President Trump seemed to wash his hands of the conflict between Turkey and America’s Kurdish allies in Syria on Wednesday, generating withering criticism from Republican allies, who rebuked him in a House vote. The day ended with a heated confrontation between Mr. Trump and Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the Oval Office.
Russia announced Tuesday that its units were patrolling between Turkish and Syrian military forces near the northern Syrian town of Manbij, in a sign that Moscow, a key ally of the Syrian government, was moving to fill a security vacuum after U.S. troops withdrew from the area.
An estimated 50 nuclear bombs stored at a US airbase in Turkey have become potential bargaining chips in the tense relationship between Washington and Ankara in the wake of the Turkish offensive into Syria. The presence of B61 nuclear gravity bombs at İncirlik airbase, which is about 100 miles from the Syrian border and which the US air force shares with its Turkish counterpart, is complicating Washington’s calculations.
U.S.-allied Syrian Kurdish fighters announced late Sunday that the Syrian Army would deploy along the Turkish border to “liberate the areas that the Turkish army has entered with its mercenaries.”The agreement with forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, followed a Syrian government announcement that its troops were heading toward a confrontation with Turkey.
Turkey launched airstrikes and fired artillery across its border into northeastern Syria on Wednesday to open a military operation aimed at flushing out an American-backed militia, Turkish and Syrian officials said.
In a major shift in United States military policy in Syria, the White House said on Sunday that President Trump had given his endorsement for a Turkish military operation that would sweep away American-backed Kurdish forces near the border in Syria.
Donald Trump has announced that the US will recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, captured from Syria in 1967, in a dramatic move likely to bolster Benjamin Netanyahu’s hopes to win re-election, but which will also provoke international opposition. Previous US administrations have treated Golan Heights as occupied Syrian territory, in line with UN security council resolutions. Trump declared his break with that policy in a tweet.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he has not yet seen an acceptable plan for the creation of a "safe zone" in northeastern Syria, three weeks after US President Donald Trump suggested the move. "There is no satisfactory plan that is put before us concretely yet," Erdogan told a parliamentary meeting of his AK Party on Tuesday.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday denounced comments by a senior US official urging protection for Kurdish allies as "seriously mistaken". US National Security Adviser John Bolton held talks in Ankara with Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin and other officials on the handling of armed groups in northern Syria and the US's planned pullout of its forces there.
Feeling betrayed by the United States, its Kurdish allies in Syria asked the Syrian government on Friday to protect them from possible attack by Turkey. The request appeared to help open the way for the forces of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, backed by Russia and Iran, to start retaking the Kurdish-held part of the country near Turkey’s border. That would be a big step toward Mr. Assad’s goal of reclaiming all of Syria, upended by almost eight years of war.
Jim Mattis, the four-star Marine general turned defense secretary, resigned on Thursday in protest of President Trump’s decision to withdraw 2,000 American troops from Syria, where they have been fighting the Islamic State.Mr. Trump announced the resignation in two tweets Thursday evening, and said Mr. Mattis will leave at the end of February.
President Trump ordered the withdrawal despite opposition from within the White House. In September, Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, said U.S. troops would stay in Syria until Iranian troops and its proxy forces leave. While Trump claims ISIS has been defeated, a report by the United Nations in August found up to 30,000 ISIS fighters remain in Iraq and Syria.
Turkey may launch a new military operation in northern Syria at any moment, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, adding US President Donald Trump had given a positive response to Turkey's plans. Erdogan's remarks on Monday came days after he announced Turkish forces would launch a new cross-border operation against the US-backed Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) to the east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria.
President Donald Trump’s decision to declare ISIS defeated and order a full US withdrawal from Syria has been met with anger and disbelief by the Washington establishment that hoped for regime change in Damascus.
President Trump has ordered a rapid withdrawal of all 2,000 United States ground troops from Syria within 30 days, declaring the four-year American-led war against the Islamic State as largely won, officials said Wednesday.“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,” the president said in a Twitter post on Wednesday morning.
President Trump on Sunday vowed in a tweet that there would be a “big price to pay” for the reported chemical attack that killed dozens of people in a rebel-held enclave in Syria, leading international condemnation of the incident from democracies and authoritarian regimes alike.
A high-level defector from Kurdish-led forces that captured the Syrian city of Raqqa from Islamic State has recanted his account of the city's fall, saying thousands of IS fighters - many more than first reported - left under a secret, U.S.-approved deal.
Donald Trump has reportedly decided to end the US’s funding and training of so-called moderate Syrian rebels opposed to Bashar al-Assad - something that has long been requested by Moscow. The plan to train and equip rebels opposed to Mr Assad was started in 2013 under the administration of Barack Obama, as an effort to try and put pressure on the Syrian leader to step aside. While most of the heavy weapons and cash were provided by Saudi Arabia, the CIA took the lead in the training.
Tillerson secretly warned the Russians, and Kushner and Bannon were consulted before the White House rattled its saber. All this occurred this week as President Donald Trump displayed what two White House officials characterized as relative indifference and passivity towards the subject, instead opting to focus his public and private energies towards fuming at his domestic enemies in the Democratic Party and the “fake news.”“The president cares more about CNN and the Russia story than [Syria] at the moment,” one official observed.
