Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 13, 2017

Syria Summary - The End Of The War Is Now In Sight

A look at recent developments in Syria. [Updated below June 14 1:00am EDT]

Source: Al Watan Online - bigger

The most important change over the last days was the Syrian government forces move (red areas and arrows) in the south-east towards the Iraqi border. The original plan was to retrieve al-Tanf further south-west to secure the border crossing of the Damascus-Baghdad highway there. But al-Tanf was occupied by U.S., British and Norwegian invaders and some of their proxy forces (blue). Their airplanes attacked Syrian army convoys when they approached. The U.S. plan was to move from al-Tanf north towards the Euphrates river and to thereby capture and control the whole south-east of Syria. But Syria and its allies made an unexpected move and prevented that plan. The invaders are now cut off from the Euphrates by a Syrian west-to-east line that ends at the Iraqi border. On the Iraqi side elements of the Popular Military Unites under the command of the Iraqi government are moving to meet the Syrian forces at the border.

The U.S. invaders are now sitting in the mid of a piece of rather useless desert around al-Tanf where their only option is to die of boredom or to move back to Jordan from where they came. The Russian military has made it very clear that it would intervene forcefully should the U.S. attack the Syrian line and move further north. The U.S. and its allies have no mandate to be in Syria in the first place. There is no justification or legal ground for them to attack any Syrian units. Their only option now is to retreat.

The U.S. move into al-Tanf was covered by an attack of U.S. proxy forces in the south-west of Syria. A large group of "rebels", which include al-Qaeda elements and is supplied from Jordan, moved to take the city of Deraa from Syrian government control. It was hoped that this attack would divert Syrian forces from their move east. But despite the use of suicide bombers the attack on Deraa failed to overwhelm the strong defenses of the Syrian forces. It did not provide the necessary diversion. The Syrian position in Deraa was reinforced by units from Damascus which are now attacking the U.S. proxy gangs. Significant progress was made today in the southern suburbs of Deraa and the Syrian army attack will likely continue the move until it has reached the Jordanian border.

The U.S. plans in south Syria, in the west as well as in the east, have failed for now. Unless the Trump administration is willing to invest significant more forces and to openly and against all laws wage war on the Syria government and its allies the situation there is contained. The Syrian forces will over time recapture all the (blue colored) land in the south that is currently held by the various U.S. proxies and other terrorist groups.

In the north-west the Takfiri "rebel" groups are concentrated around Idleb and further north. These groups are sponsored by Saudi, Qatari and Turkish money. The recent spat between Qatar and other Gulf states has throw the Idleb situation into further chaos. Saudi sponsored groups are now fighting Qatari and Turkish sponsored groups. These conflicts come on top of other animosities between al-Qaeda aligned forces and those of Ahrar al-Sham. The Syrian government forces keep the province surrounded and Turkey in the north has kept its border mostly closed. The Takfiri "rebels" in Idleb will cook in their own juices until they are well done and completely exhausted. Eventually government forces will move in and destroy whatever is left of them.

In the center of the map the Syrian army (red) arrows are pointing towards the central desert areas held by ISIS forces which are retreating towards the east (black arrows). Moving simultaneously from the north, west and south the Syrian government forces make fast progress with several kilometers of ground retaken each day. During the last month 4,000 square kilometers and over 100 settlements and towns have been recovered. Within a few weeks they will have recovered all the (brown) ISIS held areas up to the Euphrates river line and the Syrian-Iraqi border.

Russian military bridging equipment recently started to arrive in Syria. It will be needed to cross the Euphrates and to recover the areas north of it.

Meanwhile U.S. supported Kurdish forces (yellow arrows) are attacking the ISIS held city of Raqqa. The Russian military command claims (video) that the Kurds and the U.S. made a deal with ISIS to let its fighters leave Raqqa towards the south and east. The fast progress the Kurds are making in taking the city supports that claim. There seems to be barely any Islamic State resistance left.

All ISIS forces left in Syria, those coming from Raqqa as well as those from the desert areas, are moving east along the Euphrates towards the city of Deir Ezzor. There as many as 100,000+ government aligned civilians and a Syrian army garrison have long been surrounded by ISIS forces. The besieged people are supplied by air drops. The Syrian military garrison has long held off the attacking ISIS forces. But with thousands of new Islamic State forces coming towards the city the government troops are in real danger of getting overwhelmed. Reinforcements must be flown into the city to keep ISIS off and to prevent a very large massacre. A much better alternative is a relief line on the ground. But the Syrian army race towards the city had been delayed by the U.S. shenanigans in the south. A new large ground move of government forces towards Deir Ezzor is in preparation. One can only hope that they arrive in time.

Qatari, Saudi and Turkish proxy forces, directed by the CIA, have waged a six year long war against Syria and its people. With Qatar and Turkey now in opposition to the Saudis and their U.S. allies, the gang that attacked Syria is falling apart. The Islamic State is shrinking fast and nearly defeated. The U.S. attempt to gain ground in the south has been stopped. Unless the U.S. changes tact and starts a large scale attack on Syria with its own army forces the war on Syria is over. Many areas still need to be recovered by Syrian forces. Terrorist attacks within the country will continue for several years. The wounds will take decades to heal. Negotiations will have to be held over areas in the north now under Turkish or U.S. (proxy) control. Further settlements will have to be reached. But the large scale strategic war against Syria has for now ended.

No one has won anything. The Kurds, which for while looked like the sole winner of the war, have just thrown away their gains.

The U.S. supported Kurdish forces of the YPG made the lunatic error of openly asking for support from Saudi Arabia. The anarcho-marxists of the YPG, always proudly showing off their feminism, are suddenly bowing down in front of the medieval Wahhabi nutters. They thus ruined their appearance of being a progressive leftist force. This move will reinforce Turkish and Syrian, Iraqi and Iranian animosity and hostility against them. All political advances they made during the war by staying mostly neutral between "rebels" and the Syrian government is now in jeopardy. The move is crazy. The Kurdish held area is completely surrounded by more or less hostile forces. U.S. or Saudi support for the land-locked and encircled Kurdish enclave is not sustainable over any longer time-frame. The Kurds have thus again demonstrated that they are their own worst enemies in their striving for a (semi-)sovereign Kurdish state. They will be thrown back into their original areas and again be folded up into the Syrian state.


Secretary of Defense Mattis was questioned in Congress yesterday about the situation in Syria. There is no transcript yet but here are some tweets from a Stars & Stripes journalist who attended:

Tara Copp‏ @TaraCopp - 3:11 PM - 13 Jun 2017

#SecDef Mattis says "pro regime" forces that have moved into S. Syria near #AnTanf base are actually #Russian 1/2
#SecDef Mattis: "I did not anticipate that the #Russians would move there (near At Tanf.) ... it was not a surprise to our intel people."

The U.S. had claimed that the Syrian government aligned forces moving towards al-Tanf were "Iran backed" or "Iran led". Now the Secretary of Defense says that was a lie. They were Russians allied with the Syrian government. The Russians certainly do not take their orders from some Iranian generals. It is no wonder than that the Russian command issued strong warnings against any attacks on these forces.

Mattis also exposes that he is incapable of strategic thinking. He really believed that Russian would not move to al-Tanf to cover for their Syrian comrades? It has been clear your months now that the Russians are all-in in Syria. They will not let the Syrian government fall to make nice with Mattis or Trump or anyone else. The strategic issue for them is clear and has been for a while. They will fight. They said so. It was utterly stupid to believe anything else.

Al-Tanf is a tactical issue but the U.S. military elevates it to a strategic one. This is clearly not justified. We have to ask again what the possible gains for the U.S. are from defending that place in the empty desert. There is none to be had but defending it out of "principle" could evidently start a much bigger war.

[T]he Tanf garrison is now surrounded by hostile forces. The U.S. forces in the area would have to fight through regime positions to get to al Bukamal, further risking escalation.

What now? Is the United States prepared to protect these forces in perpetuity? Will the U.S. provide air cover for forces that clash directly with regime allied assets outside of the 55-kilometer zone? Did the previous three strikes prompt a counter-escalatory act that undermined U.S. interests? Sadly, the answer to the last question is yes.
Strategy should drive tactics when it comes to handling Iranian-backed elements in Syria, not the other way around.
The United States has the capability to defend a garrison in the Syrian desert. However, the reasons for doing so are devoid of any purpose, making a simple cost benefit analysis all but impossible.

