Following is a question posed to the Amir of Hizb ut-Tahrir on matters relating to Turkey (and Erdogan’s) moves regarding Syria and Russia, and an elaborated response from the Shaykh in kind. This Q&A was issued on the 7th of December, a few days before the final collapse of the resistance in Aleppo. It contains some points well worthy of consideration in relation to what has finally taken place in the besieged city.
Question: Turkey has stepped up its contacts with Russia regarding the Syrian arena for the reopening of American settlement negotiations.
The BBC stated on 2/12/2016:
“Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey is consulting with Russia … in order to reach a solution to the Syrian crisis. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the Syrian issue by telephone with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at least three times in the past week, while Cavusoglu met the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Turkey on Thursday to discuss the same subject”
With all this, Russia still intensifies its brutal attacks on Aleppo. It even exercised the right to veto a bill in the Security Council on 5/12/2016 that stipulated a cease in military actions for a few days in Aleppo. So what is pushing Turkey, despite the brutality of Russia, into these discussions? What is the truth about what is going on regarding Aleppo and Syria now?
For a clear answer, we need to review a few things.
First, for more than 2 months now, America appeared as if it were escalating its response to the crisis situation with Russia. This was in light of the severe European criticism directed at Russia for the intensity and brutality of its air campaign on Aleppo, as well as the severity of the rejection inside Syria of the US role, which reached its peak when the fighting factions refused participating in Turkish political maneuvers entitled “Operation Euphrates Shield” because of the presence of US special forces among them. Thereafter America realised that a more violent military campaign to bring the Syrians and the revolutionaries down to their knees was needed, to precede the return to negotiations on US terms. Of course, all the while the facade of concern would be maintained (on the US’ part).
Since then, the United States schemed on several fronts:
- It made Russia expedite more lethal munitions and hardware, which saw the arrival of “Kuznetsov”, the only Russian aircraft carrier, to the coast of Syria on 1/11/2016, with its special range of combat cruise-missile capability, and immediately starting a surveying campaign over Syrian targets, especially over Aleppo. This is in addition to Russia’s aircraft and equipment in Syria, especially at the Humaimim Military Airport.
- It brought more of Iran’s Special Forces and their supporters to Aleppo.
- It cooled down most other fronts in Syria through Saudi Arabia, Turkey and others, because of the financial influence of these countries over the fighting factions of Syria. This precipitated the collapse of truces and reconciliations between factions, and scenes abounded of buses loaded with the revolutionaries and their families moving to Idlib, which simply made room for the regime to send reinforcements to Aleppo from these “cooled” fronts. Added to this is the pursuit of those countries to ignite the fire of sedition inside Aleppo itself, so we witnessed the clashes between the trapped revolutionaries.
- Added to this was the continuation of Erdogan’s campaign “Operation Euphrates Shield”, and his attempt to attract more militant factions loyal to Turkey to the battle of Al-Bab after Jarablos, in order to weaken the real front in Aleppo, which were relied on to lift the suffocating siege on the city and its rescue.
“Field reports said that the Syrian armed opposition lost of a third of the land they held in the east of Aleppo, because of the withdrawal of a large number of opposition fighters from the battle fronts in Aleppo in order to support the Turkish forces in their battles against Daesh (ISIS) and Kurdish groups within the operation of Operation Euphrates Shield. The director of the Syrian Observatory for human rights, Rami Abdul Rahman, said in remarks for Sky News Arabia on Monday, that “the Turkish orders reached the loyal fighters within the Free (Syrian) Army to join forces battling Daesh in the Operation Euphrates Shield” launched by Ankara one month before against Daesh and the Kurds, as Ankara fears the extension of their control over the border areas. Abdul Rahman said that the Turkish intervention is the password and an important reason for the defeat of the opposition, due to the use of factions affiliated with the Free (Syrian) Army in their own battle, resulting in empty fronts from opposition fighters that were supposed to face the Syrian Regime’s army and its allies.” (Sky News Arabia, 28/11/2016 CE)
Secondly, great pressure was put on Aleppo and its revolutionaries by capturing a lot of the liberated neighbourhoods from them, and they were restricted into a more narrow area, with heavy shelling threatening to engulf the rest of the neighbourhoods. Here, with international calls for a ceasefire, America found that an opportunity may exist to revive the political process for a “solution” in Syria under a new environment that requires urgency and cannot be delayed, and is evidenced by the following facts:
- America knows that capturing important neighbourhoods in the east of Aleppo is not the end of the Syrian revolution and that to get rid of revolutionaries in various parts of Syria is an impossible dream. It also knows that the revolutionary years in Syria have created a dangerously Islamic climate, so it is rushing to counter this. It attempts to progress its politics faster to accomplish its objectives.
