Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 19, 2015

Syria: Special Forces From Turkey Attack The Syrian Arab Army

Yesterday the Syrian Arab Army tried to relief the insurgent-besieged villages of Nubl and al-Zahraa and to close the corridor between the city of Aleppo and the Turkish border to the north. The troops captured three villages and nearly closed the gap in their ring around Aleppo but were pushed out again in an onslaught by hundreds of enemies coming from the direction of the Turkish border.

The map shows the areas gained and lost again by the SAA in light green. (bigger)

A bloody video from the aftermath (now deleted) showed several dozens of dead Syrian Army fighters massacred in what looked like a well executed ambush.

This was curious as the usual insurgent groups in the area are not know for good military planning:

Regime sources say that the defining characteristic of yesterday’s “ferocious” battle was Turkish support for the armed groups, as evidenced by the transfer of fighters and military supplies from inside Turkey to Aleppo’s northern countryside, including Caucasian fighters who answer directly to Turkish intelligence.

On Twitter one Ömer Khãn, who claims to be a Turkish soldier and is an avid supporter of the Syrian opposition, looks at the gruesome pictures of the dead soldiers and remarks (1, 2, 3):

Who where these SAA up against in #Mallah ? Shooting only Head is feat for a Regular Army, much less for #Rebels.

SAA skulls shattered/shot in/bet Eyes. this is only work of special units, unlikely any Rebel Org.

#Aleppo Whoever killed those SAA was no Mere Rebel, Pro-Reg cry about Turkish Intervention.

I concur. Whoever attacked those Syrian troops must have had, unlike the usual insurgents or jihadists, some extensive and professional special forces experience.

This is not the first time that Turkey actively intervenes in Syria. Recently released Turkish court documents show that Turkey, on top of logistic help, gave direct artillery fire support to the insurgents in several case.

There are new reports that the U.S. plans to give the insurgents radios and other equipment to call in air strikes especially to the Kurds. But the U.S. has already given such equipment to a few selected Kurdish fighters in Kobani for use against the Islamic State. I doubt very much that these will be given to "moderate rebels" or will be used against the Syrian army.

I also doubt that the U.S. will really train or further equip additional "moderate" anti-Syrian fighters. The biggest lobbyist for such arming was the former U.S ambassador to Syria Robert Ford. He has now changed course and admits that there are no "moderates" who could sensibly be armed:

Ford has accused the rebels of collaborating with the Nusra Front, the al Qaida affiliate in Syria that the U.S. declared a terrorist organization more than two years ago. He says opposition infighting has worsened and he laments the fact that extremist groups now rule in most territories outside the Syrian regime’s control.

Ford said part of the problem was that too many rebels – and their patrons in Turkey and Qatar – insisted that Nusra was a homegrown, anti-Assad force when in fact it was an al Qaida affiliate whose ideology was virtually indistinguishable from the Islamic State’s.
“It becomes impossible to field an effective opposition when no one even agrees who or what is the enemy,” he said.

Ford said the latest U.S. approach of ditching the old rebel model to build a new, handpicked paramilitary to focus on the Islamic State was doomed; Syrian rebels are more concerned with bringing down Assad than with fighting extremists for the West, and there are far too few fighters to take the project seriously.
Ford said the time had come for U.S. officials and their allies to have a serious talk about “boots on the ground,” though he was quick to add that the fighters didn’t need to be American. He said a professional ground force was the only way to wrest Syria from the jihadists.

With Ford's support lost the Syrian opposition lobbyists and their friends in the Obama administration will not be able to get the U.S. support they want.

Ford is right that a professional ground force is needed to "wrest Syria from the jihadists". That ground force already exists. It is the Syrian Arab Army and its allies. But when NATO member and U.S. ally Turkey sends special forces to support the jihadist in ambushing and slaughtering those forces without getting rebuffed from Washington it will take years and lots of bloody slaughters until the jihadists are finally finished.

Posted by b on February 19, 2015 at 12:53 PM | Permalink


Unsourced rumored military movements Germany, Holland ...

LAST NIGHT- Wed Feb 18, 2015:

*Highway closures in Germany- rerouting traffic- massive military Convoy out of Ramstein AF Base (US).

"3:30am the Autobahn in the direction of Mannheim was shut off- it was clear that it was American Vehicles behind the Barricade"

*Highway closing (probably highway 6) from last night definitely was for military purposes.

* Received at 11pm gmt wed night: Latest from Germany- there are also massive flights out of Ramstein- US Air Force Base

* Grafenwoehr (Bavaria) Train Station- the military vehicles are moving also

THIS MORNING- Thurs. Feb 19, 2015:

* 9:40am GMT: "2nd batch of heavy transport planes taking off here" Leeuwarden military airport- Dutch Military.

*1:19pm GMT "3rd batch of heavy transports" - clarifying : C130 Hercules, no identifying marks visible, out of Leeuwarden military airport.

source -

Posted by: Alberto | Feb 19, 2015 12:56:30 PM | 1

@Alberto: US moving troops in the Ukraine ??

Posted by: Willy2 | Feb 19, 2015 1:34:50 PM | 3

I have more up at my place on that attack via Turkey on Syrian forces
including an interesting fact related I believe to the Turkish deep state- which tracks to NATO, stay behind armies- Gladio- multiple coups etc


"Turkish support for the armed groups, as evidenced by the transfer of fighters and military supplies from inside Turkey to Aleppo’s northern countryside, including Caucasian fighters who answer directly to Turkish intelligence.

That's your tie in to "extensive and professional special forces experience"

Re: radio and equipment to moderates
" I doubt very much that these will be given to "moderate rebels" or will be used against the Syrian army"

Well, there are no moderates, so, that's a foregone conclusion but these tools will be used against SAA as the most recent attack already shows us!

