Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 17, 2020

Syria - Aleppo Is Fully Liberated But The War Will Continue

Since last week's post on the Syrian Idleb campaign the Syrian army has again made extraordinary progress.

Idleb governorate Feb 10 2020


The M5 highway is under full control of the Syrian Army. The Jihadis, under threat of an encirclement, fled from the area west of Aleppo city. The suburbs and villages west of Aleppo have all been liberated. Last night the people of Aleppo celebrated. Nearly eight years after the 2012 invasion of east-Aleppo by Jihadists they will no longer have to endure random mortar and missile attacks. The international airport of Aleppo will now be reopened. The first flights are planned for Wednesday.

Idleb governorate Feb 17 2020


West of Aleppo the Syrian army is only 10 kilometer (6 miles) away from Darat Izzah. That town lies on the main north-south road between Idleb governorate and the Kurdish areas in the north which Turkey's goons occupied. It is a supply line for the Jihadis as well as for the 5,000 Turkish troops that have invaded Idelb. Today some targets in the town were bombed by the Russian airforce. It will probably soon be attacked. That would give the Turkish military, which avoids fighting against the Syrian army, a serious headache.

That Aleppo has been liberated and is now fully reconnected to its sister city Damascus is an enormous success. Here is a reminder how dire the situation in Aleppo city looked in 2013.


In a televised speech (vid) President Bashar Assad emphasized the success but also warned that the war is not over:

“[W]e are fully aware that this liberation does not mean the end of the war, or the failure of schemes, or the disappearance of terrorism, or the surrender of enemies, but it certainly means rubbing their noses in the dirt as a prelude for complete defeat, sooner or later,” the President affirmed.

Here is the result of the M5 liberation campaign since December 19 2019.

Idleb governorate M5 campaign


A second campaign to liberate the M4 highway between Latakia and Aleppo as well as all areas south of it is in preparation. Its start will depend on the outcome of currently ongoing negotiations.

U.S. attempts to turn the Turkish President Erdogan against Russia have failed. Talks were again held today between Turkey and Russia. Erdogan's threat that the Syrian army has to retreat back to the Sochi agreement lines by the end of the month or will be attacked by the Turkish military is taken seriously only by those who do not understand Syrian or Russian thinking.

The Syrian president gave an appropriate response to it.

EHSANI2 @EHSANI22 5:39 PM · Feb 17, 2020

#Syria ‘s Assad on his northern adversary Erdogan:

The battle to liberate the countryside of #Aleppo & #Idleb will continue regardless of some empty sound bubbles coming from the north.

Posted by b on February 17, 2020 at 18:52 UTC | Permalink

next page »

kudos to saa and the people of syria for not putting up with this shit from outsiders.. thanks for reporting on it with authority too b.. much appreciated.. thanks also to russia, iran and other countries that have been unwilling to see syria fall to the same sickos.. great news and it isn't over just yet either..

Posted by: james | Feb 17 2020 18:59 utc | 1

The mountain west of Darat Izza is a highly strategic location. If SAA takes it, the area around Dana and Sarmada are likely too fall soon too.

I think that the mountainous area east and immediately northeast of Mount Simeon is also important to get and hold, even though it seems to be TFSA occupied Afrin. It overlooks most of the south of Afrin valley.

A big question for the coming days is if SAA will go straight for the jugular and cut the lifeline to Turkey at Bab Al Hawa, or if they will be content for the moment with cutting the connection between TFSA occupied Afrin and HTS occupied Idlib.

Posted by: Lurk | Feb 17 2020 19:07 utc | 2

Lavrov, 15 Feb 2020:

"Today I have met with Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for Syria Geir Pedersen. We are not overreacting at the fact that the committee is making slow progress, but, of course, we do not want to give the impression that it will function forever. Most important is that the Syrians reach an agreement among themselves.

In this sense, our relations with Turkey are very important considering Russia’s opportunities, as well as Iran’s, by the way, in its contacts with the Syrian leadership and Turkey’s ability to influence the opposition and members of military groups on the ground.

Let me note that Russia is interested in seeing other countries in contact with the opposition positively influence it as well; first of all, the Persian Gulf monarchies. Our goal is to unite efforts and help create comfortable conditions for the Syrians to work in.

Let me make another point directly connected with Idlib, which you mentioned at the very beginning: the defeat of terrorism is unavoidable.

Our American colleagues have already announced several times that they defeated ISIS and destroyed terrorism in Syria, as well as in Iraq. But let me note that, in addition to ISIS, there also is Jabhat al-Nusra, which is now called Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which, like ISIS, is considered a terrorist organisation by the UN Security Council. Now it controls a larger part of the problematic Idlib security zone. This is one of the last terrorist strongholds, but at least the only one on the western bank of the Euphrates.

Today I have met with Foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu, my colleague and friend. Our agreements with Turkey include ensuring a ceasefire, establishing a demilitarised zone, and, what’s most important, separating the normal opposition from terrorists. These agreements do not mean we will stop our uncompromising fight against terrorist groups. This is a difficult task. Terrorists try to use civilians as a human shield. We have seen this in the infamous refugee camp of Rukban and in the Al-Hawl refugee camp, controlled by Kurd squads in cooperation with the Americans, above all, and in other regions of the world. The task is not easy, but contacts are underway between Russian and Turkish experts, diplomats, military personnel and security officers to find ways to execute the Idlib agreements I have mentioned. The next contacts are scheduled for next week.

Question (retranslated from German): I find your statements on Syria inconclusive. How can the Russian Government guarantee Syria’s sovereignty while Turkey has a military presence in Idlib, Afrin and other parts of northern Syria? It is obvious that Turkey is there to stay. I was not convinced by what you said.

