Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 11, 2017

Syria Summary - A New Clash Looms in Syria's East

When the Islamic State siege on Deir Ezzor was broken by the Syrian Arab Army we asked:

Will the SAA cross the Euphrates at Deir Ezzor to retake the valuable oilfields east of it? Or will it stay south of the river and leave those oil fields to the Kurdish U.S. proxies in the north?

To cross the river is clearly desirable but also potentially contentious.

Since then several convoys of military bridging equipment have been seen on the road to Deir Ezzor. It is now obvious that the SAA will bridge the river (all regular bridges have been destroyed by U.S. bombing during earlier fighting) and send significant forces across. New questions now are: When, where and with what aim?

As soon as the government intent became clear the U.S. pushed its local proxy forces to immediately snatch the ISIS held oilfields. In less than two days they deployed over 30 kilometers deep into the ISIS held areas north of the Euphrates. It is obvious that such progress could not have been made if ISIS had defended itself. I find it likely that a deal has been made between those two sides.

The U.S. diplomat tasked with the job, Brett McGurk, recently met with local tribal dignitaries of the area. Pictures of the meeting were published. Several people pointed out that the very same dignitaries were earlier pictured swearing allegiance to the Islamic State.


Just like during the "Anbar Awaking" in its war on Iraq the U.S. is bribing the local radicals to temporarily change over to its side. This will help the U.S. to claim that it defeated ISIS. But as soon as the payments stop the very same forces will revert back to their old game.

Originally the U.S. had planned to let ISIS take Deir Ezzor. It had twice attacked Syrian government forces in the area killing more than a hundred of them. This had allowed ISIS to capture large chunks of the government enclave and to disable the airport which was need for resupplies:


After Russian support for the SAA changed the balance of power, and after the election of Donald Trump, those plans had to change. Syria and its allies created facts on the ground and it is now again in control of the area it had lost to ISIS. It will also liberate the rest of the city.

Here is current map of the east-Syrian Euphrates area. .

Map by Weekend Warrior - bigger

The SAA (red) has liberated parts of the city and the airport. The road from Damascus to Deir Ezzor is completely under SAA control. The population, which had nearly starved under the ISIS siege, is receiving fresh food, other necessary goods and medical attention.

The hatched areas of the map show possible next aims for the U.S. proxy campaign (yellow) and the Syrian government forces (red) in their fight against ISIS (grey) and against each other.

Critical oil fields are north and east of Mayadin. The Omar oil field in the east is the biggest one in all Syria. The U.S. wants these under its control to finance its Kurdish and Arab proxies in north-east Syria. The Syrian government needs the oil to rebuild the country. Should the U.S. supported forces try to annex the area we will likely see a direct conflict between them and the Syrian government forces. Would the U.S. and Russia join that fight?

Areas in the north-west and south-west of Syria have been relatively quiet. In recent weeks no relevant change of positions took place. In the south-east around the Syria, Jordan, Iraq border triangle the Syrian government retook several border points. The move comes after an agreement between Russia, the U.S. and Jordan conceded the area back to Syrian government control. The "rebels" in the area were CIA financed but are now out of income. They were ordered by their masters to move to Jordan but several groups refused to do that. The Syrian army and air force will take care of them.


The Syrian government again pointed out that U.S. (and Turkish) forces on its ground are uninvited and that their presence is illegal. The Russian foreign minster made the same point in a press conference today. Yesterday the Turkish president said "we mustn’t allow foreign powers intervene in Syria to serve their own interests." (His palace seems to lack mirrors.) These are clear signals to the U.S. that its presence and that of a U.S. proxy forces in Syria will not be condoned. 

President Trump had clearly said that his only interest in Syria is to get rid of ISIS:

"As far as Syria is concerned, we have very little to do with Syria other than killing ISIS,"

But Trump is now under the influence (or control?) of the U.S. military. The Pentagon and those forces influencing it might have their own plans. The war is mostly decided. The Syrian government will prevail. But the war is not yet over. Undesirable surprises may still come from the U.S. or other interested sides.


Adding: Several recent rumors about incidents in Syria were and are obvious fakes. Please be careful distributing wild claims when these have not been verified by a multitude of sources. The truth is: NO deconfliction line exists east of Deir Ezzor. The SAA did NOT shoot down an Israeli jet over Lebanon. NO U.S. General said that the Syrian army would be bombed if it tried to cross the Euphrates. NO attack on a SAA convoy by the U.S. airforce happened today.

Posted by b on September 11, 2017 at 16:25 UTC | Permalink

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Russia should expand the NFZ beyond the Euphrates in accordance with SAA advances and bomb the SDF cutthroats.

Just like Syria secured the southern border above al Tanf, together with Iraqi shia militias on the other side. SDF are mostly Kurds and they wouldn't last long in these hostile environments anyway.

Posted by: mikh | Sep 11 2017 16:51 utc | 1

"Undesirable surprises may still come from the U.S. or other interested sides."

Sadly this is very true and Syria and Russia need to start shooting down whatever comes near by no matter what side of the border the plane is on.

Go Syria.

Posted by: jo6pac | Sep 11 2017 16:52 utc | 2

Informative as usual. Would have been good to have the Iraqi forces positions on the map above.

Posted by: Hannibal | Sep 11 2017 16:53 utc | 3

The SDF units scheduled to move on the oil-fields are Sunni tribesmen. Some tribal leaders have already said they were ready to join the Syrian government in the end. That moment has now arrived. Are they going to go over, and abandon the SDF? Could well happen. McGurk was evidently trying to sweet talk them. But I don't think finding them in company with Da'ish means much. You have to talk to everybody in a complex multi-sided conflict. Da'ish wouldn't likely appeal to the tribal leaders - their power would be undermined.

I would think bridging the Euphrates means moving into the oil-fields and joining up with defecting tribesmen. So which side are the US going to bomb, in order to recover the situation?

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 11 2017 17:08 utc | 4

The area north of the Euphrates will be relatively easy to take because it is sparsely populated as compared to the villages along the Euphrates. I wouldn't take that as a sign of a conspiratorial agreement between ISIS and the SDF. ISIS can only make a stand in areas where they have a chance to employ urban warfare and blend into the population.

Yeah, if I was the SAA, I'd thrust into the North ASAP to secure the oil fields, territory, and to cut off the SDF and then pick off the ISIS villages in the S.E. of Deir Ezzor at their leisure. Now that ISIS is cut off from Turkey, they are drying up like a prune, let the attrition take its toll.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Sep 11 2017 17:16 utc | 5

Inevitably and hopefully soon a political solution will be found with the PYD leadership to settle the Kurdish question before conflict between SAA & SDF erupts. Lets hope a new war is not brewing.. Btw whats the staus with SAA presemce in Hasakah & Quamishli?

Posted by: Lozion | Sep 11 2017 17:26 utc | 6

Oups, should read "status wih SAA presence". Sorry..

Posted by: Lozion | Sep 11 2017 17:28 utc | 7

How ironic. The UN Security Council today is considering sanctions against North Korea for arming against a(nother) US attack and invasion, while the US has a free pass to attack and invade Syria.

The United Nations according to its charter was established "To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;. . ." There is nothing in the UN Charter (of course) limiting a country arming itself against attack.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 11 2017 17:31 utc | 8

"But Trump is now under the influence (or control?) of the U.S. military."
Yes, generally this is not good in a "democracy." But occasionally there is a glimmer of hope. A recent US government meeting on North Korea reportedly included a vast schism between Trump bellicosity and Pentagon-urged diplomacy.
There is some cause for hope in the Middle East also.
1. US generals generally :-) aren't too bright, many having gotten to where they are mainly by sucking up, "go along to get along."
2. Even US un-bright generals can recognize a losing situation that would not benefit their careers when it plays out. (That's the Middle East, Syria especially, currently.)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 11 2017 17:41 utc | 9

Will the U.S. abandon the KURDS as they did in Saddam's time? Good question, that should be on the KURDS tongues.

Posted by: Eugene | Sep 11 2017 18:21 utc | 10

I read something about a race to Al Bukamal, Syria

Posted by: @Madderhatter67 | Sep 11 2017 18:28 utc | 11

@Christian Chuba #5

Yeah, if I was the SAA, I'd thrust into the North ASAP to secure the oil fields, territory, and to cut off the SDF and then pick off the ISIS villages in the S.E. of Deir Ezzor at their leisure. Now that ISIS is cut off from Turkey, they are drying up like a prune, let the attrition take its toll.


