Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 22, 2017

Syria - Crap Hits Fan As U.S. Proxies Kill Russia's Allies - SEE UPDATE

UPDATE - 5:55PM:

The alleged incident did NOT happen. (At least not the way describe below.)

No SAA soldiers were killed by the U.S. proxy force near Deir Ezzor.

I am sorry for the false alarm and any irritation it might have caused.

      - b


Late afternoon today (local time) U.S. hired, equipped and advised Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters killed nine Syrian Arab Army soldiers. The soldiers were in a boat crossing the Euphrates river near Deir Ezzor city.

Two sources independently reported the incident. There is so far no official confirmation. The following assumes that the above indeed happened.

The killers were from a U.S. hired gang of Arab tribal fighters under one Ahmad Abu Khawla. He is well known as a local criminal who had earlier fought for the Islamic State (ISIS). His gang is nominally under the command of the YPK/PKK which is the main U.S. ally in north-eastern Syria. U.S. special forces are in the area as "advisors" to the various SDF groups.

Map by Weekend Warrior SAA red, SDF yellow, ISIS black - bigger

Abu Khawla is officially the commander of the "Deir Ezzor military council" - a body the U.S. advisors invented as umbrella for its collection of local mercenaries.

The incident happened just a day after sharply worded statements by the Russian defense department, discussed in yesterday's summary, had warned against further escalations.

The Russian defense department accused the U.S. of having incited an al-Qaeda attack in Idleb and Hama province in west-Syria as a diversion and hindrance for the Syrian-Russian campaign in Deir Ezzor in east-Syria. During the AQ attack in north-Hama al-Qaeda attempted to catch or kill 29 Russian military police soldiers who were supervising a deescalation zone in the area. The AQ attack failed under a massive Russian air campaign.

The Russian military had also accused the SDF near Deir Ezzor of firing artillery against Syrian and Russian forces near Deir Ezzor. It had promised to harshly retaliate in response to any further incident.

Some details of today's killing are still unconfirmed. But they may not even matter. The killing of nine Syrian army soldiers, while these were in a defenseless situation, will surely lead to a harsh Syrian army and Russian military reaction. The U.S. supported SDF near Deir Ezzor will be the targets.

Even if the Russian and Syrian generals hold back and refrain from retaliation, their forces on the ground will have their own ideas about having their comrades killed by illegitimate mercenaries under U.S. advice and control.

The U.S. special force "advisors" who accompany the SDF in the area better leave NOW. Otherwise U.S casualties will likely follow. The situation in east-Syria may then escalate into a violent direct conflagration between U.S. and Russian forces.

Posted by b on September 22, 2017 at 20:15 UTC | Permalink


Well isn't that interesting so much for the trumpster ramping down the war. I do hope Russia and Syria figures out were they are and turns the area to dust.

Thank b waiting for the update.

Posted by: jo6pac | Sep 22 2017 20:26 utc | 1

They say the beginning of the beginning of the ending of the World is tomorrow, but there's always a not as yet beginning not to be the beginning of the beginning of the ending to cling to.

Posted by: Charles R | Sep 22 2017 20:30 utc | 2

If the Russians and Syrians do not respond to this, the empire will never relent, and regime change is still the game..

Someone, some time, must blunt the empire's drive to dominate the globe.

Posted by: ben | Sep 22 2017 20:34 utc | 3

If this is confirmed, I expect the Russians will respond forcefully...

Their credibility is now on the line...they have issued a very clear warning from senior generals...and one day later, boom...they can't ignore this...

Add to that the Israeli bombing of Damascus international airport...and clearly the US generals are testing the waters to see how much they can get away with...

I would not be surprised if the next report we hear from the area is kalibr strikes...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Sep 22 2017 20:39 utc | 4

The issue is that this attack on the nine Syrian Arab Army soldiers will be but one of many such hit-and-run attacks by US-trained gangs of thugs that aim to distract Syrian attention away from the main goal of reclaiming Deir ez Zor completely and then going on to secure the nation's borders in the east and southeast. What the SAA and their allies would probably really love to do is to capture these US, British and other foreign advisors along with the gangs they train and subject them to criminal trial. But either these advisors are too well protected by the thugs or they direct them remotely.

