Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 19, 2017

Syria Summary - U.S. Attack Fails To Disrupt Push To Deir Ezzor

Our last summary said that the end of the war in Syria is now in sight:

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.

There are a few civilian lunatics in the White House who push for widening the war on Syria into an all out U.S.-Iran war. The military leadership is pushing back. It fears for its forces in Iraq and elsewhere in the larger area. But there are also elements within the U.S. military and the CIA that take a more aggressive pro-war position.

Yesterday a U.S. F-18 jet shot down a Syrian air force bomber near the city of Raqqa. The U.S. Central Command ludicrously claims that this was in "self defense" of its invading forces and its Kurdish proxies (Syria Democratic Forces - SDF) within a "deconflicting zone" after the SDF was attacked in the town of Jardin.

Those were lies. Neither is there any agreed upon "deconflicting zone" in the area nor was the town of Jardin held by SDF forces at the time of the attack. The attack was clearly illegal:

The U.S.[...] has no legal right to protect non-state partner forces who are pursuing regime change or other political objectives. There is no right of collective self-defense of non-state actors, ...

The Syrian government as well as witnesses on the ground refute the U.S. claims. The Syrian Observatory in Britain, often cited as authoritative about events in Syria, says no Syrian attack on the SDF took place. The U.S. jets attacked the Syrian one in support of Islamic State forces:

A regime warplane was targeted and dropped in the skies of the al-Resafa area [...] the warplane was shot down over Al-Resafa area of which the regime forces have reached to its frontiers today, and sources suggested to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that warplanes of the International Coalition targeted it during its flight in close proximity to the airspace of the International Coalition’s warplanes, which caused its debris to fall over Resafa city amid an unknown fate of its pilot, the sources confirmed that the warplane did not target the Syria Democratic Forces in their controlled areas located at the contact line with regime forces’ controlled areas in the western countryside of Al-Tabaqa to the road of Al-Raqqah – Resafa.

Here is an overview of the situation in south-east Syria:

Map via Peto Lucem - bigger

On the bottom left is the area of Palmyra on the right is Deir Ezzor, at the top is Raqqa. The dark areas are occupied by the Islamic State. A hundred thousand civilians and a small Syrian army garrison in Deir Ezzor is besieged by the Islamic State. The Syrian army is moving east from two directions to relieve the city. One thrust is from the Palmyra area along the road towards the north-east to Deir Ezzor. The distance still to go is about 130 kilometer and a major Islamic State held city, Al-Sukhnah, will have to be taken before the advance can proceed.

A second thrust is from the south of Raqqa.

UPDATE: The evil_SDOC aka Weekend Warrior created this excellent map of what reminds him of World War II "island hopping". The eastern Syrian desert has few inhabited places connected by roads which are of upmost important to control the huge areas in between. It shows the potential of the thrust axes and the importance of Resafa which was the focus of yesterday's incident.

Map via Weekend Warrior - bigger

[End update]

Raqqa is currently besieged by the U.S. supported Kurdish forces of the SDF. Those forces (yellow) have taken parts of the southern bank of the Euphrates around the city of Tabqa. The Syrian army is moving to the south of these forces from west towards the east. Its current target is the town of Resafa at the crossing of road 6 and road 42. If it takes the crossing it can move south-east along the major roads towards Deir Ezzor. It will also cut off a retreat route for Islamic State forces who are fleeing south to escape the Kurdish Raqqa attack. The distance to go to Deir Ezzor is about 100 kilometer and there are no major impediments along the way. Taking the crossing is immensely important for the relieve operation of the besieged eastern city.


Raqqa is to beyond the upper right of this detail map of the Tabqa area. The Kurdish forces are marked in yellow, the Syrian army in red. The Syrian army was moving very fast towards the east to capture the three-way crossroads at Resafa (mid-right on the map). A few hours before the Syrian jet was shot down it had already taken the town of Jardin:

Yusha Yuseef 🇸🇾‏Verified account @MIG29_
Breaking , SAA Tiger Forces liberate Jaadeen جعيدين village North of Al-Easawii South #Raqqa CS
3:36 PM - 18 Jun 2017

The U.S. killing of the Syrian jet occurred hours later:

Dr Abdulkarim Omar‏ abdulkarimomar1
International coalition drops a military aircraft to the Syrian regime in the Raqqa after bombing the sites of S D Forces In the Tabqa area
5:18 PM - 18 Jun 2017


Yusha Yuseef 🇸🇾‏Verified account @MIG29_
I can confirm that we lost Syrian Jet East of Rassafeh and Far of SDF Points
No more info if US do it
6:14 PM - 18 Jun 2017

The U.S. now claims that the Syrian jet attacked Kurdish forces in Jardin. But there were none left there when the incident happened. The town was already confirmed to be in the hands of the Syrian army. The Syrian jet attacked Islamic State forces near Resafa. The Syrian army was in the process of taking the town Resafa from the Islamic State and to reach the crossroad that would allow it to proceed to the ISIS besieged Deir Ezzor. The Syrian air forces jet bombed Islamic State forces in Resafa. The U.S. shot the jet down falsely claiming that it attacked its Kurdish proxy forces.

One can only interpret this as an attempt by the U.S. to prevent or hinder the Syrian forces from reliefing Deir Ezzor as soon as possible. The U.S. is, willingly or not, helping the Islamic State forces who are engaged in heavy attacks on the besieged Deir Ezzor garrison. The Russian government called the U.S. attack an "act of aggression" in "breach of international law" and in "assistance for the terrorists" of the Islamic State. It will halt its air space coordination with the U.S. operations command in Syria. Additionally:

In the areas of combat missions of Russian air fleet in Syrian skies, any airborne objects, including aircraft and unmanned vehicles of the [US-led] international coalition, located to the west of the Euphrates River, will be tracked by Russian ground and air defense forces as air targets,” the Russian Ministry of Defense stated.

If I were a U.S. pilot, I would try to avoid the area ...

Whatever the U.S. intent was it did not stop the Syrian army. Resafa has just now been taken (map) by the Syrian army forces. The shot down pilot, Ali Fahed, has been extracted from behind enemy lines by a team of the Syrian Tiger Force.


Independent of the events near Raqqa the Iranian Revolutionary Guard launched medium range ballistic missiles from within Iran on Islamic State forces near Deir Ezzor in Syria. The distance was about 600 kilometers. The launch was billed as revenge for the June 7 terrorist attacks on the parliament in Tehran, Iran. The missiles hit their targets.

The message sent with them was larger than just a pure revenge act. Iran demonstrated that it can reliable hit far away targets from within its own state. The Wahhabi Persian Golf states and all U.S. forces in the area will have to take note of this. They are not safe from Iranian retaliation even when no Iranian forces are nearby. Iran emphasized that it can repeat such attacks whenever needed:

“The Saudis and Americans are especially receivers of this message.” Said [Revolutionary Guard Gen. Ramazan] Sharif. “Obviously and clearly, some reactionary countries of the region, especially Saudi Arabia, had announced that they are trying to bring insecurity into Iran.”


As described in our last summary U.S. forces are occupying the border station of al-Tanf between Syria and Iraq in the south-east of Syria. The station and the U.S. trained Arab "rebels" there were stopped from moving further north by a Syrian army push towards the border with Iraq. From the Iraqi side militia under the command of the Prime Minister joined in and al-Tanf is now isolated. Several reports yesterday claimed that the U.S. has flown in Kurdish proxy forces from the north-east of Syria to defend al-Tanf. It obviously does not trust the Arab "rebel" forces it had trained for occupying south-east Syria. A few hundred Kurdish forces do not change the tactical situation. There is no reasonable use for those forces and the U.S. (supported) contingent will eventually have to move out and retreat towards Jordan.


Israel has long supported al-Qaeda "rebels" in the south-west of Syria near and on the Golan heights. This has been known at least since 2014 and the Israeli support was even documented by UN observer forces in the area. But somehow U.S. media "forgot" to report it and the Israelis were reluctant to comment on it.

That has changed. There is now a flood of reports about Israeli support and payments to "rebels" in the Golan next to the Israeli occupied parts of Syria. Few mention though that the forces Israel supports are al-Qaeda terrorists. There are also Islamic State groups in the area who "apologized" to Israel after a clash with Israeli forces. It is clear that Israel is now openly supporting the terrorists.

Someone is intentionally pushing out these reports. I presume that Israel does this in preparation of the political landscape for an even large occupation of Syrian land. The reports compare the Israeli maneuvers with the Israeli occupation of south Lebanon in the 1980s and 90s. They neglect to tell the whole story. The Israeli occupation of south-Lebanon led to the growth of Hizubullah and the eventually defeat of the Israeli forces. By the year 2000 they had to retreat from the occupied land and Hizbullah is now Israels most feared enemy. It seems that Israel wants to repeat that experience.

Posted by b on June 19, 2017 at 11:16 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Russia MoD posted this one minute ago.
...In areas of combat missions of Russian aircraft in the skies of Syria any airborne targets, including aircraft and unmanned vehicles international coalition discovered to the West of the Euphrates river, will be accepted in support of Russian ground and air defense as air targets"...

