Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 14, 2019

Syrian Government Regains Control Over Country's Northeastern Parts

Eight days ago U.S. President Donald Trump gave a green light for another Turkish invasion of Syria. We explained why that move made it inevitable for the Kurds to submit to Damascus and to let the Syrian Arab Army back into northeast Syria:

While the YPG might want to fight off a Turkish invasion they have little chance to succeed. The land is flat and the YPG forces only have light arms.

There is only one solution for them. They will have to call up the Syrian government and ask it to come back into the north east. That would remove the Turkish concerns and would likely prevent further Turkish moves.

After Trump had spoken with the Turkish president Erdogan, the U.S. military removed a few of its forces from some areas near the Turkish border. The Pentagon was still under the false impression that Turkey would limit its invasion to some 5 kilometer in depth. It was obvious, as we wrote, that Turkey wanted far more:

A major goal is to interrupt the M4 highway that runs parallel to the border and allows for troop movements between the east and the west of the Kurdish majority areas. The highway is about 20-30 kilometers from the border.

The M4 road is also one of the major logistical routes for the U.S. troops stationed in the western part.

The Kurds could do little to resist the Turkish onslaught. On Saturday Turkish supported "Syrian rebels" reached the M4 highway and captured and killed several Kurdish troops and civilians who were passing by. The Pentagon finally took notice of the imminent danger:

“This is total chaos,” a senior administration official said at midday, speaking on the condition of anonymity about the confusing situation in Syria.

Although “the Turks gave guarantees to us” that U.S. forces would not be harmed, the official said, Syrian militias allied with them “are running up and down roads, ambushing and attacking vehicles,” putting American ­forces — as well as civilians — in danger even as they withdraw. The militias, known as the Free Syrian Army, “are crazy and not reliable.”

Ahhhh. The "Free Syrian Army", which the U.S. built and supplied with an immense amount of weapons to fight the Syrian government, is "crazy and not reliable". How come that all the think tankers and 'journalists' who for years lauded that 'army' never noticed that?

The Pentagon finally recognized that it was not possible to hold onto the area without starting a war with its NATO partner Turkey. On Saturday evening Trump gave the order that all U.S. troops shall leave northeast Syria within 30 days. The Secretary of Defense did not resign as his predecessor did over a similar decision but defended the move.

The decision was the kick in the ass the Kurds needed to agree to the return of Syrian government troops to the area they had held on to while under U.S. command. Currently Syrian troops and their heavy weapons are streaming in. Their primary task is to prevent any further encroachment by Turkish forces. They will also move to retake the oil fields east of Deir Ezzor and they will take control of the prison camps where ISIS fighters are held.


As of this writing Syrian troops (red) have entered Manbij, Ain al Issa, Tabqa airbase near Raqqa and Tel Tamr. Turkish supported groups (green) hold Tell Abyad and Ras al-Ayn and the villages between those two cities. That area has an Arab majority population.

The Kurds wish to keep their 'autonomous administration' of northeast Syria. While talks are still ongoing I do not expect that the mostly Arab inhabitants of the whole area, nor the Syrian government will agree to that. There can not be a special status for any of Syria's many ethnic or religious groups.

The Kurdish led Syrian Democratic Forces will be disbanded. Its soldiers will be integrated into the Syrian army. The Syrian government will also disband the 'autonomous' Kurdish administration. It will confiscate the weapons the U.S. has given to the Kurds. All this will take some time but it will, in the end, remove the Turkish concerns that the organized Syrian Kurdish groups could enter Turkey to fight on the side of  their PKK separatist brethren.

The U.S. had more than 1,000 troops in northeast Syria. There were also several hundred French and British special forces and some 2,000 U.S. contractors. They, and a huge amount of equipment, are now moving out. They have nothing to fear from the Syrian forces. Syria is happy to see them leave. (Reports that the U.S.yesterday bombed Syrian troops are false.)

The strategic plan behind last week's development must have come from Moscow. Russia has tried for some time to get Turkey into its camp. Russia, Iran and Syria allowed Turkey a limited invasion of Syria to scare the U.S. out. Russia largely supported the Turkish move but it will also set its limits.

Trump has been looking for a chance to move the U.S. troops out of Syria since December 2018. The borg made that politically unfeasible. The Turkish (Russian) move gave him the excuse he needed.

It is possible that the whole arrangement was made for exactly that purpose.

Posted by b on October 14, 2019 at 12:28 UTC | Permalink

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looks like trump was praying for this and it all looks too good to have just happened by chance

Posted by: nick | Oct 14 2019 12:35 utc | 1

Great day for Syria to recover so much of it without actually fighting for it. This would all have ended years ago is not for the crazies in the US clamoring for another war. Seems they just can not live without killing massive amounts of people near and far. Thats what americans are exceptional for.. killing.. because nothing speaks about your exceptionalism than shooting others in the back.

Posted by: Igor Bundy | Oct 14 2019 12:53 utc | 2

And Borgists, Lindsay Graham first of them, are agitating for massive sanctions against Turkey. If the Congress follow through, then NATO will have definitively lost Turkey and pushed it into the arms of their fellow sanctioned countries, Iran and Russia, with China watching this closely and smiling accordingly.
We'll see if US politicians are that foolish or if they'll let things slip to avoid creating a massive block right in the middle of Eurasia, controlling pretty much every land route between Europe and Asia.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Oct 14 2019 12:57 utc | 3

Turkey still aims to occupy the areas the Syrian Arab Army is entering. There is a possibility of a direct clash between Turkish and Syrian forces. Such a clash would create headaches for both Russia and Iran. Putin has said Russia would not take action against the Turks. What will Iran and Hezbollah do?

Posted by: bob sykes | Oct 14 2019 12:58 utc | 4

If there is a deal between Putin and Erdogan, we can expect that the SAA will hold the line but not push Turkish militias out of northern Syria. When Erdogan has moved in his refugees and the place is calm, the the green light will be given to the SAA for the Idlib offensive. I wouldn't expect it to take long.

Posted by: aniteleya | Oct 14 2019 13:18 utc | 5

I commented on the previous (open) thread that this was a jaw-dropping win-win masterpiece for Russia, the Turks (if they don't get greedy), Syria, and even Trump, but that the deep state won't give up easily...they were just caught a bit off guard. I had mentioned that Trump could "trumpet" that one "win" he received from this was the potential ability to begin mending relations with Turkey. But as Clueless Joe just pointed out, part of the deep state flailing around here may actually also play into a win for Trump, in that far from wanting to save NATO, he would really love to see it collapse, as well as re-patriate all those F-35 jobs subbed out to Turkey. So what would be a bigger win for him than letting his political enemies do the dirty work for him? I suspect he slept well last night.

We're far from out of the woods on this, but it is the happiest news in ages, and might even work. As for conflict between the Turks and SAA, there could be minor clashes, and the Turks may over-stay their welcome in certain areas, but at least Russia is an active mediator between the two, so the differences will ultimately be hammered out--through diplomacy, as they ought to be, rather than war, which is the only trick the US seems to know these days.

Posted by: J Swift | Oct 14 2019 13:27 utc | 6

I do not agree at all that the idea of a Turkish invasion came from Moscow. It is a NATO scheme and nothing else!

