A brief overview of the recent developments in Syria:
- The US Defense Secretary announced that US troops will remain in the al-Tanf area and ‘elsewhere’, but not in northern Syria;
- Syrian Arab Army (SAA) units continues entering into the SDF-controlled area;
- Pro-Turkish forces continue developing Operation Peace Spring. They captured Iqsas, Ayn Arous, Badee’ and Jasim al-Ali, Darbasiyah and several other points;
- Clashes in Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn are ongoing.
If the map is indicative of something more than a fantasy on the part of the SF editorial staff, then the criticism raised yesterday by one of our commenters is answered, i.e. the SAA and SD allies will drive east from the Kobani area into the flank of the invading Turkish Army and Turkish allied jihadi advance into Syria. At the same time the long isolated SAA garrison at Hasakah is represented as breaking out to Qamishli and Ras al-Ayn on the Turkish border. If all these movements are projected correctly then combat between the Turk invasion and the SAA/SDF seems probable. pl
The Passion of the Neocons over Trump's resolute intention to withdraw US forces from Syria is amusing. They and their Zionist pals have so successfully propagandized the American Borg (foreign policy establishment) and the media that they are completely taken aback by what was really a delayed delivery by Trump on a 2016 election campaign pledge. The policy/IO that the Borg/DoD have been following is to fulfill Israel's policy by partitioning Syria into a rump state west of the Euphrates and a US dominated satellite state east of the Euphrates. This state supported by what for a small country are significant petroleum resources. The ultimate goal would be to destroy the present Syrian government. It is to be expected that there will be continued resistance to Trump's decision. It will be particularly interesting to see if Esper, the new SECDEF continues to advocate having US troops remain Al-Tanf on Syria's southern border. This presence is a key element of Borgist/DoD policy in Syria because it blocks the most direct land road between Damascus and Baghdad and thence on to Iran. A successful Syrian/SDF alliance will inevitably mean an end to the US policy of regime change in Syria. pl
A man of action is President Trump.
Putin saying that ‘All’ of Syrian territory must be restored, one would hope he was ‘including’ the Golan Heights that Israel stole from Syria. Sadly Trump stuck his foot in his mouth when he said that the Golan was Israel’s property. He backed himself into a corner on that one. If Trump backed Putin’s call of ‘All’, he would surely loose Sheldon Adelson’s money, and would garner the indignation of the Israeli 5th Column types like Hagee,the Hasbara, and the under-the-table Israeli paid Members of our U.S. Congress.
This is yet another positive event (three in all, I think) to occur in the Middle East while the Israeli Government is in a state of paralysis.
Events are moving quickly.
My favorite map – https://syria.liveuamap.com/
I remain a cynic. Although I hope you are correct about a flank attack on the invading Turkish Army and Turkish supported jihadis. But my cynical side suspects that the SAA will conduct that attack on the jihadis only after Erdogan withdraws any Turkish troops.
It is not SecDef Esper that is advocating US troops remain in l-Tanf. We can blame Trump’s son-in-law for that. Esper is following WH policy.
In dissident circles, ISIS is often referred to as the “Reserve Army of ZOG.”
This sounds good, and that is good enough for propaganda purposes, but is it accurate?
How many attacks have there been by the IDF on ISIS in the past five years?
Have there been any instances of Israeli spies being caught providing material support to them?
Russia plays a very long game. But when it happens, it happens fast. Ask the Japanese about the Manchurian campaign at the end of WWII. Or think Crimea.
The “Turkish” troops that the SAA are fighting, are they Turks or jihadi Turk mercenaries? Very, very different things.
But what it all comes down to are two very simple questions: is Syria better off under Assad–and Russia–or under jihadi rule? And why is the U.S. on the wrong side?
Now that the Kurds have allied with Damascus, watch the neocons drop their support for The Poor Little Kurds(tm) like it was a hot turd.
The neocon goal for Syria was only ever always regime change, not “protecting the Kurds” or “fighting ISIS” or whatever.
The Russians have been very quiet, where are they in all this? How will the SAA & SAAF fare in a direct engagement with their Turkish counterparts and would this be grounds for support via the North Atlantic Treaty? How much deconfliction coordination has there been between Washington and Moscow, what are they likely to have agreed – neither party shall provide air support or similar?