That insight has obviously not yet reached the Defense Department and the U.S. command on the ground. The local U.S. commander moved a U.S. HIMARS long-range artillery system from Jordan to al-Tanf. HIMARS has a range of 300 kilometers. It makes no difference from a tactical perspective if its fires from Jordan or from al-Tanf in Syria some 12 kilometers east of the border line. It is a symbolic move to "show flag" in al-Tanf but it exposes the system to a legitimate attack by Syrian, Russian and Iranian forces.

As Secretary of State Tillerson rightly said: The U.S. has no legal authority to attack Syrian, Iranian or Russian forces. None at all. It is invading Syria with no legitimate reason. Syria, in contrast, has the legal authority to throw the U.S. troops out.

To move the HIMARS to al-Tanf is utterly stupid grandstanding. It is high time for Washington to shut such nonsense down.

Posted by b on June 13, 2017 at 18:53 UTC | Permalink

next page »

excellent overview b.. thanks!

count on the usa/uk/ksa and fellow isis supporters to cook up a few other ways to make hell for the people and land of syria... these fuckers don't give up easily..

Posted by: james | Jun 13 2017 19:13 utc | 1

nice to see some fresh kurdish faces as propaganda outlets for the usa/uk... yeah, siding up with saudi arabia is the way to go, lol...

Posted by: james | Jun 13 2017 19:15 utc | 2

Really the entire Middle East situation, everything there except perhaps Iran, is one gigantic mess that makes no sense. I know the Saudi's are running out of oil (peak oil for them). I don't know what the Israelis are trying to do, since they have little more than a huge dessert. When the oil runs out, the Oil Kings will no longer be able to provide their subjects with a miserable "basic income".

For the US, it really looks like "War Is Our Only Product". It would be much nicer if the Oil Kings would just cash in their chips and get out. But NO: They have to trash the whole place first.

Posted by: blues | Jun 13 2017 19:18 utc | 3
Still trying to present these guys as heroes.

Posted by: Mina | Jun 13 2017 19:44 utc | 4

Once Deir Ezzor is relieved its over for IS.. Idleb will be dealt with after. Much work yet to be done but b is right strategically speaking the Syrian "civil war" is over.. Alhamdulilaye & shukrân ya Râb..

Posted by: Lozion | Jun 13 2017 20:08 utc | 5

Thanks for the excellent reporting b.

I will believe your posting title maybe 6 months after the fighting has stopped.....but it is nice to continue to see progress against the empire aggressor.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 13 2017 20:20 utc | 6

Excellent report, but a bit too optimistic, I think.
The US will be forced to move North from al Tanf in order to connect their forces and create one large landmass consistent with the US plan to balkanize Syria and establish a giant safe zone in the east.
That means the possibility of a clash between Russia and the US is now greater than ever.

The Kurds don't really want Raqqa as part of their future homeland. It is just part of the deal they made with Washington. What they want is a contiguous state along the Turkish border.

In a reasonable world, the end would be in sight (as you say) Unfortuantely, this is going to drag on for some time.
It's not Syria's future that is playing out before our eyes, but the Empire's.
That's gonna take a while.

Posted by: plantman | Jun 13 2017 20:22 utc | 7

@plantman | Jun 13, 2017 4:22:05 PM | 7

Yes "a bit too optimistic, I think." Me too, the wars continue and "...drag on for some time."

Posted by: OJS | Jun 13 2017 20:28 utc | 8

Like James says, it ain't over yet. The west employs some sneaky and nefarious trickery and, when that fails, an all-out show of R2P fireworks. Let's hope that the Pentagon can rein in the CIA and Trump can see the writing on the wall and DO THE RIGHT THING, which is really the only option.

I feel like my understanding of the world and the nature of empires has come of age during the Syrian War. Much like the Iran-Iraq War, it has left generations of Arabs and Persians and Druze and Kurds utterly depleted yet, in the end, hopeful for their future, having, hopefully, defeated a great evil. It doesn't mean much, but one day I hope that I can visit Syria's Monument to their fallen and offer my most grave and sincere apology as a westerner.

May history continue to sing their praises and so let us always tell the truth about Syria.

Thanks to b, too, for laying the truth down with great care.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jun 13 2017 20:32 utc | 9

The operative word here is strategically-speaking..

Posted by: Lozion | Jun 13 2017 20:35 utc | 10

No one wants a Kurdish state in the region despite support from several fronts, and the Kurds are aware of this. The Syrian Kurds are in a very difficult position and not one that will be easily resolved, but they have a good negotiating hand, in my opinion. That their fate has been sealed on the basis of a tweet claiming support for Saudi (US ally) against Qatar (Jihadist financier (kurdish enemy) and ex-US ally) is stretching it ... Isn't it the case that everyone is being pressured by either the US or Saudi into showing support?

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jun 13 2017 20:46 utc | 11

As others have said... An excellent overview.. thanks!!!!

Pretty nice to at long long long last see all the facade drop away and see reality and the real situation come out in the open.

Posted by: Igor Bundy | Jun 13 2017 21:18 utc | 12

What food negotiating position does the kurds have? They hold the dams built by the Syrian state. The hold a lot of land which are not theirs only reinforcing the notion to most Syrians that the kurds are invaders. The kurds are almost the same number of other minorities in the area. And this is after ethnic cleansing the areas and driving off most CHRISTIANS from the area. If the kurds play with the dams, there will be open hostilities.. Other wise they will just sit there.. SAA just took over some of the most valuable oil and gas fields inside Syria. Syrian border guards left the buffer zone and there is hostilities between turkish fsa and ypg..

So where would kurdish children get their certificates from? How about government services.. aka passports.. crossing borders, trade, health care, transportation... unlike the oil stealing Iraqi kurds, syrian kurds have no income or the resources to sustain a state and they have a large arab contingency inside their so called state that they failed to cleanse..

Posted by: Igor Bundy | Jun 13 2017 21:31 utc | 13

This isn't quite correct: "Qatari, Saudi and Turkish proxy forces, directed by the CIA, have waged a six year long war against Syria and its people."

The Truth is this: The Outlaw US Empire waged a war of aggression against Syria by utilizing "Qatari, Saudi and Turkish proxy [terrorist] forces directed by the CIA" as its invasion forces in order to fulfill the longstanding Zionist Yinon Plan while also undermining Russia and China's Eurasian development operations in its pursuit of Unipolar Full Spectrum Domination. Every nation that supported the illegal invasion of Syria is guilty of complicity in the #1 War Crime--Waging Aggressive War--and owe Syria several Trillon$$ as reparations, while the main criminal cabal needs to be imprisoned for the remainder of their lives--although many would argue they deserve to suffer the fate of so many victims of their terrorists: beheading, immolation, or drowning. But just how far back in time do we assess guilt--GHW Bush, Carter's forming of al-Ciada, British creation of the House of Saud, Muslim Brotherhood and Israel, or ?

But I urge caution to those thinking Daesh will be destroyed in Syria as it's already moved Eastward. The Outlaw US Empire hasn't given up on its goal to establish Full Spectrum Dominance, which is why it will never leave Afghanistan unless forced militarily (barring regime change in Depravity Central). This article by Korybko provides good background on Daesh's most likely first target--Tajikistan,

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 13 2017 21:41 utc | 14

A remark: a "deal" to let the enemy leave the town is the standard feature of this war, and SAA uses it "all the time", most recently, in Maskaneh area as they were approaching Tabqa. It is a no-brainer: if you want to use the town, it is more valuable if it is not totally destroyed, destroying a town also consumes a lot of ammunition, and lots of lives, attackers, defenders and civilians. And it is slow.

It becomes more problematic in the context of the end game. ISIS fighters will need to be kept in prisoners' camp at least for few years, Vietnamese "reeducation camps" come to mind. Iraq, Iran, Syria and Russia are all afraid that Americans and allies want to recycle ISIS veterans into "democratically minded troublemakers". There is also a more immediate problem of Deir ez Zor. Syria needs all the desert south of Euphrates to have a stab at some territorial integrity.

Second remark: it is not like Wahhabi government of KSA is averse to working with Marxists. Their puppet president of Yemen was high in the hierarchy of the marxist party that ruled southern Yemen before the country was forcibly united. That said, it is not a match made in heaven. But KSA + YPG can nicely cooperate in smuggling weapons to Turkey, which is a nice ploy to close al-Jazeera. And if they are not totally pleased with each other, they do not have to be monogamous.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 13 2017 21:47 utc | 15

@12/13 Hi Igor & txs for your input. Though not a poster at syrper, I follow your and canthama's "in the field" posts..