Posted by: anon | Jun 19 2017 11:28 utc | 1

RT is also carrying that story as well. Every time I imagine that this hellish war and ISIS scum has a chance of coming to an end with six months, something like this happens.

I guess the next form of posturing from the Russian side might be the downing of a US drone.

I really hope that this doesn't snowball...

Posted by: Out of Istanbul | Jun 19 2017 11:44 utc | 2

Another aggression by the US but what could you expect by an old sick f'ck warmonger like this as secretary of defence?

"James Mattis's Role in Fallujah & Haditha Massacre,"

Its time Syria get to buy russian air-defense, US will keep bombing - they're not sane, like what happens next week? They'll bomb Assad's palace?

And please look at the western media these days, and see the naked propaganda being typed when US once again bomb another country, illegally and then the western media backs it like the lackeys in the EU, Nato.
Shameful being from the west days like these.

Absolutely shameful!

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 19 2017 11:48 utc | 3

it does sound like russia is taking a hard line right from the beginning of this new, maddog stage of now open us aggression against syria. i can't figure the wsj and the israeli report ... maybe they are trying to sprinkle israeli pixie dust - anyone the israelis help are by definition 'good guys', even if they 'were' associated with al-qaeda - and al-qaeda are the ksa's boys, israel and the ksa are reciprocally new best friends now ... but i can't see anyone but the israelis 'believing' that ... just as i cannot see anyone but maddog 'believing' that us aggression is 'defense'. and not even sohr can believe it either.

the us is over the abyss and into the 'dark side' bigtime now, and openly so. will they send some targets for the russians to shoot down? and then what, if they do?

Posted by: jfl | Jun 19 2017 11:50 utc | 4

Anon @ 1 nabbed it before I did. Let's see if the Russians allow the US to weasel it's way back into another deconfliction agreement. Amannews hasn't backed off the reporting about the SAA and the SDF going at it full bore, with tanks and atgms in the mix, I'm still waiting for some confirmation on that one.

Posted by: wwinsti | Jun 19 2017 11:51 utc | 5


and i should add - with no effective civilian control of the us military at this point at all.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 19 2017 11:52 utc | 6


Thanks for the link. The other interesting part of the MOD announcement is that they are also resuspending the memorandum regarding flight deconfliction. The US will now be blind again to the Russian / Syrian Air forces operations. This will create a abit of panic I'm sure.

Posted by: Dean | Jun 19 2017 12:11 utc | 7


Quite stupid by Russia though to claim they might shoot down the planes now, if they dont, well then US will keep bombing
and if they do, then the snowball is rolling and Russia will get all the blame thus a conflict between Russia, US might occur, just like the ugly clientele at ISIS, Nato, EU wants though..

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 19 2017 12:16 utc | 8

@8 dean 'Russia will get all the blame'

russia will 'get all the blame' no matter what happens. has been getting all the blame for all the monstrous, inhuman acts of the 'us-coalition' since they cam to the aid of syria, at syria's request.

the rump will 'get all the blame' when the first american zoomie bites the dust in syria, having attacked the syrians in syria. why was that again? exactly? good opportunity to try out his 'you're fired' act on the maddog. see if there's still a few miles left in that one. the us is misplaying this, not the russians.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 19 2017 12:24 utc | 9

sorry, that's @8 anonymous

Posted by: jfl | Jun 19 2017 12:24 utc | 10

Anonymous | Jun 19, 2017 7:48:37 AM | 3

Its time Syria get to buy russian air-defense, US will keep bombing - they're not sane, like what happens next week? They'll bomb Assad's palace?

Wrong. That is exactly what the US military want the Syrians to do. As soon as the Syrians use it, the Pentagon will cry aggression and the western MSM will go along with it regardless of how ridiculous that will sound to any knowledgeable person. The United States has one advantage at the moment that no other country has - the ability to reset history - through their control of global media. The aggressive acts of the US military prior to Syria shooting down an American will disappear from the pages of history and the Washington Borg will get their war with Iran and its allies and the American public will go along because Syria shooting down an American aircraft is the next "Pearl Harbour".
Far better for the Syrians to ignore this aggression and get on and complete the task of liquidating the ISIS Caliphate as soon as possible and reveal the Washington Borg and its gangs of thugs as the ISIS supporters they are and allow them no reason to remain in Syria.
And stop thinking like most Americans do - you don't necessarily win wars by winning battles - as any businessman will tell you, you win wars by achieving your (political) objectives. The Washington Borg/United States' objectives are regime change in Syria and war with Iran and it's possible to ensure they achieve neither but picking a fight with the US is not the way.

Posted by: Ghostship | Jun 19 2017 12:39 utc | 11

Syrian forces do not need to take The ISIS forcs at Al-Sukhnah, it is trapped and can be blocked from both sides, but the desert needs to be cleared off some small bands of terrorists and tribal sympathizers.. Both forces are almost 50KM from DZ and some huge operations are now in progress.. Maybe to sweep any remnants of ISIS forces that can attack the flanks.

Posted by: Igor Bundy | Jun 19 2017 12:45 utc | 12

Might be they promessed the Jordanians for big refugee camps and 'land for the Palestinians' in this area. This was a topic of breaking up UN led negociations at some point.

Posted by: Mina | Jun 19 2017 12:51 utc | 13

Okay so this is understandable since the crews for the S300 just graduated and returned to Syria, The crews for the pantzir's also graduated from the Syrian academy and the equipment was delivered many months ago..

The big question is will Russia give the Syrians the ok to shoot unauthorized aggressor planes inside its air space.. Which means anything that is not supposed to be there.. What about tanif? Since the US like Israel uses missiles to attack a target and not bombs which also means they can hit targets inside Syria from upto 100km outside...

Posted by: Igor Bundy | Jun 19 2017 12:57 utc | 14

what about this
why is no one talking about it.. including your website and comments
is it also fake news?

Posted by: snoopy007 | Jun 19 2017 12:57 utc | 15


I agree mostly (Russia, Syria will be blamed no doubt) at the same time - if Syria and Russia doesnt do anything, US will keep bombing... until Assad is gone.
Just look at North Korea, US backed off because they let US know past months that they arent putting up with this bullying and the result is pretty clear. No attack, invasion.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 19 2017 13:08 utc | 16

The group supported by Israel are supposed to be Al-Nusra (Al Quaida offshoot anyway). This fits in with the "Newly named" HTS group that is formed around Al-Zinki (beheaders of children) who are NOT on a terrorist "watch list" and are armed by the US, "(also with Canadian "approval"). Thus ALL of them can be supplied by the US as "moderate" (headcutters) without crossing any "legal" barrier. Includes Al-Quaida I believe.

Talking about "arms" - the ISIS members who are moving towards Deir Ezzor were reported several days ago to have "new" artillery and anti-tank missiles. Wonder where they got those? They were also seen but not attacked by US impregnated SDF forces when leaving Raqqua. The latest Syrian attack was on a second (or later) convoy of ISIS militants.

The whole ISIS-Tabqah set up is filled with "anomalies". 1- The dam pumping area was vacated by ISIS and de-mined in exchange for a "safe" route out. The US then bombed them to hell after they were in the middle of the desert. (tell no tales?) 2- The Airbase at Tabqah, which is now only 2 km from the new Syrian lines, was apparently very quickly "useable", as the runways were only blocked by easily removable earth mounds. Not ditches. 3- The first "landing" there, was by real US forces in helicopters accompanied by some representatives of the SDF. (There have been unconfirmed reports of helicopters to evacuate "assets" from Raqqah - but I don't know if that is true or sour-grapes)
The Israel part seems to be part of a carefully comprehensive scenario; Qatar to be isolated,(as a supporter of Palestinians and Hamas). UN and Nicky Haley. there have been three recent "reports" from UN bodies (Extrajudicial killings etc) which Israel is trying to block. Plus pressure on the UN NOT to use the word "occupation". Total media blackout.

The "sanctions" on Iran and Russia by the US are probably designed to push for a new war. (This was mentioned as being planned for July 18 - for those who want to believe the "sooth-sayers".)

Posted by: stonebird | Jun 19 2017 13:09 utc | 17

@Ghostship 11

Agreed. With one exception: I don't think Washington/ the Neocons want to wage war against Iran *themselves* - if possible, they want to remain in second line while someone else does.

@snoopy007 15

It was mentioned in the comments, but not thoroughly discussed. What- or whoever was hit, the Neocons/ Saudis sure aren't happy about it.

Posted by: smuks | Jun 19 2017 13:10 utc | 18

@Igor Bundy 12
Since the Russian have been "active" in the planning of offensives in Syria - I very much doubt that they will leave a major bloc of ISIS behind their advances. They "clean" before moving on. It might take longer but it is much surer.

The Palmyra "front" is large (N-S) and is to prevent any lateral attacks. A previous attempt to reach Deir Ezzor by the SAA alone, ended with them retreating rapidly so avoid being cut off.

