Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 07, 2016

Aleppo (Again) Turns Into Focal Point Of The War On Syria

On Thursday I judged that the U.S. supported al-Qaeda attack in southwest Aleppo was failing.

Despite the failure of their main thrust, al-Qaeda and its allies launched a third phase attack towards Ramouseh district a few hundred meters further north. A tactical mistake as the attackers failed to build a decisive Schwerpunkt. ... Local fighting still continues on the front lines but the government positions seem secured and the attacking force is slowly getting ground down.

That judgement was premature.


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The Jihadis retreated after their first three attacks but renewed their efforts with fresh troops on the next day. This time they concentrated on one focal point. Another frontal assault throughout Friday failed, but a fifth major strike followed in the darkness of Friday night. A total of five vehicle borne suicide bombs broke the defense line of the Syrian government forces and Jihadi forces stormed into the wide area of the Artillery Academy. The compound is a hard to observe mixture of small open fields, garages, office and quarter buildings. The sparsely manned defense lines were overwhelmed or circumvented. By Saturday night most of the academy was in the hand of the Jihadis. A small corridor to the Jihadi held east-Aleppo was opened but is not secured.


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The Syrian government forces are bringing up reserves and additional forces. A counterattack is likely to follow soon. The battle for Aleppo is now the strategic Schwerpunkt, the focal point of the fight for north-Syria if not of the whole war.

According to earlier reports by the Guardian journalist Chulov, Vice News and Dutch TV, east-Aleppo is essentially empty. The population has long fled to government held areas. "Spookstad",  ghost-town, is the title of the Dutch TV documentary from there. "Western" media now laud the Islamists for lifting the siege the Syrian government held over the area. But the new Jihaid corridor in south-west Aleppo is cutting off 1.5 million people in government held west-Aleppo. Now these are under siege with the besieging forces having promised to slaughter many of them. This is somewhat recurrence of the situation in 2013 when west-Aleppo, to little attention of the media, was also cut off from all resupplies by "moderate rebel" forces.

The "western" think-tank and media fanboys of al-Qaeda are celebrating the breaking the siege of east-Aleppo while a much bigger siege is created against a much larger population. Their cheer-leading for al-Qaeda is literarely indistinguishable from al-Qaeda's own propaganda.

The Russian air force was heavily engaged, but not very visible in the defense of the Artillery Academy. Its main focus are the supply lines of the Jihadists. But efforts in the logistic depth of the theater always take some time to show significant effects on the front lines. What was regrettably missing was direct helicopter support for the defenders. Russia has a number of excellent front line helicopters in Syria. But there was arguably reason not to use them. Last Monday a Russian helicopter was shot down some 40 kilometers south of Aleppo and all crew and passengers were killed. The Russians believe that the helicopter was taken down my a man portable air defense missile (MANPAD) delivered to Jihadis either by or with the knowledge of the U.S. They fear that the attackers of Aleppo have a significant number of these weapons.

The breaking of a corridor towards east-Aleppo was announced as only the first part of a plan to conquer and occupy all of Aleppo. More than 5,000 attackers took part in the first phase. There are rumors - unconfirmed - that an additional 10,000 attackers have been activated and are on the march towards the city.

The whole attack on Aleppo was planned since at least April. U.S. Secretary of State Kerry prevented Russian reactions against the preparations and build up by holding out a possible cessation of hostilities and a political solution of the conflict. At the same time the U.S. and its allies delivered new weapons and equipment to al-Qaeda in Syria and its aligned forces. Videos from the Jihadi front lines show every fighter in well kept uniforms and armored vests with plenty of weapons and ammunition available.

The current attack on Aleppo is only one part of a larger U.S. plan to bring Syria (as well as Russia and Iran) to its knees. We do not yet know all the plan's phases, parameters and aims. We also do not know the responses the other side has prepared to counter them. All observers (including me) should keep that in mind when judging the day-to-day changes of the situation.

Posted by b on August 7, 2016 at 7:58 UTC | Permalink

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Good summary on what it is about by Gulf News from July 31

There will be civilians left in East Aleppo - some people just do not have what it takes to flee - and some are loath to leave helpless relatives behind. And there are reports that Jihadis forced people to stay.

From my armchair, the aim of Jihadis to "break the siege" would be to get out of Aleppo, not in. As of now, Russia bombs the "freed corridor".

Posted by: somebody | Aug 7 2016 8:33 utc | 1

The war criminal western media can't help but propagandise their own crimes. And a day or two after they were "shocked" ( shocked that it was actually revealed ) of their governments proxies terrorists.

It's that's exactly when Putin claimed his engagement of ( Wests ) terrorist proxies would take four months, was ludicrous. The fanbots that chanted that idiocy never gave amounts on the ground troops would be supplied/ available enable a four month victory. Let alone the amount of AIR to ground engagement. That's why it was stupid to say from day one, and even worse for Putin to withdraw some air support because of his PR bullshit 4 month sham.Yes, I cannot get over it. And never will. Because it's a lesson never to be forgotten.

And to actually invite the evil US Empire into Syria is one of the stupidest negligent things I've seen when "resisting" the evil US Empire.

I'm not gonna make any set predictions overall, but it's very clear now to me that if a wasn't for Russian military intervention just think about how fucked Syria would be now.
Oh I forgot Hillary might be still coming.

Could someone please tell me is there more Russian airport at its maximum from about 4 months ago then there is now ?

Posted by: tom | Aug 7 2016 8:53 utc | 2

This is the August assault - so timed because of alittle thing called the Olympics. It's the Olympic offensive and it must be dealt with offensively and decisively.

Frankly, the SAA, Iran, Hezbollah & Russia must have fully expected this given the statements of Kerry over previous months and also the fact something - somewhere - was certain to happen during the Olympics - just look at 2014 & 2008 for examples!