A lot of questions but they seem important bits of information in trying to understand what is gong on and its possible ramifications. I would be grateful if anyone would care to fill in some of the blanks.
1] Don’t know!
2] None that I know of.
3} None that I know, but they did provide Turkey with material support to use against the Kurds.
Patrick Lawrence makes a good point here.
usa withdrawal and unleashing of turkey is
really just more usa attempt to decapitate/destroy assad/syria
we will see if russia prevents/limits turkey
i am glad to see syria govt and sdf united
JJ, “How will the SAA & SAAF fare in a direct engagement with their Turkish counterparts and would this be grounds for support via the North Atlantic Treaty?”
Per TTG in the ‘Jubilation’ post, the answer is there will be no direct engagement. At least no other than with the Turkish supported jihadis. I agree as there are too many other sources out there that say the SAG/SDF agreement was for the SAA to show the flag on the border but stay out of the direct fight. And let SDF & the Turks fight. Meanwhile Putin works out a deal with Erdogan to withdraw and get to claim he only wanted peace in the first place.
the invasionand per many sources on the SDF
We should have let the SDF come to an arrangement with the regime months ago and then pulled out our forces once this was complete. Some level of local autonomy coupled with allegiance to the regime in Damascus and protection from Turkey.
I agree that this is probably the right answer for the US long term (to head for the exits in Syria) but damned if we couldn’t have done it more smoothly and with less human suffering. I fear that the establishment’s lamenting of the message that this sends to future allies and proxies about the reliability of the US as a partner has more than a kernel of truth to it.
I’m also skeptical of Russia being a provider of meaningful support to the regime here. They’re loving the opportunity to pull Turkey further from the US orbit and I’m not sure they want to jeopardize their progress here. Doubtful we’ll see Russian pilots closing airspace to Turkish bombings and air support any time soon…
Hope I’m wrong.
What about the 20 U.S. nukes that are said that Erodogan is now holding hostage?
Correction, 50 U.S. nukes hostage.
Brian, The Russian Aerospace Forces are flying cover over the SAA in Manbij. The last I read was that they were also preventing Turkish air attacks along the rest of the border. That’s probably more the result of a Putin call to Erdogan than anything else. Judging by Putin’s words, he wants ALL foreign out of Syria, including Turkey’s and his own once Damascus decides she no longer needs those Russian forces. Putin supports Assad’s call for sovereignty over all her territory.
My view: Russia is reaping the rewards of Putin’s patience.
Remember when many thought Syria and Russia were waiting too long to move in Idlib. Also, that the response to USA bombing in Deir Ezzor (accidentally on purpose) was criticized as too timid. Also, when Russia plane was shot down by Turkey.
But now that patience is paying off without battlefield losses, and with an enemy (SDF) transformed into an ally.
Whatever happens next, it is clear that Putin/Russia is in the driver’s seat, deciding how far Erdogan/Turkey will be allowed into Syria.
Erdogan thought he had a green light from Trump, and maybe he did for a short time. But that light has turned yellow or maybe red, and Erdogan now has to face the political consequences with voters.
Putin’s patience is quite a contrast to Trump’s impetuosity.
Sure, maybe it is luck, but it’s not all luck.
I sure the Pentagon has detailed contingency plans for removing the nukes. The question is a political one. By pulling the nukes out, we are pretty much saying Turkey is no longer a NATO member. I don’t know if Trump is prepared to do that. The bigger question is if the JCS and SecDef are willing to pose the question to Trump. They’re probably afraid of the answer.
NATO Treaty, Articles 5 and 6:
The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.
Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.
For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack:
on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France, on the territory of Turkey or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer;
on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.”
The NATO treaty is defensive in its nature, it does not trigger support clauses if a member country attacks the territory of a different state.
Furthermore, any mutual defence under Article 5 assistance is discretionary (“will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, SUCH ACTION AS IT DEEMS NECESSARY”), there is no automatic mechanism.
On a political level, I cannot imagine any NATO country deciding to give military support to a Turkish military invasion into Syria.
Israel pays and arms Syrian rebel groups on the border to protect themselves from the Iranians in Syria. The name of the rebel groups is Forsan al-Jolan, lit. “Knights of the Golan”, or, as I like to call them “Knights of the Golem.”
If this is part of the Free Syrian Army rebel group rejoining Syria, Israel will freak out.
