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U.S. Military Now Preparing to Leave as Many as 1,000 Troops in Syria - WSJ
Once the last bastion of Islamic State is seized, the U.S. expects to shift its focus toward withdrawing hundreds of American forces, in keeping with what Mr. Trump originally ordered.
“There will be a substantial withdrawal and final numbers are neither determined nor approved,” the official said.

As part of the developing plans, the Trump administration wants European allies to stay in Syria to continue training and support for the Kurdish-led Syrian forces that led the successful ground war against Islamic State, U.S. officials said.
TrumpAdministration  Mar15  ForeignFighters  Rojava 
5 weeks ago by elizrael
Scorned and stateless: children of Isis fighters face an uncertain future | World news | The Guardian, Oct 7, 2017
International aid agencies and governments are scrambling to assess the numbers of widows and orphans now thought to be at extreme risk, both within their societies and at the hands of predatory local officials. “No one will deal with them, or even touch them,” said Ahmed al-Raqqawi, a 25-year-old anti-Isis fighter in the centre of Raqqa. “When they were here, they used to think they were kings. Even the women.”
In the Ain Issa camp, tents are reserved for families that have come from Isis areas but don’t necessarily belong to the organisation. Some are relatives of leading figures. Some made their accommodations when Isis came to town three years ago, and others, like Abu Jassem from Falluja in Iraq, have an affiliation that dates back a decade. Surrounded by deeply suspicious men, he said he had moved in the past three years from Falluja to Bukamal on the Iraqi border, then Deir Azzour: “Everywhere we go the airstrikes have followed us.”
Mar15  ForeignFighters  ISIS  children 
6 weeks ago by elizrael
‘They screwed this whole thing up’: Inside the attempt to derail Trump’s erratic Syria withdrawal - The Washington Post, Jan 13, 2019
Trump’s first call with the Israeli leader on Dec. 17 was arranged after a weekend of effort by Bolton, Mattis and others to steer Trump from an abrupt decision. Current and former officials familiar with the events said some U.S. national security aides hoped that Netanyahu could help persuade Trump to slow the withdrawal, even if he went ahead with a planned announcement that week.
Tanf  Israel  Mar15  Iran  ForeignFighters  TrumpAdministration  internal_struggle  Trump 
8 weeks ago by elizrael
Пророссийско-проиранский конфликт – Газета Коммерсантъ № 15 (6495) от 29.01.2019
Приходится, с одной стороны, искать компромиссы, учитывающие интересы всех сторон, а с другой — по возможности максимально контролировать ситуацию на земле. На этом фоне все чаще появляются сообщения о стычках между проиранскими и пророссийскими силами в Сирии. По данным СМИ, этот конфликт уже привел к гибели по меньшей мере 160 человек.
Russia  Iran  Mar15  ForeignFighters  death  SAA 
8 weeks ago by elizrael
Israel Demands for U.S. Base Are a Hitch in Trump’s Syria Plans - Bloomberg, Jan 26, 2019
Israeli and some U.S. officials argue that a continued American presence there is critical to interrupting Iran’s supply lines into Lebanon, where Hezbollah -- Iran’s proxy and Israel’s enemy -- has been building up its arsenal.
Mar15  Tanf  Israel  GLOS  ForeignFighters  TrumpAdministration  Iran 
8 weeks ago by elizrael
After deadly Syrian battle, evidence of Russian losses was obscured | Reuters, Feb 5, 2019
According to relatives and a battlefield witness, the fighters all died in the clash in Syria’s Deir al-Zor region, which took place overnight on Feb. 7.

    Such practices, an unusual pattern for Russian fighters killed in Syria, would have helped conceal heavy casualties until after President Vladimir Putin’s re-election in mid-March.

On whether death certificates issued by Russian officials contained incorrect information, Peskov said it wasn’t a question for the Kremlin. He added that he didn’t know whether there was a delay in returning the bodies.

Russian officials at the consulate issued more than 60 death certificates in the first part of last year through April 8, according to documents seen by Reuters. At least 33 of those were between March 22 and April 8. The election was on March 18.
death  Russia  mercenaries  DeirEzZor  Mar15  ForeignFighters 
8 weeks ago by elizrael
בכיר ביטחוני: אפשר לזהות ייאוש בקרב האיראנים בנוגע לסוריה
בכיר ביטחוני אמר הערב (שישי) לחדשות עשר כי ניתן לזהות סימני ייאוש בקרב איראן בכל הנוגע לנוכחות המדינה בסוריה. לדברי הבכיר, האיראנים מבינים שהעסק לא עובד והוכחה נוספת לכך היא ההשקעה הכלכלית שהצטמצמה לעומת החודשים הקודמים.
Iran  unnamed_official  Israel  Mar15  ForeignFighters 
december 2018 by elizrael
The Disillusioned Muhajir: Interview :: Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, Sep 2018
Q: Was there a problem between you and Jabhat al-Nusra?