Posted by: Julian | Aug 7 2016 8:58 utc | 3

Military Success in Syria Gives Putin Upper Hand in U.S. Proxy War

The New York Times

By MARK MAZZETTI, ANNE BARNARD and ERIC SCHMITT

But then the Russians arrived, bludgeoning C.I.A.-backed rebel forces with an air campaign that has sent them into retreat. And now rebel commanders, clinging to besieged neighborhoods in the divided city of Aleppo, say their shipments of C.I.A.-provided antitank missiles are drying up.
~~~
For the first time since Afghanistan in the 1980s, the Russian military for the past year has been in direct combat with rebel forces trained and supplied by the C.I.A. The American-supplied Afghan fighters prevailed during that Cold War conflict. But this time the outcome — thus far — has been different.

“Russia has won the proxy war, at least for now,” said Michael Kofman, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington.

Russia’s battlefield successes in Syria have given Moscow, isolated by the West after its annexation of Crimea and other incursions into Ukraine, new leverage in decisions about the future of the Middle East.

Posted by: okie farmer | Aug 7 2016 9:09 utc | 4

Posted by: okie farmer | Aug 7, 2016 5:09:12 AM | 4

The map is interesting in that article for what the NYT/the US consider "CIA supported rebel" area and enemy/ISIS area.

The whole concept of "CIA supported" versus "US supported" is mind-boggling.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 7 2016 9:16 utc | 5

from the link above: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/07/world/middleeast/military-syria-putin-us-proxy-war.html
Some of the rebel groups boasted at the time that powerful TOW antitank missiles provided by American and Saudi intelligence operatives were a key to their success. For several years, the C.I.A. has joined with the spy services of several Arab nations to arm and train the rebels at bases in Jordan and Qatar, with the Saudis bankrolling much of the operation.

A C.I.A. spokesman declined to comment about any American assistance to Syrian rebels.

But Lt. Col. Fares al-Bayyoush, a former aviation engineer who heads the rebel group Fursan al-Haq, said during an interview in May 2015 that his group would receive new shipments of the antitank weapons as soon as the missiles were used.

“We ask for ammunition and missiles, and we get more than we ask for,” he said.

Yet the advance also created problems for the fractious assortment of rebel groups, as it allowed the Nusra Front to gain control over more areas of northern Syria. The Obama administration has officially forbidden any Nusra fighters to receive weapons or training. But the group has at times shown greater prowess against the Syrian government forces than the C.I.A.’s proxies.

Moreover, they have shown that they can and will destroy or sideline C.I.A.-backed rebels who do not agree to battlefield alliances. Moscow cited the battlefield successes of the Nusra Front to justify its military incursion into Syria as a campaign to fight terrorism — even if its primary goal was to shore up Mr. Assad’s military against all insurgent groups, including the C.I.A.-backed rebels.

The Russians began a rapid military buildup in September, and launched an air campaign that targeted the Syrian rebel groups that posed the most direct threat to Mr. Assad’s government, including some of the C.I.A.-trained groups. By mid-October, Russia had escalated its airstrikes to nearly 90 on some days.

Posted by: okie farmer | Aug 7 2016 9:21 utc | 6

The battle situation is fluid and is bound to change again. Still too early to celebrate victory for either party. Syrian perspective reported reversal of terrorist gains and SAA's recapture of most of the Artillary base.
http://syrianperspective.com/2016/08/fierce-battle-for-ramouseh-artillery-base-and-industrial-district-in-aleppo-meanwhile-the-saa-advanced-in-lattakia-and-west-ghouta.html

@6

Whats your point mate? There's no ideological and operational difference between the AlCIA-backed moderate child-killers and KSA-backed liver-eaters. They are essentially the same garbage in different packaging and their days are numbered. Victory to the Syrian people and their Russian and Iranian allies!

Posted by: Mumbojumbo | Aug 7 2016 10:22 utc | 7

Today's Observer editorial has its opinion on Syria.
It accused the Syrian Government of using chemical weapons in 2013.

"in 2013 when Syrian government forces used chemical weapons against civilians".
A complete lie.
"there is no hospital, school, neighbourhood or home safe from Russia or Russian-backed onslaughts and no form of warfare, including the use of chlorine gas, off-limits".
More lies.
Iran is accused of assisting Assad. Iran was asked for help by the Syrian government. Nobody in Syria asked Saudi Arabia to do anything.

"the international community must unite in telling Assad to step down".
Who is the International community? I suspect the Observer mean 'the West'.
Altogether another depressing piece of garbage for what passes for journalism in the west. Fortunately most of the comments section see the truth and condemns the editorial.https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/06/syria-rebels-unite-break-aleppo-siege


Posted by: harrylaw | Aug 7 2016 10:32 utc | 8

Currently, even though the SAA lines are broken, there is no clear transport route though as all major roads are covered by the SAA.

This image shows the road routes and the red arrows are SAA fire points.

http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/colonelcassad/19281164/897402/897402_900.jpg


Posted by: Yonatan | Aug 7 2016 10:56 utc | 9

Turkish soldiers save US intel agent on Syrian border: Report

A female intelligence agent from the United States has been saved by Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) soldiers after a two-day operation on the Syrian border, according to a report. Drones and helicopters participated in the operation to save the agent, who had been wounded in Syria.

Two U.S. helicopters landed in a village in the Yayladağı district of the southern province of Hatay on Aug. 5, prompting locals to call officials and report the landing. The Hatay Governor’s Office responded by saying that they were aware of the incident, daily Hürriyet reported on Aug. 7.

According to the daily, the U.S. agent, whose name was not revealed as she was on a confidential operation, was assigned to a task in Syria and wounded on Aug. 3, after which she called for evacuation. She reportedly sent her coordinates to U.S. officials, allowing them to determine her exact location.

She was determined to be in the region of the Turkmen Mountains bordering the Yayladağı district and an operation was launched to save her.
....
The wounded agent was delivered to U.S. officials and then taken to the İncirlik Air Base, used by U.S. forces in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), in the southern province of Adana.


Posted by: b | Aug 7 2016 10:59 utc | 10

The SAA desperately needs some way of countering the kamikaze VBIED attacks. My guess is the limited reaction time, urban setting and dusty environment makes it difficult to get a clear shot at the vehivcle.

Posted by: Yonatan | Aug 7 2016 11:07 utc | 11

The whole attack on Aleppo was planned since at least April. U.S. Secretary of State Kerry prevented Russian reactions against the preparations and build up by holding out a possible cessation of hostilities and a political solution of the conflict.

Russia is always so naive.. Probably people in Syria do not belive in Russian support anymore. It is quite ineffective. The US-backed thugs prevail over Syrian Army in Aleppo and this is discreditable for both Russian and Syrian Army. Moreover an independent Kurdistan looms on the horizon. The US supports Kurds so seems the US will win once again.

Posted by: greenmile | Aug 7 2016 11:09 utc | 12

@smoothiex12 - no recent update on your blog - everything ok? When can we expect something? Interesting to read your view on upcoming erdogan-putin meeting in the bavkdrop of Turkey coup, downing of Russian helicopter and recent events in Aleppo/Syria. Thanks

Posted by: Irshad | Aug 7 2016 11:09 utc | 13

@11 - the defenders should mine anticipated routes and have mass use of TOW atgm - I do not see this in the videos - some Syrian generals need to be arrested for this!

Posted by: Irshad | Aug 7 2016 11:12 utc | 14

b @10 - in an area close to where the Russian Su-24 was shot down.

CCTV footage has been released showing the US Ambassador to Turkey met with one of the Turkish military coup leaders the day before the coup.

http://news-front.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/139.jpg

There is a clear and strong link between (parts of) the Turkish military and the US.

Posted by: Yonatan | Aug 7 2016 11:14 utc | 15

The most alarming turn of events from a pro-Government perspective preceded this breakthrough in Aleppo. It has been the apparent Russian ambivalence to the killing and subsequent parading of five dead service men and women at the hands of grinning Islamists. What chance then for Syrians?

Putin is cold and calculating - you do not rise from childhood poverty to become the head of the Russian federation with an emotional and erratic personality.

Whether Aleppo is saved depends on its worth to Putin in the grand scheme of Syria's worth to Russia.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Aug 7 2016 12:06 utc | 16

@16 pb

And on it's worth to Iran as well. And to Lebanon and Iraq and Palestine ... but they are not in position, for one reason (Israel) or another (USA) ... to act as Iran is.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 7 2016 12:13 utc | 17

@17

Note that the USA has no real interest in this mess at all. Just sheer perversity. All of this is the result of putting the 98 lb. weakling, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, in the White House. The 'real' causes are - oh! so complex, greed and ruthlessness - but the buck stops with the NPPL in the Oval Office. There remains such a thing as personal responsibility. If you take the job you're supposed to perform at a level higher than pitchman for the scam.

The fat lady's warming up in the wings. She's ready to sing.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 7 2016 12:21 utc | 18

Those NYTs claims of US and CIA support for terrorists;Is that the first time they've admitted that in their rag?And is it preempting Wikileaks expose of her abject and evil reign as SS for the election?
The American people ain't going to like USA and AL Qaeda sitting in that tree,k-i-s-s-i-n-g.

Posted by: dahoit | Aug 7 2016 12:29 utc | 19