Posted by: stonebird | Jun 19 2017 13:21 utc | 19

How has that "war to meeting political objectives" thingie been working out for the USA since after the end of WW2?

Seems to me we just can't help ourselves, start shit and not being able to finish it, who cares seems to be the attitude as long as some make money out of it.

Like a washed up fighter still having a good record, due to the cherry picked "tomato cans" he fights. A real opponent would
knock his f--king ass out for all to see.

Posted by: Morongobill | Jun 19 2017 13:30 utc | 20

Read the Russian statement carefully:

It says "aircraft and unmanned vehicles international coalition discovered to the West of the Euphrates river will be accepted ... as air targets" - not "shot down". This means spotted and targeted by AD radar systems, without any further action. Which can be considered an 'unfriendly act', but not a casus belli.

I'm also wondering what's going on between SAA and SDF in the Taqba area. Surely, Damascus & allies would love to see the Kurds withdraw beyond the Euphrates, no...?

Posted by: smuks | Jun 19 2017 13:30 utc | 21

The US has done this various times: down a plane or go into some other stupid provocation, see the Russians retaliate by cutting the communication channel, then backtrack, lay low, plead to re-open the "communication channel" in "the framework of the Memorandum on the Prevention of Incidents and Ensuring Air Safety in Syria" until Russia caves, then wait some weeks and re-launch some other provocation, and so on. I hope this time, Russia has understood the US has never had the smallest intention of keeping its word. For that, you need honour. What they are trying to do is demoralize the Syrian military and the Russians.

Meanwhile, nobody, not even the Russians bother to explain why the US should be backing "moderate rebels" (or any other kind) in a sovereign nation anyway. I mean, how much can the US get away with before it is called its real name to its face: the world's prime sponsor of terrorism?

Posted by: Lea | Jun 19 2017 13:38 utc | 22

At some point, in Syria, Putin must show that he will not be mocked. the absence of response in the face of gross, repeated intimidation does not bode well in light of the fact that the same forces that did this also advocate the possibility of a nuclear first strike on russian military facilities. they trust in they myth of American superiority and their 'sheild' to be an effective spoiler to intimidate and contain Russia. If Putin does not demonstrate in Syria or Ukraine that it will not be intimidated, then he has set up our whole world for a nuclear confrontation

Posted by: les7 | Jun 19 2017 13:52 utc | 23

stonebird , The problem with Deir Ezzor is the lack of heavy weapons and logistics like gas.. A large enough force with enough supplies to last a few weeks can easily reach DZ now and attack the small ISIS forces around the city. Once reinforcements have reached the city they can hold on indefinitely. Over 10,000 men are moving in the border region, you dont need a large force to block ISIS from Sukhnah attacking anyone and they are now behind the ISIS lines while another force is facing the front. I think we will see some multiple vector moves here to block many areas of attack. Unlike the previous attempts which were made with very few men and stretching of supply lines inside hostile areas. ISIS dont have sufficient forces anywhere else they can mass for an attack with so many areas to defend.. We will know in a few days.. I do think they will make a big push to DZ before cleansing the area as that can be done slowly without frontal attacks now that they can use 2 or 3 routes to DZ.

Posted by: Igor Bundy | Jun 19 2017 13:54 utc | 24

Lea it has to do with the Russian desire to back the rebels in the donbas.. Although it was done covertly and only small amounts of supplies, now Russia can overtly do it in a big way, by the time it is over we can see most of Ukraine minus ukiestan become another country.. Russia used the same legal standing to break up Yugoslavia to annex Crimea. Although Crimea itself was illegally annexed by Ukraine and federal cities in Crimea were never part of Ukraine ever.. To get a legal precedent started...

Posted by: Igor Bundy | Jun 19 2017 13:59 utc | 25

The Syrian army just rescued the pilot of the jet downed cowardly by NATO-ISIS coalition yesterday.

Posted by: Igor Bundy | Jun 19 2017 14:01 utc | 26

Great news on the rescue of the pilot. I recently saw photos of his three kids.

Posted by: AlaBill | Jun 19 2017 14:09 utc | 27

Ghostship @ 11 -- The US believes in its con game: Heads US wins, tails you lose.

So, it's simple: The US can send military forces anywhere it wishes, as it is THE Hegemon and it has a Security Council veto. No other country, other than those which act in the US interests, can do military invasions. Unless the US tricks the Sec Council into giving its permission for invasions, aka R2P, Responsibility to Protect. AKA, Right to Plunder.

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 19 2017 14:18 utc | 28

Igor Bundy
Beg to differ, but we will see. DZ area; The key is how many people each camp has in each area. Plus how much transport they have.
Desert warfare is; either small "guerrila" highly mobile groups such as the UK has in Syria, or larger "convoys" which can be used for frontal offensives or static defensive positions.
Both offense and defense are vulnerable to air. (Including "drones" as used by ISIS.)

It is likely that the US will make another attempt to define an "US occupied" area, in order to block bridges and any means for the SAA of crossing the Euphrates. On a map in "US central command" this probably looks interesting.

Leaving the Kurds with most of the best agricultural land to the North, ISIS as a permanent guerrila force south of the Euphrates and the US in command of the crossings with strategically placed bases/airfields from which to supply them.

The bunker mentality of the Pentagon is visible (bases) and they are working to "planning" on large maps" where their suckers (assets) can be placed.
Assets other than fighters; The US has made a mess of the infrastructure necessary for Syria to function independently. This is clear from before Alleppo (Power plants and pumping stations, bombed by US). How will they try to "neutralise or hold oil and gas wells?

Posted by: stonebird | Jun 19 2017 14:26 utc | 29


SDF and SAA are clearly fighting.

Don't know how Russian radars work, switching them on to track without action would defeat the object, no? Like making known where they are?

Don't think necessarily Russia will shoot down the plane. Probably will be some non state actor.

I am pretty sure SDF has lost their air force.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 19 2017 14:53 utc | 30

Rather than fighting to the death in Raqqa, ISIS, who realize that their days are numbered, are being given an escape route and are most likely now embedded with SDF fighters, US advisers and surplus SDF uniforms for the moment when they are finally "defeated" (per CNN et al) by the US coalition in Dier Ezzor. Would you expect anything less from the US?

Posted by: RT | Jun 19 2017 15:14 utc | 31


Quite possible they lost it. In any case, the US' room for manoeuvre is getting smaller and smaller; more and more regions and actions are 'off-limits' for it.

I'm most certainly no 'radar expert'. In my understanding, the target radar locks on to any jets or drones west of the Euphrates now - if this direct threat to 'coalition' forces goes unchallenged, they'll have to withdraw. In which case the river would become the demarcation line again, as I had previously thought.

Which begs the question: Is it plausible to assume that the Syrian air force may have indeed attacked SDF positions near Taqba? The Kurdish presence there is a thorn in SAA-controlled territory after all...
(of course, the 'coalition' is so discredited now that nobody believes their claims anyway)

Posted by: smuks | Jun 19 2017 15:17 utc | 32

@RT 31

Please remember that the SAA does the same to avoid fighting in cities and minimize civilian casualties, e.g. in Deir Hafer or Maskaneh. It's sensible to leave escape routes from urban areas.
'Embedded with the SDF' after years of at times bitter fighting? I doubt it. If anything, ISIS fighters could change their uniforms to become part of the New FSA/ NSyA in the south.

Posted by: smuks | Jun 19 2017 15:22 utc | 33

@13 "Might be they promessed the Jordanians for big refugee camps and 'land for the Palestinians' in this area."

The ethnic cleansing of the Plestinians is strictly an Israeli wet dream. First it was Sinai now apparently Syria. That would be a violation of the UN Charter and abot 50 UBSC resolutions. Jordan would never go along with it because they wouldn't stab the Palestinians in the back and it would certainly mean the loss of the haram al sharif which belongs to Jordan not the Israelis or the Palestinians. It would also mean the loss of many, many other holy sites and make the Palestinians targets in Syria. But the Jews keep stroking it.

Posted by: BraveNewWorld | Jun 19 2017 15:24 utc | 34


Good point regarding escape routes, but I wonder if a significant # of loyalists still exist in Raqqa - certainly none whom the Kurds would care to save. Generally caution against underestimating the Kurd's pragmatism and strategic flexibility.

Posted by: RT | Jun 19 2017 15:54 utc | 35

Anonymous | Jun 19, 2017 9:08:51 AM | 16

It's too late for the Americans in Syria because we're now in the deep operations phase of the battle for Deir Ez-zor, which means it should be over in a few weeks and it would take the US several months to do all the SEAD crap which would most likely trigger a global war anyway and put in place the heavy forces they'd need to do anything which would be pointless because the cockroaches would have already won.
Any diversions to deal with the Americans would increase the length of the operation and the risk of failure at this point so for now it's far better for the Russians and Syrians to ignore the Americans in their baby-buggies. Perhaps once the situation has stabilised there will be a chance for the Syrians and Russians to do something. But how long will Trump allow US forces to remain in Syria once the ISIS Caliphate is liquidated? Not long if his base have any say in the matter and as president he could remove US forces in a matter of days. After the ISIS Caliphate is liquidated, the only reason for US forces to remain in Syria is if they become involved in the fight to liquidate Al Qaeda. ROFLOL.

