Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 25, 2018

Syria - The UNSC Mandated Ceasefire Will Not Hold

Last night the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2401 demanding a 30 day ceasefire in all of Syria. The text of the adopted resolution does not seem to be available yet. A copy of the original draft resolution is here. The Russian government had offered several amendments to it. It demanded that the U.S. side guarantees that the enemies of the Syrian state would stick to such a ceasefire.

The resolution was initiated by Sweden and Kuwait on behalf of the U.S. It follows after preparation by the Syrian army to liberate the east-Ghouta area next to the capital Damascus had reached a critical point. East-Ghouta is occupied by several terrorist groups including al-Qaeda and militant Salafist groups. Together they have for years been sponsored to harass the 7 million inhabitants of the capital with random mortar and missile attacks. The U.S. initiated a propaganda campaign to "save Ghouta" because it wants to keep the threat from Ghouta towards the Syrian capital alive.


The ceasefire does not apply to Al-Qaeda, ISIS and associated terrorist groups. The war against them will continue. In east-Ghouta al-Qaeda (HTS) is allied with Failaq al-Rahman.


The UN resolution is said to allow for the liberation of some significant areas of east-Ghouta including Harasta, Arbin, Zamalka, Ein Tarma and Kafar Batna. The Syrian Arab Army ground attack to liberate these and other parts of east-Ghouta began today, only hours after the resolution was adopted. It is already making good progress.

The huge propaganda campaign about east-Ghouta is certainly not over humanitarian concern or over adherence to some legal rules of war. Last year the U.S. destroyed Raqqa with more than 31,000 artillery rounds and a large air campaign and killed more than 3,200 civilians. It even destroyed the water pipeline to Raqqa that supplied the inhabitants of the city - a clear war crime. Back then the UN requested a ceasefire to evacuate civilians. The U.S. rejected that out of hand. It latter let the remaining Islamic State fighters escape from Raqqa and is now retraining them for further attacks on the Syrian state.

The campaigns around Ghouta are part of “cold” war between the USA and Russia which is dividing Syria. The current U.S. campaign to keep east-Ghouta under terrorist is in support of four goals:

  • to demonstrate to the word that the Syrian government is unable to keep Damascus safe
  • to show that Russia was wrong in claiming victory in Syria
  • to protect ISIS and al-Qaeda as they are still needed as U.S. proxy foot-soldiers
  • the justify the U.S. occupation of north-east Syria and its oil fields and to thus limit the financial resources of the Syrian state. (This also gives the U.S. and Israel an operational area for further attacks on the Syrian state.)

One interesting aspect of the UNSC ordered ceasefire is its application to the Turkish invasion of the Kurdish held Afrin area in north-west Syria. The Kurdish YPG, which is defending Afrin against the Turkish onslaught, is not an internationally recognized terrorist group. Thus Turkey is now under pressure to stop or end its campaign.

U.S. President Trump has again confused his private position with that of the ruling administration:

President Donald Trump appeared to contradict his own State Department during a press conference on Friday by saying that the US is in Syria to defeat ISIS and then leave. In January, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson outlined five goals for the US in Syria — to defeat ISIS and al-Qaida, resolve the conflict between the Syrian regime and people, to curb Iranian influence, to create conditions so that refugees can safely return, and to create a Syria free of weapons of mass destruction. Tillerson also said that the US seeks to resolve the conflict between the Syrian regime and people. The Trump administration also decided this week that it could continue to maintain US troops in Syria indefinitely, even in areas where ISIS fighters have been cleared, without new Congressional authorization.

The is no basis in international law for a U.S. occupation of parts of Syria. The reasoning with which the administration tries to justify its military presence in Syria is laughable:

[It] said that the continued potential threat from the Islamic State provided a legal rationale for the Trump administration to keep American troops deployed there indefinitely.

A "preventive" military presence in a foreign country because some terrorist group might evolve there could be used to occupy any piece of land on this planet. This is evidently bullshit but it is currently unlikely that Congress will get involved and stop this criminal behavior.

The UNSC mandated ceasefire will fail. The various groups in east-Ghouta are disunited but have a common interest in keeping the war going. It is their sole source of income and purpose. They will continue to harass Damascus which will then justify more attacks on them.