Posted by: Magnar Husby | Oct 14 2019 13:34 utc | 7

If this was all agreed beforehand, where are the Izzies in all this? Surely, this is not what Bibi had planned. Graham is their errand boy, certainly, but did Bibi also agree on this? If not, that implies there is some light showing between Trump and Bibi that wasn't there before.

Also, the Izzies fire two torpedoes into an Iranian tanker in the Gulf. Seems a rather significant event that received next to no coverage. Or did the US do that? Certainly, the IRGC must be carefully reviewing target options.

Posted by: casey | Oct 14 2019 13:37 utc | 8

So is the U.S. presence now reduced to just Al-Tanf and environs? No one will “trip the wire” by attacking Al-Tanf, and it can be resupplied over land via client Jordan, but I don’t see how the U.S. can control, or even remain in, any larger area now. From the jihadis’ perspective, I suppose Al-Tanf’s continued usefulness as a refuge will depend on how things go farther north.

Assuming the U.S. will be in Al-Tanf indefinitely, maybe Syria and Iraq can bite the bullet and build a new highway around it to restore the Damascus-Baghdad link. That would be a huge waste of resources, of course, but if the alternative is to wait for sanity to reign in Washington, maybe it’s worth it.

Syria can just consider Al-Tanf a nature reserve for particularly savage and dangerous beasts: monitor it to keep the inhabitants from slipping out, but otherwise leave it alone.

Posted by: David G | Oct 14 2019 13:39 utc | 9

It seems the removal of Bolton is having positive repercussions.

Still, U.S. looking kind-of messed-up here.

Are we winding-down in Iraq ans Afganistan as well?

Posted by: jared | Oct 14 2019 13:44 utc | 10

@J Swift: Afaik, all F-35s come with DRM, and the US can shut them off at will.* So there's no reason not to sell them to "allies", or to collapse NATO, because that would probably harm sales.

* See for details.

Posted by: Foppe | Oct 14 2019 13:46 utc | 11

I do not expect that the mostly Arab inhabitants of the whole area, nor the Syrian government will agree to that.
I'm not sure whether the "mostly Arab inhabitants of the whole area" bit is quite right. Most of the Kurds are on the border, or near it. The southern parts of the SDF area are Arab. But if the Kurds were not more or less majority in the north, they would never have had any claim to autonomy at all.

Asad would do best to grant them autonomy. It's a standard solution round there. The Druze in Jebal Druze are supposed to be autonomous. In Iraq, the Sunni are supposed to have a devolved administration, not to speak of KRG. The degree of autonomy will depend on what pressure they can bring to bear. I don't think Asad will want to be difficult - as it's nearly bringing him the end of the war, and having a Rojava in revolt behind his back would prevent that overarching aim.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 14 2019 13:54 utc | 12

@ Foppe: I understand what you are saying, but I'm just pointing out that Trump has long railed against NATO. Essentially his argument is that it entails commitments and costs to the US, and he is philosophically against that. I think he feels that NATO has served its purpose, which was to gut the militarys and foreign policy independence of Europe, but that they are now sufficiently subservient and will buy US arms when told, without the need for the US to be obligated to do anything in return. I'm making no judgment whether he's right or not, but that's the way I think he sees it. F-35 sales to Turkey are blocked by the deep state right now anyway, so what's the harm?

Posted by: J Swift | Oct 14 2019 13:55 utc | 13

Posted by: David G | Oct 14 2019 13:39 utc | 9

I saw a report yesterday that the US was going to pull out of al-Tanf in a month's time, but I don't know whether it's confirmed.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 14 2019 13:56 utc | 14

Laguerre @14:

That would be very out of character, but great news if true.

Posted by: David G | Oct 14 2019 14:02 utc | 15

Off topic but found the Moon of Alabama song on Youtube here:

Posted by: Morongobill | Oct 14 2019 14:05 utc | 16

Kurdish spokesperson quoted as saying agreement with SAA only to deploy to border. Political talks later about status. I don't believe the Kurdish block in Syria is completely unified, at any rate the situation is to fluid at the moment to be clear about what the eventual status will be.

Posted by: the pessimist | Oct 14 2019 14:08 utc | 17

Fascinating - and exhilarating - developments! This is a truly historic turning point, following on from several others including the Russian unveiling of new weapons systems, Chinese strength against the US trade war, the Iranian demonstration of real ability to stand up to the US, and Houthi demonstrations against Aramco/3 Saudi brigades. The world is changing.

As Bhadrakumar points out, the currency and banking agreements between Russia and Turkey just as the offensive was starting underline the tacit behind the scenes coordination between Russia and Turkey. Likewise the lightning fast advance of the SAA through the middle of the previously US-controlled area underline the tacit behind the scenes coordination between Presidents Trump and President Putin. This is a true coup of US President Trump against the US treasonists - though I think the US (pro-pullout faction) has been taken aback by the speed of developments and the loss of their control of developments.

The operation has been meticulously planned for numerous months by Russia, Syria, Turkey, Iran and Hezbollah. See for example the massing of SAA troops near Aleppo under the guise of preparations against Idleb, and the lightning fast Russian building of a bridge over the Euphrates in Deir Izzor! Some US trolls in the previous thread were claiming the US is fully in control - ha ha! it is the Russians who are in total control. Trump was certainly party to limited parts of the plot, but in my opinion only parts of it.

Complex multidimensional kabuki theatre for a truly multipolar world! Indeed, precisely in fact as I presaged in the last 7 days here!

Syria - Trump Gives A Green Light For Another Turkish Invasion #11
Syria - Trump Gives A Green Light For Another Turkish Invasion #172
Syria - Trump Gives A Green Light For Another Turkish Invasion #240
Syria - Trump Gives A Green Light For Another Turkish Invasion #242
Syria - Turkey Again Invades #22
Syria - Turkey Again Invades #225
Syria - Turkey Again Invades #226

Posted by: BM | Oct 14 2019 14:16 utc | 18

I think this may have been in fact coordinated between Putin, Erdogan AND Trump.

Big clue...Russia AND the US both vetoed the UN Security Council resolution brought forward by the Europeans and condemning Turkey.

This does indeed look like the 'help' Trump needed to get the US out of Syria, which has been knee-capped by the Deep State since day one.

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 14 2019 14:19 utc | 19

Oops, meant to put the Trump Gives A Green Light #172 & #240 and Turkey again invades #225 links first, those were the main ones.

Posted by: BM | Oct 14 2019 14:24 utc | 20

Big clue...Russia AND the US both vetoed the UN Security Council resolution brought forward by the Europeans and condemning Turkey.
This does indeed look like the 'help' Trump needed to get the US out of Syria, which has been knee-capped by the Deep State since day one.
Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 14 2019 14:19 utc | 19

Precisely, flankerbandit!

Posted by: BM | Oct 14 2019 14:27 utc | 21

Helpful Thanks b for demystifying the fog of chaos.

@7 Mr. Husby is disagreeing: Moscow does not have a card in this outcome. Really?

