Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 13, 2017

Syria Summary - Will The Trump-Putin Agreement Hold?

The conflict between the U.S. and Russia over Syria seems to have calmed down after the recent G-20 meeting between Putin and Trump. Some kind of agreement was made but neither its scope nor its bindingness is known. One common current aim is the defeat of ISIS.

Source: Fabrice Balanche/WINEP - bigger

At the meeting between the Presidents Trump and Putin in Hamburg a temporary truce was agreed for the south-west area of Syria. The Syrian government (violet) holds the city of Deraa while various foreign sponsored insurgent groups (green), including al-Qaeda and ISIS, occupy the borders towards Israel and Jordan. There had been some serious fighting after recent al-Qaeda attacks on Baath city neat the Golan. During these the Israeli airforce had multiple times supported the al-Qaeda groups with attacks on the Syrian army.

Under the truce agreement the Russian side guarantees that the Syrian government and its allies stop fighting while the U.S. guarantees that Israel, the various FSA groups, al-Qaeda and ISIS stay quiet. The truce has now held for several days. There were no spoilers. The U.S. seems to have strong influence with ALL those entities.

East of the Deraa area in the governate of Sweida the Syrian army has continued operations against U.S. supported Free Syrian Army groups. Within a few days it has taken a lot of ground against little resistance including a deserted U.S. base that was not publicly known. It is possible that a secret part of the Deraa truce agreement allows for the Syrian army to liberate the whole area next to the Jordan border towards the east up to the U.S. held border crossing at al-Tanf.

The U.S. base in Tanf had become nonviable after the Syrian army had taken all ground north of it and Iraqi militia had blocked it from the Iraqi side. The U.S. had trained some Syrian mercenaries at Tanf and had planned to march those north towards Deir Ezzor. As that route is now blocked some of the trained mercenaries were recently transferred by air to Shadadi base in north-east Syria where they will have to fight under Kurdish command. Others have refused to move north. Jaysh Maghawir al-Thawra, previously called the New Syrian Army, is mostly made up of local men who probably do not want to leave their nearby families and do not want to come under Kurdish leadership. The U.S. should send them home and leave the area.

Today a new two-pronged move against the ISIS siege on Deir Ezzor was started. Syrian army forces and its allies moved east from their Palmyra positions and south-east from their positions south of Raqqa. An additional move against Deir Ezzor may come from the Syrian forces further south-east near the Iraqi border. The Iraq air force has recently flown attacks against ISIS position in the Deir Ezzor areas. This was done in agreement with the Syrian government. That may be a sign that Iraqi forces will join the fight to relief the city with an additional move south-west from their positions near Tal Afar. The U.S. military has for now given up its dream of assaulting and occupying Deir Ezzor with its proxy forces.

The west and north west of Syria have been relatively quiet. A rumored imminent Turkish attack on Kurdish held areas has not happened. The mostly al-Qaeda held areas in Idleb governate are still unruly. Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Turkmen, Uighurs, Kurds, local Free Syrian Army gangs all have their little fiefdoms in the area. Assassinations and attacks on each other are daily occurrences. There is no reason for the Syrian government to intervene in that melee.

The agreement between Trump and Putin over Syria might be more wide ranging than is publicly known. For now it seems that the parties have agreed on areas of influences with the U.S. for now; occupying the north-east currently under control of its YPG proxies. It is building more bases there with the total number now being eight or nine. At least three of these have their own airstrips. It is asking Congress to legalize further base building. It is obvious that the U.S. military plans to stay in the area even after ISIS is defeated.

But the Kurds in Syria are only a minority in almost all areas they currently control. They are not united and the YPG, the only U.S. partner, is a radical anarcho-marxist group that has no legitimacy but force. The area is landlocked and all its neighbors are against Kurdish autonomy.

The U.S. effort to impose itself on the area is doomed. The use of the Kurds as a Trojan horse is unlikely to succeed. The Defense Department, it seems, has not yet accepted that fact. It still may try to sabotage whatever Trump and Putin have agreed upon.

Posted by b on July 13, 2017 at 02:09 PM | Permalink

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h | Jul 14, 2017 1:04:28 PM | 70

Thanks for the Cohen link; no surprises there; typical brain dead Russophobes and as Cohen said; he's the outlier there...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jul 15, 2017 11:54:17 PM | 101

Mina | Jul 16, 2017 3:54:08 AM | 102

I have read that Qatar backs Ahrar al-Sham, and KSA backs AQ (HTS).
Anything in this?

