Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 06, 2019

Syria - Russian And Syrian Airforce Prepare The Ground For An Attack On Idlib Province

Throughout the last months the military situation in west Syria was more or less stable. That is about to change.

While this map is from August 2018 it is still mostly accurate. Idleb province, and parts of north Hama, are under control of 'rebel' forces led by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an Al-Qaeda aligned terrorist group.


A September 2018 agreement between Russia and Turkey stipulated that Turkey would bring the 'rebels' in Idleb under control. A 20 kilometer wide demilitarized zone was to be established along the demarcation line. All heavy weapons were to be removed from the zone. The M4 and M5 highways were to be opened for traffic.

None of it happened. Turkey established observation post along the demarcation line but these had no effect. Instead HTS assimilated more and more of the 'Free Syrian Army' groups that Turkey supported. The organization acquired new arms and equipment and intensified its training.

During the last months they became more active. Mortar and missiles were fired into Aleppo city. Command units crossed the demarcation line, attacked Syrian army guard posts and caused a number of casualties. Drones were flown from Idleb against the Russian base at Hmeimim. Missile volleys were launched against the base.

The Syrian government long demanded to finally attack in Idleb, but Russia held it back. There was a risk that Turkey would use an attack on Idleb to switch back to the U.S. side. That risk is now much lower as the U.S. became more hostile to its NATO ally.

Two weeks ago, after HTS shot the latest missile volley at Hmeimim, Russian jets started to pound HTS positions in Idleb governorate with hundreds of bomb attacks. Additionally Russian intelligence reported that HTS was preparing to launch a large attack against Hama city further south. Russia flew in new fighter jets and bombers to up its engagement capabilities. The Syrian air force and its artillery also chimed in. It soon became obvious that these attacks were not just revenge acts but the preparations for a larger campaign.

Turkey recognized that it can no longer do anything to prevent an attack on Idleb. In a Hail Mary move it tried to at least fulfill one of its old aims: to capture the town Tal Rifaat and Menagh Air Base north of Aleppo. These are in the Kurdish area (yell0w) at the top of the map. But the defenders were prepared. When Turkish aligned 'rebels' under the command of Turkish officers attacked their positions they retreated. The Turks advanced and suddenly found themselves in a minefield and under artillery attack. They had been trapped. After several were killed and wounded the Turkish forces had to retreat and the Syrian army and the Kurdish units could retake their old positions. In parallel Syrian artillery fired on one of the Turkish outposts in Idleb governorate. Four Turkish soldiers were wounded and evacuated.

Today the Syrian army launched an attack in the south of the pocket and captured several 'rebel' positions. There are signs that another attack will soon start west of Aleppo to remove any threats to the city. Another attack axis is likely to be formed on the western side of the pocket with the aim of pushing the terrorist further away from Hmeimim.

These attacks are not (yet) the big campaign to liberate all of Idleb governorate. It seems more likely that this will be done piecemeal with one bite at a time followed by a pause. One intermediate aim is to regain full control over the M5 and M4 highways in Idelb governorate. That would allow for direct traffic between Latakia to Aleppo and from Hama to Aleppo and could help to revive the devastated economy.


Is the U.S. will do anything to stop the Syrian operations. That now seems unlikely:

"Idlib is essentially the largest collection of al-Qaida affiliates in the world right now," Michael Mulroy, deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East, said this week during remarks at the Center for a New American Security in Washington.

"We have very limited insights as to what's going on," he added.

That this is (again) publicly recognized, likely  means that Syria is now allowed to clean up the mess. Back in 2017 and 2018, when Syria was ready to retake Idleb, the U.S. threatened to stop any attack. At that time it still cared for its ally Turkey which would be swamped with new refugee wave should the HTS terrorists and their families have to retreat from Idelb. The U.S. no longer cares about Turkey. Any new difficulty for the wannabe Sultan Erdogan will likely be welcome.

The terrorist haven in Idelb is only one of the many problems Syria still has to cope with.

The worst is currently a shortage of gasoline as U.S. sanctions block Iranian oil deliveries to Syria. Iranian tankers with the destination of Syria are held up at the Suez canal. Requesting gasoline from Russia would have a political price that Syria seems not ready to pay. The Syrian oilfields, which could produce enough to keep the country running, are under control of the U.S. proxy forces. The U.S. prohibited to sell that oil to the Syrian government.

Posted by b on May 6, 2019 at 15:09 UTC | Permalink


Thanks b...
Godspeed SAA, RAF, IRGC & Hzb!

Posted by: xLemming | May 6 2019 15:43 utc | 1

Trump is threatening massive escalation in the trade war against China. Threats are coming (from Bolton) against Iran too.


Posted by: Passer by | May 6 2019 16:07 utc | 2

Iranian tankers could go "super slow steaming" round the Cape of Good Hope.... takes perhaps three weeks longer and costs more (but save on canal tolls)...but it's not as if Iran is snowed under with demand and can't spare the vessels.