Posted by: Lozion | Jun 13 2017 21:49 utc | 16

so...expect isis activities to increase outside the Syrian theater? say, England? I know there's a lot at play, but if there's a lull or end to the scare factor of isis due to defeat in Syria, and other countries are not yet ripe for the terror theater, seemingly random attacks of pure unmotivated heartless evil by islamics who have no history at all of prior cultivation by the west may be more useful.

Posted by: j | Jun 13 2017 22:24 utc | 17

@15 IS "re-education camps"? Dont count on it, after what IS has done to the Syriaq population (einsatzgruppen style), the SAA and allies (Russia included) will prefer more "special treatment" for that vermin..

Posted by: Lozion | Jun 13 2017 22:28 utc | 18

@17 Not sure about England. Jihadis have overstayed their welcome there even among multiculturalists. There will be the odd nutter no doubt but I'm sure armed security guys are itching to martyr a few more. The 8 minute response time at London Bridge will be cut.

Posted by: dh | Jun 13 2017 22:48 utc | 19

you make a good case for the 'victory' ... survival ... of syria, b. i hope you're right. i think the victory will come in the alliance of lebanon, syria, ira, and iran ... with luck kuwiat and qatar too ... as counterbalance to the twin genocidal, terrorist nations of israel and saudi arabia.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 13 2017 22:48 utc | 20

' But with thousands of new Islamic State forces coming towards the city the government troops are in real danger of getting overwhelmed.'

aerial bombing?!

Posted by: brian | Jun 13 2017 22:57 utc | 21

Igor Bundy | Jun 13, 2017 5:31:50 PM | 13

"How about government services.. aka passports...."

As a starter the Syrian not have ID or passport. Damascus denied them these documents.
So what would you do? They have every right to fight for its dignity. They way they pick and chose its (far away) allies is problematic to say at least. But there is not many choices out there. Many people do not like them because of their collaboration with Zio-Nazis from the West and Israel but the reality is they have no friend anywhere around.

Not sure that the war is over, what is over: Assad has survived but his wish of restoration of pre-war political framework is just wishful thinking. Even his own allies have different ideas of future Syria.

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner | Jun 13 2017 22:57 utc | 22

"...As a starter the Syrian not have ID or passport. Damascus denied them these documents. So what would you do? They have every right to fight for its dignity...."

Not the way I understand it - someone correct me if I am wrong, here.

Simple version: There were many non-Syrian Kurd economic immigrants in the early 1960's that were trying to settle in Syria - no different than the millions of illegal Mexican, South American and Asian immigrants in the U.S. today. A heavy-handed Kurd census by the Syrian government in 1962 attempted to identify legal Syrian citizen Kurds from illegal immigrant Kurds. That left about 20% of the (then) Syrian Kurdish population - about 300K - stateless non-citizens.

Many of those Kurds were, in fact, illegal economic immigrants - others were legitimate Syrian citizens but couldn't prove it. But no documented Syrian Kurds were 'stripped' of their Syrian citizenship or refused passports or IDs merely because they were Kurdish. A couple of million Kurds were recognized as legal Syrian citizens in 1962.

Syria made a sort of botched effort in 2011 to rectify the problem for the legitimate Syrian Kurds (of the 300K) previously considered undocumented, but the status of only a few thousand was ever settled. Far more needs to be done. Despite that, there are still several hundred thousand or more illegal Kurdish immigrants inside Syria today that Syria had no legal obligation to grant citizenship. A moral obligation perhaps, but that's up to the Syrian people to decide.

It was western MSM that painted this as widespread Kurdish oppression by Assad's cruel regime, denying any and all Kurds their Syrian citizenship. The same western MSM that is shocked that Trump won't automatically declare citizenship to the eight million or so illegal, undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S.

The west has also exaggerated the Kurdish rights issues by repeatedly saying that Kurds could not use Kurdish or teach in Kurdish in schools. This is no different than Spanish-speaking immigrants in the U.S. demanding that schools teach them in Spanish and all government services be made available to them in Spanish because that's the language they want to speak, not English. Kurds were never prohibited from opening their own schools and teaching their kids in Kurdish. They wanted the Syrian government to provide these services and the Syrian government refused.

Syrian Kurds DO have a lot of legitimate grievances with the Syrian government, but those are different from the problem of immigrant non-Syrian stateless Kurds. The U.S. will have every right to bitch about Assad when we 'solve' the exact same problem that eight million stateless U.S. residents have today.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jun 14 2017 0:50 utc | 23

Thanks for the overview, b. The pacing of your commentary, as one follows the steady movements and relocations on the map, invokes a cadence that surely must echo the planning staffs at their own maps, day and night through the desperate years and the more recent months of growing confidence.

This is the steady pacing that was always called for whenever a commenter in some thread on some site would say that Russia should just jump in and do X, or that Syria should do Y. The fact is there's a lot of ruin in a nation, and it takes time to bring it down. Conversely, there's a lot of ground to recover to bring it back up. It has all taken time and diligent planning, coupled with scrupulous allocation of scarce resources.

The Russians have brought in Euphrates-spanning bridging equipment - one wonders how long ago the RF military earmarked that equipment to be ready for this approximate date. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all learn to be equally patient as we watch the Zionist empire crumble, even as we earnestly cheer on the good guys in each battle along the way? There's a lot of ruin in a Zionist empire too - it will take some time to reach the ground, and the slower the better, in many ways.

Defeat can happen in an instant. Victory takes a lot of patience. This, to me, is the lesson of Syria.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 14 2017 1:02 utc | 24

The proudest American Syrian that ever lived...Khalil Gibran, the great writer and artist. From heaven he is saying, "March on Syrian soldier and take back our mother land from the isis invaders. Stop the US, Saudi, Israeli, Jordanian, Turkish, Qatari, French, and English promoters of human genocide against people who have hurt no one." God Bless Syria whose people gave the world language and letters.

Posted by: charles | Jun 14 2017 1:25 utc | 25

karlof1 @ #14

". . . . Depravity Central . . ." Hahaha Love it !! & I'm stealing it !! (if you don't object. What a very apt name for D.C. Thus it is to be known henceforth in all proclamations !!

Thank you Karlof1

As always b a thoughtful overview of the situation. For anyone interested here's a link to a Russian video showing President Bashir al-Assad walking (seemingly without bodyguards) around Damascus & being greeted by everyone. Even our Prime Monster in New Zealand doesn't move around without at least a couple of Diplomatic Protection Squad thugs.

Posted by: KiwiCris | Jun 14 2017 1:48 utc | 26

@9 NemesisCalling.. thanks.. i wouldn't be very hopeful that the pentagon will rein in the cia.. the good cop/bad cop type routine has been going on thanks the usa for a very long time... in fact, i believe that is how an important part of the usa dance works..

@13 igor.. i think the thinking is that the us-israel-ksa and etc gang of thugs have convinced the kurds of a homeland between turkey and syria.. that is how they will be provided with the legal necessities... from my own pov - that ain't going to happen, unless usa ups the ante here and goes all in for all it's friends ( israel/ksa etc), at which point anything is possible..

@14 karlof1.. good comments as always karlof1.. thanks

@15 piotr.. yes - that is a standard deal that syria has used, but they have been transparent about it! with the usa kurds making a deal with isis to go over to deiz ezzor, there is no, and i mean no transparency whatsoever.. that is the dig difference here.. if the usa/ksa and all their hobo friends could admit that are interested in using isis as a battering ram to tear syria apart, but of course there is never any acknowledgement of any of this.. it was clearly an accident when obama admitted just this a few years ago... he was off script.. the msm never mentioned a thing!

@23 paveway.. thanks for your posts and highlighting the duplicity of the wests position in so much here... to quote you: "It was western MSM that painted this as widespread Kurdish oppression by Assad's cruel regime, denying any and all Kurds their Syrian citizenship. The same western MSM that is shocked that Trump won't automatically declare citizenship to the eight million or so illegal, undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S.

The west has also exaggerated the Kurdish rights issues by repeatedly saying that Kurds could not use Kurdish or teach in Kurdish in schools. This is no different than Spanish-speaking immigrants in the U.S. demanding that schools teach them in Spanish and all government services be made available to them in Spanish because that's the language they want to speak, not English." bang on..

@24 grieved.. bang on comments.. i fully agree with your view shared..

