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.

Turkey, All Alone In The Red Corner

“TURKEY’S STRATEGY IS PUSHING IT INTO A CORNER” – Southfront

I could keep on commenting about the war in Syria, though something of an impasse has been reached pending the next move by Erdogan’s Turkey – so there is not much point in doing that for the time being – unless something dramatic happens.

What is important though is to reassess what is actually happening and why.

I believe that this assessment by Southfront goes a long way towards addressing that – thankfully, relieving myself of the need to do so. It is worth reading and there is nothing in it that I would want to take issue with.

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.

Stirring Recep’s Recipe For Madness

I like Zero Hedge.  I especially like Zero Hedge when he is talking about real stuff and not just wallowing through the mire of financial collapse (well, that is what it looks like to me), important as that is.  It gets a little boring waiting for the world of national economies to go belly up, especially since no-one seems to be helping that along any and the major players desperately paddling against the current to keep the thing afloat as long as possible.  Just when will the last straw that may be grasped at float along towards the sea of flailing hands?  Maybe it already has.

So, it is nice, for want of a better word just before bedtime, to see talk about real stuff. And there is nothing more real just now than watching the deranged President of Turkey gradually and completely lose his mind over Syria and the Kurds.

© Yannis BehrakisPhoto credit: © Yannis Behrakis / Reuters  

The situation holds a very special note of interest because it is the most likely crisis to open the door to global warfare which must, sooner or later, erupt across one or more of the borders between the current tag-team, no holds barred, mud-wrestling match going on in the Levant  between around 40 different nations and groups already.

One act by a deranged madman, which Recep Tayyip Erdogan is rapidly turning into, accidentally or not, with intention or not, will be enough, more than enough, to kindle the flame that will ignite World War III.

Read about it at Zero Hedge here: A Furious Turkey Says US Is “Acting Like An Enemy,” Demands Washington Brand Kurds “Terrorists”…and at Russia Today here: ‘No ifs and buts’: Turkey demands US support against ‘Kurdish terrorists’

Putting it all in context, here is a grab form the Zero Hedge article:

“The problem for Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar is optics. That is, everything anyone does in Syria has to be justified by an imaginary “war on terror.” Turkey can’t say it’s intervening to keep the rebels from being defeated by the Russians, and similarly, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the US, France and everyone else needs to preserve the narrative and pretend as though this all doesn’t boil down to the West and the Sunnis versus the Russians and the Shiites.”

…and, from Russia Today, pinpointing exactly the flash-point I am talking about.  Or one of them:

“On Friday however Washington rejected a Russian draft resolution which condemned any plans for foreign military intervention in Syria. Russia’s latest concerns are related to a dangerous escalation on the Syrian Turkish border amid Ankara’s alleged plans to put boots on the ground in northern Syria, which Damascus has called a violation of Syria’s sovereignty.”

Just as a footnote, here is another Zero Hedge article which contains a map showing Russian air strikes in Syria during February so far.  While a great deal can be read from this, in fairness it does show that the Russians are speaking the truth (as I always knew they were) about their not just bombing the moderate terrorists (aka the moderate rebels aided by the US) that are fighting Assad’s legitimate Syrian regime.  Like the Russians say, there is no such thing as a moderate rebel.  They are all terrorists and need to be blown to bits.  And if a few clandestine American advisers get blown to bits with them, well, tough titties.

In addition, the map shows (I will display it here for convenience…)

https://i1.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user92183/imageroot/2016/02/09/SyriaRussiaStrikes.pngFrom ISW:

…very clearly that Turkey does not have much room to invade Syria or to prevent their trade in illicit oil from ISIS from being cut off entirely.  Nor from preventing the Kurds from setting up a separate Kurdish state on their southern border.

Interesting.  But still very dangerous for all of us.  Keep an eye open for flash-points.

“There’s No Understanding Anything Without A Grasp Of Its History”

“There’s no understanding anything without a grasp of its history—which, of course, is the American failing over and over again.”

The above is a quote by interviewer in this piece:  “Intelligent people know that the empire is on the downhill”: A veteran CIA agent spills the goods on the Deep State and our foreign policy nightmares After almost 30 years in the CIA, Ray McGovern became a truth-teller. He sits down with Salon for a long debriefing

KERRYBarack Obama, Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad, John Kerry (Credit: AP/Reuters/Evan Vucci/Alexei Druzhinin/Remy de la Mauviniere/Kathy Willens)

This is a deep and insightful exchange which I recommend to anyone who wishes to know more about the world they live in and who pulls the strings that cause the events that we see happening around us.  You need to be aware of this stuff …and it’s pretty much right up to date.

Follow The Arrows To Find Gold

Who fights who in Syria?

Image credit:  Not sure who owns this.  I got it from the TAE Facebook page

 

What do you see there?  Hmmmm…

So, what’s this thing between ISIS and the Israeli Air Force?

It seems that ISIS is fighting everybody except the Israeli Air Force.

It seems that everybody is fighting ISIS except the Israeli Air Force.

What sort of scam have they got going on between them?

And… Have you noticed?

It seems that the US-led Anti-ISIS Coalition (of which Australia is part), is only fighting ISIS, and the only party interested in fighting the US-led Anti-ISIS Coalition is ISIS itself.  In fairness to ISIS, I think the US-led Anti-ISIS Coalition should just go home and tend to their own business.  There are already more than enough parties involved in this little shindig.

Also… Have you noticed?

The Israeli Air Force should just go home because they are not really part of the whole thing, just acting out their own side-show affair against their everyday, common or garden, foes.

With those two parties removed, that would even things up a bit, make the conflict a little less complex, and it might just get somewhere.

By the way.  Did you spot the deliberate mistake?  There is an arrow which purports that Turkey is fighting ISIS, when nothing could be further from the truth.  They are business partners, in the oil trade 🙂

On second thoughts…  Nah!  Leave the arrow there.  Removing it would negate one of my earlier statements.  Let everybody keep thinking that Turkey is just one of the Team.