Posted by: Ghostship | Jun 19 2017 16:04 utc | 36

Something else to consider: if Russia really does try to shoot down US jets, there is a big risk for Russia not just in terms of escalating a conflict with the US, but in the possibility of their vaunted air defense systems not working.

You can read all the technical specifications you want - NOBODY knows for certain how well a complicated system operates until it is actually used in combat agains another system. Russia has been getting a lot of press about their S400 etc. anti-aircraft missile systems. Prestige, power, foreign sales... if Russia really tries to use these systems for real, and they don't work as advertised against US systems, that would be a massive loss of prestige and influence for Russia. But if they do work, then the opposite.

Either way, if Putin does decide to 'pull the trigger,' it will be a massive gamble with repercussions far beyond what's going in in Syria. I would think that a lot of the hesitation of Russia to respond to US provocations is tied up with this matter.

Posted by: TG | Jun 19 2017 16:10 utc | 37


why is no one talking about it.. including your website and comments
is it also fake news?

You link to a Press TV report about the Iranian missile attack on Deir Ezzor.

"No one talks about that" except the piece here you commented on without having read it. Fuck off.

Posted by: b | Jun 19 2017 16:15 utc | 38

thanks b.. excellent post! you articulate all the key ingredients here that have yet to come to a conclusion.. the main thrust is on... the shit is hitting the fan..

@11 ghostship.. concur fully..

@15 snoopy007.. read much? it was discussed in this article!

@17 stonebird quote "The "sanctions" on Iran and Russia by the US are probably designed to push for a new war." that is what all of these ''sanctions'' from the west are always designed for - war, regime change and etc... they are ongoing and early steps in the process and typically backed up by a pile of steaming bullshite..

@22 lea... yes, to your last paragraph.. anyone paying attention can see that as clear as day..

@23 lea.. that moment is coming fast.. i wouldn't be in a hurry for it.. and i have never gotten the sense that putin can be intimidated... crimea? what happened their? usa got caught with their pants down, as usual...

Posted by: james | Jun 19 2017 16:26 utc | 39

@37 tg.. fully agree with your last sentence..

Posted by: james | Jun 19 2017 16:27 utc | 40


Quite stupid by Russia though to claim they might shoot down the planes now, if they dont, well then US will keep bombing
and if they do, then the snowball is rolling and Russia will get all the blame thus a conflict between Russia, US might occur, just like the ugly clientele at ISIS, Nato, EU wants though..

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 19, 2017 8:16:40 AM | 8

Most likely they will start with drones, publicly and loudly announcing take-outs of US drones as they occur, while ignoring ISIS-AF craft (***previously known as USAF) for the moment. Then they will probably re-iterate, each time, their determination to strictly enforce the No-Fly Zone they just announced.

Letting everyone know what is in store, so they can't say they weren't warned.

Starting to look even more Quagmire-ish than it was already

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 19 2017 17:10 utc | 41

Quagmire - See Definition #2.

Definition of quagmire

1 : soft miry land that shakes or yields under the foot

2: a difficult, precarious, or entrapping position

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 19 2017 17:11 utc | 42

Either way, if Putin does decide to 'pull the trigger,' it will be a massive gamble with repercussions far beyond what's going in in Syria. I would think that a lot of the hesitation of Russia to respond to US provocations is tied up with this matter.

Posted by: TG | Jun 19, 2017 12:10:31 PM | 37

NATO forces currently surrounding Kaliningrad on 3 sides
From a Murdoch rag:

Russia lets fly over nuclear war games as Nato surrounds Baltic fleet in Kaliningrad
Bojan Pancevski

June 18 2017, 12:01am, The Sunday Times

All three types of US strategic nuclear bomber, including the B-52, will be deployed

Russia’s western exclave of Kaliningrad was surrounded on three sides by Nato forces yesterday at the start of an unprecedented set of summer war games.

Operation Sabre Strike 2017 includes the first full deployment of America’s strategic nuclear bombers and a simulated air assault by the Royal Marines in the Baltics.

Russia’s Baltic fleet is based in Kaliningrad and the territory also plays host to a deployment of Iskander short-range ballistic missiles with a 300-mile reach capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 19 2017 17:15 utc | 43

More on the long term Israeli efforts in support of terrorists in Southern Syria front:

Posted by: Krollchem | Jun 19 2017 17:47 utc | 44

The deployment — is to show American commitment to “ready and posture forces focused on deterring conflict”, said Lieutenant-General Richard Clark, a US airforce commander.

Operation Sabre Strike seems more likely to create conflict than to deter it.

Kindergarten-level mentality.

One little slip up and it's off to the races.

Posted by: fast freddy | Jun 19 2017 17:56 utc | 45

American commitment to “ready and posture forces focused on deterring conflict”

Of course, No one could come up with this line of shit spontaneously. Not even a US Airforce commander.

Written by the Pentagon's PR Marketing Department, no doubt.

Not unlike "One small step for man. One giant (squelch) leap for mankind".

Posted by: fast freddy | Jun 19 2017 18:03 utc | 46

I really don't think the Axis of Evil dares expand the war in Syria beyond a certain 'safe' point: Tel Aviv is irrevocably in the Axis of Resistance's cross-hairs and Iran threatened that it can destroy Tel Aviv in 8 minutes. The first sure casualty of any war expansion will be israel itself.

All that's going on right now from the Axis of Evil's side is tactical delaying of the 'cleansing' of terrorists from Syria before the Syria army turns its full attention to liberate the Golan, as indeed Bashar and his generals have already stated. It's all tactical delays by the US (on the behest of israel) before the inevitable Golan stand-off between Syria and israel hits up.

Even if israel sets up another 9/11 on US soil and pins it on Iran and Syria, 'touching' Damascus or Tehran in any serious way will still result in the wholesale destruction of israel and its capital, regardless of the power of israel's offensive capabilities. Israel, my friends, has an unsolvable defense problem - and all the 'David Slings' in the world will not be able to protect israel, especially that the Dimona too is high on the target list of the Axis of Resistance.

Once the Axis of Evil runs out of proxy terrorists in Syria, that will be that. And the next battle stage will be sharply focused on the Golan. And here, again, I can't see israel going into a full thrust war over the Golan because again, Tel Aviv is the target and israel will never sacrifice Tel Aviv for the Golan. Whomever is ruling israel at the time will find some way to pull back, with security guarantees and a big fat dollars package, taking the political hit etc instead of losing tel aviv. They withdrew from Sinai, also from Lebanon, and they did it in Gaza too. They'll do it with the Golan to 'save' israel.

An all out war over the Golan is what the Axis of Resistance wants because they know that israel will lose this war in the first 8 minutes.

Gone are the days when Israel can start border wars, smash up what it wants then go home and take a shower. Them days are finito-Benito and forever gone.

Posted by: Taxi | Jun 19 2017 18:09 utc | 47

B "Someone is intentionally pushing out these reports. I presume that Israel does this in preparation of the political landscape for an even large occupation of Syrian land."
This could explain why Trump's son-in-law is off to Israel, supposedly to work on Israel/Palestinian peace. Syrian land grabs by Israel may be a more likely topic.

Posted by: frances | Jun 19 2017 18:34 utc | 48

""...In areas of combat missions of Russian aircraft in the skies of Syria any airborne targets, including aircraft and unmanned vehicles international coalition discovered to the West of the Euphrates river, will be accepted in support of Russian ground and air defense as air targets"...
Posted by: anon | Jun 19, 2017 7:28:29 AM | 1

"West of the Euphrates river" this is really troubling, to me anyway, is Russia accepting Kurdistan as a done deal?? It would be the end of Russia's control of the EU gas market...among many other things.

Posted by: frances | Jun 19 2017 18:38 utc | 49

Hi b, thanks for this update

Would be interested in what you think of the view expressed by MK Bhadrakum - that the USA /pentagon is steadily escalating its attacks on the SAA and looking to expand the war and draw in Iran and Russia. He takes the opposite view to that expressed in today's article

Thank you :-)

Posted by: James | Jun 19 2017 18:49 utc | 50

Ygor Bundy

"Russia used the same legal standing to break up Yugoslavia to annex Crimea."

Mein Gott! Yugoslavia never had anything to do with Crimea. So why would Russia need to break up Yugoslavia to annex Crimea?

Yugoslavia was dismembered by the US and NATO under the guidance of Frau Madeline Albright in a bid to divide and conquer. US über alles.

Posted by: CarlD | Jun 19 2017 18:58 utc | 51

it seems the strike release data on june 18th only lists one, not 2.. it was the 2nd one that was on al mashar site that i saw that gave the rationale for shooting down the syrian army plane... it has yet to make it to their official site... however, i just found it here on centcoms site... the relevant quote is here : At 6:43 p.m., a Syrian regime SU-22 dropped bombs near SDF fighters south of Tabqah and, in accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defense of Coalition partnered forces, was immediately shot down by a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet."

the bald faced lie is here :"The Coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime, Russian, or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend Coalition or partner forces from any threat."