Posted by: james | Jun 14 2017 2:06 utc | 27

For those that hoped the US would sit quietly as SAA troops moved eastward.

CNN: Long range artillery rocket system HIMARS positioned at Tanif.

Posted by: wwinsti | Jun 14 2017 3:12 utc | 28

Thanks b. I'm only sure of one thing. The Western Empire, with their sycophants, will not accept a sovereign Syria aligned with Russia. I hope you're right, and this illegal attack on the Syrian people will end with Syria recovering her sovereignty.

Posted by: ben | Jun 14 2017 3:23 utc | 29

@4 Mina

Speaking of presenting terrorists as heroes this is the image for a Brookings Institution course on ISIS. Can you imagine them or another "think" tank promoting a course on Hezbollah or Liwa Al Quds with such a positive image?

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Jun 14 2017 4:11 utc | 30

Thanks for the excellent full spectrum roundup, b.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 14 2017 4:14 utc | 31

@Igor Bundy | 13
You misunderstand, I am not suggestimg that they are going to negotiatie a state. They are in a good position to argue for greater self-governance within a Syrian state. Whatever form this takes is yet to be seen, there are many different examples around the world.
What is fundamental is that unless the Kurdish question is resolved, and it is a complex one with different requirements in different regions, there can not be any peace in the region.

As for others' comments about the exaggeration of the situation of the Kurds, there is an entirely duplicitous and manipulative commentary on the kurds depending on which 'region' is being covered. However, denouncing this coverage of the Kurdish isuse as propaganda does not equate with there beimg no Kurdish issue - whichever region you look at!

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jun 14 2017 4:31 utc | 32

"This is no different than Spanish-speaking immigrants in the U.S. demanding that schools teach them in Spanish"
It is fundementally different historically and currently.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jun 14 2017 4:34 utc | 33

Thank you for another great update b.

Questions regarding Raqqa:

who are the communities that live there?

Will they welcome the Kurds after liberation having control ?

Is it likely that after living under ISIL/ Al quaeda how likely is it that they will welcome coming back under the govt control?

Posted by: James | Jun 14 2017 5:06 utc | 34

Kurds gambling for a State is not the same as "thrown away their gains". What was the R+6 offer?

And the Kurd alignment with USA-Sunnis seems to have been in the works for some time so its not accurate to say that they "are suddenly bowing down".

For more: Kurds Join Anti-Iranian Alliance: The Devil is in the Details

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 14 2017 6:10 utc | 35
Fatemiyoun Brigade Forces Deployed at Syrian-Iraqi Borders

Posted by: Niawaran | Jun 14 2017 7:48 utc | 36

re 32

What is fundamental is that unless the Kurdish question is resolved,
This is utter balls. There is no Kurdish question to resolve. In Syria, that is. They're a minority community with no local resources. Like all minority communities, they want more autonomy. That's been agreed by the government in Damascus quite a while ago, at least 2015, when they were planning in Iraq to do the same as in Syria. It's not only the Kurds, there's the Druze too, to think of another geographically cohesive community, and no doubt others. Devolution of budgets was agreed to.

Just because you're a protagonist of the Kurds in Turkey, and in your view they can do no wrong, doesn't mean that the Kurdish position in Syria is the same.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 14 2017 7:54 utc | 37


Relations between Kurdish people in Syria and the Syrian government are not as simple as you state. From 2011

Syria's Assad grants nationality to Hasaka Kurds

The decree comes after he tasked a committee with examining the census of 1962 which was responsible for depriving some 120,000 Kurds in Hasaka - 20% of the total - of their citizenship.

update from 2016 Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion

The decree ..... however, makes no mention of the second category of stateless Kurds: some 150,000 maktumeen [meaning ‘concealed’] who were excluded from its provisions.

From Wikipedia

As a result of government claims of an increase in illegal immigration, the Syrian government decided to conduct a general census on 5 October 1962 in the governorate with claims that its sole purpose was to purify registers and eliminate the alien infiltrators. As a result, the verified registrations of the citizens of Syria were included in the new civil registers. The remaining, which included 100,000 Kurds, were registered as foreigners (or "ajanib") in special registers.[82][85] Many others did not participate in the census through choice or other circumstances; they are known as "maktoumeen", meaning "unrecorded".[85] Since then, the number of stateless Kurds has grown to more than 200,000.[86] According to Refugees International, there are about 300,000 non-citizens Kurds in Syria; however, Kurds dispute this number and estimate about 500,000. A recent independent report has confirmed that there are at least 300,000 non-citizens Kurds living in Syria.[85]

Add to that arabization policies in the 1970's.

It is an issue. But Kurdish identity is difficult. I doubt that the 800.000 Kurdish people living in Germany plan to return to any Kurdish state whereever that might be.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 14 2017 8:33 utc | 38

" But with thousands of new Islamic State forces coming towards the city the government troops are in real danger of getting overwhelmed." (Deir Ezzour)

Why let them reach the city? Can`t the Russians attack them like they would attack the US?

"The Russian military has made it very clear that it would intervene forcefully should the U.S. attack the Syrian line and move further north."

Posted by: venice12 | Jun 14 2017 8:44 utc | 39

"What is fundamental is that unless the Kurdish question is resolved, and it is a complex one with different requirements in different regions, there can not be any peace in the region."
You quoted half my sentence because it suits your uninformed argument
The key you omItted was "in different regions".
The rest of your comment ... Umdermined completely by your personal attacks. Cheers.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jun 14 2017 8:50 utc | 40

3 @blues anything that keeps the Arabs at each others throats is good for Israel.

Posted by: heath | Jun 14 2017 12:43 utc | 41

Compliment b UPDATE (14 June). The "Iranian forces" (general) leaded Syrian Army, the PDC, and HZB to linked up Syrian-Iradi border is none other than General Ghaassem Solaymaani, Both al-Masdar, especially Syrian Perspective provided details of the operations.

"...Sergei Lavrov, had a not-too-polite conversation with Rex Tillerson 2 days ago during which American interference in Syrian government plans was discussed. ... ..He warned Tillerson that the U.S. must stop encroaching on Syrian sovereignty and violating international law. Tillerson sent the message off to Mattis and we just saw the link-up with mostly pro-Iranian Iraqi militias take place.."

Anti Media stated Russia provided air cover.......

Posted by: OSJ | Jun 14 2017 13:25 utc | 42

ZeroHedge provide...."Video footage obtained by Al-Masdar appears to show convoys of ISIS fighters fleeing the Syrian city of Raqqa untouched by the U.S. military, which is currently bombing...."

Posted by: OSJ | Jun 14 2017 13:31 utc | 43

The Kurds are now attacking SAA forces in northern Syria.

Posted by: Aninymous | Jun 14 2017 13:40 utc | 44

@43 that is old footage from 2014 I believe. ZH should remove it.

Posted by: Nick | Jun 14 2017 13:41 utc | 45

@Nick | Jun 14, 2017 9:41:53 AM | 45

...AMASCUS, SYRIA (3:40 A.M.) – Al-Masdar News has obtained jaw-dropping footage from northern Syria suggesting the US-led coalition has allowed hundreds of ISIS vehicles to leave Raqqa city for areas controlled by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA)....

I'm not sure if it was from 04, it could be.....? There were countless vids from Liveleak and al-Masdar earlier but this vid cannot be verify.

Posted by: OSJ | Jun 14 2017 13:57 utc | 46

There is a strong Israel-Kurd link, encouraged by Kurdish Jews living in Israel, so there is no surprise that the Kurds align with the US/Israel/Saudi Ariabian state sponsors of terror.

Posted by: Aninymous | Jun 14 2017 14:02 utc | 48

Seems to me that the best time for Syrian Kurds to press for a deal on more autonomy is NOW. Once Assad has lined up all the ducks, he won't be as generous with the terms.

Posted by: Morongobill | Jun 14 2017 14:42 utc | 49

>>>> Nick | Jun 14, 2017 9:41:53 AM | 45

@43 that is old footage from 2014 I believe. ZH should remove it./blockquote>

Are you referring to this Liveleak video? If so it's a different event as the vehicles don't match, too many almost new Toyota Landcruiser 70s from the days before Russia cut off ISIS's revenue streams. Perhaps ZH should leave it where it is.