The U.S. campaign to "save Ghouta" will thus go down in the same way the earlier campaign to "save Aleppo" has failed. The Syrian government will liberate and secure the area by the appropriate means and with the least possible casualties and damage.

The U.S. will then move its propaganda campaign to some other area and will continue to use dirty tricks, but not an open battle, to prolong the war on Syria and to pursue its unrealistic aims.

Posted by b on February 25, 2018 at 13:12 UTC | Permalink


I think its worth exploring why Russia continues to acquiesce to US demands. By most accounts evacuation of civilians was occurring with head choppers being given safe passage to ildib? IIRC
Why bother with a farcical 'ceasefire'?

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Feb 25 2018 13:41 utc | 1

The valiant SAA have just captured the south east corner of Ghoutta:

Posted by: Madmen | Feb 25 2018 13:44 utc | 2

7 million population in Damascus?

Posted by: begob | Feb 25 2018 13:59 utc | 3

Why bother with a farcical 'ceasefire'?

According to US ambasador Haley: "The Council must seize this moment of unity and make it a turning point in which the Russian Federation joined the international community."

From UNSCRes 2401: Affirming that the cessation of hostilities would not apply to military operations against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), Al-Qaida, Al-Nusra Front and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with terrorist groups, as designated by the Council,. . . here

So Russia joined the international community and will get what it wants, as in Aleppo as b said.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 25 2018 14:34 utc | 4

The Guardian continues with the garbage - Simon Tisdall being economical with the truth yet again.

He reports that Syrian ambassador to the UN claims that the ceasefire doesn't apply to HTS/al Nusrah/al Qaeda then wipes away HTS' involvement in East Ghouta:

Bashar Ja’afari, Syria’s ambassador to the UN, said the fight against terrorism would continue regardless, noting the ceasefire resolution excluded named organisations such as Islamic State and an al-Qaida affiliate, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), formerly the al-Nusra Front.


The two main rebel factions in Ghouta – Faylaq al-Rahman and Jaish al-Islam – said after the vote that they would implement the truce and facilitate aid access. But they also vowed to respond to any attacks.

The third rebel faction in East Ghouta (for there seem to be only three) is Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, and Faylaq al-Rahman is fighting alongside them.

Meanwhile, The Guardian runs two articles claiming that Putin is mired in Syria, one by Martin Chulov, and the other by Ian Bond, the director of foreign policy at the Centre for European Reform who should stick with the day job instead of pushing for war on Syria and Russia.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Feb 25 2018 14:41 utc | 5

From UNSC resolution 2401:

“Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, and to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

I have to wonder if Nikki Haley is even literate. Perhaps she should forward the resolution to the Pentagon.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Feb 25 2018 14:46 utc | 6

The BBC hasn't wasted any time....

"Air strikes by the Syrian government on a rebel-held enclave have continued despite a ceasefire resolution passed by the UN Security Council on Friday."

Posted by: dh | Feb 25 2018 14:49 utc | 7

A indication of possible future actions, also from South Front. (see also @2 Madmen).

This is a known "playbook". (for SAA) Attack, divide and split into various isolated groups, Offer reconciliation or a bus to Idlib to each one, Depending on reply, solve or rinse and repeat.

Posted by: stonebird | Feb 25 2018 14:51 utc | 8

@8 Thinking how helpful it would be for the Syrian government if Failaq al-Rahman and Army of Islam joined in cleaning up the takfiris. Of course they would want some kind of reward.

Posted by: dh | Feb 25 2018 15:07 utc | 9

USA empire, its vassals and its presstitute propaganda outlets will continue to frame the ongoing eradication of its various darling terrorist groups as violations of the UNSC imposed ceasefire agreement that was just approved.

Russia already made various precautions including flying in extra Su-57 which in total will hopefully dissuade the evil empire from making military aggressive moves that could easily spiral out of control and lead to things nobody is waiting for.

Posted by: xor | Feb 25 2018 15:36 utc | 10

The US needs to get the lesson like Caesar Augustus that the Empire has expanded to its greatest extent.

That the US thinks it can defeat Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran is a sure symptom of insanity.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Feb 25 2018 15:39 utc | 11

So this is the new Cold War.

Could have fooled me but if/until there is a flurry of nukes this is what we get.

I am going out on a hopeful limb here and posit that the Trump/Pentagon show of differences with Trump saying finish and leave gives the US an out if Plan Q doesn't work.