Ja'Din sits approximately two kilometers north of an established East-West SDF-Syrian Regime de-confliction area.

meanwhile here is what they have released for june 19th - today - in syria.. some of the infrastructure blown up, with more to come later i suppose... for more, visit their website here. ... i guess the thinking is, if the west can grab and take, it will destroy what is left of parts of syria.

Combined Joint Task Force
Ope ration Inherent Resolve
June 19, 2017
Release # 201
Military Strikes Continue Against ISIS Terrorists in Syria and Iraq
– On June 18, Coalition military forces conducted 22 strikes consisting of 89 engagements against ISIS terrorists in Syria and Iraq. In Syria, Coalition military forces conducted 15 strikes consisting of 20 engagements against ISIS targets.

Near Abu Kamal, two strikes destroyed two ISIS well heads.

Near Dayr Az Zawr, one strike destroyed nine ISIS oil stills.

Near Raqqah, 12 strikes engaged 10 ISIS tactical units and destroyed four vehicles, two
fighting positions, two mortar systems, a VBIED, a tactical vehicle, and a heavy machine gun. "

Posted by: james | Jun 19 2017 19:15 utc | 52

Russia Insider is reporting that the American plane that shot down the Syrian plane took off from the aircraft carrier George Bush, stationed in the eastern Mediterranean.

The eastern Mediterranean is certainly west of the euphrates.

Posted by: woogs | Jun 19 2017 19:26 utc | 53

CarlD you misunderstand the quote. Read it as ''Russia used the same legal argument and basis to annex Crimea, that NATO had tried to legitimise when breaking up Yugoslavia.'' No one is suggesting that Russia broke up Yugoslavia.

Simply put if Kosovo can 'legally' be removed from Yugoslavia, then why can Crimea not do the same? If Croatia can become independent while over 20% of its population in distinct geographic areas do not wish independence why can't the same apply to Ossetia? Or Abkhazia. Or trans-dnistr. Or Novo-Rossiya, Or Odessa... etc.

The Russian policy has been to explicitly link Kosovo independence as a precedent that must apply equally across the globe if NATO is claiming it to be legitimate.

Posted by: Køn | Jun 19 2017 19:36 utc | 54

Continued fom Lea | Jun 19, 2017 9:38:37 AM | 22

What did I say? Quote,

"the U.S. are going to work with Russia through diplomatic and military channels in order to restore the incident prevention direct line, head of Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joseph Dunford, told the press on Monday speaking at the conference of National Press club."

So that didn't take long.

CarlD | Jun 19, 2017 2:58:48 PM | 51

You are right and Ygor Bundy is not. Russia never "broke Yugoslavia" (that was NATO) and didn't annex Crimea either. The Crimeans voted themselves back into Russia in a perfectly legal way.

Ygor Bundy must have meant that somehow, Russia "broke Ukraine" by "annexing Crimea", but he typed the wrong country.

Posted by: Lea | Jun 19 2017 19:40 utc | 55

The Kurdish canon fodder flown into Al-Tanf join American, British and Nordish invaders as well as some Arabs militias wearing FSA hats but the situation is that when Syrian or its allies are attacked and a counter attack follows on Al-Tanf than it can easily be painted by presstitutes as aggression on anyone of the (invader) groups (despite the fact that they are there illegally and in my eyes should have been wiped from the earth yesterday but I'm not hoping for WW3 obviously). Also if Kurdish canon fodder is killed, then tension in Hasakah will rise significantly for the SAA enclaves. Either way, I have the impression that the labels SDF and Kurds are conveniently switched all the time and that a large part of the SDF hostile to the Syrian government are in fact militias that earlier belonged to FSA. I would also not be surprised that when the dust settles in a few years that the area's under SDF control presumably north-east Syria, Raqqa, right half of Deir Ezzor and the whole area on the right side of the Euphrates river would face a civil war similar to the one in South Sudan with the SDF-Kurds from the north fighting the SDF-Arabs from the south-east.

Posted by: xor | Jun 19 2017 20:08 utc | 56

Posted by: Lea | Jun 19, 2017 3:40:04 PM | 55

You are right and Ygor Bundy is not. Russia never "broke Yugoslavia" (that was NATO)

And you are all wrong. NATO did not break Yugoslav Federation. The member states (republics) did it because no one wanted it any more (except perhaps Bosnia).
No one was happy the way the federation worked, and each of the member states had completely incompatible ideas how to make it work.
Serbia wanted a strong centralized federation with 'one person one vote' principle applied throughout the country. Croatia wanted a loose confederation, in which Serbia cannot impose its will based of being the largest and the most populous one. Montenegro was a Serbia lapdog. Slovenia just wanted to get out, they were fed up with the primitive and backward 'Bosnians', how they called all the rest of us. Macedonia, well nobody gave a hoot what they wanted. Serbian nationalists just wanted to annex her, together with Bosnia and 70% of Croatia to make Greater Serbia. Croat Nazis wanted to annex Bosnia too, to make Greater Croatia.
No wonder Bosnia wanted to keep Yugoslavia as it was. With such a fine neighbors, who can blame them.

Posted by: hopehely | Jun 19 2017 20:20 utc | 57

For what its worth the Russian response is, in my opinion, the right one in the face of these provocations.

What I find more intriguing is the nature and timing of the Iranian strike - both a bold gesture of defiance to the US and Saudi Arabia re. Daesh and Qatar maybe, but also a firm stake in the ground supporting Russia's stance in Syria perfectly.

What I find staggering is how clumsy, for want of a better word, and haphazard the US role in this conflict has appeared, at least since RF's intervention. I've read many times that people put this down to the 'chaos' game, whatever that is, but I really think it is just plain rudderless and visionless.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jun 19 2017 20:23 utc | 58

For ambition and greed to murder Arabs, their children, their women and their honorable men that never stood a chance against superior British weapons and more sophisticated propaganda. No deals! No peace! No reason! Death! Ride for death!
Hiroshima, Nagasaki, London, Paris, Israel, ?

The Rothschild-Zionists (NATO) want a war with Iran.
They do NOT want to give the Kurds their own state.
The Syrians can give the Kurds their own state for 25 years. Iran just has to keep working on that 50 megaton HYDROGEN bomb. To defeat the London/Paris bankers you need the hydrogen bomb.

"All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved." - Sun Tzu

Kurdish traitors can EASILY be assassinated over time.
The Rothschild-Zionists want a war on Iran. Israel wants to destroy Hezbollah.
The London/Paris bankers need the OIL from Iran or Russia for their war on China.
China wants REAL VALUE for their bank notes.
China has this suitcase now and they are NOT amused!

The Kurds can always easily be destroyed by 4 nations crushing them from all sides the same moment.

Posted by: Thucydides | Jun 19 2017 20:33 utc | 59

RT @31 Saw this last week - Video Shows US-led Coalition Allowed ISIS To Escape Raqqa To Fight The Syrian Army -

I haven't seen it verified yet, but if true, after 7 months from transition to now, one can safely assume Trump has placed his trust in the same neo's as did Obama. It may be a different day but it feels very much like it did under zero.

Sad, very sad, if true...

Posted by: h | Jun 19 2017 20:33 utc | 60

Posted by: hopehely | Jun 19, 2017 4:20:28 PM | 57

My impression was that the industrial prosperous parts Slovenia, Croatia did not wish to pay for Albanians and the EU - Germany - Genscher - tried to cherrypick the desirable parts.

It the EU had insisted they would take Yugoslavia as a whole and not in parts Yugoslavia very likely would still exist.

Ustascha fascists were exiled in Germany and there were a lot of cold war connections with German/US secret services.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 19 2017 20:46 utc | 61


Yugoslavia was a working country until the CIA started sowing divisions between ethnies and religions. it took a few years of firebombing churches and then mosques, and sending mortar shells into markets and setting snipers to shoot to involve every facet of yugoslavian life.

The US itself is composed of many faces each with its own aspiration and interpretation of the pursuit of happiness. Yet it is not breaking up. Belgium is split along linguistic fractures but is still a country. Very few countries have the uniformity of Japan and yet, they stick together.

So it is not as some pretend that Yugos were looking for divorce. The CIA as usual looked for the misfits in Yugoslavia and led them towards the destruction of the country.

No country is unsusceptible to fracture. Once it is deeply researched ( as per Mormon missionaries) the Empire knows exactly whom to call and to what deeds.

One of the greatest illustrations of this is the Libya of Muammar Ghaddafi, a country whose citizens had everything they could hope for. No state gave so much to its citizens. Yet there were enough susceptible souls to start demos and marches and enough snipers to sow hatred. The rest is History. We came, we saw, he died, ha! ha! ha!

Madeline was happy to destroy Yugoslavia and took particular relish in severing Kosovo from it.