The Turkish role in this is crucial, terrorist gains indicates that the primitive goat-fucker in chief´s rapprochement with Russia and Turkish concessions in that regard will be on the back burner until the meeting. I have also read reports on US CIA agents being rescued by Turkey in the border areas.


One can safely assume that Mullah Erdogan will do his best to flood Aleppo with jihadist wahhabi mercenaries, as long as he can and the fact that 80% of the Turks still support ISIS says that it can go on indefinitly even after the border is closed.

Posted by: cccc | Aug 7 2016 12:56 utc | 20

@jfl #20:

The Dem party is the neocon party now. Trump says the US has destabilized the Middle East, that Obama and Hillary created ISIS, that we should have good relations with ISIS, and he has questioned the value of NATO to the US.

Evidently the establishment thinks there is an "actual difference", given how the corporate media has unleashed non-stop Trump bashing. The media doesn't even try to make a gesture of trying to be impartial in this election.

Posted by: Demian | Aug 7 2016 13:33 utc | 21

This is certainly the last attempt for the 'rebels' and their suicide bombers friends to show their strength.
After Erdogan's meeting with Putin, we will see the defeat of the 'rebels' and the restoration of the Syrian government authority on Aleppo.

That would be Erdogan's message to Bashar al Assad: "I accept that you won, let's negotiate".

Posted by: virgile | Aug 7 2016 13:41 utc | 22

Americas plan is to bring about year zero for Syria Iran and Russia. It's about eradicating the civilization sod these countries through genocide.

Posted by: Secret Agent | Aug 7 2016 13:48 utc | 23

Might the presence of capable MANPADS hint at direct involvement of some SOF? Wonder how this appears in the russian planning HQ ...

Posted by: persiflo | Aug 7 2016 13:58 utc | 24

@23

This is certainly the last attempt for the 'rebels' and their suicide bombers friends to show their strength.

It is a pure act of desperation from their part, no doubt about that, just throw as many people on one point and hope something sticks. Because maintaining their positions around greater Aleppo is crucial to their very survival.

It won't last unless something dramatically alters the situation on the ground, and so far the other side is just as committed on holding the line as they are to breaking it.

It's going to be a back and forth with aleppo until either a) one of the sides exhaust their supply of resources or b) the political climate changes outside of Syria.

Posted by: never mind | Aug 7 2016 14:11 utc | 25

@26
I think the political climate change will come first. Under Russia's pressure Turkey's borders will be unofficially closed to the rebels weapons. Saudi Arabia and the USA won't have any way to resupply them.

I expect a violent blowback inside Turkey from die-hard Islamists once this happen.

Posted by: virgile | Aug 7 2016 14:27 utc | 26

Putin has allowed this and wants a stalemate type of conflict. Putin flew most of Russia's bombers/jets back to Russia and called for a ceasefire when the Syrian forces had momentum. This prevented the Syrian forces from taking more ground. Now the insurgents have been able to move fighters and supplies to the city with little effective action by Russia.

Putin did not even engage the insurgents as they took the artillery academy.

But it has backfired on Putin more than expected, it appears. Now the insurgents have been armed with manpads to shoot down helicopters. Soon they may be capable of shooting down fighter jets not flying high. Putin is losing control of the situation, in great contrast to how Russia's direct involvement started.

If this is not the case, and Putin has not intended to create such a stalemate it shows he cannot even deal with loosely organized insurgents. If that is the case then Russia will eventually be out of western Syria. However, I still think Putin is playing Assad/Hezbollah/Iran and is intent on negotiating a split of Syria with Russia getting the western coast. (And with the Syrian forces being his sacrificial security troops forever.

Posted by: went | Aug 7 2016 14:33 utc | 27

It is looking like Syria and Russia have suffered a devastating defeat in what looks like the critical battle of the Syria war. I don't think the importance of this battle can be easily overestimated. It is, I think, a turning point not just for Syria, but for the world.

In retrospect, the US side seems to have had a brilliantly coordinated multi-layered battle plan. It looks like the first several assaults in the Aleppo battle were really feints, intended to deceive Syria and Russia, to convince them that they had weathered the storm. This blog pointed out that the initial assault on the Syrian Government's hold on Aleppo failed quicky because there was no single point of massive assault.

We see now that a word was missing from that analysis - the word "yet".

Syria's role in this disaster is understandable. According to reports, the Syrian army has suffered terribly from attrition during the course of the war while the US proxies have been massively reinforced continuously and especially lately. Spread thin and forced to rely on green recruits while facing an enemy that seemed to have an inexhaustible supply of battle-hardened, well-equipped and even fresh jihadis, terrorists and mercenaries -- the Syrian army has done brilliantly to sustain the battle so far.

But Russia's fecklessness seems truly incredible at this point. I doubt that any major battle in human history has been so thoroughly telegraphed, to the point where Kerry all but told Putin the exact date that it would start, August first.

How many times has Putin seen the US and its allies/proxies use the trick of declaring truce completely insincerely, to stop successful campaigns by opponents, while re-arming and reinforcing? How is it that everyone in the world knew exactly what the US and its allies would do but Putin did not?

How many times has Putin seen the US make major moves during the Olympics? Is it possible that he didn't see it coming once again? Putin is supposed to be smart, but he falls for the same ploys again and again and again?

How can it be that Russia was so easily distracted by Kerry's blatantly insincere 'negotiations', so obviously meant as a distraction and as a way of stalling for time and as a way of softening Russian attacks? Even the controversy about Russia's Olympic team now looks like a brilliant distraction.

It now seems painfully obvious that Russia had no real plan B, no real plan for what would happen when the sham truce ended and the war restarted. More than that, Russia now looks like the real paper tiger. Manpads basically sidelined Russian air power and took the Russians out of the battle. The only counter Russia seemed to have had was to delude itself or to lie, claiming that Russian air power was successfully using high altitude bombing to devastate/decimate enemies as they approached to attack Aleppo. It now looks like Russia not only failed to impact attacking forces. but didn't even know how many forces were moving and where they were. A massive force seems to have converged to a single massive push and Russia seems never to have seen it coming.

I hope things turn around once again. Right now though one really has to wonder why Putin went for that fake trucem which seems now to have doomed Syria. What is his game really?

Posted by: paul | Aug 7 2016 14:43 utc | 28

Hamosh @Hamosh84 1h1 hour ago
"Sources say Terrorists aims were to free foreign military commanders (Turkish and etc) trapped in #Aleppo" #Syria pic.twitter.com/iu3m7VZxnD

Fer G @FGunay1 1h1 hour ago
My own sources confirmed this to me: 1800 Salafi lifes parished to save the life of 30 trapped CIA assets n E Aleppo https://twitter.com/Hamosh84/status/762270058575978496

Posted by: brian | Aug 7 2016 14:52 utc | 29

Hamosh @Hamosh84 1h1 hour ago
#SAA destroyed the arms depot that's where the black smoke is from, when terrorists tried to transfer weapons from the arms depot. #Aleppo

Posted by: brian | Aug 7 2016 14:53 utc | 30

certainly one should never trust the US...
no matter how much russia tries to be agreeable, washingtons sociopathic establishmentwlll betray them...witness the attacks by Clinton and the entire MSM

Posted by: brian | Aug 7 2016 14:57 utc | 31

It is looking like Syria and Russia have suffered a devastating defeat in what looks like the critical battle of the Syria war. I don't think the importance of this battle can be easily overestimated. It is, I think, a turning point not just for Syria, but for the world.

---

Exactly.

This is the function of Assad's inability to cohere a ground force made up of his countrymen. You people go on at length about the need to defeat terrorism but what does that mean to the poor Sunnis who make up most of the rebel forces? Even the "top pick" post gets Assad right:

"Peaceful protests against the hapless leader who initially attempted to placate the Globalist neo-liberal order by privatizing the commanding heights of the economy, by providing rent-a-torture services to the empire, are organized by the same globalist powers who forced or bribed the nation's venal leaders into neo-liberal contortions in the first place."

Leaving aside the question of whether the "globalist" powers were really for overthrowing Assad, the privatization and torture alluded to above is what accurately sums up the Baathist state.

As should be obvious by now, people don't fight for a dictatorship, even one that miraculously gets 98 percent of the vote a la Richard Daley, if they don't believe that their class interests are being defended. If you want to find out more about what "class interests" mean, you might want to read some Marx or Lenin, the sorts of material that is sadly lacking in most of the analysis that appears here.

Posted by: Louis Proyect | Aug 7 2016 15:01 utc | 32

Incredible how people veer from one extreme to the other. "Oh the Russians have totally lost!" or "American policy is finished!" The fact is neither has happened. The Nusra opeining into east Aleppo will not last too long, because, if it does, one and half million people in west Aleppo are going to starve, and not even the US will be able to maintain that policy for long. The problem at the moment is the MANPADs that the US handed out to Nusra (perhaps indirectly). A solution will have to be found for this folly. I presume Moscow is putting its mind to the problem.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 7 2016 15:04 utc | 33