Sergey Lavrov: This is not complicated. The purpose of what we are doing in Syria is not to convince you. You are a journalist, as far as I understand. You have every right to view what is happening there based on your understanding of these developments. We are doing on the ground what is required under UN Security Council Resolution 2254. Among other things, it guarantees the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic. It is the UN Security Council that guarantees Syria’s sovereignty, not Russia.

Apart from the Idlib problem, the developments on the eastern bank of the Euphrates are the main challenge, since this is where the gravest violations of this sovereignty are taking place with the establishment of parallel government institutions with clear separatist aspirations. We regularly raise this issue with our US colleagues who maintain their proactive presence on the eastern bank.

I have already mentioned the problems associated with the Rukban and Al-Hawl camps. There are also problems with the Al Tanf zone. All this has to do with the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic. We act in strict keeping with the UN Security Council resolutions. Our utmost priority is to fight terrorism, address the humanitarian needs of the population and facilitate the return of refugees"

Note that when the UN requirements are met, Syria will be free and sovereign again.

Turkey will 'be able' to withdraw.

All communities will be forced to the vote.

Terrorist activity will be much muted, but like Iraq continue. Unlike Iraq, handled immeasurably better.

Posted by: powerandpeople | Feb 17 2020 19:11 utc | 3

..."but it certainly means rubbing their noses in the dirt as a prelude for complete defeat, sooner or later,”... Replace "their noses" with Erdogan's nose. Like a bad puppy who has shit on the carpet, he will get his nose rubbed. He will call Assad and will have to swallow a bitter pill from him. Looks good on that rat.

Posted by: Taffyboy | Feb 17 2020 19:11 utc | 4

For a laugh check out the CNN cover story article on the "brutal regime offensive." As per the spin, HTS and Nusra have been replaced with Turkish-supported "rebels" therefore the Syrian govt. meanies are attacking the poor Turks (apparently good guys again after the crocodile tears and pearl clutching over the Kurds) and civilians, since the CIA/MOSSSAD supported headchoppers have ostensibly disappeared.

From the article:

In Idlib, Hayat Tahrir Al Sham (HTS), a reincarnation of the al Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, has been the dominant force. But that dynamic is changing with Turkey's increased military footprint in the area, according to Omer Ozkizilcik, the editor-in-chief of Suriye Gundemi, a Turkish analysis center focused on the Syrian civil war, and an analyst of the pro-government think tank SETA.
"HTS is no longer the dominant force in Idlib but the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF)," said Ozkizilcik.

Posted by: HD | Feb 17 2020 19:12 utc | 5

Forgot the kicker to that CNN piece/quote:

"Even without TAF, the internal balance of power has changed in favor of Turkish-backed rebels, who were forced out when extremists returned to Idlib."

Posted by: HD | Feb 17 2020 19:13 utc | 6

@HD #5–6:

"HTS is no longer the dominant force in Idlib but the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF)," said Ozkizilcik. "Even without TAF, the internal balance of power has changed in favor of Turkish-backed rebels, who were forced out when extremists returned to Idlib."

And yet, CNN still describes the war as the “Syrian Civil War”.

Posted by: S | Feb 17 2020 19:26 utc | 7

One of the reasons the terrorists of all stripes in Idlib and West Aleppo collapse so quickly is the terms of battle announced by Syria and Russia when the campaign began in May 2019 to retake all of Idlib and Aleppo. It was very simple. "Give up your heavy weapons, cease fire, join the reconciliation talks, or leave Syria, else we will kill you. There will be no prisoners taken and no surrender recognized. We are coming to kill you."

And that is what the SAA and Russian Aerospace Forces have done. They are liquidating the terrorists. As promised.

The down side is there are thousands who will fight to the death. And they are the ones who tend to use civilians as shields.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Feb 17 2020 19:39 utc | 8

It's really amazing how respectful the Russians are to the Turks, after all, for more than a year Turkey has failed to fulfill its obligations under the Sochi deal (with Russia) to clear out the terrorists in the Idlib deescalation zone. Now, a year and a half later, Putin sends HTS running for the exits in a matter of weeks which has basically ended Erdogan's chances of clinging to the part of Syria he coveted most.

I expect Master diplomat, Putin, will now graciously make some public concession to Erdogan so the Turkish president can save face at home.

Putin keeps a low profile, but he is certainly the most impressive politician-statesman of our time.

Posted by: plantman | Feb 17 2020 21:05 utc | 9

Turkish-backed rebels, who were forced out when extremists returned to Idlib."

And yet, CNN still describes the war as the “Syrian Civil War”.

Posted by: S | Feb 17 2020 19:26 utc | 7

He would be referring to Ahrar al Sham primarily. It was a vessel of the always troublesome Muslim Brotherhood. Erdogan's main backers. Plus other miscellaneous rabble of course. Common criminals, zealous yutes aka rebels without a cause, and disgruntled males who blamed the gov't for turk's dumping overproduction in Syria and a record drought which devastated many farmers and agricultural workers creating a serious unemployment situation. That hodgepodge being parts the otherwise undefined FSA. Which never was an army as anyone could get a few mates together, give themselves a sporty sounding name and declare they were part of the FSA. The Muslim Brotherhood always were a major problem in Syria and they never stopped opposing the elder and younger Assad's Bathists .

" Ahrar al-Sham was a new school of Islamism born out of three other currents created after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, those currents being political organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, prostelyzation movements like the Tablighi Jamaat, and the general Jihadist movement, and that Ahrar al-Sham combines elements of these currents "

"Ahrar al-Sham leader Hassan Aboud stated Syria "there are no secular groups".[60] Aboud condemned democracy in an interview with Al-Jazeera, saying that "Democracy is people governing people, according to rules they please. We say that we have a divine system whose law is Allah's for his creatures and his slaves who he appointed as viceregents on this Earth."

America's allies in it's war against the people of Syria, just spreading 'freedom and Democracy' don't you know.

Posted by: Bubbles | Feb 17 2020 21:20 utc | 10

Turkey will not be fooled by the US!

