Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 03, 2017

Syria Summary - ISIS Loses Control Of Its Last Urban Refuge


Today the Syrian Arab Army liberated the city of Deir Ezzor from ISIS. The last resistance ended over night. The remaining ISIS fighters tried to flee north across the Euphrates towards the area held by U.S. proxy forces. Most of them were not successful in their attempts. It will take another few days to remove the remaining improvised mines in the city and to secure the ammunition and weapons ISIS abandoned.

For five years a contingent of some 5-7,000 Syrian soldiers and policemen had held a part of Deir Ezzor city first against Jabhat al-Nusra and then against ISIS. They secured the life of some 100,000 civilian inhabitants. Many soldiers and civilians died. Despite intense attempts and U.S. air support ISIS did not manage to dislodge the Syrian government forces. Only two month ago a serious SAA attempt to relief the city from the outside was launched. It went remarkably well. The defense of Deir Ezzor and its relief deserve an epic novel.

With Deir Ezzor cleared the supply lines of the Syrian army are secured and the push along the Euphrates towards the last urban area held by ISIS can proceed.


The twin-cities of Abu Kamal (al-Bukamal) in Syria and al-Qaim in Iraq are ISIS' last urban refuge. The cities are on the south site of the Euphrates with the important border crossing between them. Coming from the east Iraqi government troops retook the al-Qaim crossing today. They now control the border and are breaking into the city proper. Syrian government forces approach Abu Kamal from the north-west and from south-east. These forces still have to cross some 30 kilometers of desert area. ISIS had prepared strong defense lines and the SAA progress was slower than hoped. During the last three days the Russian air force has flown a strong bombing campaign against those ISIS lines. The Lebanese Hizbullah has re-injected several thousand fighters into Syria to push the campaign. The Iraqi and Syrian forces are tightly coordinating and will move together to take Abu Kamal during the next two or three days.

The U.S. proxy forces north of the Euphrates announced that they had taken several oil-fields north of the river and were also progressing towards Abu Kamal. But there was little if any fighting. Instead the U.S. is bribing the local tribes in the area with Saudi money. These tribes had earlier sworn allegiance to ISIS and were part of its forces. When they switch sides the U.S. claims to be in control of the land they hold. The Syrian government and its allies fear that the U.S. is currently trying a similar stunt with the whole city of Bukamal itself. It could then claim to have control over the border crossing towards Iraq and severe that important line of communication. A race is on to prevent that.

Two reliable journalists, Ibrahim Al Amin of Al-Akhbar and Elijam Magnier of Al-Rai report (auto-translated) that a high level CIA official recently visited Damascus to inquire about missing U.S. intelligence agents. The official asserted the U.S. has no design for permanent bases in Syria and is only there to defeat ISIS. The official did not say how many additional years "defeating ISIS" would take.

Damascus is extremely suspicious of any U.S. design on Syria and will not let down its guard. The senior U.S. intelligence official was not received by higher Syrian government officials. Damascus demands an open diplomatic exchange with Washington.

The Iraqi government has reestablished its rule over the country. It insists on its national sovereignty and central control of the country. The Kurdish region in the north will have to agree with Baghdad's central control over the borders and foreign relations. If it does not submit the Iraqi Kurds will find themselves in a war with the Iraqi army which they are sure to lose. Baghdad will not be open to Iranian or U.S. control.

The Syrian government is likewise determined to regain control over the whole country. There will be no Turkish, Kurdish, Jordanian or Israeli zones but one Syria. The war will continue until that is achieved. Russian suggestions of a federation of the country have been rejected. Moscow reportedly accepted that position.

The situation in other parts of Syria has changed little over the last few weeks. The Turkish forces in Idleb have hunkered down in defensive position around the Kurdish area of Efrin. Syrian government forces prepare for, but have not yet launched, a wider Idleb campaign to dislodge the al-Qaeda forces currently controlling the governate. The Kurdish forces in the north-east have been told to peacefully move back to their original areas. Should they not do so, in futile hope of continued U.S. support, they will be attacked and defeated by the Syrian state and its allies.

2017 has seen the end of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. 2018 will see the end of al-Qaeda in Syria. 2019 will hopefully be the year that the Kurdish expansion and all foreign designs on Syria will have been defeated.

A small anecdote reflects the end of the "moderate rebels" propaganda scheme. A U.S. trained Syrian opposition movie director recently faked an assassination attempt on himself. He wanted to blame the Syrian regime and to gain more money for future propaganda fake productions. The Guardian and other #fakenews outlets had fallen for it: Syrian film-maker making prison torture movie survives 'assassination attempt'. It was all a stunt like most of the stuff the "rebels" produced. It seems that such work, which for years was sold as unassailable "truth" to western audiences, has finally found a proper end.

Posted by b on November 3, 2017 at 9:57 UTC | Permalink


To regain control over the entire Syrian territory, Damascus needs to end the Israel's occupation of the Golan Heights. That's going to be a tall order, not least because a subsidiary company of Genie Energy (whose board directors include or have included Dick Cheney and Rupert Murdoch) has approval from an Israeli court to explore and drill for oil and natural gas in the region. Insha'allah, can Damascus rely on the support of Hezbollah, Iran and any other allies to get back what has been under Israeli control for 50 years?

Posted by: Jen | Nov 3 2017 10:14 utc | 1

"The official did not say how many additional years "defeating ISIS" would take." -- just as long as the apartheid regime occupying Palestine decides.

Posted by: x | Nov 3 2017 11:03 utc | 2

Reclaiming the oilfields will be much much easier than dislodging "ISIS" from their last bastions on the iraqi border. The SDF hasn't fought and spilled blood for these achievements and thus has no real moral backbone to defend these areas against the battle-hardened SAA should it be issued the ultimatum.

The US can only sit back and watch as it happens, unless they're willing to spark a major conflict in the region. And the generals aren't exactly eager to start WWIII.

Certainly not for the kurds.

