UPDATE- US arming YPG ‘created a nightmare’ for Turkey: Senator

             ADDS DETAILS THROUGHOUT</p>  <p>By Ahmet Salih Alacaci </p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) - By arming the YPG group in Syria, Washington “created a nightmare for Turkey,” said a senior U.S. senator during a visit to the Turkish capital on Saturday. </p>  <p>Underlining that the YPG/PYD is “clearly” tied to the PKK -- listed as a terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S., and the European Union -- Senator Lindsey Graham told reporters that the U.S. strategy in Syria has the potential to cause harm to Turkey. </p>  <p>The South Carolina senator stressed the importance of protecting Turkey and solving the problem the U.S. “created” for Ankara, referring to U.S. support for the terrorist YPG/PYD in the name of fighting Daesh terrorists. </p>  <p>He highlighted that the planned U.S. pullout from Syria must work to rectify past mistakes and that a withdrawal failing to destroy the Daesh terror group, contain Iran, and protect Turkey would only result in a broader conflict and “chaos.” 

U.S. President Donald Trump's surprise pullout announcement last month followed a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in which the two agreed on the need for more effective coordination over the civil war-torn country.

“President Trump should be very cautious in how he withdraws and not dump this problem on Turkey’s lap,” said Graham, adding that it would be “insane” for Turkey to have to fight elements armed by the U.S. in Syria.

Citing the threat to Turkey as well as Syria's territorial integrity, Turkey has said it will soon launch a counter-terrorist operation against the YPG/PYD in Syria, east of the Euphrates River, near the Turkish border.

– Syria, Khashoggi

Graham also praised Turkey for taking in 4 million refugees from the Syria war, thanking Turks for their “generosity, care” and efforts to provide Syrian children with an education.

He also thanked Ankara for working to clear up the “gruesome murder” last October of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.

On the alleged role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Khashoggi killing, he said Washington has to deal with “bad people,” adding that U.S.-Saudi relations cannot move forward until bin Salman had been “dealt with.”

The senator said he hoped that NATO ally Ankara, a “very important strategic partner,” and Washington could “start a new relationship” and begin to integrate their economies through a free trade agreement, calling the relationship between President Erdogan and Trump “unique and special.”

Graham, a member of Congress since 1995 and a senator since 2003, serves on the Senate's Armed Services Committee. As a member of the U.S. Air Force in the 1980s, he was stationed at the NATO base in Incirlik, Turkey, Graham told reporters.

-Terrorist YPG/PYD

Turkey has long objected to the U.S. giving support and weapons to the YPG/PYD, arguing that using one terrorist group to fight another makes no sense.

<p>There has been friction between Ankara and Washington over the upcoming Turkish counter-terrorist operation against the YPG/PYD amid the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria. </p>  <p>In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people. The YPG/PYD is the group's Syrian branch. </p>  <p> 

Turkey won't stop until it drains terror from Syria

             By S. Ahmet Aytac </p>  <p> ANKARA (AA) - Turkey won’t stop until it eradicates the terrorists from neighboring Syria, said the head of Turkey’s presidential communications on Friday.</p>  <p>“We won't stop until we drain the terrorist swamp next door. We won’t rest until justice is served,” presidential communications director Fahrettin Altun wrote on Twitter </p>  <p>“Terrorists have killed more than 2,000 innocent people in Turkey since 2015. Many of those attacks were planned in northern Syria. The Turkish people have suffered more than their fair share,” Altun added. </p>  <p>Turkey has said it will soon launch a counter-terrorist operation in northern Syria, east of the Euphrates River, targeting the terrorist PKK/YPG.</p>  <p>In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the death of some 40,000 people. The PYD/YPG is the group's Syrian branch. </p>  <p> 

FSA fighter killed, 2 hurt by YPG/PKK landmine in Azaz

            By Omer Koparan</p>    <p>AZAZ, Syria (AA) – A member of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) was killed -- and two others critically injured -- by a landmine planted by the YPG/PKK terrorist group in Syria’s Azaz province on Monday.</p>    <p>Terrorist elements based in the town of Kafr Kashir, north of Aleppo’s Tal Rifat district have reportedly planted landmines along roads in the region frequently used by the FSA.</p>    <p>The deadly incident reportedly occurred while FSA fighters were patrolling the frontline near Tal Rifat.</p>    <p>The YPG -- the PKK terrorist group's Syrian affiliate -- continues to maintain a presence in Tal Rifat, from which it frequently stages attacks on civilians and Turkey-backed armed opposition groups.</p>    <p>In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the death of some 40,000 people.

