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November 7, 2015
With a Report from Pino Cabras in Sardinia, Italy
PKK: Kurdish Female Fighters of Kurdistan Fighting ISIS Documentary (English)
Over the past week, key parts of world public opinion have become increasingly aware of the vital importance of closing the Jarablus-Efrin corridor with its ISIS supply lines, thus setting the stage for the collapse of ISIS, al Qaeda, and related terror groups, and bringing the Syrian civil war to a rapid conclusion. This in turn would relieve the refugee pressure on Germany, Sweden, and the rest of Europe. These issues were raised at the Querdenken conference held near Frankfurt, Germany on November 1. On Monday, November 2, Erika Solomon and Geoff Dyer discussed the Jarablus situation in their article “Syria’s Kurds Use Russian Presence to Strengthen Hand,” which appeared in the London Financial Times. On Friday, November 6, on NPR’s Diane Rehm program, Nadia Bilbassy, the Washington bureau chief of Al Arabiya (Saudi Arabia), pointed to the strategic corridor in the following cryptic terms:
“…this is a major worry for Turkey. And considering that they allow the U.S. to use their military base after long, arduous negotiation with GENERAL ALLEN to allow them to use the bases in Southern Turkey, and now we have a stretch of land on the border area, which goes to almost 90 kilometers deep and I think 60 miles wide, where you have the Kurdish forces there from – who liberated Kobani, and you have Tell Abyad, and now there is a small stretch of land that is controlled by ISIS that it’s easily – I mean, if they arm the YPG, which is the Kurdish Syrian forces there, they will be able, as David said. They are a very efficient and very effective fighting force on the ground, and actually they’re the most trusted.”
During this past summer, the successful Kurdish offensive to seize control of Tel Abyad closed a long stretch of the Turkish-Syrian border to pro-ISIS logistics deliveries, smuggling, and other activity. When Tel Abyad was liberated, the Turkish regime of ISIS boss Erdogan was alarmed, and at the end of July turned to then-U.S. ISIS Czar John Allen to keep the Jarablus-Efrin corridor open as the main supply route for the terrorists. The result was Allen’s attempted policy coup to create a safe haven for terrorists between Jarablus and Efrin, complete with NATO air cover. This scheme was quickly rejected by the Obama White House.
These two maps illustrate the expansion of the area (shown in yellow) controlled by the Kurdish YPG forces during the summer of 2015
Kurds now control long segments of the Turkish border, severely constricting the supply routes available to ISIS. A U.S.-Kurdish operation to block the Jarablus-Efrin corridor could probably destroy ISIS as an effective force within a month. ISIS is a paper tiger, totally dependent on Turkey for survival. Resistance to this urgently needed policy will inevitably come from Erdogan of Turkey:
“Turkey has made one thing very clear: It will not tolerate a YPG presence west of the Euphrates, and will therefore not accept a Kurdish-led offensive on the ISIS-held city of Jarablus, or any YPG-led effort to unite its territory with the Kurdish-controlled enclave in Efrin in northwestern Syria. In the days before the election, the Turkish military fired upon YPG forces trying to cross the Euphrates, ostensibly to shore up their front line with the Islamic State. This approach is not necessarily at odds with the United States’ current plans to further bolster the YPG, in preparation for a planned offensive in Raqqa. In October, the United States deployed 12 A-10s [close air support planes known as “tank busters”] at Incirlik and dropped 50 tons of ammunition to the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces. The U.S. military has also recently announced that it will deploy up to 50 special operations forces to Kurdish PYD-controlled territory, presumably to aid with the future Raqqa offensive.”
As Al-Monitor wrote on June 22, 2015:
‘When the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) expelled the Islamic State from Tell Abyad, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, other leaders of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), and the pro-government media reacted hysterically. …Among their frenzied scenarios: “Kurdish state in the making in northern Syria with US assistance,” “Kurdish ethnic cleansing of Arabs and Turkmens,” “Corridor opening to move Northern Iraq oil to Mediterranean.” [This refers to the oil smuggling carried out by Erdogan’s son]
One headline about the Democratic Union Party went further:
“PYD more dangerous than [ISIS].” After taking control of Tell Abyad and linking the Kobani and Jazeera cantons, will the YPG now cross to the western bank of the Euphrates River to expel ISIS from Jarablus? If the Kurds eliminate ISIS from Jarablus, will they move westward to open a corridor from Azez to Efrin canton? The YPG, which entered Tell Abyad with the support of the US Air Force and Arab fighters such as Burkan Al Firat, now controls a contiguous 180 kilometer (110 mile) stretch from Ras al-Ain to Jarablus. Thus from the border of south Kurdistan to the Euphrates at Jarablus, the YPG now controls 400 kilometers (250 miles). Their next potential target, the line from Efrin to Jarablus, is 110 kilometers (68 miles) long. The area between Efrin and Jazeera is home to several different ethnic groups. In Jazeera canton, there are Kurds, Arabs, Syriacs, Chaldeans, Armenians and Chechens. Arabs make up 30% of the population. The Kobani and Efrin cantons are predominantly Kurdish. At Tell Abyad, the Kurds constitute 40-45% of the population. In Jarablus, Arabs and Turkmens are in the majority. There is no doubt many Kurds dream of a full fledged, united West Kurdistan from Jazeera to Efrin.’
All persons of good will should exert every possible form of political pressure on the Obama White House to begin the interdiction of the Jarablus-Efrin corridor at once.