An American F-15E fighter jet shot down an Iranian-made armed drone on Tuesday over southeast Syria that was flying toward American-backed Syrian fighters and their advisers, Pentagon officials said. The episode was a fresh indication that the air war between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and the American military is likely to continue, and perhaps even escalate, even as the United States has sought to keep its focus on defeating the Islamic State militants operating in Syria and Iraq.
The extraordinary destruction of a Syrian fighter jet by a US aircraft on Sunday has precious little to do with the Syrian plane’s target in the desert near Rasafa – but much to do with the advance of the Syrian army close to the American-backed Kurdish forces along the Euphrates. The Syrians have grown increasingly suspicious in recent months that most Kurdish forces in the north of Syria – many of them in alliance with the Assad government until recently – have thrown in their lot with the Americans.
Long-running tensions between the United States and Russia erupted publicly on Monday as Moscow condemned the American military’s downing of a Syrian warplane and threatened to target aircraft flown by the United States and its allies west of the Euphrates. The Russians also said they had suspended their use of a hotline that the American and Russian militaries used to avoid collisions of their aircraft in Syrian airspace.
Civilian casualties in coalition operations against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria are being significantly under reported, monitoring groups say, with non-US partners refusing to release data about military operations in which their forces may have killed non-combatants. Since the anti-IS international coalition was formed in August 2014, there have been at least 21,820 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, according to monitoring group Airwars.
Air strikes carried out by the US and its coalition partners in Syria have killed the highest number of civilians on record since the bombing campaign began, a war monitor has said. A total of 225 civilians, including 36 women and 44 children, were killed in the period between 23 April to 23 May, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The Syrian government has constructed and is using a crematorium inside its notorious Sednaya military prison near Damascus to clandestinely dispose of the bodies of prisoners it continues to execute inside the facility, the State Department said Monday. Officials accused Russia and Iran of complicity in Syrian atrocities at a military prison.
Nearly three weeks after ordering a cruise missile attack against one of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s airfields, Donald Trump has yet to explain how that was legal without congressional authorization. Two Democratic members of Congress are demanding that Trump offer some sort of legal justification beyond off-the-cuff remarks from administration officials.
US forces failed to take necessary precautions before launching a lethal drone strike in northern Syria last month that hit a mosque full of worshipers, three separate investigations have revealed. Research by Human Rights Watch (HRW), London-based Forensic Architecture and open-source investigative unit Bellingcat reveal that US air strikes hit a western Aleppo mosque on March 16, killing at least 38 people and injuring dozens of others.
Analysis of the Times and Locations of Critical Events in the Alleged Nerve Agent Attack at 7 AM on April 4, 2017 in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria. Analysis using weather data from the time of the attack shows that a small hamlet about 300 m to the east southeast of the crater could be the only location affected by the alleged nerve agent release. The hamlet is separated from the alleged release site (a crater) by an open field. The winds at the time of the release would have initially taken the sarin across the open field. Beyond the hamlet there is a substantial amount of open space and the sarin cloud would have had to travel long additional distance for it to have dissipated before reaching any other population center.
As he hosted his Iranian and Syrian counterparts in Moscow on Friday for a trilateral meeting focused on the Syrian civil war, Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said similar attacks would have "grave consequences not only for regional but global security".
An airstrike by the American-led coalition fighting the Islamic State killed 18 Syrian fighters allied with the United States, the military said on Thursday. The strike, on Tuesday in Tabqah, Syria, was the third time in a month that American-led airstrikes may have killed civilians or allies, and it comes even as the Pentagon is investigating two previous airstrikes that killed or wounded scores of civilians in a mosque complex in Syria and in a building in the west of Mosul, Iraq.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said a suspected chemical weapons attack was a "fabrication" to justify a US military strike, AFP news agency reported. In his first interview since the April 4 incident prompted a US cruise missile attack on Syrian forces, Assad insisted his army gave up all of its chemical weapons three years ago and that Syrian military power was not affected by the US strike.
Sources in Washington recognize the desirability of continuing President Obama's "pivot" eastwards. But engagements in the Middle East threaten to complicate matters. There is only one nation that wins the more we bomb Syria – and it is clearly not the Syrian opposition or the innocent people who are dying there. And that is China,” explained a senior State Department official.”
How Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner May Have Influenced Trump's Sudden Reversal On US Policy Towards Syria. Taken at face value, the premise that the President bombed a sovereign nation because his daughter had an emotional reactions to photos of an unconfirmed tragedy seem patently absurd. However, the base assertion that Ivanka convinced her father to attack is likely true due to the strong connections she and her husband Jared Kushner share with a foreign government that has consistently supported regime change in Syria – Israel.
The trust between Washington and Moscow has "deteriorated" since Donald Trump was elected US president, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday, as the Kremlin dismissed US calls to abandon Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as "short-sighted" and "absurd".
President Trump said on Wednesday that Russia likely knew of the Syrian government’s plan to gas its own people in advance of a chemical weapons attack last week in northwestern Syria, asserting that United States relations with Moscow were at an “all-time low.”