Posted by: never mind | Nov 3 2017 12:48 utc | 3

Eschatology is the driver now. Unstoppable. The US will attack Russia in Syria because it will become the last and perfectly stupid only option left to it to try to reassert its hegemony. The US is the king of the south. It recently placed its tents between the holy mountain and the sea. It will have no allies with it when it attempts to take on Russia in Syria. Its allies are being systematically disengaged...UK essentially ungoverned...Australia collapsing into a constitutional crisis which will see entire parliament dismissed and a constitutional convention worked through prior to the election of new parliamentarians. New Zealand ttaken out of the picture by the election of a realist pacifist female Prime Minister. Germany escaping into Eurasia. France never daring again to assault Russia. All the world holds its breath awaiting the defeat of the monster by Russia.

Posted by: gut bugs galore | Nov 3 2017 13:44 utc | 4

I don't think that we will have to wait 2 full years to see Syria completely liberated . Al-Qaida will be quikly dealt with ,see the progress that make in northeast Hama . The islamist in Iblid are divided , every week a commander of a group is assassinated . The Kurds will be dealt even quicker .
For me the biggest problem is to kick the americans out of the country , that won't be easy

Posted by: Djon | Nov 3 2017 14:05 utc | 5

The map is out of date. The Iraqis have liberated the al Qaim crossing point immediately opposite al Bukamal. The SAA is 45 km from al Bukamal, on the eastern side.

Posted by: Anonymous | Nov 3 2017 14:13 utc | 6

Even CNN covered it...

ISIS ousted from last major city in Syria, state media reports. . .Deir Ezzor holds particular significance for Syria's government, in part because the city held many hard-line extremists even before the 2011 uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
Positioned deep in ISIS' heartland, the Syrian government considered the city more of a hub for the extremist group than Raqqa. At the same time, the plight of the besieged Syrian forces and civilians gained an almost mythical status for many pro-government Syrians.
At one point, US forces accidentally bombed Syrian forces in Deir Ezzor, resulting in serious casualties and some ISIS advances, later reversed by the Russian air force. This incident made Deir Ezzor central to the Russian, pro-Assad and Iranian narrative that the United States was actually aiding ISIS.
The seizure of so much of ISIS's heartland in eastern Syria has also given a major morale boost to the Russian-backed Syrian army, showing that it has gained the upper hand in the Syrian civil war. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 3 2017 14:43 utc | 7

Note that there's no retraction in the Guardian story although it's now been pretty convincingly debunked.

Posted by: WorldBLee | Nov 3 2017 15:53 utc | 8

The one main thing the Russians/Syrians need to do is STOP announcing what military operations they are doing. Like Nike says, Just to it. Sorry but screw any diplomatic exchange with the US. They can and never should be trusted. Syria needs to demand that the US and it's cabal get out. As for the CIA assets to hell with them. They have caused thousands of unnecessary deaths and destruction and did not give a damn. How many women were raped, people tortured, hanged, burned alive and had their organs harvested? Too many to count.

Posted by: NewYorker | Nov 3 2017 15:58 utc | 9

Good article that neatly sums up the major developments in the last couple of weeks...

Just looking at a map it is crystal clear the dirty game the US has been playing in eastern Syria...

It took them nearly a year to capture Raqqa, yet they took the entire Euphrates Valley on the east bank...including the country's major energy a matter of days...

And this only after the SAA took Deir Ezzor city...

But the joke stops here and now...

US making ridiculous noises about its 'SDF' taking Bukamal is hilarious...

I would love to see them try to stand in the way of the advancing Russian/SAA war machine...the Kalibrs and Kh-101 are already flying fast and furious...

Funny to hear some CIA scumbag went begging to Damascus to inquire about his guys that have be...en 'misplaced'...

Haw Haw Haw...

I guess he hasn't heard anything from them since they got buried in Kalibr rubble...

Also it is great to see the Iraqi developments...Barzani is toast...that US jig is up also...

Iraq is now firmly in control of its oil and its border with both Syria and Turkey...

It's clear now that Barzani had little support among the Kurds in general...and was mostly a US and Israeli tool...

The fact that the Kurds ditched him so quickly tells the whole story...

A huge victory here is also the fact that the Iraqis have retaken the border between the Syrian 'Rojava' and the Iraqi Kurd area...

This shows a clear intent to bury the US project of using Kurds in both Iraq and Syria to slice and dice both countries...

This is shows that Iraq is firmly cooperating with Syria and Russia to stop the US plans dead in their tracks...

At this point they have pretty much done so...just mopping up from here on in...

On the Syrian side the SAA taking Bukamal is a foregone conclusion...

US stand up comedy about getting there first is a knee slapper...

Bukamal is the last domino to fall for the entire US project in Iraq and Syria...

That's game over for them...

Soon they will be shown the door...

Of course these raving lunatics are full of big talk as always...

They are talking now of setting up de-escalation zones of their own...what a riot...under what authority...?

They are also saying they will stay in Iraq even if the Iraqis ask them to leave...

Again...what a laugher...

These guys have lost big...the world will never be the same...

For the first time since the end of the Cold War...the US military adventure has been rejected...Stuffed Big Time...

And now that US is toast in the Mideast...we will wait for the next shoe to drop...the end of the Petrodollar...

The writing is on the wall...Saudi King makes historic visit to Moscow...'s biggest oil buyer now has gold-backed petro-yuan trading floor ready to go...

Iran is already selling its oil for anything but dollars...

The Free Ride is over...

Soon the US will have to get used to being a beggar state...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Nov 3 2017 16:12 utc | 10

It is not just that "The Guardaian has fallen for it"; it was orchestrated renewed propaganda, also in le monde and all MSM, + now the pics of "starving babies in the Ghouta". Some circles in Europe have no interest in seeing the Syrian file closed and accounts being made

Posted by: Mina | Nov 3 2017 16:14 utc | 11

Gains are occurring rapidly as Syrian and Iraqi military and allies have everything going for them. Al-Qaim and the border crossing are already captured by PMU, which secures the southern flank of the SAA advance from T-2 toward al-Bukamal. By Veteran's Day, SAA will have begun pushing SDF/Daesh northward and won't stop until it reaches the border with Turkey, thus effectively ending the Outlaw US Empire's attempt to secure Greater Israel for the Zionists. Yes, Idlib, Daraa, and Golan still await liberation, but that can now be seen as just a matter of time. Tillerson pathetically said the Outlaw US Empire would establish further deconfliction zones within Syria--No, that won't be happening. There's also huffing and puffing about remaining in Iraq whether Iraqis want the Outlaw US Empire there or not--No, that won't be happening either.

It's fascinating to watch the formerly communist nations of Russia and China work to establish global peace after the Cold War now that the Outlaw US Empire's bid to control the planet through its Campaign of Terror has failed.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 3 2017 16:30 utc | 12

thanks for the update b..

@1 jen... not sure how relevant the decision of some israel court is in the wider world... they seem to condone all sorts of bullshit, but then that is the way legal systems work, until they don't... slavery used to be legal too, lol...

@8 worldbee and @11 mina.. i can't fathom anyone bothering with such a shitty rag as the guardian, let along all the other propaganda outlets that people consider relevant.. one day that will go away too..

@9 newyorker... i agree with you..i doubt syria/russia are giving away much of their hand..

my own view is not as rosy.. i still believe the usa/israel/ksa thugs will continue to make problems for syria... i wish it wasn't so, but i don't see them going quietly in the night...

Posted by: james | Nov 3 2017 17:10 utc | 13

Interesting that CIA are inquiring about there assets at the same time AQ media wanted to make a film about "Syrian Americans" disappearing in Assad's dungeons.
Most likely been painted onto cave walls with a kalibre brush.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 3 2017 17:24 utc | 14

@12 karlof1

"It's fascinating to watch the formerly communist nations of Russia and China work to establish global peace after the Cold War now that the Outlaw US Empire's bid to control the planet through its Campaign of Terror has failed"

The past several years have certainly been a challenge to my own cognitive dissonance - to think that "big bad Russia", with it's supposed ambition of ressurecting the old Soviet empire, ends up being the real diplomat and peace maker that the US, for years, claimed to be. Most westerners cannot get their head around that, and sadly many still refuse to accept it, even when the fruits of both are right in front of them!

It causes me no end of joy that truth & goodness are prevailing... and the bully of the world is, at least for now, being thwarted... The oppresion of the ME by the West is nothing short of criminal, and I pray those responsible will be held to account sooner (as they certainly will be later)(my own country included). The herculean efforts of the brave & steadfast people of those countries are an example to me, and give me some measure of hope that we can prevail against this Zionist/NATO/NWO scourge... Well done Syria, Iraq, Iran, Russia and all their allies and peoples!

Und vielen dank b!

Posted by: xLemming | Nov 3 2017 17:27 utc | 15

The events in Iraq eliminated the urgency to "race for the oilfields to the east of Euphrates". If Kurdish Region of Iraq cannot get (a) independence, and (b) territory beyond those allowed already by the central government, than the same will be true with Rojava. Rojava will be sandwitched between Turkey, Syria and Iraq (government controlled border), and if Erdogan dropped support for KRI, Rojava can expect only less.

Russia played somewhat neutral stand, and is prepared to be a competent intermediary. Importantly, Russia has first hand experience with rather flexible and even somewhat vague autonomy arrangements (e.g. for Chechnya and Tatarstan), and Russian foreign policy is (mostly?) in one hand, unlike USA where you have "supporters of Kurds" and "we do not care about Kurds", and very clumsy behavior in between (basically, passing the baton).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 3 2017 17:29 utc | 16

@12, karlof1,

I don't believe the Russians have granted deconfliction zones to the US.
They deconflict operations, sometimes on a daily or hourly basis.

If the US thinks there will be deconfliction for them in Syria over some zone they will rule or Israel or Saudis or any of their proxies, they are smoking rancid weed.

Deconfliction means operations, not zones.

So the bozos don't understand the words of military behavior.

De-escalation zones are where the US has some minimal influence and shares responsibility. It is only the one of the Southwest. Zone 4. Nothing exists in the east, northeast or southeast. Russia and Iran and Turkey share the other three Zones as to the ground operations. Russia controls the air over all the zones. Only Syria also flies, and the US flies by way of "deconfliction" notices arranged by phone contact hourly, daily as needed so they don't get their asses shot out of the sky by Russians.

Al Tanf is a special case where the US persists and the Iranians and Syrians attack. Russia has abstained so far.
But I expect before this is over that Mr. Kalibr will visit the US 'base' there and end the US viability.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Nov 3 2017 17:38 utc | 17

When Russia *finally* intervened in Syria (Sept 2015 iirc) I thought that 6 months to a year would be enough to put this particular horror to rest, with ISIS_US withdrawal and Bashar el-Assad gearing up for re-construction projects in collab. with Iran, China, others.

How wrong I was, stupidly optimistic. I almost joined the Putin is a wimp camp ! (heh not seriously.) Still while it isn’t over yet, i am so tired of waiting. Thanks to b for his coverage of Syria.

The MSM don’t report the grand sweep if anything merely some trivia but believe me much of the world has understood that the USA has lost in Syria, which in a way is a public ‘first’ in contemp. history. (compare, Yugoslavia, Afgh, Iraq, Lybia, etc.) Many ppl here where i am are gingerly celebratin’.

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 3 2017 17:40 utc | 18

In for more fringe-ish speculation from " gut bugs galore " . I enjoyed your take.

Posted by: Au | Nov 3 2017 18:00 utc | 19

To maybe remind people: the talk here is about the "cities" of Deir Ezir and Raqqa and so forth. What is left of those "cities," anyhow? "Bombed back into the stone age..."

It looks like maybe the arms and armor of the Damascus regime and its supporting cast (including the arms makers of the world) will achieve some kind of military "victory," and drive one set of predatory murderous humans, under one panoply of "flags" and "allegiances," out of the ruins of those "cities." And there's a chance that somehow, the quantum level of violence in that part of the world will make a jump or two down the energy levels. But what is going to fill into the niches of the ecology of power and the political economy in all these places? What, if anything, is the "vision" that tells all of us, who maybe take some pleasure from the "degrading" of both the Imperial power projection and the expansive visions of the Israelites, what kind of life will become possible for ordinary humans, the mopes and muppets that have been driven and terrorized from pillar to post? Back to mixed Sunni-Shia-"Christian" neighborhoods where vines and flowers adorn the balconies of the organic architecture of those "rubbleized" spaces, where ordinary people went about their days adding CO2 to the atmosphere and serving as culture media for what has transpired? Transpired with so much support and fomentations from the Empire, and the many and varied "interested players," in this latest setup of the Great Game? Transpired because the most potent drivers of all this, the drive for domination and profit and the great fun that is street combat for so many Allahu-Akhbarists and the "troops" of other forces?

What's the goal? All well and good to cheer the apparent "battlespace" dissolution of the things called al-Nusra and ISIS, and all their many parts and allegiance-swearers. But what's to keep the same sequences from just recurring, the many participants from just re-assembling like droplets of spilled mercury back into another toxic body, or watching the situation-writ-large spinning off into a much more thorough rubbleizing of the whole planet, through miscalculation and mistake possibly involving nuclear weapons?

All well and good to be on the "right" side of prognostications about how the battlespace has evolved -- credit to the prescient or percipient -- but what does that get us mopes in terms of a decent future where there are no endless arguments about who committed which atrocity on inoffensive civilians trying not to be trampled like mice in the elephants' big dance?

Posted by: JTMcPhee | Nov 3 2017 18:19 utc | 20

From @16's comment.. "Al Tanf is a special case where the US persists and the Iranians and Syrians attack. Russia has abstained so far."

This from AMN.. "The reconciliation center reports that, according to witnesses, the US has recently deployed a camp near Rukban where militants gather in order to join a new moderate opposition — “National Syrian Army”, which is being formed by the US. On October 29 in a clashes between militants thirteen refugees were killed and over twenty were injured."

Although there has been talk from various sources of local ISIS melting into back into the populations of the Syria/Iraq desert border regions, from everything I have read, it seems ISIS foot soldiers are heading either to US "SDF" areas or al Tanf, where the US will attempt to resurrect them under another brand name.
I would guess that in the not to distant future, all Iraqi's and Syrians who joined ISIS will be named by locals who were pissed off with ISIS rule and hunted down. The only insurgency type warfare to be conducted in the future by ISIS will be from US controlled areas.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 3 2017 18:20 utc | 21

The US, I think, was sent a message from the RF MOD via a slow motion infrared video of Kalibrs hitting targets in Abu Kamal. It is most impressive. The launch is beautiful, from submerged sub. The hits are chilling.

ColonelCassad has the video today.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Nov 3 2017 18:48 utc | 22

According to Southfront Al Qaim has been liberated..

Posted by: Lozion | Nov 3 2017 19:29 utc | 23

So when Syria wipe out ISIS Israel will start attacking Syria. Isnt that the logical follow up now according to the neocon plan?

Posted by: Anon | Nov 3 2017 19:59 utc | 24

@19 JTMcPhee

Respectfully, I suggest you're thinking zero-sum.

That was the American Century, now departed. Welcome to the Chinese Century. It will be win-win.

Time to see a little synergy, a little serendipity in the future.

The ordinary people have never yet in this world been in charge of their lives. Emancipation is a work in progress. We must continue to work on it, through the centuries yet to come, and celebrate brightness where we find it.

Posted by: Grieved | Nov 3 2017 20:37 utc | 25

Anon @23
It is already happening. There has been a large attack on the Syrian Government held town of Hader, by HTS (Al Qaeda franchise) - supported by artillery fire fom the Israelis on the Golan heights. Fighting ongoing, but the Syrians seem to have beaten back at least part of the attack.) The aim is the high spot of Beit Jinn which was isolated from the main HTS group.

aside. OT.----I regularly use twitter to watch/hear about action on the ground in Syria (I am not a member). However, one link I usually use, came up with the five attached "browse" links from the MSM/UN/federer(tennis), instead of other usually pro-Government people on the ground. I got around this by using other bookmarks. - but I am just wondering if Twitter was trying out a means of censorship. ie. All Pro-syrian Gov sources suddenly become "unavailable".
Sorry for the OT, but it has me worried that the timing was not coincidental (see comment about Golan heights/Israel interference).

Peter AU's link from the AMN seems the way things might go - as the Russians (Sputnick) have complained about the lack of humaitarian aid getting to the refugee camp. (Could be a war crime). ie. They are aware of the new US plot.

Posted by: stonebird | Nov 3 2017 20:53 utc | 26

@7 Syrian government! What happened to 'regime'? Are the CNN editors asleep on the job?

It's the same at the BBC.

Posted by: dh | Nov 3 2017 21:23 utc | 27

Wouldn't be new of Twitter; I think b mentioned such happenings at the beginning of the Arab revos

As to the specialists of Syrian PR

Posted by: Mina | Nov 3 2017 21:55 utc | 28

Word is that al-Bukamal will be attacked from the South as its main defensive lines face West and North. In area, it's about the size of al-Mayadin, Daesh's last "capital;" Southfront has several stories and maps about this.

The HTS advance was halted and repelled, with all lost ground regained, but now with even more evidence of the Zionist Abomination's direct alliance with terrorists, putting it in direct violation of several more UNSCRs than it was already. When Syria moves to reclaim the Golan, its case for doing so will be unassailable.

Grieved @24--Peace within the region will not arrive until Palestine is liberated from its Zionist occupiers, finally sending the Balfour Declaration into the dustbin of history where it belonged to begin with.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 3 2017 22:50 utc | 29

When Syria moves to reclaim the Golan, its case for doing so will be unassailable.
Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 3, 2017 6:50:42 PM | 27

You harbour some seriously dangerous delusions. Hopefully no one is Damascus is paying any attention.

now with even more evidence of the Zionist Abomination's direct alliance with terrorists, putting it in direct violation of several more UNSCRs than it was already.


Those latest extra few UNSCR violations, when added to the already-existing tonne-weight of UNSCR violations by Israel, will make aaaaaallllll the difference.

No doubt about it.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Nov 3 2017 23:16 utc | 30

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 3, 2017 6:50:42 PM | 27
Posted by: stonebird | Nov 3, 2017 4:53:35 PM | 25

There's nothing new in these Israeli attacks in the golan.
They've done it before, they'll do it again too, most likely.

I doubt its WW3. and it certainly won't result in the liberation of the Golan by the SAA, as some seem to think

From Sept 12, 2016
Israeli MK: IDF helping al-Qaida in Syria at expense of Druse

Kulanu MK Akram Hasson issued a harsh rebuke of the IDF on Monday, saying that not only is the army not helping the Druse population caught up in Syria's civil war, it is cooperating with the Nusra Front, al-Qaida's Syrian affiliate. Hasson's comments in an interview with Channel 2 came amid fierce battles in recent days near the Druse village of Khader in the Syrian Golan Heights.

Hasson accused Israel of being responsible for harm being caused to the Druse population of the Syrian Golan. "The IDF is shelling Syrian army positions, which is enabling the Nusra Front to seize Druse land."

The Kulanu MK further charged that "it is no secret that the IDF is cooperating with [the Nusra Front]. In the past they have told us that the Nusra Front coordinates with the IDF. We don't know? What, were we born yesterday?"

Today, after they took control of the most strategic positions and after the Syrian army left the area, they blocked the access road to Damascus, and isolated Khader from the rest of Syria, and they are slaughtering people,"

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Nov 3 2017 23:42 utc | 31

Druze attack Israeli ambulance carrying wounded Syrians
Demonstrators from the Druze community have attacked an Israeli military ambulance carrying injured Syrians, killing one person, police said.

A second Syrian being brought to hospital for treatment was in critical condition after the mob, alleging that the wounded were rebels, attacked the vehicle on Monday.

"A crowd attacked an ambulance with stones near Majdal Shams on the Golan Heights," a police statement said, adding that one of the injured "died after the attack".

Over the last two years, Israel has provided medical care to hundreds of Syrians, including fighters, usually transferred from the ceasefire line with the Golan Heights in military ambulances to mainly two hospitals in the north.

The Druze accuse rebels of committing atrocities against their community in Syria and have called on Israel to stop treating injured fighters. Instead they call on the government to protect Syrian Druze and some even want Israel to provide them with weapons and air support against the advances of al-Qaeda's branch in Syria, the Nusra Front.

Public radio earlier said that around 200 Druze from Majdal Shams had pelted the ambulance with stones, forcing it to stop, and dragged the wounded Syrians from the vehicle.

"This is a very grave incident. We will not permit anybody to take the law into their own hands, and we will not allow anyone to hamper Israeli soldiers in the course of their duty," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
"I call on Druze leaders to act immediately to calm tensions."

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Nov 3 2017 23:57 utc | 32

Posted by: Grieved | Nov 3, 2017 4:37:34 PM | 24

Sorry but I cannot help but think JTMcPhee has a point, there is absolutely no reason to suppose the megalomaniacs competing for control in China will have any ethical superiority to those in amerika currently being forced under water.

I too once believed that Chou En-lai's internationalist approach to world affairs would continue to prevail, but even a cursory examination of the actions of Wang Yi (who in a typically careerist move has jumped a few rungs up the ladder by marrying one of Chou En-lai's daughters) causes me to conclude that his eagerness to commit to Xi Jinping's elitism and self enrichment indicates the demeanour of a bloke more interested in self-improvement than global improvement.
Mao had the good sense to toss the Xi Jinpings into re-education camps, but 'modern China' seems to regard those camps as some sort of finishing school and an essential entry on every mover & shaker's resume.

The world cannot get better as long as we the Joe/Jo Blows acquiesce to the power hungry types' demands that bigger states led by increasingly more remote arseholes are better than small groups using local decision making.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Nov 4 2017 1:01 utc | 33

JTMcPhee Debsisdead

Having humans change their character after 10-12000 years of "civilisation" is wishfull thinking. There will always be the conmen and the suckers, the agressive and the timid.
What will be a big improvement though, is a worldwide policy of non interferance - other than neutral mediation - in the domestic afairs of other countries, be those domestic affairs good or bad. China has long had this policy, simply dealing with whoever happens to be in power wherever they do business.
Russia is now pushing this vision for the future, and in small ways it is starting to take shape. Remains to be seen if this can be carried through to a reformed UN.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 4 2017 2:49 utc | 34

Posted by: Peter AU 1
As you concede in your post, a massive change in human behaviour is unlikely, so it makes sense to change our social/political structures to ones where sociopaths are not so removed from the community they live in that it is easy for them to conceal their true nature from those who depend upon them, and if/when they do get into positions of power their bastardry only effects a small number of humans.
The crazy notion that a centralised global authority lead by an altruistic leader is either desirable or possible is just more rubbish propagated by the greedy dragging the same garbage as the notion of an omniscient, omnipotent being 'looking over us all' into the real world.

Humans are fallible and the only way to ensure one mob doesn't exploit another mob is by evolving a diverse framework of independent societies who follow an agreed framework of interaction

Posted by: Debsisdead | Nov 4 2017 3:07 utc | 35

flankerbait @ 10: I wish your comment to be true, but, I think along with james @ 13 :

" i wish it wasn't so, but i don't see them going quietly in the night..."

Posted by: ben | Nov 4 2017 3:18 utc | 36

Make that flankerbandit @ 10..

Posted by: ben | Nov 4 2017 3:20 utc | 37

Debsisdead "Humans are fallible and the only way to ensure one mob doesn't exploit another mob is by evolving a diverse framework of independent societies who follow an agreed framework of interaction"

That is my position also.

Re "concede"? I wrote my opinion some of which, going by your second post, are the same as yours?

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 4 2017 3:50 utc | 38

This piece from Manier is interesting.
"Furthermore, the terror group has lost its very powerful, efficient, and unique propaganda tools and machine as after the liberation of Mosul and most of Iraq, the liberation of Palmyra, Raqqah, Deir-ezzour, most of al-Badiya, the Syrian Army liberated the city of al-Mayadeen, where ISIS kept its media base. Forces in al-Mayadeen seized a huge stock of ISIS propaganda tools and apparatus, reducing the group’s capability to produce online and offline propaganda."

So ISIS had an account with Californian company Cloudflare, and posted Amaq direct from Maydeen via satellite to the cloadflare server located in Hong Kong. Who gave ISIS a satellite internet account? Not that many countries put up satellites? The Global Coalition/yanker wankers "fighting" ISIS propaganda.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 4 2017 4:13 utc | 39

b - "The Syrian government is likewise determined to regain control over the whole country. There will be no Turkish, Kurdish, Jordanian or Israeli zones but one Syria. The war will continue until that is achieved. Russian suggestions of a federation of the country have been rejected. Moscow reportedly accepted that position."