'I also doubt that the U.S. will really train or further equip additional "moderate" anti-Syrian fighters."

since there are no moderates, it's obvious the US will not train or further equip moderates. The US and co have all the fighters they need presently to drag this fight on for years and can recruit more thanks to rampant unemployment and the abundance of western backed preachers using mosques as recruiting fronts

NATO/Israel also have Sunni muslim Kurds, Sunni Muslim Arabs (ISIS, AQ, Al Nusra- pick your brand name it doesn't matter?!) , and an entire spectrum of special forces from NATO nations and of course free range mercenaries.

Because ISIS brand NATO merc is still a NATO connected merc

Posted by: Penny | Feb 19, 2015 1:37:00 PM | 4

@3 Occasionally, armies do practice movements without alerting anyone especially the soldiers. If it happened at 6pm local, I would be concerned, but they closed highways over night according to the comment.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Feb 19, 2015 1:43:27 PM | 5

Were these troops those moderate rebels who were trained in Turkey by the US ?

Turkey wants to get rid of the Assad government. This will weaken the position of Turkey's prime minister Erdogan even more. One credible source says that Erdogan's days are numbered and that already another turkish sockpuppet (a Fetullah Gulen supporter ??) is being groomed by the US.

Keep also in mind that:
- Russia wants to export natural gas through Turkey.
- Erdogan wants to buy weapons from non Nato countries.
- Saudi Arabia has started to run Current Account Deficits.

All things combined point to more (political & financial) "unrest" in Turkey in the (near) future. Perhaps when the "rebels" in Syria have been defeated ?

Posted by: Willy2 | Feb 19, 2015 2:00:06 PM | 6

Turkey just concluded a deal to buy an air defense system from China. They may be going rogue. The incomprehensibility of USNATO strategy and the neocon infused decision to rebuff Russia's Syria deal will cost many, many more lives. A war between Turkey and their Islamist allies and Syria will be the glorious culmination of America's war on terra.

Posted by: chuckvw | Feb 19, 2015 2:32:58 PM | 7

@ Alberto no. 1

The ECB and its German muscle invade Greece?

Posted by: sleepy | Feb 19, 2015 2:37:32 PM | 8

I posted the piece re apparent NATO troop/transport aircraft movements. I do not pretend to know the portent of such sudden mobilization. I'm a USN vet and I was involved in several NATO exercises. As I recall they were all held in the months of summer. Something is up?

Posted by: Alberto | Feb 19, 2015 2:51:14 PM | 9

Something like Greece looking Russia-ward?

Posted by: Mina | Feb 19, 2015 3:04:33 PM | 10

Erdogan is a piece of shit

Posted by: PeteCaroll | Feb 19, 2015 3:11:57 PM | 11

Turkish direct military assistance for ISIS/rebels, etc might be completely supported by the US and NATO. Prolonged fighting, especially near the Turkish border, presents no real threat to the rest of NATO and Israel and it will weaken the Syrian army.

But turkish involvement in Syria, if proven and especially if there are Turkish casualties, will weaken Erdogan. There is a pretty high percentage of the Turkish population that hates that guy and a very low percentage that supports his Syria policies.

Posted by: alaric | Feb 19, 2015 3:15:27 PM | 12

thanks b.

thanks also @12 alaric.. sound comments. i continue to wonder what exactly the relationship is between turkey and the usa.. is this the new special slower motion to get rid of assad? or, is it an attempt on the part of the usa to covertly help get rid of erdogan by appealing to what turkey appears to have done here? question is all i have..

Posted by: james | Feb 19, 2015 3:33:21 PM | 13

This Wm. Engdahl piece (pdf) is from 2012 but I found it quite helpful in unrevealing some of the seemingly conflicting elements I find so puzzling about Turkey's utter insistence on toppling Assad.

This Engdahl piece from Sibel Edmonds's website entitled Operation Gladio, Fethullah Gülen & One World Government is also very interesting.

I initially thought the Ergenekon and Susurluk scandals were the Muslim Brotherhood/AKP purging the deep state...but now I think that is not true. Although I am not sure what is.

Posted by: Benu | Feb 19, 2015 3:33:34 PM | 14

Excuse me, I meant to say unraveling, not unrevealing.

Posted by: Benu | Feb 19, 2015 3:34:18 PM | 15

I wonder why whenever the SAA is defeated a foreign influence must be blamed for their failure.

The SAA/Hezbollah offensive in the south also seems to be failing and the weather was blamed there, it must have been 'Foreign Weather'.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Feb 19, 2015 3:42:08 PM | 16

@16 wow.. must be all the talk of regime change coming out of the good ol us of a that has put the idea in people's heads the usa has something to do with it.. couldn't obviously have anything to do with past events in iraq, libya, ukraine - or you name it where-ever else! dumb idea huh? lol..

Posted by: james | Feb 19, 2015 3:49:31 PM | 17

AFP reported a fight in the Turkish parliament that was not i our MSM

Is it me or that sounds like a very straight message to Turkey?

Posted by: Mina | Feb 19, 2015 3:50:04 PM | 18

OT, I wish b would do an analysis of the Ulysses/Cyclops conflict between Greece and the EU which is becoming very interesting.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Feb 19, 2015 3:50:40 PM | 19

Well, maybe. Maybe Turkish special forces have joined in to prevent the encirclement of Aleppo, or maybe not. According to the claims I saw the circle was completed, but like Debaltsevo, it's probably leaky.

Are there any routes tha

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 19, 2015 4:01:00 PM | 20

are there any routes that remain that can feed Aleppo? I have my doubts.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 19, 2015 4:04:26 PM | 21

Alberto @9

There could be so many places where Washington decides to send troops at short notice:


Posted by: blowback | Feb 19, 2015 4:41:39 PM | 22


so many fish in the sea, right ;)

Posted by: Penny | Feb 19, 2015 4:59:11 PM | 23

Alberto@1- perhaps this explains it

According to Reuters, the United States sees an Iraqi military offensive involving 20,000-25,000 troops to retake Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in April-May, a U.N. military official said on Thursday.