Posted by: Ghostship | Jun 14 2017 14:47 utc | 50

Closing Blockquote

Posted by: Ghostship | Jun 14 2017 14:47 utc | 51

One other possible reason for holding Tanf, has to do with oil. After Erdogans juicy side-line of "exporting" "ISIS" oil into Turkey, was shut down by the Russians a couple of years ago, it was mentioned that there was still a supply line "to Jordan". (It was not clear exactly where this passed.)
If you google-earth "Tanf" there are several large objects that look tankers at the Tanf crossing. (Google is politically biaised and may "change" the photos)

So, the road through Tanf leads up to the Al Busairi Junction (4-ways), where one road goes to Damascus, one other north and the third goes towards Palmyra, BUT south of the mountains. (The Syrian Gov, attack being along the north of the same mountain range.) This last road would have enabled tankers to circumvent Palmyra and go directly to ISIS held oil wells. (A bit of cross- country desert couls also be imagined)
In other words, By holding Tanf, the US, UK and Norewegians were deliberately permitting a supply line to and from ISIS. Oil one way and arms the other?
The Gov. now has control of the Busairi crossing and a much bigger area around Palmyra, thus cutting ISIS off.
End line of the oil route would have been Jordan and probably Tel Aviv.

Posted by: stonebird | Jun 14 2017 14:47 utc | 52

ISUS in Iraq and Syria,....US now manage their ending.
Does the US throw down to give ISUS some defined turf in say W Iraq near Jordan/Syria?...
Or does ISUS fall back into Jordan under US operations bases,
Fold into FSA and Sunni tribal locations Iraq.
.. move on to other Terror leverage operations US are running on
Terror Planet.
The MIC of numerous nations still have game on as Region chaos will
Afford future profits.
FSA with HIMARS strike Shia Militias? .
The Masonic game will want new Rules for the challenge.
IE. can't use Airpower and standoff weapons on defined zones.
Only missiles and artillery.
The rules for our new Era wars.....we saw some of them recently in
C'mon....Russia could kick the living @t outta ISUS.
Why they did not is the daily consideration.
Pondering this fact...I have noticed the historic game of the Masonic
MIC conflicts,revolutions and wars since the 1700s
US Revolutionary war with its Masonic Signature.
The Masonic Lodge has evolved into today's Corporations. .MIC
Great Banking powers like Rothschilds work both sides of conflicts and geostrategic tensions.
Basically....the Old Masonic game continues under new disguise

Posted by: Brad | Jun 14 2017 16:08 utc | 53

I wish I could be as optimistic as b.

Trump has given his Secretary of Defense carte blanche to distribute US Forces personnel as he sees fit as long as he is informed-afterwards. He has also given his theater Generals authority to respond ad libitum to any events.

In this case, and considering the propensity of these officers to wage war, any development can and should be expected.
Trump is in a bind when it comes to ceding to Russia's demands of non intervention against the SAA and allies and, at best, he will keep mum if his officers decide to shell the SAA again "because they feel threatened".

It would take some persistent exchange of fire before the escalation were to justify any Congress intervention. Therefore, sparks will fly, rockets will be exchanged. If the US defends Al Tanf either Bashar, the Iranians or the Russians will feel a few cruise missiles are justified.

Then there is the competition for Raqqa and there again, there is another possibility of a far reaching flare up of hostilities.

Once the MSM grabs hold of these activities, the war drums will be resonating all over with dire results.

So in theory the Syrian war is reaching its end or precipitating a larger , much larger, war.

Posted by: CarlD | Jun 14 2017 16:09 utc | 54

One wonders if the neo-cons realize that their non-stop attacks on President Trump have backfired rather impressively.

Mattis also exposes that he is incapable of strategic thinking. He really believed that Russian would not move to al-Tanf to cover for their Syrian comrades? It has been clear your months now that the Russians are all-in in Syria.

It appears that the main effect of badgering Trump into launching those cruise missile strikes back in March was to harden Russian resolve and make them assess the situation from a realistic military standpoint. Had they left him alone, perhaps the Russian's would have been caught off-guard.

Posted by: Chris | Jun 14 2017 16:28 utc | 55

A great hopeful post, b, thank you, however, as Yogi Berra, once said, "It ain't over til it's over". I found a Reuters article stating that "rebels" claimed they were expanding their presence including American troops along the Syrian/Iraqi border. If true, it's not good news, as the carnage will proceed, and things may very well get out of hand.

Posted by: Michael | Jun 14 2017 16:31 utc | 56

If we assume that Uncle Scam is a dog being wagged by its Israeli tail (and I do, as DC is Israeli occupied territory), then it becomes clear that the tail *cannot* allow the Axis of Resistance to win this war, as a war-hardened Shi'a Crescent from Iran to Lebanon controlled by Tehran prevailing is an existential threat to the parasite state.

On the other hand, the Israeli controlled hegemon's victory in Syria would also pose existential threats to the Syrian people, to Hezbollah, to Iran, and not least, to the Russian Bear.

Therefore, it will be a fight to the death, which means escalation to Nuclear Kingdom Come.

Nuff Sed

Posted by: Nuff Sed

Posted by: Nuff Sed | Jun 14 2017 17:17 utc | 57


No, i was clearly referring to that 3:31 length video on ZeroHedge & AlMasdar, not the one of an ISIS convoy being escorted by the helicopter. It helps if you read before you post.

Posted by: Nick | Jun 14 2017 17:39 utc | 58

folks want to be optimistic.. but being realistic here, i can't see how the west backs down from it's position of overthrowing assad and anyone else that gets in the way of there redesign ideas in the middle east.. this fight might be different, but it looks to me like the usa-israel and etc. etc., determined to maintain the bs as justification for destroying whatever they don't want, while russia is intent on keeping intact as much as possible.. it is hard to know who has the edge, but the forces of destruction are not weak here.. even if isis mutates into the landscape, roll up their flags and go back to living where-ever they live - they still need money to feed their families, and they still probably will hold to the wahabbi death cult ideology and be able to inflct random murder and suffering on innocent people - heathen to them i suppose... the fact the west essentially supports these folks, while claiming the exact opposite is not known to as many people as i wish.. however, i think it is becoming more clear.. the accidental bombing of saa a year ago in deiz ezzor, and on and on, with the military camp at al tanf and etc. etc.. the wests intentions here are very clear to read and it is not about going after isis either..

so, how are they going to back down from this position? the only way is for russia/iran/syria and etc to continue to do what it has been doing here.

yeah, it might lead to ww3... seems like some in the west like this idea...

so, i guess i don't think this is over.. i think a complete redesign of the middle east is on tap in the next few years - 2020/2021, but we aren't there yet and it is a long ways to get their..

b has been predicting the end of the syria war for some time.. so has elijah jm who incidentally has a new article up from 2 days ago. i personally believe this thing is going to drag on for some time.. i wish i saw it differently, but i don't..

Posted by: james | Jun 14 2017 17:52 utc | 59

Quietly, with very little fanfare, the Chinese are influencing the unfolding of the region's future direction as this Pepe Escobar shines the light on, It seems China prefers to remain mostly hidden by the Bear's shadow. At some point, it must dawn on members of the Outlaw Empire's Deep State that there's absolutely no way they can win in Eurasia if they persist in their attempt to establish Full Spectrum Dominance.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14 2017 18:03 utc | 60

Syrian War Report – June 14, 2017: Govt Forces Break ISIS Defense Lines In Raqqah And Homs Provinces. Watch vid (1.08 minute..) and continue, US deployed high mobility artillery rocket system (HIMAS) anticipates engagement with Syrian army and its allies between Iraq - Syrians border.

It's hard to conceive the beginning of WW3. The ball now in Maddog Mattis court, will he take Russian FT Lavrov "not-too-polite conversation with Rex Tillerson 2 days ago"? However, Trump busy with AG Jeff Sessions testified before Senate Intelligence Committee...... Therefore it's not the end of Syrian war but the beginning of WW3?

Posted by: OJS | Jun 14 2017 18:16 utc | 61

I had an inspiration last night to brush up my research on Islamic Eschatology and it is startling how many of the minor signs of the hadith came to pass: Sedition starting in the Maghreb and coming to Al Sham, two banners fighting each other for control of Syria, etc. Next up according to the texts would be the coming of the Sufyani who would invade Syria from the south with support of the Kalb tribe (Palmyrene bedouins) take control of Damascus, suppress the Quays tribe, fight both the Turks & Rome (Russia is the 3rd Rome) and reign over all Syria. He would then move over to Irak and fight a great battle between the Tigris & Euphrates at Az Zawra killing 100 000 people (Deir Ezzor?). Next he crosses into Southern Iran at which point an army coming out of Kurasan bearing the black banner would fight and win againt the tyrant. These events would preface the coming of the Mahdi and other major signs of the End Times..

