The Unz Review • An Alternative Media Selection$
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewPatrick Cockburn Archive
War with Isis: President Obama Demands That Turkey Close Stretch of Frontier with Syria
Ankara is accused of tolerance of – if not complicity with – the terrorists, who use border as a crossing point for Isis recruits and oil sales
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • B
Show CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

The US is demanding that Turkey close a 60-mile stretch of its border with Syria which is the sole remaining crossing point for Isis militants, including some of those involved in the massacre in Paris and other terrorist plots.

The complete closure of the 550-mile-long border would be a serious blow to Isis, which has brought tens of thousands of Islamist volunteers across the frontier over the past three years.

In the wake of the Isis attacks in Paris, Washington is making clear to Ankara that it will no longer accept Turkish claims that it is unable to cordon off the remaining short section of the border still used by Isis. “The game has changed. Enough is enough. The border needs to be sealed,” a senior official in President Barack Obama’s administration told The Wall Street Journal, describing the tough message that Washington has sent to the Turkish government. “This is an international threat, and it’s coming out of Syria and it’s coming through Turkish territory.”

The US estimates some 30,000 Turkish troops would be needed to close the border between Jarabulus on the Euphrates and the town of Kilis, further west in Turkey, according to the paper. US intelligence agencies say that the stretch of frontier most commonly used by Isis is between Jarabulus, where the official border crossing has been closed, and the town of Cobanbey.

It has become of crucial importance ever since the Syrian Kurdish forces known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG) captured the border crossing at Tal Abyad, 60 miles north of Isis’s capital of Raqqa in June. Turkey had kept that border crossing open while Isis was in control on the southern side, but immediately closed it when the YPG seized the crossing point. The Turkish authorities are refusing to allow even the bodies of YPG fighters, who are Turkish citizens and were killed fighting Isis, to be taken back across the border into Turkey.

The US move follows increasing international criticism of Turkey for what is seen as its long-term tolerance of, and possible complicity with, Isis and other extreme jihadi groups such as al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra Front, and Ahrar al-Sham. Not only have thousands of foreign fighters passed through Turkey on their way to join Isis, but crude oil from oilfields seized by Isis in north-east Syria has been transported to Turkey for sale, providing much of revenue of the self-declared Islamic State.

Last week a Turkish court jailed two prominent journalists for publishing pictures of a Turkish truck delivering ammunition to opposition fighters in Syria. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that the weapons were destined for Turkmen paramilitaries allied to Turkey fighting in Syria, but this was denied by Turkish political leaders close to the Turkmen.


Turkey is now under heavy pressure from the US and Russia, with President Vladimir Putin directly accusing Ankara of aiding Isis and al-Qaeda. In the wake of the shooting down of a Russian aircraft by a Turkish jet, Russia is launching heavy air strikes in support of the Syrian army’s advance to control the western end of the Syrian Turkish border. The pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a Russian air strike on the town of Ariha yesterday killed 18 people and wounded dozens more. Meanwhile Turkey said it had now received the body of the pilot killed when the plane was shot down and would repatriate it to Moscow.

The US demand that Turkey finally close the border west of Jarabulus could, if Turkey complies, prove more damaging to Isis than increased air strikes by the US, France and, possibly Britain. The YPG has closed half the Syrian frontier over the last year and defeated an Isis assault aimed at taking another border crossing at Kobani. Syrian Kurdish leaders say they want to advance further west from their front line on the Euphrates and link up with a Kurdish enclave at Afrin. But Turkey insists that it will resist a further YPG advance with military force. Instead, it had proposed a protected zone on the southern side of the border from which Isis would be driven by moderate Syrian opposition fighters.


The US has opposed this proposal, suspecting that the Turkish definition of moderates includes those the US is targeting as terrorists. It also appears to be a ploy to stop the YPG, heavily supported by US air power, expanding its de facto state along Turkey’s southern flank. US officials are quoted as saying that there could be “significant blowback” against Turkey by European states if it allows Isis militants to cross from Syria into Turkey and then carry out terrorist outrages in Europe.