The Western media who campaigned against the siege of Aleppo by the Syrian army are now confused. Will they campaign against the rebels who are besieging the government controlled areas with 'moderate' suicide bombers?
After this temporary failure of the Russia-Syrian forces and the display of the ferocity of the 'moderates' I think the media's campaign against Russia-Syria is partly neutralized.

Posted by: virgile | Aug 7 2016 15:05 utc | 34

Sputnik news reports:
Terrorists in Syria's Aleppo Surrounded by Government Forces, Siege Not Broken

Terrorists remain surrounded in eastern and south-eastern parts of the city of Aleppo despite recent reports about alleged breaking the siege, according to a RIA Novosti correspondent.

http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20160807/1044028262/syria-aleppo-fighting.html

~ ~ ~
@ Tom 2

Could someone please tell me is there more Russian airport at its maximum from about 4 months ago then there is now ?

Caspian Sea.

~ ~ ~
@ greenmile

Russia is always so naive.. Probably people in Syria do not belive in Russian support anymore. It is quite ineffective.

Do read okie farmer’s comment @ 4

Link on same NYT article here
http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20160807/1044021315/us-russia-syria.html

~ ~ ~
@ jfl 20

I will have to stick with other

Consider well. A write-in is not in the count.

Others: Green Party is on ballot in 22 states. Libertarian in 36 states.

In a close election that premise may help HRC or, this; what if outcome triggers the 12 Amendment:

What if U.S. Election 2016 Fails to Give Either Presidential Candidate 270 Electoral Votes? The Twelfth Amendment Sets In…
If this were to Occur, the Twelfth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution stipulates the President is elected by the House of Representatives, and the Vice President is elected by the Senate.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/what-if-election-2016-failed-to-give-either-presidential-candidate-270-electoral-votes-the-twelfth-amendment-sets-in/5539537

Posted by: likklemore | Aug 7 2016 15:11 utc | 35

@28 went

It's not this simple. Putin is not the ultimate hero or the craven villain. Russian presence was drawn down as part of an agreement to stop the supply to jihadi forces from the other parties. The ceasefire took several areas and a decent amount of men out of the opposition, and helped protect Syria's eastern approach from dasesh.

Did they misapprehend the levels of western duplicity, maybe, but like Iran, they're held back from full engagement by promises for even broader support for jihadis from surrounding countries. It's a very tricky situation. The return of russian air craft shows that whatever was, has ended.

Posted by: Cresty | Aug 7 2016 16:14 utc | 36

It's time for the Russians to go really hard now and bring on the hypobarics. Vaporize the mother fuckers. Fry all their communications, striking the planning headquarters and interdict any aircraft attempting to drop in supplies. Declare the entire north restricted airspace. There's no sense in trying to play nice now.

Posted by: Paulymx | Aug 7 2016 16:23 utc | 37

Indeed, BBC radio was chortling this morning about the "rebels" successfully breaking the SAA siege in Aleppo and being able to get one truck loaded with fresh produce into the city (presumably to have a Farmer's Market with organic, locally grown produce for their peaceful, non-sectarian followers). No mention of 5 suicide car bombs being the vehicle (so to speak) for breaking the SAA battle line, no mention that the "rebels" are vicious Wahhabists, no mention of what these "rebels" actually have in mind for Syria should they gain control. Western media have no shame and no perspective on the evil that they help propagandize, only a view that they are hurting Russia and Iran so it must be "good".

For the roller coaster folks who veer from "we're winning" to "we've lost!" with each day's news, I think the comment #34 nails it. This is a long, bloody struggle and every advance comes with cost--and not as quickly as we'd like. The SAA is hampered by lack of manpower (let's not forget how many young men of fighting age have fled the country to Europe to try to avoid having to serve and die to protect their country) and there is a limit to what air power can accomplish. Cutting off the supply of new weapons and MANPADs is critical, and that is why the duplicitous game the US plays is so harmful to the people of Syria. As long as US and its allies keep funneling in new weapons and new foreign jihadist fighters, the fight will continue. It's rather like WWI in a way, with neither side able to fully defeat the other.

The most important thing US citizens like myself can do is try to keep Hillary Clinton from being elected. If she's elected this war will only escalate dramatically.

Posted by: WorldBLee | Aug 7 2016 16:25 utc | 38

Who could disagree with Nassrallah's speech here on where the source and inspiration of the Wahhabi head choppers comes from. And what will happen if they don't change their ways..http://normanfinkelstein.com/2016/08/04/sayyed-nassrallah-on-roots-of-terrorism/

Posted by: harrylaw | Aug 7 2016 16:33 utc | 39

b - thanks for the post and your update @10

@13 irshad... smoothie is still around.. i would be curious to hear what he and patrick bazhad have to say at this point..

Posted by: james | Aug 7 2016 16:55 utc | 40

So to recoup:

>> The Assad must go! Coalition now considers al Nusra to be part of the moderates because they claim to have broken from al Queda;

The rebel group formerly known as al Nusra is (conveniently) not part of the Cessation of Hostilities agreement;

>> The "Cessation of Hostilities" is confirmed to have been a sham as this degree of preparation required state sponsorship.

Why did Russia/Putin go a long with this sham? My speculations:

1) They achieved their core objectives (save Syria, improved negotiating position, etc.);

2) Russia has other priorities (SCO Coalition building; upholding the sovereign-centered international framework; building out defenses);

3) In their view, Western support for the head choppers is irrational and they have given 'moderates' in the West an opportunity to take corrective action;

4) to demonstrate the duplicity of the Assad must go! Coalition (should they continue on their course)

>> The Assad must go! hardliners have prevailed. NYTimes drops all pretense: this is a new Cold War. As I wrote yesterday, this could well set up an 'October surprise' due to Russian response to the 'new realities'. (Thus the strong push to paint Trump as a Putin stooge.)

>> The extent of the preparations for this Aleppo action further calls into question whether the Turkish "Coup" was a CIA-MIT psy-op

>> Talk of "Obama's legacy" was more psy-op.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 7 2016 17:10 utc | 41

Re: Posted by: Cresty | Aug 7, 2016 12:14:11 PM | 38

Russian presence was drawn down as part of an agreement to stop the supply to jihadi forces from the other parties.

Really? Who would possibly be so naive as to believe such an "agreement"?

Posted by: Jules | Aug 7 2016 17:13 utc | 42

Aleppo map reminds me of Eastern Ukraine cauldrons, reminds me also who was sent into those cauldrons for what purpose.

I am wondering about the EU (and Turkey's) preferred outcome of the battle of Aleppo. Turkey (and the EU) are in dire need of stability.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 7 2016 17:32 utc | 43

I agree. They cannot but realize that if they let them win they'll soon have to surrender here too.

Posted by: Mina | Aug 7 2016 17:34 utc | 44

@ 46, Indeed **IF** the west has given up on Syria regime change (note that is said "if") then you have a point. Something needs to be done about all the crazies that would go from asset to liability.

So then it would make sense to let them into a cauldron that would be easy pickings for Russian air power. But I'm not at all convinced they have given up. Preventing the liberation of Aleppo at all costs is essential and they will throw whatever jihadis they have available into the fray. No big deal if they die. Saudi Arabia can always find more.

Posted by: Lysander | Aug 7 2016 17:46 utc | 45

Posted by: Jules | Aug 7, 2016 1:13:53 PM | 45

Many commentators have been saying that this would be resolved on the battlefield given the stakes and the bitter divide between the opponents.

As a new entrant into the conflict, Russia had to appear to be interested in a peaceful resolution. The US had to match that peaceful impulse.

Each side will now claim that the other has betrayed the peace. Naturally, one side has more reason to make this claim than the other.

The conflict has moved to a new (and somewhat predictable) level of intensity but that doesn't mean that Putin was gullible or that he ever intended to betray Assad (as some have also claimed previously).

Also, although seemingly predictable, there have been developments that have surprised.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 7 2016 17:46 utc | 46

@46, @48- I think American planners think they win either way. If the terrorists can secure Aleppo, then they bulwark for launching a future regime change against Assad.
If the terrorists lose, then they will mostly be dead, but the remainder will head to west Europe to terrorize Europe.

Regardless, Saudi Arabia and its Wahabist-farm mosques can generate a new army over the next few years for new acts of organized terror

Posted by: bbbb | Aug 7 2016 18:21 utc | 47

Again, if it's not gullible, what is it? Putin has been repeatedly fooled by the West. When they are losing, they cry for peace and then they re-arm and reinforce and prepare for the next push. I've seen this point made over and over since the start of the fake truce and now here we are...

Posted by: paul | Aug 7 2016 18:22 utc | 48

Forgot to add that even though we all know this, and there are hostile voices in the media, the presstitute media and ignorant public allow for the continued plausble deniability crap by Obama admin/Hillary.. which is why I say that Washington 'wins' either way here

Posted by: bbbb | Aug 7 2016 18:23 utc | 49

followup @44

Why the Turkish "coup" psyop was necessary becomes more clear. Putin warned Erdogan, privately if not publically, against further agression and Erdogan was weakened by Russian economic sanctions.

Turkey HAD to sit this one out. So MIT-CIA-Mossad-Etc. made lemonade out of lemons by creating a fake coup against a faux adversary.

With dictatorial powers and a military loyal to himself instead of NATO, Erdogan will be ready to participate in the next stage of conflict (whatever that may be).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 7 2016 18:30 utc | 50

