War hawk McCain secretly visits Syria ahead of UN talks
US Senator John McCain secretly traveled to northern Syria last weekend to meet with Kurdish fighters as well as US military officials, in what is being described as a move by a "shadow president" according to Drudge Report.
Published: February 23, 2017, 10:31 am
McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, first traveled to an ISIS-held part of Syria in 2013, where he met with their leaders. This was believed to be his first visit to Syria since then. McCain actively supported arming opposition groups in the Syrian conflict.
War hawk McCain’s plan to help his anti-Assad partners in Syria previously, included grounding the Syrian air force from operating in its own sovereign country, creating safe zones for Takfiris and arming the opposition to a democratically elected head of state.
During his trip, McCain also met with Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to discuss international relations, just days before a new round of United Nations-brokered talks on Syria in Geneva is set to start.
Those familiar with McCain’s visit said that the senator traveled to Kobani, the Syrian town on the Turkey border controlled by Kurdish forces since 2012. His office confirmed the visit to establish “safe zones” in Syria.
After traveling to Syria, McCain met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Turkish capital. Erdogan is eager to get rid of the Kurdish fighters he views as a threat. McCain discussed evolving plans regarding the Islamic State in the Middle East with the Turkish leader.
Ankara believes US-backed Kurdish forces in Syria are “terrorists” aligned with Kurdish separatists in Turkey fighting for autonomy. Erdogan and other Turkish leaders criticized Brett McGurk after he was photographed receiving a plaque from a leader of the Syrian Kurdish force, the Wall Street Journal reported. McGurk, America’s special envoy, who traveled to Kobani last year and met with Kurdish fighters, created a huge uproar in Turkey.
Sources close to Erdogan told Reuters earlier this month that the president in a phone call asked Trump not to arm the Kurds.
McGurk was asked by the Trump administration to stay on in his job, while a debate rages over when and how to launch an assault on Raqqa. President Donald Trump has requested a new plan to tackle the Islamic State, and is expecting a final answer from the US military by the end of the month.
According to the WSJ, the debate centres around whether or not to rely on Kurdish forces to take Raqqa, a city with a Sunni majority that is likely to be wary of Kurdish control. The Islamic State currently runs operations out of their de facto capital of Raqqa. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to launch a successful assault on Raqqa in the coming months without working with Kurdish forces, some US officials say, but Turkish leaders want to sideline the Kurdish fighters. The Turks however have not presented any viable alternative plan, according to American military officials.
It is rare for US politicians to travel to Syria. Last month, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard secretly traveled to Damascus, where she held a meeting with President Bashar al-Assad.
According to a statement released by the Combined Joint Task Force, the anti-ISIS coalition conducted a total of 32 airstrikes on ISIS insurgents on Tuesday, Al Masdar News reported.
Around 23 of the sorties were conducted in Syria while air raids were especially intense over Raqqa. US-led airstrikes were also conducted on Islamic State militants near Deir Ezzor and Palmyra, two cities that have Syrian government forces stationed nearby.
No American airstrikes were conducted on ISIS militants at Al-Bab, suggesting some tension between the US and Turkish-backed forces trying to capture the city.
All rights reserved. You have permission to quote freely from the articles provided that the source (www.freewestmedia.com) is given. Photos may not be used without our consent.
Keep your language polite. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in, for example, Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.
If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violations of any law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.
If your comments are subject to preview by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.
We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.
The story that has been circulating for the past 24 hours about former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad being arrested is fake. A source close to the president denies the rumours, according to the Russian site Geopolitica.
Thousands of western foreign fighters serving with the Islamic State in Syria have escaped, The Times of London reported.
MelbourneAn Afghan-born Australian deliberately mowed down 19 pedestrians in Melbourne in an "act of evil" authorities say. Although Saeed Noori has been known to law enforcement, the police denied that his actions were linked terrorism.
For most Syrians it came as a shock: One of the most popular military commanders of the Syrian Arab Army, Issam Zahreddine, was killed on 18 October 2017.
New infighting erupted in the north-west Idleb governate and the city of Idleb in Syria between between Ahrar al-Sham and Tahrir al-Sham.
TanfRussia has reacted with fury over an illegal US coalition airstrike in Syria. An air force group of the US-led counter-terrorist squad on May 18 attacked pro-government forces operating within the established de-escalation zone northwest of Tanf.
WashingtonThe US State Department has alleged that 50 detainees are being hanged each day at Syria's Saydnaya military prison, about 45 minutes north of Damascus.
INTERVIEWDr. Elie Hatem is a Lebanese-French lawyer, political advisor and one of the most respected experts in France regarding the Middle East. In an exclusive talk to Free West Media, Dr. Hatem explains the links between the different battle fields of the Middle East region and the suicidal politics of the European Union.
GalileeIsraeli President Reuven Rivlin said on Holocaust Remembrance Day that the trend across Europe to minimize crimes against Jews during the holocaust was dangerous, signalling that the French bear a collective and unending responsibility that ought to continue for generations to come.
Pentagon chief, general James Mattis says there is "no doubt" that Syrian government has chemical weapons.