I have to say that I'm glad it's going this way. I think it's for the best. I haven't studied this so I take it on trust that Russia has accepted Syria's position. A lot depends on that one sentence. If it means all it implies, that's quite a new chapter starting in this story. And good for Russia for yielding to it.

Indeed something has happened in the triad of Iraq, Syria and Iran. Sharmine says that Iraq has developed a "backbone" now that won't go away. Syria has obviously deferred to Russia greatly because of its life-saving assistance, but it insists on reaping the reward and getting its full nation back. And Iran is as it has long been, we don't have to guess at its resolve.

I would hate to have to go up against Iran, Syria and Iraq, especially if I were in the wrong. No wonder Israel is freaked.

Maybe Russia will help with Golan, maybe it won't. It is Russia's diplomatic genius that it could probably remain on good terms with Israel even as Syria and Hezbollah rout that occupier out of Golan. After all, the UN says Israel has no right to be there. Russia would be a strong presence in the theater as a witness to international law - and perhaps kind of ultimate guarantor. Russia would be the grown-up in the room, the permanent member of UNSC, before which the dirty tricks would be difficult to maintain. Russia need not directly provide material assistance to SAA in the Golan campaign beyond intel, with its planes observing and recording much.

I could see Russia helping Israel fall gently to its knees the way it has tried to help the US do the same. I know it's a rosy picture, but Russia is quite capable of knowing and neutralizing the complex of twisting thorns inside those roses.

I like this backbone in the Middle East. I like to see countries throw off centuries of imperial domination and exploitation. I see here in these countries nothing other than exactly that purpose, and the sovereign will to achieve it.

Posted by: Grieved | Nov 4 2017 4:15 utc | 40

@ Debsisdead

When the money becomes worthless, the vampire squids eat one another, the swamp eats its' tail and the pitchforks come out - maybe then decentralization will happen. Secession will not be allowed as long as the goobermint has the cash to pay people to fight and there are idiots to accept that scrip. There will be a window - I hope my kids and their generation take it.

Posted by: Oilman2 | Nov 4 2017 4:35 utc | 41

Grieved @38--

Yes, my analysis allows me to share your guarded optimism. Given the amount of interaction between Putin and all the other actors in the region combined with Xi's "shadow" interactions with same, it's clear a Bloc of sorts is forming beyond the current SCO lineup along the lines of OBOR and drive for Multipolarity. History's Tide is turning; any pain incurred will be from Deep State resistance to instead of acceptance of its fate. And we both know it will resist, as it is now.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 4 2017 4:38 utc | 42

Right on cue ... do we assume they "think it was worth it" to sacrifice "9" to keep the system of tyranny running? What a dream come true for many if these battle ready Syrians (et al) could push the Zionists back to the 1967 borders.

Posted by: x | Nov 4 2017 4:45 utc | 43

Oilman2 | Nov 4, 2017 12:35:21 AM | 39
History is about to walk over the top of the US empire and leave it laying in the mud. The "window" for the US will come when it is going through its version of the Russian nineties.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 4 2017 5:22 utc | 44

The defence of Deir Ezzor. The yanks crap on about the Alamo when they were invading Mexico, but Deir Ezzor is the genuine article and they won, unlike the yank tossers who were killed by the country they were stealing territory off.
After the combined US/ISIS attack that ended up driving a salient between the airport and thge city, Syria Russia instead of squealing and giving up, turned this into an ISIS meat grinder, the salient being the bait that drew ISIS in, and the SAA defences around the salient, the jaws of the trap.
I used to read a lot of history on war and so forth, but Deir Ezzor stands out. Even Stalingrad was not surrounded and cut off. Hopefully Zagradine will be remebered in history books around the world.
I guess we are "blessed" that we live in interesting times? not.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 4 2017 6:44 utc | 45

What a strange headline for a news release:

Coalition removes ISIS leaders from battlefield
By CJTF-OIR | October 31, 2017

Is the author of the news release subconsciously revealing the truth that the Coalition helped them escape? Or perhaps it was the Saudis who removed them to Riyadh and there is nothing subconscious about it.

Posted by: Ghostship | Nov 4 2017 8:23 utc | 46

Ghostship | Nov 4, 2017 4:23:32 AM | 44
Have US and Russia been working side by side bombing Mayadin?
I have heard nothing of US strikes there in the last few weeks. I would guess, like with the ISIS oil convoys, US is claiming Russian strikes as their own.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 4 2017 8:37 utc | 47

Has the US military finally gone over to the dark side or are they just making stuff up?

And the second data point I would give you is that there are hundreds and thousands of Arabs that are fleeing from around the Euphrates River Valley, from Deir ez-Zor, to Mayadin, to down around Al-Qa'im.

Well I suppose if you were an ISIS fighter, supporter or camp follower, you would want to flee Deir Ez-zor for the last few towns controlled by ISIS. But "to Mayadin" when it's already fully under the control of the SAA? And why would they want to go to Al-Qa'im which is in Iraq, is under attack captured by Iraqi forces but is allegedly a Sunni hotbed of support for ISIS (news media got that wrong since it fell so quickly). Really, does General Jarrard take us for idiots?

And they are fleeing not -- they're fleeing Daesh, they're fleeing the regime liberation of those cities.

So they're fleeing the war in general rather than one or other side, but it's nice of Jarrard to point out that the government has liberated Deir Ez-zor rather than occupied it, but I wonder how long it'll be before he's talking about "occupied Deir Ez-zor".

And they're not going south into Arab-controlled territories. They're going north into the SDF-controlled territories. And so that tells me that they -- they understand the risk to both, and that they would much rather be in the SDF-controlled territories.

So one moment, they're fleeing south to Al Mayadin and the next they're fleeing north to where or what exactly. Raqqa? Receive some protection from the tribes recently allied with ISIS? Join SDF/ISIS?

But really the most interesting news to come out of this is that the PMU, who seem to have been largely responsible for capturing Al-Qa'im in a couple of days fighting appear to be a highly capable force and gives the lie to the allegation that Iraqis can't fight. Perhaps the truth is that American-trained Iraqi forces can't fight but IRGC/Hezbollah trained ones can, which is not good news for Israel which needs to accept that Assad is going to remain in power and act accordingly, but then Netanyahu is such a dumb, ignorant and arrogant fuckwit that it won't.