"U.S. Special Representative for Syria James Jeffrey’s deceit can clearly be read on his face. He is running wild at the peak of insolence. Who can call him human"

It is very intersting  to read on the same paper, side by side, few other complemantry atricles from the same team, who have been bitting Othomon drum for years.

Why is Turkey at war?

Turkish soldiers falling martyr so unexpectedly wrenches our hearts apart. But let’s not forget this: no matter who says what or how they define the current events, Turkey is at war— and a great one at that. Not with Assad, but with the great powers of the world to determine the region’s future.Turkey is at war with those who started and abandoned the Arab Spring halfway through, with those who “change their spots” on the battle field everyday, and with those who sold out their allies....with the U.S. and NATO ...Turkey is at war with Russia, ...It is at war with Iran, which is Turkey’s neighbor one day, a Muslim country another ...with Egypt who follows Saudi Arabia like sheep...It is at war with Khalifa Haftar, who is the pawn of the United Arab Emirates (UAE); and with Israel ...

It did not mention about the war with China who is  killing Turks ancessotrs Ughur.

‘Let’s down another Russian jet, seek refuge in the US!'

Erdogan top jounalist says:


Faces Iran in Aleppo; it faces Iran everywhere in Syria.

Faces Russia is Idlib; it faces Russia in the entire northern region of Syria, and in Libya too.

Faces Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) across the whole of Syria, and it faces Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE in Libya.

Faces the U.S. through the PKK and FETÖ terrorists groups, and Israel , not just in Libya, but across the whole region.

Faces the U.S., France, Russia, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran and Israel in Libya.

And now it faces Iran, the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Bashar Assad regime, and Russia in Idlib.

OOH Wonderland!



Posted by: arata | Feb 17 2020 21:27 utc | 11

Since the beginning of the emergence of Sunni terrorists, Al Qaeda, ISIS or others, Turkey have tried no to antagonize them for fear or retaliation inside Turkey where these groups have many supporters.
Let us remember that event in 2014:
"The terrorist group Daesh took over the Turkish Consulate in Mosul on June 11, 2014, when it overran the city. The group held 49 consulate personnel and their families captive, including then consul general and current Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Chair Öztürk Yılmaz. The hostages safely returned to Turkey after 101 days in captivity."

It seems that Turkey made a deal with Daish then: we don't attack you, you don't attack us.
That explains why Turkey has been unwilling since 2018 to confront HTS and others terrorists in Edlib, quite the contrary they were pampered. Russia was fed up with that and proposed to Erdogan to do the dirty job for him while he will do the shouting, protesting, threatening while letting these terrorists be killed. There are no 'good' rebels. They have all blood on their hands and most have become mercenaries, ready to fight in Libya to make more money.
The question is: what will be the repercussion inside Turkey of the on going elimination of extremists Sunnis, will their supporters stay idle? would they use car bombs or terrorist acts to show their disapproval of Erdogan's game?

Posted by: Virgile | Feb 17 2020 21:31 utc | 12

It looks as though any original plans for just securing M5 and M$ may have changed due to circumstances. The way SAA is moving westward from Aleppo, there is a complete rout of terrorist forces in that area. Depending on how far SAA follow to the west, the picture of Idlib will be completely changed. A good chance the Idlib plain and the country between M4 and Idlib city will be next to go leaving Idlib surrounded on three sides.
The terrorist and their Turk supporters have been fully expecting Erdogan to drive the SAA back. When this does not occur, SAA will also have beaten them psychologically.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 17 2020 21:38 utc | 13

A homeboy's view on the Eastern Front. Clearly English is not his first language, some deciphering required.

"On the other hand, to revive the sovereignty on east of Euphrates area, having an upper hand to manage their relationship with SDF and confront USA occupation of the area, Syrian government started to approach tribes of the area by holding numerous sessions in Hasakah town to attract nomads to themselves and confront USA plans in the area. Therefore, the title and agenda of these sessions were more about confronting USA occupation and plans of dividing Syria rather than sovereignty of Damascus on north and east of Euphrates. Currently and after Turkey occupied some parts and after the Sochi agreement between Turkey and Russia, the situation is ready for return of Syrian army and Russian police to some of the area. Even though the sovereignty of Syrian government has increased in some areas ruled by SDF, they still reject to join central government and relying on USA, they try to have more in their hands in future negotiation with Syrian government.

Therefore, Syrian government tries to use its pressure levers to manage Kurds and lower their bargaining ability in negotiations by approaching the chiefs of tribes there and giving privileges such as dropping charges against them, fixing some issues of local tribes, to make the younger generation to rebel against their chiefs and leave SDF and join the army.


In conclusion, Syrian government plan regarding Kurds and Arabic tribes of east of Euphrates is to have full sovereignty in the area and their tactic is to approach and attract Arabic tribes of the area, who are the majority, prepare the situation of division between Kurds and Arabs and eventually having upper hand in negotiations with Kurds. In another word, they want to use the tribes to bring Kurds close to the central government and reduce their demands in the negotiations. However, the primary issue of Syrian government at the moment is Idlib and east of Euphrates comes after it."

Posted by: Bubbles | Feb 17 2020 21:42 utc | 14

Given Erdogan's mercurial personality, the build up of troops became worrisome as maybe he was planning to build up enough troops (and jihadist terrorists) to march toward Damascus. Looks like now that is just speculative fiction on my part.

Posted by: Erelis | Feb 17 2020 21:42 utc | 15

re: bubbles

I think this is exactly what Erdogan is doing. Giving the 'rebels' lip service and enough equipment to keep them in the fight, so they can be destroyed in Syria and not retreat to Turkey.

Posted by: r | Feb 17 2020 21:44 utc | 16

I think that we are missing the elephant in the room. Take a look at the map. Right now, the whole North Syria "rebel" territory is inside Turkish army artillery range. Turkey can hit any point from it's soil. Any counter attack is a direct invocation of NATO's Article 5. It is not that many NATO countries want to get involved there, but if a member asks for assistance, the political fallout would be huge if it doesn't get any.