How much of all this is theater? https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-08/trump-compliments-turkey-and-indicates-erdogan-will-visit-u-s
Is Syria being set up to fight Turkey? To finally have Syrian army defeated via Turkey (supplied on the sly by NATO allies like they armed Nusra as Turkey escorted them into Syria?) Perhaps arm both sides Assad-Erdogan- to neutralize each other? Be a great way to then redraw Kurd borders on the map out of the two mutually depleted antagonists…? This plan was leaked 6 mos ago by a zionist ‘defector’ and dismissed at the time. But his info has proven accurate, even to the day.
re Putin’s patience … yes, he has that.
Now he certainly isn’t a friendly man but that isn’t his job. His job is to rule russia and keep rusia’s interests in eye. And by and large that he does.
What IMO probably is his greatest advantage is that he is a rational, cold thinking man, looks at opponents as he would look at agents, and not tempted into outbursts of fury or other impulses. That likely helps spies.
Putin also isn’t charmed by murderous little princes like MbS and others booking his hotels or golf clubs. Putin in contrast is, so to speak, at least almost charmingly reliable.
I assume that the letter parts may have helped him a lot in the KGB. He also has no compulsive penal taxes too. That makes him almost pleasant.
re “If this is part of the Free Syrian Army rebel group rejoining Syria, Israel will freak out.”
Don’t they freak out a lot? They don’t necessarily need Iran for that, even though that’s a preferred target.
Netanyahu was on a frenzy in the last elections, showing election posters of himself with Trump or opening another illegal settlement on the illegally occupied Golan – the “Trump Heights”. Likely BJ Bibi style.
Netanyahu’s focus is very likely staying in power before he could and would be dragged to court for these odd criminal investigations and possible charges against him. His enemy here is not a mullah or ayatollah or nukes but Israel’s cops and judges. He’s likely another friend of “impunity when in office”.
And just like that man Powell … for Trump at least … is
Trump’sAmerica’s greatest enemy … worse even than China.
Putin and his team have been consistent in their broader goals while retaining tactical flexibility. They’ve also sought to build and maintain good relationships with all the players. Given the goals are in accord with international law with a primary focus on sovereignty, it’s an understated but powerful combo.
So no, it’s certainly not all luck . . .
Apologies to all, I misread the Latest Posts as ‘SAA/SDF progress Jubilation!’ and consequently had not read TTG’s Jubilation post at the time of commenting and was therefore a day behind the rest of you. TTG’s post clears up much that I asked, as JP Billen points out.
What is still not very clear is what Erdogan is going to do, he seems to have been shafted by the US & Russia who can cripple his already wobbly economy. Will he back down and withdraw all forces from Syria and how will that play domestically?
It’s not accurate, any group in the Middle East will blame its enemy on Israel. In this case literally every side fighting ISIS (Gov, Iraqi gov, PMU, SDF, Moderate Rebels, Moderate Beheaders) have a different explanation for ISIS, most involving Israel in some fashion. The primary target of ISIS are the Arab regimes, they have no reason to attack Israel. “9 bullets for the traitors, 1 for the enemy”.
Israel has been a key player in helping Egypt fight ISIS Sinai:
“For more than two years, unmarked Israeli drones, helicopters and jets have carried out a covert air campaign, conducting more than 100 airstrikes inside Egypt, frequently more than once a week — and all with the approval of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.”
Besides all the international ISIS attacks averted due to Mossad alerting the respective targets
Turkey probably signed the anti nuke treaty so that they could build nukes if the US removed their nukes.
ps. AFAIK Germany, Benelux did that.
Will Trump’s sanctions on Turkey work?
Have sanctions ever worked? Not in the case of Iran and Russia for sure. I’m not familiar with other cases.
But in this case, I think Trump’s threats plus various comments from the EU have strengthened Erdogan politically. Undoubtedly frequent commenter Ishmael Zechariah has a better handle on this than I. But from reading English language Turkish news as far as I can tell even Erdo’s opposition parties are ‘rallying around the flag’ for his cross border incursion. Except of course the Kurdish HDP party, many of whom are being arrested for speaking out against the Ironically named Operation Peace Spring. Even the Kemalist CHP party which beat Erdo in many recent urban elections including in Istanbul have caved. Other than the HDP, the only other Turk to speak out against it was Mustafa Akinci the President of Turkish Cyprus, and he is backtracking.