I'm pissed of and angry just like everyone but at the end of the day despite what the terrorists, the US and other nations have done, the majority of the fault for this shitfest is on the hands of the SAA. It's the same old story as always. Some of the soldiers and commanders are actually doing their job while others are utterly incompetent and lazy. This is how Idlib was lost last year. While the army in Aleppo city, Homs, Daraa and Damascus built elaborate and multiple defence lines that allowed outnumbered defenders to endure massive attacks for years. In Idlib all they had were checkpoints and once they were breached the city fell in hours. The damn city fell in hours when Aleppans were making terrorist bleed so much for every single inch they stopped fighting in the cities and only attack when they blow up a tunnel once in a while.

Same story here. The Army was doing ok, it could have done much better but it was alright. The jihadists were clearly suffering huge casualties and they lost a lot of experienced commanders and fighters. Yet a victory was turned into a rout because of one weak spot.

All it took to change the dynamic of the battle was for car bombs to breach the base. There were barely any prepared defences there and soldiers who didn't get killed had to retreat which meant the ones in the city were facing attacks from two directions.

They were in that base since the beginning of the war and never lost it. They saw over the past few months how the terrorists were getting closer and closer to them. They knew they were protecting the supply line to the city. Yet the most basic requirements of holding a frontline position was not even done. Where the hell were the ditches? Dugouts? berms? Why didn't they have multiple defence lines to fall back to?

In fact the situation would not even have occurred if they built defence works away from the Hikmah School, the village and the base. That school and the village were the first line of defence and they were taken on the first day when car bombs blew up and killed soldiers.

They should have had serious of lines. If the commander had an inch of competence he would have ordered his men two spend a week building earth defences. Berms would have stopped the car bombs and protected soldiers from the blast. Trenchs would have made it easier for them to attack jihadists before they even got closer. If those positions got breached the soldiers should have fall back positions.

Shia villagers who face genocide if jihadists win have done this many years ago. Hezbollah and Iranians came and told them how to build defence works and they did it. Nubl and Zahra survived for years because every single attack on them by jihadists ended in failure. Fua and Kafraya in Idlib are located right next to some of the most backward and extremist villages. Last year the jihadists that kicked the army out of Idlib lost a huge amount of men just breaching the first line of defence. They sent car bomb after car bomb just to breach the first line and lost hundreds of men. These jihadists who outnumbered and outgunned these villagers and defeated the SAA had to stop attacking because they were dying.


Honestly the Syrians are just wasting their lives and everybody's time and making the war last longer than it should. It doesn't take a genius to tell his soldiers to dig for 6 hours in the four years you had.

Posted by: angryanddepressed | Aug 7 2016 18:36 utc | 51

followup @44

Obama's legacy
Is a ruse. The Obama Administration only associates themselves with peace initiatives. They will occasionally issue veiled threats in the form of gentle guidance or friendly warning.

The NYTimes and other media play along by blaming Republican hardliners, recalcitrant allies, enemy aggression, and now the CIA(!) when US engages in or hostile action.

Empire of Illusion

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 7 2016 18:40 utc | 52

@34 You are right. Dont expect Russia to call it quits because of MANPAD's. Russia will study counter measures )like the TOSHKA system on tanks) and provide support for their MIL-8. I dont think the militants will be able to hold and exploit their new gains long, even if the terrain if to their advantage, their lines of communication & supply and flanks are still vulnerable.. This battle is pulsing and far from over..

Posted by: Lozion | Aug 7 2016 18:51 utc | 53

Louis Proyect @33 "This is the function of Assad's inability to cohere a ground force made up of his countrymen." The inability of the opposition to cohere a ground force is why they haven't won. They rely instead on large contingents of foreign salafists, abetted by massive financial and military support from Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the US...and on the tactical superiority of the defense in urban cities. Ignoring that is like claiming the German army only failed to take Stalingrad because von Paulus goofed. The anti-Syrian socialists like Proyect, naturally loyal supporters of the US government, are also happy to support the democratic program of slaughtering the Alawites. The opposition knows damn well that "Assad" has cohered an army, but they blame that on fanatical Alawite. Once Proyect-type people are in charge, they'll be gone, and with them, a secular Syrian state.

Or to put it another way, if Proyect was consistent he'd argue the inability of the Loyalist government of Spain to cohere a ground force more than justified the US/French/English blockade of Loyalist Spain, by demonstrating how the presence of the murderous Stalinists made the Loyalist government class enemies of the Spanish people.

Posted by: s | Aug 7 2016 18:57 utc | 54

The commanders/officers/intelligence officers of Aleppo withon the SAA must all be lined up and either dismissed or shot asap. Their incompence is just unbelieveable!!!

I've seen pictures of weapons they've left behind at the artillery base that the rats overrun. Enough to arm an entire army!!! Anytime they retreat, they make sure to leave behind massive amount of weapons for their enemies to use against them again. I dunnot which war college taught them that kind of sh*t. https://twitter.com/MathieuMorant

Seems without Hezbollah or Iranian backed Iraqi armed groups, the SAA cannot defend a tiny block. They're always reacting to events instead of taking the initiative. Anytime they take territory, instead of them fortifying and harrassing their opponents, they just camp and wait. They have all the advantage in terms of arteillery, helicopters, warplanes etc. yet they ALWAYS manage to get their asses kicked by a bunch of guys in sandals and high on captagon. Thsis army is not fit for purpose and must be disbanded for the sake Syrians. I really wonder where Syrian will be today without Russia, Iran and Hezbollah!!!

Posted by: Zico | Aug 7 2016 19:04 utc | 55

vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED)

Posted by: okie farmer | Aug 7 2016 19:07 utc | 56

lots of new names and lots of panning of syria/russia and etc... armchair generals inc..

Posted by: james | Aug 7 2016 19:14 utc | 57

I'm not sure if the Syrian army knows of a thing called landmines, trenches, anti-tank missiles etc etc. The Iraqi army have perfectve the art of destroying da'esh Suicide-VBIEDs from many metres away.

Al-nusrah and their assorted travelers always use the same tactics in every combat - they always start with a massive Suicide-VBIED then send in small teams of storm troopers to finish off the shell-shocked troops. An intelligence commander could come up with an effective way to counter this. All I hear every time the lame excuse of how "the Russians didn't show up"..

This is the plague that's killing all Arab armies.. People become commanders not by merit/intelligence but by mere tribal/family relatoinship. Pathtic!!!

Posted by: Zico | Aug 7 2016 19:16 utc | 58

Angryanddepressed @54 -it is easy to blame the SAA for any reversals on the battlefield - "should have known", "should have seen", etc. etc. But the reality is that the Syrian army is simply short of soldiers it can use for serious battle, especially given the enormousness of the country, the difficult geography and the huge challenge of fighting in and around populated areas. While this is going on in Aleppo, there is also an attack to regain kinsibba in latakia, while the area around damascus is being regained ever so slowly and painfully (East Goutta in particular, where notable successes occurred in the past 6 months).

Even with new supplies that the SAA is receiving from Russia, given the satellite support the terrorists are receiving from the CIA and the likely embedding of western advisors directing the jihadidsts, strategic decisions must be made. The SAA cannot afford to lose too many men in one battle, just to hold ground. Neither are they able to just move the capable tiger forces all around Aleppo, without endangering new fronts. The Russian air support is also limited in just how much it can do, and has to consider the MANPADS and the logistic support the jihadists are receiving from the US. It was always going to be extremely challenging to retake Aleppo, which is why it wasn't done sooner.But as i said above, the biggest challenge is how best to use a limited military (in terms of personnel) to the greatest effect.

I recall the same arm chair chest beating over Donbass. The Russians betrayed them, the Russians gave up on them, the Donbass fighters made this or that mistake, too much infighting etc. etc.. But the battle lines were long and Ukraine received all out support from the west. Russia figured out that the best they could do for everyone at that time (given that taking considerable further ground was out of the question) was to be active on the diplomatic front and "freeze' the military situation along more or less the lines as they were back last year after debaltsevo pocket was taken (yes, I know about the ongoing skirmishes. They will continue). The US's response? well, WADA was one. esclation of NATO in the Baltics are another. tanking the oil prices is still another. The list gpes on in this hybrid war.

My guess is that the Russians have maps drawn up outlining where and how the battle lines can be "frozen" with tacit agreement from US and especially Turkey. The Jihadists won't like those maps and neither will the US< but in the end, the Russian plan is what will happen. To guess again, I would posit that damascus and Aleppo and all of latakia - out to the Turkish border, barring a small strip, will be Syria's/ As will the entire area around Palmyra, possibly connecting with the besieged deir azor. But the situation is not ripe for this yet so the battle goes on. IT's kind of like it was before Debaltzevo, I figure, except 100 times bigger due to the size of the territory.

