Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 16, 2018

Syria - The Rationale Behind The Delay Of Idleb's Liberation - Updated 2x

Updated (twice) below

Southfront has an excellent longread on the Turkish role in the war on Syria from its very beginning. The piece includes a list of the groups Turkey currently supports and gives an outlook on Turkey's plans:

Turkish Strategy In Northern Syria: Military Operations, Turkish-backed Groups And Idlib Issue.

The conclusion:

In the contemporary military and diplomatic reality surrounding the Syrian crisis, Ankara is pursuing the following tactical goals:
  • To eliminate or at least disarm and limit influence of US-backed Kurdish armed groups in northern Syria;
  • To strengthen a united pro-Turkish opposition Idlib and to eliminate any resistance to it, including in some scenarios the elimination of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its allies;
  • To facilitate return of refugees from Turkey to Syrian areas under its own control;
If these goals are achieved, Ankara will significantly increase its influence on the diplomatic settlement of the crisis and on the future of the post-war Syria. The returned refugees and supporters of militant groups in the Turkish-controlled part of Syria will become an electoral base of pro-Turkish political figures and parties in case of the implementation of the peaceful scenario. If no wide-scale diplomatic deal on the conflict is reached, one must consider the possibility of a pro-Turkish quasi-state in northern Syria, confirming the thesis that Erdogan is seeking to build a neo-Ottoman empire.

bigger (pdf)

Elijah J. Magnier confirms our take that the Syrian-Russian operation to liberate Idleb is on hold but not canceled:

What is clear so far is the certainty that President Assad is not ready to give up Idlib to President Erdogan. Assad is said to be ready to start the attack in a few weeks even alone, at the cost of dragging everybody behind him onto the battlefield.

The operation has to wait until the Congressional elections in the U.S. are over and the danger of a U.S. escalation for domestic policy reasons recedes. Russia also fears that an attack on Idelb right now could re-unite the U.S. and Turkey and lead to a new coordinated onslaught on Syria.

Thomas Seibert at The Arab Weekly points to an upcoming change in the balance that will lower this risk:

Moscow would wait until October or November before ordering an all-out attack because the Kremlin expects the crisis in Turkish-US relations to deepen even further by then.
“Comprehensive action will start at a time when Turkey desperately needs Russian support” and Ankara is unlikely to add a crisis with Russia to its difficulties with the United States, [Kerim Has, a Moscow-based analyst of Russian-Turkish relations,] said. US sanctions against the Iranian oil industry starting in November are one reason why tensions between Turkey and the United States could worsen soon. Turkey buys about half its crude oil imports from Iran and has said it will not abide by the new sanctions.

But Turkey still does not want to remove al-Qaeda from Syria. It wants to move the group around while keeping it under its own control. They are excellent shock troops which, if transferred to Jarabulus in Turkey's Euphrates Shield area, could potentially be used against the U.S. supported Kurds in the northeast of Syria:

Erdogan’s government is proposing to transfer extremist groups such as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an alliance led by al-Qaeda’s former Syrian affiliate, out of southern and western Idlib into the northern part of the province or to Afrin and Jarabulus, two Turkish-controlled areas in northern Syria.
News reports said Turkey would then deploy rebel forces of the Ankara-backed National Front for Liberation (NFL) to take up positions abandoned by HTS.

The chance for Turkey to achieve that is quite small. Just today HTS published a fatwa against showing the Turkish flag in Idleb. Other Jihadi groups in Idleb also issued statements against the "apostate Turkish army" and its presence in Idleb.

It is likely that the situation in Syria will now calm down for a while only to escalate again in two month when the operation to liberate Idelb will get its final go.

Update (Sep 17 - 16:30 utc):

President Erdogan of Turkey and President Putin of Russia met today in Sochi. The main discussion point was the Idleb operation.

Elijah Magnier provides a first insight of the results:

Elijah J. Magnier @ejmalrai - 16:21 utc - 17 Sep 2018

#Syria #Idlib postponed until 15 of #Decembre to start with, with a 15km buffer zone and an engagement of #Turkey to disarm Nusra ( or merge it) and neutralise all other jihadists.

#Moscow has accepted to give #Ankara more time (for after the US sanctions really) to sort out #Idlib and the jihadists in the city, defusing the #US intention to bomb #Syria.
So: no job for warmongers for the next couple of months. Find another war.

#turkey wants the #idlib case to be postponed until the constitutional changes and the peace process to kickoff in #Geneva: more time for Idlib and Turkey to sort out its affairs with Syrian proxies. [...]

More: #Turkey has the right to pursue any group in #Idlib and to bring further military forces in the city to stop Jihadists. #Damascus approves the Moscow-Ankara signed' agreement between the two defence Ministers (Russian and Turkish).

What is huge is: #Russia signed a military agreement with a #NATO member (#Turkey) in #Syria. NATO won't like it at all.

Turkey will get one month more than expected. The Turkish controlled Jihadis will attempt to kill the al-Qaeda aligned Jihadis and vice versa. The Turkish army will also pay a death toll. The al-Qaeda aligned groups, coming under Turkish attacks, will likely try to slip into Turkey to commit attacks there.

Update (Sep 17 18:00 utc)

More information:

  • Turkey will not be allowed to give air support to its proxy forces or to its own forces when they fight in Idleb.
  • An additional 'demilitarized area' with 15-25 kilometer depth will be created and patrolled by Turkish and Russian forces. This area will allow transports on the M5 highway. It is of high value for Syria and its economy.


Posted by b on September 16, 2018 at 15:05 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Launching revanchist adventures, and in different ways confronting both the US and Russia, when one's currency is about to collapse - what could go wrong!

Posted by: Russ | Sep 16 2018 15:38 utc | 1

I am far from convinced by this Mid-Term delay.
In fact anything may result of these very open elections, so who would bank on it or expect any real change in the neo-cons mind set or Israel ?

My Humble Opinion is that SAA will keep chipping bites of Idlib.
Russian will bomb any terrorist targets around.
Erdogan will have some face-saving enabling him to save some faithful supporters even if unfortunately they are rather located in the South West of Idlib.

But at the end HTS has to and will be destroyed.

Posted by: Charles Michael | Sep 16 2018 16:21 utc | 2

Putin smartly waited to move on Idlib until Turkey basically invaded Idlib with massive reinforcements, also doled out to its proxy forces. Then Putin got to publicly back down to both Turkey and the US, whilst Israel continued to make sport of bombing Syria, thus continuing to point out Putin's craven obeisance to Israel.

The man is such a puppet. But no one can deny that he likes to play complicated games, preferably ending in 'frozen conflicts'.

Putin also left plenty of time for the Idlib PR campaign to portray Assad as Ultimate Evil and the Idlib militants as brave freedom loving souls (who do away with anyone wanting to reconcile though - freedom has to have its limits).

If anyone is ultimate evil in this war, it is Erdogan.

Posted by: paul | Sep 16 2018 16:32 utc | 3

If Trump has a win with the coming US elections, Trump may lose interest in Idlib, but only because US war against Iran will be closer. Trump has a closing date for sanctions against both Iran and Russia set for the November elections.
I guess the outcome will depend on how long the sanctions are given to bite on the likes of Turkey and EU before war against Iran commences.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 16 2018 16:36 utc | 4

Everyone please ignore the possibility that 'Erdogan has turned east' narrative is false.