You are doing amazing work b and are to be commended for it...thanks!!!

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 25 2018 15:43 utc | 12

A few days back, a group of ISIS fighters held 'prisoner' by the SDF in east SYria managed to escape en masse for parts unknown. A convenient releaser of reinforcements for Ghouta? They probably would be able to enter via one of the myriad of supply tunnels the terrorists have dug between Ghouta and the outside world.

Posted by: Anonymous | Feb 25 2018 16:09 utc | 13

from almasnews, today...

At approximately 8:30 A.M. (Damascus Time), the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) kicked off the first phase of their long-awaited East Ghouta offensive.
Led by their 4th Division, the Syrian Arab Army stormed the Al-Nashabiyah area of the East Ghouta, seizing several points around the Air Defense Battalion, while advancing in the direction of Hazrama and Tal Farzat.
Should the Syrian Army capture the strategic hilltop of Tal Farzat, they will ultimately have fire control over Al-Nashabiyah.
This part of the East Ghouta is under the control of Jaysh Al-Islam, which is a group that refused to attend the Russian sponsored Sochi Peace Conference in January. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 25 2018 16:16 utc | 14

@4DB. Thanks, at least you didn't go with the tired 'Russia plays the long game' explanation.
I will say however that Russia would and has apparently gotten what it 'wants' in spite of farcical ceasefire not because of them. It is on the UNSC therefore fully entrenched in the 'international community'. All that being said it would seem there is still the question of seeming acquiescence to Western demands for what? Any one?

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Feb 25 2018 16:41 utc | 15

Giving up a little to get a lot is evidence of expert diplomacy. This is something that the US lacks. Because of its power the US figures it can be a 'bull in a China shop' and get its way, which has led to its consistent losses. It's even worse now because of neophytes McMaster and Haley at the US foreign policy helm.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 25 2018 16:47 utc | 16

The complicit Reuters has an article up that I won't link to as its propaganda stench level is too high

Here is the Reuters list of folks that get the Winston Smith award for the article....3 writers and 4 editors.....

Reporting by Ellen Francis in Beirut and Dubai newsroom; Additional reporting by Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh in Moscow and Philip Pullella in Vatican City; Editing by Tom Perry, John Stonestreet, Jane Merriman, William Maclean

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 25 2018 17:40 utc | 17

@15 For what? Well it looks like Russia and Syria have gained a free hand to deal with the takfiris in their own delicate way. Brace yourself for a barrage of stories about civilian casualties.

Posted by: dh | Feb 25 2018 17:55 utc | 18

@15 Tannenhouser - Top uphold the UNSC and the scarse decreasing leverage it still wields against a lawless world run by whomever has the most and strongest weapons(, the USA).

Posted by: xor | Feb 25 2018 18:23 utc | 19

thanks b.. it is all so very sobering.. over the course of this war, the agenda of the west, under the leadership of the usa has been to get rid of assad.. they don't give a shit about the welfare of the syrian people... now they have this nice 'catch and release' thing going on with isis in the east... they are constantly up to no good, with the loudest whiners, sychophants and complainers that always get full press in the same western held media... it is so very predictable and so very tiring.. it is truly the demise of the western world.. if that is leadership, anyone paying attention is going to be looking for another type of leadership, as this sucks!

Posted by: james | Feb 25 2018 18:31 utc | 20

@15 Tannenhouser.. it's called diplomacy and taking the high road... we never seen it in any of our lying leaders, all the way down to the lowly press people... the un is a complete joke and charade, but russia is willing to play the game...going along with this resolution, while changing the wording will force the west to come out with some other lame ass rationale for it's ongoing obfuscation of the truth of what is going on here... i am sure lots of money is being thrown towards the white helmets as we speak, to come up with another sick joke false flag that can be run up the western media news pole.... at some point more and more people see thru these tactics... if it was me, i tell the usa to fuck off, but being reasonable here, i don't think the timing is right for that.. i think that is what russia thinks too..

Posted by: james | Feb 25 2018 18:38 utc | 21

@21 russia is willing to play the game...

Indeed. I wonder if they don't find it all quite amusing. The West is so predictable they must get a few good belly laughs in the Kremlin.