Posted by: Nana2007 | Feb 19, 2015 5:40:23 PM | 24

@22 Looks like Mosul.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Feb 19, 2015 5:42:07 PM | 25

#9,22 & 23

As an Amerikan I'm proud to say hell we might be attacking another new country not on the list. If you remember Amerika is about death and refugees, it is what we do best. Sadly, those troops might be headed to Ukraine since the porky clock was cleaned.

Posted by: jo6pac | Feb 19, 2015 6:08:33 PM | 26
ISIS plans to invade Europe through Libya – report

Libya “has a long coast and looks upon the southern Crusader states, which can be reached with ease by even a rudimentary boat,” an Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) propagandist says in the letters seen by Quilliam, according to the Telegraph.

Who? Propagandist!!!

“"We will conquer Rome, by Allah's permission,”


“The Telegraph could not independently confirm his identity, but the online recruiter is believed by analysts to be a great inspirer of troops and is widely-read.“


“The plans Libim reveals revolve around posing as illegal immigrants, to then start an all-out attack on southern Europe by seeding chaos and bloodshed.”

All-out attack on Southern Europe!? With “rudimentary boat”?


“Libim continues to explain how illegal immigration across into Italy is “huge in number” and that “if this was even partially exploited and developed strategically, pandemonium could be wrought in the southern European states and it is even possible that there could be a closure of shipping lines and targeting of Crusader ships and tankers.


It doesn't say IS will attack NATO Southern Command in Naples or bases in Sicily. Well, not even the Red Army at the time had posed such threat to Crusaders.

Of course, all this is followed by CG imagery.

He, he, he...I am really concerned. What is mental state of mind of “civilized” world? Even more I am concerned for Intended Audience.

By the way, here is the state of affair in the Daily Telegraph, top guy is Amerikan, by accident?.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Feb 19, 2015 6:53:21 PM | 27

This is a gem.

“posing as illegal immigrants, to then start an all-out attack on southern Europe.”

one more time: posing as illegal immigrant...

there is photo with caption "Migrants at the Sicilian harbour of Pozzallo". Can this folks “pose as illegal immigrants”?

Posted by: neretva'43 | Feb 19, 2015 6:59:58 PM | 28

@27, 28:

Maybe they need to build a border fence along the Cote d'Azure?

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | Feb 19, 2015 8:25:39 PM | 29

I'm wondering what makes this incident so special? The SAA has been losing dozens of troops every day, on average, and Turkey's fingerprints have been on every such death - however indirectly. Turkey is Syria's neighbor and Erdogan's 'No Problems with Neighbors' mantra is now exposed as a disingenuous PR stunt, intended to conceal his intention to eliminate 'problems' with Syria by eliminating Syria itself. Similarly, the Brazil-Turkey plan to 'help' Iran with it's Nuclear problem should also be seen as disingenuously insincere.
With a friend like (Erdogan's) Turkey, you don't need enemies.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 19, 2015 9:29:44 PM | 30

Alberto @ 1: Thanks for the link. New site for me.

Posted by: ben | Feb 19, 2015 10:06:30 PM | 31

I'm afraid, just another episode in the new brand of capitalism:

Posted by: ben | Feb 19, 2015 10:16:46 PM | 32

Well, plan B is to get involved directly when your proxies get blown away.

No mistake that you hear the ramp up for intervention in Iraq... now that ISIS is about to be defeated, of course its time for the US to jump in... stinks of June, 1944 the US and UK finally deciding to finally open a second front with the Red Army heading swiftly to Berlin.

And then we hear about the "rebels" the US will train on the same day when we see the vague outlines of some sort of peace may finally coming to Syria.

The US wants war, and doesn't give a fig about peace - obviously.


OT, but this ought to turn your stomachs: Tony Blair to advise Serbian government, 16 years after bombing Belgrade
Blair will counsel Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic under a deal thought to be funded by United Arab Emirates

Posted by: guest77 | Feb 19, 2015 10:42:06 PM | 33

@ 33: "The US wants war, and doesn't give a fig about peace - obviously."


Posted by: ben | Feb 19, 2015 11:04:18 PM | 34

If one looks at video footage on Youtube, many Syrian fighters (including sometimes Syrian Arab Army regulars) go on fighting without proper military fatigue especially helmets. This augment the danger of them being killed and injured. Lebanon's Al-Akhbar quoted a Syrian military source saying that the Syrian forces advanced quickly that some units fought till the end before being captured. The source added that the recaptured area by the terrorists is not that big, positions are being fortified, lots of ammunitions were delivered and negotiations will begin to exchange prisoners. The bad weather also played a role in this small setback. The Syrian forces have to use more of their big guns (especially missiles) and make a more concentrated attack from the air on the areas bordering Turkey. As for Erdogan, he must be dealt a lesson one way or the other. The route to Turkey should be closed.

Posted by: Jihad Nasr | Feb 19, 2015 11:17:03 PM | 35

So USA's making a move... will Putin make any moves? The Syrian war has been an absolute bloodbath and Assad nor Hezbollah have thus far been unable to liquidate the rebels, while taking heavy casualties.

ISIL looks like it will collapse; too many fronts opened on it now..
what will come next?

Oh yeah, the news stream from Syria has been continuous trash that seems impossible to get decent information from.
Ukraine war on the other hand has been up2date beyond any war I've ever seen, thanks to the use of youtube journalists on both sides, in addition to embedded reporters

Posted by: PeteCaroll | Feb 20, 2015 12:57:30 AM | 36

3rd week in february,1st week in june,rising tide,full moon

Posted by: mcohen | Feb 20, 2015 1:16:07 AM | 37

They are heading to Irak most probably

While the Eurocrats are justifying their salaries arguing about Grexit or no Grexit, the US has a great opportunity to show off.