Posted by: Ghostship | Nov 4 2017 9:56 utc | 48

>>>> Peter AU 1 | Nov 4, 2017 4:37:32 AM | 45

I don't know and I don't care as that was not the point of my comment. The link was only provided so readers could see that the title of the PR release wasn't made up by me but was a genuine product of the U.S. Department of Defense.

Posted by: Ghostship | Nov 4 2017 10:02 utc | 49

Who on Earth would assume The Guardian's good intentions is beyond me...

Anywho, not sure if already posted:

Moscow: US military and international coalition commit war crime in al-Tanf

“By having organized there its military base and prohibiting anyone from approaching it closer than 55km, the US bears responsibility for the situation, where dozens of Syrian internally displaced persons, staying at the al-Rukban camp nearby, are deprived of a chance to receive humanitarian assistance,” the Center said.

“Those Syrian families, which had managed to escape al-Tanf in search for food, confirm the information about the most critical humanitarian situation in al-Rukban, it added.

The center referred to a skirmish that happened near al-Rukban Camp where 13 Syrian refugees were killed and another 20, including children, were injured, stressing that “the US did not offer any medical assistance to the injured refugees. Actually, all those injured are doomed.”

The center explained that the US advisors are putting together another “moderate opposition” – the National Syrian Army, which is based on groups from Lions of the East, Kuwat Shahid Ahmad Abdu and Liwa Shuhada al-Karyatein.

Some say those new terrorist platoons are trained by the Israelis...

Evac of Tanef is to be discussed by VVP and Trump during APEC...

Posted by: PeacefulProsperity | Nov 4 2017 10:04 utc | 50

I'm not surprised Russia is training in Syria for a future war in outer space

Posted by: PeacefulProsperity | Nov 4 2017 10:07 utc | 51

Ghostship | Nov 4, 2017 6:02:28 AM | 47

In the link, it does read, between the lines, as though the "removed" have been killed rather than airlifted out. This is why I thought US is again claiming Russian strikes as its own.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 4 2017 10:07 utc | 52

The Saudis and the Israelis are so furious by the outstanding victoris of the Syrian army under Bashar al Assad over their proxies, ISIS, that they are triggering a political crisis in Lebanon to paralyze Hezbollah and hit at Iran.
After his visit to Saudi Arabia, Hariri was made to realize that his life was in danger, either from Hezbollah (according to the Saudis) or from Israel-USA. In reality it is more probable that Israel and the USA wants to murder him, put the blame on Iran and Hezbollah and create a public rejection of Iran in Lebanon. That is part of the present campaign against Iran, Hezbollah and Syria
In either case Hariri panicked and did well to resign. He may have thrown the country in a political crisis but he may have avoided a worst crisis if he had be killed.
Now Lebanon still has to face the Saudi-Israel-USA blackmail:
You get rid of Iran and Hezbollah or you face total destruction.
I expect Lebanon to discreetly turn to Russia for protection.

Posted by: Virgile | Nov 4 2017 12:11 utc | 53

Grieved says:

Welcome to the Chinese Century. It will be win-win

oh yeah, economic growth, right? are the Chinese gonna give up the last gasps of this quaint 20th century phenomenon?

just follow the yellow brick, err, I mean polyester, err, no, make that, silk road, right?

the only thing in China that's growing faster than the economy is the pervasiveness of caustic refuse, in the air, on land, in the water.

Posted by: john | Nov 4 2017 12:47 utc | 54

With regards to Hariri's resignation today, the BBC article paints him as being subservient to the Saudis. How unusually candid of them.

Posted by: never mind | Nov 4 2017 12:56 utc | 55

>>>> Peter AU 1 | Nov 4, 2017 6:07:54 AM | 50

The "removed" might have been killed but why didn't the title say killed instead of removed?

As to whether or not the Americans have been claiming the results of Russian airstrikes as their own, why shouldn't they since they've claimed most of the advances against ISIS for themselves and the SDF, and denied the efforts of the Syrians, Russians, etc.

Posted by: Ghostship | Nov 4 2017 13:00 utc | 56

>>>> Virgile | Nov 4, 2017 8:11:18 AM | 51

Was this al-Sabhan's "astonishing development? It seems singularly pedestrian to me.

Firebrand Saudi State Minister for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan on Monday called for “toppling Hizbullah” and promised “astonishing” developments in “the coming days.”

I was hoping it would be at least some high-ranking anti-MbS Saudi prince being caught between the legs of a high-class hooker.

Posted by: Ghostship | Nov 4 2017 13:06 utc | 57

@51 -- "Hariri was made to realize that his life was in danger..."

The final Act III, imo.
Now that a 'Kurdistan' is at best only a notional culturally Federated idea (Act II), the hotter it gets around the Golan heights the sooner Russia will be in there as a replacement UN Peace Keeping force playing the role of regional Sheriff with S-400s potentially pointing in all directions. It's a win-win for Putin as Syrian reconstruction progresses with 'Chinese' characteristics. A quiet panic underlies Netanyahu's desperate efforts to deploy his American Rottweiler against Iran. Probability of success: low. The tide of history is shifting and the Zionist apartheid state knows it is beyond the peak cusp and on the downward cycle.

"Give peace a chance" is the last song they want to hear.

Posted by: x | Nov 4 2017 13:12 utc | 58

re 51

Hariri's language is identical to the threats of Netanyahu a couple of days ago, to intervene in the war in Syria, in order to prevent the rise of Iran and Hizbullah. I imagine it is all coordinated with Israel, but quite what the plan is, I have no idea.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 4 2017 13:32 utc | 59

A quiet panic underlies Netanyahu's desperate efforts to deploy his American Rottweiler against Iran. Probability of success: low. x | Nov 4, 2017 9:12:33 AM | 56

Everything you need to know about Netanyahu and co. is secretly coded in the tapes of "Pinky and the Brain" that you can watch on YouTube. The plot has two characters, Pinky and Brain, "one is genius, the other is insane" who start every day with this dialogue: "So what do we do today? Same as we ever do, we try to take over the world!", but while the two mice punch way above their weight, that weight is pitifully small.