Meanwhile in Iraq, officials said three more mass graves had been found in the northern town of Sinjar, which Kurdish forces backed by US-led air strikes recaptured from Isis earlier this month.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: ISIS, Syria, Turkey 
Hide 16 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. Rehmat says:

    Turkey’s Syrian problem is part of the world superpowers’ game in the Muslim East. Turkey is Russia’s long-term adversary, a long-term ally of both US and Israel and the only Muslim member of the Judeo-Christian NATO. Syria, on the other hand, has always acted a Russian proxy in the region under the Ba’athist regime. Many Syrians still remember how Kemalist Turks occupied Syrian province of Hatay (Alexandretta) in 1939 as result of Franco-Turkish deal. The historic pre-WW I al-Sham (Greater Syria), in addition to present day Lebanon – also included areas of Turkey south of the Taurus and Anti-Taurus Mountains. The Ottoman Empire lost al-Sham to Anglo-Franco colonial powers after its defeat in WW I. The World Zionist movement played a major part in vilifying Turkey before and during the WW I (1914-18) for Sultan Abdul Hamid’s rejection of Theodor Herzl’s “great offer” of the Jewish colonization of Palestine in return for Jews paying Turkey’s European loans.

  2. Avery says:

    {War with Isis: President Obama Demands That Turkey Close Stretch of Frontier with Syria}

    What a joke.
    Spineless Obama “demands” ?

    Number 1: the so-called “demand” is for public consumption of the American voter.
    If POTUS wanted to “demand” something from Turks, he would not publicly announce it.
    It would happen very quietly. And Turks would comply, if US really meant it.
    US can squeeze the cojones of the nomad Turks if it wanted to, until Turks cried “Effendi !”.
    Nomad Turks are 100% dependent on US and EU.
    They will starve to death and be dismembered if US had it in mind to do it.
    But US needs the Turk low-brow thugs for the NATO crime organization, so……

    Number 2: US, Turkey, France, UK, Saudi Arabia, Qatar are all supporters of ISIS.
    US “demand” actually tells Turks to accelerate their support of ISIS, because Russian AF is bombing the s___ out of the terrorists.
    “Erdogan, Muslim buddy: See if you can topple Assad, before Russians totally annihilate your terrorist ISIS cousins…”

    • Replies: @Kiza
    , @Eileen Kuch
  3. Art says:

    “War with Isis: President Obama Demands That Turkey Close Stretch of Frontier with Syria”

    This is coming out now because the Jew MSM can no longer suppress the facts – DAAAA.

    it is as plain as day that Israel, Saudi, Qatar, and Turkey are feeding ISIS.

    Israel and Turkey make money off 0f ISIS oil – and we turn a blind eye for years.

    In the mean time the Jew MSM cries wolf wolf Fear Fear, “ISIS wants to kill all you Americans.”

    What an evil friggen mess.

    Come home America!

  4. Kiza says:

    Here is a British journalist most knowledgeable and most truthful on Middle East. He used to be working for MSM, but because he does not write regime propaganda he has been forced out of MSM, into alternative media:

    Yes, Robert Fisk is a good contrast to Patrick Cockburn, the regime’s scribe.

    • Replies: @Avery
    , @RobinG
  5. How forgetful—Obama is a habitual pathological liar .

    • Replies: @jeff davis
  6. Avery says:

    I have great respect for Fisk.
    Have known his writings for a long time.
    One of the few honorable public people left in England.
    Another one I am familiar with: Lady Caroline Cox, MP.
    A brave woman.

    Fisk is one of the handful public British figures that bravely calls out the vile British government for their active AG denialist collaboration with genocidal Turks.

  7. There goes Cockburn again trying to vilify Turkey. The terrorist sits in Damascus, directly aided by Iran, Hizbullah and Turkey, indirectly by NATO and the U.S. Why is the world silent about the Iranisns and Russians as the Abbettirs of one of the worlds most vicious and murderous regimes, having murderrd over 300,000, destroyed innumerable cities and made millions homeless.

    • Replies: @5371
    , @Avery
  8. RobinG says:

    Are you saying that Fisk no longer works for the Independent?

    • Replies: @Kiza
  9. 5371 says:
    @Cockburn Watch

    What, you haven’t got enough human liver to eat lately? Poor baby.

  10. @george Archers

    He started out as a spell-binding performer of the songs of American wonderfulness. That — and the Cheney(not a typo) regime’s poisoning of the Republican brand — won him the presidency. Then, after maybe four years of being taken to the woodshed by GOP obstructionists, mister “can’t we all just get along” began to avail himself of possibly the single most important tool of political survival: lying his @ss off. Sad to say he’s not very good at it, not at all convincing. Unlike the Republicans, Obama just can’t force his brain to believe the Kool-Aid his incompetent leadership now forces him to say.