Looking at the actual context, if indeed the US/Israel/KSA faction cannot tolerate a sovereign Syria, a probable invasion route would be from Jordan and would explain the build up of forces near At Tanf. Incidently, Leith Fadel tweeted today that attacking Suknah east of Pamyra would be very hard because of strong pro IS support from local tribes (Kalb?). Moreover, it is interesting that Quassem Soleimani comes from Kerman province of South-East Iran, not part of today's Kurasan province but during the Umayyad & Abbassid era it was part of "Greater Khorasan". And who fights under him? Shia Hazaras from western Afghanistan also part of the Khorasan region of old. Now back to Alawites, though considered Twelver Shia, their religion is quite secretive and syncretic. No texts are easily found, I couldnt find anything on their Eschatology but I suspect there is a strong belief in their faith regarding the End Times and to their role in all of these events. Tin foil hat territory I know as PWIV would say, but I would invite fellow muslim barflies (mina?) amd others for their input of these strange connections..

Posted by: Lozion | Jun 14 2017 18:33 utc | 62

Seyyed Ali Khamenei is from Mashhad, the center of Khorasan and the spiritual center of Iran. May God give him strength.

Posted by: Nuff Sed | Jun 14 2017 18:53 utc | 63

OSJ@43, Nick@45, Ghostship@50 - The 'ISIS escapes from Raqqa' vid is fake (old), but it was sent to and published by AMN on purpose. Another piece of U.S. manufactured SDF PsyOp.

The ruse goes something like this: You have potentially negative news you want to make go away. You intentionally plant/publish some fake supporting evidence for that negative news. You then debunk the planted fake evidence and whine about how the original negative news event could never have happened and must be fake as well. If nothing else, you have sewn enough doubt so the original piece of negative news has far less impact.

You can guess where someone like Bellingcat fits into the above scenario (they have not touched this yet). It goes like this:

CENTCOM/SDF allowing/encouraging ISIS to leave Raqqa for SAA fronts in Palmyra or Deir EzZor. AMN publishes obscure recycled old video of some ISIS convoy as 'new'. It's used as evidence CENTCOM/SDF helping ISIS to escape Raqqa. Picked up by and then by ZeroHedge. Bellingcat eventually comes in and debunks video by pointing to original source with graphics for comparisons. Bellingcat then crows about Russian propaganda sites using fake video to make U.S./SDF look like they're helping ISIS Desired conclusion: Fake vid means ISIS convoys never left Raqqa, never 'allowed' to by CENTCOM/SDF and Russia/Syria are lying about attacking such convoys a few days earlier.

Neither ZeroHedge, AntiMedia nor Al-Masdar News (AMN) are doing anything nefarious here - they're just using a video that AMN obtained from somewhere. They have no reason to think it's not genuine. ISIS convoys are always good eye candy in Syrian war articles.

ZeroHedge article 'Authored by Darius Shahtamasebi via'
Video Emerges Of US Allowing ISIS Fighters To Escape Safely In Syria

AntiMedia article (title and author as noted above)

Al-Masdar News article by Chris Tomson from 12 June:
VIDEO: Humongous ISIS convoy allowed to escape Raqqa to fight the Syrian Army instead

And the 'jaw dropping' convoy vid AMN posted purported to be ISIS leaving Raqqa recently:
AMN source video

Here's an RT Arabic piece from June 23rd of 2014 with a snip of the same video - obviously not the original source. No idea where RT Arabic got it. I'm sure the Bellingcat sleuths will identify the original (with help from their MI6 handlers). There's only a second or two clip at the marked point, right after the chubby head-chopper shows us his mad PKM skillz:

I only cite the RT video to show you it is indeed old footage, but Bellingcat loves to 'debunk' fake propaganda using Russian media. "See? They're LYING - they're using their own video to make up a story about the U.S./SDF letting ISIS escape!"

I'll only add one other supporting piece of evidence that the ISIS escapes were allowed to happen on purpose by the SDF. Note that they (or more precisely, CENTCOM) has started their scorched-earth total destruction of central Raqqa before they closed the southern border. There are surprisingly few Kurdish casualties (relatively speaking) for the current assault - a sure sign that they are herding civilians and ISIS with Marine artillery and aerial bombardment rather than with ground assaults. Makes me wonder what the Arabs from Raqqa are thinking as they watch their city leveled and burnt to the ground to 'save' it, all while CENTCOM herds ISIS to Palmyra or Deir EzZor for more havoc.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jun 14 2017 19:06 utc | 64

No idea what happened to the old RT video link (broken) above - I'll try again:

from Regional concerns with serious expansion of "Daesh" at the Iraqi-Jordanian-Syrian border triangle

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jun 14 2017 19:13 utc | 65

@63 He indeed is, txs for the additional info. Keep it coming :)

Posted by: Lozion | Jun 14 2017 19:25 utc | 66


Excellent posts as usual... However, earlier have my doubt and added "but this vid cannot be verify" to covered my ass. I do not believe Al-Masdar and SouthFront or any sits me regular visits including cross checking are fakes like Bellingcat. Thanks. I like to believe this is the end of Syrian war rather the beginning of WW3. Too much innocent lives lost and my sincere wishes Dr. Assad and Putin prevail. It's not gonna happen!

Posted by: OJS | Jun 14 2017 19:46 utc | 67

thanks b, as always, priceless overview!

Posted by: annie | Jun 14 2017 19:47 utc | 68

I hope you are right, b. I hope you are right.

Posted by: aniteleya | Jun 14 2017 20:22 utc | 69

b's update: "To move the HIMARS to al-Tanf is utterly stupid grandstanding. It is high time for Washington to shut such nonsense down."

No, it is to keep open a corridor of invasion from KSA via Jordan..

Posted by: Lozion | Jun 14 2017 21:12 utc | 70

About the Kurds, if they had not fought Al Nusra and ISIS and free Syrian ground, one can not say what would have happened with Syria, in any case the end of the war would not be in sight. One might forget that the Kurds have also battled Al Nusra, with poor wapons and not help, in different cities and drove it out. They have supported a lot of casualties to free Syrian ground. The SDF was not alloud to liberate Al Bab and Jarablus out of pure strategy of the Syrian governement with no concern of the situation of the Syrians living there. So there is no reason at all to make that black/white picture with Assad as the great hero and the Kurds (and their Syrian allies by the way) as some quantité négligable one has to depreciate, in a opposite move of the well known and unjust action from the known countries who wanted to destroy Syria. This is out of reality and becomes reverse propaganda. The Kurds in Syria are Syrian by the way. About Raqqa : leaders of ISIS have command their fighters to go to Raqqa, their is no prove of any agreement with ISIS to leave Raqqa (what was indeed the case between Turkey and Isis with no fighting from Isis). Next to that the SDF would rather support more casulties among them to protect as much civilians as possible. On political level Kurds want an autonomy together with the other population in this part of Syria, Arabs, Syriacs. What is clear is that in order to free Raqqa the SDF became more dependent of the US and next to that they have had and still have a lot of harm from the Turkisch agression and the islamists payed by Turkey and Quatar. This explains the endorsement of Saoudi Arabia, though indeed one would prefer they dit not.So it would be far more sensible to consider that there is other valuable people in Syria than the one sighted position taken in the article and pushed up in some comments without grond. The story is more complex and would need a more fine analysis.

Posted by: Antoinette Dhooghe | Jun 14 2017 21:39 utc | 71

Iran may soon have a direct land access to Syria through Iraq. That is worrying the USA as they fear Iran will be able to supply Hezbollah in an easier way and the threat to Israel from a Iran-Syria-Hezbollah coalition will grow.
Therefore the US will try at all costs to prevent that by bombing the Syrian army and Iraqi-shia militias. Will Russia's warning be a deterrent? I doubt.
The war is not over.

Posted by: virgile | Jun 14 2017 22:09 utc | 72

After taking the Arak triangle northeast of Palmyra, SAA is one step closer to Deir Ezzor. An epic battle for Suknah seems imminent. The Tiger Force, having gained the Salimiyah-Raqqa highway and adjacent oilfields in western Raqqa are positioned to cut off the remaining ISIS forces in southern Aleppo and Hama from retreating towards Deir Ezzor. A drive from western Raqqa towards Deir Ezzor is not out of the question if ISIS goes all-in defending Suknah.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Jun 15 2017 5:08 utc | 73

Over the last 6 years, b has declared the war in Syria "Nearly over" approx 6 or 7 times.