Erdogan had better have an agreement with Mr. Putin. Just in case a bi-partisan pro-war, pro-Bibi Congress keeps the pressure on. Sunday's talk shows:
Trump Threatens to Shut Down All US Dollar Transaction in Turkey

No kidding. Be careful. pardon my pun - Putting a smile on Mr. Putin's face as he sips a fine bottle of wine with his caviar:

Excepts from LINK to a pro-Turkey article LINK

[.]The United States has zero historic interest in the region. US troops in Syria appear to have come from the US garrison in Iraq, which, as VP Dick Cheney hoped, would become a central US military base for the entire Mideast. The Washington war party is moaning that Trump has ‘betrayed’ the Kurds. Their unofficial head, Sen. Lindsey Graham, is demanding more war in Syria – the same warrior senator who dodged the Vietnam War by joining the National Guard as a lawyer.

The Kurds have been used and betrayed since 1918. They always seem to get the short end of the stick. The old Kurdish saying, ‘no friends but the mountains,’ is painfully true. Washington does not want to get involved in a new Kurdish state carved out of Syria or Iraq even though Israel is pushing it hard to further splinter the Mideast. Iraq’s and Syria’s oil deposits are still a powerful lure for imperial-minded powers.[.]

In the middle is the scattered debris of the short-lived ISIS caliphate. Russia, which is selling Turkey its very capable S-400 anti-aircraft system, is watching with delight as old allies Turkey and the US split.

Even Trump knows how important Turkey is to the NATO alliance. A rupture between Washington and Ankara could see the vital US bases at Incirlik and Adana thrown out of Turkey. That’s why Trump needs to tread carefully.

May I add, not just the two bases, throw in the Bosphorous Strait. Ankara, firmly in the arms of Putin? well, there is that vast Black Sea. Americans are known to overlook geography

Posted by: Likklemore | Oct 14 2019 14:28 utc | 22

@8 '....where are the Izzies in all this?'

Where indeed. They seem strangely quiet. Lindsey Graham is doing his best to get sanctions against Turkey but he sounds like a lone voice.
Israel invested a lot in the Rojava project and it looks like they have to kiss it goodbye. Has Bibi lost his mojo?

Posted by: dh | Oct 14 2019 14:34 utc | 23

Lyndsey Graham (why I hate him)

If you look at the evolution of Graham's twitter posts, he starts out with crocodile tears over the plight of the valiant Kurds. But now that the SAA is coming to their rescue all he can worry about is the perceived benefit to Iran and threat to Israel. At least he hasn't proposed new sanctions on Syria (yet).

BTW this is the ONE reason why Bolton remains my favorite, or rather least despised Neocon. He never disguised his raw lust for power behind self-righteous morality, he was and is a scorpion and served it neat. Pompeo, Graham, Rubio, and Pence digust me to the core of my being.

Posted by: Christian J Chuba | Oct 14 2019 14:38 utc | 24

23 & 8: Where are the Israelis on this:


Notice what Bibi is interested in there.

Jpost has a couple analyses up that more or less agree with our speculations here, along with some teeth-gnashing. I would imagine they are calling Putin. I see the beginnings of Trump-hate too, betrayal and like that.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 14 2019 14:51 utc | 25

@9 Daved G The Al Qaim border crossing opened last month. They don't necessarily need Al-Tanf. The US protested loudly about it to Iraq. I believe they even threatened them. Some indications the protests in Iraq may be US sponsored.

Posted by: goldhoarder | Oct 14 2019 14:57 utc | 26

Never mind our own little 'we told you so's' at all - the ubersage is b, who has kept us informed and focused on the actual happenings day to day.

We who are hopeful of a unified Syria and world peace salute you, b! Thank you very much for this good news. And as the Syrians take the chastened but now positive leaning Syrian Kurds into their fold, so may it be for all nations. Let the Kurdish resolution there be a shining example to even the US of A, that it too can come back home like the prodigal son and be welcomed in.

The road ahead has potholes a-many. But at least now it is in sight!

Posted by: juliania | Oct 14 2019 15:06 utc | 27

We will see how the Syrian and Turkish armies will react as soon as they come into contact on Syrian soil.

Posted by: Pnyx | Oct 14 2019 15:09 utc | 28

Yes definitely a deal made among Trump, Erdogan and Putin as I've stated with Erdo driving the bus and the others waiting to grab the steering wheel if need be.

The question becomes will they grab the steering wheel if need be?

Great news from this too in that Trump will be severely damaged by this move among his dwindling constituency, who are not isolationist so much as Amerikkka Firsters.

And Amerikkka First doesn't square very well with Amerikkka in abject retreat in the face of Turkish and Syrian troop movements. Not too mention leaving its allies to twist in the wind and join sides with the "enemy."

Trump may be doing the right thing here but it will come at a political cost he can barely afford with the impeachment inquiry gathering steam.

So this is a win-win from the domestic US political perspective too

Posted by: donkeytale | Oct 14 2019 15:15 utc | 29

Turkey still aims to occupy the areas the Syrian Arab Army is entering. There is a possibility of a direct clash between Turkish and Syrian forces.
Posted by: bob sykes | Oct 14 2019 12:58 utc | 4

There will be no Turkish occupation, they will hand over to SAA. Turkey certainly wants to strike a blow to Kurdish terrorists and make sure the PKK and YPG are seriously weakened politically (already guaranteed), but the rest is all kabuki theatre to force the Kurds to give up their stolen territory, and to assist Trump in pulling the US definitively out of the US (a little faster than the US expected, though, it seems). Russia, Turkey, Syria and Iran are in perfect agreement over the whole operation, all four sides get a massive win.

Are we winding-down in Iraq ans Afganistan as well?
Posted by: jared | Oct 14 2019 13:44 utc | 10

It would seem a logical next step, wouldn't it, after the promised pull-out from Al-Tanf?

I predict that Trump now has the momentum to turn the tables on the Russiagate/Muellergate/Ukrainegate treason. Barr will in the near future bring indictments against some of the treasonists (I suspect including eventually Brennan, but later); before the end of the year Trump will initiate moves to pull out of Iraq and/or Afghanistan, and before the election will make somewhat believable promises to pull out of both. Trump will win a landslide in 2020, with the presidency, and a majority in both houses. The neocon movement will be finished forever.

Trump is a monster, a mobster, a disgusting crepe, and a war criminal - so what's new, he's the US President! He has also done a lot of really bad things as president. But beyond question he is also doing a few good and fundamentally important things. A lousy US president, but the best of a bad job. The transition to a truly multipolar world is well underway.

Posted by: BM | Oct 14 2019 15:21 utc | 30

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 14 2019 13:54 utc

I don't think it's wise to do so. SAA have liberated region without anyone gaining special status. Giving autonomy to just Kurds would raise eyebrows from many of their own ranks not to mention Erdogan own woe about it.
Anyway Assad have reiterated time and time again that Kurds did not deserve anything more or less than the rest. Both him and his officials have labeled the Kurds as traitors multiple times.
While reconciliation and merge between pro government forces and US backed forces is in order with little in their way as of now i predict bad blood would still be shed between them in which the process can be capitalized by USA once again (if the Kurds hadn't enough).

Posted by: HW | Oct 14 2019 15:23 utc | 31


I'm getting the impression that from Manbij for eg, the TSk is poised on one side, the north, the SAA to the south of the town. But the TSK is more the TFSA, ie the expendables, and they are nervous to attack, expecting a full reaction from the SAA.

Each side is testing the other and probing their resolve. Apparently the TFSA does not have air support, unlike the SAA.