Posted by: dh | Feb 25 2018 19:17 utc | 22

@dh... it would be more funny if there weren't so many innocent lives directly affected by this.. we have witnessed this for how long and with how many examples?? i have been watching this bad film since the 70's...vietnam, south america, and more recently yugoslavia, iraq, afganistan, libya and now syria.. the usa needs hollywood.. they can't do it on their own, lol...

Posted by: james | Feb 25 2018 19:40 utc | 23

As always, Russia changes the language of the resolution and the United States pretends they didn't – that they got what they originally tried to get in the original resolution. There's a huge disconnect between the words of the resolution and the words coming from the liars in the U.S. government.

Posted by: rcentros | Feb 25 2018 19:43 utc | 24

@23. Agreed. It's not funny at all. It's deadly serious for many people. Easy to forget that behind the luxury of a computer.

Posted by: dh | Feb 25 2018 19:48 utc | 25

@ph 17
Reuters isn't a normal news agency. The Reuters news agency is part of Thomson Reuters, making up the media division. Thomson Reuters operates in more than 100 countries, has more than 45,000 employees and provides corporate support in many categories: financial, legal, risk management, tax&accounting, news&media, and automotive. "We provide professionals the intelligence, technology, and human expertise they need to find trusted answers."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 25 2018 20:00 utc | 26

Maybe a few less Syrians will die violent deaths for a while, let's hope so, but I'm not overly hopeful.
Went to sleep last night with BBC news stream running - damn nuisance as it cycle (repetition of shows like an old top 40 radio station playing the same thing over & over) is much shorter that RT, AJ or PressTV. By the time I woke up this morning the stream of propaganda had become a flood of angry bullshit.
The Gouta terrorists had taken to blowing the shit outta the Damascus suburbs on the grounds that Syria & Russia were in breach of the new UN agreement! Y'kmow the one that just 24 hours before even the BBC had conceded wasn't going to kick off right away.
So the takfiri are trying to claimSyria is in breach of an agreement that a)doesn't apply to them because the are AQ related, and b) isn't in place yet.
The cherry on the top was some 'doctor' from some 'Gouta medical observatory' who claimed those Syrian government types were using chemical weapons. The medical observatory may have Gouta in the title but aforesaid quack was phoning it in from Ankara.

There is no correlation, no shared reality between the two sides (pro-Syrian and anti-Syrian) yet and it doesn't appear there will ever be. The amerikan backed arseholes had a few ploys to run once Lavrov signed on the dotted line but thus far they just seem like more of the same, once the fukUSi (plus Krautland) mob get their piece of paper they immediately begin devaluing it by ignoring the text and invoking fantasy.

I did notice that on Saturday (I think it was Saturday at the UN was Sunday here) Lavrov spoke at length about the situation over at Deir Ezzor and how amerika was in breach of international law in North East Syria and how this agreement constrains amerika from attacking Syrian government forces moving into their own nation's regions. We shall see.

The other sudden shift over the weekend was at the Olympics where according to the Guardian - yeah a dodgy source for sure - the IOC were acting surprisingly friendly to Russia.

"That echoes the thoughts of many in Pyeongchang after what has seemed like a series of coordinated steps over the past 36 hours to pave the way for Russia to return to the sporting fold.

Those steps have included the IOC president Thomas Bach meeting Russian presidential aide Igor Levitin on Wednesday, and the South Korean President Moon jae-in hailing the participation of the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) team as having “made the Games better”.

Crucially, Russia’s Olympic Committee is also said to have paid a $15m fine imposed in December because of systemic doping at the Sochi Games – a prerequisite for having their suspension lifted."

That story was filed on Friday when all the overtures were being made to Russia at the UN - we know now that Russia wasn't permitted recognition at the closing ceremony, also while tales of alleged Russian doping continue to be leaked to media, there hasn't been and leaks about the cheating in other teams.

Has Russia been Iraned, that is back during the Lebanon conflict Iran bent over backwards to try and stop the violence signing up to agreements with amerika only to see them broken or ignored by amerika.

I thought Lavrov was sharper than that but he seems to have conceded a mob of issues and has got SFA in return - we shall see.
A sobering thought is that the sons and daughters of takfiri playing in bombed out ruins may have assholes for parents, but they are still just children who deserve a fair shake of the stick.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Feb 25 2018 23:15 utc | 27

I hear alot of "why isnt Russia beating up on the US when they pull sheit?" Russia is not the worlds cop either...pretty sure Mr Putin would rather be spending his time and resources on taking care of his own country, instead of trying to throw stumbling blocks in front of the rampaging Imperium...He has a lot of domestic work he would like to finish...He loves Russia and Russians, he is that kind of person...very Russian

we should be glad he leads that country...there are MANY in leadership that would love to go to war with the US...old oligarchy hardliners and fossillized Soviet-era types...they have no problem with getting into WW3 and are extremely critical of Vlad for being "too soft" on US meddling

Mr Putin has a number of reasons for agreeing with this resolution.



Posted by: oldenyoung | Feb 25 2018 23:36 utc | 28

Bashar Jaafari responds to a journalist who falsely accuses the Syrian government of bombing civilians in Ghouta. Gives you a simple tip "OPEN THE EYES" (SUBTITLED)

1.2.3 Lets Go Chemical attack drama:

Posted by: Fatima Manoubia | Feb 25 2018 23:46 utc | 29

Arab Daily - British Diplomatic Cable Unveils US Plots To Disintegrate Syria

The 'Small American Group on Syria' and western strategy...Can't corroborate or verify. Anybody else seen anything on this?

Posted by: John Gilberts | Feb 25 2018 23:47 utc | 30

Video posted on November 1, 2015 by the terrorists themselves of the al-Nusra Front and other bands of "insurgents" of #EasternGhouta in which they show, using relatives, how they use civilians as human shields.

The USA rejected all ceasefire proposals in Raqqa, Syria. Raqqa will be remembered by the thousands of civilians killed by the USA + SDF coalition that also facilitated the fleeing of the jihadists. Even today, there are hundreds of corpses under its rubble. #EasternGhouta

Posted by: Fatima Manoubia | Feb 25 2018 23:51 utc | 31

Ceasefire is probably not worth its share of being hosted on UN website, not to mention the cost of paper copies if any were made. There is some diplomatic "dance" in which some heads of governments "show concern", the concern is duly echoed as "sharing the concern" (e.g why offend Mutti Merkel* on a point with no importance) and sometimes it results in resolutions of SCUN.

* Mutti Merkel -- one of the avatars of a multifaceted politician from a Teutonic. Other notable avatars are Stingy Merkel (uses starved Greeks in her beer mix), Merkel Resolutely Criticising America (when Stingy Merkel nibbles of too many Starved Greeks, gets thirsty and drinks more beer than usual).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 26 2018 0:35 utc | 32

Ah, I skipped "country", "Teutonic country".

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 26 2018 0:36 utc | 33

This will go the way Aleppo city went. Russian aerospace will pulverize the terrorists. With the terrorists are reportedly well over 1000 American troops and NATO. Thus, the frantic UNSC call for cease fire. We saw the same in Debaltsevo in 2015 when Hollande and Merkle rushed to Minsk to get a ceasefire from Putin.

But the UNSC resolution 2401 has virtually nothing to do with a ceasefire. Russia made certain all restraints are on the terrorists, not on Syria, allies and Russia. They are free to attack and destroy all terrorists. Any group that does not stand down will be destroyed.

The wording is very clear that the US merely wants escape routes via designated routes for "humanitarian" relief (read 'escape of their troops', just like Debaltsevo.)

Putin sent those 4 Su-57s to do some damage. East Ghouta may be the target.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Feb 26 2018 1:04 utc | 34

@ Red Ryder who wrote:
The wording is very clear that the US merely wants escape routes via designated routes for "humanitarian" relief (read 'escape of their troops', just like Debaltsevo.)

That was my thought also. The UN discussion around the resolution gave Russia another chance to tell the US that they have no right to be in Syria and "they" are going to bomb your remaining buddies soon so you better leave.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 26 2018 1:38 utc | 35

PUtin can't and shouldn't take over the US role of (corrupt) global cop, but he should not and cannot avoid his responsibility as a key world leader.

Posted by: paul | Feb 26 2018 2:28 utc | 36

Syria’s UN Ambassador, Bashar Jaafari gave a wonderful speech immediately after this “cease fire” resolution was passed.

Posted by: Daniel | Feb 26 2018 2:54 utc | 37

Syria is considering this resolution to include ALL of Syria, including Afrin, the territory occupied by US and its proxies and Golan. That is, they insist that all uninvited foreigners immediately leave ALL of Syria, and until they do, Syria will demonstrate it's sovereign right to deal with such "colonial" invaders as any sovereign nation has the unquestioned right to.

Posted by: Daniel | Feb 26 2018 2:58 utc | 38

Debsisdead @27:

I've had it with the Olympics. Although it made little difference, I refuse to follow the shenanigans of the IOC and their damned event. It was where everyone were suppose to drop the bullshit. Now, I only follow and support local amateur sports.

Posted by: Ian | Feb 26 2018 3:16 utc | 39

Ian | Feb 25, 2018 10:16:44 PM | 39

The Olympics are dead; killed by US corruption/politics. A world class travesty against international ettiquette!
I doubt I'll ever watch the event again.
This year I only watched Russian athletes...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Feb 26 2018 4:22 utc | 40

Regarding the Gold Medal Hockey game. Aside from the very weak goalie Russia used, the game was fantastic sport. The Germans used discipline and grit to frustrate the superior Russian offense. The game pivoted several times on split second shots. It was beautifully skated at high speeds and agility, fearlessly defended by both sides, one goalie was marvelous and the coaching by Germany was brilliant.

Russia won because they persevered, and good fortune finally came their way.

The Germans now have a future in hockey, and the Russians stuck it to the IOC and Canada and US who worked so hard to cheapen the Russian athletes.

It was historic.

Yes, the IOC is corrupt and geopolitics ruined them. It also cost NBC billions in lost revenue.

People want to see Russian athletes. Everyone knows they are some of the best.

Something good came out of so much bad.

It was a thrilling game. Never to be forgotten.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Feb 26 2018 4:31 utc | 41

The one good thing that came of the Olympics is that it gave the Koreans a chance to bypass the US and talk to each other.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 26 2018 4:47 utc | 42

V. Arnold @40


Your comments please. I might make a trip to Cambodia sometime in summer and will be in SEA next week.


London Couple Living In Cambodia - Why

Cost of Living in Cambodia - prices of rent, groceries & more

Posted by: OJS | Feb 26 2018 4:48 utc | 43

OJS | Feb 25, 2018 11:48:27 PM | 43

Couple living in Cambodia; yeah, my attitude as well; no little Americas or westerners for this one.
The couple mentioned freedom; that's a biggy. Same here in Thailand; hugely more free than the U.S., on almost any meaningful level.
Rarely see and more rarely interact with police; however, they tend to be quite polite and reasonable.
I can't say much about Kampuchea (Cambodia) because its the one country I haven't been to.
Not sure why you included Thaksin Shinawatra? I dont really have anything to add to that. As a guest here; I stay out of Thai politics.
I would add one caution re: Kampuchea; a number of westerner's have run afoul of Kampuchean cultural mores and norms over the last year; not great outcomes.
If you're like me, that's not likely a problem.
IMO, Thailand (away from tourist spots)is a pretty good place to land.
If you have a bachelor degree in almost anything, you can teach English as second language (ESL) in S.E. Asia in general.
Cost of living is probably close as well.
A stand alone bungalow (2br) will run roughly ฿5,000/mos.(about $160 USD/mos).
Townhouse slightly lower. The Brit couple probably pay less; they're quite rural; I didn't see any paved road in the panorama shot.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Feb 26 2018 6:21 utc | 44

V. Arnold @44

Thanks bro. as guest I never make comments good or bad on host country. More or less you should keep an eye on "Shinawatra" he's up to something...

I was offered a spot in Indonesia, turned it down. Lived in M'sia for few years too pricey and got out. I'm on the roads next weeks out scouting, thinking of Cambodia. I'm more or less a loner, prefer out of the limelight. 4-yrs engineering discipline no interest working anymore.

Posted by: OJS | Feb 26 2018 7:36 utc | 45

OJS | Feb 26, 2018 2:36:49 AM | 45

Ditto on the loner bit.
Engineering (CAD, 3-D modeling, and manufacturing) is what got me here.
Knew I'd not leave after 3 months.
11 years retired here; working sucks.
Good luck.
Feel free if anymore questions.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Feb 26 2018 7:52 utc | 46

Here we go again:

Chlorine gas symptoms reported in eastern Ghouta, Syria

Posted by: et Al | Feb 26 2018 10:09 utc | 47

That's anti-semitic, Lester. Putin is not Jewish.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 26 2018 14:14 utc | 48

It's anti-Putinic.

Posted by: dh | Feb 26 2018 15:51 utc | 49

Russians may be starting to get a bit frustrated with the Turks. First it seemed they had reluctantly agreed to permit the Turks to commence their anti-Kurd operation in hopes of demonstrating to the Kurds that the US was not a friend to be relied on (as well as perhaps humble them a bit, as was done in Iraq). But when the Kurds finally started seriously asking for help from the Syrian government, and apparently making sufficient concessions that an agreement looked likely, the Turks refused to halt their operation. I suspect the Russians then thought they might use the recent Security Council resolution as a lever to halt the Turk offensive, but that is apparently not going to happen. Just now I ran across this short video of a Russian commander complaining about the Turks.

I'd say at some point if the Turks don't take the hint, Russia will have to close Syrian airspace to them again, which together with the substantial American arms held by the Kurds might level the playing field enough, and make the operation expensive enough for the Turks, that they might agree to some sort of face-saving cease-fire and/or withdrawal.

Posted by: J Swift | Feb 26 2018 16:03 utc | 50

from AlTanf twitter

Pamela Spenser, @PamSpenser, Feb 25
#American instructors trained a group of 180 terrorists in #AlTanf military camp to participate in battles with #Government forces in #EasternGhouta. A route through #EasternKalamun has been developed. The #transfer will be carried out within the next week. . .here

Al Tanf is a US outpost down near the southern border.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 26 2018 16:11 utc | 51

@52 No doubt they have been trained to give humanitarian assistance.

Posted by: dh | Feb 26 2018 16:17 utc | 52

Pardon me if these have appeared before, but this excellent video lays bare the false propaganda on Syria while this video focuses on the White Helmets. (h/t Carleton Meyer)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 26 2018 16:31 utc | 53

Don Bacon @54

Thanks Don, add more.... me a faithful and long time follower of Vanessa Beeley, Eva Bartlett, Julian Assange and John Pilger. Missed the piece (h/t Carleton Meyer) republished in Corbett Report Episode 330 – "The White Helmets Are A Propaganda Construct" and from Corbett Report.... picked up by Singapore's The Middle Ground (defunct) due to funding. White Helmets (1): We’re not terrorists, we’re victims of fake news, Apr 18, 2017 05.00PM | Suhaile Md.

Posted by: OJS | Feb 26 2018 19:18 utc | 54

Oops..... forgot The Middle Ground

The founder The Middle Ground Bertha Henson ex-editor the Straits Times... The regime mouthpiece similar to Amerika CNN, MSNBC, WP, NYT etc...

Posted by: OJS | Feb 26 2018 19:33 utc | 55

In looking at Erdogan's nationalism compared to 1930's Germany, without a sovereign, independent, cutting edge military tech and manufacturing, Erdogan is an ocean going tadpole trying to swim with the sharks. Pre WWII Germany was always up at the leading edge of military tech and manufacturing, though even that was not enough to realize Hitlers aspirations..
At the moment, because Erdogan is a headache for the hegemon, it is only the Russian shark keeping him alive.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 26 2018 19:50 utc | 56

Laguerre @48

Putin's mother was Jewish. The chief rabbi of Russia has stated that Putin is the most pro-Jewish Russian leader there ever was. Why is the truth anti-semite, good sir? It's a fact that Putin never ordered Russian SAM batteries to fire at Israeli planes attacking and killing Syrian and Russian personnel in Syria.
It's all explained in the link below.

Posted by: Lester | Feb 26 2018 20:25 utc | 57

WOW, OJS. That The Middle Ground article is thick with disinformation.

James Le Mesurier, former Colonel in British Special Forces, and founder of the Olive Group, a private contracting (mercenary) organization that is now merged with Blackwater-Academi into Constellis Holdings who was “born again” as a humanitarian in 2013, and created the White Helmets in Turkey in 2013 is quoted thusly:

“We believe the record of the White Helmets speaks for itself.”

I agree. Let’s peek at their record.

Posted by: Daniel | Feb 26 2018 20:49 utc | 58

This is interesting (if true). The Head of Syrian National Security was flown to Rome to meet with the minister of interior Marco Minniti and the head of intelligence in Italy. Allegedly, this was not the first coordination with Italy, and France offered to open channels as well. Italy told Syria that the sanctions against Syria will be eased and normalization will begin.

