launched a petition in Turkey, signed by 1128 academics in Turkey and supported by 356 international ones by January 10th. The international supporters include David Harvey, Noam Chomsky, Etienne Balibar, Erik Swyngedouw, Judith Butler and many others.

    Hereby is the text for international support: http://barisicinakademisyenler.net/node/63
    International supporters: http://barisicinakademisyenler.net/node/64
    Signatures from Turkey: http://barisicinakademisyenler.net/node/62

    And today, after a very brutal attack on tourists in İstanbul by the ISIS; Turkish President Erdoğan made a defiant speech, mostly attacking on this petition and those who signed it.

    Hereby is the info by Guardian on this issue:
    'In a typically defiant speech Erdoğan attacked foreign academics and writers, including Noam Chomsky for criticism of his government.
    He said: “Pick a side. You are either on the side of the Turkish government, or you’re on the side of the terrorists'. (http://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2016/jan/12/istanbul-explosion-several-reported-killed-in-tourist-area-live-updates)

    Just 2 hours after this speech, Turkish Higher Education Council announced that it would launch an investigation against those who signed in Turkey. In this situation supporting the academics in Turkey is much more crucial.

    I would like to ask you to sign this petition in order to show solidarity and if it is possible to convey this message to your colleagues.

    You can sign the petition by sending a mail (stating your name, position and university) to info@barisicinakademisyenler.net

    Thank you very much for your interest.

    Best regards

    Academics for Peace
    10.01.2016

    As academics and researchers of this country, we will not be a party to this crime!
    The Turkish state has effectively condemned its citizens in Sur, Silvan, Nusaybin, Cizre, Silopi, and many other towns and neighborhoods in the Kurdish provinces to hunger through its use of curfews that have been ongoing for weeks. It has attacked these settlements with heavy weapons and equipment that would only be mobilized in wartime. As a result, the right to life, liberty, and security, and in particular the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment protected by the constitution and international conventions have been violated.

    This deliberate and planned massacre is in serious violation of Turkey’s own laws and international treaties to which Turkey is a party. These actions are in serious violation of international law.

    We demand the state to abandon its deliberate massacre and deportation of Kurdish and other peoples in the region. We also demand the state to lift the curfew, punish those who are responsible for human rights violations, and compensate those citizens who have experienced material and psychological damage. For this purpose we demand that independent national and international observers to be given access to the region and that they be allowed to monitor and report on the incidents.

    We demand the government to prepare the conditions for negotiations and create a road map that would lead to a lasting peace which includes the demands of the Kurdish political movement. We demand inclusion of independent observers from broad sections of society in these negotiations. We also declare our willingness to volunteer as observers. We oppose suppression of any kind of the opposition.

    We, as academics and researchers working on and/or in Turkey, declare that we will not be a party to this massacre by remaining silent and demand an immediate end to the violence perpetrated by the state. We will continue advocacy with political parties, the parliament, and international public opinion until our demands are met.

    For international support, please send your signature, name of your university and your title to info@barisicinakademisyenler.net

    ----

    It is available in multiple languages here.

    Flint
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    Mar 16 2016 03:15

    Rojava

    Interesting video for Kurdish audience about what Kurdish Political Parties are in Rojava:

    Partiyên siyasî 11 3 2015, ANHA, March 11, 2015

    I've typed out the four major blocs and their parties.