Posted by: Musasa | Oct 14 2019 15:24 utc | 32

Where are the Israelis on this:

It's none of their fucking business. I can see no reason why any of the conspirators would want the Israelis to know what was about to happen. Israel's capacity to fuck this up by whining to their neo-con/lib pals in Washington and perhaps London provides all the justification the conspirators needed to keep Tel Aviv out of the loop. Fortunately the political Zionists in London are deeply involved in the Brexit crap so weren't paying attention. Yet again Mossad demonstrate they are fucking useless in gathering intelligence so residents and visitors here should stop being in awe of Mossad, a shitty, ineffective and entirely useless "intelligence operation". As for American Zionists, it's useful that Sheldon Adelson's other half has apparently fallen out AFAIK with Netanyahu's other half, so a simple phone call is all that is required of Trump.

As for Trump's involvement, for his own safety, he'd want to have little to no involvement in the planning and execution of this conspiracy beyond passing on a warning of what he was about to do which is all he really needed to do. The other possibilities are either that someone in the White House told the conspirators what was about to happen because they wanted the best possible outcome for the Kurds or perhaps the GRU has someone in place in the White House who is doing it for the money or whatever.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Oct 14 2019 15:26 utc | 33

Most recent report from Canthama posted at SyrPers:

"Early reports, no photos to confirm, that the SAA has positioned inside Ras Ayn city, this is literally the battlefront.

"It seems Tall Abyad was fully taken by turkish backed terrorists between Saturday night and Sunday, the[y] can['t] advance further though.

"SAA inside Ayn Al Arab (Kobane) since last night.

"Frontline seems calm, though skirmishes are reported in few places.

"It is hard to tell how many SAA soldiers moved yesterday, some guesses are close to 10,000 SAA soldiers from HAsaka, Qamishli, Aleppo and down center Syria to Tabqa.

"The SAA is entering Raqqa city at this very moment, it will be on TV soon.

"The following bases which saw many brave Syrians be martyred are now under the control of the SAA:
Brigade 93 in Ayn Issa
Tabqa Airbase
Division 17 – inside Raqqa, yet to be occupied."

By the time Congress organizes itself to pass sanctions on Turkey the entire affair will be over and the sanctions meaningless except as telling us which Congresscritters play for the Deep State borg.

Putin is in Saudi for his Summit. We should know more about how that went later today. And Imran Khan is visiting Iran. Hopefully more news about that happening too.

Once SAA's in place, I expect Turkish forces to withdraw. Then the anvil's going to drop unto Idlib.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 14 2019 15:28 utc | 34

The kurds are not united, especially those in N Syria. There are a range of ideological and religious loyalties, the SDF/PYG being a smaller group. But with US funding they got a following. Now that plug is pulled, other loyalties will come to the surface.

I still think the Xi-Putin partnership did the phase one agriculture trade deal as a sop to the US. After all, betrayers usually get something

Posted by: les7 | Oct 14 2019 15:43 utc | 35

A few open questions remain regarding Israel and Trump. Was the earlier extreme support of Israel just a setup for this about-turn? Does Trump feel betrayed and vindictive about being manipulated by his son-in-law? Only time will tell. Hopefully Nutty-Yahoo will eventually be pushed out and indicted.

Posted by: BM | Oct 14 2019 15:44 utc | 36

Kudos to BM for a number of excellent posts on this situation. This whole operation carried out by Syria, Russia and Turkey does look like a carefully choreographed operation.

Big question seems to be is how much of this Trump knew before it happened? The classic questions: what did he know and when did he know it? If he knew beforehand what was coming down, and if the Dems could prove such then they would likely add treason to the articles of his impeachment. This could result in enough neocon Republican senators voting to convict.

Posted by: ToivoS | Oct 14 2019 15:49 utc | 37

thanks b and the many fine commentators.... ultimately this looks and appears super positive... my one concern is no serious clash with turkey and syria here.... hopefully this can be worked out amicably and turkey goes back to turkey... where do their proxies go though?? that is one of the x factors as i see it...

Posted by: james | Oct 14 2019 15:50 utc | 38

New twist on wag the dog. To counter the internal opposition by stopping a war rather than starting one.

Posted by: browning | Oct 14 2019 15:55 utc | 39

b: On Saturday evening Trump gave the order that all U.S. troops shall leave northeast Syria within 30 days.


When officials like SecDef Esper talk of "withdrawal" from "North Syria" I read their statements as meaning a PULL BACK from the border area.

But many in the media have taken that talk to mean a "pull out" of all troops in the northeast instead of a "pull back".

So any link to an official statement that contains the intention to "pull out" instead of "pull back" would be really helpful.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 14 2019 15:56 utc | 40

It is hilarious to hear the "Empire Can Never Lose" crowd making excuses! "It's just a flesh wound"! "It's not over till Miss Lindsey sings"! "Langley take the Wheel"! Whatever....

At this point all American power has left is to write some more ham-fisted propaganda in the NYT!

Posted by: nemo | Oct 14 2019 16:02 utc | 41

@41 jr.. in one of the links up top
"THE NATION. We are following two very big stories this Sunday. The impeachment investigation and the president's decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria."

"MARGARET BRENNAN: A deliberate withdrawal from the entire country?

SEC. ESPER: From northern Syria.

MARGARET BRENNAN: From northern Syria.

SEC. ESPER: Right, which is where most of our forces are."

etc. this link..

Posted by: james | Oct 14 2019 16:02 utc | 42

Once SAA's in place, I expect Turkish forces to withdraw. Then the anvil's going to drop unto Idlib.
Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 14 2019 15:28 utc | 35

I agree, but Turkey cannot withdraw until Syria has convincing control of the whole of the formerly SDF occupied territories. Until then there will have to be plausible fighting or imminent threat of fighting. Otherwise the YPG will see how they have been conned and will try to wrest back power from the SAA. Therefore there will continue to be realistic kabuki theatre fighting alongside real skirmishes, as the SAA close the trap on the YPG. As soon as the trap is completely closed, political pressure will be on to topple the YPG from control over the Syrian Kurds. With the SAA boots on the ground on the front between Turkey and SDF - and apparently even in the centre of Ras Ayn city - I think the majority of the Kurds will strongly and vociferously reject the YPG/SDF and their pathetic and lethal stupidity.

Posted by: BM | Oct 14 2019 16:04 utc | 43

ttg post at sst's here which goes into my concerns @39..

Posted by: james | Oct 14 2019 16:06 utc | 44

Also Turkey will not withdraw (nore the kabuki fighting end) until the US withdrawal is definitively irreversible.

Posted by: BM | Oct 14 2019 16:06 utc | 45

correction to @45.. that is pl talking..

"A successful Syrian/SDF alliance will inevitably mean an end to the US policy of regime change in Syria. pl"

Posted by: james | Oct 14 2019 16:09 utc | 46

NYT today: "Embittered at their abandonment by their American allies, Kurdish leaders moved to secure a new partner: the government of Bashar al-Assad, an avowed foe of the United States."

The list of "regimes" suddenly got shorter?

Another passage is strangely formulated, but informative:

"... a Turkish incursion gave Mr. Assad an opening, and his forces began to fill it on Monday.