Posted by: Mina | Feb 20, 2015 4:36:11 AM | 38


it is not surprising at all. that's nature of Serbian ultra ethno-chauvinist bourgeois. they loved London prior to WWII and Hitler during the war. Milosevic tightly cooperated with the US (he traveled 50 times to US) and cooperation lead to disaster in Yugoslavia. The Serbian Nazi love the Western shit more than domestic gold, they are always in search for the sponsor of their "statehood" like Ukraine today and some others. Same problem has Russia, if there is no Putin Russian oligarchy would dismantle Russia in no time buying mansions and football clubs in London and elsewhere.

Posted by: neretva'43` | Feb 20, 2015 6:21:30 AM | 39


The Kurds have shown no real appetite for adventures outside of their homeland and the Iraqi Army will never be 'ready' to fight. That leaves the Iran led Shia Death Squads who may be loosed on the unarmed civilian population of Mosul with US airpower destroying another city to save it.

It's doubtful that this offensive will happen with the expanding IS attacks in Anbar. It seems to me that retaking Fallujah would be first on the agenda but we hear nothing about that.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Feb 20, 2015 10:56:15 AM | 40

re 40

The Kurds have shown no real appetite for adventures outside of their homeland
I don't know where you get that rubbish from - it must be the US propaganda of the day. The Kurds have spent more than 10 years, since 2003, occupying land which is not theirs. Until last summer, that is. When they got thrown out by ISIS. They've been aggressive and expansive - that's one big reason why the Sunni Arabs went in with ISIS. They'd had enough of Kurdish domination.

But it's true that the US is now trying to play down Kurdish ambitions, in order to make them sound acceptable, as the new American vassals.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 20, 2015 11:36:39 AM | 41


I agree that the Kurds were trying to expand their control over parts of northern Iraq especially the oil rich areas but I was referring to Mosul and other majority Sunni areas where their claims and people were not historic.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Feb 20, 2015 11:44:14 AM | 42

I agree with B that Turkey has been caught aiding the militants on
several ocasions and so has Israel.
Not to mention Jordan, which helps train and infiltrate them into
Syria. Only diff is I have not heard of direct jordanian military
interference, such as have done BY Turkey and Israel.
But in the case of this ambush, turkish help was probably in the way of planning, logistics and possibly artillery support but i do not see evidence for turkish spec ops carrying out the op directly.
Nor is it necessary. There are plenty of well trained and battle
hardened mercs in Syria. Some of the wahabis are amateurs but others are well equiped and trained.
The chechens(caucasians) mentioned in the article could certainly have pulled it off. They, whatever cause they fight for, are fierce fighters.
See them in action in Syria:

As bad as this ambush was i agree with Hoarsewhisperer(30) that it is beign blown out of proportion. The wahabi scum always propagandize and exagerate whatever little tactical victory they score. They have been losing a lot more than winning.
'Hoarsewhisperer', no, the Syrian army is not losing 'dozens' of men everyday. Sometimes, during certain operations it happens, but it is not the norm.
BTW, b, the vid of the sad aftermath of the ambush:

Jihad Nasr[35] wrote:
"If one looks at video footage on Youtube, many Syrian fighters (including sometimes Syrian Arab Army regulars) go on fighting without proper military fatigue especially helmets. This augment the danger of them being killed and injured."

This is true, unfortunately I think Syria cannot afford all the necessary military gear. The Video below shows the advance of the Syrian army backed by the popular committees in Aleppo countryside.

The fighters look pretty similar in terms of gear to the ones ambushed.
They were probably PDC, plus perhaps Baath party militia.

Given the odds stacked up against Syria, its forces are doing A SUPERB JOB.

Posted by: Luca K | Feb 20, 2015 12:51:56 PM | 43

Israel, The Kurds, Jordan, Turkey, KSA and Qatar are like vultures waiting for Syria, Iraq and each other to falter.. Disgusting behavior all around

Posted by: PeteCaroll | Feb 20, 2015 1:01:47 PM | 44

UN Report Reveals How Israel is Coordinating with ISIS Militants Inside Syria

... Snip

21WIRE reported back in December 2014 and again in January 2015, how the State of Israel has consistently provided both material, medical relief and IDF airstrike support to various terrorist and ‘rebel’ insurgents fighting in Syria.

Last month Israel launched its sixth airstrike inside Syria in the last 18 months, which is described as a ‘targeted killing’ against Hezbollah, whom Tel Aviv maintains is backed by their sworn enemy Iran – which leader Benjamin Netanyahu claims, affords Israel the right to kill them at any time, or any place. Back in 2013, the Assad government in Damascus invited Lebanese Hezbollah militia into Syria to help eliminate terrorists in Syria, and now the uncomfortable reality is finally surfacing – that Israel has been picking off Syrian military and Hezbollah targets who are trying to fight-off ISIS, al Qaeda and al Nusra terrorists – which means that Israel is actually helping ISIS.

“The UN report identified what the Syrians label a crossing point of forces between Israel and ISIS, a point of concern brought before the UN Security Council."

... Snip

A new report from the UN reveals that the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) maintained regular contact with members of ISIS since May 2013. The UN identified contact with IDF forces and ISIS soldiers. reports:

“In a new report from the UN, it is revealed that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) were maintaining regular contact with members of the so-called Islamic State since May of 2013. Initial reports from the IDF stated that this was only for medical care for civilians, but that story fell apart when the UN observers identified direct contact between IDF forces and ISIS soldiers, including giving medical care to ISIS fighters. Observations even included the transfer of two crates from the IDF to ISIS forces, the contents of which have not been confirmed at this time. Further the UN report identified what the Syrians label a crossing point of forces between Israel and ISIS, a point of concern brought before the UN Security Council. This report from the UN strengthens the claims by the Syrian regime that Israel is heavily involved in operations within the nation.”


Posted by: crone | Feb 20, 2015 1:43:16 PM | 45

Turkey and ZUSA planning more mayhem for Syria:
February 20, 2015 01:02
"After months of negotiations, the United States and Turkey have agreed on a plan to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels in the battle against Islamic State militants.