Posted by: Guy Thornton | May 6 2019 16:07 utc | 3

When I read the false narratives in the fpri link, I have to wonder if we are being misled. fpri analysis includes:

> US anti-terrorism mandate vs Turkey's agenda - but haven't we determined that the US war on ISIS is mostly a show?

> Edogan resettling refugees in Idlib and Afrin makes little sense except as part of the ploy to unseat Assad.

Isn't it clear by now that Trump's Syrian 'pull-out' was also PR stunt to pretend that Trump really is an anti-interventionist (and IMO was likely coordinated with Israel's aerial attack that hoped to prompt Syria to shoot down a commercial airliner).

We see such 'shows' all the time. They are made possible via controlled opposition and a controlled press. Example: European support for JCPOA (Obama's Iran "peace deal"). The Europeans have actually done little to support trade with Iran other than lip service. EU governments SAY they support the agreement but allow their companies to toe the US line.

<> <> <> <> <> <>

Here's what we know for sure:

1) Erdogan did virtually nothing to reign in the Jihadi's as he had agreed.

2) Erdogan's ability to "play both sides" is coming to an end. He now faces a choice: he could refuse to abide by US sanctions on Iran and go fully into the Russia-China-Iran orbit. Will he do so?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 6 2019 16:18 utc | 4

Never trust that the US government will recognize Syria's right to control its country--just this week I believe it was Pompeo who was bragging that Syria "lost" the war because it couldn't control 1/3 of its own territory. Also, should Venezuela continue to go badly for the neocons diverting attention to Syria to protect "innocent civilians" (i.e., terrorists) would certainly get a round of applause from the corporate media and the chattering class.

Syria and its allies should 100% stay on guard for external attacks.

Posted by: worldblee | May 6 2019 16:21 utc | 5

Alastair Crooke's latest deals a lot with Turkey's dilemmas which are quite numerous. Another Why Now factor is the escalation of Outlaw US Empire belligerence across the board. If the Empire declares Muslim Brotherhood to be a terrorist organization, Crooke details how that will be a big hit to Turkey and sums up the multiple efforts:

"Not surprisingly, circles close to Erdogan see the noose tightening around Turkey’s neck, and view this Kurdish ‘project’ as ‘a platform’ from which to penetrate and weaken Turkey itself. For the leadership, this amounts to a conspiracy, standing in open view, to undermine Turkey."

Crooke omits what this means for NATO and further Outlaw US Empire presence within Turkey. And if Turkey leaves NATO, which nations will follow? Will the longstanding feud between Greece and Turkey escalate into open war. As usual, many of these consequences of Outlaw US Empire behavior will be ignored within the Beltway. So, it seems clear that Turkey has several bigger problems than a Syrian offensive in Idlib and its surrounds.

It also appears its time for the Kurds to make their choice as Syria can no longer abide their duplicity. IMO, if Kurds side with the Empire they will be attacked as Syria must reclaim its resources. I also think Iraq and Iran share that view. Here's what Crooke reveals:

"Then there are the Kurds of Syria whom the US says it intends to arm with Stinger surface-to-air missiles. Really? Is ISIS using helicopters these days? Then there is the recent statement by a US State Dept official that the US will occupy the Eastern third of Syria for the ‘long duration’ – and invest in it. (Translation: i.e. further arming the Kurds). And the US Envoy, James Jeffry is pressing Erdogan to accept an armed Kurdish border guard sitting on, and controlling, Turkey’s southern border with Syria."

Assad and Erdogan don't agree on much, but I bet they'd agree the above plans represent an attack on their nations. The low-hanging fruit around Idlib and Hama will get harvested first, but I anticipate much more to unfold as May goes forward. Syria's patience has contributed to its domestic fuel crisis that's greatly slowed reconstruction and raised civilian-government tensions, and there's really only one way to solve the overall problem--Syria must finish liberating its territory using force of arms as the time for negotiations has ended.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 6 2019 16:26 utc | 6

Iran would be able to supply Syria via Astrakhan, Volgograd, Volga-Don canal with a maximal capacity of 5000 ton per ship, Rostov-on-Don, Sea of Azov, Kerch Straight, Black Sea, Bosporus and finally the Mediterranean

Posted by: Amir | May 6 2019 16:32 utc | 7


AFAIK, US backed away from a Kurdish "border guard" and also agreed to restrict what weapons they provide to the Kurds so the possibility of arming them with Stingers seems far-fetched (floated/mooted for effect only).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 6 2019 16:33 utc | 8

"Iranian tankers with the destination of Syria are held up at the Suez canal. Requesting gasoline from Russia would have a political price that Syria seems not ready to pay."

B, could you elaborate this a bit more in detail please?

Posted by: Pnyx | May 6 2019 16:49 utc | 9

Distance Kish Latakia is 6200 km while distance of Anzali-Latakia is only 3200 km. Obviously 5000 tons transient cutoff per shop in the locks in Volga-Don canal is a rate limiting factor. But them again there is a waiting list to pass through Sues and the toll is high. Suez Max ships can carry a top load of 160,000 tons.