Whereas Crimea used to be attached to Russia since Catherine the Great, and was bestowed to Ukraine (then a member of the USSR) by Nikita (hisself an Ukrainian). It was just a symbolic gesture as the Ukraine and Russia were united at the time and most citizens were of russian Stock.

So, the Empire ( the US and its lapdogs) did split Yugoslavia into smaller entities along ethnic and religious fractures.

It was not a spontaneous divorce as some would like to paint it.

Posted by: CarlD | Jun 19 2017 20:58 utc | 62

@snoopy007 | 15
Nah, the PressTV article is not fake news. Don't know about the US but here in Turkey its been reported widely on the news. Its not on the mainpage of this site and if you clcked the 'comments' button from the main page you'll have missed it. Scroll back up and you'll see B covered it further down the article.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jun 19 2017 20:58 utc | 63

@57 hopehely
I completely agree with you. The Yugoslavs broke up Yugoslavia. But the 'west' tried very hard to make sure it broke up in a way that was advantageous to certain elements in the 'west'.

The Kosovo War part of the Wars of the Yugoslavian Succession can be more correctly characterised as a NATO production. The conflation of the Yugoslav wars and the Kosovo war leads to the misunderstanding.

@55 Lea
'Annex' is a morally neutral word. An annexation can be peaceful or forceful, popular or unpopular, democratic or not, 'legal' or not. It is simply the transfer of control over a territory from one country to another. Russia annexed Crimea! It was a popular (to the Crimeans) and peaceful annexation. And in the context of Kosovo as legal precedent, the Crimean annexation was a 'legal' annexation.

Posted by: Køn | Jun 19 2017 21:07 utc | 64

There seems to be a sense here that the Us seeks a confrontation with Syria, Russia and/or Iran. There are certainly those who do both in the US and Israel but I assure you that both Israel and the US try what they can get away with. Retaliation by the Russians will put boundaries on them.

Israel got her ass kicked by a few thousand Hezbollah mi.itia. The US can not subdue Iraq or Afghanistan. They will back down if force is shown, and only then

Posted by: Alaric | Jun 19 2017 21:20 utc | 65

@65 Alaric

It all depend on the context...

Normally, retaliation by the Russians should sober the crazies in the US, except for the fact that the incumbent POTUS will be assumed to be in cahoots with Putin (as it is feared according to the MSM) if he doesnt retaliate to this "aggression"- specially by the "Russkies".

If he were to fire his theater commander before a US plane is downed, then he could save face by firing an inept General whose unwise behavior could have caused a capital conflagration.

Posted by: CarlD | Jun 19 2017 21:36 utc | 66

smuks | Jun 19, 2017 11:17:58 AM | 32

Reading the various reports makes me wonder if the Kurds tried to work across the SAA frontlines to block their move down the Euphrates, perhaps attacking towns within hours of SAA taking them from ISIS.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jun 19 2017 21:40 utc | 67

At some point, in Syria, Putin must show that he will not be mocked.

I Think that time has already passed Russia by.
Putin let NATO roll right up to Russia's Borders during the past 8+
Obviously US deep state has no respect for Putin or Russian military.
US has annexed a huge chunk of Syria on the easy via Kurd sock puppets.
Has more via FSA turf,....
Then criminal Erdogan has an illegal chunk of Syria,
And now Israel gets to keep the Golan it stole from Syria and add more to that via new safe zone. ... (Thanks Lavrov)

Posted by: Brad | Jun 19 2017 21:40 utc | 68

This is the latest map I've seen and the looks as though the Kurds may have tried to grab an important road intersection just ahead of the SAA forces.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jun 19 2017 22:00 utc | 69

@smuks #21, #33 "If anything, ISIS fighters could change their uniforms to become part of the New FSA/ NSyA in the south."

That is exactly what happened within the last couple of days, near Al Tanf.

With regard to the Tabqa incidents, it looks to me like there was an attempt to pre-empt the SAA move into Resafa when whoever is pulling the strings of the SDF forces at Tabqa saw the imminent and unexpected prospect of SAA seizing that area. SAA and SDF were advancing into the same areas that ISIS was retreating from and there probably were clashes. Shooting down the Su-24 was in all likelihood an attempt to disrupt the SAA seizure of Resafa and get the SDF back into the race. It is pretty clear that whoever is in charge around Tabqa does not want the SAA to reach Deir Ezzor.

IMO the SDF are making colossal political mistakes in light of the Turkish-Russian rapproachment and the Qatar-Saudi situation. Turkey is now on the Qatari side of the fence and the Kurds have been stupidly flirting with the Saudis. The main party the Kurds need in their corner is Russia, and maybe Iran, since they have the most influence on everyone other than ISIS who adjoins Kurdish-held territory. If the Kurds adopt a hostile stance disrupting the SAA's drive in Deir Ezzor, there is a lot of incentive for Russia to throw the Kurds under the bus where their conflict with Turkey is concerned - at least outside of Afrin.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Jun 19 2017 22:00 utc | 70

@Igor Bundy #24

I agree 100%. ISIS is fully committed south of Suknah and if the Tigers cut them off to the north their whole position south of the Euphrates will be a disaster. A major pincer move such as this was inconceivable a year ago.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Jun 19 2017 22:20 utc | 71

Hre is a more useful local map of Resafe. Taqba/Raqqa lie off screen to the north (top). SAA at Resafe (center) now block all roads south-west and south-east of Taqba, effectively cutting it off from north, west and central Syria. Also, note all the oil/gas fields to the east of the now blocked road. I suspect the Kurds were hoping to get their hands on those to finance their little games. The remaining road out of Taqba/Raqqa runs along the west bank of the Euphrates towards Deir-ez-Zor.

The SAA is also about 50 km away on the 42 highway approaching Resafe from the south-west. If they meet up, they will have created a massive ISIS cauldron. The forces moving into Resafe may move around the margins of the Kurd area towards the Euphrates. If then can do that and hold the riverbank road, then that will help take the load off Deir-ez-Zor and ensure ISIS in Raqqa has to be dealt with by the Kurd co-proxy.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 19 2017 22:29 utc | 72

Update @72.

I forgot to mention that the tactical 'success' of the US in shooting down the SU-22 has led to a major strategic error in that their aircraft are now restricted to east of the Euphrates so ISIS in the west has lost its airforce.

BTW the F-18 that shot down the Su-22 flew off a US carrier recently relocated to the Med, i.e. it flew over now-blocked west Syria.

You gotta laugh at the way the US shoots itself in the foot with both barrels.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 19 2017 22:34 utc | 73

My guess is that the Americans are trying very hard to push the SDF/Kurds into conflict with the SAA, by any means necessary. They start by singling out SDF/YPG commanders who they can hopefully manipulate into taking an openly anti-Assad stance. Perhaps encouraging them to seek Saudi contacts. The Americans will be offering money and power to these commanders. If they can find just one Barzani-like character in the YPG/SDF that might be enough.
Failing that, the Americans can try to provoke the SAA into attacking the SDF. They might perhaps shoot down SAAF jets on the pretext of 'defending' SDF forces. The Americans will hope that the SAA will respond by attacking SDF forces in retaliation.
It is also likely that the American 'advisors' will assemble SDF groups to venture out and hold strategic positions that are just about to be overrun by SAA. Presumably the SDF relies heavily on American intelligence about the battlefield, what with the Americans having drones, sats and planes covering the greater area. So if the Americans direct SDF to move to a location because it is supposedly free of hostiles then the SDF probably complies. They may not be aware that they are being moved directly into the way of the SAA as sacrificial lambs. But they will most likely respond with fire if fired upon, at least that is what the Americans will be counting on.

The only way to foil the Americans is for both the SAA and SDF/YPG to make it abundantly and openly clear to each other that they will not shoot at each other no matter what.

Posted by: Køn | Jun 19 2017 22:35 utc | 74

The Russians are using Mi-28 ground attack helicopters with great effect. If you take a picture of them coming towards you and it looks like this

then this happens shortly afterwards

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 19 2017 22:41 utc | 75

AtaBrit @ 58

As far as Iranian timing on the strike, the ISIS terror attacks in Tehran seem to line up nicely. jfl had a good remark on another thread regarding the vacuum at the executive level of the USG. Trump may not be attracting the best candidates for leadership for obvious reasons. So the US with its vast arsenal is moving, imo, into a binary state of all-out global war or the smoldering projects it has managed in Iraq and Afghanistan, too many hands on the rudder and no one operating the telescope. USS Fitzgerald is the perfect metaphor. HMS Titanic a good one for what comes next.

Posted by: stumpy | Jun 19 2017 22:41 utc | 76

The US plane which shot down the Syrian Su-22 over Raqqa province yesterday was a carrier-based F/A-18.

That means the American plane took off from a carrier (George HW Bush), flew over all of Russia's radar and missile sites in western Syria, shot down the Syrian Su-22 in Raqqa, and then flew right back over all the Russian anti-air sites.';

Posted by: brian | Jun 19 2017 22:53 utc | 77

@stumpy #76

Edmund Fitzgerald?