You can gauge how weak a military force is when they are under a heavy attack if they are unable to mount diversionary attacks to force the attacking forces to split their numbers and draw them away from the main attack vector.

IS and the other US regime backed terror groups have not had the manpower to do so like they were able to in earlier years of the war. There are no longer tens of thousands of drug crazed IS cannon fodder left.

If Russia was a true ally to Syria, the SAA would be surrounding the remaing pockets left in and around Deir Ezzor and drive immediately up to Hasakah and simultaneously east north of the Euphrates to the Iraq border.

But Putin is clearly still clinging to his fatal 'our American partners' delusions and continues to entertain the American regimes land grab attempts. Like someone who is negotiating with a squatter who is occupying their house instead of just kicking them out.

One other factor may be that Russia wants to wrap up their operations in Syria sooner than later and they don't really care about what is right. Letting the US regime save face and occupy parts of northern Syria might be perfectly acceptable if it allows them to stop devoting such a large amount of Russian resources for Syria.

Finally, Russia has continuously let the US regime get away exercising power they do not have the forces to support that power because 'Putin isn't going to get into a shooting war with a nuclear power over X'.

At some point Putin has to start calling the US regime's bluff.

Syrian airspace is closed.
US regime convoys crossing the border are either warned to retreat or destroyed.
US regime military outposts are closed.

The fact that the US regime is playing PR games with a surrender negotiation by flying drones and warplanes over the IS bus convoy in Syrian airspace is embarrassing.

Posted by: Vannok | Sep 11 2017 18:34 utc | 12

"Adding: Several recent rumors about incidents in Syria were and are obvious fakes. [...] The truth is: [...] The SAA did NOT shoot down an Israeli jet over Lebanon. [...]"

I guess b is referring to this here:

So no Israeli jet downed, OK. But not even any tracking/targeting of an Israeli jet by Syrian air defences, either? Disappointing, I really would have welcomed such news, because I believe at some stage, Syria will have to stand up to Israeli transgression, too, to fully recover their sovereignty.

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Sep 11 2017 18:42 utc | 13

Assad, SAA and Russian leadership have all said on numerous occasions that Syrian sovereignty is non-negotiable, that it will continue to be fought for if required. Given those pronouncements, if the SDF/Outlaw US Empire won't cede ground, then they will be forced to. And SAA and allies have more than enough to do so.

Christian Chuba @5--Daesh fought bitterly against the SAA and allies in the wastelands of central Syria and urban areas, the current battle for the T-2 pumping station, airport and small settlement that's been ongoing for over 2 months is a case in point as is the history of operations surrounding Palmyra. Contrast Aleppo with Raqqa is also very distinct.

It's a proven fact that the Outlaw US Empire will only retreat when forced to do so. The peoples of Syria and Iraq do not want any vestige of it within their nations--not even diplomatic missions if it were left for them to decide. Thus, no political leadership will ever gain a large popular following unless the Empire's erased from their nations--facts well known by the Zionists.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 11 2017 18:46 utc | 14

Some time back when Israel attacked positions near Palmyra. an incident seemed to have taken place near the Jordan/Israel/Syrian border. Apart from some pics of a missile body that fell in Jordan, there was nothing to confirm the rumors. When The US attacked with cruise missiles, less than half reached their target. Russia MoD asked US what happened to the others. Other than pics of the wreckage of one tomahawk at Tartus, there was nothing to indicate that something had occurred. Any incident that occurs over the sea or Israel, there will be no confirmation that anything had occured. Russia MoD is like the wise monkey that speaks no evil.
I cannot see Russia allowing Israel to attack Syrian/Hezbollah forces at will, but Russia and Israel's policy of saying nothing about any incident makes it difficult to know if a rumor is fact or fiction when there is zero photographic evidence and no official conformation.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 11 2017 19:19 utc | 15

It looks like Iran-Syria economic cooperation is moving ahead quickly; the Iran electricity plant group, Mapna, has signed contracts with the Syrian government to build electricity plants around Aleppo. Mapna also has signed deals with European energy & infrastructure leader, Siemens, for rail and turbine construction.
Syrian government press release Sep 11 2017:

For his part, Director General of Export Development and Technical and Engineering Services at the Iranian Energy Ministry expressed his country’s readiness to support Syria and to enhance its steadfastness in different domains, particularly in the sector of electricity and its requirements.

There are many power plants around Deir Ezzor (some destroyed by US bombs) that are also candidates for a reconstruction program, which Syria could finance via oil sales with cooperation from Iran, Russia, China and Turkey. Likely some Pentagon-State Department types are aware of this and so want to block SAA from occupying them.

It was exactly this kind of regional economic integration between Syria and Iran (extending eventually through to China, Russia, the European Union, Lebanon, Turkey) that sparked the whole regime change plan c.2010 onwards that the United States government, Israel and Saudi Arabia backed so heavily. It's classic imperial thinking - block economic growth in the colonies to keep the population subservient. In this respect, the electricity, railroads, telecommunications - that's what they don't want to see expanded. It's a pretty dirty strategy - and for what? A hopeless fantasy of global imperial control of the world economy, is all it is.

Right now, the Israelis and Washington neocon/neolibs are trying to spark conflict between SDF and SAA in order to block expansion of this economic integration; but the Kurds must surely realize they are no more than a sacrificial pawn in this game - cutting a deal with Damascus and politely bidding U.S. forces farewell is clearly a much smarter move on their part.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Sep 11 2017 19:42 utc | 16

I'm quite confident the Syrian gov will reclaim those oil fields and eastern Syria. The question is how it will happen. The SDF is not so formidable sans US air power and US air power must enter the area through Turkey, Syria or Iraq. All will likely prohibit US air power from aiding the SDF but my money is on Turkey doing so first and that would be game changing

Posted by: Alaric | Sep 11 2017 19:46 utc | 17

Excellent piece. I was waiting for your views whether SAA attempts to cross Euphrates river and saw pics SAA with boats few days back. It's unlikely SAA will crosses the river unless Erdogan concurs. SAA has the manpower FSA dun. Further with the military airfield in SAA hand it would be a piece of cake for a SAA to remove once and for all and recover the oil fields.

Now it’s a waiting game, hopes Putin give the green light. It's now or never Syria’s unity and federation depend on Putin and Erdogan.

Posted by: OJS | Sep 11 2017 20:06 utc | 18

There's a lot of reinforcements coming into DeirEzzor right now. It clearly looks like the SAA are going to clear out the whole area to the Iraq border. They have the heavy forces along with Russian & Hezbollah personnel with some serious firepower. IS is trying to delay by not agreeing to their usual deals to be bused to DeirEzzor from central Syria. More SAA forces may be required for that clearing first before they can be sent further south & east.

The tribal groups will all switch sides to the Syrian government before too long. They're consummate deal makers and will take whatever they can get from all sides. They are also smart enough to know which side is winning.

The big battle yet to come is the one for Idlib. That will be interesting as Erdogan has a dog in that fight.

Donald Trump is slowly consolidating his own power in DC as he gets a hang of how it all works in that city. Folks underestimate him at their peril. He's not gonna be controlled by the generals for very long as the GOP movers & shakers are finding out. The Bannon interview on 60 minutes says it all. Trump values loyalty and Bannon gets that.

Posted by: ab initio | Sep 11 2017 21:04 utc | 19

@vannok 12
Russia leadership thinks keeping comlines Open with partners could be positive for Them.
Coalized countries like to Press russia military answer with provocations, but this scenario is unlikely, with Putin at least.
Russian president had to face very tough decisione in his career, but he seems to be cool in that; not so bad about a guy with
Thousands nukes in the toolboox.
Do not expect russia to start war with usempire by shooting First.
Buy popcorn and wait.

Posted by: y | Sep 11 2017 21:57 utc | 20

Lozion @6.

The RuAF used the airbase at al Qamishli as an intermediate stage for its humanitarian aid drops to Deir Ezzor prior to its release. There is a substantial Syrian Arab presence there, and also at al Hasakah. These are the major urban centers in east Syria. The Kurds in both places have long tried to take on the Syrian Arabs with intermittent gun fights. Things appear to be stable at al Qamishli at least, as the Syrian concentration is sufficiently strong and the airbase is open. There is a case for a Deir Ezzor-style relief process for both centers, linked by a northeast tributary of the Euphrates.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 11 2017 22:03 utc | 21

@don bacon 9
What do usa generals think?
Why are we here in Syria?
Simple question but difficult answer.