Posted by: Merlin2 | Aug 7 2016 19:23 utc | 59

I AM OFFENDED BY GRIPING AND BELLYACHING OF THE DEFEATIST COMMENTERS, ESPECIALLY TOM AND Paul.

PROYECT AND DEPRESSED GUY WERE ALSO VERY OBNOXIOUS.

Posted by: PAUL | Aug 7 2016 19:25 utc | 60

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-aleppo-idUSKCN10I0M2

Syrian insurgents who broke the siege of rebel-held eastern Aleppo on Saturday in a significant territorial gain came under intense air attack from pro-government forces on Sunday trying to repel the advance which also cut government-held Aleppo's main supply route.

Rebels have taken most of a large government military complex southwest of Aleppo city in a major offensive begun on Friday to break a month-long siege and are now attacking further into government held territory.

The surprise advance in Ramousah allowed fighters from insurgent areas in western Syria to break through a strip of government-controlled territory on Saturday and connect with fighters in the encircled sector of eastern Aleppo.

But fierce fighting and continuous Russian and Syrian air strikes in and around the Ramousah area mean no safe passage for besieged east Aleppo residents has been established, activists and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad wants to take full control of Aleppo, pre-war Syria's most populous city, which has been divided between rebel and government-held areas.

Assad's government forces are supported in Syria by Russian air power, Iranian militias and fighters from Lebanon's Hezbollah group

Rebel gains this weekend could change the balance of power in Aleppo, after Assad said a siege by government and allied forces on rebel-held east Aleppo in early July was a prelude to re-taking the city. The loss of Aleppo would be a crushing blow for rebels.

"We have now seized full control of the Ramousah area...We are in our trenches but there are insane air strikes of unprecedented ferociousness. The regime is using cluster and vacuum bombs," said Abu al Hasanien, a senior commander in Fateh Halab, the coalition of moderate rebel groups inside the city.

Pro-Syrian government news channels have mostly played down the rebel gains and say Syrian army efforts have caused rebels to withdraw from some recently-gained areas.

But Lebanese pro-Syrian government news channel al Mayadeen said late on Saturday the Syrian army had "withdrawn from a number of positions southwest of Aleppo and repositioned itself in new defensive lines".

Posted by: okie farmer | Aug 7 2016 19:31 utc | 61

@63 don't worry - we're all anonymous opinion-makers here. The truth will emerge eventually

Posted by: bbbb | Aug 7 2016 19:32 utc | 62

@33, you can't carry Lenin's felt slippers.

Posted by: ruralito | Aug 7 2016 19:42 utc | 63

Posted by: Lysander | Aug 7, 2016 1:46:33 PM | 48

Whatever. They seem to have got a lot of Jihadis on one spot.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 7 2016 19:47 utc | 64

Merlin2 @ 64

Fair point but poor excuse for SAA's incompetence. Yes, numerically they're at a disadvantage but a professional army must know where to hit to cause confusion/paranoia within the enemy's ranks. The best way to handle numerically superior oponent is to adopt a hit and run tactic agains them. Hit them were they least expect.

Why hasn't the SAA conducted any commando raids in Idlib or Eastern Aleppo - go in, hit their power plant or pay them a "visit" at one of their training bases one fine morning when they least expect it. Put the enemy in a constant state of paranoia. Any professional army worth their boots should be able to handle this. The Iranian army did this many times to Saddam's army during the Iran - Iraq war. Instead, these rats are allowed to much freedom/time to to plot and plan audacious attacks. Most of the fighters that fought in Aleppo came form Idlib. How come the SAA didn't see them moving in their usually long convoys into into Aleppo???


Like I said, the SAA, like most Arab armies, are filled with commanders who got their positions based on their relations with someone higher up and not on merits. Their defeat at the artilliery academy is testament to that!

Posted by: Zico | Aug 7 2016 19:48 utc | 65

@46 "Aleppo map reminds me of Eastern Ukraine cauldrons, reminds me also who was sent into those cauldrons for what purpose". Creating boilers for destruction of men and weapons is indeed what is happening here, good observation. Creating a false weak point and drawing in the enemy to the honey pot results in the killing field to fulfill "Better to kill them there than here" as Putin has declared.

Of course we are seeing the same failed military attack planning in Syria and Ukraine defeated by the same counter battle field planning, equaling the same results.

Posted by: kinggeor | Aug 7 2016 20:02 utc | 66

Given the gravity of the situation for the SAA and the need to act as quickly as possible in order to prevent the terrorists from consolidating their gains in the contested sectors of Southwestern Aleppo (namely the 1070 area, artillery academy etc) there is only one viable solution (short of losing more men in meaningless skirmishes): retreat and call in a massive Tuvps & Kalibr strike with thermobarics - did ya hear that, Igor (Konashenkov), Sergei (Shoigu) and Vladimir Vladimirovitch (Putin...duh!). The ball in in YOUR COURT - ACT NOW & DECISIVELY.....

Posted by: sirius | Aug 7 2016 20:19 utc | 67

I believe at this point it can be clearly seen that the news about "breaking the siege" were another piece of blatant, stinky, embarrassing lame-scream media propaganda.

To me the most interesting is if the terrorists indeed managed to rescue those 30 trapped CIA scum in E Aleppo.

I very much hope they didn't.

Go Syria! Go Russia! Go Iran!

Down with the AngloZio barbarians!

Posted by: ProPeace | Aug 7 2016 20:24 utc | 68

@69 This is no cauldron. This is a rout, pure and simple. If the Donetsk Russians fall back, I would believe it to be a cauldron because I believe in the Russians' fighting competence and abilities. The Syrian Arabs, not so much.

There is a good reason Russia will not commit ground forces, because they do not want to end up with a South Vietnam scenario where they are doing all the fighting for an incompetent local client.

Posted by: Get_Quenched | Aug 7 2016 20:27 utc | 69

It's almost disgusting that while decent soldiers fighting for peace are dying, multiple people would sit in their armchairs and say this or that about Russia, or Syria, in terms of what those countries should do, or should have done, or failed to do. You can always tell when a serious fight is happening, because threads in sites like these become full of negative chatter.

The cessation of hostilities was and remains an elegant tool for those who wished to withdraw from the fight (i.e. cease hostilities) to do so, and Syria has rehabilitated hundreds of such fighters. No one in Russia that I read thought for one second, or proclaimed, that the US would cease anything. But the consequent field was one in which anything moving with a gun not in communication with Russia was a fit target for death. This clarified the battle, and the propaganda war, since there was now no "moderate" unless declared to Russia. And we have already seen that Russia will kill US personnel if it has a real bearing on the outcome.

Russia's withdrawal of forces amounted to zero affect on the theater. The Russian command swapped in helicopters for close support of the Syrian army while that army made advance after advance. And in terms of firepower, we don't have a recent update but the last I heard the cost of Russia's involvement was its allocated training budget, no more. We have not seen Russia even break a sweat yet.

It's astonishing that people here would criticize Russia, rather than the US for MANPADS appearing in the theater. We should remember that Russia made it possible in the first place to conduct close support operations with choppers - this was a huge advance that analysts noted at the time but which propaganda warriors here have forgotten. Aleppo is an urban fight, which is far less suited for the air support that Russia brought to Syria - and which changed the game, it's worth recalling. So one less gift given by Russia can now be used. There will be more gifts if needed.

How can anyone doubt Russia's support for Syria? Putin himself has said Russia will never abandon Syria. The entire region knows this and regards Russia as the ultimate guarantor of stability. No nation in the ME will soon forget what Russia has brought to the fight. And certainly Putin knows how to calculate, but to call him cold is not a comment that accords with what we know of him. In failing to find ways to fit honor and morality into this equation, after a thousand years of Russian behavior to observe, commenters misjudge Russia, and render their own analysis worthless.

Turkey: while all has been going on in the last few months since the much-derided "ceasefire", a geopolitical miracle has occurred, and Turkey has changed sides. Does no one think that Russia has at least some part to play in this? We heard at Fort Russ a week or more back that the border was already sealed. And yet commenters here still speculate about this happening in the future. But note that nowhere in any of the reportage are we hearing of supplies traveling across Turkish borders.

There is a global propaganda war that the US is gradually losing. It's a big war, and its outcome will take many years. A tiny sliver of it appears in this thread. I was impelled to offer a few memories of certain points for those with attention disorders. Aleppo is a battle, not a war. Even if the battle is lost - and I don't think it will be - it will happen again in the future. The war will be won, is being won.

All the wars take time, and they are being won by the multi-polar world, gradually. The losers fight with all they have, which is theater and treachery - this is all they have. When did we last see any other weapons of the west in working order? The tide of history is clear.

May the forces fighting for the ordinary people of Syria prevail in this battle, and all those that still remain.

Posted by: Grieved | Aug 7 2016 20:39 utc | 70