But actually there is not even any need to transport the oil directly from Iran. Swapping oil with Russia will improve delivery costs for Southern part of Russia as well as transportation costs and timing to Syria.

Posted by: Amir | May 6 2019 17:00 utc | 10

Syria must clear Idlib. The sooner the better.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | May 6 2019 17:01 utc | 11

"After several were killed and wounded the Turkish forces had to retreat "

Something seems wrong about the scale of these skirmishes. Are they just for show? The 1917 Battle of Vimy Ridge (still worshiped in Canada by the CBC) alone involved 200,000 soldiers, including over 10,000 dead and wounded - in just three days! And not a single computer or satellite to help coordinate!

I realize that killing machines are more efficient than 100 years ago, but that doesn't explain at all why it is so hard for huge nation states to destroy an irregular and lightly armed force of head choppers counted in thousands, not millions like WWI and WWII.

What am I missing? Are guerilla forces now so well trained and equipped that they can almost always outlast million-man armies supported by a massive industrial base designed for endless war?

Posted by: Trailer Trash | May 6 2019 17:19 utc | 12

This has been a long time coming. I do not pretend to know what is behind the delay in taking care of the Idlib hive, but there has been much speculation on the matter. It's almost as if the proxy forces want to be attacked what with the increasing provocations. Syria is getting squeezed despite having the invading forces on the ropes.
Its seems as though escalations are brewing all around, coupled with near tectonic movements in the realm of financial and economic warfare. What if they were all coming to a head at roughly the same time? Donbass erupts, the USAns do something provocative toward both Iran and Venezuela, Turkey get bogged down in Idlib and flushed with fleeing jihadis, dollar decoupling speeds up with a new twist (whatever that might be) China flexes back in the South China Sea, and several other things I've overlooked. What then?

Posted by: Chevrus | May 6 2019 17:35 utc | 13

Why I'm not surprised...?

French MSM have been bursting with renewed interviews of Syrian "activists" and the French-German gov TV Arte has launched a soap on the migrants' fate. Of course the trailers they screen are about...Syrians, although they form a very small part of the migrants who are going through hell in Libya and crossing the Mediterranean.

Posted by: Mina | May 6 2019 17:44 utc | 14

IMO the idea last year was to fake a chemical attack in Idlib and use that to cancel the Nord Stream II. The Russians responded by simply leaving Idlib alone. The point of these provocations is to force Russian and Syrian forces to attack Idlib so they can go through with the original plan.

Posted by: Timothy Hagios | May 6 2019 17:47 utc | 15

Hmeymim Russian base in Syria has just been attacked with about 36 misiles.
In total, 36 missiles were fired. The radicals carried out the firing control using an unmanned aircraft.

Who will have provided the unmanned aircraft and the coordinates for the attack?
You guess....

This is what you get after a supposed conciliatory phone call by Pompeo and Trump. Backstabbing.
They want obvioulsy to sour the coming Victory Day, since what they are is fascists and thus this celebration is opposed to their ideas and nature.

Some comrade published the other day at his Twitter the definition of fascism by Dimitrov to see if some understand it at once.

Fascism is the open dictatorship of terrorism of the most reactionary, most chauvinist and major imperialist elements of financial capital

Under the conditions of the deep economic crisis unleashed, the violent exacerbation of the general crisis of capitalism, the revolutionization of the working masses, fascism has gone on a broad offensive.
The dominant bourgeoisie increasingly seeks its salvation in fascism to carry out exceptional measures of plundering the workers, to prepare an imperialist war of prey, the assault against the USSR, to prepare the enslavement and the partition of China, and prevent through all this the revolution.

The imperialist circles need to unburden the full weight of the crisis on the workers' sides. For this, they need fascism.
They try to solve the problem of the markets through the enslavement of the weak peoples, by means of the increase of the colonial pressure and a new distribution of the world by means of the war. For this, they need fascism.

Posted by: Sasha | May 6 2019 18:16 utc | 16

Seems as though, the only people that care to eliminate the terrorists, are the people and government of Syria.

Posted by: ben | May 6 2019 18:28 utc | 17

"The Syrian oilfields, which could produce enough to keep the country running, are under control of the U.S. proxy forces. The U.S. prohibited to sell that oil to the Syrian government."

Ignorant me doesn't know where these oil fields are located, but freeing them would seem to be a top military priority.

Posted by: Really? | May 6 2019 19:08 utc | 18

thanks b.. and thanks karlof1 for the link to alastair crookes article..

the way i see it, the reason no one has rushed into any of this is it is a complicated dynamic.. players might have hoped someone would make a mistake or show their hand some, but for the most part the actions of all the players have been consistent.. the usa-israel continues to want to divide syria into pieces and turkey - same..the kurds continue to entertain their role in bringing on ww3 as ultimately a good thing for them.. i agree with b - idlib first and eastern syria after.. idlib will not be a walk in the park either.. erdogan has had his options lessened, but he can still mess with russia-syria here.. i don't know that he fully understands how usa-israel is willing to play him for as long as he entertains his illusions of grandeur.. all in all, the situation is grim as i see it.. nothing is going to come easy here forward.. in the meantime, the chance of ww3 continues to ratchet up thanks the usa-israel determination to act as they have all along.. as for trump - the guy is clearly a dipshit and happy to play monopoly while the planet suffers.. he kind of characterizes your typical kleptomaniac, which is a fairly accurate description of usa-isreal capitalism at this point in time..