Posted by: y | Sep 11 2017 22:04 utc | 22

nonsense factory @16

"the Kurds must surely realize they are no more than a sacrificial pawn in this game"

They claim they 'deserve' a state - ring any bells? They think they have a get out of jail free card. The reality is they would be surrounded by implacable enemies who would prohibit all land and air access to the 'so-called' state. A recipe for long term conflict which would suit Israel perfectly.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 11 2017 22:13 utc | 23

Regarding McGurk's diplomatic trip to eastern Syria, I think it was particularly generous of the Syrian government to grant him legal access to Syria so he could discuss its destruction with the help of other corrupt Syrians. /sarc.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 11 2017 22:27 utc | 24

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 11, 2017 3:19:49 PM | 15
When The US attacked with cruise missiles, less than half reached their target. Russia MoD asked US what happened to the others. Other than pics of the wreckage of one tomahawk at Tartus, there was nothing to indicate that something had occurred."
My first thought was they were taken out by the S-400s. Then it occurred to me they may have only shot one or two missiles and either; gave the balance to perhaps Israel or; they just used the larger number as an excuse to order more missiles, MIC must be fed you know.

Posted by: frances | Sep 11 2017 22:49 utc | 25

thanks b.. much appreciated.

@8 don bacon... that tells one all they need to know about the un, doesn't it?

@12 vannok.. russia is playing a long game.. it confuses the hell out of a number of people, including you by the look of it.. read @15 peter au for more insight... some folks are the last to know.

@16 nonsense factory... last paragraph - yes, a much smarter deal, but are they smart enough to take it?

@24 anonymous.. so true.. i got a free pass from the peace loving un council, lol..

Posted by: james | Sep 11 2017 23:09 utc | 26

i - he ( mcjerk )..

Posted by: james | Sep 11 2017 23:10 utc | 27

@james #26

@12 vannok.. russia is playing a long game.. it confuses the hell out of a number of people, including you by the look of it.. read @15 peter au for more insight... some folks are the last to know.

Please give the 'Russia is playing the long game' as some sort of deep insight a rest.

This is basic game theory that Russia is failing at most likely due to Putin's Achilles' heel that if he acts like a grownup long enough with the American regime they would eventually put aside their murderous juvenile actions and start acting like a responsible and lawful state in the international arena.

Two players sitting at a game with one in a very week position can avoid defeat by continuing to smash the board ensuring everyone loses. At some point their bluff needs to be called.

It is long past the time for Russia to make it clear to the US regime that there will now be consequences and the "Russia isn't going to start an international war over X" days are over and they are going to get a bloody nose the next time they attack the SAA, directly come to the aid of the foreign terrorists, or whatever stunt the murderous clowns from the US regime do next.

The US regime has nothing other than the 'Russia is not going to start a nuclear war over X' card in Syria.

The war is over.

* The Kurds aren't going to turn the north of Syria into a giant land attack platform for the US regime to attack Iran

* The Israeli regime's dreams of a greater Israel are over

* The Gulf dictatorships' plans for Syria are defeated

Russia's pussyfooting around with the American regime means thousands and thousands of more Syrians are going to die for nothing.

Posted by: Vannok | Sep 11 2017 23:39 utc | 28


Radar horizon for a low flying fighter jet is about 35km. Because Lebanon is practically all hills, the practical radar horizon from Syria is usually much less. Israel launches lots of Delilah cruise missiles into Syria from Lebanese airspace for exactly this reason.

When you hear people saying that Russia must be on Israel's side because it didn't stop an Israeli airstrike, it pays to remember that an S300/350/400 battery in Syria simply can't see an Israeli jet that's flying low over Beirut.

- -


An S300/350/400 complex can't see a Tomahawk or Delilah cruise missile (flying at 5m, typically) unless it's within 20km of their elevated radar. Definitively, the Tomahawks were not shot down by the missile batteries around Damascus or Latakia. The US would have routed around these locations.

Russia's Krashuka-4 electronic warfare systems can jam GPS signals used by Tomahawk Blk IVs in order to degrade their accuracy, but Krashuka-4's range of 250km means that the US could route around the only complex in Syria (at Latakia, I believe) by crossing over Tyre or northern Israel.

At any rate, the Tomawhawk's have TERCOM guidance (TERrain COuntour Matching), and sophisticated algorithms and anti-jam directional GPS antennae, in order to compensate for GPS degradation. (Plus a little-known ability to be guided in by special forces with designation terminals, close to their targets.)

I can believe that Russian point defenses (e.g. Pantsir) may have shot down a few at the airbase itself, as those systems are excellent and they're designed for exactly that kind of task: but the bottom line is that satellite imagery shows most Tomahawks seem to have hit (, and Trump was correct when he said Tomahawk attacks against runways are pointless because runways are easily repaired.

Not that I don't hate his guts for launching the attack.

Posted by: I don't want to think of one | Sep 11 2017 23:40 utc | 29

@21 Txs Anonymous (wish you would use a handle), there is some twitter chatter about the Tigers having already crossed the river and moving to block the SDF southward move..

Posted by: Lozion | Sep 11 2017 23:41 utc | 30

@y #22
What do usa generals think? -- They don't get paid to think. So, for example, the US is still spending blood (not general's blood though) and treasure fighting people sponsored by a US ally Pakistan, and no general has ever complained about that. A four-star general who retires after 30 years receives a pension of more than $250,000 a year (sometimes earning more than while they were on active duty). They also receive generous health care benefits through TRICARE, and base privileges that allow them to shop tax-free in the commissaries and base exchanges.
>Why are we here in Syria? -- The US is in Syria b/c it's the next best thing to being in Iran, and Syria has been so weakened that there's no down side as there would be with Iran. A US attack on Iran could result in the destruction of US ships and installations in the Gulf, with 40,000 Americans, plus a good part of Israel. The US is currently trying to foster a Sunni wedge to break the Shia crescent it created with Operation Iraqi Freedom, using ISIS, Kurds, Sunni tribes -- whomever it can.That would be in eastern Syria.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 11 2017 23:48 utc | 31

When the USA makes its plans evident through actions of the SDF with any American response to attack SAA forces in a concerted effort then we will see what Russia is able to do about such provocations. Perhaps equal attacks on the SDF as each super power pummels the other's ground forces until cooler heads prevail? Any direct involvement between Russian and American air forces would be a disaster in the making and hopefully both militaries know this?

Posted by: BRF | Sep 12 2017 0:30 utc | 33

vannok 28
The Russians should have taken KIEV - all the south to the Dniepre - if the threat of Nazi resurgence was as the Russians said in the U

Posted by: ashley albanese | Sep 12 2017 0:39 utc | 34

"When you hear people saying that Russia must be on Israel's side because it didn't stop an Israeli airstrike, it pays to remember that an S300/350/400 battery in Syria simply can't see an Israeli jet that's flying low over Beirut."

So why Beirut?

Your post is very much speculation. Performance of the Russian radars are pretty much secret. However, 55Zh6ME Nebo M, AESA 3D radar sees just about everything including earth-hugging flying objects and so-called stealth (VLO) jets. This acquisition radar is part of S-300/400.

I always wondered why there is no Tor 2M in Syria the most capable Russian point system against very low flying and very low observable objects but knowing now that Nebo M is there the answer is self evident.

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 12 2017 0:54 utc | 35

@15 Peter AU

"Some time back when Israel attacked positions near Palmyra. an incident seemed to have taken place near the Jordan/Israel/Syrian border. Apart from some pics of a missile body that fell in Jordan, there was nothing to confirm the rumors."

I haven't looked back to check, but I think the pics of the missile body were in the Jordan River valley (i.e. the Israeli controlled West Bank) rather than Jordan. But I too noticed that there was no confirmation one way or the other regarding whether a Syrian anti-aircraft missile had actually struck a returning Israeli jet, as was claimed by Syria.