    TEV-DEM, Tevgera Civaka Demokratîk (Democratic Society Movement)

    which includes:


    • Partiya Aştiya Demokratîk Kurdi li Sûriyeyê (Peace and Democracy Party of Kurdish Syria) PADKS, Peace and Democracy Party

    • Partiya Kumonîst a Kurdistanê (Communist Party of Kurdistan) (also spelled Komînist and google wants to translate it as "Toilers")

    • Kombuna Niştimanî Kurdistanî (National Assembly of Kurdistan) KNK

    • Partiya Yekîtiya Lîbralî ya Kurdistanî (Liberal Union Party of Kurdistan) PYLK, Liberal Party

    • Partiya Demokratîk Kurdistantî li Sûriyeyê (Kurdistan Democrati Party in Syria) PDKS

    • Partiya Yeketiya Demokratîk (PYD), Demoncratuc Union Party

    TEV-DEM uses the yellow, red, green flag.
    Wikipedia: TEV-DEM

    The folks with the blue banner:

    Kombûna Demokrasî û Çepgirên Kurd li Sûriyeyê’ (Assembly for Demmocracy and the Left in Syria) KDCK
    which includes:


    • Partiya Kesk a Kurdistanê (Green Party of Kurdistan), Green Party

    • Partiya Guhertina Demokratîk (Democratic Change Party) PGD, Change Party

    • Partiya Kedkarên Kurdistanê (Kurdistan Workers Party)

    • Partiya Çep a Kurd li Sûriyeyê (Kurdish Left Party in Syria) PCKS

    • Tevgera Nûkirin a Kurdistanê (Booster Movement of Kurdistan) TNK

    Here is an article about their formation:

    Kombûna Demokras û Çepgirên Kurd hat damezirandin

    They use a yellow sun with three leaves: green, red and white on a blue field. They were established March 3, 2016.

    Hevbendiya Niştimanî a Kurdî li Sûryê (Kurdish National Alliance in Syria) HNKS
    which includes:


    • Partiya Yeketiya Demokratîk a Kurdî li Sûriyeyê (Yeketî) (Kurdish Democratic Union Party in Syria) (First) PYDKS

    • Partiya Çep Demokratîk Kurdî li Sûriyeyê (Democratic Left Party in Syria), Democratic Left Party

    • Partiya Demokratîk Kurdî li Sûriyeyê - şaxê Nesiredîn Îberahîm (Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria - Nesiredîn Îberahîm branch)

    • Partiya El-Wîfaq (El-Wifaq Party)

    • Tevgera Reforme (Îslah) (Reform Movement Island) Îslah probaly refers to Cizîrê/Gozarto/Jazira--the Island. That is the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers

    Here is an article and video about them: Syrian Kurds form new political alliance, call for federalism as solution to ongoing civil war
    They use the Alaya Rengîn (red, white, green glag with yellow sun) as well as a logo of a yellow sun with three red flags, two green flags in a pentagon formation on a white field. There first meeting was February 13, 2016.

    ENKS, Encûmena Niştimanî ya Kurdî li Sûriyê (Kurdish National Council in Syria)
    which includes:


    • Partiya Demokrati Kurdistanti-Sûriyeyê (Democratic Party Kurdistan-Syria) PDKS

    • Partiya Yeketî bi çar şaxên wê (The First Party, all four branches)

    They use the Alaya Rengîn (red, white, green glag with yellow sun) as well as a logo with the same colors and their initals. They were establisehd October 26, 2011.
    Wikipedia: ENKS

    Google Translate now can handle Kurmanji Kurdish.

    Flint
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    Mar 16 2016 05:00

    Rojava


    (click for larger)

    Interview with a German Anarchist fighting with the YPG, March 13, 2016

    Video with an interview with an MFS (Syriac Military Council) in English. Second half is an interview with two women from the HSNB (Bethnahrin Women Protection Forces), not in English (probably Syraic), Feb 22, 2016

    Macer Gifford YPG interview, Jan 27, 2016

    Kurdistan: Women At War, ARTE, March 8, 2016

    A group I'm active with locally--the Alliance for Radical Democracy (ARD) recently held a talk about Rojava at Johns Hopkins University with Nazan Üstündağ (Boğaziçi University), Michael Taussig (Columbia University), Janet Biehl (Author/Activist), Stefan Tarnowski (Columbia University). We should have video of that talk soon. The same group also hosted Sinam Mohammad, the PYD representative to Europe last fall.