Posted by: james | May 6 2019 19:16 utc | 19

Really? @18

Most of Syria's oilfields are east of the Euphrates river, which is the part currently occupied by the US and their mercenaries. To liberate that area the Syrians will have to attack US forces embedded with the terrorists. There are only a few thousand US troops there, and the Syrian military will have little difficulty routing them, but that would be a tripwire for America to launch a full scale war against Syria. In fact, to be a tripwire is precisely why America's troops remain in Syria. This is why Trump's claim that he wanted the US troops out caused so much excitement back before his handlers reined him in. With the US troops gone there would be nothing preventing the Syrian military from securing the entire border with Iraq and liberating the entire area between the Euphrates river and the border. With the USA and their false promises out of the picture smarter Kurds would either throw down their weapons or join the Syrian military against what remains of America's terrorist mercenaries in the area. That whole side of the war would be wrapped up in a few weeks at most if America would leave.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 6 2019 19:26 utc | 20

The world is in an interesting place one I am not quite sure it has ever been in before. The US no longer has a coherent foreign policy, nor does it keep its word when given. Allies and enemies alike are threatened on an almost daily basis. only the interests of Israel seem to be taken into consideration.
The only parallel I can think of is that of an angry, mean drunk with a loaded gun at a party on a canal boat. No room to run, no where to hide, too dangerous to try and take the gun away..all you can do is hope the bastard passes out.

Posted by: frances | May 6 2019 19:30 utc | 21

not a bad analogy frances, lol...

Posted by: james | May 6 2019 19:41 utc | 22

The US and Great Britain are trying to economically cripple Syria via cutoff of oil supplies as “The Syrian government is scrambling to deal with its worst fuel crisis since the war began in 2011, aggravated by U.S. sanctions targeting oil shipments to Damascus.”

“(Syrian) Prime Minister Emad Khamis, quoted in local press, said Iranian tankers supplying Syria had been halted due to U.S. sanctions on Tehran.
Oil tankers bound for Syria have been barred from using Egypt's Suez Canal for six months, he added.”

“Under the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and Great Britain, no Iranian oil tankers are allowed to transit the Suez Canal if they are destined for a Syrian port, a Syrian military source told Al-Masdar News this morning.”

“The source said Iranian oil tankers are allowed to enter Mediterranean waters if the ship is destined for Turkey; however, due to U.S. and U.K. sanctions, the vessels cannot transit again if they dock at a Syrian port.”

US news sources confirm the Syrian Prime Minister’s statement.

Thus the Egyptian government is apparently technically lying about their role in the sanction when they state “Egypt’s government denied Wednesday banning the passage of oil tankers to Syria through the Suez Canal. Navigation in the canal is going according to international conventions and treaties that guarantee the right of safe navigation to all tankers without discrimination.”

Consequently, Iran is shipping Syria oil via tanker trucks.
"1200 Iranian tankers loaded with oil products reached Syria through Iraq in the past week," Al- Iraqia reports, adding, "The number of Iranian oil tankers are expected to reach 1500 per week, and after providing current Syrian needs, they will be fixed at 500 tankers per week."

“Syria consumes 100,000 barrels of oil a day and produces about 24,000 barrels, Mustapha Hammouriyyeh, head of the Syrian fuel distribution company, told Al-Ikhbariyya TV.”

To try to get around US sanctions Iran has reflagged their oil tankers from Panama to Iran registry and in many cases have switched off their AIS transponders.

Posted by: Krollchem | May 6 2019 19:53 utc | 23

@23 krollchem.. essentially the sanctions are an act of war... question is, when does someone call them on it??

Posted by: james | May 6 2019 19:59 utc | 24

reply to
"not a bad analogy frances, lol..."
Posted by: james | May 6, 2019 3:41:10 PM | 22
Thanks James:)

Posted by: frances | May 6 2019 20:03 utc | 25

Hospitals being bombed

A sign that this attack is serious is that already the propagandists are already crying about Hospitals being bombed ...

After Idlib ...

The Syrians will be able to take back the oil fields from the 5%.

Posted by: Christian J Chuba | May 6 2019 20:09 utc | 26

Crooke's take on Trump's U turns and Bolton and co trying to take Trump to a point where he can no longer U turn away from war was interesting. Seems to fit what has been happening.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 6 2019 20:25 utc | 27
"3 February، 2019
Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) has provided US$ 2 million grant to the White Helmets In accordance with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar, in support to the Syrian people."
14 Mar, 2019 21:41
The Trump administration is doubling down on backing the White Helmets, the self-proclaimed civil defense group with often controversial activity in militant-held areas of Syria, pledging a $5 million donation at a conference.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 6 2019 20:34 utc | 28

Can't help but wonder if the recently announced US carrier group is being sent into the region in order to be used as "victims" of a false flag attack?

