Russia Comes Good – Syria On The March Again

“SYRIAN TROOPS ADVANCE WEST OF SARAQIB AMID LAMENTATION AND WEEPING OF AL-QAEDA SUPPORTERS” – Southfront

I may have been a little over-critical of Russian efforts in Syria’s Idlib.  There are reports of Russian aircraft in the skies again today and Syrian forces have retaken Saraqib and are moving forward again.  They have also turned back the Turkish and terrorist hordes further west, below the M4, recovering much territory lost to the terrorists over the past couple of days.  But where was Russia over those crucial days?

No matter, the situation has been restored, though many Syrian lives lost as a result.  And Erdogan is scuttling off to Moscow – rather than Moscow coming to him – on Thursday, to arrange some sort of deal.

The Saker puts a better light on this, though if a deal is made to allow the terrorists to occupy a buffer zone near the Turkish border, the troubles will just start up again in a few months time.  There should be no buffer zone.

“Quick update on the Turkey vs Syria, Russia and Iran” – The Saker

Also found on The Saker blog is this incisive recounting of the historical situation regarding Turkish and Syrian claims to the land south of the Taurus mountain range.  A situation imposed on the region by interfering Western powers a little over a hundred years ago.  Nothing changes, does it?
“The Gateway To Idlib Goes Via Cilicia” – by Ghassan Kadi for The Saker Blog

Russian Military Police are now stationed in Saraqib, ensuring peace and stability in that area and cementing it as government territory – off limits to Turkey from now on.   Syria has regained full control of the M4/M5 junction and the entirety of the M5 highway.

“RUSSIAN MILITARY POLICE ENTERED SARAQIB IN EASTERN IDLIB: RUSSIAN MILITARY” – Southfront

So, Russia has come good – after a couple of worrying days.  I didn’t really doubt that they would.  They have put too much blood, sweat and tears into Syria to see that all destroyed.  But I wish some explanation could be given by someone on what actually happened.

Syria: Time To Take The Gloves Off

“IRANIAN FORCES IN SYRIA WARN TURKISH MILITARY OVER RECENT DRONE STRIKES ON GREATER IDLIB” – Southfront

I sometimes forget that there are Iranian forces and militias, including the equally noble forces of Hezbollah in Syria, fighting alongside Syrian government troops. They generally receive little credit for what they do, operating mostly independently in the background but enabling Syrian forces the space and opportunity to perform the great work they are capable of, knowing their backs are covered and the ground they take is being held by strong allies.

Up to this point Iranian forces in Syria have refrained from hitting Turkish forces helping the terrorists, targeting only terrorist groups.  But they are now seeing their own troops being killed by Turkish fire.  They have had enough, it seems, and any further Turkish aggression towards Iranian or Iranian backed forces will likely escalate to Turkish forces becoming targets themselves. 

Syria’s allies appear to have had a gut full of being hit by those who are supposed to be fighting the common enemy.

It is about time that Russia stopped hiding behind the same thinking and began to see Turkish troops as legitimate targets also.  Come on Mr Putin, time to take the gloves off.  Whose side are you on here? Are you prepared to see more than four years of hard work overturned for the sake of etiquette?  Have you forgotten why your forces are there?

Syria: Appearances May Be Deceptive

There is a lot of disinformation going around on the conflict in Syria’s Idlib province at the moment, mostly emanating from the Turkish side.

Claims of massive Syrian casualties are unsupportable. As are claims of the destruction of Syrian chemical weapon facilities. No such facilities exist.

It is clear that the conflict has taken a turn in the last few days, with the Turkish backed terrorist forces making some gains (retaking Saraqib and surrounds), yesterday launching a massed attack to claw back some of the recent Syrian gains in southern Idlib south of the M4.

The change came, I think, following the killing of a number of Turkish troops in a single incident – troops intermingled with leading terrorist forces.  The appearances are that when Russia realised this was happening, and Russia has been careful not to injure Turkish military, they have reduced their air support of Syria to limited areas away from the main struggles.  Whether this is just what appears to be happening or not I am not prepared to say – because I don’t know.  But even the Russian online media appear to have gone quiet recently – preferring to talk about ‘talks’ rather than actions.  Maybe something big is brewing, and we are in an intermediate phase, I don’t know.  Only time will tell.  There are reports of a massing of Syrian reinforcements being sent to Idlib from coastal areas. It is all up in the air just now. 