Good luck getting Turkey out of Syria now.

Posted by: Erlindur | Feb 17 2020 22:37 utc | 17

Posted by: r | Feb 17 2020 21:44 utc | 15

Sources that I don't recall at the moment said Erdogan offered $2,000 per month to anyone who would go to Libya in support of his latest quest. He may focus on his new play and try to send as many of the Ahrar al Sham types there as he can get to go rather than continuing to try to salvage something tangible (and his pride) from his misdirected and failed aggression in Syria.

The Turk economy is very shaky and could fall apart with a bit of a shove from the majors, his political support is based on his past history of economic success but that success was fuelled by the Maestro's ZIRP and subsequent funny money for rich folk and their insatiable desire for high returns.

He would be wise to choose discretion over false valour.

Posted by: Bubbles | Feb 17 2020 22:42 utc | 18


Further, the wizards of western finance said the tipping point for turkey is the lira going past 6 to the USD. It has been on a downward trajectory again lately and is at 6.05

It was hovering around 2.8 per in 2016 and they have a very large amount of debt payable in USD due in the immediate future. Current interest rates are between 11 and 12% and that's driving the Lira's value down. Rates were approx 17% 5 months ago when the Lira was approx 5.20 per.

Looks like Casino economic policy to me.

Posted by: Bubbles | Feb 17 2020 23:01 utc | 19

Bubbles #10

Virgile #11

Thank you both for those excellent deep background stories. It seems the Muslim Brotherhood is on the back foot in the region and I can see why Erdoghan is desperate to paint a fake image at home.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 17 2020 23:04 utc | 20

@ Erlindur | Feb 17 2020 22:37 utc | 16

Your argument about NATO and its article 5 is complete bullshit.

Turkey is 1) on an expedition on foreign soil, 2) on its own initiative and 3) this action is not officially supported NATO, in particular where it involves invading parts of Syria previously held by SDF. Moreover 4) Turkey has been a naughty boy in not buying F35's but instead cozying up to Russia and buying Russian toys.

BTW, in an earlier thread, PavewayIV already pointed out some common misconceptions about article 5. Look it up if you really care.

Posted by: Lurk | Feb 17 2020 23:08 utc | 21

Bubbles | Feb 17 2020 23:01 utc | 18

Lemme see...

Compound interest at 12% means doubling time for that debt is 70/12 = 5.8 years.

That gonna break some bodies.!

Posted by: exiter | Feb 17 2020 23:28 utc | 22

The difference is between Syrian soil and Turk soil. my thought has also been that when SAA gets close to the border, Turkey may use artillery from within its own territory. The Turks get hit inside Syria, they haven't got NATO but may be a different story if SAA destroys artillery within Turkey.
The head puppet of NATO not long ago announce NATO is moving into Iraq. Trump Pompeo are egging Erdogan on so at any excuse they may tell NATO head clown to protect Turkey.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 17 2020 23:30 utc | 23

The real problem is that neither NATO Article 5, or UN Charter 51, make a distinction between an attack and a counter attack in self-defense.

I'm not saying that Turkey invoking Article 5 will have NATO members jumping in to help but that it will put NATO members somewhere between getting involved and making NATO obsolete.

Posted by: Erlindur | Feb 17 2020 23:36 utc | 24

Thanks b for your delightful updates.

Here is the answer to a question raised during everal discussions on Turkey's invasion of Syria.

NATO tells Turkey; In Syria, you are on your own.

NATO has no plans to provide military support to Turkey in Idlib — source

Why is that?

(emphasis added)

The diplomat said that the death of Turkish troops in Idlib was a tragedy but it had taken place during a unilateral military operation on foreign soil.

BRUSSELS, February 17. /TASS/

"NATO countries will not support the invocation of Article 5 over the death of Turkish troops in Idlib in early February," the source pointed out. According to him, NATO is not considering the possibility of providing Turkey with military assistance in the event of a military operation in the region.
The diplomat said that the death of Turkish troops in Idlib was a tragedy but it had taken place during a unilateral military operation on foreign soil, which goes beyond Article 5 of NATO’s founding treaty. He added that the fact was clear to Turkey as well, which is why Ankara had not tried to initiate NATO consultations on the matter.

As for the possibility of a Turkish military operation aimed at halting the advance of Syrian government forces in Idlib and assisting illegal armed groups in retaining control of certain parts of the province, the source noted that as a NATO member, Turkey had the political support of other member states but there were no plans to provide Ankara with military assistance.

The diplomat emphasized that not all NATO members shared Turkey’s goals in Syria and Libya, and the issue of providing military support to Turkey had not been raised at a meeting of NATO defense ministers on February 12-13.[.]

Posted by: Likklemore | Feb 17 2020 23:39 utc | 25

"The diplomat said that the death of Turkish troops in Idlib was a tragedy but it had taken place during a unilateral military operation on foreign soil, which goes beyond Article 5 of NATO’s founding treaty."

Insert American for Turkish and I wonder what NATO's response will be.

Posted by: Jason | Feb 17 2020 23:46 utc | 26

typo @ 24 "everal" should be several.

Russia will support Syria's fight against terrorism in Idlib despite Trump's calls to stop it – Kremlin


Moscow has vowed to continue its fight against terrorism in Syria's Idlib province alongside Damascus, even though this doesn't fit with Washington's vision for resolving the crisis.

Both the Russian Armed Forces and the country's advisers will "support the Syrian Arab Republic armed forces in their fight against terrorism," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in a briefing on February 17.[.]

The statement follows US President Donald Trump's recent call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during which Trump "expressed concern over the violence in Idlib." He also praised "Turkey's efforts to prevent a humanitarian crisis" in the province, and hoped that Russia would stop supporting the Assad government, according to Deputy White House Press Secretary Judd Deere.[.]