Posted by: Norumbega | Sep 12 2017 1:13 utc | 36

Because Putin has opted for negotiation ahead of military confrontation consistently in the Syrian war, he has left the Syrians wide open to the types of illegal invasion and advance amerika is currently in the throes of.
It is difficult to see much alternative though, the moment Russia throws down the gauntlet and insists amerika reverse it's illegal invasion of a sovereign state , amerika will hit Russia from all sides creating by fair means or foul, a straight on conflict that draws Nato into the argument. It doesn't matter who is the CEO & COO of Nato as anyone in the Nato command structure above the rank of lance corporal in charge of latrines is a puppet of empire and Nato's involvement will sideline pols, putting those quislings into the decisions.
As much as commentators here act like spectators at a wrestling match by insisting "Putin go for it" I just cannot see that happening.
The amerikan empire knows if it can establish 'facts on the ground' as quickly as possible that puts them in a stronger position when all the yapping does go down.
The last thing russia needs or wants is an open conflict between Russian military & amerikan.
amerika on the other hand shows no reluctance to get into military confrontation with the SAA or the citizens it is trying to defend. The amerikan imperialists know that no matter what happens all they have to say is "those camel fuckers are all terrorists anyhow' and the bulk of the amerikan population will lap it up.
Put that with a trump who is just smart enough to work out that going head to head with those reds (lets face it as far as amerikan media & public is concerned Russia has all the same negative attributes as the former USSR) will get rid of all that ruskiegate bulldust in a flash and it is difficult to see how Putin can do anything other than allow amerika & his mates in israel too many concessions and leave Syria non-viable as a centrally governed sovereign state.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Sep 12 2017 1:30 utc | 37

Latest Canthama post on

Have shared as early as last Thursday at Syrper that the SAA would cross the Euphrates mid week, I was wrong, it happened already today, special forces have already crossed the Euphrates and will soon take control of the left banks of the river from ISIS. This operation is simply vital to remove all ISIS presence in Der ez Zor city, the left bank is where ISIS is receiving re supplies and ammo, cutting it off will cut ISIS life in Der ez Zor.

The SAA will also take control of the nearby oil fields and block SDF advance. This is happening with intense RuAF presence in the air. You won’t hear confirmation of this operation until the Syrian MoD decides to spread the world, but soon we will hear more about it. By now no news from the point of crossing.

All the info on US attack on SAA positions in Der ez Zor has been fog spread by the US allies, clearly under US direction to confuse troops on the ground. It seems the US has not learnt that the amount of SAA and allies are so large in Der ez Zor already, tens of thousands of soldiers and that the communication is free flowing as never before.

We should not be surprised to hear the AAs missiles have been re installed at Der ez Zor base, soon jets will be flying in and out of it. Most likely new defense systems will be brought to Der ez Zor airbase, that will control all east and NE of Syria.

The SAA and allies are prepping a huge offensive toward the lower Euphrates, it seems there will be action on both sides of the river, plus from T3-T2 axis, all the way toward Abu Kamal. Major ops ahead, with lots of Iraqi PMU inside Syria, 3,000 just arrived few weeks back for this ops. It will be timed with the liberation of al Tanf in the Syria-Iraq border.

Wonderful news. Canthama has been the single most reliable news aggregator and interpreter on Syria, IMO.

Posted by: Giggles | Sep 12 2017 1:34 utc | 38

Some thoughts about the latest Canthama info.

1. If it is true that the SAA is massing in Der ez Zor then Syria must be very confident that the rest of the country is fairly secure for the the next few months. They would not be massing such a huge amount of troops unless they plan on using them for a major operation and not just securing the area around Der ez Zor.

2. I may have missed the news but I have not heard of anything about the PMU operating along the Syrian border or inside Syria since we last heard about the US pressuring the Iraq government to put a halt to their operations.

3. If Russia really is setting up AA in Der ez Zor then that may very well be the end of the war for the US. Other than murdering Syrian civilians, the only thing left for the US in Syria is acting as the airforce for their Kurdish thugs and mercenaries in the North of the country.

4. All the bullshit spews by US military about zones in Syria is clearly just wishful boasting. If Putin was really making backroom deals with the US about splitting up Syria or letting the US occupy the North they would not allow the SAA to mass so many troops in Der ez Zor or setup AA.

5. The only stuff that could make Canthama's latest info better would be more news about the Northern tribes breaking away from the US.

The SAA has been methodically and rapidly crushing Daesh ever since they reached Der ez Zor. The central Syria Daesh pocket is just about cleared out. I don't see Daesh exisiting outside of a few cities along the Euphrates in a few weeks.

That may be one reason Russia has been holding off confronting the US. They know the US will have lost any pretext of their military attacks on Syria in a very short time.

I suspect that once the SAA clears out the remaining Daesh above and below the Euphrates Russia is going to let the US that the "Pool is Closed" and go home.

Posted by: Giggles | Sep 12 2017 1:57 utc | 39

@37 Giggles

Yes, excellent news. Canthama is all that you say, your "IMO" is shared by everyone who reads his reports I'm sure.

I'm no military expert but it's clear that everything happening in the theater is military action, planned and implemented after much analysis and according to doctrine. This speaks of two things to me.

One is that it's pleasing to find the soldiers acting in advance of our speculation about how they will act. Just the way a military campaign should be - unclear until afterwards.

Two is that somewhere in the doctrine the various red lines have been established, and presumably communicated to hostiles such as Israel and the US. I have a feeling that Russia would indeed aid SAA in a fight against the Kurds, all the while attempting to talk sense into the Kurds - but I have no collateral for this view.

It's fact now that Russia plans to be in Syria for a long time, and to me those plans appear to be on a trajectory that involves ridding the country of all invaders and occupiers. But all these things will happen in the right time, and some of them will be delicate indeed. Russia has shown itself quite capable of administering force delicately.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 12 2017 2:10 utc | 40

@28 vanook.. i think russia is playing for time.. putin will have to call the usa's bluff no doubt, but the timing for this is critical.. i have never made the assumption that russia won't call the usa's bluff... perhaps you see it differently?? it is not only about syria either.. russia has essentially called the usa's bluff here in syria... baby steps.. i really think we see this very differently. you may neglect to appreciate the financial set up in the world today which continues to favour the usa and us$.. perhaps you are a better chess player then i realize.. your next move is to call the usa's bluff.. you would have made it some time ago.. i don't think it is fully time.. it is happening in stages too.. it isn't just calling the usa on this either.. it is calling the western system, with europe and all the poodles who continue to support usa too..

and, i am just reading debsisdead response now.. he says something similar regarding how nato would engage immediately..

bottom line, i wouldn't play it the same way as you here vanook.. i will continue with my premise - russia is indeed playing a long game here..

Posted by: james | Sep 12 2017 2:12 utc | 41

The concept that Russia is in any way holding back in its relationship to the US with regard to Syria has been proven inaccurate so many times in the last year or two that one hardly knows where to start to refute the notion. Perhaps with the fact that Syria is now undoubtedly winning, and it happened because of Russia's help. Strategically, the US has long since lost in Syria, defeated on the world stage by Russia. Tactically, there may be tantrums and spoiling actions, but the impotence of the US is plain to see.

Russia has played an astonishingly accomplished hand in Syria, through which it has won the multi-polar world's admiration, and at a monetary cost no greater than its regular military budget, with a return of unsurpassable training and testing.

Russia quite some time ago began to join irreversible battle with the US. One could set a number of timelines and gradations on when and to what degree this happened. In my own personal calendar, I date this beginning sometime after the Maidan in early 2014, hardening in resolve through the accession of Crimea, and having reached a point of no turning back by the time of the Debaltsevo cauldron - where Russia could have obliterated hundreds of NATO specials, but let them go in return for the Minsk agreement, which was the surrender terms of the western generals and spooks on that particular battlefield.

Russia is locked in a death struggle with the US. She performs actions both seen and unseen daily, on a continuous basis, in furtherance of her planning towards victory. Not to see this, or to see only the fraction of it that occurs in Syria, is to miss the full reality.

And again it should be said that Russia is not attempting to win wars. Russia is striving to build peace. These are two different things. Global peace is Russia's only true security, and this will constitute victory.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 12 2017 2:37 utc | 42

@41 greived.. thanks.. you said it a lot better then i was able to.. we see it similarly here..

Posted by: james | Sep 12 2017 3:10 utc | 43

I read a theory why half of Tomahawks did not reach the target: some of the missiles that reached the Syrian airport earlier put fuel storage in flames, and the resulting clouds of smoke disabled the optical guidance of the final missiles. I do not know enough about guidance systems to figure if this is possible or not.

Concerning "But Putin is clearly still clinging to his fatal 'our American partners' delusions...", assumptions that Putin, Trump etc. believe everything they say is hasty, to put it mildly. When I was buying boscht in our Russian store I heard Russian TV, and the way "nashi Amerikanskiye partneri" was pronounced suggested "conniving SOBs", and the full text was fully consistent with the thick sarkasm in the phrase "our American partners". What is more amazing is that some constructive deal with USA seems operational: de-escalation zones seem to work in 95% or better, which is crucial because the number of "boots" among SAA and allies that have sufficiently high training, morale and weaponry for offensive actions is rather limited, and the swift progress in the Syrian Desert that we are observing would not happen.