Scoop: Israel passed White House intelligence on possible Iran plot

The intelligence about a possible Iranian plot is not very specific at this stage, but the officials said it was clear the threat was against a U.S. target in the Gulf or U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia or the UAE.

Citing Iranian Threat, U.S. Sends Carrier Group and Bombers to Persian Gulf
Pompeo: "It is absolutely the case that we’ve seen escalatory action from the Iranians, and it is equally the case that we will hold the Iranians accountable for attacks on American interests

Posted by: Zack | May 6 2019 20:44 utc | 29

Just to note that Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov about 3 weeks ago discussed with the Syrian President Bashar Assad the gasoline crisis in Syria, as well as the issues of its solution. The Russian Deputy Prime Minister said the following:

The main oilfields are today beyond the reach of the Syrian government. Of course, this issue was discussed. There are specific proposals.

According to Borisov, the Syrian authorities must "ripen to address this issue".

Posted by: alaff | May 6 2019 21:00 utc | 30

Peter AU 1 @28--

You'll have noted the situation of Qatar in Crooke's article. If Muslim Brotherhood's declared a terrorist org by Empire, the result will be similar to an earthquake. The blind allegiance to Zionistan has indeed caused blindness.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 6 2019 21:13 utc | 31


Those that oppose US and Israeli world domination has to buy time and promote economic collapse within the Empire. Eventually the Sparta like militarism will bankrupt both countries. The wild card is Venezuela - if they can get their hands on this oil they, and their allies, can continue to spread chaos for a couple more decades. As it now stands the US proven oil reserves are between 36-39 billion barrels and the US is consuming that oil at a rate of about 4.3 billion barrels/year.

The US is also putting pressure on Turkey in hopes of deposing the current government that supports the GNA in Libya and opposes the gulf states and Saudi Arabia. Turkey needs the Iranian heavy crude for its Tupras refinery. Substituting heavy crude from Russia is an issue as Russia has already contracted with Italy and Greece to supply heavy crude to their refineries.

Posted by: Krollchem | May 6 2019 21:23 utc | 32

Peter AU 1 @28

Great catch Peter!

If US-Israel-KSA are against Qatar-Turkey, then why are both sides supporting the same Jihadi-linked fake humanitarian organization?!?!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 6 2019 21:23 utc | 33

> Iranian tankers with the destination of Syria are held up at the Suez canal

Cannot Iran just transport that oil on the land roads, through Iraq to Aleppo ?

Posted by: Arioch | May 6 2019 21:36 utc | 34

> few thousand US troops there, and the Syrian military will have little difficulty routing them, but that would be a tripwire for America to launch a full scale war against Syria.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 6, 2019 3:26:39 PM | 20

There is yet nother option, and it was to a degree played year ago.

Syrian army does not attack US mercs, but "unknown bandits" start killing them one after another.

Basically the same sh*t that US gov't plays against nations with their "freedom fighters", but now played against US invaders themsevles

Posted by: Arioch | May 6 2019 21:40 utc | 35

B wrote
"The Syrian oilfields, which could produce enough to keep the country running, are under control of the U.S. proxy forces. The U.S. prohibited to sell that oil to the Syrian government."

It is about the money. It is another spinning plate trying to be war just like Iran, Venezuela, etc. And when the money music stops (which is only when enough nations stop buying US Treasuries) the elite are going to say that the poor should pay for those attempts at war.

I like the comment by frances above about the drunk on the canal boat and China/Russia/et al are trying to keep us alive, hoping the drunk passes out.....and we all get to watch and learn how not to run a world where the drunk owns the punch bowl.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 6 2019 21:51 utc | 36

@Zack #29

From the press release on the Israelis sharing "intelligence" on the alleged plot:

"It is still unclear to us what the Iranians are trying to do and how they are planning to do it, but it is clear to us that the Iranian temperature is on the rise as a result of the growing U.S. pressure campaign against them, and they are considering retaliating against U.S. interests in the Gulf."

They're just phoning it in at this point. No need to pretend we have specifics. Iran - Bad.

Totally agree - this is the setup for some kind of false flag or other act of war by Iran in response to the US and Israel's unmistakable acts of war against them for the last several decades.

Posted by: KC | May 6 2019 22:23 utc | 37

Jackrabbit @33--

Yes, strange bedfellows, indeed, or so it seems. IMO, the trio don't make many distinctions when it comes to genuine Islamic Extremists--any flavor will do as long as they do their bidding. Zarif's B-Team analogy includes that aspect. Zarif's confidence is rooted in Iran's long history as he expresses from time-to-time. That the Iranian Revolution is woven into the cultural fabric of modern Iran--as is Venezuela's Bolivarian--means it will live on generation after generation. And most importantly, those allied with the Shah abandoned Iran long ago so no true 5th Column exists within Iran. Unfortunately, a similar occurrence didn't happen in Venezuela after the failed 2002 coup, for which it now suffers.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 6 2019 22:23 utc | 38

Arioch @ 34:

Erm, for Iran to transport oil via land through Iraq, the shortest and supposedly least expensive route would have to go through northern Iraq and northeast Syria.

Remind me who are currently in control of northeast Syria and northern Iraq?

Posted by: Jen | May 6 2019 23:11 utc | 39

Syrian oil embargo

Yep, not even letting Iran give Syria oil by blocking the Suez Canal; not even mentioned in the U.S. MSM except by gloating Neocons who think making people suffer is a success. "Iranian oil deliveries to Syria have plummeted from 66,000 barrels a day at the end of 2018 to nothing, precipitating gasoline shortages that have forced Syrians to que for up to nineteen hours."

trucks vs rail vs pipeline vs tanker
Regarding using trucks via an overland route, that is extremely expensive and asking a lot of Iran. The most efficient means to transport oil is by pipeline, less than 50 cents per barrel of oil, tanker is almost but not quite as good, when you get to truck and rail we get into the $5 - $10 range. Even with the differential in labor it would still be expensive for Iran to use trucks, assuming they have that many.

Can't stand our politicians or our newspeople, they talk about the U.S. as being the most generous country on earth when we are the most mean spirited, petty and vicious but we cannot salute ourselves enough.

There used to be a pipeline between Iraq and Syria but it has fallen into disrepair and if it was repaired I'd bet my last dollar the Israeli's or even the U.S. would find an excuse to bomb it.

Posted by: Christian J Chuba | May 6 2019 23:21 utc | 40

@Jen #39

Northeast Syria is Aleppo i guess, and it was recovered by Syrians?

Posted by: Arioch | May 6 2019 23:48 utc | 41

@41 arioch, if you look at a world map, in particular syria, iraq and iran - you will see one has to go thru east syria, before you get to aleppo via land..

Posted by: james | May 6 2019 23:52 utc | 42

@28 peter.. i read earlier today how syria has allowed qatar airlines to fly thru syrian air space... perhaps someone needs to remind someone about this... i imagine this happened based on iranian influence on syria.. i am sure the uk, canada and other poodles will be helping chip on for those 'moderate headchoppers' built into this white helmet crew.. as the stomach turns..

@32 krollchem..thanks.. that is 9 years, give or take one..

Posted by: james | May 7 2019 0:00 utc | 43


Half of the Syrian-Iraq border is South of Deir ez Zur and Al Bukamal and is completely controlled by Syrian and Iraqi troops/paramilitaries. The old oil pipeline runs along the highway and the Syrian Army controls the critical T4 pumping station and the Tiyas airbase just South of the highway.

You will recall the Paveway4 first brought the importance of this T4 pumping station about a year ago.

Unfortunately ISIS still has forces in the desert just North of the highway. Time for some Russian Night Hunter search and destroy missions!

Posted by: Krollchem | May 7 2019 0:18 utc | 44

Bibi repays Bolton, er I mean Trump for his election help.

"Report: Israel provided tip about possible Iranian attack on US interests in Gulf

(May 6, 2019 / JNS) Israel tipped the United States about a possible Iranian plan to “attack U.S. interests in the Gulf” prior to U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton warning Iran on Sunday night with “unrelenting force,” reported Israel’s Channel 13, citing senior Israeli officials.

“The officials said intelligence gathered by Israel, primarily by the Mossad intelligence agency, is understood to be part of the reason for Bolton’s announcement,” according to the outlet, adding that the tip was passed along a few weeks ago during discussions at the White House between delegations led by Bolton and his Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabbat.

“It is still unclear to us what the Iranians are trying to do and how they are planning to do it, but it is clear to us that the Iranian temperature is on the rise as a result of the growing U.S. pressure campaign against them, and they are considering retaliating against U.S. interests in the Gulf,” an Israeli official told Channel 13.

Posted by: daffyDuct | May 7 2019 0:34 utc | 45

reply to
"this is the setup for some kind of false flag or other act of war by Iran in response to the US and Israel's unmistakable acts of war against them for the last several decades."
Posted by: KC | May 6, 2019 6:23:26 PM | 37

Alternatively a false flag or the fear of one may be to provide media cover for an all out Israeli assault on Gaza. Giving Israel their very own psychotic Warsaw Ghetto redux.
Yes, the US Foreign Policy clown car may do a false flag blaming Iran but there is no way the US military wants to take on Iran. No way in hell.

Posted by: frances | May 7 2019 2:30 utc | 46

reply to Posted by: daffyDuct | May 6, 2019 8:34:15 PM | 45
"...adding that the tip was passed along a few weeks ago during discussions at the White House between delegations led by Bolton and his Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabbat."

Easy to imagine how that went.
Something like;
Bolton:"OK,I'll tell the media you gave me a tip about an Iranian buildup."