I can't say any more than that the way the US and its allies are conducting the last stages of this war is petulant and cowardly.

Posted by: Jen | Sep 22 2017 20:42 utc | 5

The attack is confirmed?

Reliable SAA accounts deny it


Posted by: Ramirez | Sep 22 2017 20:49 utc | 6

SF also says unconfirmed as of now...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Sep 22 2017 20:52 utc | 7

"The killing of nine Syrian army soldiers, while these were in a defenseless situation, will surely lead to a harsh Syrian army and Russian military reaction."
Will they? Russia has never responded to an attack or defended their allies.

The Neocons take this as a sign of weakness, that the Russians are the school yard bully that as Kasich says, 'needs a punch in the nose' (and he was the moderate).

If this happened just after the Russians issued their warning then it is one of those famous 'tests', like when the Neocons claim that Iran or Russia is 'testing' the new President by doing something normal like hold a military exercise.

The schoolyard bully reveals himself. If Russia doesn't respond they will be hit again. I hope that no U.S. serviceman are around.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Sep 22 2017 21:00 utc | 8


Look...we're all disappointed every time the Israelis and US launch these pathetic and carefully calibrated provocations...

But to say that Russia never defends its allies is really going off the deep end...

Assad would be long gone by now and Syria would not exist as a unitary country had the Russians not intervened in the last two years...

Russian blood has been spilled in is disrespectful to those families to say such a thing...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Sep 22 2017 21:14 utc | 9

That is exactly what Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are wishing for: A direct confrontation between Russia and US supported SDF.
Turkey wants the destruction of the SDF while Israel and Saudi Arabia want to destroy any chance of a peace deal in Syria as they realize that after 6 years they have not been able to crush neither Bashar al Assad, nor Hezbollah nor Iran. Quite the contrary they made them heroes.
The US under the neocon influence is playing their game but Russia won't let them change the course of events even if its risks a direct military confrontation with the SDF. Turkey will be overjoyed, and the KRG will realize that Kurds are dispensable and that an independance will mean total isolation.
The international community is tired with bellicose Trump and Israel and they may welcome the crushing of the SDF. They are sure now that ISIS will be eradicated by the Syrian army, Hezbollah and the Russians. The SDF is now a liability. If the US does not withdraw from the battle now,it will bear another humiliating defeat.

Posted by: Virgile | Sep 22 2017 21:16 utc | 10

Defcon 2..

Posted by: Lozion | Sep 22 2017 21:23 utc | 11

I disagree with what you are saying. If Russia overreacts to these unprovoked attacks in Syria. It would be biting the bate that the US, Israel and coalition of the killing have set. One thing you are right about. These are carefully calibrated provocations. But there no reason to take the bate. When Syria is winning the war. Thanks in large part to Russia, Iran and Hezbollah coming to Syria's aid in a time of need.

Posted by: ron demarco | Sep 22 2017 21:33 utc | 12

Scores will be settled with the SDF but Syria and its allies have other big immediate agendas.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Sep 22 2017 21:36 utc | 13

@flankerbandit I understand what you are saying. I was referring specifically to a U.S., or U.S. led attack against their forces and referring to the impact it has on the Neocons.
1. Turkey ambushing a Russian Jet.
2. The U.S. bombing a Syrian airbase.
3. The U.S. shooting down a Syrian Jet (the Russians did respond w/Radar targeting but the buffoonish Neocons didn't count that)
4. The numerous bombings of both Syrian and Syrian allied forces.

I get the Russian argument that it's an escalation into an unnecessary fight. Their reaction was prudent for 1, 2, and 3. But it can get to a point where the Neocons will believe that they can swagger into the Russians anytime and get their way. I don't know if the Russians understand how intoxicating their lack of response is to the neocons. A little push back here will prevent a much larger provocation later.