Posted by: Thirdeye | Jun 19 2017 22:59 utc | 78


"And you are all wrong. NATO did not break Yugoslav Federation."

West Germany did (secretly) provide large scale military assistance to the Interior Ministry (secret police) of Croatia as a part of a wider policy of championing and preparing Croatian succession in early 1990. Germany's mass media made it an essential post-Cold War issue in Europe. The United States sent officials to Slovenia (I think it was the Vice President or Secretary of State) to guarantee 'American non-involvement' to Slovenia's parliament if Slovenia (illegally) seceded.

"The member states (republics) did it because no one wanted it any more"

Polls (whatever is the European equivalent to Gallup) in the spring of 1990 found the majority of every Republic (including Croatia) supported federal elections, which separate polls showed would have resulted in the electoral victory of a nationally popular, ethnically mixed, and centrist Yugoslav candidate (I'm forgetting his name)

"(except perhaps Bosnia)."

Serbia and Montenegro as well.

"No one was happy the way the federation worked, and each of the member states had completely incompatible ideas how to make it work.
Serbia wanted a strong centralized federation with 'one person one vote' principle applied throughout the country."

Polls in early 1990 showed this was supported by a clear majority of every Republic. When federal elections were put up for a federal consensus vote between all of the Republics (twice in a month), Croatia and Slovenia jointly vetoed the resolution twice.

"Croatia wanted a loose confederation, in which Serbia cannot impose its will based of being the largest and the most populous one."

Croatia was okay, however, with illegally seceding from Yugoslavia (without a federally mandated consensus vote on the succession) and using its clear majority to 'dominate' the Serbian majority in Krajina.

"Montenegro was a Serbia lapdog."

Ally is a more objective word.

"Slovenia just wanted to get out, they were fed up with the primitive and backward 'Bosnians', how they called all the rest of us."

Slovenian and Croatian successionism were rooted in the same historical position (1968-1974, mass economic protests in their respective capitals and subsequent constitutional reform): the federal subsidy program assisting the general development of Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Montenegro were cutting into their own Republic's tax revenue (GDP) and hampering their long-term capital investments (and regional alliances with Western Europe). This was the material basis for Slovene-Croat 'nationalism.'

"Macedonia, well nobody gave a hoot what they wanted."


"Serbian nationalists just wanted to annex her, together with Bosnia and 70% of Croatia to make Greater Serbia."

This is mixing together drastically differing Serbian opinions to muddy the waters. There were nationalists in Serbia's parliament who wanted to 'annex' areas outside of Serbian majority areas in Bosnia and Croatia, but it wasn't a majority opinion, and there isn't any evidence of a plan. Serbian parliamentary opinion and popular opinion was the same in Serbia and Bosnia: hold popular referendums and mutually secede. Bosnia would lose Croatian and Serbian majority areas and mixed areas would be settled with either local agreements or inter-state border concessions. Bosnian Serbs themselves held a popular referendum in November of 1991 (after Bosnian Muslim-Croat Parties voted for a secessionist resolution of a Unitarian Bosnia in the Bosnian parliament in October). There was even a self-recognized border including only Serbian majority areas. If the Bosnian Muslim President hadn't withdrawn from the Lisbon Accords (which he did because the U.S. Ambassador to Yugoslavia guaranteed European-American recognition of a Unitarian Bosnia and American 'internationalization' of the conflict if Lisbon was scuttled, Bosnia unilaterally seceded, and war broke out) or seceded in April of 1992 without including these areas (and if Europe and the United States recognized Bosnian Serb succession from Bosnia), there could have been a settlement to discuss.

"Croat Nazis wanted to annex Bosnia too, to make Greater Croatia."

Croatia wanted to 'annex' Croatian majority areas. The majority of Bosnian Croats wanted to live in Croatia without being forced from their homes. Bosnia wanted a Unitarian State in which Islamic Government and Virtues would be 'educated to' (imposed on) Croatian and Serbian minorities (who were majorities in most of their own areas).

"No wonder Bosnia wanted to keep Yugoslavia as it was. With such a fine neighbors, who can blame them."

People need to stop romanticizing reactionary Islamic Governments like Bosnia.

Posted by: anonymous | Jun 19 2017 23:00 utc | 79

brian 77

that which has been reported is not likely to be the truth.

note that the MSM reports that Russia is threatening to "shoot down" US aircraft. And of course, presenting the situ as USA vs. Russia. in Syria.

As expected, Intentionally keeping the American masses confused.

Posted by: fast freddy | Jun 19 2017 23:48 utc | 80

Kurds can not wage a war of attrition because they simply lack people. And they will always lack people.

Posted by: Thucydides | Jun 19 2017 23:52 utc | 81

Note that the war criminal and CIA deep operative GHW Bush is revered among knuckle-dragging wingnuts and general low info intellectual wingnuts. So, mention the aircraft carrier "GHW Bush" for knee-jerk patriotic stimulus and approbation.

Posted by: fast freddy | Jun 19 2017 23:52 utc | 82

Note that they didn't name an aircraft carrier after Condoleezza Rice - just an oil tanker.

Guess what? The bastids renamed that ship!

Posted by: fast freddy | Jun 19 2017 23:56 utc | 83

Coming late to this party but everything looks very good for the balance of power to me. Iran shows not only what it can do but implies strongly what it will do, if the prompts so indicate. Russia comes down hard with Lavrov and diplomacy telling the world that international law has been broken consciously and cynically by the US, and MOD and Russian soldiers set further red lines. Syria meanwhile has not been goaded into any unwise move by this latest provocation, and continues on its campaign. With the pilot now safe - rescued from behind enemy lines by the Tigers, no less - Syria only lost one plane, while the US lost its deconflict back-channel.

The loss of the back channel seriously concerns the US military, because it means that they run a lethal risk of making a wrong move. Bluster is one thing but facing Russian soldiers in a real fight is their worst nightmare. This is a military event, so in this information space across the web we see additional troll forces mustered into discussion threads to cast doubt on Russia's resolve, but underneath the smoke, Russia has now parlayed its de-escalation zones - which have worked beautifully to further Syria's military edge - into all of Syria west of the Euphrates.

More provocations and blunders from the US will result in even more strategic losses exacted by Russia. As b has treated at length, and as commented here already, the US persists in tactics to the detriment of its strategy. It is throwing away its cards one by one in each round of betting.

What's remarkable to me is how thinly sliced this game of chicken can be played. Accustomed as I am to US culture, and black-white dichotomies with their shoot-em-up resolutions, I would never have thought there were so many delicate countermoves available in a structure of escalation. Russia is playing this hand out with supreme elegance, to my mind. It seems possible now that Syria can move all the way to total victory, with the US out of the country, without the Pentagon realizing it has lost - simply, it will wake up to zero cards in its hand, while Russia still holds some.

~~ expert on radar either, but I gather being locked onto is being "painted", and it's what pilots dread - because there's no escape from whatever the owner of the radar decides to throw at you. Well, they wanted to play chicken, but this will cause some serious frayed nerves in USAF.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 20 2017 0:27 utc | 84

Pentagon changes disposition of US-led coalition aircraft in Syria

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (9:40 P.M.) – The United States decided to re-position fighter jets belonging to the US-led international coalition, Pentagon’s spokesman Adrian Rankine-Galloway told reporters on Monday.

“As a result of recent clashes with Syrian pro-regime and Russian forces, we took precautions to change the disposition of the aircraft in Syria in order to continue fighting Islamic State, while maintaining safety of our pilots – considering the known threats on the battlefield,” he told Interfax agency.

can it be true that the hornet came all the way from the mediterranean and shot sown the syrian plane? how did they know it would be there when they got there? are the us now going to fly out of qatar?

In the meantime, the U.S. are going to work with Russia through diplomatic and military channels in order to restore the incident prevention direct line, head of Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joseph Dunford, told the press on Monday speaking at the conference of National Press club.

is that how the us knew the where and when on the syrian plane?

Posted by: jfl | Jun 20 2017 0:31 utc | 85

When Russia first moved into Syria, Obama said something about Russia getting bogged down in a quagmire.
Now it seems it is the US in a quagmire and Russia standing on solid ground. All Russia has to do is keep poking the US back into the quagmire if they try to climb out. The area east of the Euphrates seems to be the quagmire.
While US is bogged down in that part of the world, and focusing on Russia, China, strategic partner to Russia and the only economic threat to the US is forging ahead.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jun 20 2017 1:01 utc | 86

@84 Agreed.. The US's achilles heel as always been that it cannot be perceived as the aggressor under any circumstances. Russia exploits this weakness by constantly exposing its acts when breaching Intl law or conventions.
This is a slow game but the benefits are a shifting of alliances and potential end of the status of vassalage of nations wising up to the state of dereliction of the Empire..

Posted by: Lozion | Jun 20 2017 1:04 utc | 87

#61 Somebody

Fuck the EU.

Within a decade or two will fall apart on its own, albeit probably peacefully - unlike the US.

Posted by: Quadriad | Jun 20 2017 1:15 utc | 88

@Peter AU 67, 69

Sounds plausible enough and fits the maps. So technically speaking, the US excuse 'they bombed close to the SDF, endangering our allies' is even correct...