Russians understand the logic of limited war in which hasty actions prompt reactions that nullify the effect, and they have somewhat limited resources. Iran, the other paymaster, is limited too. Diplomatic game is subtle and totally crucial. It is a sad fact of American political life that actions causing Israeli hysterics have a larger potential for bad reactions that other. But Israel, by its standards, indulged in moderation.

Back to amazing effectiveness of de-escalations. Of course, they are amazing only in comparison with the previous years, and Americans had to give their blessings. That is not consistent with various erratic directions of Trumpian diplomacy. My guess is that Trump is simply obsessed with elimination of ISIS, and elimination of al Qaeda would not drive him to tears either.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 12 2017 3:25 utc | 44

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 11, 2017 10:37:24 PM | 41

In my own personal calendar, I date this beginning sometime after the Maidan in early 2014,

You can safely push this back to the summer of 2008 in Georgia, when Mickey The Necktie Chewing Baboon tried to pull the quick one.

Posted by: hopehely | Sep 12 2017 5:24 utc | 45

@Grieved | Sep 11, 2017 10:37:24 PM | 41

..."Russia is not attempting to win wars. Russia is striving to build peace. These are two different things. Global peace is Russia's only true security, and this will constitute victory.

Excellent analysis, but I failed to see the logic. I remember the speech British PM Neville Chamberlain gave 30th September 1938 on Munich Agreement before the great patriotic war from 1941-1945 "Peace for our time.”

It seems Putin had forgotten or never learned, going all out to please Amerika repeatedly since the breakup of Soviet Union, promised made to Gorbachev "Not an inch more" and from Yugoslavia to Ukraine, Syria and now UN Security Council unanimously votes to cut fuel supplies to North Korea’s amid raising nuclear threats.

When will Putin learn Amerika breaks promise after promises, blaming everything on him from the 2016 presidential erections (intentional) and etc., except the International Space stations? Not a word since imposed first sanction on Russia Federation after Maidan. Amerika needs RF Soyuz rocket and spacecraft and RD-180 engines for its Atlas 5 rocket to launch U.S. military satellites.

Xi Jinping in my opinion by far more shrew, He knows China may not be #1 or #2 in rockets’ science today or endowed with vast natural resources, but Xi got human resource more than a billion. Using to the fullest (poorest to brightest, youngest to oldest Ph.D., engineers and etc.) the manufacture’s for the world. Stealing, cheating, reversed engineering and researched, now #1 in high speed train, biggest dam, #1 and #2 in Supercomputer, #1 in AI, #1 in Solar energy and #2 in research articles, than any other nation, apart from Amerika and countless more..

All the while Putin’s begging to sell her oil and gas more like a prostitute sells her soul and to a lesser degree her military’s rocket science. We will see soonest than later who is the smartest: Putin, Merkel, Trump, Macron, Narendra Modi, XI Jinping? Ooops did I forget Theresa May, she is not even in my mind as I draft this piece of sarcasm.

Please excuse my Eng.

Posted by: OJS | Sep 12 2017 7:34 utc | 46

Sorry SDF: when it really counts the Yanquis dogs will pretend they don't know who you are and then scurry home to hide in their nests.

Posted by: Ed | Sep 12 2017 7:52 utc | 47

Latest South Front - (11th Sept) Syrian war reported SAA has two options after SDF with the help Amerika reaches Deir Ez Zour industrial zone and capture 113th air defense base. 1st option Liberate the remaining ISIS-held area in the Deir Ez-Zour city or outflank the city in order to encircle it and block further SDF advances.... Amerika warned (unconfirmed) SAA not allow to cross the Euphrates river. Amerika again outsmart Putin or the grand chess master got something inside his sleeves?

Posted by: OJS | Sep 12 2017 9:29 utc | 48 A New Clash Looms in Syria's East

Posted by: MR | Sep 12 2017 9:59 utc | 49 this gives an incredibly accurate prophetic view of the present situation.

Posted by: MR | Sep 12 2017 10:08 utc | 50


There's no such thing as divine 'prophecy', only self-fulling prophecy by mere mortals.

I'm not being atheistic here or cynical - hard as I looked over the decades, I could not for the life of me find a single proof of divine prophecy. I advise you view the world thru a non-messianic lens. Saves you getting stuck in a hall of mirrors and primordial delusions. Thank you.

Posted by: Taxi | Sep 12 2017 11:42 utc | 51
Syria’s Survival Is Blow to Jihadists - Despite last-ditch efforts by Israel and its allies to salvage the “regime change” project in Syria, the looming defeat of the Western-backed jihadists marks a turning point in the modern Middle East, says ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke.

Posted by: MR | Sep 12 2017 11:53 utc | 52

@taxi/50 thanks for your reply to the link I'm aware of the fact that not everybody in this forum would dig the Christian prophetic outlook, but isn't it describing the present situation in Syria?

Posted by: MR | Sep 12 2017 12:00 utc | 53

Thank you to all who replied to my questions re the missing US Tomahawk missiles!
reply to: Posted by: Grieved | Sep 11, 2017 10:37:24 PM | 41 In my own personal calendar, I date this beginning sometime after the Maidan in early 2014,
You can safely push this back to the summer of 2008 in Georgia, when Mickey The Necktie Chewing Baboon tried to pull the quick one. Posted by: hopehely | Sep 12, 2017 1:24:32 AM | 44;
I think Putin came to the realization that the US is the global equivalent of Lord Voldemort when the US called for a UN vote for a Libyan no fly zone and promptly bombed the place flat. There is a photo of him on the day the US bombed Libya, it was the face of a man betrayed. The world is fortune that the US was so blatant in betraying his trust; IMO his is one of the best political minds in two centuries and he has worked day and night from that moment on to both create a multi-polar world and to expose the US as the world destroyer it sadly is.

Posted by: frances | Sep 12 2017 12:54 utc | 54 Breaking News of Saudi Crown Prince's "Secret" Visit To Israel Brings Embassy Scramble

Posted by: MR | Sep 12 2017 12:55 utc | 55


A stuck clock is correct once in 24 hours :-))

Try the Gilgamesh epos. It is much older than the bible and was told along the Euphrates river.

There "a great storm and flood was brought to the world by the god Enlil, who wanted to destroy all of mankind for the noise and confusion they brought to the world"

Turns out the gods need people for food and service so they decide to destroy some of them for peace and quiet but not all.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 12 2017 13:06 utc | 56

reply to Posted by: OJS | Sep 12, 2017 3:34:45 AM | 45
You are right, Xi and China have, with their 3 billion plus people made enormous strides, yet they too they have bought into Putin's multi-polar world vision. Russia's is a small economy,it's GDP is about the same as California, but it has given the world a vision, a hero, a plan and hope. China left to its own devices would probably rule the world, Russia has tempered that possibility and made a multi polar alternative the more attractive alternative. IMO it is not about who is the smartest, who is the biggest, it is who is able to channel the smartest and biggest to a common world vision:)

Posted by: frances | Sep 12 2017 13:10 utc | 57


The problem with place 'names' is that in ancient times (and in our times too), names tend to be adopted by several regions or nations. Take for instance the name 'Jerusalem': well, there used to be an ancient Jerusalem town in the Arabian desert too, not just in the Levant. So which 'Jerusalem' are we talking here?

See what I'm getting at with the concept of 'prophecy'? It's hard to even establish basic biblical facts, so, more likely than not, one's configurations, if based on the bible will be off the mark.

I am no bible scholar but it appears that the world of 'prophecy' spins in permanent conjecture.

... And funny enough, my interpretation of your link is that the content could just as easily refer to ISIS (antichrist) coming from the east (Turkey).

But hey, I'm betting my farm on my logical, geopolitical deductions and asserting here that israel (occupied Palestine) WILL BE involved in the next BIG Levant war - and so will Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon - likely Yemen and Afghanistan fighters too - possibly Russia, China, UK, Germany, France and the USA: directly or indirectly. We can be sure that the bible doesn't reference any of the non-Levant countries above, so where does that leave the 'big prophecy for israel'?

*(A note on the ancient town of Jerusalem/Arabia: according to the Arab historian, Kamal Salibi, an ancient Arabian Jerusalem did exist in ancient Yemen, now located within Saudi territory, close to modern Yemen borders - Salibi put forth proof of this in a book and no one in the East or the West has refuted his findings and conclusions thus far. And, no, you will not find an English translation of his book, published by a mainstream jewish publisher in the West. (Notable here too is how Western historians use jewish-pubished books on the middle east instead of checking out the native historian and local folklore for their mideast research).

You might be educated/entertained by my own take on the origins of the Abrahamic god here:

And BTW, I'm some 70 minutes drive from Magiddo and the locals simply refer to it as the 'place where the Turks were slaughtered by the Brits' (Mediggo was the scene in 1918 of the defeat of Turkish forces by the Brits under General Allenby) - the locals also often call Mediggo 'where Wilad Al-Sham (Levanteans) tomorrow will slaughter the jew invaders'.

Of interest to you might also be the meaning of the word 'Megiddo' in Arabic: it's 'Glory'. It simply means 'glory'. Glory of god? Glory of victory? Or just Glory Hill, simply because the tip of the hill catches the sun rays so gloriously? For sure, no one can say for sure.

Posted by: Taxi | Sep 12 2017 13:37 utc | 58

Absolutely yes to francis @ 56!

Posted by: Taxi | Sep 12 2017 13:38 utc | 59

Igor Bundy has posted some excellent maps of the ongoing river crossing preparations at the bottom of the current thread at SyrPers for interested barflies,

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 12 2017 16:30 utc | 60


A stuck clock is correct once in 24 hours :-))

Posted by: somebody | Sep 12, 2017 9:06:23 AM | 55

Whereas a dishonest asshole like yourself is almost never correct, and on the few occasions when you are correct is it usually only because you are trying to set people up so that you can sell them a lie in the future.


Posted by: UknowWho | Sep 12 2017 16:41 utc | 61

A stuck clock is correct once in 24 hours :-))

Posted by: somebody | Sep 12, 2017 9:06:23 AM | 55

Actually the saying is: broken clocks are correct twice a day.

This is due to the fact that when the phrase was coined all clocks were ‎analog, 12hr clocks.

Depending on what is wrong with it, a broken 24hr digital clock might not even be correct once a day.

You couldn't even get that much correct, you asshole.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Sep 12 2017 16:54 utc | 62

Posted by: "someasshole"{+2} | Sep 12, 2017 9:06:23 AM | 55

LOL. In vino veritas.

"a stuck clock"

It is possible the said asshole is miliary, and sitting somewhere in some cube looking at a 24hour face clock.

Posted by: nobody | Sep 12 2017 17:28 utc | 63

Posted by: Taxi | Sep 12, 2017 9:37:24 AM | 57

Al-Majid is one of the names of God. It means 'The Majestic'. This is a Name of 'Severity'. This Name is balanced by Al-Jalil, 'The Beautiful', which is a Name of 'Grace'.

Per our Prophet (SAWS), God has Decreed of Rule of Mercy for ITSelf, so the tending balance is Love over Law.

Of course, per some of the great souls, the key matter is to "see gentle Beauty in Majesty and Majesty in Beauty". This is for those who seek 'Completion'.

Posted by: nobody | Sep 12 2017 17:40 utc | 64

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 11, 2017 10:37:24 PM | 41 In my own personal calendar, I date this beginning sometime after the Maidan in early 2014,

You can safely push this back to the summer of 2008 in Georgia, when Mickey The Necktie Chewing Baboon tried to pull the quick one.
Posted by: hopehely | Sep 12, 2017 1:24:32 AM | 44

I think the seal was set in the summer of 2003, when ExxonMobil's Lee Raymond took a proposal to Putin that Exxon would acquire 51% ownership in the Russian oil giant, Yukos. This would have meant that Russia's main export commodity, oil, would be under the control of an American corporation with close ties to Washington. The Russian oligarchs who'd rose to power and wealth under Boris Yeltsin were onboard with these deals because of the great personal wealth they'd acquire with even 1% of the cash flow going into their pockets. It's clear Putin didn't approve of this. Within a few months, Yukos' chairman, Khodorkovsky, was arrested and charged with tax fraud. (For comparison, this would be like Warren Buffett or Bill Gates or the Koch Brothers being arrested in the United States for tax evasion - not likely, definitely a political move)

It was only after that that the U.S. got up in arms over Putin, calling him a human rights abuser, defending Khodorkovsky (who had been negotiating for Yukos' sale with Chevron and Exxon), plus the other oligarchs targeted by Putin, like Berezovsky and Gusinsky who had, for example, played key roles in keeping Boris Yeltsin in power in 1996. Soon after, all the color revolutions were launched, with the aim of bringing all the ex-Soviet satellite states in eastern Europe and central Asia into the Washington-London axis of power by regime change or military intervention (as opposed to the neoliberal trade deals intended to do the same thing). Much of it was about control of oil and gas - Afghanistan as the pipeline route from central Asia to the Indian Ocean, Georgia and Ukraine and southeastern Europe as pipeline routes to the lucrative western European energy market (which also played a role in the Yugoslavia conflict of the late 1990s).

Prior to that 2003 rejection of Exxon, US and British media had very positive views of Putin - just as they did of Assad in 2008, before he cut all those economic deals with Iran and rejected the Saudi-Israel agenda. It's painfully obvious to anyone who gets outside the US-British media bubble what the game is.

However, as OJS notes above, China could be the more important global factor from here on out. The U.S. and Russia might have an overinflated sense of importance left over from the Cold War, but China is just cutting economic deal after economic deal. Their "Silk Road" initiative in Central Asia is far more plausible than anything Condi Rice or Hillary Clinton or John Kerry or Rex Tillerson have tried, they're not wasting trillions on stupid military adventures as the United States has, and Russia, without trade with China, would be facing a very bleak economic prospect.

The United States has fallen into the rope-a-dope trap in the Middle East, as well as in east Asia, pouring all this money into military foolishness while China invests in infrastructure and manufacturing, leaving the U.S. with widespread domestic poverty and unrest. In the long run, the U.S. will probably have to abandon the Middle East entirely to its own resources (not that they'll have much as oil becomes less important to the global economy) and become a more regional power (North America) in a much more multipolar world. This is a terrible outcome for the Washington neoliberal/neocon apparatchiks and the American oligarchs will ultimately take a big hit, as the Russian oligarchs did - but, as with the average Russian standard of living, it's likely this will be a good thing for the average American citizen too.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Sep 12 2017 17:51 utc | 65

@64 nonsense factory.. good post.. i agree the yukos game and how it got played out was a very important turning point in russia relations with 'the west'..

Posted by: james | Sep 12 2017 18:15 utc | 66


Lofty stuff. Thank you. Really, for further illumination, I should have added above that 'Al-Majid' is Arabic for Megiddo. The words 'Majestic' and 'Glorious' - practically no difference in meaning there: both belonging to the same bag of soaring praise.

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty — that is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know” - John Keats

I reckon the line above could easily be mistaken for a utopian line from the bible. But it's not. It was written by a consumptive weed of a youth; suddenly facing an early death; addicted to opium, sorrow and the hem and hands of Fanny Brown, his beloved teenage beau.

Revelational-truth is a funny thing: it can come from the stars, and it can come from the gutters too.

Posted by: Taxi | Sep 12 2017 18:30 utc | 67

According to Military Maps and confirmed in AMN

"Minutes ago, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) entered the strategic town of Jafra in Deir Ezzor after advancing east from the military airport."

This is the SAA moving south of Saker Island and towards the Euphrates. This would put the SAA south of the SDF if they cross the river in this area. It would block the SDF movement further east of Deir Ezzor.

We shall see if this is the plan shortly.

Posted by: Dean | Sep 12 2017 19:56 utc | 68

Looking at the speed the SDF is acquiring Syrian land from Daesh in Deir Ezzor one would suspect they're just handing out new uniforms...

Posted by: xor | Sep 12 2017 19:58 utc | 69


24 hour clock


You cannot be sure on the twice a day stuff ....

Posted by: somebody | Sep 12 2017 20:00 utc | 70

I had a quick look at the area up close and there are good roads to the river and a landing site at the river, and also a very large open field on the other side.

Posted by: Dean | Sep 12 2017 20:03 utc | 71

nonsense factory @65

Bang on. Per CNN in October 2002:

"The mercurial President Yeltsin spent much of his time in the hospital, fired his government five times, and did little as Russia's immense assets moved into the hands of a small group of oligarchs.

By the end of his presidency, the Russian currency had collapsed and the government owed impoverished state workers in some cases years of back pay.