In some towns, they were welcomed by locals who chanted nationalistic slogans and carried Mr. Assad’s photograph. In other areas, trucks drove large numbers of Syrian soldiers into the area to take up positions."

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 14 2019 16:11 utc | 47

Posted by: HW | Oct 14 2019 15:23 utc | 32

You failed to read my comment. The Druze already have autonomous status; it would be nothing new for the Kurds.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 14 2019 16:17 utc | 48


I love it when those pseudo analyst from the Think Tanks sitting in their comfortable office saying "we"

She is full of camel doodoo

Posted by: Yul | Oct 14 2019 16:23 utc | 49

@fizzle 25 The MSM have long ago swallowed their tail and cant see (propagandize) left from down. The MSM is the propaganda arm of the CIA. Hell... look at how many "ex" employees are on staff. That is the telling mark of a third world country. Those countries whose intelligence agencies run the media.

Posted by: goldhoarder | Oct 14 2019 16:25 utc | 50

@31 Trump is a monster, a mobster, a disgusting crepe, and a war criminal - so what's new, he's the US President! He has also done a lot of really bad things as president. But beyond question he is also doing a few good and fundamentally important things. A lousy US president, but the best of a bad job. The transition to a truly multipolar world is well underway. An optimist! I love it! Honestly if all this comes true we should build a monument to Trump's "greatness" in DC. Leave it there as a stick in the eye to all the neocons and their close partners the war mongering democrats.

Posted by: goldhoarder | Oct 14 2019 16:32 utc | 51

Turkey is on its own here...

“It was an coordinated arrangement between us and the Turks. And despite our protestations, despite the fact that we urged the Turks not to do this, they decided to do it and we told them that we would not support them militarily in this action.”

More from Esper -

“The Kurds have been very good partners in the D-ISIS campaign. They were very good fighters on the battlefield. We obviously enabled that as well. But at the same time, we didn’t sign up to fight the Turks on their behalf. And we’ve been very clear with them about that. That’s why since I came into office over two months ago I worked week after week with my defense minister counterpart from Turkey and urged them not to do this.”

Posted by: h | Oct 14 2019 16:34 utc | 52

@47 Given the degree of distrust on both sides (which is more or less a given in ME affairs) I think 'a successful Syrian/SDF alliance' is wishful thinking (sorry Colonel). It will be more like a tentative temporary agreement.

Posted by: dh | Oct 14 2019 16:36 utc | 53

Moon, this article is simply marvellous and I hate to nit-pick but there is a minor inconsistency I hope I can smooth out.
Early in the article you say that Trump “gave a green light for another Turkish invasion of Syria.” This way of putting it suggests that this sequence of events began when Trump announced a troop withdrawal from north eastern Syria. However, later in the article you – referring to Trump – you write “The Turkish (Russian) move gave him the excuse he needed.” This suggests that the sequence of events began with the Turkish move.
I have kept fairly detailed notes on this matter and these notes tell me that on 5 October Erdogan stated that the Turks would be moving into north eastern Syria, that on 6 October social media were reporting evidence that the move had begun and that on 7 October Trump made his announcement to the effect that US troops would be withdrawn from the area. In short, as you say at the end, it was the Turkish move that prompted Trump’s withdrawal announcement, not the other way around. I think this is important. It is the Russians (in this case with Turkish cooperation) who know what they are doing and have a plan. Trump is merely reacting.

Posted by: Roger Milbrandt | Oct 14 2019 16:44 utc | 54

@dh They don't have the power to remain independent without US troops acting as a backup or trip wire. You make it sound like they have a choice. It is either Assad or Turkey.

Posted by: goldhoarder | Oct 14 2019 16:45 utc | 55

donkeytale @30 wrote "Great news from this too in that Trump will be severely damaged by this move among his dwindling constituency, who are not isolationist so much as Amerikkka Firsters."

Damaged? Seriously? Why the hell do you think we Trump voters came out in droves to support him in 2016? He was the only candidate stating over and again he wanted us out of these endless wars. That if we were to use the military it would be if America was threatened only. He's doing what we deplorables voted him in to do. To put an end to PNAC's neocon/neolib global bullying and endless wars.

On the other hand, your candidate would have us in a hot war by now w/a NATO ally. After all, the Foundation would need to be fed!

Study up on us. We're your friend not your foe...

Posted by: h | Oct 14 2019 16:49 utc | 56

@56 I was responding to james quote from sst.....there is a little history there, right james?

You are talking about the YPG not having any power? I agree but they still have to give up their aspirations. Promises don't mean much in that region.

Posted by: dh | Oct 14 2019 16:51 utc | 57

james | Oct 14 2019 16:02 utc | 43

In the interview SecDef Esper says that USA wanted to avoid being caught between two advancing armies. But these armies are clashing only in the border area.

I've seen another description elsewhere that USA would be moving its troops south.

SecDef Esper also says that USA will conduct a "deliberate withdrawal" and refuses to provide a time frame for completion of that withdrawal.

Trump's tweets never specifically stay that he's "pulling out" - despite using that language repeatedly in December 2018 AND he seems focused on avoiding a clash with Turkey, not retreating from conflict with SAA+Russia:

Oct 14:
The same people who got us into the Middle East mess are the people who most want to stay there! [LOL, a message from our "locked and loaded" President]

Oct 14:
....Kurds may be releasing some to get us involved. Easily recaptured by Turkey or European Nations from where many came, but they should move quickly. Big sanctions on Turkey coming! Do people really think we should go to war with NATO Member Turkey? Never ending wars will end!

Oct 13:
We have become a far greater Economic Power than ever before, and we are using that power for WORLD PEACE!

Oct 13:
Dealing with @LindseyGrahamSC
and many members of Congress, including Democrats, about imposing powerful Sanctions on Turkey. Treasury is ready to go, additional legislation may be sought. There is great consensus on this. Turkey has asked that it not be done. Stay tuned!

Oct 13:
.....The Kurds and Turkey have been fighting for many years. Turkey considers the PKK the worst terrorists of all. Others may want to come in and fight for one side or the other. Let them! We are monitoring the situation closely. Endless Wars!

Oct 13:
Do you remember two years ago when Iraq was going to fight the Kurds in a different part of Syria. Many people wanted us to fight with the Kurds against Iraq, who we just fought for. I said no [but he remained in Syria and subsequently backtracked on leaving saying USA had to remain to guard against an ISIS resurgence and to protect Israel!], and the Kurds left the fight, twice. Now the same thing is happening with Turkey......

Oct 13:
Very smart not to be involved in the intense fighting along the Turkish Border, for a change. Those that mistakenly got us into the Middle East Wars are still pushing to fight. They have no idea what a bad decision they have made. Why are they not asking for a Declaration of War?

Oct 13:
The same people that got us into the Middle East Quicksand, 8 Trillion Dollars and many thousands of lives (and millions of lives when you count the other side), are now fighting to keep us there. Don’t listen to people that haven’t got a clue. They have proven to be inept!

Oct 12: The endless wars must end! [but we are remaining in Afghanistan?]

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 14 2019 17:06 utc | 58

If he knew beforehand what was coming down, and if the Dems could prove such then they would likely add treason to the articles of his impeachment.
Posted by: ToivoS | Oct 14 2019 15:49 utc | 38

Trump ordered the military out of Syria, and it is the president's prerogative both to formulate foreign policy and to order a withdrawal. The Deep State's sabotage of that order is treason, Trump's order is not.