    Ehmed: Nobody can question where the SDF will advance, Feburary 2, 2016

    What Is The Kurdish Calculation In Rojava?, Fehim Taştekin for Radikal. In the article Taştekin interviews Eldar Halill, a member of the executive committee of TEV-DEM, and Zuhat Kobani, a representative of the PYD in Europe, and reflects on the current calculations of the Kurds in Rojava in light of the complex geopolitics unfolding in the region. March 13, 2016

    Also, in political news on March 3, 2016, the former Syrian National Council president Ahmad al-Jarba join Syrian Democratic Assembly(MSD),after long negotiation with PYD. Ziyad El-Asî of the Syrian Democratic Society which was affiliated with al-Jarba is a representative in the MSD. Al-Jarbai is also of the Shammar tribe. He's a cousin to Hmeidi Daham al-Jarba, co-governor of Hasakah and political leader of Quwwat al-Sanadid. Despite that connetion Ahmad al-Jarba and Hmeidi Daham al-Jarba had been in opposing factions till now.

    (I heard a story about Hmeidi Daham al-Jarba from Nazan Üstündağ. She met him, and he kept throwing pieces of lamb at her to eat. She rarely eats meat, but he kept insisting. More interestingly, he wanted to get together a conference of indigenous peoples together throughout the world to meet Hasakah).

    There has been some talk that some Iraqi Shammar have been joining Quwwat al-Sanadid. Previously, some had formed an Iraqi Popular Mobilization Unit.

    Self-Defense as a Revolutionary Practice in Rojava, or How to Unmake the State, Nazan Üstündağ, The South Atlantic Quarterly 115:1, January 2016

    Rebuilding Kobanî : After Liberation From ISIS, The Fight Isn’t Over Yet, Suchandra Banerjee & edited by Manisha Ganguly, February 6, 2016

    The Experience of Co-operative Societies in Rojava, TEV-DEM Economic Committee, January 19, 2016

    Lots of details in the article about participation in co-operatives, cost of shares in Syrian Pounds, rules about participation, restrictions on management, etc... one detail that is missing is the salary for positions that the share profits are added to at the end of a big job or annually. In short, though, they appear to be worker-cooperatives that participate in a regulated market that allow outside investors to have less shares than the workers (who have the most shares). Membership in a cooperative seems to be a privilege rather than a requirement. Many of the negatives of a worker-cooperative in a market economy are still there such as profit motivations, competition with other enterprises in the market place, market allocation of goods and services, etc...

    Some good maps from Le Monde about the situation in Northern Aleppo.

    Outcome of the campaign in Northern Aleppo just before the cease fire, February 17, 2016:

    After this point and immediately before the ceasefire, the SDF got the SAA to hand over control over Ahras to them.

    Another map of the Northern Aleppo Offensive

    The Ash-Shadaddi Offensive, February 19, 2016

    Outcome of the latest campaign in Hasakah, March 2, 2016:

    I try to keep this map up to date.

    Flint
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    Mar 17 2016 20:19

    Daesh made the largest capture of war munitions to date on January 18, 2016. It was in the Deir ez-Zor area.

    Islamic State captures Ayyash weapons depots in largest arms haul of Syrian Civil War

    Foristaruso's picture
    Foristaruso
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    Mar 28 2016 16:06

    You said, "a libertarian revolution"?

    From a interview of Economy Minister of a Rojava canton:
    "Private capital is not forbidden but it is made to suite our ideas and system. We are developing a system around cooperatives and communes. However this does not prove that we are against private capital. They will complete each other. We believe that when the cooperative system is developed moral private capital can be added in certain parts of the economy" (https://rojavareport.wordpress.com/…/efrin-economy-ministe…/)
    A MIXED ECONOMY IS ENEMY OF LIBERTARIAN COMMUNISM!

    klas batalo's picture
    klas batalo
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    Apr 28 2016 21:24

    US ground troops working in Rojava with SDF

    http://www.stripes.com/news/middle-east/large-portion-of-additional-250-us-troops-going-to-syria-may-be-green-berets-1.406165

    http://www.basnews.com/index.php/en/news/middle-east/272869

    Flint
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    Aug 28 2016 05:45

    Manbij is a mixed city.