Erdogan has little support back in Turkey for this war and similarly from his NATO allies.  But Russian support for Syria is crucial to any swift conclusion to this affair.  We will have to watch carefully which way the wind blows in coming days.  The Syrian government still has my unconditional 100% support for its drive to free itself from externally driven aggression.  There can be no negotiation on those principles.

“TURKISH-BACKED MILITANTS RECAPTURE SEVERAL TOWNS IN SOUTHERN IDLIB IN NEW LARGE-SCALE ATTACK (PHOTOS)” – Southfront

“Army units continue operations against Turkey-backed terrorists in Idleb countryside” – SANA

“Erdogan uses misleading and lying policy, claims destruction of chemical weapons facilities in Syria” – SANA

“Putin, members of Russia’s Security Council alarmed at escalation in Idlib” – TASS

Syria, The Week In Review

While the Turks and terrorists gloat over the retaking of Saraqib and the important M4/M5 highway junction there, over the past week Syrian forces have recovered a much larger area of their lands to the south in the mountainous salient and the plain of al-Ghab to the west of it that has been a thorn in the Syrian military’s side for the past couple of years at least and are poised to strike further north to liberate much of the M4 highway.  They are also massing elite troops, many of whom are supposedly dead according to Turkish propaganda, to retake Saraqib, perhaps even as I am writing this.

The events of the past week are quite well summarised in  this Southfront video report.
“SYRIAN-TURKISH CONFLICT IN GREATER IDLIB: RESULTS OF FEBRUARY 24-28, 2020” – Southfront

See also:  “SYRIAN FORCES CLEARED AL-GHAB PLAIN OF TURKISH-BACKED MILITANTS (MAP UPDATE)” – Southfront

“IDLIB ESCALATION IS SLOWLY PUSHING TURKEY TOWARDS OPEN CONFLICT WITH RUSSIA” – Southfront

“RUSSIAN WARPLANES RAIN HELL ON SARAQIB CITY (VIDEO)” – Southfront

While there is some danger that this conflict will escalate to a war between Russia and Turkey – and most of that talk is coming from the Turkish side, who have been ‘squealing like stuck pigs’ over losing a few of their own troops – the US and NATO have not, to my knowledge, made any statements indicating any kind of military support for their Turkish ally.  The UN of course has pointlessly called for a nationwide ceasefire and a stepping back from escalation.

How do you cease firing when under constant attack from forces that have no right whatsoever to be attacking you on your own land.  Syria can not and should not cease fighting for the liberation of its sovereign territory.  “There is no military solution” says the UN.  Well, as I see it, in reality, given the intransigence of both the terrorists and the invading nations, there is nothing other than a military solution.  And it will not end until a complete victory by Syria is achieved.  Until then, there is nothing to talk about.  Ceasefire = Defeat.

Anyway, since when did supporting terrorist organisations become a legitimate policy for any national government?  Don’t answer that, everyone knows, or should know, that this has been US government policy for at least the past two decades.  Whether officially or not, NATO countries also clandestinely do it.  And now Turkey very openly does it.  It seems to have been a mostly Western thing but now the disease is apparently spreading. But so far only among those nations in any way affiliated militarily with the US.

NATO – Dumb and Dumber

NATO’s Stoltenberg continues to pile stupid on top of stupid in his latest remarks.

“NATO intends to avoid costly arms race with Russia, Stoltenberg says” – TASS

It sounds really good (these things usually do until drilled down into) for the NATO leader to be saying that they want no arms race with Russia, preferring ‘arms control’ instead.

For a start, NATO cannot afford to get into an arms race – leaving aside the fact that such is not necessary anyway, other than in the stunted minds of Western leaders.  Russia is not an aggressor.  NATO is.  And Russia is so far ahead in terms of arms development and production (years if not decades ahead), that the West, never able to achieve cost-effective weapons production, can also never hope to catch up.

That last point leads to the next.  As for arms control, the West has nothing to bargain with.  The erudite Russian leadership is not going to be fooled into any form of arms control that would advantage the West – which is the only form of arms control the West would be interested in discussing.  Russia has suffered in the past from one-sided arms agreements that favoured the West and is not likely to allow itself to be held in that position ever again.

Finally, it is not Russia that has withdrawn from almost every arms limitation treaty there is. The West’s separation from such being based on entirely fictional premises that even Dumb and Dumber could see through.

It is time that NATO realised that it no longer holds a place of power in the developed world.  And also to realise that it no longer has any form of legitimate purpose or reason for its own continued existence.