Russia remains stedfast and our doubting commenters are MIA. Where is paul?

Posted by: Likklemore | Feb 17 2020 23:50 utc | 27

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 17 2020 23:04 utc | 19

Erdogan's turkey was a conduit into Syria for every Jihadist, Salafist, Wahhabi indoctrinated reprobate and any home boys they could recruit and send into Syria. It operated recruitment activities for locals on both sides of the border and set up training facilities in conjunction with the admin of America's Nobel Peace prize winner. It armed them via the riches of all the participants, then provided transport across the border into Syria.

Foreign jihadists came by the thousands and used turkish airports and transport to get them into Syria where they joined up with one mob or another, including Al Nusra and ISIS. ISIS branched off from Al Nusra if you didn't know btw. They got into a dispute over the share of the spoils they reaped from their conquests. Then they meshed with more leftovers from Saddam's army and officer corp who the US disbanded, some really nasty buggers to form the core of what ISIS became.

ISIS fighters travelled back and forth from Syria to Turkey pretty much unfettered even popping across the border for a McDonald's run when convenient. That's an example of the level of cooperation Erdogan afforded to those wretched people America did so much to create (WMD's in Iraq) and put in play in their proxy war.

Erdogan wasn't so much worried about what mischief they might get up to in Turkey as he was intent on giving them aid in any way he could to further his ambitions toward a New Ottoman Empire.

The trump regime don't seem to be bothered by ideological differences or intent, but rather differences in what they both want. Mobsters don't usually differ on tactics, just on goals.

Posted by: Bubbles | Feb 17 2020 23:56 utc | 28

Compared with previous days, there doesn't seem to be much happening today, but that would be a mistaken assumption. Lots of consolidation taking place, mopping-up and demining reclaimed territory. Plus, lots of troop movements to ne concentration points making ready for the next phase of Idlib Dawn--remember, clearing the M-4 was also one of the Turk's tasks that still needs accomplishing. As near as I could tell, there was no news mentioned by CNN or BBC of Aleppo's emancipation from its terrorist occupiers after 8 long years. Syrians and their friends however did take note and celebrated well into today.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 17 2020 23:56 utc | 29

Likklemore 24

What happens if SAA hit Turk artillery that is within Turkey that is the question.
Nato is a US construct and Stoltenberg is nothing more that a US proxy or puppet.
Here's Stoltenburg.

If SAA were to respond to fire from within Turkey, the Euro twits would have their name to a NATO operation in Turkey even though the NATO forces would be US.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 18 2020 0:54 utc | 30

Ha ha - good question! It does sound like Russia has been making some very clever moves on the ground and diplomatically, pushing back hard enough to let Erdogan know that invading won't go well and that columns of armor look like nicely massed targets to Russia, while signaling diplomatically that they do not cede to Turkey the right to be in Idlib. I particularly liked the one who pointed out that Turkey wasn't invited and so it was only to be expected that they would suffer some casualties. She's the one they seem to send out when they want to be a little bit edgy. Still we'll see what deal they cook up.

Posted by: paul | Feb 18 2020 0:54 utc | 31

How does Syria/Assad control of Syria affect Western Iraq? I am unclear about that .. ??
who are the players, what is the politics and why would Assad not cooperate with the new puppet in Iraq.and why would the new puppet not cooperate with Assad ?
Also Egypt's fight with the Brotherhood.. what's going on there?

Posted by: snake | Feb 18 2020 0:55 utc | 32

This is a qoute in one of Andrei Martyanov's recent pieces.

"This exchange is above all a political signal: it is a question of showing that Africa is no longer a priority. For the moment, this adjustment does not announce anything serious but in the long term, the Americans could reduce their forces in Africa. The consequences could be quite significant, in particular vis-à-vis France which is engaged in the Sahel. The French government also requests that the American forces remain in Africa because even if France makes a very significant effort in the Sahel, its military capacities are limited. If the United States continues to downsize, French forces could end up with less air supply and less intelligence on the terrorists."

The US has Europe by the balls. Not only does it control their finance or economy, but also their military and intel. Trump knows this and will use it.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 18 2020 1:01 utc | 33


Posted by: Joshua | Feb 18 2020 1:05 utc | 34

Thankyou. The more aggressive the actions by Turkey that I read in the main media, the further the progress of the Syrians I read on here or on SouthFront.

For your next trick b, Barr - McCabe - is Barr letting him off through weakness, or is he saving up his ammunition for bigger crimes and bigger fish?
Kunstler describes the situation well, and reckons Barr is going for the biggies. Fingers crossed.

Posted by: Michael Droy | Feb 18 2020 1:07 utc | 35

Is Turkey putting its thousands of troops and hundreds of tanks in a potential trap?

What happens when the SAA expands far enough to close the road link between Turkey and Syria?

Posted by: jiri | Feb 18 2020 1:11 utc | 36

The Russian Turk negotiation may well include the strip along Turkeys border. Two Syrian and one Russian plane have been shot down when close to the Turk border. Also, apart from a very small strip in Latakia when Russia first entered the war, no country along the border with Turkey has been retaken by Syria.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 18 2020 1:25 utc | 37

jiri 35

Russia escorts the Turk resupplies to the Turk points that are surrounded. They are safe so long as Turkey does not upset Russia. Russia will keep negotiating with Erdogan as they are Using him to take control of as many jihadis as possible and eventually wind them down.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 18 2020 1:28 utc | 38

I'd like nothing better that for Russia to take out Erdogan once and for all, but if the combined skills of Putin and Lavrov can bring him to heel in a manner that allows him to save face, that will be good enough.