Each time "b" makes such a declaration the war kicks off into a new phase of higher intensity.

Each and every time.

I'm not going to even bother providing any links to back up these statements because regulars here, and even b himself, will know it to be true even if they haven't got the level of honesty required to actually admit it (and few of them have)

I'm not sure what shape the new higher intense phase of this war will take, but there are lots of possibilities, especially with the US Military now setting up "training camps" (lol) in the south of Syria and openly running around looking to create provocations with both the SAA and the russians.

"b", could you please stop declaring the war "nearly over"?

Your predictive capabilities regarding when this war will end are provably 100% crap.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 15 2017 9:48 utc | 74

PS: other than that, "b" mostly does a good job.

On the micro level, the gritty details, he's often very good.

But on the meta level he's worse than useless, as invariably the opposite happens to whatever it is he just predicted.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 15 2017 9:52 utc | 75

I'm not going to even bother providing any links to back up these statements because regulars here, and even b himself, will know it to be true even if they haven't got the level of honesty required to actually admit it (and few of them have)


Posted by: just saying is full of shit | Jun 15 2017 9:57 utc | 76

PS: a mere glance at the map provided by "b" himself shows anyone with even the slightest understanding that this war is far from over.

If you looked at that map and then found yourself agreeing with b's "nearly over" statement, you should probably just give up on any pretence that you might ever have clue about military matters.

We in fact entered the new phase a week or two back when the US established/acknowledged its "training base" (lol) in Sth Syria.

Southfront recently reported that the US moved Heavy artillery near the vicinity of that base just a day or two ago.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 15 2017 9:58 utc | 77

like I said almost none of the regular commenters have the honesty to admit it, and the person at 76 doesn't even have the wit to recognise that

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 15 2017 10:00 utc | 78

A simple test of b's honesty, or indeed anyone else's for that matter, will be if they truthfully answer the following question

    "How many times, since 2011 has b predicted that this war is nearly over?"

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 15 2017 10:03 utc | 79

"winding down" is his preferred choice of phrase, if I remember

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 15 2017 10:05 utc | 80

OMG, constipation has clogged this blog...just sayin...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jun 15 2017 10:32 utc | 81

Japantimes provides MSM storyline that US is fighting "pro-Iranian government sponsored forces". Admits US has been outflanked but implies US is doubling down. Why expect anything else from the neocons?

U..S deploys mobile missile system to eastern Syria after being outflanked by pro-Iran forces near Tanf
JUN 15, 2017

BEIRUT – The U.S. has deployed a truck-mounted missile system to Syria, an official said Wednesday, to a forward operating group of rebels and U.S. military advisers that have repeatedly clashed with government forces.

The deployment raises the stakes in eastern Syria, where Iranian-sponsored pro-government forces have outflanked U.S. advisers and rebels holding the Tanf border crossing to establish their own link to Iraq for the first time in years.

They are now waiting for pro-Iranian forces to link up with them on the Iraqi side of the border, while preparing to march on Islamic State positions to the north, in the Euphrates River Valley.

Shifting the HIMARS missile system into eastern Syria from Jordan will give the U.S. a precise, long-range weapon to protect its advisers and allies in Tanf, and to attack Islamic State militants farther downfield. It has a range of 300 km (186 miles).

The deployment also insures that the military can protect itself from attacks in the area when weather would limit the ability of strike aircraft to reach there in time.

The Pentagon official requested anonymity, to discuss unannounced military movements.

U.S.-backed rebels were advancing north along the Syrian-Iraqi frontier, against IS militants, when pro-government forces cut them off with a flanking maneuver last week.

U.S. special forces operators are embedded with the rebels in an advisory capacity, the Pentagon says, though they have fought alongside their allies in defense battles. They hold two outposts in the desert region.

The U.S. central military command has said it remains committed to reaching and defeating the IS group in its strongholds along the Euphrates, beginning with Boukamal, 220 km (137 miles) northeast of Tanf.

Meanwhile, a U.N. investigative commission for Syria reported that last month’s “de-escalation” agreement has reduced violence in only one of the four zones included in the deal and has not led to greater humanitarian access to besieged areas across the war-torn country.

Underscoring the ongoing violence, a barrage of airstrikes and artillery shells pummeled different areas of southern Daraa province Wednesday, leaving at least eight people dead, including children, first responders and activists said.

A Western diplomat said that the U.S., Russia, and Jordan were holding closed door-meetings in Amman to halt the fighting between rebels and the government in southern Syria.

The three states are debating the boundaries of a cease-fire line between the government and rebels in what is hoped to be a comprehensive agreement that would delineate the control of border crossings with Jordan, the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.

In Geneva, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry told the U.N. Human Rights Council that fighting around the central province of Homs, near Damascus and in the southern city of Daraa has continued — despite the deal brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran in May.

Only in the northern Idlib province and western Aleppo has there been “discernible reduction” in violence, said the chair of the U.N. commission, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro.

Violence in Daraa has escalated, with some of the most intense bombing reported in recent weeks.

On Wednesday, activists and rescue workers reported at least 12 airstrikes and artillery shelling in different areas of Daraa, the southern province divided between insurgents and government forces. Syrian Civil Defense first responders, also known as White Helmets, reported airstrikes on a school that served as a shelter for displaced people in Tafs, in the province’s west.

Initial reports said at least eight people from the same family were killed, according to the first responders, who said the displaced had gathered at the site of the aftermath of an earlier strike nearby.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at nine. A video from first responders distributed on social media shows bodies strewn on the floor as rescuers search for survivors, lifting children out of the rubble amid wails from women.

“Whether it be the unrestrained use of airstrikes against residential neighborhoods, attacks against doctors and hospitals, or the use of suicide bombers that deliberately target civilians, fighting remains brutal in purpose and reprehensible in method,” Pinheiro said.

A map of the de-escalation zones and a mechanism of how to monitor them have yet to be released. Pinheiro said there has also not been any improvement in the delivery of humanitarian aid.

“In those areas more urgently in need of humanitarian assistance, the United Nations has only been permitted one humanitarian delivery in 2017,” he told the council. “Time and time again, warring parties and influential states have failed to capitalize on the opportunities presented by the respites from hostilities.”

Outside the four zones, Pinheiro said some 600,000 people remain trapped in besieged areas where many are subjected to daily airstrikes.

Posted by: Perimetr | Jun 15 2017 11:55 utc | 82

Sorry, didn't intend to post entire story. iPhone decided to copy the whole damn thing.

Posted by: Perimetr | Jun 15 2017 11:59 utc | 83

Over the last 6 years, b has declared the war in Syria "Nearly over" approx 6 or 7 times.
Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 15, 2017 5:48:25 AM | 74

No he hasn't.
This is the first time he's said anything resembling "the end of the war is in sight." I'm an overview sorta guy, not terribly fussed about day to day details, and b is always "too" careful when drawing conclusions about snippets of positive news.
You can't cite your 6 or 7 instances of b saying the war is "nearly over" because just ain't true.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 15 2017 12:10 utc | 84

Perimetr | Jun 15, 2017 7:55:47 AM | 82

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights; is that the guy in England?
If so, it makes you're whole post worthless...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jun 15 2017 12:14 utc | 85

V.Arnold, I consider the content of MSM news important if it illustrates what the Pentagon is planning, which in this case seems not to be admitting defeat at al-Tanf. I hadn't intended to include the crap at the end of the story, but sometimes when you cut and paste part of an article, the source has designed the site to include the rest of the article anyway.

Posted by: Perimetr | Jun 15 2017 12:36 utc | 86

I was happy to read b. I want to believe. When the Russians took up the stick I naively hoped but did not truly predict that 8 (!?) months to 18 or so would put paid to this particular régime change and vicious carnage - the Russkies would manage.. etc. - then it all dragged on for so long and my heart ’n head hurt so much I could not follow but one knows anyway.

About the Kurds being ‘repressed’ in Syria in the field of education/citizenship/public service it isn’t so imho, along the lines of Paveway and Laguerre above.

