"Ahrar Al-Sham has officially rejected a nationalwide ceasefire proposal pushed by the United States and Russia.
Ahrar Al-Sham is one of the largest Syrian militant groups. Despite the radical views, the group is often called the “moderate opposition” by the Western Media and is supported by the United States.
On September 12, Deputy Leader of Ahrar al-Sham ‘Abo Ammar al-Omar’ publicly rejected the ceasefire proposal in Eid msge. According to al-Omar, the problem is that the ceasefire will exclude from the agrreemennt some Syrian “opposition” groups… for example the Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat Al Nusra) terrorist group and other Al Qaeda affilates in Syria." South Front
Well pilgrims, it just does not get much "better" than this from the point of view of satirists. Evelyn Waugh, the author of "Black Mischief," "Scoop," and the more awful parts of "Sword of Honour" could not have written "better" material.
Poor Kerry (irony alert) he has labored in the vineyards of diplomacy for lo these many months (years?) in the effort to produce a ceasefire that would result in the fulfillment of the Borgist dream of an Assad Free Syria or whatever they would call the present Syria afterward.
And now – wait for it! – drum roll! – Ahrar al Sham, the unicorns upon whom the loving (maybe) attention and largess of the US/CIA have been showered has rejected the ceasefire upon which Obama/Kerry had pinned all their hopes for victory snatched from the jaws of military travail.
Why would they do that? It is because they are allies and comrades of Fath al Sham (formerly the AQ branch in Syria). Fath al Sham changed their name from the Nusra Front a few weeks back in the hope of BSing the peacemakers into making them bombing immune under a cease fire. Well, that did not work. The crafty Rooshians instead succeeded in having the US agree that Fath al Sham/al Nusra/AQ is still a jihadi group which will be legitimately targeted under a cease fire. Damn these Russians! They keep trying to win or at least not lose.
So, when our "moderates" side with the jihadis against us you can see how "moderate" they really are.
Today, CNN, MSNBC et al continue to pound Assad. pl
Col: I have a question about tactics. If you separate out the “moderates,” does that mean the moderates walk away with the ATGM’s? If so, then the Assad’s helicopters won’t come back in full force against Nursa. And if “moderates” separately re-start using the TOW’s on Assad’s forces, wouldn’t the SAA be able to isolate and then eliminate the “moderates” in smaller group actions? Doesn’t this become a sniper battle?
I was surprised by this. What if one of the secret terms of the agreement is that any jihadi group that doesn’t sign up to the ceasefire and has had past associations with Al Qaeda is declared to be a terrorist organisation?
Colonel et. al.
I’m trying to wrap my head around this. Is it extremely simple: was the CF/SOH/Whatever calling it is en vogue these days simply an easy face saving way out for our glorious brain trust (Kerry and the Gang) not to under any circumstances admit they royally F’d up with their grandiose scheming and back out gracefully-ish?
Or was it the usual generally “too many working parts” thinking of acquiescing to certain realities in the present while giving some think tanking time on how to get to their desired goal? Which, as far as I can tell, is the unequivocal ouster of Assad and the punishment of the Iranian regime/Axis of Resistance/Shia Crescent, etc…?
Basically, was it really a throw in the towel moment or is it just more mendacity?
Related: do you think part of some of this is continued sour grapes and a desire to soothe a collective sense of vengeance from Tehran ’79 plays any role in their thinking? I ask because I recall a conversation about ten years ago now with an old professor who was formerly civilian IC, who explained that the 1980’s adventures with mujahids in Afghan was a “payback and a huge fuck you to the Soviets for what they did to us in Vietnam, plain and simple.”
Well the MSM seems to struggle with that information…
It’s certainly not making the headlines in Europe and the US.
I heard reports of unhappy rumblings from among the mil/sec and “diplomatic” organs of the US government. I wonder if Obama genuinely is trying to resolve the Syrian issue and is staring these people down in the process. (Gotta protect that legacy).
