In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Jake Hanrahan about the crisis unfolding in the border region between Syria and Turkey following the US withdrawal of forces from northern Syria. This withdrawal precipitated the subsequent assault by Turkish Armed Forces on the Kurdish YPG-controlled region of Rojava. Jake Hanrahan is an independent journalist and documentary filmmaker based in the UK. He has reported from Syria, Iraq, southeast Turkey, and other conflict zones for HBO, Vice News, PBS Newshour, and BBC News, to name a few.
Turkish President Erdogan, after obtaining the consent of President Trump, began his invasion into the Kurdish YPG controlled region of Syria known as Rojava this past Wednesday. During Sunday’s “Face the Nation,” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed to Margaret Brennan that roughly 1,000 U.S. troops would be evacuated from northern Syria following Trump’s troop withdrawal announcement. There are also multiple reports of ISIS families and fighters previously captured and held by Kurdish forces starting to escape after Tukey’s bombardments. Also, Lebanese broadcaster al-Mayadeen reported Sunday that the Syrian army would enter Manbij and Kobani in the next 48 hours, based on an agreement with the Syrian Democratic Forces (the latter, according to Mohammed Shaheen, the deputy chairman of Euphrates region told North-Press).
It seems that what we are seeing transpire in the Middle East is the disintegration of artificially constructed national borders around sectarian lines. The forces being unleashed have thus far remain contained within the Greater Middle East, but Turkey’s involvement creates the further potential for spillover into the Balkans and southern Europe at some indeterminate future date. Additionally, Turkey has been flexing its geopolitical muscles where Greece is concerned in recent years, and it is no longer inconceivable to imagine that its troubled relationship to the EU and its membership in NATO will prove insufficient as deterrents for curbing Turkish military aggression or the expansionary ideas of Erdoğan in the Aegean.
This conversation is meant to help Hidden Forces listeners develop some context for what has transpired over the past week, the significance of Trump’s decision, and the implications moving forward.
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Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas
Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou
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Jake Hanrahan is an independent journalist and documentary filmmaker based in the UK. He covers conflict, crime, and politics all over the world, from east Ukraine to east Jerusalem and makes documentaries, write articles, and take photos.
Jake has worked for HBO, VICE News, Esquire, Frontline PBS, ProPublica, BBC News, Bellingcat, The Guardian, Wired, and more, while reporting from Syria, Iraq, southeast Turkey, Ukraine, Israel, Palestine, Peru, Kosovo, Northern Ireland, and other countries/locations around the world. Hanrahan focuses primarily on irregular warfare but also covers organized crime and extremist politics.
I work mostly as a correspondent and producer.
If you want to get in touch please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Getting shelled in east Ukraine.