Posted by: Daniel | Feb 27 2018 3:20 utc | 59

The truth about Ghouta in the video here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 27 2018 4:12 utc | 60

Italy has an election coming up soon so there is uncertainty, but progressives may gain power.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 27 2018 5:56 utc | 61

@V.Arnold46; your mention of the CAD-3D modelling program is really intriguing. You've reminded me of when, back in the dark ages, I once spent over 8 years building a wooden, scale model of "HMS Victory". I can only wonder to what degree having such a program then might have served to help simplify the project.

Posted by: Pete | Feb 27 2018 11:20 utc | 62

Don Bacon says:

Italy has an election coming up soon so there is uncertainty, but progressives may gain power

probably the center-right(Forza Italia) will form a coalition with the far-right(Lega Nord) and whoever of the two with the most votes will choose the prime minister.

the only good news is that for basically the first time ever there will be a bona fide opposition in the form of the Movimento 5 Stelle(the progressives).

Posted by: john | Feb 27 2018 11:43 utc | 63

Don @61, do you believe Italy's elections are more legitimate than ours in the USA? I really don't know, but I do know CIA and "Operation Gladio" sure "meddled" in Italian elections from immediately post WW II until at least 1990ish when their Supreme Court uncovered it.

Posted by: Daniel | Feb 28 2018 0:23 utc | 64

daily usa press briefing from today.. something very unusual.. they referred to assad/syria as a government, as opposed to a regime.. i think heather nauert slipped up here!!!

"I will point out, though, that Russia supported the ceasefire. Russia is certainly not adhering to the ceasefire. They’re not adhering to the ceasefire because they continue to sponsor and back Bashar al-Assad’s government. That is tragic. As a result of that, we are seeing innocent civilians – and you’ve all seen the video. Many of you are parents; you have seen the children who are suffering and dying. You’ve seen the innocent people doing that. The world has come together. The world has said that this has to stop. I find it ironic when Russia calls for a humanitarian road, a humanitarian zone. You know what the humanitarian zone is? It’s the entirety of Syria, not just one little area that Russia cutely tries to carve out. It should be the entire country, because that is what Russia and those 15[i] other countries agreed to in the UN Security Council resolution. "

heather likes those white helmet videos obviously... i guess it makes sense given how much money the usa/uk and etc pay to fund the white helmets...

Posted by: james | Feb 28 2018 3:52 utc | 65

who cares about facts, when supposition and innuendo is all that is needed?

more from heather nauert today..

"MS NAUERT: Russia signed on to this. That’s first of all. Russia signed on to this as an entity that agreed to this UN Security Council resolution. Let me remind you also that Russia had agreed to help, years ago, Syria with getting rid of its chemical weapons. Russia has failed to do that. I want to point that out as well."

the whole release is good fun to read, if it wasn't such a blatant example of propaganda at work in the moment... as long as you wear your george orwell glasses while reading it - all will be fine..

Posted by: james | Feb 28 2018 3:59 utc | 66

that for bold text is not working for me properly.. can't figure it out!

Posted by: james | Feb 28 2018 4:00 utc | 67

East Ghouta: the Last Great Battle of the Syrian War?

Posted by: james | Feb 28 2018 18:17 utc | 68

Interesting observation and great catch on State’s use of “government” instead of “regime,” James. A couple days ago, Bashar Jaafari, Syria’s UN Representative called out the inappropriateness of “diplomats” using the term “regime” at the UN.

I noticed this morning that BBC wrote about the failed attempts by te Syrian government to open humanitarian corridors for people to escape East Ghouta:

“Women and children were reportedly forbidden by rebel groups from leaving for security reasons.”

Yeah, a “report” that BBC could have easily quoted or even embedded the video of the Army of Islam commander refusing to allow civilians to leave “for security reasons,” as well as demanding that men stay to join them in fighting the Syrian government.

Posted by: Daniel | Feb 28 2018 21:45 utc | 69

I forgot to note that BBC stuck that single admission in the penultimate sentence of an article that blamed Russia and Syria for everything bad in Ghouta and Syria generally.

Posted by: Daniel | Feb 28 2018 21:48 utc | 70

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