*If* the joint operation does go ahead in the full spirit of cooperation, it will decimate the lion’s share of the rebels.
“What if one of the secret terms of the agreement is that any jihadi group that doesn’t sign up to the ceasefire and has had past associations with Al Qaeda is declared to be a terrorist organisation?”
Then they will receive future reservations on the list for expedited expulsion from the here and now to the world beyond.
Lemur at al
Yes. Clever fellows these Russians. pl
Cease fire ?
-FSA & Jund al-Aqsa( not included in cease fire) are shelling Ma’an in north Hama and rebels are firing rockets onto SAA positions in Mallah, Aleppo
Guess they are game as far as Russian AF is concerned !
21 FSA, rebel and jihadi groups reject officially the cease-fire conditions and refuse to take a distance from AQ ( from Elijah Magnier who added that there are few Turkey proxies fighting in the north of Syria & Aleppo)
FWIW: Under intense pressure from regional allies (GCC), US accepted to keep Ahrar outside AQ Affiliated groups. Getting interesting as the hours go by.
The tweet about the US agreeing with regional allies to keep Ahrar off the list of AQ affiliated groups is dated the September 11. Will that change now that Ahrar has declined to enter into the ceasefire.
FWIW: Under intense pressure from regional allies (GCC), US accepted to keep Ahrar outside AQ Affiliated groups.
Any ceasefire that includes Ahrar Al Sham is a farce and proves that our official policy is to have Al Qaeda take over Syria. This should be a screaming headline, U.S. supports Al Qaeda aligned rebels.
Sigh, the imbeciles in U.S. regime media are so clueless they disgust me. I saw a youtube video ‘humans need not apply’ about how robots will eventually take over most of our jobs, it was thought provoking. The MSM could very easily be replaced, they just right recycle same clueless headlines anyway, it might as well be written by State Dept robots. Actually, robots might be dangerous, they could divulge the truth.
On almasdarnews they have been reporting regular Israeli air strikes, the latest one was around Demascus, not Golan. Why are they upping their game now, how maniacal can Netanyahu be, is there a method to his madness?
@ Chris Chuba
Two Israeli jets downed by RuAF over Golan Heights.
Yvet (Lieberman) together with Bibi are $–t disturbers
Is there a “civil war” going on in the US State Department with Clinton appointees and the 51 battling to keep the civil/Proxy war in Syria going so that the Blessed Hillary has an excuse to intervene.
From the Guardian:
In his remarks, Kerry suggested the Assad regime would be able to conduct airstrikes against the al-Nusra front (which recently changed its official name to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham) if it had Russian and US approval.
However, that was later denied by the state department spokesman, John Kirby, who said: “The arrangement announced last week makes no provision whatsoever for the US and Russia to approve strikes by the Syrian regime, and this is not something we could ever envision doing. A primary purpose of this agreement, from our perspective, is to prevent the Syrian regime air force from flying or striking in any areas in which the opposition or Nusra are present.”
Kerry was involved in the negotiations, Kirby is just an effing spokesman.
Could someone help me understand the strategic significance of this?
“Russian Marines replace Syrian Army on Aleppo’s Castillo Highway”
It looks to me like Putin is sending Erdogan a message that if he has any designs on Aleppo, he will have to kill Russian troops to get there.
Am I wrong??
The US suggested demilitarising the city, on both rebel and government forces sides, but Russia rejected the proposition, also disapproved of by Russia’s allies (Damascus and Tehran).
if true, that would look pretty similar to the–OK, I did not pay enough attention to write this really–but it reminds me of the setting beyond rumors of the officially recognized/stated context in Libya around Ambassador Steven’s dead.
Apart, of course, from the more obvious implications.
The diplomatic track will not result in a quick and lasting resolution to this conflict. The military campaign is likely the best way to end this conflict quickly and minimize the resulting death, damage and destruction. Note to State Department; wars can be decisive if they are fought in a way to be decisive. Kerry needs to be part of the solution, not the problem!
seems I have stopped to pay attentions to output some time ago, but then commas became an issue or part of the argument around here recently … not much hope there, though, I fear. …
Vic: Apparently, the Jihadis want the Turks to be involved in the choice of targeting. See https://twitter.com/MoonofA/status/775386522841473024
They are asking their allies for help.