Their most successful plot was to create a fictional state and get funding from USG. (Only one episode, this is not a radical political satire after all.) One of the similarities is extreme monotonous nature of Netanyahu strategy. E.g. he tries to sick USA on Iran for years and years, and if that were possible, it would happen years and years ago.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 4 2017 14:12 utc | 60

BBC article cited in post 53 is somewhat inaccurate. It states that Hariri was "shuttling between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia". However, his favorite place is France -- quality of life, you know. This is web hit dated before he started his latest stint as PM: "Former Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri has been living between Paris and Riyadh since his ouster from government in 2011. Saad leads the Future ..."

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 4 2017 14:45 utc | 61

JTMcPhee | Nov 3, 2017 2:19:15 PM | 19


'...To maybe remind people: the talk here is about the "cities" of Deir Ezir and Raqqa and so forth. What is left of those "cities," anyhow? "Bombed back into the stone age..."

Well...if you are trying to draw equivalence of destruction between these two cities then your comment has no factual validity whatsoever...

What is left of Deir Ezzor...?

You can look for yourself...the US and other 'democratic' media are conspicuous by their absence...

But RT has had a reporter there since the beginning of the is just one report...

There are many more...

Compare this to US media's own footage of Raqqa...

Also we note that the UN singled out the US destruction of Raqqa and the civilian toll...

I don't recall any such UN condemnation about the Syrian government's lifting of the ISIS siege of 100,000 people in Deir Ezzor...

You know...most ordinary folks around the world are deeply concerned about the ordinary folks in Syria who have suffered and continue to suffer...

But we certainly don't appreciate uninformed or perhaps disingenuous comments that seek to draw moral equivalence between the clear aggressor and those fighting on the right side of history...

This is the standard line from faux 'humanitarians' in the West...wherever and whenever they start a savage war in some poor part of the world...

After the West tore apart Yugoslavia...these 'concerned' people put it all down to historical 'Balkan' ethnic hatred...

Very convenient way to look at the situation...but what is left out is WHO fanned those flames to begin with...

And then started pouring gasoline on the fire they started...?

These are legitimate questions that people like yourself studiously ignore...

You know I have to wonder whether it is ignorance or arrogance on the part of Western observers who like to make these kinds of self-serving comments...from a lectern of moral superiority...

They either don't know the facts...or they simply don't care...

Either's pretty simple to just dismiss everything with the wave of a hand...while studiously ignoring the facts staring you in the face...

As in who started the war to begin with...?

And in the case of Syria...what is the legal status of US airplanes and soldiers in Syria...?

Did Syria invite them in...?

Did the UN Security Council authorize their presence and their 'fighting' ISIS...?

This comment makes me sick...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Nov 4 2017 15:25 utc | 62

@62 flankerbandit

Thanks. I actually felt that way also. Agree every word.

Posted by: Grieved | Nov 4 2017 16:38 utc | 63

. . . . . the hotter it gets around the Golan heights the sooner Russia will be in there as a replacement UN Peace Keeping force playing the role of regional Sheriff with S-400s potentially pointing in all directions.

Posted by: x | Nov 4, 2017 9:12:33 AM | 58

I think we have reached "Peak Phallic®" with this latest S-400 wet-dream.

A quiet panic underlies Netanyahu's desperate efforts to deploy his American Rottweiler against Iran. Probability of success: low.

The Zio-Nazis have been threatening to deploy their American Rottweiler to rain down hellfires, tomahawks and damnation upon Iranian heads with since at least 1982.

Since the 90's the Zio-Nazis have been threatening to rain their own Israeli-made hellfires, tomahawks and nuclear damnation down upon Iranian heads.

Given all the threats there's been remarkably little raining down of Israeli-made or Rottweiler-made hellfires, tomahawks and nuclear damnation down upon Iranian heads.

Maybe the Zio-Nazi threats ain't all they're made out to be?

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Nov 4 2017 17:39 utc | 64

Israeli-Saudi Tandem Adjusts to Syria Loss
November 4, 2017

Facing defeat in the proxy war in Syria, the Israeli-Saudi tandem is planning a new front against Hezbollah, presaged by Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri’s sudden resignation, as ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke explains.

By Alastair Crooke

Posted by: mauisurfer | Nov 4 2017 17:56 utc | 65

@ Ghostship 48
"Perhaps the truth is that American-trained Iraqi forces can't fight..."

There are always lots of thoughtful and informative comments on this board, but sometimes little quips can be very thought provoking. Take this comment. The US citizenry is continually bombarded with tales of its military gallantly staying on in country X "just until they can get on their feet [after it bombed every civilian infrastructure asset that would hold still] know...until we can train their army to fight terrorism and protect their country...." But the tale always is woeful, always endless, with the very strong implication always being that it's those damn ungrateful, degenerate, cowardly monkeys who just don't take well to training and so the US will have to stay just a little bit longer...make the sacrifice of protecting these sub-humans from themselves.

Why IS it that these efforts to train up puppet armies always seems to go so poorly for the US? When you pause to reflect, does the US really WANT country X to have a military that's tough to defeat? Hardly! Why in the hell would they train up a force they know someday will be asking them to leave? No, clearly the whole endless training thing is BS for domestic consumption, to tell a not terribly happy citizenry that "we want to leave as much as you want us to leave...and we will, as sooooon as we finish this little task which we feel honor bound to complete." So you have a US military which hasn't won a significant contest against an armed opponent almost in living memory, being given half-hearted instructions to go through some motions but be careful to sabotage any real cohesion or progress, all so the world has yet another weak, subservient state, and the MIC has a plausible excuse to continue to stay and siphon cash. After all, have you EVER heard of the US willingly leaving a place once it is ensconced?

So no, of course the "US trained" forces are inept--they were carefully designed to be. And by ensuring they fight no one of any quality and have no need to even remember how to train effectively, the US (and Israeli) militaries have unwittingly dumbed themselves down to the equivalent of local street gangs, capable only of bullying unarmed civilians and calling in air strikes. If or when they face a real military opponent, it isn't going to be pretty.

Posted by: J Swift | Nov 5 2017 15:38 utc | 66

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