A: No. They wanted me to join with them but I did not want to at first.

Q: Yes. So you were in the prisons of Jabhat al-Nusra because you rejected entering into Jabhat al-Nusra?

A: Yes.

Q: For how many days were you in the prisons of Jabhat al-Nusra?

A: 8 months.
ForeignFighters  JabhatAl-Nusra  Mar15  Tajikistan 
december 2018 by elizrael
The Shi'a of Busra al-Sham: Interview :: Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, Dec 24, 2018
Q: Of course Busra remained under the control of the Syrian government between 2012 and 2015, while most of the eastern countryside fell.

A: The town centre, yes. Though the [Syrian] army remained, it did not have influence. The party [Hezbollah- and likewise all references hereafter to 'the party'] was more active.

Q: "Though the army remained, it did not have influence. The party was more active." Can you clarify this? Do you mean Hezbollah entered the town to protect it?

A: Yes.

Q: When did the party enter approximately?

A: Around the fifth month of 2012. At first it entered secretly. There were just a few people who were bearing arms with us.

Q: Yes. But later the party's presence increased?

A: Very much so, as all the districts were closed off, and the youth began going and registered. And also some youth from the Sunnis registered with the party.

Q: Yes. So there was a formation affiliated with the party in the town.

A: Yes.

Q: How many people registered in the formation approximately? And when was the formation established approximately?

A: Around 500. It began in early 2012 and began gradually growing till the end of 2012 as the party imposed its control over the area.

Q: Yes, so when the party secretly entered at first in May 2012, they set up the formation.

A: Yes. It remained secret for around two months.

Q: And the youth recruited into the formation, and it became more active than the army by 2013, right?

A: Yes. The name became for the party [i.e. Hezbollah became the main force]. As for the channels and television, they would speak in the name of the army and say with the assistance of the popular forces.

Q: Yes. Was there a name for the local formation in Busra?

A: No.

Q: Just Hezbollah, you mean.

A: Yes. It was just the party.

Q: But during all these years there were no more than a few guys from the Lebanese brothers in the town?

A: Actually there were around twenty. For each speciality two or three came for assistance and training.
Shia  Daraa  Hizbollah  Mar15  Iraq  ForeignFighters  IranianProxy 
december 2018 by elizrael
Bolton’s Hawkish Syria Plan Backfired, Pushing Trump to Get Out - Daily Beast, Dec 21, 2018
Trump adopted a bellicose stance towards Tehran long before he became president. But he was never comfortable with an indefinite stay in Syria yoked to Iran. The officials said that Trump was willing to tolerate fighting ISIS, but was already uncomfortable with the duration of the war for that purpose. In the spring, he told audiences that he was willing to pull out of Syria “very soon,” something his senior advisers had to expend political capital to reverse.
Iran  ISIS  Bolton  foreign_policy  TrumpAdministration  Mar15  ForeignFighters 
december 2018 by elizrael
Out We Go - Carnegie Dec 21, 2018
That’s why one can’t help but feel a sense of satisfaction in watching Trump’s enablers raging against his latest steps in Syria. For over two years they had propped Trump up as a contrast to Barack Obama, who had sought to radically revise America’s role in the Middle East. But what they’re realizing today is that Trump and Obama are much more alike in the region than they would care to admit. Certainly, Obama had a different perspective with regard to Iran than Trump does, but both men entered office viewing the Middle East as a senseless drain on American resources and as a region offering little hope for the future, whose states had to take care of their own affairs and no longer rely on American power to resolve their problems.
TrumpAdministration  Iran  withdrawal  Mar15  ForeignFighters  Trump 
december 2018 by elizrael
Yemen on the brink: how the UAE is profiting from the chaos of civil war | Ghaith Abdul-Ahad | News | The Guardian, Dec 21, 2018
The Emiratis appear to be the only alliance members with a clear strategy. They are using private armies that they have created, trained and funded in a bid to crush both jihadi militancy and Islamist political parties such as al-Islah. Across the southern coast – where the UAE is allied with the separatist Southern Movement, which is opposed to both the Houthis and the Hadi government – the Emiratis have built a series of military camps and bases, and established what is essentially a parallel state, with its own security services who are not accountable to the Yemeni government. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have revealed the existence of a network of secret prisons operated by the UAE and its proxy forces, who are accused of disappearing and torturing al-Islah members, anti-Houthi fighters from rival factions, and even activists and critics of the Saudi-UAE coalition. Yemeni ministers have taken to referring to the Emiratis as an “occupation force”.

