Syria
Syria oil map

Kurds betrayed in new Russo-Turkish alignment?

Moscow hostedĀ the first direct meeting in years between the intelligence chiefs of Turkey and Syria’s Assad regime, supposedly deadly rivals. The head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization Hakan Fidan met with Ali Mamlouk, head of the Syrian National Security Bureau, a sure sign of a Russian-brokered rapprochement between the burgeoning dictatorship of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the entrenched dictatorship of Bashar Assad. Sources said the discussions included “the possibility of working together against YPG, the terrorist organization PKK’s Syrian component.”Ā This is a reference to the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Kurdish militia in northern Syria, which is ideologically aligned with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the banned Kurdish revolutionary organization in Turkish territory. The YPG made a separate peace with the Assad regime to resist the Turkish invasion of Kurdish territory last year. It should come as little surprise that Assad is now considering their betrayal in exchange for some kind of peace with Turkey.Ā  (Map: Energy Consulting Group)

Syria
Kurdish refugees

‘Ceasefire’ or ethnic cleansing in northeast Syria?

After meeting in Ankara, US Vice President Mike Pence and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reached a deal to suspend Turkey’s military offensive in northern Syria for five days to allow Kurdish forces to withdraw from a designated area along the border.Ā This is being widely reported as a “ceasefire.” However, Ankara is insisting the deal is not a “ceasefire” but a halt in the offensive to give Kurdish forces time to retreat from zone. Far from being a peace move, the pactĀ amounts to an ultimatumĀ to the Kurds to quit their territory. Some 160,000 Kurds have already fled the Turkish offensiveā€”some to a refugee camp that has been established across the border in Iraq.Ā (Photo: UNHCR via Twitter)

Europe

Amnesty: EU complicit in violence against refugees

European governments are complicit in the systematic, unlawful and frequently violent "pushback" and collective expulsion of thousands of asylum seekers to squalid and unsafe refugee camps in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Amnesty International charges in a new report. By prioritizing border control over compliance with international law, European governments are not merely turning a blind eye to vicious assaults by the Croatian police, but actually funding such activities. In so doing, they are fueling a growing humanitarian crisis on the edge of the European Union. (Photo Border Violence Monitoring)

North America

Yes, the Russians. Wake up and smell the vodka.

Amid disingenuous demands for the "evidence," all the political logic points to Russia being behind the hacks in an intentional strategy to throw the US election to Trump.

Europe

Bulgaria: protest mass arrests of migrants

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein expressed concern over Bulgaria's criminalization of migrants both leaving and entering the country.

Europe

Will Ukraine ‘go nuclear’?

NATO maneuvers in the Black Sea—just across from Crimea—come as Ukrainian lawmakers threaten to seek nuclear weapons if the West does not act against Russia.

Europe

Bulgaria protesters say ‘NOligarchy!’

Over the past 10 days, thousands of protesters have repeatedly taken to the streets of Bulgaria to oppose the interim coalition government of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski.