Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 17, 2017

Syria Summary - Eliminating ISIS' Remains

The last Syria Summary was headlined A New Clash Looms in Syria's East. It stated:

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?


Yesterday a first clash of forces occurred. Syrian government and Russian special forces (red) have crossed the Euphrates at Deir Ezzor to reconnaissance the area for their next large operation. A crossing in force towards the north of Euphrates and east of Deir Ezzor is expected during the next few days. The Russian military had informed the U.S. of its area of operation. Despite that, formerly ISIS aligned tribal forces, now paid by the U.S. under the label SDF, tried to extend their areas north of Deir Ezzor (blue). A "warning shot" was delivered to them in form of a small air attack. Several "SDF" were wounded, the U.S. special forces accompanying and commanding them were not harmed.

The Russia military is asking who, really, those forces are:

“Over the past few days, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, Russian control and reconnaissance facilities have not identified a single combat of Islamic State terrorists with armed representatives of any ‘third force.’ Therefore, only representatives of the international coalition can answer the question as to how ‘opposition members’ or ‘military advisers of the international coalition’ managed to get to the IS-held areas in the eastern part of Deir ez-Zor without striking a blow.”

Our last summary noted that these new U.S. proxies Brett McGurk had hired, the 'third force' in the Russian statement, allegedly progressed some 30 kilometers into ISIS country without firing a shot. These forces are evidently ISIS fighters now under a new banner and with U.S. special forces directing them.

South of the river the Syrian government forces consolidate their positions around the two-thirds of Deir Ezzor city now under their control. To avoid unnecessary casualties and damage they push the Islamic State fighters out of the up-build areas instead of immediately surrounding and besieging them. They will be easier to eliminate in the more rural areas still left to them. The campaign south of the Euphrates will continue along the river towards ISIS held areas in the west and east.

A second group of Syrian government forces is coming up from the Jordan-Iraq-Syria border triangle and is progressing along the Syrian Iraqi border towards al-Buqamal/Qaim at the Euphrates. An Iraqi force is working in parallel with them on the Iraqi side of the border.

During the next months three Syrian government forces are likely to meet where the Euphrates crosses into Iraq. One group is now moving north along the Syrian-Iraqi border, one coming from Deir Ezzor on the south side of the river and the one that will soon establish itself north of the Euphrates to move towards the oil-fields further east. Iraqi forces are expected to mirror those moves on their side of the border. In the end of the operations no area in Syria and Iraq will be left under control of the ISIS organization. (Isolated ISIS holdouts east of Homs as well as in Iraq are under siege and will soon be cleared.)

There is no more need for any U.S. intervention to achieve the total defeat of the Islamic State. While the U.S. president had declared that his country has no further interest in Syria but the defeat of ISIS, other forces within the U.S. ruling structure have likely different ideas. We can expect some operations, by "independent" U.S. proxy forces or by "accidental" bombing, to hinder the Syrian and Iraqi government plans.

In the north-west of Syria al-Qaeda is still in control of Idleb governate. Syria, Iran, Russia and Turkey agreed last week to pacify the area by force. Each of them will take control of a "deescalation zone" within Idelb. The announcement of the agreement lacked all details. It is yet unknown who's force will take what part of Idleb and how the coordination of the project will proceed. Leaks of various map outlining designated areas of control are of Turkish origin and unlikely to reflect the real agreed upon lines.

Posted by b on September 17, 2017 at 11:58 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Go Syria and Friends

Thanks b

Posted by: jo6pac | Sep 17 2017 12:58 utc | 1

Watching how the Syrian army work shows how the Russian would do in regards to rapid movement in war. This proves that NATO and its lap dogs does not have a chance against Russia. My one and only problem with what Russia is doing in Syria (I know they are covering all bases)is the constantly telling the so called coalition where the Syrian army will be fighting. The US has no right to know ANYTHING that happens in Syria. They will only try to find ways to block/prevent the Syrians from success. BTW, those of you living in the US, start prepping. The system is coming down.

Posted by: NewYorker | Sep 17 2017 13:31 utc | 2

@2 NY

I would like to think the success of Syria and its allies thus far indicates their strategy already takes into account the US/coalition tendency to throw a wrench into the works. And so comms with them are simply to provide audit trail for the rest of the world should things escalate. The US knows this, hence the flailing IMHO

Oh ya, already prepped, locked & loaded...

Posted by: xLemming | Sep 17 2017 14:11 utc | 3

I would love to know what caused the Iraq government to finally wake up and start acting in their own interest. Abadi was giving every indication that he was in the process of becoming a enthusiastic US regime lackey.

No matter how epic the SAA's drive to Deir Ezzor has been, the single most important development is the direct and synchronized offensive now set in motion on the Iraq/Syria border.

The US regime is obviously in complete panic as the shocking realization that their sickening war against Syria is rapidly and irrevocably coming to an end.

# The deescalation zones have freed up tens of thousands of battle hardened SAA to fight in the quickly dwindling terrorist frontlines.

# The deescalation zones have almost completely neutered the US regime's ability to mount another fake 'chemical attack.'

# The US regime is being effectively sidelined by the post war talks between Syria, Russia, Iran, and Turkey.

# Russia appears to finally have had enough and dictating no go zones for the US regime mercenaries and terror forces. And the warning strike this week makes it clear that they are no longer just talking.

# I don't know the number of forces, but from what I am reading massive numbers of SAA are flowing into Deir Ezzor. Any Kurd/IS offensive against the SAA is going to be utterly crushed.

# The only way the US regime can do anything to materially change the outcome of the war is a full scale war time level aerial campaign against the entire country.

# Russian forces are now embedded throughout the SAA's frontlines and any such attack would be an outright declaration of war against one of the world's largest nuclear powers.

# Something I think people aren't picking up on with the Kurds is how small the number of troops they actually have. And just how lightly armed they are compared to the SAA. Even worse for the Kurds is Putin can at any moment let Erdogan off his leash and a huge portion of the Kurds in eastern Syria would be forced to rush back the Turkish border area to defend against an attack.

# Finally, I believe we are actually seeing the what has been unending supply of foreign terrorists and mercenaries flowing into Syria rapidly drying up. There is no more talk of newly branded US regime 'armies' forming in Jordan or other places. There are no new terrorist fronts opening up while the SAA is focused on Deir Ezzor. There is some activity around Aleppo but nothing remotely close to the previous years of the war where ten to twenty thousand strong terrorist offensives would popup everytime the SAA tried to mount a new major offensive.

I believe many people are going to be utterly shocked by how fast Syria, Russian, Iran, and Iraq wrap up the remaining areas in eastern Syria and western Iraq. It is mostly desert and open terrain. Most of the leadership of the various terror groups have been taken out. I think IS will be almost entirely confined to a few cities on the Eurphrates over the next few weeks or couple of months at most.

With the war in the final stages of being won militarily, one has to wonder if Russia will manage to find a way turn total victory into a partial defeat by letting the US regime occupy Syrian oil assets or continue to build their invasion bases in the north of Syria.

Russia obviously needs to get their air defense systems up and running in Deir Ezzor but it is long past time for Russia to announce Syrian airspace is now closed.

Posted by: Terscich | Sep 17 2017 14:44 utc | 4

The issue in Syria is no longer Daesh, it's Al Qaeda in its various guises, backed by Qatar, US, etc. There are more AQ fighters than Daesh fighters, particularly since it's not hard to change sides when convenient.

Posted by: WorldBLee | Sep 17 2017 16:01 utc | 5

@ WorldBLee | 4

The issue in Syria is no longer Daesh, it's Al Qaeda

I would argue its neither. By far the biggest threat to Syria's territorial integrity are Kurds. Pro-Syrian Kurds are either marginalized or killed, while US proxy Kurds get all the political, financial and military weight of US and its allies/puppets. Therefore reconciliation will be a hard one (unless US agrees), and that could mean serious concessions from Damascus. Or else Kurdistan project gets greenlighted.

Some assume SAA will fight Kurds to reclaim the territory. Really? They have thousands of US and NATO soldiers, and it would mean direct war vs NATO. Nobody will do that. Unless US withdraws, and they wont do that unless they get something worthwhile in return for all this Syria conquering disaster.

Posted by: Harry | Sep 17 2017 16:22 utc | 6

I doubt very much that pro-Syrian Kurds are being marginalised or killed. The leadership still have the same feelings. They will drop the US, and make a deal with Asad, when the situation favours. Note that the Syrian army base in Qamishli is still there. The one attempt to take it has not been renewed. One can only imagine that the Syrian Kurdish leadership have said no to US insistence.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 17 2017 16:32 utc | 7

@Harry post #5

"Some assume SAA will fight Kurds to reclaim the territory. Really? They have thousands of US and NATO soldiers, and it would mean direct war vs NATO. Nobody will do that. "

Nah. NATO has advisors and special forces operating with Kurds. I sincerely doubt there are 1000 NATO COMBAT forces in Syria. What you have is a lot of support staff and trainers. Any major attack against the Kurds will probably come from Turkey and her henchmen in Syria and I am confident the SDF will avoid confronting the SAA after they get bloodied by Turkey and a few well placed Russian Air strikes. Please also recall that NATO forces can only enter Syria via territory of states that are hostile to the CFR/AIPAC/Israeli Kurd project. Turkey will close her borders and US air space and so will Syria and Iraq.

The SDF is toast sans US air power and it can be stopped

Posted by: Alaric | Sep 17 2017 17:11 utc | 8

The Kurds certainly have the ball in their court. However, @3 Terscich makes some good points, salient being their small numbers and armaments. As their entire "offensive" has been marked by no fighting, one can assume a deal was cut between the Us, sdf and isis. Another way of saying this is the SDF is incapable of undertaking a serious offensive against isis. Another point is the Barzani-led referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan has gone full retard and led to the condemnation of Turkey, Iran and Iraq, i.e. every border crossing they have will at a minimum be shut or at a maximum be a conduit for incoming forces.
This puts the Syrian Kurds in a serious pickle. All they can do is tightrope between the Us on one side and Assad, Russia and Turkey on the other. Russia has already stopped a Turkish advance on the Afrin pocket, that will be the first region to be cleansed by Erdogan if given the green light. The rest of Rojava will follow, and the Syrians won't have to lift a finger. The Turks would gladly roll their tanks through the entire area in exchange for a "buffer area" along their border. Damascus would get all the oil east of the Euphrates back.
The Syrian Kurds undoubtedly know this and will most likely bend to which ever way the wind blows.

Posted by: Don Wiscacho | Sep 17 2017 17:31 utc | 9

A significant false flag event would be necessary to provide the US with the excuse to initiate an air bombardment. Or perhaps the death of one Special Forces grunt would do it. Hence, Russia's carefulness.

A precarious situation still exists, obviously.

Side note: Trump's nickname (and its wide MSM dissemination) for Kim Jung may be an important tell, re: the lack of seriousness and focus on attacking the (now deemed silly again) "Rocket Man". The comical inference takes a big chunk of scary bogeyman away.

This allows a refocus on other areas (Syria?) and the execution of the Yinon Plan.

Posted by: fast freddy | Sep 17 2017 17:47 utc | 10

re 8 Wiscacho

salient being their small numbers and armaments. As their entire "offensive" has been marked by no fighting,
Isn't it more the case that the Kurds don't want to fight for Raqqa, i.e. lose a lot of people? Arab town, they won't be able to keep it, but they're being pushed hard by the US. They're willing to go in, only if the opposition is flattened by US air strikes. Not very different from Mosul, where they didn't go into the town.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 17 2017 17:59 utc | 11

In other words, the RuAF attack on SDF was actually an attack on Daesh units who were trying out their new SDF uniforms after their pay paymasters (CIA & KSA) ordered them to do so.

Posted by: xor | Sep 17 2017 18:14 utc | 12

Not re ISIS or the Kurds, but Russian forces in Syria:
If what Israeli debkafile writes is true, Russia has recently upped its air-defence capabilities in Syria - hugely. Four Beriev A-50 SRDLO (their AWACS) now permanently patrolling Syrian skies. They seem to be able to cover all of the Israeli air space, too, and Lebanon with it. Plus Syria and Russia are reported to have merged their air-defence commands further, thereby shortening detection and reaction time significantly.
As they say: "This development limits the freedom enjoyed hitherto by the US and Israeli air and naval forces over Syria and in the eastern Mediterranean and makes their operations far more hazardous."

About time, if there's actually something to it.

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Sep 17 2017 18:41 utc | 13

fast freddy says:

This allows a refocus on other areas (Syria?) and the execution of the Yinon Plan

maybe we could stop affirming this yinon plan like it was carved in stone and delivered on the mountain top...

very likely this yinon plan, like the Brzezinski plan, is revealing itself to be so much deluded horseshit.

Posted by: john | Sep 17 2017 18:44 utc | 14

The Pentagon/CIA purchase of old Soviet era weapons from the Czech Republic, Georgia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine and their shipment to the Syrian terrorists is starting to get traction in the European press.

First it was the exposure of Azuri air as a CIA/DoD shipper of arms (like Evergreen Air of the earlier CIA operations).

While the reporter was fired for exposing this operation, a more expansive report on this arms pipeline has been published as part of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN):

Subsequently, the CIA has been outed for carrying out this operation code-named "Forest Platanus." Apparently, the CIA has been using US private military companies, such as Glad Global Ordnance, to buy up the arms and ship them to the US air bases not unlike in the movie “The Merchants of Death”.

Recently, the US has stopped the use of the Ramstein Air Base in Germany for collection and shipment of arms to the terrorists in violation of German Law (as if that mattered)

These disclosures are forcing the CIA and Pentagon’s US Special Operations Command Mission (SOCOM) to make other arrangements in their mission to create a NATO/Israeli controlled “Sunnistan” between Iraq and Syria.

Be assured that if this Sunnistan operation fails NATO has other fronts in the long war. Perhaps Moldova is next?

Thanks Terscich@3 for your analysis!

Posted by: Krollchem | Sep 17 2017 19:07 utc | 15

re Scotch

If what Israeli debkafile writes is true,
.Debkafile is never true. It's the Israeli propaganda version.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 17 2017 19:21 utc | 16

"Syrian government and Russian special forces (red) have crossed the Euphrates...."

The source of this news are the Russians, or the spokeswoman of the Russian FM. Yet nowhere I can see the place, infos, map, etc. in this regard.

Therefore I doubt very much in plausibility of this information.

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 17 2017 19:49 utc | 17

re Chauncey

If the Syrians haven't crossed the Euphrates yet, they will do in short order. There's nothing to prevent them.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 17 2017 20:01 utc | 18

@Krollchem | Sep 17, 2017 3:07:06 PM | 15

Information is old, very old. Nothing new. The western world is involved in purchasing (or stealing) of ex Warsaw Pact's weaponry as far as I know from at least 2000s, if not earlier.

Shipload of the Soviet weapon from the ship Jadran Express is diverted (by NATO's navy) and taken from original destination (to Croatian port, for Croatian fascist forces) and unloaded and stored to NATO base in Sardinia. Than, shipload somehow had disappeared!? Perfect load for CIA's regime change operations. That weapons most likely is used to overthrow Qaddafi (and elsewhere) and support the Libyan mercenaries. And eventually ended up in Syria via Turkey and Lebanon.

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 17 2017 20:08 utc | 19

Laguerre | Sep 17, 2017 4:01:42 PM | 18

Maybe, but that's future tense. This makes me suspicious (paranoid that's I am) that's some kind of secret deal, given the moment when Kurds decided to make move toward Deir-e-Ezzor, is behind all this.

As of now there is no a pontoon bridges with the SAA hardware on it. The way I see it a boundaries of future "federal" unit are being drafted. Or they are underway.

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 17 2017 20:23 utc | 20

Kurdish independence only benefits US and “Zionist regime”: Iran

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 17 2017 20:29 utc | 21

Thanks b, always up to date on the Syrian contest..

New Yorker @ 2 said:" BTW, those of you living in the US, start prepping. The system is coming down."

Only hope I live to see that happen. Think the globe will breath a collective sigh of relief...

Posted by: ben | Sep 17 2017 20:33 utc | 22

@17 check out

The Kurds have been sent in in small numbers while a deal with ISIS fighters allowed them to progress in a few days further than the Syrian army and allies have managed in a month. They will regret this hubris.

Meanwhile the SAA, Hezbollah, the Iranian forces and the Russians combine to form one of the greatest fighting forces the world has ever seen. Think of that combined knowledge. Small wonder a paranoid Bibi jetted to Sochi to break Vlad's holiday.

Posted by: Lochearn | Sep 17 2017 20:36 utc | 23

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 17, 2017 3:49:15 PM | 17, 19, 20

The source of this news are the Russians, or the spokeswoman of the Russian FM. Yet nowhere I can see the place, infos, map, etc. in this regard.
Therefore I doubt very much in plausibility of this information.

See Laguerre’s at 16 on Debka being a media outlet of Is.ra.el’s M.

However, since your only find so far on this news are Russians and given that USA’s true capital is in TelAviv and not D.C., I am gonna go with this confirmation at Debka; the SAA crossing marks the failure of their campaign:

"Russian convoy carries pontoons to Euphrates"
Syrian/Hizballah troops cross Euphrates to east
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 16, 2017, 4:06 PM (IDT)

Shortly after the US-led coalition threatened to strike any Syrian Arab Army units if they crossed the Euphrates River, Syrian and Hizballah troops were marching across imported Russian pontoon bridges to reach the river’s eastern bank. By Friday, Sept. 15 they were able to establish a bridgehead there.

The attached photo shows the pontoons being lifted and set in place in a manner which recalls the method by which the IDFwas able to cross the Suez Canal for a landing in Egypt towards the end of the 1973 war.

Throughout the three-day operation, the Syrians and Hizballah worked under the cover of more newly-arrived Russian armaments, the MiG-29SMT (Nato-codenamed “Fulcrum), whose landing in Syria was announced on Wednesday. This twin-engine jet fighter aircraft is a match for the F-18 in service with the US Air Force as well as the Israeli Air force’s F-15, F-16 and F-16 fighters.

The day the MiG-29s arrived in Syria, British Maj. Gen. Rupert Jones, Deputy Commander in Chief of the US-led Coalition in Syria, threatened to strike any units of the SAA if they crossed the Euphrates River.

The crossing operation, as well as deepening Russia’s military involvement in Syrian and Hizballah offensives, is a major boost for Iran’s objectives, with grave strategic implications for the US and Israel.


Suggest you read the full article which details the 4 points on Israel’s dismay that the SAA boys and girls have crossed the Euphrates.

I will be polite; the failure of Israel’s campaign to grab more of Syria and stop Iran has Bibi in a royal hissy.

Posted by: likklemore | Sep 17 2017 20:56 utc | 24

My guess is that even though reconnaissance units have crossed the Euphrates, a move of the Syrian Army across the river will await the deployment of the Syrian and Russian Air forces to the Deir Ezzor Airbase.

Without the Deir Ezzor airbase, air support is simply too far away for a major land operation that would possibly confront US airpower.

It should also be kept in mind that Russia just deployed a squadron of Mig 29's equipped with their best air-to-air missiles to Syria.

Posted by: les7 | Sep 17 2017 20:59 utc | 25

It seems Russia has put their foot down.

“To avoid unnecessary escalation, the command of the Russian troops in Syria revealed the boundaries of the military operation in Deir ez-Zor to the American partners through the existing communication channel,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

“Within the framework of this operation, the fighters, armored vehicles, and objects of terrorists are being destroyed on both western and eastern banks of the Euphrates.

At the same time, the Russian Air Force makes pinpoint strikes only on reconnaissance targets confirmed by several channels in IS-controlled areas,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said.

“Over the past few days, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, Russian control and reconnaissance facilities have not identified a single combat of Islamic State terrorists with armed representatives of any ‘third force.’ Therefore, only representatives of the international coalition can answer the question as to how ‘opposition members’ or ‘military advisers of the international coalition’ managed to get to the IS-held areas in the eastern part of Deir ez-Zor without striking a blow.”

Posted by: somebody | Sep 17 2017 21:09 utc | 26

Here is a Reuters report from two days ago, full of bluster:

"The Deir al-Zor military council, fighting as part of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), has meanwhile advanced toward Deir al-Zor from the eastern side of the river since launching an offensive into the province a week ago.

Military council commander Ahmed Abu Khawla warned government forces and their militia allies against firing across the river as his fighters close in -- something he said had happened in recent days.

“Now we have 3 km between us and the eastern riverbank, once our forces reach the area, any shot fired into that area we will consider an attack on the military council,” he said.

“We have notified the regime and Russia that we are coming to the Euphrates riverbank, and they can see our forces advancing,” he said. “We do not allow the regime or its militias to cross to the eastern riverbank.” ...

He said Islamic State had “shown fierce resistance” when SDF fighters entered the outskirts of Deir al-Zor on the eastern bank. “The battles are continuous,” he said.

Abu Khawla, who is in his early 30s, said 10,000 fighters were taking part in the Deir al-Zor campaign, the bulk of them members of Arab tribes from eastern Syria. The campaign is supported by the Kurdish militia that dominate the SDF."

Posted by: jayc | Sep 17 2017 21:17 utc | 27

@ likklemore | Sep 17, 2017 4:56:54 PM | 24

Thanks for the link. But there is nothing there of importance except that filthy Zionists are boasting and comparing themselves with the Red Army which have done that few dozens of times in WWII. Sick.

I am well aware of the pontoons and boats that are used for assembly via IvanSidorenko

But a person in fist photo doesn't look like the Russian soldier to me.

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 17 2017 21:27 utc | 28

If that is the "Russian convoy", I would expect the hardware in pristine condition with armored escort or the like. But nothing of sort is there.

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 17 2017 21:34 utc | 29

This video demonstrates that taking the bounty for ISIL is not much fun these days.

Posted by: Alvin | Sep 17 2017 22:02 utc | 30

@Laguerre | Sep 17, 2017 3:21:16 PM | 16

The last time almost fooled when DEBKAfile reported China aircraft carrier Liaoning nearing Syrian coast or docked at Tartus, Syria.

Take my free and unsolicited advise dun trust anything from DEBKAfile or US States Department

Posted by: OJS | Sep 17 2017 22:15 utc | 31

that video is the very weird one. They are hunting PMUs (if I am not mistaken) and these guys have heave machine gun on their pick up. They do not even bother to put up the fight with "IS".

So, I guess it is better to be caught alive and beheaded than to be killed in fight. But who is me to judge from a sofa?

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 17 2017 22:18 utc | 32

Canadian Special Forces Out of Mosul, Preparing For New Battle in Iraq

"Canadian troops who had been helping Iraqi forces secure Mosul throughout the summer are now near Hawija and will provide support during the upcoming battle. Most of their work has been with the Kurds. In addition to the special forces troops, Canada has surveillance, refueling and transport planes, an intelligence unit, a helicopter detachment and a military hospital in the region to help fight ISIL."

Posted by: John Gilberts | Sep 17 2017 22:23 utc | 33

b, thank you for the latest analysis, been waiting for SAA crossing the Euphrates river. RF defense minister Sergei Shoigu recent visits to Syria and meeting Dr. Assad had a lot to do with coming events. I'm beginning to feel Putin may sell out to Amerika.

Posted by: OJS | Sep 17 2017 22:24 utc | 34

@13 Scotch

I don't have a link but the 4 Russian AWACS in the air is a true story. It was reported a few weeks ago, as I recall, that they'd been deployed. Israel freaked. Debka is a propaganda tool, but the story seems true. I'm sure one could verify this easily. Along with the Mig's coming in, Russia has prepared for any wildcat fighter plane action in the whole theater.

In general, Israel has been boxed in through this end phase of the Syria campaign. See Sharmine Narwani's recent assessment: Israel’s Geopolitical Gut Check

@17 Chauncey

No links - sorry - but the story I read in a Russia-friendly site was that Maria Zakharova of the RF Foreign Ministry reported the crossing of the Euphrates but this seems to have been an error. A rare mistake on her or the ministry's part. Either the Duran or Fort Russ, in the last couple of days, probably has the story.

It seems merely a matter of time, and timing - ways and means. Syria is going to take back all of Syria, including the Golan in the fullness of time. And Russia with its Mediterranean access is not going anywhere.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 17 2017 22:25 utc | 35

@34 Beginning? You've been saying that for weeks.

Posted by: dh | Sep 17 2017 22:31 utc | 36

Here another DEBKAfile fake news.

..."The Middle Eastern defense official and the Syrian regime source both denied a report from, a private website headquartered in Israel, which claimed the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning-CV-16 has docked at the Syrian port of Tartus, accompanied by a guided-missile cruiser. ..."

Posted by: OJS | Sep 17 2017 22:32 utc | 37

Excellent comments here, especially regarding the Kurds, all very helpful.

But also one or two wisps of fear that Russia will hesitate, or be too polite or - incredibly - give the whole battle away to the US. Or something.

But look at what's happening with the extremely gradual escalation of confrontation that Russia and Iran are bringing to bear on the US. Iran has said in the last few days that it has documents that show the US covert dealings with ISIS, and perhaps if higher levels choose, these may be released. And Russia now starts to sketch the outline of the smoking gun - as reported in b's post.

One day we may see those war crime trials that everyone fantasizes. But we're dealing with Russian mentality here, and Russian military planning and realpolitik. The key difference is that Russia doesn't bluff, and Russia doesn't walk a thing back. All the escalations that so many people have asked for in all the discussions of Syria or the Ukraine - these are one-way streets for the Russians. And the path of escalation is divided into many more gradations than we in the west typically think of.

There will be no day when Russia tries a tough move to see how it works, and then the next day acts less tough. Each day that we see the ratchet turn its one tiny notch forward, is a day that marks this level of conduct for all the pertinent future to come. Russia has not played a careful game because it is unwilling to go against the US. But when Russia goes, there's no turning back. And Russia knows this without even having to think about it.


ps..Syria is winning, and shows no sign of losing at this stage. Russia is key in this win. Everything is going wonderfully well. Against all expectation and forecast, Russia has performed a miracle. Are we now looking for miracles every day, to assure us that Russia is not going to throw in the towel, or betray the cause - perhaps from a fear of getting its feet wet in a river?

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 17 2017 22:34 utc | 38

Terscich @ #3

Well thought out analysis with some excellent points Terscich

OJS @ # 34

" . . . . I'm beginning to feel Putin may sell out to Amerika."
We have been hearing this refrain from numerous pundits from a week after the RF first arrived in Syria just over 2 years ago I think it can safely be put to bed now along with other pipe dreams.


Another in a very long line of excellent articles I don't know where you get the time to research & write as well - I marvel at it.


It always takes a good part of the morning to peruse a MoA article as one just HAS to read all the comments that are offered. Here's a "bravo" to you as well in expanding my knowledge base.

Posted by: Christopher Cooper | Sep 17 2017 23:32 utc | 39

grieved 35
here is link

Posted by: mauisurfer | Sep 17 2017 23:46 utc | 40

Grieved | Sep 17, 2017 6:34:16 PM | 38

Agree with your assessment of Russian strategy.
Most have no idea about Russian culture and as such make grievous errrors of judgement when assessing Russian actions.
They most assuredly do not walk back once a plan is put to action.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 18 2017 0:17 utc | 41

@35 & 38

While I agree with most of what you wrote, it is not unreasonable to think that Putin and Xi will not be stymied at some points in their moves towards multi-polarity.

Let me attempt to clarify why some have doubts as to Putin's ability to follow through.

Is Putin subject to western pressure? Absolutely. The Donbass fighters twice had the Ukranian army on the run and were reigned in by Moscow. They had at one point surrounded Mariupol and were on the verge of taking it when they were ordered to back away from it. Taking possession of Mariupol would have enabled the Donbass area to be a functioning state like Crimea. Instead you there is a frozen conflict - another transnistria - where the population has little economic hope of viability.

Are there reasons for such behaviour? Absolutely.

Russia has been vulnerable to a US first strike for several decades. Many analysts see 2018-2020 as the turning point at which Russia finally closes that vulnerability. Until then, as you so clearly describe, they must be very careful as to how fast and where they ratchet up the pressure. It is not unreasonable to assume that at times events (like in the Donbass) outpace the Russian ability to deal with the consequences. Certainly Russia can project power into and onto Donbass. The question concerns the cost of that power-projection. What economic, cultural, political effects will come out of those actions?

There is no question that a combined European-American arms race will out-pace Russia. Putin cannot afford actions that will unite Western aggression like the cold war aversion to communism did. So if - in Russian calculations - it be comes necessary to leave Donbass as a frozen conflict, or to leave Syria de-facto partitioned, Putin will pay that price to gain the time they need to establish the kind of military parity that will eliminate US first-strike potential.

This is why commentators have lingering doubts about Putin's ability to follow through in any arena outside Russia itself.

Posted by: les7 | Sep 18 2017 0:22 utc | 42

@Grieved | Sep 17, 2017 6:34:16 PM | 38

As for Russia.

Maybe your are right. But problem with Russia (as opposed to Soviet Union) is its FP is not driven and guided by the principles. It is driven by own (national) interest. And that is flexible approach in solving complex international problems. That's why Putin persistently call Trump "partner". Russia (China as well) has national interest in Syria but not in North Korea and it voted for sanction against NK two times although NK is has nothing to do with Russia! Also one should bear in mind that the Syrian case is rather exception than the rule in Russia's international affairs. So what has been Russia's National interest in Syria and why Russia has intervened in Syria? Because of so-called terrorism threat? I do not think so. Rather is uses Syria as a stage to come back at international scene and as confirmation of its new (re)established might.

While the Russian ruling elite rhetorically believe in principles of international law that is "sovereign equality of states and commitments not to interfere in their internal affairs and to resolve all disputes by peaceful means" (per S. Lavrov), they use that "law" as it suit them. Obviously, the body where the international laws are written is notorious Security Council of the UN where is Russia and China have the power to impose a veto on the council's resolutions. In many cases Russia and China get along with the US, and these cases are very bloody as we know it.

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 18 2017 1:14 utc | 43

"There is no question that a combined European-American arms race will out-pace Russia."

This is an old "echo-chamber" question, that been asked mainly by the Westerners to the Westerners.

For the Russians it doesn't exist, the Soviets solved it for them. When the Soviets figured out they can not compete with the US in arms race, they simply turn they focus to rocket and missile forces. That's why Russia have one of the best (array) cruise missiles, strategic rockets, anti-aircraft systems, radars, etc.

Russia is not going to accept arms race.

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 18 2017 1:29 utc | 44

@les7 | Sep 17, 2017 8:22:16 PM | 42

Excellent comments. First, let me correct my choice of word "beginning” bugging everyone. There were many instances where SAA could or should cross Euphrates rivers soon after they took controlled Deir Ezzor and linking the military airfield. I'm well-aware Mariupol, Putin allows foreign forces (Brit and Amerika) to remain and reinforce the city. Donbass could easily take the vital seaport within days.

Where we disagree, Putin still relied on her Oil and Gas. She (Putin) not afraid of Amerika first strike capability nor do Xi Jinping. Should Amerika first strike on either RT or PRC, it's Armageddon and everyone knows it (debated in umpteen website). Putin and Xi Jinping same wavelengths but different business models. Whereas Xi Jinping floods the world with cheap Chinese goods and building infrastructures digging in for long-haul business. Both Amerika and RT are ahead PRC in military technology but she is fast catching up. ie, buy, steal, copy, reverse eng or indigenous home grown.

Posted by: OJS | Sep 18 2017 1:40 utc | 45

@42 les7

I always hate to go too far off topic, but I have to respond to this. I think your reasoning is inverted.

The reason Russia stopped NAF from taking Mariupol is - most probably - because Russia wanted to see a unified Ukraine. Russia chose not to give Donbass the means to be an independent country. I think Russia still wants this, although over time the thought of Donbass breaking away has become harder to resist with the sacrifice in lives she has paid for her independence.

We armchair viewers thrilled to the success of NAF - which surged on the flood of the Voentorg of materiel, commanders and perhaps special forces from Russia. We all love NAF, but it was Russia that carried it so far, and chose where to end the surge. It's not our fight, my friend. This was Russia's carefully considered choice for the future. There are several very good reasons for this choice, and maybe we can discuss them all at a different time.

Remember Debaltsevo? Here is another moment where the armchair generals spoke and said NAF should have wiped out the NATO forces and mercs in that cauldron, but Russia let them go, several hundred of them. In return, we have the Minsk agreements, which have completely checkmated the game ever since. The US is locked into Russia's terms.

We can call this frozen conflict a bad thing if we want, but Minsk 2 remains dynamic and completely rules the theater. I was pondering in another site just now - why haven't the western oligarchs bought up Ukraine for pennies on the dollar by now? Can it be that even they fear to hold assets in Ukraine, because ultimately no one can predict what the Russians will do with Ukraine, whenever they choose. Tacitly, everyone knows that Ukraine is Russia's call. Can you not see this as winning?

Your assessment of the military prowess of the west I must utterly disagree with. They are in no way capable of fighting Russia and winning, and in no way able to prevent being destroyed themselves. Weapons don't win wars, soldiers win wars. But even with weaponry, Russia's striking and killing powers seem far better than those of the US. It appalls me to learn, as your comment suggests, that the thinking of a first strike capability still exists. That idea is as dead as will be any who try to implement it.

And your assessment of Russia's reasons not to fight the west as being based on a kind of fear is not only wrong, but suicidal in its assumptions. Russia fears to destroy the world. Russia fears to harm her people except in the ultimate final resort. Russia does not fear the US. I must reiterate what I tried to say in my original comment - Russia ratchets up slowly because each notch is forever. It's NOT because she fears to provoke retaliation, but because she strives not to escalate the world without need. Can you not see this difference?

Russia is not trying to win wars. Russia is striving to build peace. These two things look and act differently. It's crucial to parse Russia's actions in terms of creating peace instead of vanquishing foes.

I can't go any further here. Perhaps if we want to discuss this at more leisure we can pick an open thread. I have great respect for your comments. This one, however, I urge you to reconsider.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 18 2017 1:40 utc | 46

Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 17, 2017 9:14:08 PM | 43

Your assessment is as wrong as two left shoes.
Russia is in fact concerned about terrorism; and Assad is a long time ally.
Russia has had bases in Syria for decades and fully intends to keep them for strategic purposes.
IMO, you know nothing of substance regarding Russia or it motives.
Grieved up yonder, has a clue about the Russian character. Which is found lacking (character) in the U.S.; MIA.
Generally speaking; Usian's, especially, mistake Russians for a western culture; they most assuredly are not. Not knowing that fact prohibit's further understanding of not only Russia but Eurasia a well.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 18 2017 1:43 utc | 47

@Chauncey Gardiner #43
". . . although NK is has nothing to do with Russia!"
It's true that Russia has only a short border with DPRK, but it did cause Russia to send troops there earlier this year when the situation heated up. Russia also has an historic interest, and if NK-China relations cool then Russia is ready to step in. Currently Russia is working with the Koreas on a rail plan, in line with Russia' "pivot" to Asia because of US belligerency. A US enemy has to be Russia's friend.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 18 2017 1:57 utc | 48

"Terrorism" is in fact the White man narrative. It is of capitalist class story, and by the way the state terrorism is one that has the biggest costs. Who are proponents of the state terrorism? The Western Capitalist States world of course.

Russia has participated in this western narrative from own reason while itself can not be classified as the Terror State. Although from own state security needs they collaborate in this Western fraud called AQ, ISIS, etc.

To answer on the rest of your crap what you posted is not worth to address it.

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 18 2017 1:59 utc | 49

Kicking ISIS out of Deir EzZor and the rest of the Euphrates Valley is one thing. Keeping the local tribes from killing each other after that is another. As usual, the US recent attempts to cobble together various Arab tribal fighters into the SDF for the push south will have disastrous consequences.

In eastern Syria, fears of revenge killings, tribal clashes after defeat of Islamic State

"...In August 2014, IS brutally suppressed a failed uprising by the Shaitat, another Ougeidat clan, in a small village southeast of Deir e-Zor city. To make an example of the plotters, IS marched more than 700 young Shaitat men into the desert where fighters filmed themselves decapitating and shooting the tribesmen.

Following the massacre, members of al-Bakir and another IS-allied tribe, the al-Qaraan, allegedly looted the abandoned homes of Shaitat families who had fled the province..."

Does the US really think 'local committees' will do anything to stop Shaitat from extracting their revenge on the local tribes that supported ISIS or keep them from slaughtering the al-Bakir and al-Qaraan tribes? This is going to be a horrible mess made far worse by US meddling.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Sep 18 2017 2:29 utc | 50

From Russia With Love: :-)

Something like this one won't find in the US. In country without identity and tradition, yet based and founded on countless macabre crimes. Something like this in neoliberal gangster states would be consider as "expense" or "cost". That is trend culture and art in general, except trivial Hollywood production and of course Las Vegas porns. Bizarre is rather the norm.

But by many accounts the Russian film industry is way behind of the Soviets one, both in quantity and quality. Not surprisingly today's Russia is consumer society.

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 18 2017 2:42 utc | 51

alJazeera --
The deescalation zones will include, fully or partly, Eastern Ghouta and the provinces of Idlib, Homs, Latakia, Aleppo and Hama. The six-month term may be extended in the future.

The plan calls for the cessation of hostilities between anti-government groups and forces fighting on behalf of Bashar al-Assad in four so-called de-escalation zones in mainly opposition-held areas of the country, with Russia, Turkey and Iran to act as guarantors.

Turkey's pro-government Yeni Safak newspaper said in an unsourced report on Friday the three countries planned to divide the Idlib region in three, with Turkish forces and opposition fighters in the northwest region bordering Turkey.
It said Iranian and Syrian army forces would be deployed to the southeast, with Russian forces in between those two zones. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 18 2017 3:00 utc | 52

FWIW, I doubt the Americans were involved directly with the "SDF" move on Deir Ez-zor. So far there has been no comment from the US military about this incident which given how frequently the US military whine about such things is surprising. However, it is entirely feasible that Americans were indirectly involved by turning a blind eye for example. Also, b's hypothesis that the fighters targeted were re-badged ISIS fighters is entirely feasible.

>>>> PavewayIV | Sep 17, 2017 10:29:23 PM | 50
Fully agree - the Pentagon is entirely out of its depth in Syria as it is anywhere except west of the Fulda Gap - it should go back to dreaming about its pure fantasies of massed Soviet tanks rolling through there one Christmas Day.

Posted by: Ghostship | Sep 18 2017 3:24 utc | 53

>>>> Scotch Bingeington | Sep 17, 2017 2:41:49 PM | 13

If what Israeli debkafile writes is true

There's your problem - paying any attention whatsoever to what d*******e or, for that matter, MEMRI says. I would suggest that Info Wars is a more reliable source than d*******e.

Posted by: Ghostship | Sep 18 2017 3:34 utc | 54

Canthama's News from the fronts:

1) Deir Ez Zour
The Advance NW Deir Ez Zour continues, ISIS defensive collapsed, several villages were liberated today, as expected and named at Syrper 2 days ago, after the full liberation of Ayyash.

Ayyyash Jiwani
Hawayej Abu Mus’ah
Hawayej Abu Arab
Haj Hammoud
Saleh Hamad


More villages are under imminent liberation:
Shumaytah – NW Ayyash
Rusafah – NW Ayyash
Bustan Ali Hafqar – NW Ayyash
Bustan Ali Ubaid – NW Ayyash
al-Ghadir – NW Ayyash
Abu Amr – SE of Mari’yah
Al Abd – SE of Mari’yah
Tabiyeh Shamiyeh – SE of Mari’yah

The above areas are very important for Deir ez Zour since it is a very fertile land, fresh food will be back to the people of Deir ez Zour after so many years. The speed in liberation may indicate ISIS has evac most of the Maadan pocket, there must be die hards inside the pocket but the bulk of it may have fled before the siege was broken.
No advance from Ghanim al Ali though, as well as no advance toward Jabal Fusayyat. On the other side, ISIS is fiercely defending SE of Deir ez Zour, indicating their level of concern with the approach to Mayaaden.

2) Hama/Homs
The pocket is shrinking every single day, today more villages were liberated in both north and south of the pocket.
Abu Hanaya – part of the impressive ISIS western defensive line
Umm Tīn al Mu‘allaq
An Nabaţīyah – last village before reaching the oil & gas field of Bel’as, 3 kms away.

About to be liberated:
Qaşr al Mukarram
Al Mukarram
Al Ḩabā
Umm Ḩuwaysh
Umm Fusūs
Rasm as Suwayd
Abu Hubaylat – part of the impressive western defensive line
al Kharijah
Al-Hardanah – part of the impressive western defensive line

The Hama/Homs pocket is technically done, ISIS has very few able terrorists, lower hundreds, no replacements and mounting wounded,their retreat continues to be organized to a central resistance at the very border of Hama and Homs Province, with both southern and northern part of the pocket collapsing rapidly, ISIS is facing a complete annihilation in Hama/Homs.

3) Syria-Iraq border
After a quick advance toward Akashat village, phosphate plant and airport, the Iraq army and PMU are now advancing along the border with the Syrian allies in complete coordination (huge turn around on coordination vs few weeks ago during the 300 ISIS sent from Qalamoun crisis, what a Kurdish referendum does to unite the Resistance toward 1 goal). To protect flanks, the ISF and PMU will need to take control of H1 & H2 air bases, the Aref Canyon, and that is all before reaching Baktal border crossing, very close to al Qaim and al Bukamal.
Believe we also see an attack from the Syrian side to control T2 station.

Read more at link

[links repaired - b
@Lozion - do not put the URL where the link text belongs. It screws up the page display in some web browser.]

Posted by: Lozion | Sep 18 2017 3:37 utc | 55

@Lozion | Sep 17, 2017 11:37:45 PM | 55

OH NO, you did it again!

Posted by: OJS | Sep 18 2017 3:41 utc | 56

@46 Grieved

" It appalls me to learn, as your comment suggests, that the thinking of a first strike capability still exists. That idea is as dead as will be any who try to implement it"

I could not agree with you more... yet I have read the policy papers published by the US department of defence that reclassify nuclear weapons to be a tactical first strike weapon to be used not just defensively, but pre-emptively and also where a 'possibility of threat' exists.

I agree that it is madness, that few will survive and those that do will perhaps wish they were dead. Yet there are western elites talking all the time about surviving and winning a nuclear war. After a top military review the four top brass came out to brief congress last week that the US could fight and win a war against both Russia and China.

I agree too that Putin seeks peace and seeks the rule of international law. Yet when it comes to peace, it takes two to tango. I believe that Putin has reluctantly spent money on the military that he would rather invest in his people. He seems to be reluctant to believe the evil intent that some western elites bear toward him and Russia. If Putin does not fear (in the healthy sense of the word) such blind arrogant psychopaths - he should.

Sometime between 2018 and 2020 Russia will once again have the ability to enforce MAD in such a way that even "the crazies in the basement" (as Bush Sr once called them), will be forced to give grudging respect. Sadly, the crazies are no longer in the basement, which should give us all pause and cause for healthy fear at least until that time arrives.

Posted by: les7 | Sep 18 2017 4:14 utc | 57

@56 Original Jack Smith: Again? This is my 1st offense. My bad, I apologise..

Posted by: Lozion | Sep 18 2017 4:44 utc | 58

The complex situation North of Deir Ezzor is difficult fully understand. I think there are some other factors that can help make some sense of the situation. We should keep in mind that there is a third factor not fully incorporated in the SDF and ISIS dichotomy and that is both of these groups contain significant Sunni tribal elements -- those tribes that allied with the Kurds and those that allied with the foreign dominated ISIS. I suspect that these two groups of Syrian tribes have more in common with each other than either with their respective allies. After the collapse of central Syrian authority in Eastern Syria those tribes were faced with some devil's choices. Their survival depended on these alliances. With the coming collapse of ISIS there are plenty of opportunities for the Syrian government to re-integrate these tribes with SAG via some reconciliation program. I wouldn't be surprised if some version of the de-escalation zones modeled on those in Western Syria were to be negotiated for Deir Ezzor.

The current de-escalation zones sort of make sense of a question I have had for a few years now -- what happened to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood? At the beginning of Syrian "spring" in 2011 the rebellion was led mostly by the MB and the they drew their fighters from the Syria. Later, after the foreign jihadis had entered the fray the names of the different rebel groups were all over the map (al Qaida, al Nusra, ISIS, FSA, etc) but no more mention of the MB. I doubt they simply disappeared but dropped the MB designation and reappeared in these other groups.

Perhaps the Syrian government is trying to wean the native Syrian rebels away from those foreigners and have decided to try a reconciliation with those forces that are derived from the MB. This speculation leads to another question -- Is the break between Qatar (supported by Turkey) and Saudi Arabia due in part to Qatar's historic support for the MB? Do the Saudis recognize that Qatar is willing to support such a reconciliation with the Syrian MB that would sell out all of the foreign al Qaida and ISIS mercenaries backed by the Saudis?

In Idleb last week two Saudi nationals that were major leaders of the jihad have been assassinated. Maybe the MB is now acting on this divorce from their former comrades to move the reconciliation along. The MB led governments of Qatar and Turkey could certainly support such a move. Extending the de-escalation zones to Deir Ezzor would be a logical extension. If this could be pulled off the Kurds would really have no choice but to negotiate the best deal they can with the SAG.

Posted by: ToivoS | Sep 18 2017 5:16 utc | 59

Oh Lozion #55, could you please use the html code (see a href=... just above) to shorten your url. Those long url's do screw up the margins for the whole thread.

Posted by: ToivoS | Sep 18 2017 5:22 utc | 60

Thanks for yet another excellent update, b. Some great comments too.

Worth knowing about Deir Al-Zour: the largest tribe there is called 'Shuaitat' (pronounced: Shu-ay-tat), numbering approx 35.000 members. Actually, they are the largest Syrian tribe. This tribe took the brunt of Daeish violence in Deir Al-Zour and lost several thousands members under the Daeish occupation. In one single massacre, some 700+ Shuaitatis were slaughtered by Daeish - one family branch lost 87 members to Daeish (R.I.P.). In Syria, they are known as the 'Lions of the East'. Needless to say, the Lions' blood is boiling over with grief and revenge against the terrorist Daeish. They had asked the Syrian army to incorporate their tribe fighters into the battlefields: insisting that their men are on the front lines of the liberation of Deir Al-Zour. The Syrian army agreed and every battle in Deir Al-Zour has had the 'Lions of the East' on the front lines, spearheading the charge forth to avenge their dead and liberate their territory.

I send a shoutout here and three cheers to the 'Lions of the East'!

Posted by: Taxi | Sep 18 2017 6:26 utc | 61

Taxi | Sep 18, 2017 2:26:29 AM | 62

Greatpost and information, thanks.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 18 2017 6:59 utc | 62

The announcement of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq is going to create civil war in Iraq. Because this will only strengthen the alliance of Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria, all of whom recognize a Kurdish state as a proxy for US and Israeli dismantling of Middle Eastern nation-states, such an announcement will likely precipitate Russia agreeing to turn Turkey loose on the Kurds, both in Syria and Iraq. To the extent this happens, it will not only totally destroy Kurdish ambitions for southern Syrian oil, but will put Turkey into direct conflict with the US, due to its siding with the Kurds against Turkey. This will further push Turkey into alliance with both Russia and Iran. What we are seeing is the forming of a vast and powerful alliance that not only will reclaim Iraq and Syria from the Kurds but will completely push Israel and the US out of the greater Middle East. In addition, these forces will totally eclipse Saudi Wahhabism. The Saudis will either have to come to terms with Russia or die. The Sunnis have already lost this round to the Shiites, who have not been the aggressors. The long-term picture is a reunification around the Chinese-Russian One Belt One Road initiative. Who knows? Israel may even get on board. As the US ship sinks and the Saudis are rendered impotent, it may have no other choice.

Posted by: Joseph Dillard | Sep 18 2017 8:29 utc | 63

I guess that the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood had been mostly exiled to Turkey, the US or Britain since the Hama massacre, they returned to Syria when the uprising looked good and went back when it turned ugly.

I seem to remember that there was a point when Saudi requested the leadership from Qatar in the support of the Syrian rebellion? I suppose that was the point the Muslim Brotherhood disappeared.

That is probably not the whole story as the Muslim Brotherhood is opportunistic and not sectarian in seeking support. So factions like Hamas might have gone back to Iranian support or made peace with the Syrian army.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 18 2017 9:12 utc | 64


I think all actors are too intelligent to go to war for this. Kurdistan is locked by the borders of their adversaries they will have to come to some kind of accommodation.

Russia is positioning as mediator
Russia's Rosneft Clinches Gas Pipeline Deal With Iraq's Kurdistan


Russia to ‘maintain security’ in Afrin in deal with Kurdish force: YPG

Posted by: somebody | Sep 18 2017 9:19 utc | 65

plus 65

Russia seems to have managed an agreement between Hamas and Fatah

“We are trying to reconcile those who live and work in the Gaza Strip with those in the West Bank and Mahmoud Abbas’ administration,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted earlier this month during a three-day visit to the Middle East.

“We are in contact with Hamas and Fatah to get them to resume implementation of the agreements reached not long ago, to unite under the single roof of the Ramallah administration and to hold general presidential and parliamentary elections.”

Posted by: somebody | Sep 18 2017 10:12 utc | 66

ref MB exiles
you forget Sweden and the Gulf

Posted by: Mina | Sep 18 2017 11:50 utc | 67

Just want to complain about the lack of any one good place to get maps regarding progress of Syrian War. I want to the ISW and noticed that they have resorted to the propaganda technique of using the sparse method to show govt held areas but color in all of the Kurdish and Al Qaeda rebel held territory as if it is all fully populated lush farmland.

I know that Gen. Jack Keane is a Russo-phobe but the ISW used to at least be consistent and use the 'sparse' method across the board.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Sep 18 2017 12:51 utc | 68


Your post presents an interesting and thoughtful reflection. As far as I recall the MB - especially in Aleppo - stepped away from the protests about 6 months to a year into the confrontation because they were unwilling to use violence. I recall some articles from that time indicating that they were very much caught between the two sides in the conflict. I believe the President has encouraged them to organize politically and participate in elections where they have had some success. I have no idea how much of the MB movement those groups represent.

Posted by: les7 | Sep 18 2017 13:43 utc | 69

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner | Sep 17, 2017 10:42:15 PM | 52

Amazed at the athletic prowess of the Russian girls. (No one ever doubted Russian skill at 'subterfuge'.)

The wonder here is that you can actually see the feet and still are floored. (No one ever doubted American skill at 'high tech'.)

Wonder nations, both, being fair. Alas, both suffer from self-destructive character flaws.

Posted by: nobody | Sep 18 2017 13:51 utc | 70

Finally we have video of a Euphrates crossing,

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 18 2017 14:56 utc | 71

AMN just reported that the Deir EzZor airport/air base is open for heavy cargo aircraft and a couple have just landed. This is exactly what the US was trying to prevent by bombing the SAA and letting ISIS take over the adjacent mountains last year. The airport was unusable as long as ISIS held the mountains. If this report is true, then things have become much more complex for US land/oil theft schemes.

BREAKING: Two large cargo planes land at Deir Ezzor airbase, first time in 3 years

The S-400 is also air-transportable. Now, if Russia really wanted to stick it to the US...

Posted by: PavewayIV | Sep 18 2017 15:01 utc | 72

Lots of news being reported at Southfront; sorry, but posting link gets comment sent to spam bin. Some excellent comments by PaveWayIV, particularly this one:

"Pave Way IV • an hour ago
"Russia to US: "Thanks for your map, you land-and-oil thieves, but we like our maps of Deir EzZor better than yours."

"US to Russia: "Unacceptable! We demand the SDF's legally stolen Syrian land and oil. There must be a US-owned air corridor on the east side of Syria. We have a right to protect our war booty."

"Russia to US: "Come and get it, you arrogant bastards. Oh yeah, Deir EzZor airport is open. Surprise! We should have the S-400 set up in no time. Please be sure to deconflict with our mach 3 surface-to-air missiles. We will hold the US responsible for any damage to those missiles while in flight. Their 1000 lb. warheads are very fragile."


Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 18 2017 15:52 utc | 73

Should also note that Iraqi Vice President Maliki has called out the attempt to create a Kurdistan for what it is: “We will not allow the establishment of another Israel in northern Iraq”.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 18 2017 16:18 utc | 74

It's confirmed by Russian MoD statement...the SAA has crossed the Euphrates...

Rossiya 24 news channel has video..

The SANA news agency reported first cargo palnes landing at Deir Ezzor airport...surely won't be long before S400 battalion set up there...

With the SAA blitzkrieg in Deir Ezzor the US is apparently starting to cry 'Uncle'...a meeting between Lavrov and Tillerson, at the request of the US is happeneing on the sidelines of the UN general assembly...

About the Beriev A50U Airborne Early Warning aircraft...public knowledge that at least one has been deployed to Hmeimim in late-April after the US tomahawk strike on Shayrat...

The A50 was first deployed back in 2015 when the Russian Aerospace Forces arrived, but apparently withdrawn during that drawdown after the Alleppo liberation...

Well it's back now...and this is a formidable air power asset...debkafile is crap and we all know that...and they may be lying about having four of them there...but one is certainly in Syria...

Also somebody mentioned that S400 is a Mach 3 missile...actually it's more like M 7...[2,000 meters per second]...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Sep 18 2017 17:52 utc | 75

Christian Chuba @ 69

SAA river crossing South of Deir EzZor is reported on the excellent Russian military map website (Right sidebar allow you to change languages)

The SAA had also scouted Sakr Island a couple of weeks ago but it is sparsely populated and doesn't contribute to the crossing to block the SDF from the oil fields.

Posted by: Krollchem | Sep 18 2017 17:54 utc | 76

Ru MoD also confirmed on Sept 13 that new generation MiG29SMT have arrived in Syria...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Sep 18 2017 18:07 utc | 77

Wael on twitter mentions DE airbase is slotted to be the 2nd RuAF operated base after Heimim.. Boom!

Posted by: Lozion | Sep 18 2017 18:29 utc | 78

I have read the MiG29SMT is purely a fighter plane - no ground attack capability. The next stage of the Syrian war after ISIS, kicking the US out of Syria, will be interesting.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 18 2017 18:34 utc | 79

French qatari gov radio says the kurds announced they are ready to fight against the SAA if it does not return to the other side of the Euphrates. Since when has oil started to speak Kurdish?

Posted by: Mina | Sep 18 2017 22:18 utc | 80

Field Correspondents
Here is a link to RT field correspondents reporting from Deir Ezzor
It's wonderful, seeing Russian aviation and missiles hit ISIS, Syrian soldiers embracing, civilians getting food ... but you know what really hit me?
Where is the footage of U.S. reporters from Aleppo, Mosul, and Raqqa? There might be a single correspondent who ducks his head in and out but nothing like this.
Our military runs a tight ship, don't they. BTW if I am all wet, please tell me, what happened to our Vietnam era press, our war coverage has disappeared.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Sep 19 2017 0:26 utc | 81

The site referenced in comment 77 behaves as an attack site.

Posted by: oldhippie | Sep 19 2017 0:32 utc | 82


CNN has their man Fred Plankton [oops spelling... Pleitgen] in Syria from time to time...

Saw him there during Aleppo liberation, never once did a man in the street with actual Syrian people being liberated...

Then he popped up again just a little while ago...said Syrians were celebrating but once peace comes they want 'foreign powers to leave'...obviously referring to Russians...

What a joke...Plankton fails to mention that the 'foreign powers' people are referring to is his home country, not Russia...

Again...not one man in the street interview...with hundreds of people in background waving Syrian flags...

Any wonder failing msm has 40 percent credibility rating, according to polls...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Sep 19 2017 0:42 utc | 83

Peter AU 1 | Sep 18, 2017 2:34:45 PM | 80

That's what the upgrade (SMT) was all about; it is now fully ground attack capable.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 19 2017 0:56 utc | 84

Thanks flankerbandit, I also recall seeing one U.S. correspondent in Raqqa don some body armor and a helmet, crawl next to a building and whisper, 'ISIS is 100yrds away past no man's land' and that was it.
The more I thought about it, the better way to phrase it is that it feels like our guys are being managed. There are these quick clips here and there but nothing as extensive as this 7 minute RT clip.
But hey, if I'm wrong, I really do want to hear about it and I do kind of remember prolonged footage from the 70's that seemed more natural and less managed.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Sep 19 2017 1:25 utc | 85

thanks b.. very informative and the comments here as well..

@51 paveway - thanks for that link.. very informative.. i see @62 taxi followed it up without probably knowing you had posted that link..thanks for your link on the deiz ezzor airport at this time as well.

@62 taxi thanks for the additional info as well...


Posted by: james | Sep 19 2017 1:38 utc | 86

@ James,

You're right pal: I did not read the link you refer to till just now. I get some of my Syria info from my Syrian gardener who in turn gets his info from being a Syrian native and from cousins/relatives on the ground whom he is in contact with practically on a daily basis. I call this type of grass-root news: Micro Media (as opposed to Mainstream Media). I was using Micro Media as source for writing about daily life under ISIS back when the MSM was saying that people under ISIS occupation were happy with ISIS and are staunchly anti Bashar (a bald-faced lie, of course!). Here's a sample:

I also get my Syria news tidbits from retired military generals whom I know, especially a couple of them who are respected military analysts appearing regularly on Al-Mayadeen News TV. Also, I don't mind to tell you this but I fenangled myself a membership to the military swimming club in Beirut and when I occasionally go there, I mingle with all sorts of ranks and pick up stories here and there, play some backgammon, eat a nice lunch and cool off in the Mediterranean sea :-).

Posted by: Taxi | Sep 19 2017 9:25 utc | 87

A significant false flag event would be necessary to provide the US with the excuse to initiate an air bombardment.
It or rather they may already have happened. There are lots of reports that the RuAF and SAAF have attacked a number of hospitals in the Khan Shaykoun area. Go to for more details. Two stand out:

1. An attack on the quarry east of Khan Shaykoun which featured so visibly in the alleged chemical attack earlier this year. All they seem to have done is driven some cars into the building that was partially destroyed last time and set fire to them

2. An attack on an alleged maternity hospital where someone seems to have dumped a large number of tires on the roof and set them on fire to produce large quantities of black smoke.

If this is false flag op. then the jihadists really are shit at doing this kind of thing, because except for the fuckwits in Washington and working for the NYW, WaPo and the Guardian, oh and Bellingcat, I can't see these pathetic efforts convincing anyone.

Or perhaps the death of one Special Forces grunt would do it.

You can exclude the recent bombing of the SDF near Deir Ez-zor, because there were no American Special Forces involved. The SDF were freelancing and their claims about 8 VBIEDs , 4 inghimasi and hundreds of dead Daesh should be treated as bullshit until they provide some evidence such as photos or videos. If you look on the twitter feeds #CizireStorm and JazirahStorm which appear to have been set up for this operation, there is no evidence.

As for the Americans, if there had been American SF involved, a military spokesman would have been screaming blue murder straight away before the Kurds could make any announcement. As it is, it took the US military a while to put out a statement supporting the SDF claims. The delay is because what was done had to have approval from Washington, and that takes time. Also, the US military and CIA have a habit of repeating what their allies say so nobody realises what liars the allies are. This happened, for example, with the Israeli bombing of the alleged Syrian reactors bullshit. Washington put out a statement which was most likely written by the Israelis as though it originated in Washington.

I wish people would stop imagining conspiracies behind everything that happens around the US military and CIA because they both do enough seriously bad shit for real that there's no need to invent conspiracies

Posted by: Ghostship | Sep 19 2017 15:20 utc | 88

@88 taxi... thanks so much for sharing that article.. fascinating!! you will have to write a follow up and share it with us.. your last paragraph is especially interesting too! - i don't know if you are familiar with nassim taleb, the author of some really great books - 'the black swan', 'anti fragile', 'fooled by randomness' and etc. - but he mentions he is from lebannon - so he really ought to be well known in lebannon! my dad's sister married a fellow from lebannon back in the 50's.. i was a kid when i got to know my uncle eddie.. i really liked him as a child, but never got to know him as i got older as we moved to the west coast of canada and were no longer close to where they lived.. now years later, so many of my relatives are long gone.. i always enjoyed my uncle eddie and thought, if that is what the people of lebannon are like - i am down really good with that! thanks for sharing..

Posted by: james | Sep 19 2017 16:55 utc | 89

The U.S. controlled "SDF" former ISIS aligned forces try to block the Syrian army from fighting ISIS north of the river:

Russian top brass calls on US to not hamper Damascus’ fight against terrorism

"According to the reports that the Syrian commanders have been sending from the frontline, most serious counter-attacks and mass shelling on the Syrian troops come from the north," he said. "It is the area where units of the Syrian Democratic Forces, as well as the US special operations units, are deployed, who, according to CNN, are providing medical aid to these militants instead of participating in the operation to liberate Raqqa," Konashenkov said.


Water discharges from the Euphrates dams controlled by the US-backed opposition hamper the advance of Syrian government troops near Deir ez-Zor, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Tuesday.

"Thus, the water situation on the Euphrates has deteriorated dramatically in the past 24 hours. As soon as the Syrian government troops began to cross the river, water level in the Euphrates rose within hours and the current velocity nearly doubled to two meters per second," he said.

Posted by: b | Sep 19 2017 17:57 utc | 90


Yes, just read the same at RT...

Konashenkov added...

'As the final defeat of Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL] in Syria draws near, it becomes increasingly more evident who really fights Islamic State and who just imitates a fight for three years...Even if the US-led coalition is not willing to fight terrorism in Syria, it should at least not prevent those who really do that consistently and effectively...

Let's see what happens next...if US thinks they can use SDF stooges to fight Syrian alliance forces in open confrontation, then they will get hit hard...including from the air...

Russia needs to firm up its position on the ground because that is the only thing US takes into that the Deir Ezzor airport is secured they need to get a frontline fighter squadron in well as an S400 battalion...

Then politely ask US to leave...if they continue to make trouble, I think they should be given all they can handle...

The US game plan is clear now...they think they are going to control everything east of Euphrates and probably imagine that they will never leave...controlling Syria's oil fields and using the whole area as a springboard for stirring up instability for years to come...

But their position looks weak...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Sep 19 2017 21:19 utc | 91

On the subject of the Sunni tribes of the Jazira. These guys will change allegiance when they have to. it's a necessary product of their situation. Today they may fight for the SDF. tomorrow for Asad or for Da'ish. The US doesn't understand this.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 19 2017 21:59 utc | 92

@91 b.. thanks... this might or might not be where the pedal hits the metal... does russia challenge the usa here?? does usa back off?

@93.. indeed, but due the way things unfolded the past few years, it is more complicated then that... read @ 51 paveways link for a more nuanced viewpoint...

Posted by: james | Sep 19 2017 22:20 utc | 93

Releasing the water from the dam was a dick move, truly perfidious, disgusting...

Just when I thought the war is almost over... After the Caliphate, Rojava, by Thierry Meyssan

While the Syrian Arab Army, the Russian aviation and Hezbollah are preparing to finish off Daesh, the Pentagon is planning a new war against Syria, this time with Kurdish troops. Just as the mission of the Caliphate was to create a Sunnistan straddling Iraq and Syria, so the mission of « Rojava » is to create a Kurdistan straddling the two states, as the Pentagon has been publicly stating for the last four years.

According to US grand strategy, as defined by Admiral Cebrowski in 2001, and published in 2004 by his assistant Thomas Barnett, all of the Greater Middle East must be destroyed except for Israël, Jordan and Lebanon.

Consequently, the imminent victory against Daesh will change nothing of the Pentagon’s intentions.

President Trump is against the manipulation of the jihadists. He has stopped the financial and military support that his country was giving them, and has managed to convince Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to do the same. He has modified NATO policies in the matter. However, nothing yet hints as to whether or not he will also oppose the Pentagon’s grand strategy. As far as the US Interior is concerned, the whole of Congress is in league against him, and he has no possibility of preventing a procedure for destitution other than negotiating with the Democratic Party.

Donald Trump has composed his administration of ex-senior civil servants from the Obama administration, a number of opportunistic politicians, many improvised representatives, and very very few trustworthy personalities.

His special representative against Daesh, Brett McGurk, is an ex-collaborator of President Obama, and is supposed to serve Trump’s new policy. On 18 August, he organised a meeting with the tribal leaders to « fight Daesh ». However, the photographs he published attest to the fact that, on the contrary, several of Daesh’s leaders also participated in the meeting.

In the same vein, helicopters of the US Special Forces exfiltrated two European leaders of Daesh and their families from the outskirts of Deiz ez-Zor, before they could be taken prisoner by the Syrian Arab Army on 26 August. Two days later, they also exfiltrated about twenty more Daesh officers.

Everything looks as though the Pentagon were storing away its jihadist structure and conserving it for other operations elsewhere. Simultaneously, it is preparing a new episode against Syria with a new army, which, this time, will be composed around Kurdish forces.

JPEG - 21.5 kb

This war, like the war against the Caliphate,was announced four years ago in the New York Times, by Robin Wright, a researcher at the US Institute of Peace (equivalent to the NED for the Pentagon). It also planned to divide the Yemen into two states, potentially shared between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi – and finally, last but not least, to dismember Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, the « Rojava » project corresponds to Israëli strategy, which, since the end of the 1990’s and the development of missiles, is no longer concentrated on controlling its border regions (the Sinaï, the Golan and South Lebanon), but on taking its neighbours from behind (hence the creation of South Sudan and eventually, Greater Kurdistan).

The recruiting drive for European soldiers for the « Rojava » project has only just begun. A priori, it could assemble as many combatants as there were for the jihad, insofar as the members of the anarchist groups which provide manpower are as numerous in Europe as common law prisoners...

I hope she's right "Syria will be Freed Completely from any Aggressor" Dr Shaaban Challenges US Proxies

And let's not forget about this:

Google planned to help Syrian rebels bring down Assad regime, leaked Hillary Clinton emails claim

This is outrageous How Brussels uses YOUR cash to fund people smugglers in £260M scheme

Posted by: ProPeace | Sep 20 2017 3:34 utc | 94

I am providing a link and article quote from China news that says Russia is accusing the US of chickenshit (my term) tactics in Syria

He said the advancing Syrian government troops supported by the Russian Air Force managed to break the fierce resistance and liberate
more than 60 square km of territory on the left bank of the Euphrates River in the last 24 hours.
But their advance was hampered by a sudden rise of the water level in the Euphrates and a two-fold increase of the speed of its current
after the government troops started crossing the river, Konashenkov said.
In the absence of precipitation, the only source of such changes in the water level could be a man-made discharge of water at the dams
north of the Euphrates, which are held by the opposition formations controlled by the international coalition led by the United States, he said.

Russia accuses U.S., opposition of hampering Syrian gov't troops' advance

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 20 2017 4:42 utc | 95

@James. I'm kinda semi retired from my blog (due to sheer laziness) but I can tell you my gardener's town was indeed liberated some 9 months ago. It's possible that I may write a new article soon.

I don't know who Nassim Taleb is (I'll look him up) - I'm not from the Lebanon, I'm from LA/California. I spent a few years as a child in the Lebanon some 40 years ago (my dad's work took us there) - I decided to return for a visit as an adult and just sort of rolled with it and decided to stay longer than for just a vacation. Yes, Lebanon people are very nice, but you do get some scumbags there too. Despite the country being a kind of a failed state (really bad infrastructure and gov corruption), I actually like living here because Lebanon has more freedom of speech than the US, israel, and western Europe combined. 'Tis really true. In the Lebanon I can criticize the prez, the gov, the Resistance AND israel and no one bats an eyelid. It's a zio-free zone; the food is delicious and the nature: breathtaking. What more can a Californian in self-exile want?! I'm happy... And your uncle Eddie sounds like he was a wonderful man (R.I.P.) - very sweet of you to light a candle for him on MoA :-)

Posted by: Taxi | Sep 20 2017 4:54 utc | 96

@taxi.. thanks for your additional comments! sounds like you very much enjoy the place you are at.. i wish i had of visited lebannon a few years back.. we were in turkey for a month. we met a women in istanbul who was travelling to beirut at the time.. many wonderful places on the planet and i am glad you are happy and able to fit in their.. check out nassim taleb when you have some time if you are into it.. he lives in new york - very bright and born in lebannon... he writes on financial matters, but with a twist of rare insight that makes reading him worthwhile, not so much for any financial insight, but for the insight into our folly as people to think we know more then we actually do, or to think we know how something is going to unfold when in fact we don't most of the time!

Posted by: james | Sep 20 2017 5:09 utc | 97

Bumping this so we can move on to page 2 and forget about my margin screw-up. Just one more..

Posted by: Lozion | Sep 20 2017 5:10 utc | 98

lozion - i am back on my wide screen and don't notice it.. not sure it changes on page 2!

Posted by: james | Sep 20 2017 5:39 utc | 99

James, on my iPad the margins are reset on page 2 of comments (post 100)..

Somewhat off topic but Magnier just post a great article on the PMU here:

Posted by: Lozion | Sep 20 2017 5:58 utc | 100

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