Posted by: BM | Oct 14 2019 17:30 utc | 59


Shuffling 1,000 special forces troops who weren't engaged in active combat operations = "getting us out of endless wars?"

I'm your friend for sure but true friends should also be honest with each other.

You're being taken for a ride by a conman....for the second time, at least.

And I don't believe Bernie AKA "my candidate" would be in a hot war with a Nato ally either by now either. It is an interesting question to ponder coming up on 2020.

If you meant Hilliary well you might well be right...and you might be wrong, but since she lost it is a wholly meaningless comparison.

Posted by: donkeytale | Oct 14 2019 17:43 utc | 60

James 43. There is no evidence yet of any SAA movement east of the Euphrates into the oil fields. Will the US try and keep the oil fields to stop Assad exploiting them? Esper is reported on SST as saying they will stay on in Al Tanf and “elsewhere”. Does “elsewhere” mean the oil fields? The expansion of the SAA in the north will require helluva lot of fuel. Is there a cunning plan here to overextend the SAA so the fuel shortages get worse? Note the possible Israeli torpedoing of an Iranian tanker in the Red Sea in this regard.

Posted by: Phil Espin | Oct 14 2019 17:43 utc | 61

@ dh 54/58.. first off, i agree with @ 56 goldhoarder.. they don't really have a choice.. the kurds went for the glitter - usa, when they could have went for lead - assad... they now see all that glitters is not gold.. so, they're back to the lead, lol.. it's true promises don't mean much generally, but accepting the usa's promises, is and was going for fools gold here..ask goldhoarder, lol..

@59 jackrabbit... i trust the cia run usa msm will twist it all in such a way that trump is made to look like the jackass again.. on with the impeachment proceedings deep state!! your star player trump is ready for the next act in this developing melodrama!

Posted by: james | Oct 14 2019 17:46 utc | 62

@62 phil espin... i thought i read somewhere that saa was headed towards the important oil fields... you ask some good questions... syria-saa is definitely not out of the woods yet, but on the surface it looks very positive and promising..

Posted by: james | Oct 14 2019 17:47 utc | 63

related - "According to some reports from northern Syria, the U.S. military warned the Syrian Army to halt their movements until their troops were fully withdrawn from Kobani.

It is still not clear why the U.S. military is still blocking the Syrian Army; however, Turkey has been eyeing this city for quite some time and the longer the U.S. takes to evacuate their forces, the better it is for Ankara." link here..

Posted by: james | Oct 14 2019 17:53 utc | 64

relevant comment from laguerre on the open thread regarding the oil fields..

"I'm not sure the oil-fields are really an issue. They can't be defended by the US 1,000 troops without Kurdish help. And right now, the US really can't rely on the Kurds to help them out.

The interesting point though about the oil-fields is that since the SDF took them over, the US refused to allow the sale of the product to Damascus. All previous ISIS/rebel occupants had continued to do so. That has meant severe shortages in Syria, of which cooking gas is mentioned, but also no doubt fuel for vehicles. It was why the Iranian tanker was an important issue; I'm certain the US was trying to starve Damascus out.

And now, all of a sudden, the oil is going to be back in Syrian hands. The wells are on Arab land, not Kurdish, only one is.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 14 2019 9:36 utc | 134"

Posted by: james | Oct 14 2019 17:59 utc | 65

@DonkeyTale - sure Bernie would be dragged into another hot war, just as Obama was pushed into several hot wars.

They'd have to dress the wars up with more human rights talk than if Dubya or Trump were president, Bernie might feel real sad when he pushed the button, but the people getting killed don't care about that.

Posted by: Sid Finster | Oct 14 2019 18:12 utc | 66

James 66. Yes I saw Laguerre’s comment. US AirPower is still a powerful deterrent to SAA and it’s unlikely the Russians will try and strong arm the US. At the moment the 1000 US troops in the oil fields are not trapped between any advancing armies. Ironically they are unlikely to see any Turkish troops, SDF or ISIS as they will be effectively protected from them by SAA who will be in their way. This week will soon show which way the wind is blowing in East Syria.

Posted by: Phil Espin | Oct 14 2019 18:13 utc | 67

There is a bit of criticism here of the Kurds for being slow to taking their only reasonable option, but I think there is a strictly pragmatic issue involved that has not been mentioned. When the Kurds stop playing toy soldiers for the Americans they lose their salaries. Unemployment is rarely something that people joyously embrace. I think it is not surprising that they would wait until is was certain that Uncle Sugar was cutting them off before they burn their bridges to that sweet cash cow. I would bet that the decision to go with the Syrian government's offer followed within seconds of the guy on the American side who handed out the lucre being evacuated.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 14 2019 18:14 utc | 68

@63 james I wish people would specify which Kurds they mean. Of course the YPG has no choice. They will make some kind of deal with Damascus but will they give up their Rojava dreams? Their current leaders will promise to.

Regarding promises. So far the only person to keep his promise is Assad....he said he will take back every inch of Syria. He's making progress. I guess Erdogan too made a promise to get rid of the YPG threat. With the YPG neutralized he may be right.

BTW I don't buy the 'resurgence of ISIS' line that the MSM is trying to scare us with. Some prisoners escaped but they have nowhere to go and no support. Newly barbered jihadis will be rounded up before they can become a cohesive force.

Posted by: dh | Oct 14 2019 18:19 utc | 69

@35 karlof1 - "Once SAA's in place, I expect Turkish forces to withdraw. Then the anvil's going to drop unto Idlib."

This seems likely, subject to the various nuances that BM @44 offers.

Pepe Escobar in his latest reminds us that when SAA finally retake Idlib, there are going to be fleeing jihadists that Erdogan doesn't want coming to Turkey. This seems a clear enough trade to restrain any residual thoughts that might exist of staying in Syria, and actually a goad that the axis has been able to hold in the background of the planning discussions with Turkey:

Kurds face stark options after US pullback

The realpolitik of the region is undeniable: Turkey will have its hands full simply enjoying its future life; it doesn't need to play imperial fantasy in Syria. What it needs is a secure border against jihadists, who ideally need to die or be imprisoned inside of Syria's border, under the guard of the SAA.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 14 2019 18:19 utc | 70

@James @66:

The US embargo on sales of oil to the Syrian government simply underscores the fact that the United States is in Syria for the sole purpose of regime change. Not "fighting ISIS" or "protecting Kurds" or whatever other figleaf they come up with.

Posted by: Sid Finster | Oct 14 2019 18:19 utc | 71

A whole bunch of self-entitled gossip journalist, politicians and celebrity television blabbers in the US will be having conniptions, their will explode at the news. The savage world of smoke and mirrors in Syria is vanishing before their eyes and now there is nothing left for them except Ukrainegate which we can expect to only get more vicious because 'Trump betrayed the Kurds', but just don't ask them how they thought the whole Kurdish situation in Syria could have been resolved any other way.

Posted by: Quentin | Oct 14 2019 18:22 utc | 72

Phil Espin @68 said: "they [US troops] are unlikely to see any Turkish troops, SDF or ISIS as they will be effectively protected from them by SAA who will be in their way."