PKK attack Turkish group in Germany

                                    BERLIN (AA) - Supporters of the terrorist PKK/YPG group attacked the Cologne office of a Turkish youth organization, TGB, in northwestern German early Thursday.</p>  <p>A video posted on social media shows two masked assailants smashing glass windows of the building and writing “Greetings from YPG” on its walls.</p>  <p>The terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on the Internet and threatened to carry out more violence in Germany.</p>  <p>Selahattin Gungor, who is heading the Youth Union of Turkey’s (TGB) Cologne branch, condemned the attack and called on German police to take measures to prevent more attacks.</p>  <p>PKK sympathizers have recently called for protests in Germany against Turkey’s counterterrorism operations in northern Syria, and organized demonstrations asking for the release of the terrorist group’s jailed so-called founder Abdullah Ocalan.</p>  <p>The terrorist group has been banned in Germany since 1993, but it remains active, with nearly 14,000 followers among the Kurdish immigrant population in the country.</p>  <p>Germany has a 3 million-strong Turkish community, many of whom are second- and third-generation German-born citizens whose grandparents moved to the country during the 1960s.</p>  <p>Ankara has long criticized German authorities for not taking serious measures against the PKK and its Syrian affiliates -- PYD and YPG -- which continue to use Germany as a platform for their fund-raising, recruitment and propaganda activities.</p>  <p>The PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU, waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years, and has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children.

US senator 'sensitive' to Turkish concerns over YPG/PKK

             By Safvan Allahverdi 

WASHINGTON (AA) – A key Republican senator in the U.S. said he is “sensitive” to Turkey’s concerns regarding the presence of the terrorist group PKK/YPG in northern Syria, adding that he might visit Turkey to talk with officials about this.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Senator Lindsey Graham said that the U.S. has to strike a “delicate balance” between long-time NATO ally Turkey and the PKK/YPG, who he said helped Washington defeat Daesh.

Graham’s remarks Wednesday came amid continued tension between Ankara and Washington over U.S. support for the terrorist PKK/YPG, also known as the PKK/PYD. The U.S. has allied itself with the PKK/YPG to fight Daesh in Syria, while Turkey has argued that using one terror group to fight another makes no sense.

U.S. officials recently said a planned troop pullout from Syria depends on Turkey not attacking the PKK/YPG, while Turkish officials have pledged an operation against the terrorist group, citing its threat to national security and Syrians east of the Euphrates River.

“I am sensitive to Turkey’s concerns. I’ve seen this for a long time, this is a delicate balance,” Graham told Anadolu Agency in an interview.

"And we don’t want to abandon allies [the PKK/YPG] who were there doing fighting on the ground against a vicious enemy called ISIS," he added, using another name for Daesh.

“But," he said, "I am sympathetic to the problem that Turkey has with some elements of the YPG, and my hope is that we can find a way to make sure that Turkey feels assured that our efforts in Syria do not jeopardize the security of Turkey.

"And it’s very important for the United States to not abandon people who have helped them in their causes. So, I may be going to Turkey soon to talk about this.”

Asked about how he plans to reassure Ankara about its concerns, Graham said that was the “64 million dollar question”.

Earlier, at a 2016 Senate hearing, Graham criticized the U.S./YPG alliance, saying: “We are arming people inside of Syria [the YPG] who are aligned with a terrorist group [the PKK], that is the finding of Turkish government.”

He added: “They [Turks] think this is the dumbest idea in the world, and I agree with them.”

The PYD/YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, a terrorist group recognized by Turkey, the U.S., and EU, which in its 30-year terror campaign has taken some 40,000 lives, including women and children.

Turkey rejects any conflation between the PKK/YPG and ethnic Kurds, arguing that in fact the terror group threatens Syria's Kurds, Turkmens, and Arabs alike.

“Türkiye'nin Kürtleri hedef aldığı iddiası akıl dışı”

ANKARA (AA) – Cumhurbaşkanlığı Sözcüsü İbrahim Kalın, "Türkiye'nin Kürtleri hedef aldığı iddiası akıl dışıdır. Türkiye'nin hedefi DEAŞ ve PKK/PYD/YPG terör örgütleridir." ifadelerini kullandı.

