World roundup: December 2 2022
Stories from Syria, Ethiopia, Peru, and elsewhere
In today’s global news:
Worldometer is tracking COVID-19 cases and fatalities.
The New York Times is tracking global vaccine distribution.
The likelihood of an imminent Turkish invasion of northern Syria may have increased on Friday, when Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told an audience at the Mediterranean Dialogues forum that Russia and the United States “haven’t met their commitments” with respect to moving Syrian Kurdish militants away from the Turkish-Syrian border. He was apparently referring to the agreements that Turkey reached with both countries in 2019, when it agreed to halt one of its previous Syrian invasions in return for the aforementioned relocation. Russia in particular has been negotiating with Syrian Kurds on a withdrawal from the border for a couple of weeks now, but it doesn’t seem like Çavuşoğlu is impressed with the progress they’ve made.
The Syrian Democratic Forces, the US proxy that is built around the Kurdish YPG militia, announced on Friday that it was halting its “joint counter-terrorism operations” due to ongoing Turkish shelling. The SDF’s status as Washington’s main Syrian proxy does give it some leverage to try to force the US to more strenuously oppose Turkey’s threatened invasion, though that leverage didn’t prevent either of Turkey’s previous northern Syrian invasions. Meanwhile a Russian effort to broker some kind of rapprochement between the Turkish and Syrian governments, which could forestall an invasion if Turkish leaders feel their security concerns are being met, is reportedly being stymied by the Syrians. Which is not all that surprising. The main thing the Syrian government wants is a Turkish withdrawal from the parts of northern Syria it already controls, and there’s no indication the Turks are prepared to consider doing that anytime soon.