We take it for granted that Americans are dumber than a box of rocks, but are they really so stupid that they won't question why their troops' sole remaining role in Syria is to prevent Syrians from accessing Syria's oil? No Kurds to defend or terrorists to fight, just oil wells...

Given how retarded and incompetent America's mass media has been for the last couple decades they will doubtless fumble the narrative on that and fail to sell it to the American public.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 14 2019 18:27 utc | 73


i have to go out for most of the rest of the day, but i just want to say that i agree with all the comments directed at me, including the general one that william gruff makes- the kurds like anyone else, liked uncle sugars paycheck..that's very relevant..

Posted by: james | Oct 14 2019 18:27 utc | 74

Latest on oil fields:

"SAA finished its preparations for deployment in Deir Ezzor, all oil facilities will be protected. Deployment will be carried out in -indirect- coordination with US forces are still in the process of withdrawing from the province."

I expect beginning at dawn tomorrow. Reports of several additional pontoon bridges thrown across Euphrates to allow for a general massed advance. SAA's already in Raqqa and surrounds.

Manbij now under SAA control.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 14 2019 18:33 utc | 75

BM #60

Of course the president has the right to conduct foreign policy. He had the perfect right to ask Zelenski for Ukraine to support US investigations into the origins of Russiagate. However, the Dems are right now working to bring up articles of impeachment against Trump for doing just that. There is no doubt to me that if it could be established that if Trump knew before he called for the withdrawal of those 100 US troops from NE Syria, that this would lead to the forced withdrawal of all US troops in Syria, which then allowed Syria to re-establish control over their entire country then the neo-con cabal that runs Washington would call that treason. And the Dems that run the House would add treason to the articles of impeachment. There is no legal precedent for this. In fact, the decision to impeach and convict a president cannot be appealed to the judiciary. Congress's right here is beyond the courts jurisdiction, it is a purely political process.

Posted by: ToivoS | Oct 14 2019 18:45 utc | 76

William Gruff @69--

I understand your POV, but how many Kurds died so others could continue to be paid? And how is that morally justifiable? Indeed, How many innocents died as a result of the Kurds backstabbing Damascus and allying with the Outlaw US Empire? How much wealth was siphoned off that belonged to the entire Syrian polity? How many Kurdish political leaders have fled with their booty and will never return?

Given Trump's and US Congressional behavior toward Turkey, how far will relations now sink?

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 14 2019 18:49 utc | 77

Toivo S @ 77

He had the perfect right to ask Zelenski for Ukraine to support US investigations into the origins of Russiagate.

The problem is Trump also asked a foreign government investigation into his political opponent and there is evidence he then directed a cover up.

And the cover up isn't holding. Several of the participants from his administration are ignoring the blatant obstruction of Congress and testifying.

Posted by: donkeytale | Oct 14 2019 18:52 utc | 78

Great news for the people of Syria (and not just for the government) that the SAA is liberating the north-east from the enemies.

As well as that, taking control of the oil fields in that territory will boost the Syrian economy. The oil fields are situated far to the east - near the Iraqi border - but they appear to be too spread out to be easily controlled by Syria's enemies, now that Trump has torn the anti-Assad alliance apart.

Another huge benefit to Syrians will be the supply of food from the fertile agricultural land in that part of the country.

Posted by: Brendan | Oct 14 2019 18:55 utc | 79

ToivoS @77--

The trial of the POTUS in the Senate based on the Articles of Impeachment is done with the entire US Supreme Court presiding and Senators as jurors. AND unlike all other common law criminal jury trials, the verdict's only 2/3s, not unanimous.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 14 2019 18:56 utc | 80

‘...And the Dems that run the House would add treason to the articles of impeachment. There is no legal precedent for this. ...’

The criminalisation of diplomacy will be deeply regrettable on all sides. Those in the grip of TDS know not what they do. Any long term vision with this minority is lost. (And it is a minority generally, just a loud minority). If successful it smells like civil war. Get the popcorn.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Oct 14 2019 19:02 utc | 81

I would submit that Biden isn't Trump's specific political opponent at this moment. More correctly, Biden's the political opponent of all D-Party POTUS candidates, not Trump. Biden is just another citizen before the law that is supposed to be the primary preserve of the POTUS as Chief Magistrate. Indeed, it is the duty of the Chief Magistrate to ferret out the mass of corruption clearly present within the FBI and Department of Justice as portrayed by the Russiagate fiasco and its "investigation," all of which functioned to cover up Hillary Clinton's and the DNC's crimes. It's been a very long time in coming but the mass of corruption within the Federal Government looks like it's finally going to get dug into--and as we all know, that corruption's bipartisan. The cleansing must begin at some point. IMO, now is as good a time as any as it certainly shouldn't wait any longer.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 14 2019 19:08 utc | 82

MadMax and ToivoS

Impeachment is by its very nature a political process. It is not a criminal process. So your arguments are circular.

Currently, the Justice Dept holds that a sitting President cannot be indicted while in office, which means the POTUS is immune from the criminal justice system....until he leaves office. Like Nixon, it is almost certain he would be pre-emptively pardoned by his successor if indeed he resigns or is convicted by the Senate (which as Karlof1 points out requires 2/3 vote and is also political not criminal in nature) and criminal actitvity is uncovered during the impeachment process.

Clinton ("Clinton Derangement Syndrome") was impeached for lying under oath about having sex with a person other than his wife but subsequently wasn't indicted. He paid some hefty civil penalties as I recall.

But not to wrry. Trump is currently being investigated for alleged financial crimes tied to his real estate empire from the time between his four bankrupticies and when he took office and could very well be indicted for criminal possibly RICO-related activities after he leaves office.

These have always been more fertile hunting grounds for potential criminal behaviour by the organutan in chief. This is also the reason I believe Trump may intend to figure out a way to suspend the Constitution and remain President for Life, simply to keep his pampered fat candied ass out of the slammer in his final years.

Posted by: donkeytale | Oct 14 2019 19:22 utc | 83

karlof1 @ 83

I would submit that Biden isn't Trump's specific political opponent at this moment.

You may submit this specious argument but try to keep a straight face while doing so. Biden is clearly running for POTUS as Democrat and Trump is clearly seeking the aid of a foreign government to damage Biden's campaign for POTUS.

Posted by: donkeytale | Oct 14 2019 19:26 utc | 84

How did these kids go from Ayn Issa where "a BBC journalist met them" to Raqqa, where they are now in the hands of NGO "Save the children" ? Any idea?

Posted by: Mina | Oct 14 2019 19:29 utc | 85

To further clarify, the investigation into Trump's pre-presidential business activities in NY State are not pardonable.

Posted by: donkeytale | Oct 14 2019 19:34 utc | 86

karlof1 @78

Morally? None who helped the US try to wreck the country have a moral leg to stand on, and I am not trying to say that they do. That said, if the Syrian government is open to letting the Kurdish fighters join the SAA, the pragmatic issue of making a living could cause a surprisingly quick resurgence of Syrian patriotism among those Kurds.

One's sense of justice demands that the Kurds be punished for taking up arms and siding with foreign enemies. That's an incredibly serious crime, after all. But the Syrian government may be more interested in deconfliction rather than revenge, and I suspect that is what the Russians are advising and it seems like Assad's attitude as well.