  11. Avery says:
    @Cockburn Watch

    {There goes Cockburn again trying to vilify Turkey. }
    Nobody has to, quote, “vilify” Turkey: Turkey is by definition Vile. Turkey is a genocidal, criminal, terrorist, IslamoFascist state. The nomad savages from Uyguristan committed Genocide against ~4 million Christians (Armenians, Assyrians, Pontic Greeks) between 1915-1923 alone.

    {The terrorist sits in Damascus, ..}
    The Neo-Ottoman Terrorist sits in Ankara.
    In the new Neo-Ottoman palace he constructed with stolen funds.

    {of one of the worlds most vicious and murderous regimes..}
    Glad you finally realized the criminal regime of Sultan Erdogan is one of the most vicious and murderous gangs in the world, masquerading as a government.

    { having murderrd over 300,000, destroyed innumerable cities and made millions homeless…}
    The terrorist state of Turkey is responsible for all the deaths and killings in Syria.
    The nomad savages are responsible for the millions of Syrians left homeless.
    And more than 60% of the estimated 210,000 Syrian deaths are Government and loyal forces, plus civilians murdered by ISIS and assorted other terrorist scum.
    And Erdogans goons organized a chemical attack that killed 100s of Syrian civilians, including children and babies: standard genocidal nomad Turk operating procedure to murder children and babies.

    Oh, almost forgot: your nomad IslamoFascist Turk paymasters are still occupying 40% of Cyprus.

  12. @Avery

    Avery, I couldn’t agree with you more .. you nailed it perfectly 🙂 Obama lacks leadership quality; he’s simply a weak puppet of the ringmaster in Tel Aviv. However, he’s quite proficient in lying .. a pathological liar does exactly that .. lies to the American citizenry and to both leaders and people worldwide.
    Does anyone .. especially, Erdogan .. actually believe O’s so-called “demand” to close Turkey’s border with Syria? He must be laughing his head off right now. Close the border? Ha-ha-ha!

  13. Kiza says:

    No, I am saying that Fisk is developing an alternative free-lance career, because his may be under pressure of “Independent” editors. Do a search on Robert Fisk and see the last few articles of his that Independent published – they are half-way between the regime line and the article I quoted above. In other words, when writing for online media, Fisk is much less constrained.

    BTW, I have an established mind impulse that when an MSM claims that it is “independent” to continue this statement on with “from the truth”. There is no MSM which is not “independent from the truth”, but some advertise this.

    The following article of Fisk is truly hurting – this destruction of the World Heritage in Iraq and Syria is what the Western “civilization” is encouraging for the sake of government/regime change:

    This is exactly why I wrote that Russia is the last bastion of the Christian Civilization, just like Byzantium was when Rome fell to corruption, greed and idiocy. Russia is trying to defend Syria from the barbarian Western hordes (mainly from US) and their head-choppers.

    • Replies: @Avery
  14. Avery says:

    {Russia is trying to defend Syria from the barbarian Western hordes (mainly from US) and their head-choppers.}

    Well said.

    What is almost forgotten is that barbarians Bush, Cheeeneey, and Blair are also responsible for the cultural destruction of irreplaceable Iraqi (Babylonian) treasures.

    [The United States and its allies ignored the warnings of organizations and scholars concerning the protection of Iraq’s cultural heritage, including museums, libraries, archaeological sites and other precious repositories. Arsonists badly burned the National Library and looters pillaged the National Museum. Looters also damaged or destroyed many historic buildings and artifacts. The US constructed a military base on the site of ancient Babylon. Coalition forces destroyed or badly damaged many historic urban areas and buildings, while thieves have ruined thousands of incomparable, unprotected archeological sites.]


    • Replies: @tbraton
  15. tbraton says:


    Sad to say, an apt description. What did Rumsfeld say about the sacking of Iraqi museums? “Stuff happens.” Spoken like a true barbarian.

Current Commenter

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone

 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Commenting Disabled While in Translation Mode
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Patrick Cockburn Comments via RSS
Personal Classics
Full Story of the Taliban's Amazing Jailbreak
"They Can't Even Protect Themselves, So What Can They Do For Me?"
"All Hell is Breaking Loose with Muqtada" Warlord: the Rise of Muqtada al-Sadr