@Thirdeye 70

Agreed. There's always been a huge risk of the Syrian Kurds overplaying their hand - so far they managed to avoid it, I presume because of good coordination with Damascus as Kön suggests. But with their military position depending more and more on US support, can they even take strategic decisions themselves?

@Grieved 84

Nicely put.
Actually at second glance, this somehow looks like a distinctly Chinese strategy, doesn't it?
Just keep on stoically pursuing your plan, don't respond to tactical provocations, wait for your enemies' mistakes, and when opportunities present themselves, block their options one by one until they have no choice but accept your rules of the game.
The US & allies are 'frozen out' of Syria (or the entire ME?), and everything they do only accelerates this development.

Posted by: smuks | Jun 20 2017 1:39 utc | 89

"The Kosovo War part of the Wars of the Yugoslavian Succession can be more correctly characterised as a NATO production. The conflation of the Yugoslav wars and the Kosovo war leads to the misunderstanding."

Very well said.

But don't forget that Milosevic wiggled up to the top of the Serbian power pyramid preisely due to the Kosovo problem in the first place, in 1980s.

Also, lest we forget that all other Republics including the "poor Bosnia" signed off on Milosevic' usage of Yugoslav troops on the streets of Belgrade to quash the anti-Milosevic riots on the 9th of March 1991.

So, in effect, all other republics nationalists, including Alija Izetbegovic, directly enabled Milosevic' reign in Serbia to continue just months prior to the outbreak of open hostility in Slovenia and then Croatia.

The simple truth is that they were all ex-Communist, neo-Fascist Chetniks, Ustashas and Balijas.

Once a commie, always an autocrat.

Posted by: Quadriad | Jun 20 2017 1:52 utc | 90

What am I missing? This entire scenario feels like a school play. Somebody is being set-up. Other than US taxpayers and non-neocohens. Gosh, maybe its elements of US Deep State. And their best-friends too.

Does Maddog want his Marines to die for Izzy? Maybe. Or are peeps being exposed? Idunno.

The barkeep was a bit harsh to his customer above. Hope they weren't the paypal paying kind. Yikes!

Posted by: Pea Green | Jun 20 2017 2:04 utc | 91

smuks | Jun 19, 2017 9:39:48 PM | 89 Sounds plausible enough and fits the maps. So technically speaking, the US excuse 'they bombed close to the SDF, endangering our allies' is even correct...

Endangering allies? Nope. Shooting down a Syrian aircraft targeting an ISIS held town perhaps one or two k's from the Kurd frontlines is not self defence.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jun 20 2017 3:09 utc | 92

Very good analysis by Mercouris of the @TheDuran_com CONFIRMED: US backs down as Russia targets US aircraft in Syria:

Posted by: Lozion | Jun 20 2017 3:53 utc | 93

@93 Lozion

I'be been noticing that the Russian collusion narrative is losing steam here in the states. Maybe teeth are unclenching among the plebians to warrant less reckless enticement of Russia's AA systems. Among the blogospheres and message boards, I see more of a shrugged "meh" at the sight of the term "Russia" and a general acknowledgment that the narrative of the msm on Syria is completely unintelligible to the layman and therefore probably doesn't warrant getting into a war with Russia for. And let me say kudos to Oliver Stone to putting out the Putin interview. He was on that turd Colbert's Hate Show and was mocked for merely offering what he hoped was an unbiased view on Russia and what makes Putin tick. Let's hope a lot of people watch it.

How many times have we all said, "This is it! Russia has to act now!" Strafing runs on Deir Ezzor giving way to ISIS assaults; RuF plane shot down over northern Syria; bombing runs in Syrian territory by the US. Each new incident has invoked a sudden panic, followed by breathless monitoring of current events for some days after. Meanwhile, Putin and Russia have convinced their allies to play the smart, long game, letting the event air out in the light of day so that cooler heads always seem to prevail.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jun 20 2017 4:20 utc | 94

Our actions in Syria are based on israeli defense policies NOT American ones. That's why our actions in Syria are dumber than dumb as far as US interests are concerned. And if you haven't caught on why the jewish MSM and the zionist bipartisan War Party remain in a 'Russia' frenzy some six months after Trump moved into the WH, then you've been had. The whole jewish ploy is to keep up tensions with Putin so that Trump is forced to work the israel angle in Syria, an angle that is anti-Russian presence in the Levant and pro ISIS Caliphate.

The whole point is to prevent USA working with Russia on cleaning up Syria because soon as the 'cleaning' is done, the Syrian army is heading towards the Golan to legitimately liberate it from israeli occupation - a fight that will see israel losing as tel aviv will be immediately targeted. The israelis know this and are delaying the inevitable confrontation in the Golan, in the hope that they can figure out the impossible in the meantime - the impossible being that unlike the past, the anti-israel axis in the Levant now and for the first time ever has the ability to destroy every inch of israel while taking the hits. Israel might have superior offensive weaponry, but defensively, they stand naked on the battlefield.

Posted by: Taxi | Jun 20 2017 4:27 utc | 95

OT but the Bosnian issue seems to suffer the fate of happening in pre-internet-forum times. There is a substantial, now multi-generational refugee population, because of the US's need to be seen as a White Knight, and of course the tax breaks and other incentives involved with White-Knighting. No educated expat Bosnians I know were happy with Madeline Albright's "help". They all know that NATO is evil. They all know NATO escalated the situation, on purpose. They all know that Milosevic was indeed a thug, in spite of his "useful idiotness" to whichever opposition story one chooses to believe. They all know the reality of hiding from death squads, losing their quaint hometowns, centuries of geneology, infrastructure, for "the greater good".

There has been a rebranding of Bosnians as "militant" useful Muslims, in recent history. It's all bullshit. The Bosnians can be best described as proud country folk, far from fundamentalist in the Islamic sense. Useful idiots? Only to the thinktank-minded.

Posted by: sejomoje | Jun 20 2017 4:46 utc | 96

@93 Lozion - excellent find, thank you.

Mercouris now offers actual metrics to prove what we were saying up-thread. When the Russians turned off the deconflict back-channel in April of this year, but without threatening to treat unauthorized planes as targets, the US markedly scaled back its flights, and publicly announced this. So the Russians have very clearly understood for months that this is an escalation that the US cannot afford to match.

And now it has gone even further. This time the Russians have flipped the same switch of turning off the deconflict hotline, but this time they've promised to "paint" any plane that enters without authorization - to lock on it with targeting radar systems - reserving the right to take whatever action is deemed appropriate against that plane, depending on its actions.

And the US is very scared:

...the US is frantically signalling to the Russians its urgent wish to de-escalate the situation. Note for example the markedly conciliatory language of White House spokesman Sean Spicer, and how he repeatedly passed up opportunities to utter words of defiance against Russia or to threaten the Russians with counter-measures during the latest White House press briefing
What that means is that though the Russians must act carefully so as not to provoke the US into an unnecessary confrontation which would serve no-one’s interests, ultimately it is the Russians who in Syria have the whip hand.
-- CONFIRMED: US backs down as Russia targets US aircraft in Syria

So there we have it. As good as any laboratory test. Observation, theory, prediction and result all line up to prove the case: the US is full of bluster, playing a cowardly game of bullying, and yet cannot pass the test of being called out to fight in reality. Will not fight. Will not fight.

And generals around the world take note of this.


By the way, Mercouris at the Duran often cites the excellent analysis by b at Moon of Alabama, as does Pepe Escobar in his Facebook page of important stories, for that matter. Just a note to say that we all read each other and between us we're putting together a really good picture of what's going on. I am impressed, and grateful. The truth is winning.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 20 2017 4:47 utc | 97

And yes, as much as Israel wishes to remain on the sidelines ideologically, they are 100% all in, behind the thinktank assessments that lead to military/CIA policy.

It's absolutely ABSURD that Israel can bomb Syria sans scrutiny, but it is has been happening since the false "civil" war's start. Prima facie proof of the machination and its source.

Posted by: sejomoje | Jun 20 2017 4:50 utc | 98

@95 Taxi
If the Syrians did try to liberate the occupied Golan by force, the only thing that would delay the nuclear annihilation of Damascus is if the wind happened to be blowing from the north-east. The Israelis wouldn't want any of the radioactive fallout blowing back into Israel.

Accept it. Syria will never get Golan back. It's not right. It's not fair. But sometimes the bad guys win and there is nothing anybody can do about it.

Posted by: Køn | Jun 20 2017 4:55 utc | 99


You're not getting it pal: nuke Damascus or not, israel is easily and quickly destroyable now. A nuke will NOT DEFEND israeli territory. Nothing can.

And they won't dare nuke Damascus anyway: too close to the Golan.

It's time you faced it: there WILL BE a confrontation on the Golan and israel will pull back: unable to sacrifice tel aviv for the Golan.

I refer you also to my earlier comment here: (comment # 47)

Posted by: Taxi | Jun 20 2017 5:05 utc | 100

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