Posted by: corvo | Feb 18 2020 2:10 utc | 39

I hope that people who are following Syria’s war of
liberation from various Islamic militants , Caliphate
as well as secessionist minded Afrin and Kobane
versions — practice PATIENCE. And sharpen up knowledge.
What is happening ihas nothing to do with Turkey
going rogue, but it is planned. Hope leople understand
that militants in Idlib are commanded by HTS and funded through
White Helmets mechanism by US and UK governments.
No mire Gulf funders.

Turkey has blocked now their exit — no more attractive
checkpoints. End. Now, these militants know
that Turkey is the only thing that stands between them and
Syrian forces. Turkey is playing to domestic rival pro-Western Davutoglu, who was spreading fear that Erdogan is emweam
and millions of Idlib population would poor into Turkey.

Erdogan is trying to shut him up and assure population
that no refugee invasion is coming.

Also, militant groups that wanted Turkey’s money, but
were happy to get US and UK backing and money —
and stay put in Idlib. Turkey is scaring them into believing
that Turkey will not forever stand between them and Syrian Army.

The offer for them stands — accept Turkish command, new commanders, and no group loyalty. Tough pill to swallow.
But it will be tough for HTS — without militants, they are empty shell and will fold. UK and US are trying to come up with
a formula for them to stay in Idlib and sabitage peace
conference., This is what Turkey, Russia and Iran have to figure out. Turkey
cannot be friendly with Assad publicly. But Syrian and Turkish intel chiefs met in

Posted by: Bianca | Feb 18 2020 4:58 utc | 40

Peter AU1 | Feb 18 2020 0:54 utc | 29

Nato is a US construct and Stoltenberg is nothing more that a US proxy or puppet.

Well, he is one more thing, he is the archetypical quisling. We have experience with such people here.

Posted by: Norwegian | Feb 18 2020 5:54 utc | 41

Putin has sealed his legacy as leader among global leaders in the early 21st Century. Xi comes in a close second. Putin's handling of the reconquest of Syria and elimination of terrorists continues to be masterful, reducing the Western press to vacuity, with a massive media blackout in Germany, France, the UK, and the US regarding the celebrations in Aleppo and the return of the highway from Damascus to Aleppo to Syrian control. Regarding the future, it is difficult to believe the inertia built up to this point by Syria, in tandem with Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah, will not continue until all terrorists are either eliminated or co-opted back into the Syrian fold, or expelled back into the loving embrace of Turkey. Israel has helped create a formidable foe in Syria, Hezbollah, and Iran, all of which have become hardened by war experience and gained massive air defenses to protect them from attacks, as well as long-range missiles. Therefore, it is difficult to create a scenario in which the Kurds and US remain in control in eastern Syria, where US bases remain in Iraq, or an attack on Iran is feasible. The Saudis and Emirates have thrown billions at a wasted effort to support radical head-choppers in collusion with Israel. This effort has failed. The ultimate result is a severe limiting of the Israeli-US-NATO plan to control the Middle East through the expansion of Israel. The Shiite Crescent has persevered and its ultimate victory is in sight. The further result will be a strengthening of economic and military ties of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iran with Russia and China. All these countries will become important contributors to the Belt Road Initiative, marking the rise of the Eurasian historical moment and the eclipse of the West. As the US loses power in the Middle East, Israel is going to be forced to accept a one state solution, and a nasty apartheid and racist theocracy will be replaced by rule by an Arab-Jewish confederation. Radical racist Jews will have to comply or move to Brooklyn. Already in the US and West younger Jews are supporting BDS and abandoning Zionist racism and apartheid.

Posted by: Joseph Dillard | Feb 18 2020 7:58 utc | 42

Here is one take on why USA lost the war:

In addition to losing wars, “the military’s loyalty to itself and determined separation from society have produced an authoritarian institution that is contributing to the erosion of American democracy,” writes Bakkan, who is still, we emphasize, teaching at the school. “The hubris, arrogance, and self-righteousness of officers have isolated the military from modern thinking and mores. As a result, the military operates in an intellectual fog, relying on philosophy and practices that literally originated at West Point two hundred years ago.”

I trust they wont change anything as I would not want them to win any. After 75 years of failure they could go for the century as any good cricketer can tell you.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 18 2020 8:58 utc | 43

May the dead heroes of Al Kindi Hospital not be forgotten

Posted by: Jezabeel | Feb 18 2020 10:07 utc | 44

Not a lot appears to be happening for a good reason, they are out of the flat areas and into the mountains, this is where the really tough stuff starts. They are attacking the main Turkish supply route into Idlib starting with the town of Darat Azza with its nearby 111 Regiment(Sheikh Suleiman) army base along with the nearby Sheikh Barakat mountain.

The Turks and terrorists are well aware of the fundamental strategic significance of this move and are moving heaven and earth (literally) to get dug in to defend it. So the SAA are now in a tough battle. The RuAF and SyAF are at this moment giving lots of gifts to the defenders. This is a turning point in Syria's battle to get its territory back. Cut that route and the plague in Idlib starts to wither on the vine.

Posted by: JohninMK | Feb 18 2020 10:32 utc | 45

Bubbles @28:
"The trump regime don't seem to be bothered by ideological differences or intent, but rather differences in what they both want. Mobsters don't usually differ on tactics, just on goals."

This statement is obtuse. Surely ideology and intent translates to goals? So it would be the same.

Posted by: rind | Feb 18 2020 11:23 utc | 46

Posted by: rind | Feb 18 2020 11:23 utc | 46

Bubbles @28:
"The trump regime don't seem to be bothered by ideological differences or intent, but rather differences in what they both want. Mobsters don't usually differ on tactics, just on goals."

This statement is obtuse. Surely ideology and intent translates to goals? So it would be the same.

That was a Bernbot inadvertently telegraphing that their own ideology and goals are identical to the goals of the Democratic Party as such.

Of course they don't need to telegraph that; their fealty to the Party says it all.

Posted by: Russ | Feb 18 2020 12:12 utc | 47

uncle tungsten @43

Timmy Bakken is CIA/State Department. Civilian. Intensely neoliberal. It is necessary to understand where he is coming from to understand his criticism of the military.