As part of the plan, the US will send more than 400 troops to Turkey – a number that includes special operations forces – where Ankara will host the rebels while training is underway. American officials told Reuters that the program is expected to last three years and train up to 5,000 rebels annually.

In addition to Turkey hosting rebels on its soil, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia will also take part. Signed on Thursday, the program could begin as early as March."[...]
Negotiations between the US and Turkey on this issue have been tense, as Ankara has generally insisted that efforts to battle ISIS need to also target Assad’s government in Syria, even suggesting that trained rebels could eventually target Assad.
[...]This plan further raises numerous issues, such as what happens if rebels call-in strikes against Assad’s forces instead of ISIS. Officials told WSJ that they were still wrestling with such a scenario, particularly if the rebels supported by the US become engaged in a fight against Syrian troops..."

What an effing DISGRACE.

Posted by: Luca K | Feb 20, 2015 2:41:34 PM | 46

For Whom the Bell Tolls; Battle for Aleppo Intensifies

In 5 short days, the battle for northern Aleppo has easily exceeded the bloodshed of the previous battles fought in Syria between forces allied to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and jihadist groups loyal to the Al-Qaeda linked “Al-Nusra Front” (Jabhat Al-Nusra).

Syrian army's advances near border rattle Ankara

Posted by: b | Feb 20, 2015 3:22:03 PM | 47

@47 b - thanks for the bottom article.. reading that it amazes me how the bigger picture of the usa's foreign policy of supporting the overthrow of gov't's whether in ukraine or syria never really lets up.. just how much it dovetails with israels determination to mess with iran and etc directly thru syria is an open question, but regardless erdogan seems like a useful idiot at this point to help continue on as we march towards www3 thanks the military experts and advisers who do the work for a political leadership in the west that is devoid of a shred of sanity.

it seems to me politicians have been bought by the highest bidders who have an interest in capitalizing on the war=money equation.. the politicians are only to happy to comply with this.. such democracy! our planet is suffering for it.

us spokesperson jen psaki confirms the usa's unwillingness to adopt a role that is anything other then intentional interference in others countries and affairs. i guess she thinks all the refuges her ''regime'' is creating she when not helping send countless innocent people to their death bed or a life of poverty is A Okay, as long as those military/financial agendas are kept busy making money and imagining the possible spoils of the results of more war. what a pathetic country the usa has become.. ukraine and syria are only the latest examples of the usa's sad drop into irrelevance on the world stage..

Posted by: james | Feb 20, 2015 4:09:49 PM | 48


Repeating Syrian/Iranian propaganda ad-nauseum may convince some easily led people of their validity but I am humored by these repeated pathetic attempts to connect these diametrically opposed forces.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Feb 20, 2015 4:12:20 PM | 49

Repeating Syrian/Iranian propaganda ad-nauseum
Clear evidence of a US-bot. He should be banned. One of the advantages of MoA is that we should not be pestered by bots. Hasbarists have longtime fled. Now we have to face those who think that the US is good without refelection.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 20, 2015 6:28:33 PM | 50

@laguerre.. i tend to agree with you and have addressed wow about this too.. it is hard for me to personally understand how we are being swamped with syrian/iranian propaganda when just the opposite is actually the case.. however, i am sure many of the posters here are leery of anything wow says at this point, with his post @49 just further confirmation of previous statements made..

Posted by: james | Feb 20, 2015 6:32:52 PM | 51

@50&51 - WillfulyObtuseWesterner is one of the biggest ISIS boosters around - and when he's not busy doing that, he's leaving little attacks on Russia, Iran, and China all over MOA like so many mouse droppings.

Anyone who can claim that the Western world hears "Syrian/Iranian propaganda ad-nauseum" obviously has a screw loose and ought to consider taking a quick glance at Google News, where VERY often the stories on Syria and Ukraine are coming not just from the US Mainstream media (which would be bad enough, the lot of stenographers) but straight from Voice of America and Radio Free Europe! Two organizations that can hardly be called "news" in any way, shape, of form.

Posted by: guest77 | Feb 20, 2015 6:45:17 PM | 52

I understand that propaganda from all sources leaves many people confused and over reactive. I would agree with these stories if the actual groups that the US, Israel, the KSA, Jordan and others are assisting were listed but they are rarely mentioned. Most of us would probably agree that the FSA and a number of the many other rebel groups are proxies for other powers to differing degrees but this propaganda is aimed at the most unlikely group to join that cabal.

I don't have to support the Islamic State to spot propaganda directed at them for political reasons.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Feb 20, 2015 7:12:24 PM | 53

@53 wow.. bullshit.

read the bottom link @ 47 b's post... i suppose you think it is propaganda that iran and syria are putting out, lol. let me quote from it here :

"Following the offensive, many wondered what had happened to the train-and-equip program for the Syrian opposition. Tanju Bilgic, spokesman for Turkey’s Foreign Ministry, said Feb. 17 that the negotiations with the United States to train the Free Syrian Army (FSA) had concluded, and that an agreement on technical details would soon be signed and a plan implemented in March. US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki further said that an agreement on principles had been reached and would be implemented in March."

and further into the article "About 400 US military experts will train 5,400 fighters in programs lasting 8-12 months in camps in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. The Turkey leg of the program will take place in Kirsehir, where 2,000 Syrian opposition elements will be trained."

Posted by: james | Feb 20, 2015 8:49:50 PM | 54


Read the third sentence in my comment @53 and you will see I agree with this report about the FSA but it specifically states that al Nusra will not be part of this new militia. This report has nothing to do with Iran or Israel or the Islamic State who get their supplies from elsewhere not from Turkey.

Al Monitor is usually a great source for accurate information but did you know it is sponsored and directed by the Moonies and USAID?