Kalın, yazılı açıklamasında, Türkiye'nin terörle mücadelesinin amacının, milli güvenliği sağlamak, bölgesel barış ve istikrarı güvence altına almak olduğunu vurguladı.

Türkiye'nin, terör örgütü PKK ve Suriye uzantıları PYD ve YPG'ye, DEAŞ'a ve FETÖ'ye karşı aynı anda mücadele eden tek NATO üyesi ülke olduğunu hatırlatan Kalın, Türkiye'nin terörle mücadelede müttefikleriyle ve bölge ülkeleriyle koordinasyon yapacağına, milli güvenliğinin gerektirdiği politikaları kararlı bir şekilde uygulayacağına dikkati çekti.

Kalın, Cumhurbaşkanı Recep Tayyip Erdoğan'ın "sahada da olacağız, masada da olacağız" ilkesinin, milli çıkarlar için hem askeri hem de diplomatik yolların her an açık olduğunu açıkça ifade ettiğini belirtti.

Türkiye'nin amacının, Suriye'yi bütün terör örgütlerinden temizlemek, Suriye'nin toprak bütünlüğünü korumak ve sivillerin hayatlarını güvence altına alarak ülkelerine geri dönmelerini sağlayacak siyasi ve toplumsal şartları oluşturmak olduğunun altını çizen Kalın, şunları kaydetti:

"DEAŞ'la mücadele kisvesi altında ayrılıkçı bir gündemle hareket eden PYD ve YPG, PKK terör örgütünün Suriye koludur ve Suriye Kürtlerini temsil edemez. Bir terör örgütünün Kürtleri temsil ettiğini ileri sürmek, her şeyden önce Kürt kardeşlerimize yapılmış bir saygısızlıktır. Türkiye'nin PKK ve Suriye uzantılarına yönelik mücadelesinin bir amacı da Kürtleri bu terör örgütünün zulmünden ve baskısından kurtarmak, can ve mal güvenliklerini teminat altına almaktır.

Türkiye'nin Kürtleri hedef aldığı iddiası akıl dışıdır. Türkiye'nin hedefi DEAŞ ve PKK/PYD/YPG terör örgütleridir. Mesele, PKK/PYD/YPG'nin kendisine tabi olmayan Kürtlere de zulmederek kurmaya çalıştığı düzen ve ülkemize yönelik terör eylemleridir. Bir terör örgütünün ABD'nin müttefiki olamayacağı ise izahtan varestedir."

İbrahim Kalın, Türkiye'nin, Suriyeli kardeşleri arasında hiçbir dini, etnik ve mezhebi ayrım yapmadan savaşın sona ermesi, güvenliğin sağlanması ve siyasi geçiş sürecinin uygulanması için çabalarına kararlılıkla devam edeceğini belirtti.

ABD Başkanı Donald Trump'ın Ulusal Güvenlik Danışmanı John Bolton, Amerikan askerlerinin Suriye’den çekilmesinin bazı ön koşullara bağlı olduğunu ifade etmişti. Bolton, terör örgütü YPG/PKK’yı kastederek, Amerika’nın Suriye’den çekilmesinin Türkiye’nin "Kürt savaşçıların" güvenliğini garanti etmesi ve DEAŞ'ın yenilmesi koşuluna bağlı olduğunu açıklamıştı.

US, YPG/PKK kill 165 Syrian civilians in 3 months: NGO

                              By Adham Kako</p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) - In a period lasting about three months, the allied U.S.-led coalition and YPG/PKK terrorists killed 165 civilians in one region of eastern Syria, a Syrian NGO said in a report on Saturday.</p>  <p>Working to expel Daesh from the area, coalition forces attacks around Deir ez-Zor killed 153 civilians, including 71 children and 29 women, and attacks by YPG/PKK terrorists killed 12 civilians in the same period, including three children, said the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) in a report covering the 101 days from Sept. 11 to Dec. 20.</p>  <p>After Deir ez-Zor's Hajin district center was invaded by the YPG/PKK terror group, some 6,000 civilians in the remaining towns and villages in the hands of Daesh were stranded under a siege by Bashar al-Assad regime forces and YPG/PKK terrorists, the report said.</p>  <p>The report added that Daesh uses civilians as human shields, leaving them exposed to random strikes by regime forces and YPG/PKK terrorists.</p>  <p>Daesh still maintains control of five towns in rural parts of the eastern Deir ez-Zor province.</p>  <p>With U.S. help, YPG/PKK terrorists are in control east of Euphrates River and rural areas in western and eastern Deir ez-Zor. France also provides the terrorist group with artillery support. </p>  <p>Regime forces, meanwhile, maintain control of the western section of Deir ez-Zor. </p>  <p>As of today, YPG/PKK terrorists occupy some 28 percent of the total area of Syria.