It looks like this is a false alarm which is good. If the military went Neocon and attacked the SAA just one day after the Russian warning that would have been a very, very bad sign.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Sep 22 2017 21:42 utc | 14

@ 12 and 14

Russia did respond to the U.S. aided attack. The warnings are long past:

Russian sub hits terrorist group with Kalibr missiles after military police attacked

Posted by: likklemore | Sep 22 2017 21:57 utc | 15

@all - see the UPDATE in the original post:

The alleged incident did NOT happen. (At least not the way describe below.)

No SAA soldiers were killed by the U.S. proxy force near Deir Ezzor.

I am sorry for the false alarm and any irritation it might have caused.

Posted by: b | Sep 22 2017 21:59 utc | 16

Nothing that a well formed cauldron can't handle.

Posted by: Alvin | Sep 22 2017 22:01 utc | 17

@8 Chuba This happened on September 20.

Posted by: par4 | Sep 22 2017 22:16 utc | 18

The propaganda system is really busy churning out the details of the new U.S. foreign policy on Syria. . .

Reuters, Sept 21 - "Kurdish-led regions of northern Syria will hold elections on Friday, a historic expression of free will and a message to President Bashar al-Assad as he seeks to reassert control over the whole country, a senior Syrian Kurdish politician said."

Huffington Post, Sept 22- "Thus a free Kurdistan should not only include Kirkuk or Kobani but also Aleppo, Mosul and Baghdad. An independent Kurdish-Arab state promising equal rights for all has become even more important."

The New York Times went overboard supporting this, rolling out the notorious Ken Pollack of the Brookings Institute, author of a 2002 book "Threatening Storm" hyping the bogus Iraq WMD claims:

Sept 22- Israel is desperate for friends in the region, the Kurds generally want to be friends, and they don’t care about Palestine,” said Kenneth M. Pollack, a former C.I.A. analyst and National Security Council official who visits Kurdistan frequently. . . At bottom, though, analysts and ordinary Israelis alike seem invariably to land on moral and emotional arguments for supporting the Kurds.

Really laying it on thick, aren't they? Talk about a coordinated propaganda push across multiple platforms - what are they trying to prepare the public for, one wonders?

Posted by: nonsense factory | Sep 22 2017 22:36 utc | 19

thanks b and for the update...

Posted by: james | Sep 22 2017 23:18 utc | 20

@18 nonsense factory.. - i think they are preparing for the same thing they have been preparing for, for some time...clearly this is all orchestrated for mass public consumption...

Posted by: james | Sep 22 2017 23:20 utc | 21

I have a pretty simple indicator of what the SAA priorities are at any time.....check where are the Tiger Forces are located. Right now (unless I am mistaken) the Tigers are on the west bank rolling north toward Maadan. If the SAA was really really concerned about the SDF and oil fields east of river from DEZ, then that's where the Tigers would be. They're not and so the strategy is not as transparent as it may appear on the surface. Others more knowledgeable than me may be able to provide more insight.

Posted by: Sad Canuck | Sep 22 2017 23:32 utc | 22

"I have a pretty simple indicator of what the SAA priorities are at any time.....check where are the Tiger Forces are located."

This is not a reliable indicator.

The Tiger Forces are the premier Syrian shock troops. When hardened terrorist positions need to be absolutely overrun, they are who is given the task.

The priority right now is to secure Deir Ezzor and the surrounding territory, secure launching points on the east side of the Euphrates, and setup a fully integrated AA network.

Once those preliminaries are in place, the Tiger Forces are called in to drop the hammer on the forces to the north of Deir Ezzor.

Posted by: Terscich | Sep 23 2017 0:19 utc | 23

Thanks b, for the prompt update.

Citing AP, this is just posted at ZH; days ago we read it here, so this is really old news making the legacy media.

Follow the money. It's the oil. Syria will not be allowed its oil fields.

Russia Warns US In Unprecedented "Secret" Face-To-Face Meeting Over Syria, But What's The Endgame

Russia's diplomatic and strategic victory in the Middle East was made clear this week as news broke of "secret" and unprecedented US-Russia face to face talks on Syria. The Russians reportedly issued a stern warning to the US military, saying that it will respond in force should the Syrian Army or Russian assets come under fire by US proxies.