That seems to be the intent .. echoes of Pristina , perhaps
It was part of the agreement hammered out that Russia would manage the road so that the SAA and the Islamists could pull back from the road to make it safe for terrorists and weo … er so civilians could pass easily.
How has that worked out? Lets check with the Russians at the check point on the Castillo road to see.
Then after watching that go read the BS at the garbage can where they tell you that the Syrians are holding up aid from entering East Allepo even thought the Russian said it is AQ that is blocking things. (and you just watched the video) Then the garbage can goes on to say that the SAA is just supposed to allow aid from Turkey to enter Aleppo with out inspections. I can’t imagine why the SAA would be leery of that. But I remember reading an article last week that said the agreement was that only containers sealed by the UN would be allowed in with out inspections.
Virginia state senator Richard Black traveled to Syria, talked with both Mr & Mrs Assad, traveled about, formed definite, positive impressions of the Syrian state and people
Black, a former Marine who was awarded Purple Heart, said it distressed him that his country behaved so dishonorably as to destroy Libya — he claimed Libya was invaded so that US could acquire Libya’s weapons stash to hand on to Syrian rebels. He also felt it “dishonorable” that US Treasury Dept refused to lift sanctions to permit medicines and prosthetics to Syrian sick & wounded.
Black claimed the plan to destabilize Syria was at least 10 years old, and laid heavy blame on Saudis for demanding that US cooperate with Saudi preferences.
I offered to publish Black’s report here. Evidently he was not interested. pl
As BNW has already mentioned how high an opinion the unicorns appear to have about the ceasefire, it’s interesting to note these here details leaked to AP on some more detailed points of the agreement:
“Here are some details of the agreement, according to the U.S. officials. They weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the still-confidential agreement and demanded anonymity.
—As of Monday, Assad’s government and opposition forces should have ceased all attacks with any weapons, including aerial bombardments, rockets, mortars and anti-tank guided missiles.
—Sides cannot seek to acquire territory.
—They should allow rapid, safe, unhindered and sustained humanitarian access to all people in need.
—In cases when self-defense is required, proportionate force should be used.
—Two checkpoints will be established on the key Aleppo artery of Castello Road. The Syrian Red Crescent will initially operate the checkpoints, with security of no more than 20 armed personnel. Security will be determined by mutual consent of government and opposition forces. The U.N. will monitor the personnel, physically or remotely.
—Government forces must withdraw personnel, heavy weapons and other arms to different points away from Castello Road. In some places, tanks, artillery and mortars must be pulled back at least 3.5 kilometers, or just more than 2 miles. Elsewhere, soldiers with lighter weapons have to retreat at least 500 yards from the road. Other requirements concern crew-served machine guns and observation posts.
—Opposition forces also must withdraw from the road, in many places equidistant or similar to the level of pullback by government forces. East of Castello Road, their withdrawal will depend on the action of Kurdish forces. If the Kurds retreat 500 yards, the opposition forces should do likewise. Other requirements concern heavy weapons, including infantry-fighting vehicles and tanks, and crew-served machine guns.
—Opposition must make every effort to prevent al-Qaida-linked militants from advancing into demilitarized areas.
—All Syrians should be able to leave Aleppo on Castello Road, including opposition forces with their weapons. Fighters must coordinate with U.N. officials ahead of time.
—The U.S. and Russia will address violations of cease-fire.
—The U.S. and Russia will announce the establishment of their Joint Implementation Center after at least seven straight days of adherence to the cease-fire.
—Preparatory work for the center should have started Monday, including information-sharing to delineate territories controlled by al-Qaida-linked militants and those controlled by opposition groups. More comprehensive delineation occurs after the center is established.