Erdogan hasn't 'turned east' if he's playing both sides.

Erdogan hasn't 'turned east' if he's still on the 'Assad must go! team.

Erdogan hasn't 'turned east' while he still in NATO.
Note: Turkey got a free-trade deal with EU only after he joined NATO. And EU is Turkeys biggest trading partner.

Oh, and while your at it, please ignore the benefits that Erdo and USA got from the 2016 apparent coup attempt.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 16 2018 16:39 utc | 5

b should have noted that Erdogan and Putin are meeting tomorrow in Sochi.

We'll know more after that meeting.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 16 2018 16:42 utc | 6

I agree with b that the operation to liberate Idlib is on hold.

But I disagree with the timing. It could be a long wait.

Turkey and USA have mutual interest in keeping Idlib in Turkish hands.

I wouldn't hold my breath wrt a deepening crisis in USA-Turkish relations. In fact, the current crisis seems rather fake. Tens (potentially hundreds) of millions of dollars potentially lost because Erdogan won't let a priest go free?!?!? Not likely.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 16 2018 16:48 utc | 7

I think it's Russia's fear of a US/NATO attack. After all, why all the bluster/publicity before the alleged gas attack if not as a very public warning to Russia not to go ahead with the attack on Idlib? Should the Russians and the Syrians call the USNATO bluff? Idlib is no Cuito Carnevale.

Posted by: barovsky | Sep 16 2018 17:17 utc | 8

Erdogan is only on one team: Team Erdogan. He will happily betray Russia, the US, or anyone else for his own game. The only thing that holds him back is fear of losing power and money, as the Russian economic backlash after he had a Russian jet shot down.

Putin will continue to try to mitigate the danger of Erdogan by pulling his teeth and reducing his terrorist support until the point is reached when Erdogan has no options to keep his Ottoman dreams alive any longer and the defeat of terrorists in Idleb is a fait accompli.

Posted by: worldblee | Sep 16 2018 17:22 utc | 9

The Duran today publishes an interesting piece on China's growing interest ion the war. Taking an Asia Times (anyone else having problems with their website?) story as the basis it rehearses the history if CIA interventions in Central Asia, including the open US sponsorship of the World Uighur Federation, or some such front.
The question that always occurs to me is when are Russia and China going to return the compliment and start sponsoring separatist and nationalist movements in the US Empire. The Good Old Comintern was very good at this, when nobody else cared the Communists were organising and advising Alabama sharecroppers, Arkansas farmers and Longshoremen trying to wrest their Unions from the Mafia.
The effectiveness of interference in US politics can be gathered from the panic that a few clickbait Facebook ads have produced in the US political caste-much of the outrage there is fake. But not all. They realise how brittle and fragile the hold over the population is and how easy it would be to stir up the 99%- albeit 5% at a time- against a corrupt oligarchy presiding over the biggest re-distribution of wealth, from the bottom up, in centuries.
If China and Russia together cannot bring Erdogan to see reason, nobody can.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 16 2018 17:35 utc | 10

The one who's running the show here is Putin, I think you'll. He's done it before in Syria - sometimes you run faster, sometimes you run slower. The only real question is why, what is the reasoning behind it. Yeah, probably to lower the chance of American attack in some way.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 16 2018 17:41 utc | 11

According to Hal Turner Radio the Russians are active outside the Al Tanf base

Posted by: Don Task | Sep 16 2018 17:58 utc | 12

Syria cannot allow the continual threat of western backed vermin to stay in Idlib. Iran must get the US out of eastern Syria and will help Assad to accomplish that. Russia cannot retreat - it know what that will encourage. So the lines are drawn. A much bigger battle is coming.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Sep 16 2018 18:14 utc | 13

thanks b... that article from southfront is indeed very good.. here's one quote i pulled from it - " While sabotaging the fight against terrorists, Ankara is strenuously pretending it is forming the “moderate opposition”. In the short term the odds of the pro-Turkey “moderate opposition” defeating terrorism in Idlib with Ankara’s help are minimal. The Turkish stance toward a possible military operation against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its allies in Idlib by the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance is proof of it, if additional proof were needed."

on the one hand you have turkey under erdogan wanting to control idlib and get rid of the idea of kurdistan.. on the other hand there is the usa-israel wanting to create kurdistan... the kurds are a tool for the usa, and the headchoppers are a tool for turkey.. on this level, turkey and the usisraels objectives can't work.. also, turkey and russia-iran-syrias agenda can't work.. so, ultimately turkey is in a no win situation where something has to give.. putin is waiting until after the november elections, but is just prolonging the inevitable, which i am sure he sees..

the is an outside chance turkey wakes up to the realization that the usa and turkeys interests are too divergent for them to ever be on the same page.. i'm sure erdogan knows this, but is hoping to hold off the day of reckoning.. i don't think he can.. this is where i think putin is right to hold off a major assualt on idlib.. give erdogan more time, while some of his support in idlib gets worn down more.. i can't imagine the spirit of those forces in idlib wanting to see assad gone, or having turkey as protectorate being all that positive... they can see the conflict very starkly and must wish the war hadn't happened, or was over with them not in idlib..

so www3 gets pushed a bit back towards 2019 for the time being... nothing has really changed as no one is really backing down.. i think russia is taking a more nuetral position at present, but i don't believe this ought to be understood as backing down from anything.. i think time is working against turkey, and the idea of a kurdistan as well.. the jig about using isis as a battering ram has lost it's effectiveness and the idea of iraq playing along with usa objectives is also looking very shaky at this point.. time is on russia's side as i see it..

Posted by: james | Sep 16 2018 18:57 utc | 14

@3 paul

I'm impressed that they haven't erased your truthful post yet. Indeed, Putin is an Anglo-Zionist tool, a traitor to all Christians and all civilized peoples everywhere. Putin openly collaborates with the Jews and the Americans by enabling them to bomb and murder the Syrians and their allies with impunity.

How many times did Putin say he was going to destroy the Americans and the Jews who cowardly murder Syrians?

Right, Putin is a Jew.

Posted by: USA=ISIS | Sep 16 2018 19:10 utc | 15

Could be there waiting for the hysterical humanitarian concerns to die down in the NYT, CNN, Fox..etc. The MSM went absolutely high wire trying to quickly drum up support for some sort of strike or greater war on Syria as they panicked before the incoming assault on Idleb. In a lot of ways they may have confused their audience with too may narratives in a short time about issues they know nothing about. First it was non stop "chemical weapons" from Haley and every news channel, than it was a rash of "poor Jihadis they're just waiting to die" videos and articles, now it's switched to "we have to stop Iranian influence". With no news of a massive assault and resulting carnage to follow that barrage of heart string tugging the US populous will loose interest and the next MSM scandal about Trump's corruption may take over very soon at the water cooler. Meanwhile a slow and steady bombing of key defense positions continues, while civilians try and move out of the way and perhaps greater fissures develop in the alliances between Jihadi groups. The arrests of heads of minor rebel group's leaders to prevent any surrenders or deals as well as HTS becoming increasingly belligerent towards Turkey and its proxies could escalate as widespread panic sets in and perhaps weaken morale from within. Perhaps there is even some push back from the civilian populous as they know the Jihadis can't win or protect them anymore. Intelligence from within Idleb may provide opportunities for airstrikes to take out gatherings of strong forces or the assassination of Jihadi commanders. Overall I think Putin knows he's not dealing with Trump who is on auto-pilot now, he's dealing with psychopaths with no conscience what so ever like Bolton who would probably welcome exchanging missiles with Russia or kicking off the greater war on Iran over this. As they say it's no "skin off their backs", indeed it's a chance for these old men's life long fantasies to play out while they're still in the control room.