Vladimir Putin has deepened his support of the Syrian regime, claiming its opponents planned false-flag chemical weapon attacks to justify further US missile strikes. The Russian president’s predictions on Tuesday of an escalation in the Syrian war involving more use of chemical weapons came as US officials provided further details of what they insist was a sarin attack by Bashar al-Assad’s forces against civilians on 4 April, and accused Moscow of a cover-up and possible complicity.
President Trump on Saturday praised the U.S. military for carrying out the missile attack on a Syrian airfield and struck back at mounting questions over whether it would help achieve a momentum shift in Syria’s bloody civil war. In an afternoon tweet, Trump defended the operation against criticism from some members of Congress and military analysts that the nighttime volley of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles two days earlier did not target the runways at the Shayrat air base in eastern Syria.
Defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, pushing Iranian influence out of Syria, and the removal of Assad are priorities for the US administration, Nikki Haley said in an interview to CNN, which will air in full on Sunday. "We don't see a peaceful Syria with Assad in there," she said.
“I voted for you, my whole family voted for you,” said Angelo John Gage, a Marine veteran who was once the chairman of the white nationalist National Youth Front. “We all busted our a–es to destroy the fake media news, and now you’re falling for it.” His video reaction to rumors of U.S. military action in Syria was a direct address to Trump, and it went viral. Both WikiLeaks and Infowars reposted it.
Progressive activists say they’re dismayed that senior congressional Democrats aren’t more strongly condemning President Donald Trump’s strikes against Syria on Thursday night. Some Democrats in Congress dinged Trump on the process — not seeking congressional approval — but largely supported the action itself. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called punishing Syria’s Bashar al-Assad “the right thing to do,” and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) labeled the strikes a “proportional response.” Pelosi has also called for the House to end its recess and reconvene to discuss the attacks.
President Trump said Thursday night that the United States had carried out a missile strike in Syria on Thursday night in response to the Syrian government’s chemical weapons attack this week that killed more than 80 civilians. A senior military official said that 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles had hit Al Shayrat airfield in Syria. The missiles were aimed at Syrian fighter jets and other infrastructure but did not target anything that may have had chemical weapons.
The diplomatic situation had been looking bright for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. With the help of Russia, he had consolidated his power, the rebels were on their heels and the United States had just declared that ousting him was not a priority. Dr. Monzer Khalil, the health director for Idlib Province, said such extreme tactics are designed to demonstrate the government’s impunity and to demoralize its opponents.
Erik Prince met with a Russian close to the Kremlin in a meeting brokered by the United Arab Emirates. The meeting took place around Jan. 11 — nine days before Trump’s inauguration — in the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean, officials said. Though the full agenda remains unclear, the UAE agreed to broker the meeting in part to explore whether Russia could be persuaded to curtail its relationship with Iran, including in Syria, a Trump administration objective that would be likely to require major concessions to Moscow on U.S. sanctions.
The United States blamed the Syrian government and its patrons, Russia and Iran, on Tuesday for one of the deadliest chemical weapons attacks in years in Syria, one that killed dozens of people in Idlib Province, including children, and sickened scores more.
The Trump administration has ceased disclosing to the public when U.S. troops are deployed on the ground in Iraq and Syria, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Obama administration made a practice of announcing all conventional force deployments, letting the public know when it was sending U.S. service members into harm's way. But Trump, who campaigned on promises to rely on "the element of surprise" in warfare, has in his two months in office already dispatched hundreds of Marines and paratroopers to active war zones in the Middle East without informing the public or Congress.
Quietly, while Americans have been focused on the ongoing drama over repealing the Affordable Care Act and the new revelations about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, President Trump has been busy dramatically expanding the American troop presence inside Syria. And virtually no one in Washington has noticed. Americans have a right to know what Trump is planning and whether this will lead to an Iraq-style occupation of Syria for years to come.
Circumstantial evidence strongly indicates that President Donald J. Trump and his campaign associates brokered a massive oil privatization deal, where his Organization facilitated a global financial transaction to sell Russian Oil stock to its Syrian War adversary, the Emirate of Qatar. The Trump Russia Dossier describes a massive privatization deal to deliver a chunk of the state-owned Rosneft Oil company to Qatar and also a secret buyer in the Cayman Islands.
Photos of US Humvees and Stryker combat vehicles patrolling the streets of Manbij are surreal, a reminder that we no longer are under Barack Obama's restrained doctrine. US generals are now in full control of US policy in Syria. President Donald Trump is making good on his campaign promise not to tell the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) about his plans to defeat them, yet both allies and foes are puzzled by that new approach.
The US has sent 400 additional troops to Syria to support an allied local force aiming to capture the so-called Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa. They include Marines, who arrived in the past few days to set up an outpost from which they will be able to fire artillery at IS positions in the city. Several hundred US special forces soldiers are already deployed, advising Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.
During a visit to the Pentagon on Friday, President Donald Trump issued an executive action calling for stepped up violence in Syria and a vast expansion of the US military, including its nuclear arsenal, to prepare for war with “near-peer competitors”—a reference to nuclear-armed China and Russia—and “regional challengers,” such as Iran.