- The current Obama administration leaves the White House on 20/1/2017, still dreaming of exiting with an achievement to be remembered for this administration. Thus, after the Syrian Regime’s army has entered the neighborhoods of Aleppo, Russia stated that Secretary of State Kerry sought frantically to make deal in Aleppo. Russia reported on 28/11/2016:
Yuri Ushakov, Russian presidential aide, said on Monday November 28th: “If you ask about Kerry’s efforts, they are very intense.” And he added: “We can describe these efforts as incredible, given the intensity of the unprecedented telephone communication between the US and Russian foreign ministers, since the focus is on one topic above all, that is, Syria”.
- America’s assignment of Turkey and its training to perform a prominent political role on its behalf, to a degree that it appeared as if the bilateral relation of Kerry-Lavrov has been replaced with the bilateral relationship between Russia-Turkey! Only this explains Turkey’s intensive communications in the subsequent period to capturing the neighborhoods of east Aleppo, as well as the frantic increase in meetings between Turkish officials and their Russian counterparts, and visits by Turkish officials to Lebanon and Iran.
The Turkish visits and meetings were intense and eye-catching for the following reasons:
- The Iranian President Hassan Rohani discussed on Saturday, 26/11/2016, in Tehran with the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu about the Syrian crisis and other regional issues, in addition to the bilateral relations between the two countries. The Iranian Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported that the Turkish Foreign Minister will continue his consultations in Tehran with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif (Al Jazeera Net, 26/11/2016).
- For its part, Anatolia agency said: “Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Cavusoglu discussed with Riad Hijab the need for an immediate cease-fire and the delivery of humanitarian aid to Aleppo, along with efforts to find a political solution to the conflict in the country” (Al-Jazeera Net 30 / 11/2016).
- Lavrov’s visit to Turkey on 30/11/2016 yielded the following: “The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, announced that the Russian-Turkish agreements on Syria, on the military, diplomatic and political matters, are in progress …” (Russia Today, 1/12/2016) Lavrov also added: “Russia and Turkey will continue talks in order to find a solution to the Syrian crisis as soon as possible” (Al Jazeera Net, 1/12/2016).
- The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the Syrian crisis by telephone with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at least three times in the past week (BBC, 2/12/2016).
- The Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, told a news conference in the Turkish city of Alanya, accompanied by his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that “We agree on the need for a cease-fire to end the tragedy” (BBC Arabic, 12/01/2016). He said: “Turkey is consulting with Russia and Iran, Assad’s allies and with Syria and Lebanon too, in order to reach a solution to the Syrian crisis” (BBC, 2/12/2016).
- Sputnik reported the statement of Samir Nashar, a member of the opposition coalition, on Thursday, 1st December: “There have been meetings for three days with Turkish efforts, and they were very discreet, and fighting factions that met were the factions that Turkey could exert some influence on, but the meetings did not come out with any concrete results”. (Russia Today, 1/12/2016).
The Financial Times Newspaper reported on Thursday, 1st December, that a number of Syrian opposition leaders “are conducting secret talks with Russian officials under the Turkish initiative to end the ongoing fighting in Aleppo”. The newspaper added that “four members of the opposition who are in northern Syria told it that Turkey is sponsoring the talks with Russian officials in the capital Ankara” (BBC Arabic, 01/12/2016).
Islamic Ahrar Ash-Sham movement is leading in the name of the “Islamic Front” of brigades, negotiating with Russian officials in order to reach a truce in Aleppo, and one that leads to the departure of the fighters from the Fath Ash-Sham front through Al Castelo Road, and to open roads to evacuate the wounded and sick of the eastern neighborhoods under the supervision of a team from the United Nations. According to Al-Mudun sources, “the departure of the Fath Ash-Sham from Aleppo will be via a Turkish plan; Ankara will then take over the issue of providing aid to the besieged neighborhoods later” (Al- Mudun, 03/12/2016).
- As for America’s satisfaction of these Turkish moves, the US State Department welcomed those negotiations. In a press briefing, Mark Toner, the spokesman for the Ministry said on Thursday, 1st December: “We have seen reports that Russia was negotiating with Syrian rebels”; the spokesman added: “our reaction is: we are ready to welcome all genuine efforts aimed at alleviating the suffering of the Syrian people, especially in Aleppo” (Russia Today, 12/01/2016).