Posted by: frances | May 7 2019 2:44 utc | 47

frances #21

"The only parallel I can think of is that of an angry, mean drunk with a loaded gun at a party on a canal boat. No room to run, no where to hide, too dangerous to try and take the gun away..all you can do is hope the bastard passes out..."

there's a screenplay in that idea.... another option is that the drunk trips up and falls overboard and drowns... or perhaps is even pushed overboard. plus, everyone, after all, has to go to sleep sooner and later.

America will some day have to take a dose of its own medicine, will be 'treated' with some of its own medicine. Injustice does not last forever. and when the world finally comes to its senses and gangs up on the US like the US has harangued, sanctioned and beaten up some 40-50+ nations now since WWII in one way or another, well, that will be a painful pay back. and most americans, alas, will be, what the hell, it's so unfair!!

that day is coming though I may not live to see it, I admit it seems to be taking forever. who knows.

Posted by: michaelj72 | May 7 2019 6:52 utc | 48

b, excellent insights and rational. My perception at this stage is that this is limited attack, aiming to recover control of northern Hama (thus protection the Christian towns there for the 8 years of slaughtering), control al Ghab plains, vital food source for all northern Syria, and finally Lattakia (protect the coast and bases there).
Should this offensive work as planned, then a 2nd stage will be opened to free up the M5, but that means cracking key cities under al Qaeda for years like Saraqib, once M5 is liberated and secured, the terrorists would be concentrated near the M4 highway and core of Idlib. But there is a open question regarding the northern side of the M5 under turkish terrorists, the same that tried to attack Menagh heli base and Tal Rifaat (BTW, the latter under SAA protection), this area will be key for Syria to resume trade up north.
This is all early stages, many more air strikes will happen and shelling, the recent advances were scouting and tactical, no big push has happened until now.

Posted by: Canthama | May 7 2019 10:48 utc | 49

@44 krollchem... thanks... i was unaware of that, or didn't remember it all...

Posted by: james | May 7 2019 15:04 utc | 50

Posted by: Christian J Chuba | May 6, 2019 4:09:17 PM | 26
(Hospitals being bombed)

The Ru-SAA campaign must be proceeding more successfully than the Christians would prefer.
The BBC's Deutche Welle is reporting via its White Helmets correspondents in Syria that schools and hospitals are being bombed by jets and helicopters with "barrel bombs". DW seems to be short of correspondents. One of the White Helmets blokes, without his white helmet, did a piece-de-camera about homes being bombed while masquerading as a civilian.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 7 2019 17:42 utc | 51

‏ @MichaelNo2War
17h17 hours ago
Replying to @LizSly @Zakaria_m_z @TamerELG

WaPo - Source of the allegation that 'barrel bombs' were used?
- Source of the claim 100s dead?
- Source to prove 10 registered hospitals were hit (by anyone)
- Red Cross say ZERO registered hospitals in Idlib have been hit btw.
- Source of allegation 1000s are fleeing?
5 replies 27 retweets 43 likes

Posted by: arby | May 7 2019 18:10 utc | 52

Lindsey Graham
‏Verified account @LindseyGrahamSC

President @realdonaldTrump & the world need to speak up now regarding new offensive by Assad against Idlib, Syria.

Massacre in the making and refugee turmoil to follow.

It’s time for the world to stand up to the Butcher of Damascus. Protect Idlib."

Posted by: arby | May 7 2019 18:22 utc | 53

vanessa beeley
‏ @VanessaBeeley

Macron calls for cessation of "hostilities" in #Idleb while committing crimes against his own people, militarising police to mutilate Fr citizens"

Posted by: arby | May 7 2019 18:24 utc | 54

Could the recent show of force by USA, nominally aimed at Iran, actually be related to Idlib?

As b has noted, USA has previously supported Turkey's control of Idlib by threatening to bomb Syria if Idlib was attacked.

USA make be reluctant to SAY that it is related to Idlib, but they may look for a pretext to renew the bombing threat and thereby deter an full-on attack on Idlib.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 7 2019 19:05 utc | 55

Well, after dozens of times the pro-SAA sources claimed that "Now the Idlib op will finally start", and after seeing how Assad is now on pretty bad terms with Putin, i dont hold my breath for a good outcome of this mess that is the Syrian war.
The enemies of a secular and non-terrorist and souvereign Syria, namely Erdogan, the Saudis and even the US will be a much more vauable "Partner" and potential ally in the mind of Putin than Assad could ever be.
The best i think we can hope for now is Idlib being cleared from Jihadists (with them being tranferred to dozens other failed states), with North Syria being annexed (unofficially) by Turkey, with the help of Idlib mercs.
Always with the looming danger of a new color revolution fuled by the economic crisis, that Putin tries to use to pressure Assad into submission on the main Issue: Israel and the Russian draft constitution.
Then the cycle can continue again, with all major powers on the winning side, besides Syria and Iran.
Trump can brag about defeating ISIS, while no one will question this BS. He served his backers in NYC and Tel Aviv (and now thanks to him, Jerusalem) well, and will be allowed to to fight for a second term to prove his usefullness again.
Erdo can brag about his new empire that strechtes into Syria like 100+ years ago.