Turkey has long objected to the U.S. allying itself with the terrorist YPG/PKK against Daesh, saying that using one terrorist group to fight another makes no sense.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the death of some 40,000 people, including women and children. The YPG is its Syrian branch.

Turkey has said it will soon launch a third counter-terrorist operation against the terrorist YPG/PKK in northern Syria, citing both the threat to Turkey and to local civilians.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on protesters with unexpected ferocity.

YPG/PYD/PKK'nın DEAŞ ile iş birliği INTERPOL raporunda

ANKARA (AA) – INTERPOL'un üye ülkelere gönderdiği mesajda YPG/PYD/PKK ile DEAŞ'ın iş birliği içinde hareket ettiklerine yönelik tespitlerin olduğu bildirildi.

Emniyet Genel Müdürlüğünden yapılan yazılı açıklamada, INTERPOL tarafından 193 üye ülkeye gönderilen mesaja ilişkin bilgi verildi.

Buna göre mesajda, Türkiye'nin, Suriye ve Irak'taki çatışma bölgelerine gitmek veya ülkelerine geri dönmek isteyen yabancı terörist savaşçılara (YTS) karşı aldığı önlemler detaylı şekilde anlatıldı.

Havaalanlarının yanı sıra kara ve deniz sınır kapılarında kurulan ve Emniyet Genel Müdürlüğünün istihbarat, terörle mücadele ve kaçakçılık ve organize suçlarla mücadele birimlerindeki tecrübeli personelinden oluşturulan risk analiz birimlerinin başarılı çalışmalarına yer verildi.

Bu birimlerin, şüphelilerle yaptıkları mülakat sonucu bu kişiler hakkında ülkeye giriş yasağı konulduğu ve ülkelerine geri gönderildikleri belirtildi.

  • Fırat Kalkanı ve YTS'lerin durumu

Türk Silahlı Kuvvetlerinin sınır ötesinde başarıyla yürüttüğü Fırat Kalkanı Harekatı'ndan övgüyle bahsedilen mesajda, DEAŞ'ı hedef alan bu operasyonun yanı sıra sınır hattında duvar inşa edilmesi, devriye ve kontrol faaliyetlerinin sıklaştırılması gibi önlemlerin çatışma bölgelerine seyahati zorlaştırdığı ve YTS'leri alternatif güzergah arayışına mecbur bıraktığı vurgulandı.

Suriye ve Irak'ta düzenlenen operasyonlar sonucunda DEAŞ'ın kayda değer ölçüde toprak yitirdiği, örgüt mensuplarının sayısında azalma görüldüğü ve teröristlerin sahip oldukları kaynaklar açısından büyük kayba uğradıkları ifade edildi.

Bazı DEAŞ mensuplarının, bölgede aktif olan diğer terör örgütlerine (YPG/PYD, SDF) katıldıkları, ülkelerine geri dönmek için bölgeyi terk ettikleri veya üçüncü ülkelere yerleştiklerinin gözlendiği kaydedildi.

  • Üye ülkelere YTS uyarısı

DEAŞ'ın hem bölge ülkeleri hem de uluslararası toplum için hala bir tehdit olduğuna işaret edilen mesajda, özellikle ülkelerine geri dönen YTS'lerin gerçekleştirebileceği eylemler konusunda tüm üye ülkeler uyarıldı.

Mesajda, DEAŞ'ın yanı sıra terör örgütü PKK/KCK'nın Suriye'deki uzantısı YPG/PYD'nin faaliyetlerine de yer verildi.

Çoğu Avrupa ülkelerinden olmak üzere yaklaşık 400 kişinin YPG/PYD'ye katıldığı ve DEAŞ ile iş birliği içinde hareket ettikleri vurgulandı. Bu teröristlerin, radikal sol eğitimden geçtikleri ve edindikleri çatışma tecrübesiyle ülkelerine geri döndüklerine ve bu durumun oluşturduğu tehdide işaret edildi.