Indeed, no need to commit any further ground forces, combat helos etc, let's face it, that would be a pointless exercise in futility and a further loss in manpower, just let the terrorists stream in, and when they're about to "extract" their trapped takfiri colleagues, unleash the Tupolevs and saturate the area with thermobarics. Honestly...even though the terrorists managed to lay their hands on a handful on artillery pieces, shabby T-55s and rusty AKs....let them flock to that (virtual) honey pot and then vaporize them. It will be a Pyrrhic victory if anything. The major question is though....who are the 30 or so CIA operatives that the takfiris sacrificed so many of their own to save them? Turkish...French...Brits or....Americans?

Posted by: sirius | Aug 7 2016 20:54 utc | 71

It should be plainly obvious by now that "Assad must go" means exactly 'the witness must be silenced, liquidated'; just as it was for Saddam H of Iraq, Gaddafi of Libya, Mubarak of Egypt and the disappearance from public view of leaders involved in rendition, replaced with those who know how to be silent at least for the time being.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Aug 7 2016 20:55 utc | 72

Let's also not forget that both the Russian & Syrian air force are busy creating the conditions to turn Southwestern Aleppo into a huge cauldron by wiping out the terrorists' logistics + supply chain between Idlib and Aleppo:
http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950517000962

Add to that the decreased (and hopefully - ceased after Erdogan meets with Putin...) Turkish support from across the border and well...the Takfiri rats won't have anywhere to go to unless they're airlifted by Uncle Sam to Saudi Arabia (or...straight to Yemen like already happened in the past)

Posted by: sirius | Aug 7 2016 21:10 utc | 73

^^^ If it is true that the Turkish border is sealed then this militant offensive is a culling of all hands available so when the SAA regroups after the initial shock, the rbs will run out of steam and eventually collapse..

Posted by: Lozion | Aug 7 2016 21:10 utc | 74

rbs should read rebs as in rebels..

Posted by: Lozion | Aug 7 2016 21:11 utc | 75

When i saw the name Louis Proyect on this site it set off all kinds of bells and sirens. He is a Trotskyite, committed to chaos and world revolution on behalf of the Rothschild crime family's New World Order. He has been discovered to be one of the worst types of Tribalists, a snarling, snarky Brooklynese who lives in government supported housing on the West Coast and purports in his blog to speak for the Amerikkkan "left". His totem animal is the pig. Primitive tribalists never eat of their totem animal.

Posted by: stickman | Aug 7 2016 21:11 utc | 76

In the fog of war
Reuters?
RT?
Sputniknews?

Earlier today Sputniknews reported that despite all claims to the contrary the siege was not broken - see link at 36.

Fwiw, Sputniknews now has the Video and Photos with new coverage
http://sputniknews.com/news/20160807/1044036237/russia-airstrikes-aleppo-siege-rebels.html

Russian Airstrikes Rock Aleppo Artillery College, Al-Nusra After Siege Broken

“The victory for al-Nusra Front and allied anti-Assad Islamist rebel groups, which are strangely backed by the United States, suggests that the “groundbreaking” victory for the terror groups may be short-lived”[.]

Although the rebels have broken the impasse in the near-term by fracturing the siege to bring in supplies and reinforcements, the battle over the city of Aleppo continues to rage on with Russia intensifying its aerial bombardment of rebel-held neighborhoods.

[.]
Syrian State news agency SANA contends that the siege was not broken arguing that operations are ongoing in the area and that warplanes had bombarded rebel vehicles and locations in the area on Sunday. Video footage from Aleppo refutes the claim of the SANA news agency, but the success of subsequent airstrikes may mean that the rebels victory will be short lived.

~ ~ ~ ~
Ahead of his visit with Mr. Putin on 09 August Turkish leader Mr. Erdogan gave an interview:

http://tass.ru/en/world/892953

"It will be a historical visit, a new start. I believe talks with my friend Vladimir will open up a new page in bilateral relations. Our countries have a lot to do together," he said.

Syrian settlement

Russia’s participation in vitally important for Syrian settlement, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
"It is impossible to find solution to the Syrian problem without Russia’s participation. We can settle the crisis in Syria only in cooperation with Russia," he said.

= = = =
we shall see what comes from this historical visit, and if what is agreed will be permitted.
~ ~ ~
all those here who are
belly wringing “SAA should do”..”Russia naïve” “Putin has been fooled” Syria is abandoned, yadada, yadada.

Russia and Syria has a Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation signed in 1980…building on a relationship established in 1944.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russia–Syria_relations

“It provides for regular consultations on bilateral and multilateral issues of interest, coordination of responses in the event of a crisis, and military cooperation.[7] The treaty remains in force to this day.[8] In January 1992, the Syrian government recognized the Russian Federation as the legal successor to the Soviet Union.”

Posted by: likklemore | Aug 7 2016 21:12 utc | 77

Russian legislative elections are on 18 September 2016. This probably has some bearing on what risks Putin can take right now.

Posted by: Dean | Aug 7 2016 21:18 utc | 78

@79 stickman.. lp is a jackass of the first order.. it is a shame anyone bothers responding to the ja..

Posted by: james | Aug 7 2016 21:22 utc | 79

Perhaps it is high time for Russia to take the gloves off ,with the Gulf Dictatorships and the Wahabi terrorist government in "Saudi" Arabia providing those CIA-provided MANPADS to the headchoppers.

One possible scenario would be to dispatch either cruise or ballistic missiles (non-nuclear) to take out both air control and fighter interceptor bases in Arabia. This would enable Russian bombers to take out a few more critical targets, particularly the bases the Wahabi terrorist military uses to smother the Shia population in the oil-producing regions.

As Bahrain is the headquarters of the U$ puppet regime's 5th Fleet, the Russians would no way target that place. However, their maximum targeting should be the Saudi bases from which the world's primary headchopper regime protects the Bahrainian Sunni/Wahabi dictatorship.

The vast majority of the Bahrainian people could then rise up against their oppressors and resume control over their country. Then they can tell the U$ puppet regime's 5th Fleet to retreat to their Diego Garcia island base in the Indian Ocean. Real Americans are sick and tired of the U$ puppet regime being the pitbull attack dogs for the Rothschild crime family and their affiliated cabalistas.

Posted by: stickman | Aug 7 2016 21:29 utc | 80

Sputnik reports a claim that 2000 militants have been killed over hte course of this week. This has been a very costly attack, and should cause significant ability to project force elsewhere.. for now. The siege line-break is only a couple miles wide if I am to understand correctly, so the SAA and affiliates can potentially re-close it if they are able to drive off the militants.

I see political solution being restated, but I can't see it working out long-term. These militants are an army of conquest, and will not stop. They will be rearmed and will be replenished with fighters if given quarter.
I think this is probably the decisive battle for the future of Syria, and Syria MUST win it

Posted by: bbbb | Aug 7 2016 21:31 utc | 81

harrylaw @42.

The Saudi FM is touring Africa searching for mercenaries for their campaign in Yemen. One article reports that they are seeking 5000 child soldiers from Senegal. The middlemen are reportedly being offered $5000 per month per soldier.

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/saudi-fm-recruit-thousands-soldiers-african-tour/


Posted by: Yonatan | Aug 7 2016 21:33 utc | 82

Yonatan@11 - "...The SAA desperately needs some way of countering the kamikaze VBIED attacks. My guess is the limited reaction time, urban setting and dusty environment makes it difficult to get a clear shot at the vehivcle..."

Irshad@14 - "...@11 - the defenders should mine anticipated routes and have mass use of TOW atgm - I do not see this in the videos - some Syrian generals need to be arrested for this!..."

Yonatan/Irshad: A single TOW-2A missile costs about US$60,000. Here's US$60,000 worth - about 120 tonnes - of prilled ammonium nitrate. Good for two or three dozen decent-sized VBIEDs. Modern Iranian equivalents (Toofan 2B and 5) are about a third of the cost of a U.S. TOW-2.

Syria has been under punishing U.S. economic sanctions since 1979 as (per U.S. accusations) a state sponsor of terror. They can afford nothing in terms of military equipment except occasional hand-outs from Russia and Iran. They are largely fighting the war from stockpiles built up to defend themselves from Israel and (at the time) Iraq. Even if they could acquire TOWs, they would be spending 15x per missile as the 'rebels' are spending to build each VBIED. The rebels, on the other hand, are funded by the richest nations on earth. They can pretty much get as many TOWs as they want and as much prilled ammonium nitrate as they want.

The nature of urban warfare in Syria today means TOWs on the SAA side would be an impractical and expensive comprehensive 'solution' to VBIEDs. You couldn't possibly deploy enough for any reliable defensive coverage in fluid, urban lines. Mines won't work for the same reason. For defending fixed, fortified positions, both would work and the SAA probably does use them.

The 'rebels' don't even employ TOWs defensively. Rebels use them offensively against targets of opportunity - kind of like sniper warfare. The U.S. demands that they film each and every launch which promptly goes straight to social media, so you see a disproportionate amount of coverage of rebel use that is - in reality - far less common than it appears. Still, if the SAA could get their hands on say 50,000 Toofan 5's, they would be delighted. That's just not going to happen.

You have to also keep in mind that a VBIED is a rebel weapon of desperation. First of all, regardless of how cheap human life is to them, they still lose a head-chopper every time they send one out. Secondly, they often use these with little or no knowledge of how much damage they will do to loyalist forces. The powerful explosions look impressive on social media, but did they kill 500 SAA troops, or five? Or did they kill any at all? The rebels are completely dependent on U.S. drones and satellite imagery for intelligence. If they don't have coverage in that area, or can't talk to the U.S. war rooms, then they have little idea of where loyalist troops/equipment are concentrated at any given moment.