America is behind what is going on and in particular they are consistent with Russia on the progress of the negotiations and settlement. The Russian Foreign Minister revealed on Saturday 3rd December that his US counterpart, John Kerry, delivered proposals on the settlement in Aleppo that “is consistent with the positions that Russia adheres to” (Russia Today, 3/12/2016).
- Lavrov said at a news conference that Russia and the US will start talks regarding the withdrawal in Geneva tomorrow evening or Wednesday morning, adding that the US Secretary of State John Kerry has sent his proposals regarding the routes and timing of withdrawal (Dar Al-Hayat, 05/12/2016). He stressed that the Russian side was ready to start consultations from Monday 5th December, but Washington had asked to postpone the meeting of the experts momentarily. It is expected that those consultations will begin on Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning. (Russia Today, 5/12/2016).
Hence, recent Turkish moves and their intensity are far bigger than just Turkey – they indicate a much bigger hand behind them, and certainly America is the one pushing Turkey step by step. It is the one that manages those negotiations with Russia, according to its proposals handed over to Russia, at a time when the Obama administration is calculating the days carefully hoping to make a final achievement, albeit in Aleppo alone in the remaining few weeks of the life of that administration.
Third: As for the chances of America’s success to bring the fighting factions to the negotiating table and reviving the political process in Syria, this is governed by the following facts:
- Inside of Syria there is a growing rejection of diplomatic solutions. The Syrians woke up to the plots of the Arab countries and Turkey against them with America and Russia behind these plans. It has become clear and without a doubt that those states stand against the Syrian revolution.
Thus, this pressures the factions to correct their course after the pollution of foreign loyalties of the majority of them, and influence by this dirty financial support, and this appeared in the reconciliations and truces and cooling down of (battling) fronts and their abiding by the red lines and instructions of coordination rooms of the Military Operations Center – MOC. The uprising of the people inside Syria that pressured the factions came before the regime’s recent campaign to the east of Aleppo. But now the uprisings of people have grown, accusing appeasing factions of betrayal, and calling for the removal of their leaders!. And in front of this fierce military offensive, the factions within Aleppo took the initiative to dissolve previous alliances and establish the (united) army of Aleppo (Jaysh Halab) as one force, which is a good step and perhaps it leads to the independence from foreign allegiances that is much needed, given the imminent dangers associated with them.
Samir Nashar, a member of the Syrian “opposition coalition”, attributed the lack of reaching results in the factions’ negotiations with Russia in Turkey to the fact that the basic decision lies with the armed groups under siege in the city of Aleppo. He said: “These meetings did not come out with any concrete results because those trapped within the city of Aleppo own their decision, independent of their leaders outside the city, and thus their decision became very independent concerning those under siege within the city” (Russia Today, 1/12/2016). Those armed groups inside Aleppo shrugged off what’s going on outside of these treacherous negotiations and brutal threats to surrender. “An official in the Syrian opposition said that opposition fighters’ leaders will not surrender eastern Aleppo to government forces after Russia said it was ready to hold talks with the United States on the withdrawal of all opposition fighters from the region, as reported by Reuters news agency on Saturday” (Al-Hurra, 03/12/2016).
- Thus, the people who woke up to find the jewel of the revolution, Aleppo, under imminent danger did not rush to surrender and agree to political solutions, but there is a greater rush to correct the path of the loyal factions to the Arab countries and Turkey.
Those factions that turn the financial support given to them into a big brake that prevents them from the continuation of the revolution are distinguished from the good ones. The bad have bowed to the masters in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and others, and raced to the “political process” subservient to America and its alliances and supporters and landed in a ditch of conspirators against the revolution. And the good was truthful in its determination, did not bow down except to Allah, and this good, Allah willing, will render the maliciousness amassed by America from Iran, Russia, Turkey and the Arab countries in vain.
This brutal attack and the legendary steadfastness of the resistance in Aleppo revealed several things. It revealed the malignant influence of regional players like Iran, Saudi Arabian, and Turkey; it revealed Iran’s contributing to acts of brutal murders that are only topped by the work of Russian murders in line with American plans; and it revealed Saudi Arabia’s contribution through its dirty money that fed some factions and eventually constrained them. Turkey is using misinformation as a weapon to carry out America’s plans, as it pumped its loud voice implying that it would not disappoint Aleppo, but has done so repeatedly.