First, there really is a very large ideological divide between the military (particularly lifers) and civilians in America. Today's American military possesses the very closest thing to class consciousness in the US by an enormous margin. Even the very strongest labor unions in America come in at a distant second, and no organizations fixated on identity politics are even in the running.

Next, what are neoliberals referring to when they accuse others of being "authoritarian"? To understand this point you must understand their conception of "freedom", and what exactly it is that they desire to be free from. Many readers will object, some because they share this neoliberal perspective and others because they cannot accept that intelligent people can make such an obvious mistake, but the "liberal" West seeks freedom from reality itself. They want to end racism by "believing" Blacks are equal. They want to be able to choose their gender by "believing" that they are a mountain panda. They imagine that women can be empowered by adopting masculine tropes and "believing" themselves to be the same as men. They "believe" it is the hard nosed realists who seemingly only care about facts and measurements and numbers to be what is holding them back from achieving their desired "freedom" from physical reality. These hard nosed realists are thus seen as "authoritarians" by the modern western liberals.

A: "You cannot be a mountain panda."
B: "Don't tell me what to do, you... you... you MEAN NAZI AUTHORITARIAN!"

[aside: Note the capslock. Contemporary liberals are prone to that kind of hysteria for real]

I often write about how western society has become mired in delusion and is moving orthogonal to reality. This is in part due to deliberate effort by portions of the population, in particular what is referred to as "the middle class" in the West which has always been partially defined by delusion anyway. The more that economic hardship, and thus reality, intrudes upon "the middle class", the more they seek to escape from it into wilder and more unrealistic fantasy. Neoliberal society tries to assist with this escape. Of course that includes the entertainment and infotainment mass media, but also increasingly academia outside of the hard sciences and engineering.

The military, on the other hand, cannot afford such delusion, no matter how much cash is thrown its way. Their obstinate insistence upon their tradition of viewing the world as it is rather than as middle class delusionalists wish it to be puts them at odds with civilian society.

As for winning wars, that is not the fault of the military. The military has fulfilled its responsibility (killing those that the civilians define as their enemy) beyond all expectations. The US military is extremely good at killing. That's their job and they do it well. Winning wars takes more than killing, though. It is often said that America's loss in Vietnam was political rather than military, but to truly understand that one must realize that America's war on Vietnam was lost even before the first US troops were sent there. The same is true for Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Libya. In all cases the failure was not military, but intense delusion among civilians sending the military to address problems that are fundamentally not military in nature at all.

The CIA/State Department are civilian. Unlike the military, these civilian organizations have fully embraced neoliberal delusions about the world. When their plans begin based in delusion then they have no hope but to fail. Little Timmy Bakken just falsely imagines that if the military would stop being such hard nosed realists and join the CIA/State Department in embracing far out delusion, then America could win some of their wars. Of course, he's wrong.

Posted by: William Gruff | Feb 18 2020 12:19 utc | 48

Joseph Dillard @ 42.    Very well stated.  This is also how I see it.

I think Syria is huge.  The CIA put an enormous effort into winning that battle.  Witness the massive amounts of tunnels dug for one thing.  I see this also as a massive defeat for the CIA.  As well as highlighting their massive amount of depravity.

It is interesting that when he first came to power Trump wanted to get out of Syria and wanted closer relations with Putin.  It is also interesting that his early presidency was seen as a battle between the military (more on his side) and the CIA (seen more as in the Hillary/Obama camp).

Posted by: financial matters | Feb 18 2020 12:48 utc | 49

The SAA (Syrian Arab Army) is pretty good after all

Whenever the SAA is able to gather their forces they are able to route anyone else in Syria. I wonder if Gen. Jack Keane is still spouting the lie that this is basically a force of Iranian led mercs [rhetorical question].

The next lie, 'they can only win with brutal air strikes' how many aircraft does Russia have in Syria today, 20? At the height of their involvement they had about 60 aircraft. True they augmented it with a few long range bombers and cruise missiles, mostly to test their new stuff but the point is that they are not carpet bombing Syria.

The Turks?
True, northern Syria is in artillery range but so are they. I don't think the Syrians are going to back down to anyone in reclaiming their own territory. Man for man, I bet they are better than U.S. troops.

Posted by: Christian J Chuba | Feb 18 2020 13:10 utc | 50

Less than 15 minutes ago...
Look at the faces of the türkies. Then look at the Russian Military faces & Lavrov's.
A picture is worth a 1000-words.

"The meeting of the Turkish and Russian delegations on Idlib in Moscow is over. There was no agreement in the negotiations."

The *türkies' gooses are 'cooked'.
Ma'a sa'lammaa m_therf_ckers.

btw, I've never-ever was a Yankee-soldier.
Prayers to the *Good Fight Guys*
Thanks *b'.
You are to be commended for your foresight, and, Honesty.
Cheers & Kudos

Posted by: Veritas X- | Feb 18 2020 13:27 utc | 51

Now that the Turkish-Russian negotiations are over and the Russian answer was Nyet, we can safely assume the liberation of Idlib and Aleppo will continue.



Posted by: BG | Feb 18 2020 13:40 utc | 52

Turkey on 3 fronts and getting whipped.

Sends 300 military equipment into Idlib means Erdogan head is imploding.

Video of Turkey's ship blown up in port of Tripoli
Haftar-Led Libyan National Army Says It Destroyed a Turkish Vessel With Weapons in Port of Tripoli

Posted by: Likklemore | Feb 18 2020 14:19 utc | 53

Posted by: powerandpeople | Feb 17 2020 19:11 utc | 3

re: UN Security Council Resolution 2254

My esteem for Russia is even higher now... thanks for that

Posted by: xLemming | Feb 18 2020 14:29 utc | 54

@Jason 26

Insert American for Turkish and I wonder what NATO's response will be.