Saudis and Sunni Gulf states still can be happy with their ROE, as they crippeld Syria for generations, and pushed the Wahabbi doctrine into mainstream (statehood territory) besides their own state of head choppers, even though temporary.
EU can still be happy, as they can still be good US lapdogs, despite bringing not only destruction on Syria, but also on their own people with millions of - mostly - pro-opposition (meaning Jihadi sympatizing) so called refugees (as in fleeing from a secular government which they tried to bring down for foreign countrys with the most savage methods and ideology that humanity has seen in this century).

The so called "opposition" can still be happy, as they crippled the secular state, limited it econonmic potential, so further unrest is garantueed, and now even have Putin as a potential ally, who groomed some of their leaders as a possible backup plan if Assad continues to try to save at least some souvereignity for Syria.
Russia, meaning Putin can be happy, as he can claim to have defeated ISIS like Donald can; Pushing millitary hardware sales to new heights to new customers like the Saudis and Erdo; While he can use the Turks as a pressure vehicle to get Assad under his thumb. Bibi is happy with Putin too, even though he could not (yet) deliver on Iran being removed totally from Syria (While at least partially he managed to push Iran away from Golan, with ongoing pressure to achieve a total removal from Syria on Assad). Putins approval ratings were good, as long as he could cover up his neoliberal policys and their consequences on his peoiple with the Syrian war and Jihadist threat.

Everyone wins. Expect the secular Syrian state.

A limited offensive on Idlib, even a total liberation of all terrorists and Turkish occupation will not change those much bigger dynamics on the geopolitical scale. They may be of value for the propaganda and to keep the moral of the SAA and the trust in Russia from totally going under. But in the end, Assad will have to fight alone (with Iran and hopefully the Kurds too) if he wants to regain at least a part of the lost sovereignity from all foreign powers, that try to benefit from the misery of the Syrians.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPropaganda | May 7 2019 19:34 utc | 56

karlof1 31

If Trump does declare MB a terrorist organisation, it will change the middle east chess board. A very tangled web of conflicting interests in that area. Qatar and Turkey, along with Syria Iran and Venezuela are anti Israel which makes them Trumps enemies. In that group, Erdogan's Turkey is still at Syria's throat, not only because it backs MB, but also has aspirations to Syrian territory. Iran backs Syria yet is on good terms with Turkey and Qatar.
Declaring MB a terrorist organisation may even be enough, or at least it will go some way towards Turkey making peace with Syria to fight a common foe.
Another interesting piece of information I run onto is that UAE is sending aid to what is now government held sections of Damascus for rebuilding and so forth.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 7 2019 20:20 utc | 57

@ Jackrabbit nr 4.
You know the song: You are welcome in, but you can never leave.
Hotel California , I think.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | May 7 2019 21:30 utc | 58

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPropaganda | May 7, 2019 3:34:15 PM | 56
(Ru Federation unreliable Syria allies)

Putin's Russia goes to great lengths to avoid telling porkies which can be attributed to the Ru Leadership (I've been paying close attention).
It can be perceived as a handicap, when dealing with the Judeo-Christian Colonial crowd, so Creative Ambiguity (designed to encourage foes to draw the wrong conclusions) seems a rational alternative to resorting to lying.
Russia still wants a military port (and base) in Syria and has already invested hundreds of millions of Rubles in pest-control there.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 8 2019 0:00 utc | 59

DontBelieveEitherPropaganda @56:

Assad is now on pretty bad terms with Putin ... Erdogan, the Saudis and even the US will be a much more vauable "Partner" and potential ally in the mind of Putin than Assad could ever be.

Neolib Putin sold out Syria!! is almost as bad as "Putin is a Zionist!!".

Concern trolling that posits a Putin betrayal has been addressed and refuted at MoA many times. IMO it attempts to build on, and reinforce, the propaganda narrative of Putin as an unprincipled evil genius.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 8 2019 0:06 utc | 60

DW did a story on this today. It included the fact that "activists" were reporting, HTS connection to al Qaeda, Turkey's failure to clear them out ... BUT according to the reporter Syria and the Russians were going after the wrong places as in the usual hospitals, schools, etc. They gave the 130k or 150k civilians living in the area. And in the video - they're back! - the White Helmets. And it's funny that the media can't seem to connect that where the HTS is the White Helmets are there, too.

Posted by: Curtis | May 8 2019 1:46 utc | 61

Christian J Chuba@40

Iran just delivered one million barrels of oil to Syria via ghosting the ship:

Posted by: Krollchem | May 11 2019 6:28 utc | 62

Al Jazeera is reporting that circa 12 of NATO's (not very Christian) Christian Colonial Cranks have proposed a resolution at the UN condemning the bombing of schools & hospitals by un-named perps near Idleb. China, Russia, Indonesia and 1 other country declined to endorse the resolution.
When the UK proposer of the resolution was asked to name the perps, she said (words to the effect) "You should be able to figure that out for yourself i.e. who has and who hasn't got war planes in Syria."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 11 2019 21:28 utc | 63

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