It increased its loud voice in that it will not allow a “second Hama” (massacre of the 80s), but it has allowed similar atrocities without lifting a finger! When it was hit by the shame of these positions, it recently tried to raise the sound of its rhetoric once again, where Erdogan stated that the aim behind Operation Euphrates Shield is “the departure of Assad”. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech dedicated to Jerusalem in Istanbul, on Tuesday November 29th:
And we entered Syria with the Free Syrian Army…Why did we enter? We entered to put a stop to the rule of the tyrant Assad, who terrorises the Syrians with the state of terrorism. Our entry was not for any other reason (Russia Today, 29/11/2016).
But before the echo of his voice (rhetoric) subsided, he backed down to appease Russia, which bombards Aleppo day and night! He thus later said that Operation Euphrates Shield continues in Syria under the leadership of the Turkish Armed Forces and is not aimed at a person or a particular country:
“This ongoing operation since August 24th is targeting terrorist organizations” (TRT Arabic, 1/12/2016).
Russia was aware that Erdogan’s statement of Assad’s departure was empty of meaning; the Russian Foreign Minister had commented on the statement on Thursday, 1st December, by saying:
Moscow relies on the practical field on the agreements that have been reached between the presidents of the two countries, which are being implemented, and not on unilateral statements that are raised often (Russia Today, 1/12/2016).
On 7/12/2016, during Yildirim’s visit to Moscow, he stated clearly in an interview with the Russian Interfax news agency that Operation Euphrates Shield is not linked to what is happening in the center of the city of Aleppo, and has nothing to do with the process of changing the Syrian regime (Gulf Online, 7/12/2016).
Fourth: Thus, America coordinates fully with Russia in the brutal attacks and it is she who is behind Operation Euphrates Shield, which aims to withdraw factions of the Aleppo Front to the actions of the Operation Euphrates Shield and then weaken the Aleppo Front, as well as sponsoring the suspicious negotiations of its factions with Russia, and it is also behind the crowds of Iran and its followers.
America is behind preventing the opposition from getting effective weaponry and what was published by the media today (7/12/2016) does not change a thing, in that the US House of Representatives had passed a bill allowing President-elect Donald Trump’s administration to send land-to-air anti-aircraft missiles to opposition factions in Syria.
The Washington Post reported that the draft resolution includes some restrictions on the transfer of these weapons (Al-Arabiya, 7/12/2016). He came at “injury time” after the near destruction of Aleppo, and it is questionable that it will happen, though if it happens, it would be a disarmed weapon! It will be used only with permission from the enemy of Islam and Muslims, and the question must be asked: do thorns produce grapes?
Moreover, this draft law is passed not to be implemented now, but in the era of Trump who announced to prevent arms for the opposition before the start of his reign! It is yet more misinformation and great falsehood.
We say in closing:
With all this, however much Aleppo is hit with destruction, it will rise again, and the whole Land of Ash-Sham and Aleppo, in particular, will remain a poisoned dagger in the throat of America, Russia, their followers and supporters. It will give them sleepless nights and kill them due to their crimes.
They will not enjoy the victory they want, if they are not able to enter a country only after it is destroyed then it is an imaginary victory, and if they defeat a fighter only after his martyrdom, it is a defeated victory. And if they gather the devastating rockets and explosive barrels and armies of hundreds or a few thousand, but cannot meet them (fighters) only by air and warships launchers, this is the victory of the coward terrified of meeting men, the real men, such victory will not last.
The United States, Russia and their alliances and their followers want to repeat their monstrous crimes following their fellow brothers, the Crusaders and the Mongol and Tatars in their crimes in Iraq and Ash-Sham, but they did not take heed in their fate. They were uprooted by the Muslims from their country and the Muslims rose again, and the pride of Islam and Muslims returned, and their Khilafah was strengthened and they opened Hercules’s city and it became the city of Islam, “Istanbul,” and they advanced on near Moscow and knocked on the doors of Vienna, days will see the change, and tomorrow is close to the one awaiting it.
وَسَيَعْلَمُ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا أَيَّ مُنْقَلَبٍ يَنْقَلِبُونَ
“And those who have wronged are going to know to what [kind of] return they will be returned” [Ash-Shu’ara: 227]
Wednesday 8th Rabii’ I 1438 AH | 7/12/2016 CE
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