Added later:

Actually I do want to say something else as an afterthought here.  Talking of Dumb and Dumber, that’s an illustration of the condition of the West generally.  Western nations have allowed themselves, or more correctly have deliberately engineered themselves, into producing generations of progressively under-educated national populations, to the extent that no Western nation now has the capability of possessing the advanced mathematics necessary to develop advanced technology – or indeed to suitably staff its own military with forces capable of successfully fighting in modern wars.  This is amply illustrated with America’s growing difficulty of finding sufficient acceptable recruits for its overblown military.  America’s youth are either too dumb, too sick or too culturally damaged to qualify for anything much more than joystick pilots for UAV drones.

I have written about that, with references, before, somewhere, but there is an excellent new article by Paul Schmutz Schaller for The Saker Blog that covers all of these points, here:  “Mathematics and the Power of a Nation” 

Changing Russian Global Image

As a lover of all things Russian I am happy to bring you this, what is something of a milestone opinion article on the modern Russian global diaspora, from Russia Beyond via the Oval Circle real news site.

Having worked with Russians in the past, when I was an IT professional, I can tell you that they are very competent, pleasant and friendly people.  Russia and the Russian people have had bad press in the West in the past, unjustifiably so.  So it is good to see that is being changed and I am happy to be a part of the expression of that change, as I am also proud to be part of the expression of condemnation of past and current diabolical Western propaganda not only against Russia but any nation brave and sturdy enough to stand up against the vile turpitudes of Western governments and their captive press galleries. 

“OPINION: Russia no longer exports emigrants, but a new cohort of Global Russians” – Russia Beyond via The Oval Circle

Syrian Army Continues Task of Liberation and Defeating Terrorism

“TURKEY FAILED TO FULFILL ‘A COUPLE OF KEY COMMITMENTS’ IN IDLIB, LAVROV SAYS” – Southfront

As if in answer to my plea yesterday (I know it’s not of course, just coincidental), Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks of Turkey’s failure to live up to promises jointly made earlier.  Though what he says appears to be more of a lament on a situation that is becoming too difficult to more forcefully address, all other considerations taken into account.  Fresh talks are on the cards though and sudden changes are not unprecedented in this arena.

Notwithstanding any of that, the Syrian army (still with Russian/Iranian and other assistance) is simply getting on the the job of liberating its country and the effectiveness of Turkish military moves does not appear to be a deterrent to that.  They have even surrounded more Turkish observation posts.  Go SAA!

“SYRIAN ARMY LIBERATES MORE AREAS IN IDLIB AS ERDOGAN PLEDGES TO NOT ALLOW SYRIANS TO FIGHT TERRORISTS”

On a lighter note, Southfront has indulged in some pure sarcasm in the following article.  I hesitated to share this because one of the dangers of sarcasm is that it is open to abuse as propaganda and fake news by unworthy persons, for whom what is said here is likely to mesh with their own personal delusions.  No matter, take a read – but be aware – there is not an ounce of truth in any of it.  I hope you can see that:

“ASSAD IS DESTROYING LAST SEEDLINGS OF IDLIB DEMOCRACY”

Turkish Presence In Syria A Mistake. Needs To Be Corrected

The current situation in Syria is and always has been muddied by the unsupportable attitude of the US, Turkey (and others), whose only aim lies in the fact that they would prefer to see terrorists occupying parts or all of Syria than the Syrian people themselves.  This is because a free and successful Syria is not part of their plans for the Middle East.

That has not changed over all the years of the Syrian conflict.

It is no better stated than here in this quote from the Southfront article of 3 Feb 2020 linked below. 

“On January 31, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened the Damascus government with a military action if the Syrian Army does not stop its anti-terrorism operation in Idlib. The official Turkish rhetoric says that the operation against rebels (i.e. al-Qaeda—linked radicals) put the region on the brink of the humanitarian crisis and displaced hundreds of thousands people that started fleeing to Turkey. This stance corresponds with the position of the US State Department that also accused the Assad government and its allies of violating the ceasefire regime and causing civilian casualties. Both Ankara and Washington did not address the fact that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other groups linked to al-Qaeda were excluded from all ceasefire deals that have ever been reached on the situation in Idlib. Turkey and the US are not interested in the defeat of terrorists by the Syrian Army because this would strengthen the positions of the Damascus government. At the same time, they contributed no efforts to defeat al-Qaeda by themselves.”