In the larger geopolitical arena, the effect of taking this approach is to judo-style disarm a foreign enemy that is cynically using the Kurds as a weapon to attack Syria. That is a much more important goal than delivering justice to the individual combatants.

Doubtless you realize this without my saying it but I just wanted to get it here in text.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 14 2019 19:39 utc | 87

The EU is getting more ridiculous by the day. Some countries halt their weapons export to Turkey, but as long as they were selling it to the country which has managed to put 60,000 so-called opponents in jail in a couple of years, it was ok!
Not to mention the fate of the prisoners (relatives of IS) they did not want to see back

Posted by: Mina | Oct 14 2019 19:41 utc | 88

"By the time Congress organizes itself to pass sanctions on Turkey the entire affair will be over and the sanctions meaningless except as telling us which Congresscritters play for the Deep State borg." karlofi

Not quite. CluelessJoe@3 has it right.
"We'll see if US politicians are that foolish or if they'll let things slip to avoid creating a massive block right in the middle of Eurasia, controlling pretty much every land route between Europe and Asia."
Given that the Congress is dominated by people eager to vote in favour of Israeli policies, without being too sure what the Tel Aviv fascists actually want, mistakes, like imposing sanctions on the victors of a war that has ended, are very likely to be made.
The Gods are obviously dead set against the US. Why, otherwise, would they have made Congress so insane?
In the meantime the burgeoning bloc of China, Turkey, Iran, Russia, Syria, Central Asia and Pakistan is beginning to make NATO look tiny. We are closing in on the point at which all America's fair weather friends, from Arabia to India, are likely to change sides.
Isolationism isn't always a political choice. Sometimes its the sign that choices no longer exist.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 14 2019 19:42 utc | 89

Turkish-backed Forces Announce Advance On Manbij, Clash With Syrian Army

On October 14 evening, Turkish-backed miltiant groups officially announced an advance on the town of Manbij, which was controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. The advance started a few hours after units of the Syrian Army was deployed north of Manbij.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 14 2019 19:51 utc | 90

donkeytale @61 - Maybe it's just me but I'm thinking it's apparent that those 1000 or more troops/special forces remained near the border for a couple of reasons. First, to maintain the security of the Islamic State captives. Second, to serve as a kind of human shield to thwart a Turkey invasion until Putin could wave his magic wand.

Had Trump made the decision to add troops to the 1000 there we'd be nearing a hot war w/a NATO ally, like them or not, on behalf of the Kurdish-lead SDF. Go back and study the reasoning for Mattis' departure.

Trump chose not to go that route which means an end to this mess O and company illegally lead the US into in Syria.

You don't get to rewrite the facts as we know them. Those 1000 troops were serving a purpose which kept the US in theater when in fact they should never have been there at all. Once Erdogan made his intentions perfectly clear, and he was ready to order his troops to enter Syria, Trump removed the 'endless.'

As for Syria's oil, who knows what deal is being negotiated behind the scenes. One thing is for sure, Syria desperately needs the revenue to rebuild its entire infrastructure.

Oh, and no, your feckless candidate would be making sure that .99 cents out of every dollar you earned would be spent on everything else but the military. Let me know how that hot war with China works out for you when you have no military to defend you and your loved ones.

Just being honest with ya.

Posted by: h | Oct 14 2019 19:59 utc | 91

Reports that Syrian airforce is flying over NE Syria and a 'no fly' zone to be established by them shortly, "relevant parties notified". I think the SAA will take and hold Manbij, regardless what the Turkish proxies do. Still a lot of dust in the air.

Posted by: the pessimist | Oct 14 2019 20:04 utc | 92

Also SAA force reported to be 40k strong assigned to task of NE Syria.

Posted by: the pessimist | Oct 14 2019 20:06 utc | 93

The US isn't in NE Syria for the Kurds or the oil, not directly at least. They are side benefits to fragmenting Syria. The US is there for the Zionists. The primary goal was to block a land route from Lebanon to Iran. Now the border between Iraq and Syria has opened at Al Bukamal (which just so happened right before the most recent riots in Iraq, nothing to see here folks) there is not much purpose for them remaining. Sure they can attempt to disrupt traffic on that road but would be met with a lot of hostility on the Iraq side, which they don't need.

The partnership with the Kurds regardless of what the perpetual war machine wants was bound to end, it was just a matter of time. Russia, Syria and Iran could see that the only way to force the US to change direction depended on Turkey. Turkey wasn't going to allow an independent Kurdish state exist on its border. If Syria had fallen apart into pieces, one of those pieces wouldn't have been Rojava, no matter how hard the Zionist pushed for it. In the world of geopolitics, relationships with Turkey will always trump those of the Kurds. The cards the Kurds hold are too weak, always have been. Now if they were Hong Kong rioters or Neo-Nazis in the Ukraine that would be a different matter. As long as the west wages a war on China and Russia, these useful idiots will have a role to play.

When I talk about the Kurds, I am referring to the political leaders. The general population and military commanders seem to have a better grasp on reality. The Kurds as others on this thread have mentioned are not united. There are many factions.

The winners are first and foremost Syria then Turkey Iran Iraq and Russia. The US is divided. For Trump it is a win. He gets to check off the box "ended a war" on the card "election promises fulfilled" while the forever war groupies will gnash their teeth. The EU if they can keep their mouth shut they will win, otherwise a lot of those ISIS prisoners who escaped could end up in Paris and Berlin this Christmas. The Zionists are the big losers. Syria will control the NE of Syria, then can turn their attention on Idlib and then the Golan Heights. As Elijah J. Magnie wrote in a recent article the Houthi has shown how vulnerable a state is to drones and cruise missiles. A deal should be forthcoming in time in regards to returning the Golan Heights to Syria, as long as both sides are rational. Now that I know is the sticky point. Time will tell, but I think EJM is correct on this.

Posted by: Tom | Oct 14 2019 20:09 utc | 94

Forgot to add, the Kurds are winners in all of this, except for the elite who promised the fantasy of Rojava.

Posted by: Tom | Oct 14 2019 20:18 utc | 95

i do not share the general optimism on Turkey doing Assad a favor while he's fighting alongside the Syrian Rebels (aka ISIS).
Even when the Turkish Army retreats back to Turkey , what will those so called rebels do & will Erdogan abandon them to be obliterated by the SAA & Russia ?
just my thoughts ....

Posted by: Al Rocker | Oct 14 2019 20:21 utc | 96

goldhoarder #52

A monument to Trump in DC :)))

like this one?

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 14 2019 20:25 utc | 97

sorry ,
it should be "while they're (the turkish army) fighting alongside the Syrian Rebels (aka ISIS)....

Posted by: Al Rocker | Oct 14 2019 20:28 utc | 98

anybody have any idea (and a link, please, if possible) on how large are the Kurdish forces, how many do they the YPG have under arms?

if it's in the 20-40,000 range that's one heck of a boost for future gov't operations in Afrin for example

Posted by: michaelj72 | Oct 14 2019 20:28 utc | 99

Al Rocker @97 asked: "...what will those so called rebels do..."

"Do"? They will do the only thing that was ever in the cards for them to do. They will die.

I think that is the point. The "rebels" were disposable from the very beginning. From Turkey's perspective it is now time to dispose of them.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 14 2019 20:37 utc | 100

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