It's not as simple as watching enemy troops through binoculars and determining that hundreds of them have gathered in a conveniently-located building. Same reason U.S. and Russian close air support is of limited effectiveness (for the effort involved): the enemy does not advertise where it's headquarters or troop concentrations are and neither side has that great of intelligence. Each side get's lucky at times, but it's effectiveness is very hit-and-miss.

The SAA and allies are probably defending themselves against VBIEDs the best way anyone can given their situation: bulldozed earthen berms when that's possible, otherwise continue a war of attrition along with resource/territory denial against the head-choppers. In the mean time, the U.S. will continue to send truckloads of bulk explosives to their head-choppers because it's the easiest/cheapest way - besides bullets - to kill Syrians.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 7 2016 21:38 utc | 83

Maybe having all the hardcore takfiris in a small well-delimited space is an ideal opportunity to go Full Grozny and simply level the place? There are no civilians there so that constraint doesn't apply. It would also put a serious dent in the whack-a-mole problem - an apparently endless supply of wahhabists.

Posted by: Yonatan | Aug 7 2016 21:42 utc | 84

@ PWIV That's why I do not understand why SAA and her allies have had so poor intelligence wrt to transfer of weapons for the AngloZio terrorists.

The first thing that comes to mind when you fight against much better quipped adversary (in terms of "personal artillery") is to ambush them and take over their weapons. And this has been done in history of warfare, mostly be guerrillas fighting occupying armies.

By now SAA, NDF, Hizbollah, militias should have mastered that tactic. But I almost have not heard about such successful operation against the terrorists in Syria. Either their recon/intelligence is so weak, or something else mysterious plays a role here... (Veterans Today claimed that with current satellite military tech you can detect molecules on the ground from space)

Posted by: ProPeace | Aug 7 2016 21:51 utc | 85

@ Aug 7, 2016 5:42:27 PM | 87 Hush, hush... ;-)

Posted by: ProPeace | Aug 7 2016 21:54 utc | 86

The City of London Crown Corporation's brutish empire has been already preparing revenge against the Western peoples for empire's terrorist army expected defeat in the ME:

ISIS defeat could lead ‘terrorist diaspora’ to West – FBI — RT America

This is very thinly veiled threat announcing new GLADIO x 10.

Those people need to be stopped, asap, with all means necessary.

You know their names: Satanyahoo, Clinton, McCain, Nudelman, Cameron, Soros, Adelson, Staviridis, Morrell (relative of Schlomo Morel?), Cheney, and their mercenary armies.

It's either them, or us.

Posted by: ProPeace | Aug 7 2016 22:04 utc | 87

Fars news agency has it that the headchoppers are getting logistical and personnel support through Idlib by way of Antakya in Turkey. If that is the case "Sultan" Erdogan will have some splainin' to do to Putin in a couple of days. The same source indicated that French intelligence has determined that 100 headchopper Wahabis and mercenaries are entering the fray on behalf of their NWO cause every week. Looks like the Turks are playing a very two-sided game.

Posted by: stickman | Aug 7 2016 22:05 utc | 88

@ Yonatan - as you rightly pointed out, let the Takfiri rats stick to their rusty trophies (let's face it...there was nothing too valuable in that decrepity artillery academy apart from perhaps a few dozen howitzers...) like flies, and then let the Tupolevs spray them with thermobaric "pesticide". In the meanwhile keep pounding all terrorist supply lines from Aleppo up to Idlib. And for the icing on the cake, get a formal agreement from Erdogan to seal the Turkish border...

Posted by: sirius | Aug 7 2016 22:15 utc | 89

Very hard to tell at present, but it is not inconceivable that the Wahabis were drawn in to their attack on the Artillery School complex by deliberately keeping the place relatively undermanned and thus vulnerable. If so, we could attribute that to Russian staff planners whose military forbears reversed Hitler's planned "Kesselschlacht" in the Battle of the Kursk Salient in the Summer of '43 by building defenses in depth and then allowing the Wehrmacht to attack in order to impose a massive defeat on the German army.

Russian agents, both Richard Sorge in Tokyo and the Rote Kapelle (probably including even some very high ranking Nazis), had thoroughly informed Stalin of the German plans. Even if the headchoppers and mercenaries are getting significant reinforcements by way of the duplicitous Turks they probably have suffered immense casualties in their current offensive. We should bear in mind that the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea in the Fall of '44 looked pretty dicey for awhile, especially when Kurita's heavies decimated the jeep carriers supporting the Leyte invasion. But when it was all over the Imperial Japanese Navy had it's back broken and from that point on remained as only a token force. This could be an inexact analog of what is currently happening in the Battle for Aleppo.

Posted by: stickman | Aug 7 2016 22:19 utc | 90

@ stickman - yep read that too on farsnews:
http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950517000982
And it's true that if Erdogan is really committed to a U-turn in Turkish foreign policy, then he should logically seal the border with Syria and stop the flow of terrorists - BUT - as it stands now, the country is still in the post-coup turmoil and it's not clear how much he still has a grip on the military units supposed to look after the border (and chances are many of these are still loyal to the Takfiri's cause especially if it coincides with the islamo-nationalistic aspirations of groups such as the Turkomans and the Grey wolfes - if you recall, the same folks who were complicit in the downing of the Su-24). So, expect the border to remain "porous" for a while until (and...if...) Putin & Erdogan iron out their new deal. Having said that, the Sultan has very narrow choices at the moment and will have to swiftly re-align himself on Russo-Iranian positions, or else face the prospect of another coup or a fully-fledged civil war....

Posted by: sirius | Aug 7 2016 22:30 utc | 91

As for a counter against VBIEDs, I'm no military man, not even close, but seems to me digging ditches, dirt walls, cement blocks, etc would create obstacles impassable for cars and trucks. I imagine you can place mines and booby traps in such a way as to make the poor cover for advancing infantry. I'm just guessing of course. Maybe there is a good reason why they don't do that.

Posted by: Lysander | Aug 7 2016 22:51 utc | 92

The US proxy forces surely had to mass to attack with so much force and surely had to use heavy artillery, etc. - Russia was and apparently still is unable to track any of this and powerless to attack it? Perhaps, as some have suggested, the idea was to lure the 'rebels' in and immolate them ...

Posted by: paul | Aug 7 2016 23:00 utc | 93

@42 harrylaw.. thanks for that..

paveway and yonatan.. thanks for your comments/links..

Posted by: james | Aug 7 2016 23:20 utc | 94

@ Paul - I would like to hope that the intent was indeed to trap and "immolate" (I prefer "vaporize" though!) the Takfiri rats, but even then it came at a dear price of men & material, since the SAA supposedly lost at least between 200 to 300 men when their defences were breached and terrorists started pouring into their positions. Let's not forget that for the SAA, chronically lacking manpower, every man counts and such losses in a single day are very high, while the Takfiris can still count on plenty of reinforcements as long as the border with Turkey doesn't get sealed. If and when Aleppo falls to Syrian government forces, the dynamics of the whole conflict are due to change radically; on the Eastern side it will be imperative to get control of Raqqa as well as the border with Iraq, while in the Southwest the focal point will become the Sweida province and the control of the border with Jordan. Let's not forget Jordan's pivotal role in not only allowing the training, staging and transit of foreign special forces as well as all kinds of anti-Assad "rebels" mostly emanating from Saudi Arabia. One fast-approaching day, King Abdallah will have to decide whether sticking with the Saudis & their US patrons was a wise decision...

Posted by: sirius | Aug 7 2016 23:27 utc | 95

@93 Grieved
You say: "There is a global propaganda war that the US is gradually losing."
MSM is on the side of US/NATO/TPTB so you never can win that war.
But maybe people look through that propaganda; we will see on the 8th of november.
The real war is extremely difficult. Can Russia really make the difference with all those Western-backed jihadist-camps in surrounding countries?
Again, the 8th of november seems decisive: The Evil must be stopped, only possible from the Source.

Posted by: From The Hague | Aug 7 2016 23:31 utc | 96

@ Sirius ~ Yes, Jordan too is complicit in this attempted takedown of the secular, nationalist and non-sectarian duly elected Syrian government. A revolution is probably long overdue there, but ideally not one of uber-Rothschild agent George Soros' "color" revolutions. Also problematic is the fact that the majority of the population in Jordan is Palestinian and if they were to take over the country the Zionists would then have their excuse to label the place "Palestine" and advance their longterm Rothschild scheme of genociding and/or expelling the Palestinian people.

Ironic, isn't it, that the Palestinian genome is 80% or so derivative of ancient Hebrew DNA while most Israeli Jews happen to be of various national and tribal bloodlines which converted to Judaism and now consider themselves the Chosen People=Master Race.

Posted by: stickman | Aug 7 2016 23:37 utc | 97

Must be @73 Grieved
Sorry, It's late here..

Posted by: From The Hague | Aug 7 2016 23:37 utc | 98

Great post at http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/08/05/the-elective-affinities-of-hillary-clinton/

Apologies if it's already been linked.

Posted by: nothern spudski | Aug 7 2016 23:43 utc | 99

Great post at http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/08/05/the-elective-affinities-of-hillary-clinton/

Apologies if it's already been linked.

Posted by: nothern spudski | Aug 7 2016 23:43 utc | 100

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