Posted by: CC | Sep 16 2018 19:49 utc | 16

Emir of Qatar presents Erdoğan with jet valued at $400 million

US ally and Muslim Brotherhood sponsor Qatar donates luxurious plane to NATO Turkey as Islamist Erdogan grabs Idlib.

Qatar previously provided funding for 'Assad must go! efforts. Now they reward Erdogan while Saudis provide funding to US-backed Kurds.

Nothing to see here.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 16 2018 20:26 utc | 18


Please delete comment @17.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 16 2018 20:27 utc | 19

If you just let the terrorists sit there, they will grow idle and kill each other. Turkey will spend money supporting them, a drain. Russia will keep bombing them from the air, thus they weaken. Assad continues to surround them and before you know it Idlib is back in Damascus hands. One more thing I think the time is approaching for Putin to seek an "heir". All my sources tell me he is going stale, like Mickey asked Rocky in the first movie; "Hey Kid, ya ever thought about retiring? UHH Noooo Mickey......"Well ya oughta think about it".

Posted by: Fernando Arauxo | Sep 16 2018 20:50 utc | 20

Another image from Idlib parades that's anti-Turkish/Erdogan. Lots of chatter on Twitter about Netherlands revelations leading to ever more pressure denouncing White Helmet terrorists. As I posted yesterday, WHs are being resettled in UK; those realizing that's happening are outraged. Zionist Facebook Command Center video segment which may differ from the one I posted yesterday.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 16 2018 21:42 utc | 21

ElectronicIntifada article has links to previous segments of the The Lobby--USA the censored movie made by Al-Jazeera focusing on what's called The Israel Project.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 16 2018 21:48 utc | 22

karlof1, thanks for the link.

I've put this about before, but since Idlib is off, there's chatter on Twitter that the US is about to nuke itself and blame it on Russia.

Those of us who understand what happened in Kiev see that Russia has waited too long and the neocons running things will bomb major US cities until Russia is forced to sue for peace.

Posted by: Fec | Sep 16 2018 21:58 utc | 23

Sorry, I'm in NC and it's been a long weekend. Think I'll shoot some holes in the freezer.

Posted by: Fec | Sep 16 2018 22:03 utc | 24

Hey Fec, it's not that bad.

One poster on another thread said that any real governor of any real state would not even have paid that piddly storm any attention at all.

I think his point was that you guys will do anything to distract from the fact that the US got itself into such a mess. Or maybe it was because they were fixin' to try and block that all-important footage of people acting peaceful in Idlib It wasn't terribly clear.

But it was pretty down on you good ol' boys from NC. I've spent a lot of time there. Caldwell County specifically. Keep your chin up and put a few rounds in that freezer for me.

Posted by: peter | Sep 16 2018 23:19 utc | 25

In view of the recent MSM hysteria focusing on the looming massacres in Edlib, Russia did well to stop. Having hammered that it would be the "worst refugees disaster in recent time' the MSM are now embarassed by the stop that seem to last. Interest will die off. When they will talk again, no one will pay attention.
Ideally the attack should happen when the Americans are busy watching and discussing the election.
As far as Erdogan, his main goal is not to topple Bashar al Assad, it is to crush the Kurds and neutralize them. He is on a collision course with the USA and Israel who are supporting the Kurds independence to annoy Syria and Iran. As Europe is also more on the Kurds side, Erdogan is isolated. He is trying to enlist Al Qaeda and the FSA to do the fight against the Kurds but this is not working.
Erdogan's best and only chance of taming the Kurds is to ask Bashar Al Assad for help. That may cost him his job and his life. Therefore is on a loose-loose path,a and Russia is watching him drowning...

Posted by: Virgile | Sep 16 2018 23:25 utc | 26

@ Virgile with the Erdogan summary...well stated, thanks

Erdogan does seem the keystone player in this current ME circus. That said, if Russia is bombing around Al Tanf as Don Task link to above then the screws are still being put to the contents of Idlebs but along a different strategy....the point being that I don't think for a moment that the battle has stopped/paused or such. What the optics are to the public may be one thing but I expect that Syria and Russia are fully engaged in pursuing their goals....on the ground.

Erdogan is losing his time frame for maneuverability and will need to play his hand completely soon, IMO. I think momentum has much happening before US midterm elections, 7 weeks away.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 17 2018 0:00 utc | 27


No news of Russian bombing around al Tanf by the Syrian and Lebanese journalists so that one is very doubtful. Most of the fighting though does seem to be occurring in the southern desert areas rather than the Idlib front. Syrian forces cleared all that area before the southern offensive, but I'm guessing ISIS just headed back to the US base before moving back into the desert. These may well have intended for a a ground attack from the south in conjunction with US strikes on SAA when they where tied up in the Idlib battle.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 17 2018 0:50 utc | 28

I suspected that this might happen, after all the chest thumping by the US and UK, about attacking Syria again just in case there was any supposed chemical attack.

This has been a long war, Russia has been in it now for nearly 3 years, and I don't see how a mere 6 week or so hiatus in the plans to retake Idlib province makes that much of a difference.

Russia is always in things with the long view in mind, and avoiding a big US attack now is a must. Putin (and Lavrov) is a master at diplomacy, patience and long-range planning; and the russian military knows exactly what it's doing in syria, anyone have any doubts of that...

better to wait the 6 weeks or so and take out the terrorists in other parts of the country, meanwhile, than blow up the whole plan by being premature in attacking right now and playing into the hands of the western imperial powers.

Posted by: michaelj72 | Sep 17 2018 0:51 utc | 29

One could also say, in different words, that Russia has been successfully intimidated now that Nikki Haley has withheld jewish permission for the Idlib operation. Thanks to the show of force by the US Navy, Erdogan's neo-Ottoman ambitions have been indulged and emboldened. The message heard in Washington can only be "what we're doing now is working, full sails ahead". There's always some election in the US, if the Kremlin thinks "our partners will calm down afterwards" then my take is that for the n-th time, they're completely misreading the country. How long has Russia been waiting for their partners to calm down--since the Maidan? Since the Georgia war? Likewise for Turkey: they see that Russia can be pushed around, and their reaction will be--to compromise with it? Terrible precedents are being established all around.

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Sep 17 2018 2:05 utc | 30


For me, "time is on Russia's side" has become a cliche, a mantra to be recited regardless of the evidence. The Idlib jihadists aren't being worn down at this moment, they're getting reinforced with weapons, Turkish troops, and propaganda. Just as important, Russia is losing its way in the war of ideas, making an artificial distinction between pro-Saudi and pro-Turkish islamists for its own venal objectives, in a way that doesn't benefit Syria. Let's not forget, this spring the loyalists were already making very good headway in the North, pushing on after taking Al-Duhur, before they were distracted by trouble in the South. Half a year later, Russia has now very publicly conditioned the liberation of that same North on American permission; do you think that permission will come cheap, if you ever get it in the first place?

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Sep 17 2018 3:04 utc | 31

@30 ma laoshi... i hear what you are saying.. do you think russias entry into this quagmire circa 2015 has made any difference? i think it has... i don't believe russia is that short sighted to think it can resolve everything as quickly as others may think.. however, i do believe this about those who criticize russia without keeping in mind what russia has done in the time it has entered into the fray.. in many ways - but not all - the usa, ksa, israel and turkey have not had their desires met.. i am not saying they are not going to stop pursuing them, or that they lack honour, only that to expect russia to stop them from continuing with their malevolent is a very big task to ask anyone! and yes, i do believe time is on russias side.. i am sorry you only view it now as a cliche and nothing more.. cheers james

Posted by: james | Sep 17 2018 3:17 utc | 32

actually they do lack honour - sorry for the automatic typing on my part! i learned typing in school and am a kind of ideas onto the fingers without much editing kind of person!

Posted by: james | Sep 17 2018 3:19 utc | 33

@25 Virgile - "..Russia is watching him [Erdogan] drowning."

I agree with your take on it. I don't think Russia will actually let him drown, but they find it useful for him to get the water treatment of his own making at times, to sober him to the realities.

It's clear, as you say, that Turkey is in a lose-lose struggle between east and west, but in my view Erdogan has finessed this double-bind quite well. He remains at all the tables that he ever was at. Erdogan has to deliver Turkey to some kind of future destiny. What's happening now, as you have pointed out previously, makes Erdogan stronger in his country, and more able to direct its course.

I don't see that anything has really changed here. Erdogan is just as constrained by geopolitics as he was. Syria will get all of its land back. Turkey will have a strong natural influence in the borderlands, but nothing more than influence.

Europe will turn to Russia, and China will come to Turkey. Lots of middleman opportunities, and it pays better than stolen oil from Syria. Turkey must remain poised between east and west. But it will have to give up taking sides, and renounce terrorism, and ultimately imperialism. If it wants to have partners, it will have to be trustworthy.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 17 2018 3:39 utc | 34

The following are the final lines in a report from ChinaNet about Syria
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are expected to negotiate over Idlib on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly that will open on Tuesday.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 17 2018 4:43 utc | 35

There is a “meanwhile, back at the farm.....” scenario brewing here and that could explain the pause in Syria by Russians. They have a bigger fish to fry.

Combine this with the biggest Russian military drill at the borders with 300,000 troops, it could be a signal to readiness for war at home. Putin is running out of options to a peaceful resolution of events perpetrated by the new-nazis in Ukraine backed by US neo-cons, and that could be the reason for Lavrov-Pompeo meeting in UN mentioned by @34, not Syria.

I am confused by Erdogan’s course of actions and perhaps it is by design. There is no doubt that the most vital interest he has is the Kurdish issue and that’s why he got into this war in the first place. Also, there is no doubt that he has been betrayed by the west, first the EU refusals ro admit them into the Union and then the coup.

He has pivoted to east, by going ahead with purchase of S-400’s despite NATO’s red line, plus not caring much about losing the F35s, seemingly. Either way, he is stuck between the rock and a hard place. That explains him playing both sides of the fence. By prolonging this confusion, he can reinforce his power.

But it seems to me there is a larger play at handand perhaps this Syria thing is a red herring.

Posted by: Alpi | Sep 17 2018 6:34 utc | 36


Both world wars started by a trigger from Europe (Eastern Block countries) and I don’t think the next one will be any different. History has repeated itself time and again.

Posted by: Alpi | Sep 17 2018 6:55 utc | 37

Sorry for the multiple posts, late night and rushing thoughts.......

Think about it. It sure would be a good way to get the Russians out of the Middle East by bugging them down somewhere else, i.e. vs. Ukraine and NATO. Who could come up with this? Only the Neo-Cons.

Maybe Lavrov has a don’t-play-with-fire message for Pompeo? I don’t know. Food for thought.

Posted by: Alpi | Sep 17 2018 7:06 utc | 38

What we see in the middle-term is the formation of two of the largest cauldrons in world history - one is Afghanistan, the other is Syrian Kurdistan/Rojava. They are both surrounded by hostile countries and there will be a point when they become untenable to support/reinforce/supply. I think this is the Russian strategy - unite the countries surrounding both cauldrons in order to have the besieged foreign power withdraw (gracefully or disgracefully won't matter I guess). In this endeavor, Turkey's role will be crucial. Kurdistan is really a life-threatening proposition to the Turks as its heartland has always been considered 1/3 to 1/2 of present Turkish territory. So, I think this is the middle-term strategy at play here. Turkey must play on the right side and prevent Kurdistan from happening.

For the moment Idlib is just a holding bag of terrorists and anti-Syrian elements. Perhaps there will be some cutting of corners for the improvement of the tactical situation around Alepo, Hama and Hmeimim (which continues to be attacked by drones launched from Idlib), but a good part of the province may be left to the Turks who will have to feed a lot of mouths on their ever-shrinking account. And the movement, supply and stationing of many thousands of Turkish troops on foreign soil is sure to be VEEERY expensive, do not have a doubt about that. And for what benefit? The return of Ottoman glory? That is so funny - Idlib is a liability for the Turks, there is no oil there. Surrounded on three sides by the SAA, that sure is an operational and logistical nightmare in case of any outbreak of hostilities. And there will be no Turkish planes flying 50 kms. from the Russian base, be sure about that.


Posted by: BG | Sep 17 2018 11:37 utc | 39

There isn't much restraining Trump from bombing Syria. He views bombing other countries as part of his role as US President and also an opportunity to bomb bigger and better than Obama did.

That said, whether before during or after the midterm elections isn't a calculation for the Donald. Bombing Syria has close to zero support among Demotardic USians, less than half among independents and near total support among Republikkkans.

Republicans continue to voice higher levels of approval for strikes: Similar to last year, eight in 10 Republicans say they approve of the most recent strikes on Syria, compared with less than half as many Democrats (36%) and 45% of independents. The 2017 missile strikes were supported by 82% of Republicans, 33% of Democrats and 44% of independents.

As it goes, the Demotards are going to win control of the House in November and maybe the Senate too. Trump will subsequently become extremely bogged down in his personal issues for the remainder of his term. A bombing or two might be a welcome distraction for him and his failing base at that point but but a building political liability with independent voters and Demotards. The growing negatives of the Donald will negatively reflect on his policy choices too.

Putin is delaying not in reaction to the US at all in my opinion. More likely, he already has Trump's word on this from the secret Helsinki talks. As stated elsewhere, Trump and the US have very little to nothing at stake in Idleb province one way or other.

And bombing Syria before or after the midterms is not a winning look for Trump and his besieged congressional majorities. The hidden hand of the US in this instance are the Kurds and they are whittling away the terrorists whom the US also supports (according to so many anyway, LOL).

His campaign, er I mean administration can play act at being diplomats but the main game does seem to be Erdogan, Putin and the Kurds. Sometimes what you see is what it is. I recognize this is impossible for many to fathom.

It is also possible that some of the millions in the province are not terrorists and many of these of will die or become displaced at the hands of Assad and Putin in the event of territorial liberation. The "innocents" who remain will not simply evaporate. Neither will the terrorists.

If Putin is playing the long game here it is on how long his military will need to remain in Syria after this final territorial "liberation".

Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 17 2018 12:23 utc | 40

New piece by John Helmer on Idlib:

Memo From Henry Kissinger to Vladimir Putin on Idlib - A Reminder of How the Turks and Americans Do Things Together

Posted by: John Gilberts | Sep 17 2018 14:54 utc | 41

'The leaders of Turkey and Russia have agreed to create a demilitarized buffer zone in the Syrian province of Idlib to separate government and rebel forces.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the zone would be 15km to 25km wide and come into force by 15 October.

All heavy weapons would have to be withdrawn by the warring parties, and "radically-minded" rebels and jihadists would have to pull out, he added.'

Posted by: dh | Sep 17 2018 16:51 utc | 42

here is the same story from rt as dh @42 shared..

it is an interesting development - demilitarized zone.. here is the tricky part - "“The territory controlled by the Syrian opposition must be demilitarized and the Syrian opposition that is holding these territories will remain there. But together with Russia we will make efforts to clear these territories of radical elements,” Erdogan said."

my problem with this is erdogan has not done any clearing of these territories of radical elements... he has tried to convert them into some type of '''moderate''' opposition, but putting lipstick on a pig might fool a few folks, it doesn't really fool most.. hoping that these Jabhat Al-Nusra freaks are going to go along with some form of democractic rule, when they are hoping for a caliphate, stoning people back into the dark ages with their wahabbi/salafism, is asking for a lot! now, maybe some of them will be willing to put on the lipstick, but i can't see it..

Posted by: james | Sep 17 2018 17:16 utc | 43

@43 I see zanon already had his anti-Russian chuckle on the Week in Review thread.

I think Erdogan has several concerns. Ottoman revivalism, Turkman solidarity and a possible influx of wahabbis. Also, as Jackrabbit points out, it comes down to a definition of radical.

Posted by: dh | Sep 17 2018 17:24 utc | 44

@44 dh... radical = moderate, if you can get them to put lipstick on, lol..

Posted by: james | Sep 17 2018 17:44 utc | 45

@all - updated the piece

Erdogan and Putin (and Damascus) agreed on a delay. Turkey will have up to December 15 to "clean up" the Jihadis in Idleb. There is also this which I fail yet to understand:

Furthermore, Putin stated that the demilitarized zone area will be between 15-20 kilometers deep.

Putin said that once this demilitarized zone is created, Turkey and Russia will restore the transit routes between the Aleppo, Idlib, and Latakia provinces.

Posted by: b | Sep 17 2018 17:47 utc | 46

I've placed my comments into the open thread, but I'll repost my last here.

Really can't argue with these two tweets by Within Syria.

Just as Obama's and Clinton's bloodlust was put on hold by Putin in 2013, the Neocon Establishment will need to be content harvesting Yemini blood for the time being. There are still several thousand Daesh terrorists within Syria to defeat as well as securing the Kurdish region. The demands made of the Idlib terrorists must be met or they will be assaulted. Idlib Dawn is put on hold, although small operations in Idlib and surround will continue.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 17 2018 17:53 utc | 47

As I said in 47, confirmed here:

"Syrian military source says nothing changes with this agreement. They are still planning to launch their Latakia, northern Hama, and Al-Ghaab offensives."

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 17 2018 18:01 utc | 48

I posted a link to one of Magnier's Twitter threads onto the open thread. Here's another. It's difficult to disagree with his assessment, particularly these words to detractors:

"Why on Earth do you want the war to continue if there is room for diplomacy?

"Do you think liberating #Idlib is a promenade? Thousands will be killed on both sides.

"Give it a break and let #Turkey have its chance with its own jihadists."

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 17 2018 18:23 utc | 49

@46 We have to wait and see where the demilitarized zone will be. I'm guessing it will be roughly north of the Aleppo-Arihah road. So the terrorists/rebels are being compressed further. Not sure about Idlib city.

It also means the the SAA will have free rein to root out any of the remaining 'radically inclined'.

Posted by: dh | Sep 17 2018 18:28 utc | 50

This is Putin bending to the reality of a Turkish occupation of Idlib. Erdogan could take that bold step because USA threatened to take action if SAA tried to retake Idlib.

Only 10 days ago, Russia, Iran, and Syria fully expected Turkish support for a military operation against Idlib.

That the talks took so long and no questions were taken is a sign of deep division.

Putin was played. But he now knows that he was played. That's some degree of progress.

<> <> <> <> <>

Will Erdogan really clean up Idlib? The talk about trade seemed ominous: Putin is in no mood for any more negative surprises from Erdogan.

So Erdo has a choice to make: If he wants to keep Idlib he will move closer to the USA by not buying oil from Iran after the US deadline.

The question that will haunt some here is this: is Erdogan playing both sides or has he always had a preference for the Islamist/Assad must go!/Jihadi side? (I think the latter, but few want their "Erdogan has turned east!" hope dashed)

Lastly, how will India score this? Will they continue to buy Iranian oil? IMO, too close to call.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 17 2018 18:29 utc | 51

An interesting article from John Helmer:

In 1974, Kissinger convinced Ford, the then US president, to allow Turkey to invade Cyprus and take over part of the island, and also gove cover for any UN objections. Has the US done the same with Turkey and Idlib? A cunning plan to split Turkey from the Syria/Iran/Russia side?

The disappointing delay wrt Idlib has at least temporarily scuppered the elaborate USUK plan for a CW attack. Then there is the complication of a time-consuming repositioning SAA ground forces for attacks. The only consolation is the body language of Putin vs Erdogan. Erdogan has been given his wish an now has to follow through. He's gonna be f*cked if the Russians pull out of the S-400 deal.

Posted by: Yonatan | Sep 17 2018 18:35 utc | 52

Devil's in the details: how will the demilitarized zone actually work?

>> Is it only on the Idlib side or both sides?

>> Will all of it be patrolled by Russians and Turks or will Turks patrol the Idlib side and Russians the non-Idlib side?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 17 2018 19:07 utc | 53

I've yet to see the document agreed upon by Erdogan and Putin published anywhere. This TASS report's the most complete I've come across so far. Besides disarming and withdraw of terrorists, freeing up transportation arterials was also an aim:

"He [Putin] also said that the sides agreed to 'resume transit traffic along the Aleppo-Latakia and Aleppo-Hama highways by the end of 2018, also at the initiative of the Turkish side.'"

I don't think anybody "played" anyone. Liberating the desert regions from Daesh has proven far tougher than anticipated with high SAA casualties. Plus it looks like the al-Tanf situation will soon be resolved positively for Syria so it can regain total control over its Southern border. Both Iraq and Turkey are mired in crises, with Daesh taking advantage of the situation in Iraq. So, there's quite a lot of reconsolidation and regrouping that must occur in numerous areas before the final drive to obliterate the Outlaw US Empire's terrorists can begin.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 17 2018 19:14 utc | 54

@46 b - "...which I fail yet to understand"

A surface glance gives the feel of a deal between equals, with two roughly equivalent elements coming out of it. Erdogan gets more time to finesse the several relationships he needs to shore up, and the axis has the beginning of a killing zone for terrorists. I don't know which of these two bargains holds more weight in absolute terms - if they can even be looked at that way - but presumably it suits both sides.

As we have seen with the de-escalation zones, the Russian police move in, order returns to an area, and anyone being bad is killed.

I don't have a grasp of the geography, but transit routes seem very important as outcomes in this war, and I am assuming without looking at a map that this demilitarized zone is shaped to open this particular route. Russia gave Turkey more time, and persuaded Syria, in return for improved logistics.


Many thanks for the comments that quote the tweets from the region telling war addicts out here to give it a rest, and be glad that less good people will now die in this new configuration, while a few more bad people will be eliminated from the ultimate battle.

With every delay more terrorists and less innocents get killed. Not a bad equation.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 17 2018 19:17 utc | 55

Apparently, the terrorists (or perhaps Zionists) didn't like the deal and have responded with a massive drone assault on Lattakia and Tartus, also over Homs and Hama regions from several Twitter reports. Strange how none are directed at Turkey or its installations within Syria.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 17 2018 19:31 utc | 56

Agree. The battle not fought wins. It's like in chess where the position is finely balanced

and hanging in there is a strategy inasmuch as it gives the other side a chance to blunder.

Posted by: Guerrero | Sep 17 2018 19:33 utc | 57

Jihadmin at shows the buffer zone as extending both ways from the current frontline of Idlib (that is, the buffer zone includes 7-8km of occupied territory and 7-8km of government controlled territory. Wishful thinking?

The buffer zone extending from the current front line inwards only by 15-20km makes much more sense because it frees up the M5 which is a major objective of the Syrian government (as well as being beneficial for Jordan and Turkey).

This agreement sounds like a clever deal: the M5 is cleared for trade; the jihadis lose quite a bit of territory; the jihadis keep killing each other; without any Syrian troops lost; Syria still retains the option to restart the offensive in December; Erdogan gets a domestic political win by showing he's not letting his jihadis down; it defuses the USA excuse to bomb Syria.
I think I admire those who negotiated this deal :-)

Posted by: Deltaeus | Sep 17 2018 19:34 utc | 58

Attack came from Mediterranean, not East from Idlib, according to Syrian MoD. Attack was more intense and longer lasting than usual. Likely a Zionist attack since it appears the Technical Industries Area was the primary target.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 17 2018 19:53 utc | 59

It is worth remembering tat Russia maintains a number of ethnic Russian enclaves around its borders without actually annexing the territory. The frozen wars. The breakup of the soviet union and the carve up of the middle east occurred at different times and different circumstances but both also carved up peoples leaving a huge opportunity for the anglo game of divide and conquer. There is very little to no fighting on the Jarabulus SAA frontlines and this is most likely what Russia is trying to achieve in Idlib.
To retake Idlib and ensure no ongoing insurgency all the families of the Syrian fighters that have been bussed to Idlib plus the families of idlib jihadists would have to be driven out or killed.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 17 2018 20:21 utc | 60

I am the only one here thinking that MoA has been victim of a PsyOp today?

Posted by: Mina | Sep 17 2018 20:30 utc | 61

According to the French gov 6 pm news, the Israelis released a picture of the presidential palace in Damascus. Even their newspapers called it a 'tacit threat'

Mafia manners all the way... down.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 17 2018 20:32 utc | 62

One of the things that occurs to me about the (current) outcome of the talks between Putin and Erdogan is just how much more the US would have gained if it had taken part in such talks. So without going over the reasons for the US not taking part I would just summarise the mooted reasons as being unduly concerned about status and therefore not convincing (or the real) reasons.

Now we have what appears to be a large missile attack from Israel (it is hard to believe that this is done without US support).

So I would conclude that what the US wanted was conflict (i.e. between Syria/Russia and rebels/Turkey) which would lead on to a wider conflict or (perhaps more likely) be prolonged and enervating. It seems that the US and Israel are not pleased with the outcome of the talks between Russia and Turkey. It also strikes me that Putin is not prepared to risk a military conflict with Turkey because that would be the greater trap (the true being 'played' scenario). That is, that Russia is not prepared to fully commit/engage unless the US does so.

[An aside (with a message): I once saw a demonstration given by French experts in ancient weapons (Vikings/Normands). What was really interesting was that all the weapon (swords/axes) fights actually involved the combatants circling around eachother making dummy moves and then one would actually be forced to commit (forced to try and strike blow) but that was the end of him because it was always the next blow (the counter strike) that won the fight.]

This article on FRN ( makes a number of interesting points and raises the possibility that it was the US that was 'played'.

p.s. Just using the 'played' thing to rib Jackrabbit a little bit! :)

Posted by: ADKC | Sep 17 2018 20:40 utc | 63

ADKC @63--

Interesting aspect within your comment:

"So I would conclude that what the US wanted was conflict (i.e. between Syria/Russia and rebels/Turkey) which would lead on to a wider conflict or (perhaps more likely) be prolonged and enervating."

That seems to be along lines similar to those remarked upon by Rostislav Ishchenko in this article published the 14th: Russian Order vs. Western Chaos. After introducing several recent events, the author lays out the following thesis for his essay:

"Externally these events can seem like they have nothing in common with each other. In reality, they are links of the same chain. Each of them is an attempt to destroy the existing world order – some in the sphere of the international justice, some in the church’s relationship in the orthodox world, some in the sphere of the relations of national states and the bureaucratic structures of the EU. And here it is not about reformatting certain structures or obtaining advantages by some state, but precisely about destroying the entire global legal system regulating political, economic, financial, sports, cultural, and other relations. So, for example, the “Olympic doping scandal” concerning Russian athletes was not so much an attempt to steal the victories of the Russian national team, defame Russian sport, and humiliate Russia (it was desired to make it seem like this in order to force Moscow to make inadequate reciprocal actions) as it was an attempt to destroy the world Olympic Movement, but in such a way that Russia is to blame for it."

Escobar as far as I know has never explained why the Empire of Chaos wants to create said chaos. Here we have an attempt at a deeper explanation I believe has merit.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 17 2018 21:32 utc | 64

re mina 62. There've been Russian troops protecting the presidential palace since February. Even if it weren't the case, do you really think that Asad would pass more than one night in one place, for fear of a decapitation strike?

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 17 2018 21:40 utc | 65


Being "played" isn't necessarily bad.

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 17 2018 22:31 utc | 66

I am surprised no-one mentioned the absence of Iran in this Idlib operation decision-making. Russia and Turkey now deciding the future of Syria without Iran?

The decision in itself was a huge disaster for Syria of enormous proportions.

Do people actually believe that a Russia that doesn't dare to bomb Turkey out of Syria, will dare to touch the US in the Kurdish controlled areas ?


What has Syria gained from all this? Nothing at all. It lost even more bargaining power in future peace talks. With Turkey now controlling huge parts of the country it has to make concessions to two occupying powers, instead of one.

Posted by: redrooster | Sep 17 2018 22:56 utc | 67

karlof1 @64

This idea of destroying world order and replacing it with chaos feels like it is close to the truth about what is happening. But it is exceptionally naive, the stuff dreamt up by immature teenage mentalities.

The current world (order) system benefits the west tremendously. A world of chaos will see the west (US included) swept away. People in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, etc. won't be much affected. Others, Russians, numerous Latin American, middle eastern, and South East Asian countries have been through similar (prepping) experiences, sometimes more than once, and come through.

It is the west that won't be able to cope in a world of chaos. In such a world the ability to collaborate and cooperate with others will be of great importance. The west with it's focus on the individual will be unable to fit in.

Posted by: ADKC | Sep 17 2018 23:00 utc | 68

redrooster @67

A conflict with Turkey would have been a great mistake at this time. Turkey may (or may not) have territorial ambitions but this agreement still ties them to a process that doesn't envisage Turkey remaining in Idlib in the longer term.

No one ever believed that Russia would bomb US in the US controlled areas in North East Syria. They did believe that Russia would respond if directly attacked by the US. The aim is to make the US occupation untenable and/or irrelevant (and this will be long-term as well).

There seemed to be a lot of staging by the west around Idlib. Isn't one of the lessons of great battles not to fight on the ground of your enemies (west/US) choosing. And winning wars is not about big attacks and winning battles; it's about reserves, resources and position (expend your resources on one big battle and you may not have anything to fight the next even bigger battle).

“Grand strategy is the art of looking beyond the present battle and calculating ahead. It requires that you focus on your ultimate goal and plot to reach it.”

— Robert Greene, The 33 Strategies of War

Posted by: ADKC | Sep 17 2018 23:28 utc | 69

ADKC @69

Completely delusional.

In Sotchi Erdogan practically forced upon Russia/Syria the following demand : Remove the YPG forces from east Syria or I will stay in the occupied territories indefinitely.

Posted by: redrooster | Sep 17 2018 23:36 utc | 70

I am looking at several headlines from RT and Sputnik that there are reports from Syria of the French Navy launching missiles into Syria as well as the loss of a Russian plane with about a dozen troops on board. A search of Google for news on these stories yields nothing at this time.

Posted by: DougDiggler | Sep 17 2018 23:43 utc | 71

@71 doug... as gil scott heron mentioned 40 years ago - the revolution will not be televised..

Posted by: james | Sep 17 2018 23:53 utc | 72

redrooster @70

No, completely realistic.

Russia is not going to get into a shooting war with Turkey, while vultures look on and stir the pot.

A war/battle with Turkey would be a mistake. For instance, NATO (US) could invoke NATO assistance to member countries under attack.

Have you even bothered to read b's article?

But it doesn't matter the Vultures appear to have have launched an attack (DougDigger @71).

Posted by: ADKC | Sep 17 2018 23:55 utc | 73

The IL-18/IL-20 is looking like a key part of the puzzle, it seems to be some kind of intelligence gathering plane, analogous to a P-3, AWACS or EC-130. I'd love to have any updates on the situation. I hear that Putin and Erdo have been jawboning and that there has been a delay or possibly cancellation of the Idleb offensive. Other than this site, what are other sites covering the Syrian War that don't support US MSM BS?

Posted by: DougDiggler | Sep 18 2018 0:20 utc | 74

ADKC @73

You actually believe that the world powers will risk a WW3 for the sake of Syria ? That is insane. Syria for them is and will remain a proxy war. Comparable to Vietnam, Afganistan and Yugoslavia.

Did you forget that Turkey actually begged for NATO protection after downing the Russian jet over Syria and received a cold shoulder? And Turkey back then had far better relations with the West than it has now.

"But it doesn't matter the Vultures appear to have have launched an attack (DougDigger @71)."

Any difference to the numerous attacks they launched before?

Posted by: redrooster | Sep 18 2018 0:26 utc | 75

Looks like its on now. FUKUS seem be be attacking even without the CW scam. RTs report is that the dissapeared Russian plane is their electronic surveillance plane which would be the first thing to go in a full on attack. In the same article its say Russia MoD detected missile launches from a French frigate.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 18 2018 0:27 utc | 76

I got an update from the Libertarian website, Zero Hedge:
Don't know what to think about the report of S-400 being used.

Posted by: DougDiggler | Sep 18 2018 0:59 utc | 77

redhen @75

You imagine I said things that I didn't say.

The point was that Russia is not going to get into a conflict with Turkey because they would end up expending resources directly fighting what would be a western proxy.

The latest attacks are qualitatively different. France has launched an unprovoked attack. This is new.

Also, either France or Israel may be responsible for Russian casualties. This is new.

The length and ferocity of the attacks seems to be of a much higher magnitude. This is new.

But again it appears to be that France and Israel are acting as proxies and provocateurs. It is US pulling the strings.

Have you read b's article? You didn't say!

Posted by: ADKC | Sep 18 2018 1:02 utc | 78

@67 redrooster

"What has Syria gained from all this?"

If you look at the map, specifically the location of the m5 highway, it kinda looks like Putin just advanced the front about 10, 15 miles without firing a shot.


Posted by: b4real | Sep 18 2018 1:11 utc | 79

so, what pray tell is the difference between a proxy war and ww3 in a country which doesn't have anything to do with usa-russia directly, but where usa and russia are in a confrontation?

@76 peter au... yeah, apparently this was all in place prior to the false flag, even without a ff... russian sureillane plane missing is a bad omen.. i wonder how the un security council meeting will go in a few days.. it hasn't been announced yet, but i imagine we will be reading about that too.. israel-france want to start ww3, and just waiting on russia to join in..

Posted by: james | Sep 18 2018 1:11 utc | 80

I notice that US is at pains to say they had no knowledge of the attacks "nothing to do with us" (so the US is publicly disavowing France and Israel).

I guess the intention is to provoke a rash response from Russia.

If French has launched this attack then I can't imagine that the actions of Macron (as it is he who will be responsible) will go down well with the French public.

Posted by: ADKC | Sep 18 2018 1:28 utc | 81

@76 Coupled with the last attack on Damascus airport with a possible hit on a IRAF 747 whike offloading cargo, things are heating up indeed..

Posted by: Lozion | Sep 18 2018 1:38 utc | 82

@DougDiggler 74

Other than this site, what are other sites covering the Syrian War that don't support US MSM BS?

Try and Elijah Magnier's articles at (he also has his own blog at

Posted by: S | Sep 18 2018 1:57 utc | 83

This Idlib offense delay has few downsides and many upsides:

* Diffused fake CW threat and imminent NATO attack.
* US wont be as committed to strike Syria after elections, as current CW media fest was mostly centered around US internal politics.
* Turkey-Syria-Jordan highway is to be opened, helping Syria's economy.
* SAA is busy with ISIS in the desert, cant allow the repeat of druze massacre.
* Jihadis and drones attacks from Idlib will be reduced and/or finished.
* Jihadis will fight among themselves and Turkey instead of SAA in upcoming few months.
* Turkey might face huge US sanctions after mid-November Iran's sanctions, pushing it even more to Russia/Iran/China embrace, making Erdogan more agreeable.

Posted by: Harry | Sep 18 2018 2:22 utc | 84

No war over Idleb did not fit the plans of the Israeli and French idiots. They thus took some action to launch one anyway.

Russia’s Il-20 military aircraft disappeared over the Mediterranean Sea - Defense Ministry

"On September 17, at about 11:00 Moscow time, the connection with the crew of the Russian Il-20 aircraft was lost over the Mediterranean Sea when the plane was returning to the airbase of Khmeimim, 35 kilometers from the coast of Syria," the official said.

The ministry specified that "the mark of IL-20 went off the radars disappeared during the attack of four Israeli F-16 aircraft on Syrian targets in the province of Latakia."

"At the same time, the Russian radars fixed missile launches from the French frigate Auvergne, which was in that area," the Defense Ministry said.

The official also said that there were 14 servicemen on board and their fate is unknown. The command of Russia’s air base at Khmeimim launched a search and rescue operation

Posted by: b | Sep 18 2018 4:19 utc | 85

i heard speculation that the israelis could trigger the french frigate electronically.. not sure how that works.. and i heard it is syrian missile defense system that brought down the il-20... what is truth and fiction, i have no idea.. bottom line, israel thinks it has some special right to make war on other countries, and gets a regular pass from the other warmonger on the planet - usa..