The AP reports that senior military officials from both countries met in an undisclosed location "somewhere in the Middle East" in order to discuss spheres of operation in Syria and how to avoid the potential for a direct clash of forces. Tensions have escalated in the past two weeks as the Syrian Army in tandem with Russian special forces are now set to fully liberate Deir Ezzor city, while at the same time the US-backed SDF (the Arab-Kurdish coalition, "Syrian Democratic Forces") - advised by American special forces - is advancing on the other side of the Euphrates.

As we've explained before, the US is not fundamentally motivated in its "race for Deir Ezzor province" by defeat of ISIS terrorism, but in truth by control of the eastern province's oil fields. Whatever oil fields the SDF can gain control of in the wake of Islamic State's retreat will then used as powerful bargaining leverage in negotiating a post-ISIS Syria. The Kurdish and Arab coalition just this week captured Tabiyeh and al-Isba oil and gas fields northeast of Deir Ezzor city. [.]

Though the US endgame is the ultimate million dollar question in all of this, it appears at least for now that this endgame has something to do with the Pentagon forcing itself into a place of affecting the Syrian war's outcome and final apportionment of power: the best case scenario being permanent US bases under a Syrian Kurdish federated zone with favored access to Syrian oil doled out by Kurdish partners. While this is the 'realist' scenario, there's of course always the question that an independent Iraqi Kurdistan could one day be realized out of the merging of Kurdish northern Iraq and Syria. But this would be nothing less than a geopolitical miracle. For now, early voting has begun in the Kurdish diaspora ahead of the planned for September 25th referendum on Kurdish independence, with the very first votes reportedly being cast in China.

Iraq will be told to shut up but Turkey and Iran will surely have a say on the Kurdistan.

Posted by: likklemore | Sep 23 2017 0:23 utc | 24

While this was an erroneous report the gist of it is still very likely to happen from one side or the other. I can only imagine the thirst of the Iranian and Hezbollah fighters to have some American personnel in their gun sights as their old and bitter enemy that has caused so much death and human suffering to their respective peoples.

Posted by: BRF | Sep 23 2017 2:12 utc | 25

@22 Terscich

I have no special insight but the Tigers have fought their way 60 km in the opposite direction of the oil fields east and southeast of DEZ. You would think Maadan is a pretty low priority given it's location and being surrounded. If DEZ and those oil fields are so critical right now then why do this? Sixty km is about the same distance from the bridgehead on the east bank of DEZ to the Iraq border. Only things I can think of is that SAA is worried about more isis switching sides or they are going to use that damaged bridge near the Al Kibar base to cross and out-flank the SDF on the east bank. Puzzling but the Russian rarely do what is expected.

Posted by: Sad Canuck | Sep 23 2017 4:13 utc | 26

Thanks for the update, B. Phew, glad to hear it didn't happen!

Posted by: Jen | Sep 23 2017 5:12 utc | 27

This is a ISIS video showing a drone dropping a mortar shell on one of the pontoon barges.

Possibly 2 injured from what I can see.

I don't know if this could have been the "origin" for the above "incident".

Posted by: Dean | Sep 23 2017 6:43 utc | 28

Fair play b, you're a rarity in these times... true investigative journalism with integrity. The polar equal and opposite - and antidote - to the western MSM singular narrative.

An ISIS GoPro was discovered in a wreckage after losing a battle on the run with the SAA and Hezbollah.

Also take a moment to recall the horror of Aleppo, and the evil the west and its filthy middle eastern allies were both behind and, if not, complicit to.
From June 2016:

I can never forgot my country of birth lowering it's flag for the sponsors of Wahabbi ideology. Nor can it be forgiven.

Eternal thanks to the SAA (and allies), protector of its peoples and more broadly - civilisation itself. One day I'll choose to spend my earnings in Syria.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Sep 23 2017 10:17 utc | 29

Thanks for the update

Posted by: jo6pac | Sep 23 2017 13:01 utc | 30

From my barstool, and looking at the maps, if they are to be believed, it appears the SDF has outflanked the SAA on the East Bank and will continue to do so, since it is much quicker to change ones uniform than to surrender. Eventually, the SAA will have to battle the SDF/ISIS/US alliance.