Trump threatened crippling sanctions, but so far they are pretty mild. Turkey doesn’t care, they may just get full membership in the Eurasian Economic Union and take all their business there and with China. But in any case, when the Turks pull back because of Russian calm peacemaking efforts, be sure that Trump will take credit for it.
Israelis’ are still freaked out over Amelek. That happened, if it ever did, so long ago they have forgotten who they were or what they did. Free floating freakout.
The Kurds are political powerful in Germany and to a lesser extent the Netherlands. Those states could flip sides if Turkey goes to far.
Well that link went dead quickly; but all is not lost to dev null.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GfbPYGrpgk should last another few millisecs.
What is the basis for Trump’s sanctions on Turkey?
“One reasoning given by Trump was the killing of Future Syria Party leader Hervin Khalaf, a former member of the PKK’s Syrian political wing the PYD,” a Turkish official with knowledge of the conversation told MEE.”
It seems well known that she was dragged from her car and murdered, but very murky as to who the murders actually were.
“The United Nations said it is likely Turkish-backed rebel group Ahrar al-Sharqiya was responsible.”
A Turkish newspaper that is a frequent mouthpiece for Erdogan called her murder “a successful operation”.
She was a civil engineer and a politician. General Secretary of the Future Syria Party whose goal was creating bonds between Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, and Armenian & Assyrian Christians. According to Syrian Analyst Mutlu Civiroglu, she was good at it, she was born and raised in a small city in the far east of Syria that always had a very diverse ethnic and religious population. She was not in the PYD, although she undoubtedly had a PYD blessing in what she was doing.
Article 5 was not invoked in the Falklands, though the UK was attacked. It was considered at the time that the Falklands were out of area.
Would this not automatically be the case here, as the above extracts and your notes on them indicate? This no matter who attacked whom?
I took the tram last saturday and it was blocked by a protestation of several hundred kurds with many flags and chants in Deutz protesting the turkish whatever (= offence/ invasion/ confusion/ putatively preventive overdefence/ anti-Sevres/ certainly anti kurdish) operation in Syria.
(interesting map there)
In some protestations the last days turkish kiosks and shops here were attacked, turks provoked kurds, kurds provoked turks, some brawls, iirc turkish cars before the turkish ambassy in berlin burned and so on.
Erdogan’s project in syria may easily cause some more of that in Germany.
During another kurdish protest some weeks ago turks drove around with cars with symbols of a turkish anti-terror policy police group. Clearly a sign sent.
There are some pro-Erdogan rockers around here, the “Osmanen Germania”, which appear to have good contacts to the turkish government under Erdogan. Arms (and drugs) they already have.
There obviously isn’t much love between the turkish government and kurds.
A view at the turkish consulate in Hürth is an indication: Heavy steel fence with a lot of nato barbed wire, lots of cameras, windows in the ground floor protected with slotted (a little light in is allowed) steel covers, etc. pp.
I have served in barracks with arms depots that were less protected.
Saying online that turkish policy against kurds is brutal and occasionally murderous may end up with a surprise arrest during a holiday in Turkey for “supporting terror”. I read that some folks down there were arrested as Gülenists for … having a dollar note.
Turkish gvt close speakers and writers have also said the german airline Lufthansa was responsible for the gezi park protests against Erdogan.
Indeed, regime change is the one big thing big airlines are about. Lufthansa once flew me to Ireland – it is probably no accident that that it is a democratic country.
Yes, the only way how I see the formal requirements for an invocation of Article 5 being fulfilled is if the Syrian Army or the Kurds would directly attack territory of the Turkish state. Attacks on areas that Turkey or Turkish proxy militias have occupied in Syria are not relevant.
I think Assad and the Kurds are smart enough that they will not attack Turkey on its territory, so I think the whole Article 5 debate is very theoretical. But it is an important reminder of the entanglements that you can potentially find yourself in if your country is a member of a mutual defense pact like NATO.
Nah, they just know how which buttons of Protestants to push. References to Amalek are always in Netanyahu’s English language speeches for the benefit of his American audiences.
But recall that Iraq and Syria opened a new crossing at al Qaim a couple of weeks ago. As the connecting roads are improved, al Tanf will quickly lose its strategic value to block transportation between Iran-Iraq and Syria-Lebanon.