—Starting Monday, the U.S. and Russia should have started developing actionable targets against the Islamic State and al-Qaida-linked militants, so that strikes can start immediately after the center is established. Once the first strikes occur, all Syrian military air activities must be halted in agreed areas.
—The U.S. and Russia can each withdraw from the arrangement.”
Given the unicorns’ throwing themselves in front of their Nusra-buddies, I very much suppose it was a grave mistake to make said unicorns’ “moderate-ness” vs. said Nusra one of the requirements to be fulfilled in this deal. Also interesting to note that a clause for terminating the agreement has been added for both US and Russia.
While it would be the right thing to do for the US-side to finally burn its bridges with its irredeemable unicorns, we’ll have to wait for Monday next week to see whether they actually finally do that, I suppose.
Have you formed a general opinion of what is going on between the US and Russia in this context? pl
In the context of the agreement as written vs. its implementation? Seems that Russia has a far better grip on/mutual understanding with its allies as regards implementing it than US does on its unicorns. The aforementioned unicorn rejection of it and siding with Nusra/AQ done by the unicorns around the 15th anniversary of 9/11 speaks volumes as to how little leverage the US has here, and it rightly should be scandalized far and wide – of course, the MSM prefers somehow not doing so.
It’s interesting to note that, belatedly, KSA officially endorsed the ceasefire, worded as follows:
“Official Source: Saudi Arabia Is Following with Interest the Implementation of Temporary Cease-Fire in Syria
Last updated: 9/13/2016 10:31 PM
An official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is following with interest the implementation of the temporary cease-fire in Syria.
The official source expressed the Kingdom’s welcoming of this truce, which will contribute to relieving the humanitarian suffering of brethren Syrian people.
The official source added that the Kingdom stresses the importance of abiding by this truce by Bashar Al-Asad’s regime and his allies, and that this truce would as well lead to the resumption of the political process in Syria on the basis of Geneva I declaration and Security Council resolution 2254, which would lead to the peaceful transition of power.”
Whether this agreement was just a play-act by Kerry to win time and fill headlines with US-goodwill whose failure can then be blamed on RU/Damascus/Iran by MSM as per usual remains to be seen. Or, as you put it in the earlier assessment on the unicorn failure at Aleppo, it may be a “face-saving compromise” where Obama’s administration at long last has the good grace to bow out and let RU and allies clean up the contra-mess that is the unicorns, if nothing else. We’ll have to wait until Monday to see what happens further.
Wonder what we would be looking at if Bushcheney had occupied Riyahd instead of Baghdad ?
Perhaps the Two Holy Mosques would then have ended up in Jordanian hands – Hashemites being direct descendants of the Prophet and having had claim on those prior to Saudi conquest and all that -, with the rest of KSA-territory being split up among various principalities and other neighbouring states.
Probably would still have been a mess made worse for the ineptitude of that administration. Then again, given the Saudi’s display of military “might”(/incompetence) vs. its southern neighbour just now, we might see if not a breakup a few changes to their borders yet.
This doesn’t look good:
Militant Groups Redeploy Units to Aleppo’s Northwest amid Ceasefire in Syria
Terrorist groups have begun re-deploying their units to Kafr Hamra village Northwest of Aleppo city amid nationwide ceasefire in Syria, a source in the city said on Thursday.
“Terrorists are assembling a lot of fighters in Kafr Hamra. According to our data, they are forming assault groups,” said the source, Ria Novosti reported.
According to the source, additional units were redeployed from Idlib province to Aleppo city.
“We do not know yet where the terrorists plan to strike, but it is very likely that they will try to block Castillo road, which is the city’s Northern supply route,” the source added.
I doubt the rebels are going to block the Castillo Road, I think it’s far more likely that they’re looking to retake the Castillo Road after the SAA have withdrawn their heavy weapons. I hope the Russian marines are ready for them.
Map showing Kafr Hamra and Castillo Road:
WARNiNG – the link is to the article on an Iranian website