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Feb 20, 2015 9:44:16 PM | 55

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Feb 20, 2015 7:12:24 PM | 53


Posted by: brian | Feb 20, 2015 11:38:24 PM | 56

'“"We will conquer Rome, by Allah's permission,”

the more i seen this sort of language, the more suspicious i get!

since when has any muslim received from their god allah to do anything? it sounds nice and may suck in stupid muslim cannon fodder....the idea someone has been chattiing with allahc

as for conquering rome..
there wont be any muslim invasion of europe...there wouldnt be of syria but it fulfils a USrael objective and is aided by turkey and jordan...How do ISIS plan to floor italy with jihadis?

Posted by: brian | Feb 20, 2015 11:48:46 PM | 57


You don't seem to understand rhetoric and PsyOps or the demographics of Italy. There are already about a million Muslims in Italy and the threat of invading Rome was a response to the Italian call to invade Libya to attack the IS aligned groups there. Italy has invaded Libya before so there is also old grudges involved here.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Feb 21, 2015 12:31:17 AM | 58

@55 wow quote "Al Monitor is usually a great source for accurate information but did you know it is sponsored and directed by the Moonies and USAID?"

what do you have to substantiate that? thanks..

Posted by: james | Feb 21, 2015 12:31:29 AM | 59


Too late tonight to look it up but if you do you will find their board of directors includes a representative of the Washington Times and an ex-head of USAID. I think Al Monitor was one of the first 'independent media' platforms established by western interests in the ME.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Feb 21, 2015 1:39:39 AM | 60

@60 wow - not that wikipedia is the best site to rely on, but it gives an overview which also leads to a few other links that one can examine.. you might be right about an ex usaid - but i can't tell.. what is your reference for directed by moonies, now that is now an ex-head of usaid, as opposed to 'directed by usaid'?
quick link to wiki on al monitor for anyone else interested..

Posted by: james | Feb 21, 2015 2:17:36 AM | 61

Wesley Clark on IS (Fox News)

You have to understand that states created this and they are allies

b. I don't think you get the cynicism of the "boots on the ground".

Posted by: somebody | Feb 21, 2015 5:58:20 AM | 62


The Washington Times is Reverend Moon's rag and USAID just as its counterpart the CIA allows no one to actually leave the Company.

The real interesting aspect of these connections to Al Monitor is that they produce such excellent reporting with only occasional heavy spin or obvious bias.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Feb 21, 2015 10:25:47 AM | 63

today banner headline in NYT, NGOs at work

HD Children, Caged for Effect, to Mimic Imagery of ISIS
BY By ANNE BARNARD; Mohammad Ghannam contributed reporting.
WC 1212 words
PD 21 February 2015
SN The New York Times

BEIRUT, Lebanon -- The killings have been both deliberately lurid and strangely intimate. Designed for broadcast, they have helped the Islamic State militant group build a brand of violence that shocks with its extreme brutality, yet feels as close to viewers as the family images on their smartphones.

Broadcast specifically to frighten and manipulate, the Islamic State's flamboyant violence consumes the world's attention while more familiar threats, like the Syrian government's barrel bombs, kill far more but rarely provoke global outrage.

A few human rights advocates and antigovernment activists in Syria are creating shocking if nonviolent images and videos -- even herding children in orange jumpsuits into a cage -- to call attention to the wider scope of violence. So far, though, their voices have hardly been heard.

The Islamic State's campaign of high-profile killings is not war at a remove, with the mechanized distance of drone strikes or carpet bombing. It is one-on-one slaughter with Hollywood production values, seeking to maximize emotional impact and propaganda value.

Cameras zoom in as captors lay hands on their captives -- Western reporters, a Jordanian pilot, Egyptian Christian laborers. In the group's latest video, black-clad men lead the Egyptians almost gently, one by one, down a sunset-tinged beach, then saw off their heads until the waves turn red.

For many in the Middle East who obsessively share the latest images, the Islamic State's exhibitionist brutality is the apotheosis of several years of carnage gone viral. The group's bloody imagery, flooding social media already widely used to chronicle conflict, makes violence seem ubiquitous, even mesmerizing, and spurs a sensory overload that can both provoke feelings and numb them.

''It's like action movies,'' said Ahmad, 39, an employee of the Damascus Opera House in the Syrian capital, who asked to be identified by only his first name for his safety. Islamic State violence is stylized, as if in a Quentin Tarantino film, he said, in a macabre bid ''to win the prestige of horror.''

The killings have been answered quickly with airstrikes -- from the United States, Jordan and, on Monday, from Egypt, which said it struck in Libya, where the Egyptian Copts were killed.

While the Islamic State's provocations draw pronounced reactions, however, the less-choreographed slaughter that has killed, for instance, more than 200,000 Syrians fades to the background. Those bearing the brunt of the Syrian war's spillover across the region, and humanitarian workers trying to assist, frequently express anguish that government bombings, the displacement of more than a third of the population and the gutting of the health care system do not bring similar attention -- let alone dramatic action.

Of course, that is partly a matter of realpolitik. While Western governments denounce Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, for attacks on civilians, they do not view him as a threat on the order of the Islamic State, which is encouraging followers to launch attacks in the West.

And that difference in Western perception of the two threats exists partly because shock videos work. Even in Saudi Arabia, where beheadings are the state's method of capital punishment, they are not broadcast. When images of a recent execution leaked, they created a scandal.

But the perception gap is also because the shelling of cities in Syria has become almost numbingly normal. It is as if the value of trauma and shock has undergone a hyperinflation that neuters all but the most exaggerated images of violence.

That, in turn, has pushed human rights advocates and activists to search for eye-grabbing images of their own.

Baraa Abdulrahman, an antigovernment activist in the Damascus suburb of Douma, desperate to direct the world's attention to government airstrikes that were killing scores of people, set up a scene that echoed the Islamic State video in which the caged Jordanian pilot, in an orange jumpsuit, was burned alive.

He ordered an iron cage from a blacksmith and placed it against a backdrop of collapsed buildings, and then filled it with a gaggle of neighborhood children dressed in orange. As the camera rolled, he waved a burning torch, asking why the world responded to the killing of the pilot but not to the deaths of children in Douma. Some of the children in the cage, he admitted, were frightened and cried.