Posted by: james | Sep 18 2018 4:37 utc | 86

I felt that there was too much momentum for events to slow down. i don't know what happens next but events will proceed.

Maybe the death of the Russians will be used in the geo-political world to further isolate and clarify alliances as well as educate the masses that something serious is going optimistic scenario

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 18 2018 5:01 utc | 87

A twitter account I ran onto after a couple of Hezbollah accounts I kept an eye on were zapped by twitter. Seems to come from Syria or Lebanon and generally fairly accurate. Possibly Hezbollah.
According to whoever owns the account, the Russian planes and Russian and Syrian defence systems all have recognition signals. It is US that is putting it out that it was Syrian defences down the Russian surveillance aircraft.

My thought is that is was US took out the surveillance aircraft which can track low flying missiles, but are sitting back letting Israel and France take the blame for it.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 18 2018 6:30 utc | 88


Russia also gives Israel a pass. Not just US

Posted by: Pft | Sep 18 2018 6:30 utc | 89

Yom Kippur tomorrow. I guess they had to get one last shot in before they ask for atonement and begin another cycle of violence with a clean slate

Nothing much on CNN web site. Fox news has a headline buried below "Russia says military jet lost over the Mediterranean, may have been inadvertently shot down by Syria"

Posted by: Pft | Sep 18 2018 6:36 utc | 90

Russia has four national - or state - religions. Orthodox Christian, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 18 2018 6:36 utc | 91

At 6 am today Paris time, not a word on the BBC front page (busy with some siamese squirells) or on the bulletin of French gov radio.
At 8 am, finaly, one Fr gov radio mentions that "a Russian planes is lost in the morning, they say at a time when Israel and French were engaged in bombing Syria but the US say it is from a Syrian shot"

Laguerre: i brought this piece for the record and as yet another example of the mafious ways which are ruling our world today. and this is true in the university too, but probably as part of it you prefer not to pay attention.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 18 2018 7:04 utc | 92

Alastair Crooke justly called it a new Suez. They always go through old books.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 18 2018 7:07 utc | 93

Macron has been going down the polls lately. He is trying to catch any groups' votes for the coming European elections otherwise his ex-nihilo party is toasted. He even made a deal with the hunting lobby to give a 50% cut to hunting permits! People have started to leave the party and his governement after the Benalla story (still ongoing, when the guy received a convocation for being audited by the Senate he started to insult the Senators in the media and say he won't go, getting supported only by the parrots of Macron party... doesn't help). Not going would be against the constitution but that's no problem in France.. other higher civil servants who have been audited in July lied on proven facts while on oath and contradicted their colleagues on factual elements but this does not imply sanctions in that country

Posted by: Mina | Sep 18 2018 7:15 utc | 94

Pretty boy, toy boy, gigolo, whatever his title, he is just a tool to be used. No de Gaulle, b's pic after he was elected, of pretty boy sitting on the floor looking up at Merkel, the pick of of pretty boy looking at Trump like a lover, just a tool to be used. Was looking at a frog in the garden for supper, but current day frogs seem to leave a bad taste.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 18 2018 7:54 utc | 95
MOSCOW, September 18. /TASS/. Russia’s military plane Ilyushin-20 was shot down by the Syrian air defense over the Mediterranean Sea, because Israel’s F-16 fighters used it as a cover, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told the media on Tuesday....

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 18 2018 8:17 utc | 96

ADKC @78

Turkey has been the decisive proxy force in the Syrian conflict from day 1.

There is no actual difference to the previous attacks.

The tragic conclusion is that not only did Syria, for the time being concede Idlib to Turkey, but they suffered the pre-planned NATO bombardment anyway.

At least in the previous cases the bombardment was followed after Syria had retaken cities and provinces from the headchoppers.

b4real @79

You did not understand the map or the deal.

Syria retreats 10 km from the border of the Idlib province. This area becomes Russia patrol area.

10 km inside Idlib, from the border inwards, becomes Turkey patrol area.

b @85

The jet was shot down by the Syrian Army. However Israel is to be blamed for that because they did not give Russia enough time to evacuate.

Posted by: redrooster | Sep 18 2018 8:25 utc | 97

Russia's MOD confirmed IL-20 was shot by Syrian S-200. Israel's F-16 used IL-20 as a cover since it has much greater radar signature. Israel didnt inform Russia about the raid till less than 1 minute till attack, which didnt gave any time to save IL-20.

MOD said: "We view this provocative actions by Israel as hostile. Due to irresponsible actions of Israel's military 15 Russian soldiers died. It absolutely goes against the spirit of Russian-Israel cooperation. We reserve the right to respond."

Russia always looked the other way when Israel bombed Syria, now Nutjobyahoo set up 15 Russian soldiers to die. Which must be the stupidest thing ever, as Russia made sure they keep SAA from Golan and Iran even further away, now the calculation might change. I dont know if Russia will actually do anything about it, but they have far more ways to hurt Israel than SAA or Iran do.

Posted by: Harry | Sep 18 2018 8:31 utc | 98

redpecker @97

Again you are imagining I said things that I didn't say. My point is that Russia can't really get into a conflict with Turkey. Can you give some indication that you understand what I am saying?

You seem to want it both ways; that Russia should bomb Turkey (@67) and that Turkey is a decisive proxy (@97) and, therefore, presumably needs to be treated carefully. Or are you trying to say that Russia should attack Turkey regardless of the consequences?


There are differences between this last strike and previous. Whether the event will be treated like the other strikes is another issue (I would imagine that is likely to be the case, certainly there will be no rash response).


b4real's comments (@79) are based on the map supplied by b in his article (did you read the article yet?) and perhaps also Putin's comments at the presser “We agreed that by Oct. 15 (we will) create along the contact line between the armed opposition and government troops a demilitarized zone of a depth of 15-20 km, with the withdrawal from there of radically-minded rebels, including al-Nusra.”

Now I haven't seen any actual text of the agreement, and there is room for ambiguity and also Syria will have a view. The key part is that the phrase "with withdrawal from there of radically-minded rebels" implies cutting into rebel territory (there are no rebels to remove on the government side).

So b4real may turn out to be correct or you may turn out to be correct. But if you know for certain please provide your source.


And as regards your correction of b @85. Yep we all know that now! Hindsight is a wonderful thing (everyone knows that poultry have a wide field of vision because they have eyes on the sides of their head, but not many are aware that, as a result, chickens have much less depth of vision [called monocular vision, apparently]; the hen would, of course, be entirely unaware of this).

Posted by: ADKC | Sep 18 2018 10:06 utc | 99

ADKC @99

First of all there is no reason to be insulting, just because you were proven wrong by me again and again.

I am not participating in some kind of a contest to humiliate you.

Now back to the subject:

Yes Russia should bomb the headchoppers out of Syria regardless of how Turkey reacts.

As it stands now Syria will be partitioned. The Turkey occupied north, the US occupied east and the rest of the country under government control.

In order to avoid the partition (if it is not willing to use force) Syria will have to make enormous concessions to the occupiers for them to leave.

Before it had to confront 1 such occupying force (eastern Syria), now it has to appease a second one (northern Syria).

Posted by: redrooster | Sep 18 2018 10:26 utc | 100

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