Idlib Situation – 13 December 2021

Well, pilgrims, the neo-Ottomans (as opposed to good Kemalists) are dug in along Route 5 like ticks on a hound dog’s back.

IMO it was a grave error for the R+6 forces not to have made an all-out effort to recapture ALL of Idlib Province immediately after the total re-capture of Aleppo City. As I expected the Turkish ambition for re-integration of the province into a renewed Turkish empire is painfully obvious.

This is equally true of the Afrin district NW of Aleppo and the strip of territory along the Turkish/Syrian border extending to the east.

The US has abetted the aspirations of Turkey by foolishly clinging to Syrian land east of the Euphrates using the excuse that the SAG is merely a surrogate for Iran. pl

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25 Responses to Idlib Situation – 13 December 2021

  1. A. Pols says:

    Unable to access your link. takes me to a login page.
    I assume the link amplifies on your post?

  2. My sense was the Russians walking on egg shells. Giving Erdogan what he thinks he wants, but mostly tying him down(Careful what you pray for..), not driving him back into the arms of the West.
    I suspect the Russians, as much as anyone, know the perils of empire.
    Meanwhile the lira plummets.

  3. TTG says:

    I guess fortune does favor the bold… or the batshit crazy. I’m amazed how Erdogan has managed to thumb his nose at Moscow and Washington simultaneously. It’s not like he’s in a position of power over either of us.

    • zmajcek says:

      My guess is neither Russia or the US are motivated enough to go into open conflict with Turkey over non critical issues.
      Important to Syria of course, but it is in no position to force anything.

      A stalemate has been reached.

    • English Outsider says:

      TTG – Turkey is also in a position of power here. A Greek newspaper assessing the Greek position in the light of the recent change of administration in Germany –

      ““Germany’s new Green foreign minister Annalena Baerbock has clearly backed the Greek position and even called for the suspension of construction of six Turkish submarines in German shipyards. … In Athens, they believe that such a development is too good to be true and that the government will soon go back on this position. Germany’s economic interests in Turkey are too strong and the presence of the Turks in Germany too powerful to permit ambitious goals.”

  4. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    If I recall correctly you advocated such a policy at the time, so you are not Monday morning quarterbacking.

  5. zmajcek says:

    They probably would have if they could have. My impression at the time was that they threw everything they had at securing Aleppo. Tiger forces were doing a lot of the tough breakthroughs and were probably spent after Aleppo was freed.

    At the very least they would have secured the M4 highway between Latakia and Aleppo if they were in a position to mount any serious additional offensive.

    Who knows what was happening behind closed doors. I remember western media frenzy also beginning to ramp up: Russians and Syrians dropping phosphorus bombs on innocent civilians and all the usual rhetoric.

    When they finally gathered enough forces and were on the brink of cleaning up the area, Turkey unleashed the drones.

    • Pat Lang says:


      No. They made aa conscious decision to move east from Aleppo instead. IMO opinion that was an unforced error.

      • zmajcek says:

        The way they kept busing jihadis into the Idlib area it was as if they always intended for it to be a part of an endgame offensive.

        They came really close in 2020 offensive, but seems like they had no response for Turkish drones.

    • TTG says:

      Just as the R+6 was securing Aleppo, IS renewed their offensive further to the south retaking Palmyra in December. Syria had to pull some of their forces from Aleppo to deal with this. Even a lot of Russian sorties had to divert to Palmyra. Assad didn’t have the forces to wage full offensive campaigns on both fronts.

      An opportunity to retake Idlib was lost, but given the IS offensive in Palmyra, Assad’s lack of forces and Russia’s reluctance to reinforce those forces with her own troops, retaking Idlib just wasn’t in the cards at the time.

      • Pat Lang says:

        As I recall, the ISIS effort against Palmyra started a few weeks after the capture of Aleppo. I might be wrong about that. In any event Idlib was more important and should have had priority.

        • Pat Lang says:

          TTG et al

          timeline –

          Russian intervention
          2015 September – Russia carries out its first air strikes in Syria, saying they target the Islamic State group, but the West and Syrian opposition say it overwhelmingly targets anti-Assad rebels.

          2015 December – Syrian Army allows rebels to evacuate remaining area of Homs, returning Syria’s third-largest city to government control after four years.

          2016 March – Syrian government forces retake Palmyra from Islamic State with Russian air assistance, only to be driven out again in December.

          2016 August – Turkish troops cross into Syria to help rebel groups push back so-called Islamic State militants and Kurdish-led rebels from a section of the two countries’ border.

          2016 December – Government troops, backed by Russian air power and Iranian-sponsored militias, recapture Aleppo, the country’s largest city, depriving the rebels of their last major urban stronghold.

          2017 January – Russia, Iran and Turkey agree to enforce a ceasefire between the government and non-Islamist rebels, after talks between the two sides in Kazakhstan.

        • TTG says:

          The IS offensive in Homs retook Palmyra by 11 December 2016 and laid siege to the T4 airbase right after that. This was just as the R+6 was mopping up in Aleppo. Forces from Aleppo had to be diverted to T4 just to hold it. The R=^ offensive to retake Palmyra didn’t start until mid-January 2017. Failure to stop that IS offensive would have endangered the supply lines to Aleppo.

  6. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Colonel, fellow pilgrims;
    There are several reasons for the Turkish presence in Syria. And there are different issues associated with different areas. In Afrin and environs TSK ended the ZioCon game of having a “kurdistan” with a Mediterranean port. Such a new “country” was supposed to bolster Izzie dominance in MENA, and perhaps enable control of the oil in Iraq and Syria ( , ). Some of you might remember my discussions with Patrick Bahzad about this. This gambit is still in play, with ypg-pkk cadres and their “protectors”, but it is rather unlikely to succeed at this point.
    The issue in Idlib is tayyip’s survival. If he “loses” Idlib not only will he be the target of “militants” (who will claim betrayal), he will also, most probably, lose the next election. This is a significant threat for akp. He knows full well TSK cannot resolve the issue by force of arms. A year or so ago a TSK brigade was targeted in a significant air attack ( ). Most news organizations attributed the attack to the Syrian Air Force. Rather unlikely. I think (hope) that the increasing economic mess in Turkey will curb tayyip’s adventurism and bring the country back to the ”peace at home, peace in the world” policy of secular nationalists.
    Finally, I am not sure what “neo-ottoman” means. The definition of this term has been evolving over time. If you look at the nonsense purveyed by experts as little as six years ago ( ) you can see that they classify neo-ottomanism as “a more pragmatic and liberal mindset than Kemalism”. I wonder if this fellow is still of the same opinion. Our neo-liberals had a falling out with tayyip and have been purged. Good riddance. Most current analyses paint a different picture ( ).

    We live in interesting times.

    Ishmael Zechariah

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