    Quote:
    "The residents of Manbij are ethnically diverse, including Kurds, Arabs and Circassians, and many practice Naqshbandi Sufism... Owing to the tribal and ethnically mixed population and social structure, the milieu in which Manbijis grow up is substantially more diverse and open than one might expect in a peripheral Sunni city."

    The Struggle for Syria's Regions, Kheder Khaddour, Kevin Mazur, MER269, Winter 2013

    SDF is a mixed force. Kurdish super-majority, yes. The Arab component has grown considerably. The Syriac component has remained about the same (and thus is a smaller part now overall). The number thrown around now is 30% of SDF is Arab.

    As to a Kurdish/Sunni alliance... most Kurds are Sunni. Most Kurds in Syria are Sunni. What you probably mean is a Kurdish/Arab alliance that you are skeptical of, and that you are skeptical of Arabs being involved.

    Talal Sello is actually a Turkman. He is the primary spokesperson for the SDF.

    There are Kurds in other military organizations that participate in SDF. Jabhat al-Krad is part of Jaysh al-Thuwar. That said, there were YPG and probably YPJ in the Manbij campaign. There are probably still some there.

    The NDF (Assad loyalist militia) did get in a fight with Asayis (TEV-DEM's Kurdish and Arab security). It escalated. Syrian airforce conducted some airstrikes in Hasakah neighborhoods. The nearby Syrian army artillery base shelled Hasakah neighborhoods. The YPG also got involved.

    The NDF was largely routed in the city. There was a ceasefire. The Assad regime agreed to disband the NDF in Hasakah and gave most of what they controlled in the city to Asayis/YPG. The Assad regime retained a few blocks that included the Goveronate Palace, the Baath HQ and some parks. It largely seems like a face saving gesture. The Assad regime is done in Hasakah.

    Turkey's Armed Forces (Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri / TSK ) has invaded northern Syria in northern Aleppo, taking the Jarabulus with minimal resistance from Daesh. Operations is called "Fırat Kalkanı"--Euphrates Shield. The TSK presence is said to consist of 20 tanks and 350 soldiers, and thousands of rebels who depending on who you talk to are Free Syrian Army, Sultan Murad, Ahrar al-Sham, Nour al-Din al-Zenki, etc... some even go so far as to say it includes some rebranded Jabhat al-Nusra (Jabhat Fath Al Sham) or even that Daesh folks have joined up. Idea is that these folks came from either the Azaz pocket or even Idlib transporting through Turkey's territory. The incursion is also aided by artillery and airstrikes.

    The resistance to the TSK incursion is lead by the Al-Jadir Family. Its named after Yussuf al-Jadir (alias Abu Furat), a FSA commander, killed in 2012. They were previously called "Furat Jarabulus" and were FSA rebels. They have six batallions called Min Katibat Fursan Jirabls, al-Shshahid Zaki Jadir, Maeid al-Jadir, Jamieat al-Jadiri, Shuhada' Jawadir Wakatibat Dire al-Furat. They joined SDF about seven months ago, but their relationship goes back farther. When Daesh took over Jarabulus, they expelled them. They relocated to Kobane. They helped defend Kobane during the Daesh seige. They were part of Burkan al-Furat (Euphrates Volcaon) as Saraya Jarabulus. They were then part of the Tel Abyad campaign, then Manbij campaign.

    Video of al-Shshahid joining Furat Jarabulus

    They recently destroyed two tanks that were part of the TSK incursion were destroyed by rocket attack by Al-Jadir / Jarabulus Military Council. Right now, the fighting is mostly around Ayn al-Bayda and Amarnah, south of Jarabulus near the west bank of the Euphrates. There is video of one of the tanks being destroyed that is easy to find on the internet but I won't share here--the video has people cheering in Kurdish in it.