With the Emiratis as their backers, the people of Aden believed their city would become the next Dubai, with electricity, water and jobs. The enthusiastic governor, a former general who had returned from London to help rebuild the city, told me companies would pour into the city; Aden would resume its former glory; its port, which had been stagnating before the war, would reclaim its status; and embassies would reopen. In the months after the Houthis’ departure in 2015, the Emiratis were celebrated as liberators, their flags sold on market stalls, and pictures of the rulers adorned street corners and weapons.

In the streets, the reality was different. “Liberated Aden” resembled other cities devastated by the civil wars that followed the Arab spring, with rusting, burned tanks and armoured vehicles perched on hills, overlooking a city of scarred streets and gutted buildings, toppled on top of one another like crumpled concrete wafers, and impoverished people left homeless and turned into refugee squatters in their own city. The defeated Houthi militia was replaced by dozens of others in a city without water, electricity or a sewage system. The war became the main employer, and the streets filled with fighters riding in the back of pickup trucks mounted with heavy machine guns. Commanders from the disparate, disunited resistance groups were demanding their share of the spoils from a broken and impoverished city.

The most powerful of those commanders, men like Ayman Askar, secured control of the ports, factories and any institution that generated an income, imposing their protection racket. The smaller commanders contented themselves with looting public and private property, especially if the latter belonged to northern owners.

In the summer I met with a human rights lawyer who works with Yemeni ministry of justice, compiling lists of detainees and collecting testimonies from them and their families. “After the battle for Aden we expected the Emiratis to form one army from the resistance – instead, they created a dozen forces and they are detaining anyone who opposes them,” she told me. “Pursuing al-Qaida became a pretext – anyone they don’t approve of is detained, and almost everyone detained is tortured, often hung from ceiling, many are sexually abused. The sad thing is that now southerners are torturing southerners with the blessing of the Emiratis – while the government of Yemen stands helpless and watches.”

The increasingly visible pursuit of these geopolitical imperatives has not necessarily impressed their ostensible allies in Yemen. In Aden this summer, criticism of the UAE was spreading, especially among the poor, who had thought the presence of their very rich neighbours would make their lives better. Instead, the electricity supply had got worse, preventable diseases were spreading, and the collapse of the Yemeni riyal was making them even poorer.
UAE  Muslim_Brotherhood  militia  Looting  corruption  lawlessness  ForeignFighters  torture  kidnapping 
december 2018 by elizrael
Hundreds of ISIS foreign fighters are held in Syria and no one wants them - Washington Post, Dec 21, 2018
Hundreds of foreign ISIS fighters are
in Kurdish prisons in Syria. What happens
when the U.S. military withdraws?
ForeignFighters  Mar15  PYD  prison  ISIS 
december 2018 by elizrael
Scoop: Netanyahu rejected Russian plan to work with U.S. on Syria, Iran - Axios
Details: The Israeli officials who saw the "Patrushev Paper" said it included these main points ...

Freezing the U.S. plan for reimposing economic sanctions on Iran in November as part of the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.
A Russian commitment to push Iranian and pro-Iranian forces out of Syria.
A withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, mainly from the Al-Tanf base.
The opening of a dialogue between the U.S. and Russia on the issue of Iran.
Using the U.S.-Russian dialogue on Syria and Iran to expand their dialogue on other bilateral relations.
What happened: The Israeli officials told me Netanyahu rejected the proposals in the Patrushev Paper because he thought the reimposition of U.S. sanctions on Iran could be used as leverage on the Iranians over Syria — not the other way around.
Russia  Israel  sanctions  Iran  TrumpAdministration  ForeignFighters  Netanyahu  unnamed_official 
december 2018 by elizrael
U.S. to also end air war against Islamic State in Syria: officials | Reuters
U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have told Reuters that U.S. commanders on the ground are also concerned about the impact of a quick withdrawal and were surprised by the decision.
Mar15  TrumpAdministration  ForeignFighters  Rojava  ISIS 
december 2018 by elizrael
U.S. Military Preparing for a Full Withdrawal of Its Forces From Northeastern Syria - WSJ
U.S. officials began informing partners in northeastern Syria of their plans to begin immediately pulling American forces out of the region where they have been trying to wrap up the campaign against Islamic State, the people said.
Mar15  TrumpAdministration  SDF  PYD  ForeignFighters  Raqqa  DeirEzZor 
december 2018 by elizrael

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