''I'm very sorry to get to this point, to use the kids,'' said Mr. Abdulrahman, who uses a nom de guerre for security. ''But this is the fact. Our kids are getting killed every day, every moment, getting under the wreckage.''

Yet images of mangled children no longer get traction, he said. ''These sights, people now are used to them.''

Antigovernment activists are not alone in trying to compete with the war's most lurid imagery. The Syrian government has made much of a video of an insurgent ripping the organs from a slain soldier and taking a bite.

Humanitarian organizations are also seeing the power of startling videos. A group training volunteer civil defense workers has circulated a video of what it calls ''the miracle baby,'' an infant named Mohammad who is seen being pulled from the rubble of an airstrike. Opposition groups have passed around videos from the captured cellphones of pro-government fighters and soldiers who have apparently filmed their own cruelty, like one of a militiaman stabbing an old man in the head.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees widely circulated images of triplets born in a snowstorm in a refugee camp, only to lose their mother to complications from childbirth.

''There is personal tragedy of mammoth proportions happening every day by the thousands in individual lives that never get picked up by a media camera,'' said Ninette Kelley, the director of the refugee agency in Lebanon, where more than one million Syrians have fled.

''Refugees whose lives have been irrevocably damaged, people who die from cancers that but for the crisis would have been treated in Syria, these wounds are very real but not always as visible.''

A few have even been tempted to fictionalize. Last year, for instance, a viral video of a Syrian boy saving a girl from sniper fire turned out to have been staged by a Norwegian film crew.

But while some groups want to publicize suffering in order to stop it, analysts said perpetrators like the Islamic State seek to magnify the suffering by inflicting it twice -- first on the victim and then on the viewer.

''One of the things about traumatic imagery is that it can numb us and render us passive and helpless,'' said Gavin Rees, the Europe director for the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, which focuses on the issues of reporting on violence. ''That is part of the gain for those who are producing these videos: They want to inspire fear and helplessness.''

Children were herded into a cage in Douma, near Damascus, evoking an Islamic State video, to draw attention to violence in Syria. (A1); Children in a cage during a protest against forces loyal to Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad. (PHOTOGRAPHS BY BASSAM KHABIEH/REUTERS) (A9)

Posted by: Cu Chulainn | Feb 21, 2015 11:24:49 AM | 64

@63 wow. al monitor was started by a guy born in syria.. could it be that his leadership and upbringing (which you can read about here ) has something to do with the quality of the website more then some member of the board with a connection to the washington times? fwiw here is a page on john solomon the board member presently listed as being 'connected' with the washington times. he worked for a minimum of 18 years with AP as well - could be longer, but the link source watch isn't up to date.

if your quote @59 is any indication of how you present information as fact, you are doing a poor job of representing yourself here. "Al Monitor is usually a great source for accurate information but did you know it is sponsored and directed by the Moonies and USAID?" and it says nothing of your original comment about all the propaganda coming from iran/syria either..

you need to be able to distinguish between facts and conjecture, something that you haven't been able to convey in our exchange on this thread.. thanks for motivating me to take a closer look on the ownership and origins of al monitor.

Posted by: james | Feb 21, 2015 12:43:59 PM | 65

Douma - these must be the moderate secular rebels: The Islam Army, who claims they are hitting "regime targets" but then are criticized by even opposition supporters for indiscriminately killing civilians in Damascus. Or Ahrar al-Sham, another Islamist militia who is busy attacking civilian areas in the north west of the country.

This is a war and everyone knows war is a terrible thing - then why doesn't the USA search for peace instead of aligning itself with one side? Instead of sending more arms into the region? Instead of allowing it's allies to stoke the flames? Then to report without a hint of irony that such men are turning their own children into props so that they can cover up for the fact that they are also attacking civilian areas of their opponents? And like Israel/Palestine, we're supposed to believe not that this is a vicious war in which no side is right and must be stopped - but that one side "started it" and one side is to blame.

The US doesn't care about peace. It wants to win its objectives, obviously, no matter how many are killed. So they really should just admit it, instead of making hypocrites of themselves. Just admit that their allies in this war are radical Islamists who also attack civilians:

The Islam Army, a powerful militia based in Douma and the eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus, has periodically stepped up rocket and mortar fire targeting what it says are regime targets in the capital.

Its leader Zahran Alloush has come in for criticism recently by some opposition supporters who argue that causing civilian casualties in Damascus has no military or political benefit for the rebel cause, but only harms it.

In the wake of recent regime airstrikes on Douma and the Ghouta suburbs, Alloush has said that he would not issue any further warnings of imminent rebel barrages to residents of Damascus.

His Islam Army militia Saturday carried out a commando raid in the Wafidin refugee camp area of the eastern Ghouta suburbs.

The group claimed that its fighters killed 16 regime troops from the elite Republican Guard and managed to seize the corpses of some of the fatalities, who included officers.

The Observatory also reported the incident, saying 11 regime troops were killed along with an unspecified number of rebel fighters.

Militias other than the Islam Army have claimed they will step up the targeting of regime-held areas and on Sunday, air raid sirens sounded in Damascus as a mortar bomb targeted the “Mezzeh 86” loyalist neighborhood in the western part of the capital, according to a Facebook page dedicated to the security situation.

It said the mortar bomb failed to explode, however.

The Observatory also reported the attack, adding that information about casualties was unavailable.

Also to avenge the Douma airstrikes, the powerful Ahrar al-Sham Islamist militia said it targeted Qardaha, the hometown of Syrian President Bashar Assad, with Grad rockets on Saturday.

The Observatory reported the attack but said it injured no one, as the rockets struck a wooded area on the town’s outskirts.

Rebel-fired mortar bombs and rockets also struck near the city of Latakia, a regime stronghold, Sunday, multiple sources said, but no fatalities were reported.

Funny - the Observatory seems to only be able to report casualties from the rebel side. Or maybe they're just really unlucky when they blow off salvos of Grad rockets into heavily populated areas.

