Category: Turkey

Crossroads of a Global War

Manbij- Along the Manbij Military Council’s mostly quiet frontline with the Turkish military and its Islamist Syrian Arab proxy militias, headlines have emanated from this mostly misunderstood crisis locus. One of the most crucial points which I personally found maddeningly…

Along the Bosphorus

Istanbul- I realised upon arriving in Turkey’s commercial capital tonight this visit marks twenty years of my coming here. I first came to Turkey in the middle of a EU to MENA backpacking trip in 1998 between semesters. I’ve been back…

The PKK vs. the Deep State

New York- With Turkey’s renewed war against the Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê (PKK) in the Qandil range in Iraq’s Suleimaniyah Governorate, the war against IS was given another not so new dimension. Ankara’s battle with Kurdish rebels has gone on for decades, formally…

One Hundred Years

New York- Yesterday marked the centenary of the 1915 Armenian genocide. Armenians and their supporters in the international human rights arena describe the massacres as a calculated genocide undertaken by the Ottoman military in the midst of the Great War…

Syria: A Lost Revolution

New York- Three years ago today I trekked into northern Syria’s rebellious Idlib Governorate from Hatay Province in Turkey. I had to put immense trust in my fixer who was living in a Turkish Red Crescent camp at the time with…

The Siege Continues

New York- I have a new (and final for the time being) report on the battle for Kobane for IHS Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst titled “Ideological divide – Kobanê’s ethnic war.” As of today, the siege of the formerly non-descript…

The Intervention

Murşitpinar- Another quick blog entry with some images from Kobane and environs and recent days. The media narrative on the siege has shifted from predictions of the city’s imminent fall to IS being on the back foot in the battle…

The Siege

Murşitpinar- Don’t have time to crunch out much text today as I’m firing off a few reports from the past few days for a client but I wanted to post some more images of the siege of Kobane. While it has…

The Border

Murşitpinar- Things have been hectic here in recent days and I don’t have time to write much text for TWD but wanted to put up a few images that might otherwise go unseen. The battle for Kobane is nothing short of…

From Gaziantep

Gaziantep- It is being reported that four people have been killed in clashes between Turkish ethno-nationalists and Kurds here tonight according to CNN Turk. I was just outside the main government hospital while going to an all-night bakery and didn’t notice…

Enter the Fabled City

New York- The other day I picked up The History of Armenia by Simon Payaslian somewhat at random off the bookshelf mainly to get some regional context for Georgian history during the Menshevik period and subsequent Bolshevik takeover shortly thereafter. Reading about Transcaucasia as a buffer…

Twenty Long Years

Diyarbakir- Though I try not to get overly personal with TWD’s posts as it’s more of a news/analysis site, I’ve just arrived in southeastern Turkey (northern Kurdistan to some) and this marks twenty years of my travels in the Middle…

Iran like it was 1999

New York- In the summer of 1999 I embarked on an ambitious backpacking trip attempting to travel from London to Lahore entirely overland/water. The second to last leg of this rambling adventure was securing a visa for the Islamic Republic…

Syria’s Doomed Ceasefire

New York-One of the myriad topics was what constitutes or defines intervention in Syria.  A high-ranking NATO official explained to me at 2 2012 security conference that the Alliance was emphatically not going to get involved militarily in Syria even…

A Decade of War and Peace

Barcelona- Partly out of boredom and partly out of the itch to simply create something new out of old, I threw together this photo montage over the weekend. In this era of digital photography where one shoots thousands of frames…

Halfway Around the World

Istanbul, Köln, & New York- It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do an update after about three weeks of nonstop travel and work. I’m just going to post a mishmash of backlogged things of no particular importance.…

City of Imperial Mosques

Istanbul- Concluded a fascinating interview with one of the founding members of the Syrian National Council on my last night here. Absolutely fascinating. We delved a good bit into the history of the Ba’ath Party, a subject I never tire…

TWD Inside Free Syria

Antakya- I have a new article out in today’s edition of Asia Times Online on my journey into rebel-held northern Syria. In over a decade of jihads, war zones and civil unrest, I think this was the most difficult thing…

Living to Fight

Ain al-Baida- Made an incredibly arduous trek into Syria’s war-torn Idlib Governorate yesterday. Working on my first article on the hardscrabble conditions of the Free Syrian Army. I was missing driving in the relative comfort of a late model Toyota…

The Waiting Game

Antakya- I’m sitting here typing in a dark, musty hotel room at 5am in the Levant. Hatay to be exact. Hatay may very well be a part of the Turkish Republic but it is also a little talked about corner…

Homeward Bound

Abu Dhabi, UAE- Well it’s that time again. The end of the road. I’ve been going non stop for almost four months. The timeline goes something like this: Depart NYC July 30th-Arrive Abu Dhabi, Six nights at my friend Arif’s…

Back in the Deep State

Mardin, Turkey- After a long two weeks in Iraq, I’ve returned to northern Kurdistan a.k.a. southeast Turkey. I wasn’t able to update the site much while in Iraq as the poorly named Hawler Palace Hotel did not have an internet…