The $64,000,000 question is whether Russia can afford to go up against the International banking system. On one hand Lavrov states ineqiuiviblibly that, "Russia will not allow Syria to be partitioned ", but on the other when Trump threatened Russia from being cut off from SWIFT if its ships did business with NK, it promptly dropped its ferry service.

Let me order the next round.

Posted by: Michael | Sep 23 2017 13:47 utc | 31

SF is now reporting that the Tigers have taken Maadan...and unconfirmed reports that they have met up SAA troops west of the city...

if confirmed then that whole ISIS pocket is sealed...

Someone mentioned ISIS switching sides as the possible driver for that Maadan offensive...

Certainly ISIS being reuniformed is a big part of the explanation to how SDF is making lightning advances to oil country on west bank of Euphrates..

However, the somewhat surprising push to Maadan at this particular time when the very important oil fields are in play, might be explained also by turning that question around...

Maybe the SAA has reason to think that some of the tribes working with the SDF now on the east bank of Maadan area are ready to switch sides themselves...sauce for the goose and sauce for the gander...

Once one Arab group in SDF splinters...the rest may soon follow...

The alliance of Kurds and local tribes is a tenuous one, under the 'big tent' of US the dirty playbook...

In any case the progress of the tigers up the east bank and taking Maadan is pretty impressive...

Someone also mentioned a damaged bridge in the city and that may mean a second, and possibly much stronger bridgehead on the east bank is coming...

The SDF bulge from its 'heartland' to north Eir Ezzor is a salient whose flanks would be very vulnerable to a pincer along the east bank with simultaneous advances from both north and south...

Even if it doesn't come to fighting...the Arabs involved in that push to north Deir Ezzor in the first place may just see the writing on the wall and switch to the winning side...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Sep 23 2017 13:54 utc | 32

Sorry meant to say ISIS turncoats explains how the SDF made that lightning advance to north Deir Ezzor and oil country on EAST bank of Euphrates...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Sep 23 2017 13:57 utc | 33

A war prediction from Mike Whitney --

So what does it all mean? Does it mean that Russia will support Assad’s attempts to liberate the oil fields even if it could trigger a broader war with the United States?
Yes, that’s exactly what it means.
Putin doesn’t want a slugfest with Uncle Sam, but he’s not going to abandon an ally either. So there’s going to be a confrontation because neither party is willing to give up what they feel they need to achieve success.
So there you have it. As the standoff begins to take shape in east Syria, the two rival superpowers are preparing themselves for the worst. Clearly, we have reached the most dangerous moment in the six year-long war. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 23 2017 14:32 utc | 34

I haven't seen this development reported which I see as part of the equation in Syria

Turkey calls for Iraqi Kurdish referendum "completely cancelled"

The referendum is scheduled for September 25 and I wonder what the battlefield position in Syria will be at that time.....

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 23 2017 15:47 utc | 35

@32 Don Bacon

I don't see war. When Whitney (whom I enjoy very much) says, "neither party is willing to give up..." I don't think this is true of either side. It's not a real characterization of the situation. For one thing, Russia has a vastly greater hold on the situation in Syria than the US does, so presenting this as an equal impasse is not real.

Russia has no fully finished desire in this theater, and the US has been retreating strategically for 3 years, behind the smoke of tactical spoiling actions. There's no actual reason to think US and Russian proxies clashing - again - will be any different. The US will bluster and retreat, Russia will finesse the "confrontation" so that the US can retreat behind its bluster.

Russia has no final desire in Syria - by which I mean that Russia has stated its aims clearly, to stay in Syria for decades with its bases, and to be Syria's ally and to destroy the jihadis wherever they are found. But Russia hasn't stopped evolving its desire here yet. It may go further, but things move one step at a time.

Russia is already at war with the US around the world and on several planes - information, financial, energy, diplomatic and military. Syria is an extremely vital piece of the war because the leverage is so great there, and the tactical win-lose is so visible to all parties and the world. But Syria's only a part of the war.

The US is retreating. Russia is ascending as the moral leader of the multi-polar world, and an unsurpassed physical guarantor of security. So goes the big war. The US is retreating and the world is still alive.