Not that any of it is right but here is the problem: instead of seeking some peace for Syria, the United States continues with arming its proxies all while crying crocodile tears about "the children".

As for this whole concept that "we never see your media when our children are killed" a Google news search for "barrel bombs" shows page after page after page of articles devoted to such stories. There is no dearth of reporting from the side of the Syrian rebels - though there is certainly a lack of reporting on the attacks on Damascus. This is not being reported as it should be - as a war in which people are dying on all sides. It is being reported in a two-faced fashion, just like the conflicts all over the globe that the US is involved in.

Posted by: guest77 | Feb 21, 2015 3:32:05 PM | 66

That second paragraph should be: "Then to report their propaganda displays without a hint of irony, even when such men are turning their own children into props so that they can cover up for the fact that they are also attacking civilian areas of their opponents?"

Posted by: guest77 | Feb 21, 2015 3:34:46 PM | 67

I would also revise this: "And like Israel/Palestine, we're supposed to believe not that this is a vicious war in which no side is right and must be stopped - but that one side "started it" and one side is to blame."

There's a clear difference in the sides of the side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I was referring more to the way the media always seems to point to some attack by the Palestinians as the "starting point" of the latest waves of violence, skipping over whatever Israeli outrage is was a response to.

Posted by: guest77 | Feb 21, 2015 3:37:31 PM | 68

@66 guest77 quote

"The US doesn't care about peace."

that certainly is the conclusion most people would come to based on most all of the usa's past actions for 50 odd years.. it is all about power - trying to get more, or hold on to what they have.. that is what one would have to conclude as their main objective.. if they can package under the guise of 'peace' are some are stupid enough to take that bait, well - i don't think many are these days..

Posted by: james | Feb 21, 2015 4:39:11 PM | 69


I should have looked deeper after I identified the Board Of Directors, which includes the Rand Corporation, and looked at Daniels more closely for things truly get strange when he is examined. Syrian born Texas oilman and descendent of one of the founders of the Ba'ath Party.

With the list of supporters and directors of this Washington DC based news blog isn't it strange that he is a strong supporter of the Assad regime? I suppose that the apparent monolithic anti-Assad establishment in the US is not so united.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Feb 21, 2015 9:07:20 PM | 70

@70 wow.. it (al monitor under daniels) is more like a voice in the wilderness that quickly gets labelled as syrian/iranian propaganda, as opposed to anything else!

Posted by: james | Feb 22, 2015 2:52:55 AM | 71

Reading the quote that b gives about "Caucasian fighters who answer directly to Turkish intelligence" with the following very informative piece by a Czech(?) blogger ("Observer") that appeared on Saker's website:,
that makes much of Erdogan's opening to Russia and China, I concluded that the ambush must be a rogue NATO operation to undermine Erdogan.

My guess is now supported by this news item from the New York Times:
The Turks, under Erdogan's close associate prime minister Davotoglu, have withdrawn the body of the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman empire, and the elite soldiers guarding it, from what was hitherto a patch of Turkish sovereignty inside Syria. This island was engineered by the French as a future trouble-spot, and Erdogan gave every indication of intending to so use it. Now that it is abandoned, a potential source of trouble for the Syrian people has been neutralised.

So, despite the large Hezbollah and SAA losses, at the end of the day, the Empire is not looking like a big winner. It looks like Turkey is casting its lot with Eurasia.

Posted by: sarz | Feb 22, 2015 6:11:31 AM | 72

Posted by: sarz | Feb 22, 2015 6:11:31 AM | 72


This might explain why.

Economist calls for an independent Kurdistan

Posted by: somebody | Feb 22, 2015 7:02:10 AM | 73

@72 sarz, thanks.. your top link no longer opens or exists..

Posted by: james | Feb 22, 2015 12:22:06 PM | 74

@74. There is a comma at the end of the URL that should be removed.

Posted by: sarz | Feb 23, 2015 11:17:14 AM | 75

Way out West is Out of his mind, he is a sad and pathetic tool. I've been tuning into your increasing mierda everytime you've been diverging into your insanity mode. Enough with your basura, it's offensive not only to the smell but of the intelligence as well. If you want to keep spewing your sewage go somewhere else, where Newt Gingrich or Rush Limbaugh hold sway. You've outted yourself and your Homo inferior tendencies are exposed for what they are fool.
Demon be gone, zafa, zafa!!!!

Posted by: Fernando | Feb 23, 2015 11:46:59 AM | 76

Poor Fernando, starting this week with shameful name-calling and homophobia. Are you still in the closet and need to appear rough when trying to make love in your crude way?

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Feb 23, 2015 12:27:31 PM | 77

WOW, wow, wow.....If the shoe fits, wear it. You mentally deficient excuse of a troll. I make no inference to sexual preference to when I mention Homo inferior. I am pointing out the binomial nonmenclature, i.e. SCIENTIFIC NAME of your level of evolution.
I a Homo Sapien (maybe a homosexual, maybe not....wouldn't you like to know WOW), I at least would have classified you as a Homo Inferior, as I previously wrote pendejo.
You are clearly regressing to a more brutish, clumsy and ignorant NEANDERTHAL level of DEVOLUTIONn or maybe you are in a state of arrested development parroting the policy line of your masters you slave. Wow, wow, wow...You are not only WAY OUT WEST, you are increasingly WAY OF THE FARM you little filthy hasbara pig.
If all you can understand is me calling you homosexual or some other stupid and silly label....i.e. racist, xenophobe... then you are clearly not even mentally worthy of a sparring match of the minds with me or any one of the other fine minds that post here. Go and play in the sandbox with another one of your cohorts....Like whatsis name?....Oh yes.... Somebody.

You are on a perpetual TIMEOUT until I get bored and wish to amuse myself with my goldfish.
Silence child....Wow, wow, wow.....

Posted by: Fernando | Feb 24, 2015 11:34:54 AM | 78

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