Turkey launched its assault on the Kurdish autonomous zone in northern Syria, with air-strikes and artillery pounding areas along the Syrian-Turkish border. Hundreds of civilians have fled the bombardment, headed south into areas still held by Kurdish forces. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is cloaking this aggression in the guise of a “safe zone” for refugees, a humanitarian operation. In reality, Erdogan is exploiting the refugees as demographic cannon fodder, using them to populate areas Kurds are now to be displaced from, creating a new class of refugees, pitting Arabs against Kurds, and establishing the conditions for potentially generations of Arab-Kurdish ethnic war in northern Syria. (Map: Genocide Watch)
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have announced the complete “territorial defeat” of the Islamic State. Trump was of course quick to take credit for the victory. But this is a victory for the Rojava Kurds and their Arab and Assyrian allies, not for Trump. And it could paradoxically be very bad news for them, as they have now outlived their usefulness to the empire and could be betrayed to Turkish aggression. The collapse of ISIS could set off a new scramble for Syria’s north, with potential for an Arab-Kurdish ethnic war. (Image: SDF)
A disturbing report from the Assyrian Policy Institute provides details on an incident in the northern Syrian town of Qamishli in which Kurdish militia fighters supposedly opened fire during a protest by local Assyrian Christians. The incident began when militia forces attempted to carry out an order by Rojava regional authorities to close Assyrian parochial schools in the town following their refusal to accept a new curriculum that school administrators said emphasized Kurdish nationalism. It ended when militiamen fired in the air to disperse the protesters who gathered at the scene. (Image: Assyrian Policy Institute)
Kurds officially declared their own "Federation of Northern Syria"—to be swiftly denounced by the Assad regime, the opposition and regional powers alike.
Turkey's prime minister accuses Russia of "ethnic cleansing" with air-strikes targeting Turkmen in Syria—as Ankara continues to attack Kurds in Turkey, Syria and Iraq alike.
Kurdish strongman Masoud Barzani has invited a Turkish military force into his territory, with the apparent aim of driving the PKK from northern Iraq.
Iran is invited to the US-backed Vienna "peace" talks on the Syria war—seeming to confirm suspicions that cooperation against ISIS was the real motive behind the nuclear deal.
A new coalition of 13 armed organizations announced the formation of the Democratic Forces of Syria, which is now planning a major offensive against ISIS.
The US State Department finds that the number of "terrorist attacks" around the world rose by a third in 2014, largely due to the expansion of ISIS and Boko Haram.
As Syrian Kurdish forces advance towards Raqqa, the ISIS capital, Turkish state media have launched a campaign charging them with ethnic cleansing of Arabs in seized territory.
Islamist rebels led by al-Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front have seized new territory in northwestern Syria, and issued a pledge to take Damascus and topple the regime.