At one stage, Yeltsin had an approval rating of only 2 percent. Mr. Putin's approval ratings are over 70. Russians think of Putin as being kind of boring in comparison to the colorful President Yeltsin, but after so many years of excitement, boring and predictable, they say, is good.

Since Putin took office, the economy has stabilized, even expanded, helped by strong oil prices. The oligarchs either walk in step with the president, or are on the run. ..."

Posted by: spudski | Sep 12 2017 20:08 utc | 72

nonsense factory @65--

Nice historical recap; Putin certainly ended the Outlaw US Empire's neoliberal program for Russia's enslavement and fueled the resurgence of Sino-Russian relations, which even by 2000 hadn't recovered from the 1950s Sino-Soviet Split. Yeltsin made several efforts to improve relations, but only marginal improvement was made. I don't know what the Chinese saw in Putin that caused their relations to dramatically improve to the point where the two nations are essentially symbiotic, but it seems to have occurred early on in his tenure; perhaps it was the 911 false flag that did the trick.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 12 2017 20:11 utc | 73

Taxi says:

Revelational-truth is a funny thing: it can come from the stars, and it can come from the gutters too

or even from Gershwin...

The t'ings dat yo' li'ble
To read in de Bible,
It ain't necessarily so

Posted by: john | Sep 12 2017 20:16 utc | 74

The Weekend Warrior map above includes Shadadi which is up the Kahbur Valley north of the Deir Zoor Protectorate (province). The SDF captured Shadadi over eighteen months ago, defeating ISIS in one of its strongholds. The battle is described here.

So now, eighteen months later [!], the SDF with Arab tribes is coming down Kahbur Valley (the hatched area on the map) as a part of the US Operation Inherent Resolve as described in this Sep 9 release here. It's "Operation Jazeera Storm" towards Dayr Az Zawr (Deir ez Zor). SouthFront is reporting that the US will not allow the SAA to cross the Euphrates here, we'll see.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 12 2017 20:24 utc | 75


"An informed military source told Muraselon that the government troops are – and have been – avoiding any clashes with the Kurdish militia as instructed by the senior command.

“The Syrian Army has no intention whatsoever to cross the Euphrates and fight the Kurds.

All such reports circulated via social media networks are false,” the same source added."

Posted by: Lozion | Sep 12 2017 20:28 utc | 76

Question: Under what pretext does the UN Security Council not ask the US, Turkey, Israeli forces to leave the sovereign state of Syria immediately?

Posted by: Jason | Sep 12 2017 21:04 utc | 77

@75 If this source is valid then maybe we are witnessing a major pince move (through secret negociations with US/SDF) to finally crush IS? More likely, this is simply deception. The SAA will surely cross though may avoid contact with the SDF. In any case, we will soon know as the SDF is reported to be only a few km from the East bank..

Posted by: Lozion | Sep 12 2017 21:13 utc | 78

Jason @76--

I believe Syria's UN rep has asked that question but no resolution's been forwarded for a vote.

OT: My specific location in Yachats is within the Overleaf Village development next to the Lodge on Stone Bridge Ct, but I'm chained here mostly caring for my Alzheimer's afflicted ma. You can email me by using my full moniker at actionnet dot net for more specifics. Hope you do so!

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 12 2017 21:15 utc | 79

Lozion @77--

Assad and Shoigu met today and "discussed plans for continuing combat operations and cooperation between the Syrian Arab Army and Russian forces in order to proceed towards liberating the entirety of Deir Ezzor city from terrorism." Other aspects were certainly discussed but not shared with the press. The river crossing must occur for that above to be realized. Daesh has finally showed some resistance to SDF's presence as Southfront reported yesterday. (Sorry, but posting link will send comment to spambox.)

We won't have to wait very long to discover the truth of the matter. Maybe as soon as tomorrow. I look for the river crossing to be done under cover of night--tonight, as in now.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 12 2017 21:30 utc | 80

What was supposed to be the glorious turning point that ends the Syrian war is now a complete farce.

% The US's mercenaries magically advance all the way down to Deir Ezzor without a shot being fired against ISIS

% Not a word or action from the pathetic Russians

% If I am reading the reports correctly, the US mercenaries have captured the Deir Ezzor base needed to setup AA

% The SAA is being confined to the south side of the Euphrates

% The only hope now is some sort of night time sneak crossing of the Euphrates by the SAA in their OWN COUNTRY???

This entire Deir Ezzor operation is turning into a sick joke.

Please, post some more BS about how this is all brilliant Russian long term strategy...

Posted by: garth | Sep 12 2017 21:50 utc | 81

Could someone comment on the validity of this article:

I recognize that the Kurds in Iraq are involved in ethnic cleansing to make a pure Kurdistan. I was unaware that the Kurds in Syria have plans to do this also to create a Kurdish "commune". As the Kurds in the so called Kurdish portions of Syria are actually a minority A bloodbath may be the outcome.

Interesting that ISIS and the Kurds do not seem to be engaged in much fighting and that the Kurdish forces are being given a free path to the Syrian oil fields. This is consistent with the CanIFUKUS (Canada, Israel, France, UK and US) alliance with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states to create a Sunnistan to block the so called "Shia Crescent". The plan seems to be play nice with Russia but still overthrow the Syrian government by any means (probably covert).

More knowledgable commentators should be able to correct my POV and add other insights. Thanks.

Posted by: Krollchem | Sep 12 2017 23:06 utc | 82


I tend to agree with you.

By the moment when the SAA reach Deir Ezzor the Kurds moved its forces. It was easy for them because there is nothing from points of their advance to the industrial zone of Deir Ezzor. Prior to that there were observers, maybe they did not believe that SAA will liberate city. Who knows, maybe they do not have manpower. And maybe they had to wait for signal, "go ahead".

No doubt IS is the devil reincarnation, only possible by the Devil himself. The Iranians long ago, appropriately call them Great Satan, the USA. Yet I somehow have felt IS is "lesser evil". FSA and Kurds are far bigger menace to the state sovereignty of Syria that IS is.

Official Russia call FSA "armed opposition", and Kurds have a mission in Moscow. Ipso facto liberals in Moscow are ready to federalize Syria, they wrote a "constitution" which Assad ditched. Federalized Syria scenario plays right into hands of the Syria's mortal enemies.

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 12 2017 23:14 utc | 83

Thierry Meyssan is legit. I've followed him for years. He's not always banging on. He's certainly more knowledgeable than me. Especially on Syria.

Posted by: @Madderhatter67 | Sep 12 2017 23:20 utc | 84

So SOMEBODY we know is a complete ARSEHOLE? WHO KNEW!? My, how revealing as well. Nyuck, Nyuck!!!

Posted by: Fernando Arauxo | Sep 12 2017 23:24 utc | 85

Revelational-truth is a funny thing: it can come from the stars, and it can come from the gutters too.

Posted by: Taxi | Sep 12, 2017 2:30:00 PM | 67

For me, minus the "Revelational-" prefix, why not. But we can branch off the human belief systems based right on that very prefix question. (Revelation implies agency and purpose. And agency drags in the authority and authentication questions. Gershwin is entertaining and all, but can I base important 'undecidables' on his songs.)

Posted by: nobody | Sep 13 2017 0:12 utc | 86

How boring, the god botherers disrupt and distract a thread with their superstitious nonsense. It's almost as if that is what they set out to do. It seems that organised religion's role as bulwark to the status quo is only barely extant. Like the closet tory in Peter Seller's 'Politician' skit who interupted the lib with "What abaht the workers?" every minute or so, the xtians now seek to stymy reasoned discourse with fatuous repetitions about revelations & miracles.
All I can imagine is that anyone who is reduced to this type of banality cannot 'have a life' as they say; they must be truly lost - with crutch or no.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Sep 13 2017 1:03 utc | 87

Revelational truth can come from trolls too. You simply reverse everything they say, and there it is :)

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 13 2017 1:04 utc | 88

Every year at the beginning of the school year, Sergey Lavrov makes a speech and takes questions from students at the Moscow School of International Relations (''MGIMO''). The rest of this post is some snippets from Lavrov at this year's event, held on 1 Sep 2017:

Lavrov: "We see that many Western politicians find it difficult to accept the obvious – the post-bipolar era is over. The hopes of replacing it with hegemony were not realised. Today we are witnessing the development of a new, more just and democratic polycentric arrangement.... A multi-polar system reflects the cultural and civilisational diversity of the modern world.... [Western states are] standing in the way of forming a multipolar world order, but no one can stop this objective and relentless process.... All we want is to build our own lives ourselves, without foreign prompting and unwelcome advice.... General trends gravitate towards a multipolar world, but... we still have not reached peak resistance to this trend.... Our Western partners need to realise... that joining this trend, rather than going against it, is a much easier and more efficient way to secure their national interests."