The ‘language’ issue is often used and manipulated not by the ppl who actually live the situation, but by outsiders who use the ‘language’ card as an ‘ethnic’ argument, to encourage separatism, victimhood, aggro, etc. This one natch has a long history reaching back to the bust-up of the Ottoman Emp. - Treaty of Sèvres, of Lausanne, 1920s - and I’m not knocking ‘auto-determination’ but really some aspects are minor.

‘Rojava’, other parts of ‘Kurdistan’ (see link about Iraq, education is big biz, don’t forget) do teach in Kurdish (of which there are different variants btw, Central Kurdish is an official language of Iraq, Northern Kurdish is mostly spoken in Turkey) to some degree but of course complaints fly about that too - not a useful language, everyone needs Arabic / Turkish/ English etc. Plus, the critcisms re. the ‘Kurd’ educ. system are the traditional ‘fixed society’ ones: learning by rote, passing up thru standard tests, lacking in self-study, motivation, interaction, innovation, creativity, etc. which doesn’t fit with the Kurdish position or aspirations. — I mean, in KSA this kind of mindless education is part of the society and comprehensible.

general info educ kurd iraq their site:

As for Syrian children / youth, their problem is not language or ethnic belonging or whatever but food and decent living conditions and any education at all.

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 15 2017 15:06 utc | 87

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 15, 2017 11:06:26 AM | 87

"any education at all"

Any education at all is a dangerous concept :-))

It is an illusion to assume all is well between the Syrian government and the Kurdish military representation.

This here are quotes from YPG, Salih Muslim

Muslim concluded by noting the weakness of the Syrian regime. "It depends on Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia, and it lacks the ability fight against the Kurds," he said.

"If Iran or Hezbollah should try to invade our areas, we will defend ourselves,” he affirmed, adding that they also have “friends” who might help them.

Henri Barkey, head of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center, who formerly worked at the State Department, suggested that the YPG was trying to “replicate” the experience of Iraq’s Kurds and the Kurdistan Regional Government.

The Syrian Kurds were trying to “get Americans to owe them something,” Barkey said.

"The YPG expects legitimacy from the US."

Posted by: somebody | Jun 15 2017 15:44 utc | 88

@74/78 just sayin'... see the last lines in my post @ 59...

@84 hoarsewhisperer... i think just sayin' is most right about that.. here is a quote from b from sept 2013 - it took me only a few seconds to find this one example, but i don't have the heart to go find other examples..
"Obama will now, slowly, reduce support for the Syrian insurgency. He will press Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to do likewise. As faster Syria agrees and moves to eliminate its chemical weapons as faster will Obama retreat from the war. U.S. media will soon turn to the budget fight and the NSA spying affair as the major news themes and the U.S. public will forget about Syria.

i am sorry i don't have the time to give you more examples... the general thrust of just sayin' comments on this are correct as i see it.

Posted by: james | Jun 15 2017 16:03 utc | 89

Posted by: james | Jun 15, 2017 12:03:08 PM | 89

I'd forgotten that example but agree that the optimism proved to be largely unwarranted. However the crux of Just Sayin's assertion is the 6 or 7 claim. Given the 'few seconds' it took to find 1 example supporting JS's claim, why not find another 5 or 6 and we'll see how many meet SP's "nearly over" benchmark?

Btw, you're talking to someone (me) who believes that the only ppl who never make mistakes are the ones who don't do much. So it's a bit early for James to run out of time/energy required to resolve what is, today, an unsubstantiated smear.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 15 2017 17:02 utc | 90

No he hasn't.

You can't cite your 6 or 7 instances of b saying the war is "nearly over" because just ain't true.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 15, 2017 8:10:48 AM | 84


Yes he has, he even put up a post about 4 or 5 years ago with the words "Syria War" and "winding down" in the very title.

This is the first time he's said anything resembling "the end of the war is in sight."

No it ain't. I predicted people like you would not have the simple decent honesty to admit this, and here you are proving me correct. I knew there were bound to be some people who would definitely play down the number of times he has made such pronouncements, but I really didn't think anyone would have the complete dishonesty to deny it outright.

I'm an overview sorta guy,

right now you look more of a dishonest sort of guy, tbh.

regarding your: Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 15, 2017 1:02:02 PM | 90

You're still lying but at this stage it is clear you have no intention of stopping so further back-and-forth is likely pointless

OMG, constipation has clogged this blog...just sayin...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jun 15, 2017 6:32:42 AM | 81

some people really hate the truth, don't you? Or were you referring to yourself?

b has been predicting the end of the syria war for some time.. so has elijah jm who incidentally has a new article up from 2 days ago. i personally believe this thing is going to drag on for some time.. i wish i saw it differently, but i don't..

Posted by: james | Jun 14, 2017 1:52:20 PM | 59

Thank you James for demonstrating a level of honesty completely absent with Hoarsewhisperer. Nice to see not everyone that comments here is as blindly dishonestly partisan, nor as willing to completely ignore reality, as HW.

"@74/78 just sayin'... see the last lines in my post @ 59...",/i>

Missed that before I posted earlier, otherwise I would have referred to it when I made my earlier post. My apologies for that.


As I said earlier, a one second glance at the map accompanying b's post is enough to tell anyone that the war is far from over. Personally I'm quite surprised that someone who claims a professional military experience, as b does (or claims to have anyway), can look at that map and declare that this war is somehow near conclusion.

Regarding Magnier - I have never seen what people see in him. Sure he makes lots of twitter updates, sometimes they even contain somewhat useful info, (which he got lifted from elsewhere) but his own analysis itself seems lacking and indeed I have not ever seen a comment or a post from him that made me think "this guy really knows what he is talking about and I should read more".

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 15 2017 17:23 utc | 91

So it's a bit early for James to run out of time/energy required to resolve what is, today, an unsubstantiated smear.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 15, 2017 1:02:02 PM | 90

little more needs to be said on the matter other than to reiterate james' comment

the general thrust of just sayin' comments on this are correct as i see it.

Posted by: james | Jun 15, 2017 12:03:08 PM | 89

He has demonstrated a level of honesty you are sorely lacking

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 15 2017 17:28 utc | 92

@90 hoarsewhisperer... i like you.. i suppose that doesn't matter here, as it is easy to slag others on the internet and i get that.. i offered one example.. i know from reading b that he has been optimistic that the war would end, and it isn't just the one example i provide... it is the same with the war in afganistan.. why hasn't the ''occupation'' as noirette rightly calls it, ended? there is a reason for this and folks including b must be able to consider this...

in fact the post that you attacked magoola for is also correct in pointing out all of this.. i am not into a fight here with you.. thanks..

Posted by: james | Jun 15 2017 17:50 utc | 93

He has demonstrated a level of honesty you are sorely lacking
Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 15, 2017 1:28:16 PM | 92

That's so long-winded, but a mountain of fact-free transcription and rhetoric is a disappointing substitute for 6 or 7 specific examples.
Have you looked in the Too Hard basket, or is that too hard too?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 15 2017 18:30 utc | 94


Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 15 2017 19:03 utc | 95

it is the same with the war in afganistan.. why hasn't the ''occupation'' as noirette rightly calls it, ended? there is a reason for this and folks including b must be able to consider this...

in fact the post that you attacked magoola for is also correct in pointing out all of this.. i am not into a fight here with you.. thanks..

Posted by: james | Jun 15, 2017 1:50:32 PM | 93

Interesting point you make about Afghanistan

See here for a probable answer

Unsurprisingly its also possible answer to the question "What's driving the US to demonise North Korea?"

Largest known rare earth deposit discovered in North Korea

And there's Rare Earths and Coltan in the Congo too - but we don't hear much about the Congo, despite the non-stop war there
I wonder why -

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 15 2017 19:14 utc | 96

@96 just sayin'.. that was another angle also mentioned on the afgan thread.. could be... i'm definitely not convinced it's the sole reason, but it could be one of the reasons.. i think these 'rare minerals' might be available in other places too, but it is an interesting tie in to why the us empire and wars happen in the places they do, like the congo as you point out.

Posted by: james | Jun 15 2017 19:36 utc | 97

China controls most of the world's supply of Rare Earths

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 15 2017 19:49 utc | 98


Posted by: Lozion | Jun 15 2017 19:55 utc | 99

Your reasoning is good -- the problem is you're not taking into account the insanity of the U.S. leadership and its "mad dog" military. They are also desperate to please Israel who doesn't want a connection between Iran and Syria. I'm afraid the U.S. is more than willing to insanely escalate this war.

Posted by: rcentros | Jun 15 2017 23:41 utc | 100

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