    Al-Jadir is being reinforced by Liwa al-Seljukiya, Kataeb Shams al-Shamal and Jaysh al-Thuwar.

    Some more on Family of Jadir (from not a PYD or SDF source) and then there involvement in Kobane.

    Speech from Yussuf al-Jadir/Abu Furat against sectaraianism:

    Quote:
    We want to send a message to the regime, Bashar al-Assad. This man is our brother. This man is a Alawite. I lived in Lattakia for 22 years. Why did you plunge your own sect in a battle for you and try to make them hate Sunnis? Why? Don’t you think about how we are going to live together? Well, despite you, we are going to live together. I know Alawites are a generous and nice people. Many of them are poor too. And you use these people to achieve your own malicious goals. And these are the children of villages. Bread probably takes a year to finally make its way to their villages. They are poor, they don’t have food, they don’t have bread, if one of them gets sick, they will die because they can’t afford medicine.

    But I want to ask from you my Alawite brothers–and you know me, I have sat among you and drank matté with you before–be careful: We are not your enemies, we are your brothers, we are participants in the nation, and we lived together. And Saleh al-Ali (anti-colonial Syrian Alawi leader during French colonialism) refused to work under the French flag, and refused to separate into a Alawi state, just like his sons and grandsons will also refuse such a thing. The plans have been exposed, and our Alawite brothers will come back to us, for we are the same.”

    Remembering Abu Fura, December 15, 2012, Darth Nader

    More on Jadir

    Daesh destroyed his tombstone

    A couple photos from a protest in Deir Jamal where residents call for SDF to libeate the area. That banner on the left side with the three hands is from the Al-Bab Council. The yellow flags are SDF flags.

    At the end of July 2012, Rebels controlled Deir Jamal. January 2014, the town was controlled Daesh. Then Jabhat al-Akrad and YPG took control. Then 12/1/2015: the Mare Operations Room (rebels) took control. Then 2/8/2016 the SDF/YPG/JAT took it back. It's a mixed Arab-Kurdish town.

    Now that the U.S. seems to have condoned Turkey's incursion and ordered either the YPG (or the SDF) to go back across the Euphrates.

    Only an idiot would think that this incursion by the TSK is actually to fight Daesh. The target is the SDF and will be part of plan to stop them from moving on al-Bab and connecting the Rojava cantons into a contiguous territory and the SDF sealing the border between Turkey and Aleppo city. There are dozens of mainstream articles that state this and these objectives are openly talked about in the press in Turkey as well.

    Even before the Euphrates Shield operation started, TSK artillery were shelling SDF positions in northern Manbij.

    The SDF strategy seems to be to slow the Euphrates Shield advance along the Sajur river. Beyond that? We may see SDF rush towards al-Bab. SDF is only 18 KM east of Al-Bab. Unlike Manbij which is an ethnically mixed city, al-Bab is an Arab city (though the surrounding al-Shahbaa countryside has a large number of Kurdish villages). (Izady maps show where ethnic group has a larger % than the country's average for that group, so that highlights ethnic minorities where they may not be majorities)

    In October and November 2013, the YPG and Jabhat al-Krad controlled much of the Northern Aleppo area north of al-Bab and Manbij that Turkey has always wanted for its "Safe Zone" to shove refugees into. That's the area that the TSK and its allies are now trying to invade.

    The SDF may just dig in to Manbij. There has been increasing mobilization across the Rojava cantons for a TSK invasion.

    ---

    Do folks on Libcom want this sort of content posted here by me?

    jesuithitsquad's picture
    jesuithitsquad
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    Aug 28 2016 09:14

    Yes please do Flint. Deciphering heads from tails is incredibly difficult, and your posts are very helpful at making even a start at understanding what's going on there.