Lavrov has just started laying the ground to throw all the uninvited forces out of Syria: Uninvited and illegal foreign troops in Syria must leave after the war - Lavrov. Very gradual work this, but Russia is perfect for the pace. And the US will retreat without seeming to, and the loss of life will be kept to the absolute minimum possible.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 23 2017 16:03 utc | 36

@29 michael... any more info on this? thanks

"when Trump threatened Russia from being cut off from SWIFT if its ships did business with NK, it promptly dropped its ferry service."

funny how trump as spokesperson for the international banking cartel have so many over a barrel, isn't it?? no wonder china and russia are working towards making their own international banking transaction system..

Posted by: james | Sep 23 2017 16:24 utc | 37

Just to add to the theme
Contained in Don Bacon's post,
this from the Washington Examiner:

"Nobody in these areas wants the Damascus government to return – meaning flags, army," Brett McGurk, the presidential envoy coordinating the U.S.-led counter-Islamic State coalition, told reporters at the U.N. on Friday. "That would be, I think, something that would not be stabilizing."

The article starts off from a quote from Lavrov, saying that the presence of US forces are illegitimate in Syria, and it's time for them to leave.

Posted by: Wwinsti | Sep 23 2017 19:53 utc | 38

well, the obvious question - why the fuck is the usa everywhere on the planet including in syria? it sure as fuck ain't for democracy and freedom..

Posted by: james | Sep 23 2017 20:24 utc | 39

@37 James

Acting on your request, the SWIFT story was in ZeroHedge on Sept 21. See below. The other was somewhere, which I cannot find now, but it was also recorded in the Japan Times. The causality between the two was my mistake. The story in the Japan Times was on Sept 3. Sorry about that.

Posted by: Michael | Sep 24 2017 0:30 utc | 40

@40 michael.. thanks man..

Posted by: james | Sep 24 2017 6:40 utc | 41

French paratrooper shot while in "advising" mission to the Kurdish and Arab troops around Raqqa.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 24 2017 7:09 utc | 42

Whenever I want to give advice, I strap on a parachute, exit the plane, deploy the chute and glide, drop and roll. Then I hike to the rendezvous point. It makes for an impressive display before a sit down meeting.

Posted by: fast freddy | Sep 24 2017 14:08 utc | 43

All media and prognosticators make errors. How can you tell which ones are trustworthy? When they honestly admit they make a mistake and apologize.

Posted by: WorldBLee | Sep 24 2017 15:28 utc | 44

Not sure I do not remember I've seen use of opto-electronic guided missile in Syrian conflict.

It is probably Shahen-129 drone with Sadid-345 smart bomb.

Whether is this propaganda video or not, or this is a message to their enemies, the Iranians are showing impressive capabilities. It is obviously in real war tested system.

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 24 2017 17:24 utc | 45

Christian--I think Russia also has meta-reasons for not responding as forcefully to threats upon its allies as US and its allies' initial attacks upon the allies. Part historically--whenever (if ever) objective historians or pundits reflect upon the Syria situation, it'll be clear that the US and it's terrorist proxies were the main instigator (well maybe they'd say Assad too, but certainly not Russia).

I'm reminded of MLK Jr.'s wisdom about peaceful protests--try to incite violence upon the protesters, but do none of your own. And so not just for future history's sake, but it's also a good PR strategy in the present. Even if the US media/political class is to rabid to be affected I imagine Europe and others are affected. And not that I'm comparing MLK Jr. or nonviolent protest to Putin or Russia's actions in Syria. But just kind of maybe a similar idea.

Posted by: Soft Asylum | Sep 25 2017 1:58 utc | 46

So here is a link from ZH about the latest move from Russia to out the dishonorable US

Russia Releases Photos Showing US Special Ops At ISIS Positions In Syria

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 25 2017 2:44 utc | 47

Below is a link from China news and is followed by a quote that I thought important.

Chinese envoy says situation in Syria headed for political settlement

"The independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria must be respected and protected," Xie said.
Xie Xiaoyan is China's Special Envoy for Syria and made this comment on Sunday, Sept. 24

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 25 2017 6:29 utc | 48

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