PKK ve bölgedeki uzantısı YPG/PYD unsurlarının, sözde üst düzey DEAŞ üyelerinin Türkiye'ye yasa dışı yollardan girişine yardımcı oldukları kaydedildi.

Tutuklanan YTS'lerin, Türkiye'deki cezaevlerinde geçirdikleri süre boyunca dini ve ahlaki gelişimlerine katkıda bulunulduğu, sahip oldukları yanlış bilgiler konusunda rehabilite edildikleri belirtildi.

Bunun yanı sıra YTS'lerin, sosyal, kültürel ve eğitim faaliyetlerine katılmalarının sağlandığı, radikalleşmelerinin önüne geçildiği vurgulandı.

İslam'ın terörizm ve radikalizmle bağdaştırılamayacağı hususu da raporda yer aldı.

UPDATE – US’ Syria troop pullout shouldn’t serve PYD/YPG: Turkey

             UPDATES WITH MORE REAMRKS BY TURKISH FM </p>    <p>By Nazli Yuzbasioglu</p>    <p>ANKARA (AA) - Turkey has made clear that the process of withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria should not serve the terror group PYD/YPG, Turkey’s foreign minister said on Tuesday. </p>    <p>Speaking to reporters in the capital Ankara to evaluate the Turkey’s 2018 foreign policy, Mevlut Cavusoglu said: “We’ve clearly conveyed that the process should not serve the separatist agenda of the PYD/YPG.”</p>    <p>Turkey and the U.S. agreed to complete Manbij roadmap before US would finish its withdrawal from Syria, Cavusoglu added. </p>  <p>Turkish and U.S. troops began joint patrols in Syria's northwestern Manbij on Nov. 1 as part of an agreement that focuses on the withdrawal of PKK/YPG terrorists from the city to stabilize the region.</p>    <p>Cavusoglu stressed that France's presence in Syria to protect terrorist YPG would help neither France nor YPG. </p>    <p>Turkey has the power to single-handedly neutralize Daesh in Syria, Cavusoglu added. </p>    <p>Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has signaled that a cross-border operation against the terrorist PYD/YPG in Syria will happen soon. Since 2016, Ankara has carried out two similar military operations in northern Syria.</p>    <p>U.S. President Donald Trump last week made the surprise announcement that the U.S. would withdraw its troops from Syria, following a phone call with Erdogan in which the two leaders agreed on the need for more effective coordination over the civil war-torn country.</p>  <p> </p>  <p>- Yemen crisis</p>    <p>Also addressing the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, Cavusoglu said Turkey called on the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) contact group to hold a meeting in Istanbul on Jan. 10 to discuss the situation. </p>    <p>Yemen has been dogged by conflict since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa, forcing the government to take up temporary residence in the coastal city of Aden.

The following year, Saudi Arabia and several of its Arab allies launched a massive air campaign in Yemen aimed at retaking Houthi-held territory on behalf of the country’s pro-Saudi government.

The air campaign has devastated much of Yemen's basic infrastructure, including health and sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe the situation as “one of the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times”.

The Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay) and other groups which provide aid, including Turkey’s state Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet), have recently launched campaigns to raise money to help the people of Yemen.

Daesh loses major stronghold in eastern Syria

By Mohamad Misto

DEIR EZ-ZOR, Syria (AA) – The YPG/PKK terrorist group has seized control of Hajin city, a major stronghold of the Daesh terrorist group in eastern Syria, according to local sources on Monday.

YPG/PKK captured the city after 10 days of fierce clashes with Daesh terrorists, the sources said on condition of anonymity due to security concerns.

The YPG/PKK campaign was backed by a fierce air bombardment by U.S.-led coalition warplanes, causing massive destruction in the city, the sources said.

Daesh still maintains control of five towns in the countryside of the eastern Deir ez-Zor province and Homs in central Syria.

With the U.S. help, YPG/PKK terrorists are in control of the east of Euphrates River and rural areas in western and eastern Deir ez-Zor. France also provides the terrorist group with artillery support.

Regime forces, meanwhile, maintains control of the western section of Deir ez-Zor.

As of today, YPG/PKK terrorists occupy some 28 percent of the Syrian land.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.