    Spikymike
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    Aug 28 2016 10:34

    I appreciate Flints contributions. Doesn't this latest incursion by the Turkish state military post-coup, and with USA support, suggest that behind the scenes discussions especially between Turkey, Russia and the USA suggest a possible shift in the global and regional imperialist alliances operating in Syria and Iraq, including the client and 'proxy' relationships with on the ground militias - one that will see the PKK allied Syrian forces isolated, despite their previous attempts to garner the support of one or other of the more powerful players from the USA/Europe/Russia?

    jesuithitsquad's picture
    jesuithitsquad
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    Aug 28 2016 12:07
    Spikymike wrote:
    I appreciate Flints contributions. Doesn't this latest incursion by the Turkish state military post-coup, and with USA support, suggest that behind the scenes discussions especially between Turkey, Russia and the USA suggest a possible shift in the global and regional imperialist alliances operating in Syria and Iraq, including the client and 'proxy' relationships with on the ground militias - one that will see the PKK allied Syrian forces isolated, despite their previous attempts to garner the support of one or other of the more powerful players from the USA/Europe/Russia?

    I'd say you're likely on to something with this, particularly considering the Russian Foreign Minister and US Secretary of State have been in high level talks this week...

    petey
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    Aug 28 2016 13:58
    Flint wrote:
    Do folks on Libcom want this sort of content posted here by me?

    yes, very much

    Flint
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    Aug 29 2016 18:22

    Note that both sides include groups that fly the green flag of the Free Syrian Army.

    Auld-bod's picture
    Auld-bod
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    Aug 29 2016 18:35

    Syria war: US warns over Turkish-Kurdish violence

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-37212256

    Black Badger
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    Aug 29 2016 19:49

    *shield*

    Flint
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    Aug 30 2016 13:03

    Infographic on the Turkish-Syrian border (Turkey's perspective)

    Flint
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    Aug 30 2016 16:41

    Cease fire between TSK and Jarabulus Military Council (SDF), Mutlu Civiroglu

    Turkish, Kurdish forces in Syria agree to 'stop shooting at each other', Daily Mail, August 30, 2015

    Temporary truce agreed between Jarablus Military Council and Turkish army, Rudaw, August 30, 2015

    Flint
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    Aug 30 2016 19:26

    I'm sharing these to conflicting pieces to show where much of the U.S. left is on the Syrian Civil War right now.

    U.S. Peace Activists Should Start Listening to Progressive Syrian Voices, Terry Burke, In These Times, August 15, 2016

    Response:

    A response by the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) to the attack on the antiwar movement from Terry Burke published in "In These Times"

    potrokin
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    Aug 31 2016 10:44
    Foristaruso wrote:
    You said, "a libertarian revolution"?

    From a interview of Economy Minister of a Rojava canton:
    "Private capital is not forbidden but it is made to suite our ideas and system. We are developing a system around cooperatives and communes. However this does not prove that we are against private capital. They will complete each other. We believe that when the cooperative system is developed moral private capital can be added in certain parts of the economy" (https://rojavareport.wordpress.com/…/efrin-economy-ministe…/)
    A MIXED ECONOMY IS ENEMY OF LIBERTARIAN COMMUNISM!

    I'm an anarchist but I'm realistic and I'd take a mixed economy, secularism and more rights for women over the alternative, which is either Arab Nationalist dictatorship or psycho Islamic theocractic fascist sadism. You can't afford to be picky in the middle east.

    Serge Forward's picture
    Serge Forward
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    Aug 31 2016 12:21

    Potrokin, I wouldn't disagree with that view and the YPG et al seem infinitely preferable to the likes of Daesh and other factions in the mix. The problem is when people dress up what's going on in Rojava as something it really isn't - the libertarian/anarchist/communist/proletarian revolution. The way you hear some anarchists talk sometimes, it's as if they're referring to the Makhnovschina and the CNT-FAI militias all rolled into one.