Southfront: Turkish Forces Suffer Casualties In Syrian Army Attack On Idlib, Feb 03, 2020

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Perhaps the most important fact that has obviously escaped, or drilled down into the thick skulls of the US and Turkey leadership, and also remains largely shielded from the attention of ordinary folk everywhere, is that there are no protections for terrorists and their families laid down in any of the conflict agreements ever agreed between parties to this diabolical war forced on Syria by outside agencies.  No protections whatsoever.  So the Assad government and its continuously successful military, the Syrian Arab Army (and its allied militias) and the supporting forces of several nations, are not in violation of any such agreements or any other international laws by continuing to eliminate the threat of terrorism (from wherever it was originated) within their own borders.  

The same goes for any other nation concerned about terrorism, including Turkey and the United States – who seem to forget or totally ignore the part about ‘within their own borders’ – and who therefore have no right whatsoever to be operating in Syria without Syrian government permission.

This is where I think Russia is culpable as a Syrian ally.  Russia (most likely for Russia’s own commercial interests) has made agreements with Turkey, a nation not friendly to Syria, to engage in ‘agreement monitoring and guarantee’ activities that have provided a certain pseudo legitimacy to the presence of its military on Syrian soil, when no such ‘permission’ should have even been contemplated for an unfriendly nation – a known enemy of Syria.

I want to make it clear – Russia is at fault here in this regard, and owes it to Syria to right the wrong that has been done to Syria.  The Syrian government never agreed to accept any role for Turkey that surrendered itself to the sort of sovereignty violation that Turkey’s presence manifests.

So, come on Russia, get your act together and sort this out before it brings a halt to Syria’s advances and develops into a potential global war situation with US/NATO forces aligned with Turkey over its troop casualties.  Get Turkish military off Syrian land altogether.  They are not wanted.  They are not needed.  They were never invited.  They should not be there.  And it is your fault, Russia, that they are there.

“Turkish Forces Suffer Casualties In Syrian Army Attack On Idlib” – Southfront

I should add that while this is a strong opinion and I haven’t stated my deep gratitude to Russia for all the aid and assistance (and losses) that that nation has undertaken as a major ally to Syria, this is how I feel and how I, along with others, expressed more or less the same thoughts when the collaboration between Russia, Turkey and Iran was first mooted. It did not sit well with a great many people, not least of which was the Syrian government itself.

I also reckon that this was a Russian gamble. A risk, undertaken for greater benefits. Well it appears that the risk was ill-considered, and now has the potential to spiral out of hand. It needs to be fixed. Only Russia, perhaps with Iran, who must also share some of the blame as a partner to the same agreement, can do that.

Getting Along Together…

“Contract on Russian gas transit via Ukraine stipulates ‘pump or pay’ principle – Naftogaz”

See?  It’s not all that difficult to get along together, is it, when issues are put aside or amicably settled for mutual benefit? 

Much better than shooting at each other.

The world should operate more on these principles. 

“Starting tomorrow maybe?” says he, perhaps a little too starry-eyed.

Minsk, Spinsk, It’s All A Game – with people’s lives

“Russia’s envoy slams Kiev’s statements on non-compliance with its obligations”

I don’t want to keep harping on about this, but I will if I have to, and the West (including Ukraine) is playing  it for all it is worth, but the Minsk agreements championed by the so-called Normandy Four, are dead in the water, barely floating, and certainly incapable of movement.

Neither side actually involved in the case – the Kiev government and the breakaway Donbass republics – actually want anything to do with Minsk.  Kiev sees it as a Russian plot to denude them of part of Ukraine through a separation of control, and neither Donetsk or Lugansk really want to prolong any further ties with Ukraine, preferring to hitch their wagons to Russia.

And Russia, standing alone against the West, a position it would rather not be in, is trying to roll shit uphill in pushing for the fulfilment of Minsk – an impossible dream – because it does not want the trauma that would inevitably follow if it were to accept these new republics into its fold (although I also feel sure it will do that if push comes to shove).  Russia, If I judge this right, would simply prefer for all other alternatives to be played out first, but will as a last resort ensure the safety of its diasporic people from annihilation by Western barbaric hordes.  I doubt those people, the Donbassians, will easily give up the land they have claimed as their own – some of the best and most productive land that Ukraine used to have.  

America, having little part to play – other than through less than subtle undercurrents – as a result of being shamelessly exposed for starting this all off with one of its infamous regime change coups and economic rape sessions, still hovers in the background as a ruthless snake in the grass, feeding such fires as it is able, through military and covert assistance.

All of this is just a measure of the sad state of affairs that the world finds itself in at the close of yet another failed civilisation.  We  must endure it and also share in the pain of those closest to the fraction zones of a dying society.

In the end, none of us may get away completely unscathed, wherever we have pitched our tents.