Posted by: Peter AU | Jul 16, 2017 4:37:00 AM | 103

One group in the deescalation zone deal and the other is not?

Turkish supported groups should be in. They will also be the Qatari ones.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 16, 2017 5:01:40 AM | 104

plus 103/104

Press TV description of the fight.

According to them Ahrar al-Sham is backed by Turkey, Saudi and Qatar and AQ(HTS) is beyond the pale.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 16, 2017 8:11:21 AM | 105


I'm not sure if you got his point or if I'm not getting yours.

Qatari-government funded polls, in the first year of fighting, found a slight majority supported the Syrian President on principle, not just his right to be part of a transitional government (a larger majority might have supported that, but it wasn't surveyed).

If anyone in the U.S. State Department knew this, why would they be so keen on immediate elections (when at the same time, independent Turkish polling groups found the overwhelming majority of all Syrian groups opposed, on principle, armed violence against Syrian police and army units, which was consistent with all major Syrian organizations resuming to respect the Damascus Declaration, minus the Muslim Brotherhood, then calling itself the Syrian National Council, which represented roughly one-tenth of Syrian society)?

NATO polls in the third year of fighting found more than two-thirds of Syrians (including millions of secular Sunnis) supported the Syrian President resuming office.

The majority of Sunnis living in the major cities of western Syria haven't left and the majority of Sunnis living in the surrounding rural districts have largely moved into the cities, and a significant minority has left the entire country to the borders of Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan (according to U.N. surveys, if I remember correctly), revealing (at least) an equal opposition to the secular government and the 'Sunni rebels' among the refugee populations.

There are millions of secular Sunnis choosing to live under the secular government. Millions either tacitly or actively support the ideology and infrastructure of Ba'athism, not just the charismatic personality of the Syrian President.

The scale of autonomy given to Kurds or non-secular (actively fundamentalist) Sunnis wouldn't be all that large, given their (ethnic in the former; political in the latter) minority status in most areas where they occupy (most of which were taken by militia group force, not popular working class mobilization).

Are you saying this 'fair elections' policy was sufficient in the broader aim of overthrowing the government? It's obvious it wasn't. Millions of secular Sunnis participating in the constitutional referendum (in the second year of fighting) and internationally monitored elections (two years later) say otherwise. Military aggression was (and is) the only option for the United States.

Posted by: anonymous | Jul 16, 2017 9:28:41 AM | 106

God bless Syria Photos of Aleppo Rising: Swimsuits, concerts and rebuilding in first jihadi-free summer

Posted by: ProPeace | Jul 16, 2017 11:40:36 PM | 107

b questioned, “Will The Trump-Putin Agreement hold?”

Under the truce agreement the Russian side guarantees that the Syrian government and its allies stop fighting while the U.S. guarantees that Israel, the various FSA groups, al-Qaeda and ISIS stay quiet.

(my emphasis in quote)

We have the answer – it’s what we at MoA all knew, Israel supports terrorists. Birds of a certain (type of) feather flies in formation together:

U.S.A Capital – Tel-Aviv – HAARETZ reports the big Boss speaks

Netanyahu: Israel Opposes Cease-fire Deal Reached by U.S. and Russia in Southern Syria

Truce deal 'very bad,' senior official says ■ Iran said planning to send substantial military forces to Syria, establish air force, navy bases there ■ Macron: France ready to address Hezbollah threat to Israel

PARIS - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters after his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday that Israel opposes the cease-fire agreement in southern Syria that the United States and Russia reached because it perpetuates the Iranian presence in the country.
The prime minister noted that in his meeting with Macron, he made it clear to the French president that Israel was totally opposed to the cease-fire plan.[.]

By openly voicing his opposition to one of the most significant moves the United States and Russia have made in Syria in recent months, Netanyahu made public a major disagreement between Israel and the two great powers that had until now been kept under wraps and expressed only through quiet diplomatic channels.[.]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Time to put pencil to paper draw that little thingy. NOTE to Israel.Try as you might Golan Heights will return to Syria.

Posted by: likklemore | Jul 17, 2017 9:12:49 AM | 108

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