Lavrov: "The basic principles of international law... – [namely,] sovereign equality of states and commitments not to interfere in their internal affairs and to resolve all disputes by peaceful means.... It is well-known who violated these basic principles, who bombed Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya, who allowed the emergence of... ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra.... The Syrians themselves should determine the future of their country. We are using the same principles in our dealings with all the parties to the crises in Libya, Iraq, and Yemen.... There’s no doubt that the [approaching] Syrian settlement will certainly be a positive factor not only for the Middle East, but international relations in their entirety.... This will be a signal that one can no longer dictate decisions unilaterally, without taking into account the opinion of the country in question."

Lavrov: "An inability to perceive reality was very typical of the Obama administration."

Posted by: Ghubar Shabih | Sep 13 2017 2:22 utc | 89

Posted by: Debsisdead | Sep 12, 2017 9:03:37 PM | 86

Itt's just a few posts. Maybe instead of dismissing it out of hand you could listen and perhaps gain some perspective. You sound in constant conflict with any others who may have any different PoV than your own. I can honestly say I usually enjoy reading your posts on here - but discussion and dissection work much better in an environment where multiple mentalities and attitudes can at least be entertained.

This is coming from someone who enjoys hearing you speak on here too. I'm not religious to any extent either, but should I even have to say that? It's like people who cut off another to say "oh you say you're a ? Well I already know what you think and believe so I can dismiss you out of hand" without considering the substance (or even the purpose) of their beliefs or argument. The way you can dismiss whole swaths of people with terms like "xtians" and "lib(s)" doesn't reflect well on people (nor this community honestly). I don't slot myself into either of those labels, but plenty do.

It's funny how easy people forget that lots of people use similar or identical labels and still can have vastly different worldviews (and beliefs). From my experiences talking with people over the years in lots of different places, I've come to believe that this is the rule and not the exception. Having these stiff prejudices can really jeopardize both your understanding of the world and your ability to hear and adopt new and differing perspectives.

If I was to proclaim some spirituality publicly (either at the beginning or the end of a comment, perhaps even implicitly), would it make what I had to say in the first place any less relevant? It's almost fallacious to think so in my eyes. I always enjoyed reading the works of media theorist Marshall McLuhan. I found out years later that he was an extremely driven and committed Catholic. I never once thought about how that could (or did) 'detract' from his work.

Communities such as this I think should be at least a little concerned of the ability for others from different places and walks of life to hear what we have to say. I have always enjoyed B's blog posts because he didn't address it to a narrow grouping of people, not in spite of that.

//Sorry for the massive derail, but i think it's a good reminder for everyone to hear once in a while//

Posted by: George Smiley | Sep 13 2017 2:23 utc | 90

@ George Smiley who writes that we should be more accepting of religious beliefs (my interpretation)

I am one of those you are critical of for going off on Xtians as a group.

I believe that Xtian religions perpetuate the concept of faith over reason and logic. For that I condemn them. It is part of the brainwashing that keeps Western society allowing the historical elite families that own everything including global private finance in power......people keep having faith in a system that is killing us all while treating us as slaves.

i think it is time to evolve our social organizations to reflect what we don't know now instead of hanging on into extinction what we didn't know hundreds of years ago.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 13 2017 4:03 utc | 91

Russia's military is in the middle of modernization, still 3 to 5 years away by my estimate. Su 30, 34, 35, PAK 50, S-500 and T-14 Armata all look strong, but the bulk of Russia's military is much older and in some cases obsolete. Combined with the Russian militaries relative inability to project power beyond their borders, one can see a big reason for the slow pace and in some folks' eyes, lack of commitment to Syria. Currently they would lose a full military confrontation with USA/NATOin Syria. Time is on Russia's side, no reason to not play the long-game.

For the time being, Kurdish territory provides a nice buffer from Turkey, and gives Syria a lot of leverage in dealing with the Turks, who in my opinion are the most dangerous gang after USA and Israel. When it comes time to take back Idlib, having Turkey standing down will make a big difference, and I believe if the diplomatic cards are played correctly via the Kurds, they will stand down.

In regards to the s-400, every time you fire that puppy up, electronic and location information is revealed. It makes no sense to use it chasing around a couple f-15s I'd guess Israel and others would love it if Russia activated it in a non-emergency situation.

Posted by: Haasaan | Sep 13 2017 7:06 utc | 92

The river crossing must occur for that above [liberation of Daesh-controlled parts of Deir Ez Zor city] to be realized. Daesh has finally showed some resistance to SDF's presence as Southfront reported yesterday. (Sorry, but posting link will send comment to spambox.)

We won't have to wait very long to discover the truth of the matter. Maybe as soon as tomorrow. I look for the river crossing to be done under cover of night--tonight, as in now.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 12, 2017 5:30:12 PM | 79

What seems necessary is controlling Euphratus islands that have narrower channel on the western side, and that would have to precede putative crossing of the main channel of the river. Reported boats and amphibian vehicles that were transported to the front line will be first used for that. The details of the rumored de-conflicting will not be clear for weeks, because SAA has to clear a lot of countryside, including densely populated river valley, before contemplating the "big crossing".

Strategically, perhaps it is wise to offer USA some illusions and allow SDF to get entire land to the east of Euphrates, in exchange for stopping supplies to the "moderates". Once ISIS is mopped out (some time in October), SAA and allies can drop on "moderate sectors" where truce violations happen like an anvil. What we have seen is that once the backstabbing is eliminated, SAA is eliminated, but the number of high quality units is still limited, best results are one-two fronts at the time, now: Deir Ez Zor and "central Syrian pocket". Letting finishing off the latter can be a huge mistake, because front lines that are stabilized for longer time are fortified with tunnels (and bunkers?), the pattern is that the most swift advance is through front lines that are recently opened.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 13 2017 11:36 utc | 93

Combined with the Russian militaries relative inability to project power beyond their borders, one can see a big reason for the slow pace and in some folks' eyes, lack of commitment to Syria. Currently they would lose a full military confrontation with USA/NATOin Syria. Time is on Russia's side, no reason to not play the long-game. Haasaan, @91

One thing that arm chair strategists overlook is that sound strategy is supported by the population, both at home and where the power is "projected". Putin had to minimize the effect of oil crash and convince the Russian that he is doing his best, even as living standards declined. Flashy foreign endeavors had to be avoided, while limited steady action with results to show resulted in domestic tolerance for the engagement in Syria, if not enthusiasm. On Syrian side, imply throwing weapons at low quality units would be simply counter productive, so new good units were trained and armed. And it is super important to thread lightly on the dignity of the troops, officers etc. who have to risk their lives at the end of the day. Something that USA thoroughly botched in Afghanistan. Given such constraints, the pace of progress is not disappointing.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 13 2017 11:59 utc | 94

Piotr Berman | Sep 13, 2017 7:59:22 AM | 93

Excellent response to Haasaan, @91.

Armchair warrior indeed.
The progress of the SAA has been very impressive in light of the U.S.; across the board in Iraq, Afghanistan, and any other country they occupy; utter failure, unless one considers chaos a success...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 13 2017 12:39 utc | 95

@90 "people keep having faith in a system that is killing us all while treating us as slaves."

Less all the time apparently. According to this half the people in the UK have no religion. Presumably they choose to put their faith in reason and logic.

Posted by: dh | Sep 13 2017 14:01 utc | 96

@dh 95 "... Presumably they choose to put their faith in reason and logic."

Uh, I wouldn't bet too much on that presumption. Moreover, reason and logic don't require faith, just knowledge.

Posted by: Herk | Sep 13 2017 14:48 utc | 97

The US/SDF has been slow also, having taken Shadadi eighteen months ago and just now moving on Deir Ezzor.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 13 2017 14:56 utc | 98

@96 There is even some discussion as to whether reason and logic are absolutes.

Posted by: dh | Sep 13 2017 15:38 utc | 99

comment from the Russia Defense Forum, Sep 7
"The SAA won't cross the river until they are fully ready . . . I think they will get everything under control in about a week and than cross the river."
A large river is a major obstacle and a military force must be stone-certain that it can persist on the other side, especially (in this case) when the departure shore isn't in full control (Deir Ezzor). And then there are the political consideration between the US and Russia, etc.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 13 2017 15:44 utc | 100

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