NATO is 99.5% American. The other 0.5% is called "The Coalition of the Willing"

@ Peter AU1 30

Suggest Stollenberg be ignored. From time to time he gets a phone call to go before the cameras.

We are always told: "Israel has the right to defend itself."
Well, so does Syria. The U.S. will avoid taking on the Russia and Iran.

Syria and Russia should call Erdogan's Treacherous Bluff by Finian Cunningham

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is like the proverbial thief who has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Instead of slinking off in shame, he goes into a fit of rage as if he’s the one who is the injured party.[.]

Posted by: Likklemore | Feb 18 2020 14:42 utc | 55

Joseph Dillard @42

The further result will be a strengthening of economic and military ties of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iran with Russia and China.

By economic, you mean they will shared their empty bellies ?

Posted by: murgen23 | Feb 18 2020 15:10 utc | 56

That was a Bernbot inadvertently telegraphing that their own ideology

Posted by: Russ | Feb 18 2020 12:12 utc | 47

And that was a boo bird trumpbot grinding an axe and showing it's immaturity again.

Posted by: Bubbles | Feb 18 2020 15:33 utc | 57

Posted by: Veritas X- | Feb 18 2020 13:27 utc | 51

Pictures might be worth 1000 words but please be aware that whilst they brilliantly describe the situation those are old photos, not yesterday or today's meetings.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and General Valery Gerasimov were actually in Belgrade not Moscow yesterday and then Shoigu flew onto Rome. The Moscow meeting was at FM level.

Posted by: JohninMK | Feb 18 2020 15:46 utc | 58

the failure was not military, but intense delusion .. The CIA/State Department are civilian. Unlike the military, these civilian organizations have fully embraced neoliberal delusions about the world. Gruff @ 48 <= I think they are both delusional. each wants to be independent of the nation of people who have for years supported them on blind trust..

Coming into view is that these people have become the right and left hands of the mobsters?. Who do you think is in control of the nations that make up the nation state system? Its the system that keeps humanity in an uproar. .

Posted by: snake | Feb 18 2020 16:14 utc | 59

William Gruff;-

You seem to be confusing neo-liberalism with liberalism.

Posted by: Johny Conspiranoid | Feb 18 2020 16:25 utc | 60

"By economic, you mean they will shared their empty bellies ?" --murgen23 @56

I got a good laugh out of that, though I was laughing at the poster and not with him. The poor kid apparently never gets out of his momma's basement to see the real world. The silly child never realized that people only went hungry in any of those places when they were in areas controlled by the American Foreign Legion ISIS and al Qaeda.

Posted by: William Gruff | Feb 18 2020 16:27 utc | 61

Johny Conspiranoid @60

There is no real difference. I just mix it up a little to help with readability.

Posted by: William Gruff | Feb 18 2020 16:28 utc | 62

Timmy Bakken is CIA/State Department. Civilian. Intensely neoliberal. It is necessary to understand where he is coming from to understand his criticism of the military. William Gruff | Feb 18 2020 12:19 utc

That may be the case, but equally it is equally likely that Tim Bakken is "just a normal guy" who had minimal qualifications to serve as teacher of law in various places. Given that those places include two universities in Russia, a mission to set law education for Afghan military officers and West Point, he could be low level intelligence, not unlike Pete Buttigieg, this is speculative. What is not speculative is that he is a very minor Imperial functionary, and on a "slow track". Some people of that kind just want to reach the retirement on a quiet job. Some get disenchanted.

I did not see any links indicating that Bakken is "intensely neoliberal".

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 18 2020 16:36 utc | 63

re: @58 JohninMK

Of Course...a Horse.
To be acknowledged. U R right.
However *johnie*, I find your *comment*, revealing.
My Question to U is, "Than What?".
Thank You sooo much for, ID-ing a 'possible' Intel-operative.
Sooo, obvious.
Why discredit, immediately a, matter-of-fact...realtime..quote a'la twitter?

I don't believe in *cohen-incidences*.
We got 1 here for...future observation.

My primary study of bots, is confirmed 1-nce again.
This 'johnny-boy doesn't show up-contribute much here @MoA.
Kind'a like, a 1-nce-in-a-while-commenter-with-just-about-0-input.

However, my primary-thesis is correct.
My opinion+observational data shows, the türkie-INC., has no-way-out.

The 'doggy-MIT(cia-sequestered)-ottoman expansionist) are, on-the-run.
The MAKS-air show & the 'refrigerated room)where Valdmir P. & doggy E. negotiated the, 'incursion border
' last autumn in ypg-kurd-jUSA area, is, demonstrative of the *Quid Pro Quo* which has been agreed upon.

Anything else JohninMK?

Posted by: Veritas X- | Feb 18 2020 16:59 utc | 64

bubblehead 57

OK Dembot.

Posted by: Russ | Feb 18 2020 17:04 utc | 65

Commenting on William Gruff, within a wider agreement I would quibble on several points.

"Next, what are neoliberals referring to when they accuse others of being "authoritarian"? To understand this point you must understand their conception of "freedom", and what exactly it is that they desire to be free from. Many readers will object, some because they share this neoliberal perspective and others because they cannot accept that intelligent people can make such an obvious mistake, but the "liberal" West seeks freedom from reality itself. They want to end racism by "believing" Blacks are equal. They want to be able to choose their gender by "believing" that they are a mountain panda. They imagine that women can be empowered by adopting masculine tropes and "believing" themselves to be the same as men."

For starters, some of the "delusions" listed here are not delusions. Blacks can be as competent as non-blacks, e.g. Colin Powell was intelligent and competent, although utterly careerist. Few could spew lies with such impeccable demeanor, no shifting gaze, no head twitching, measured deep voice. And surely, women in military may cause some problems, like part of a submarine crew getting pregnant. But man can caused problems too, like Marines seduced by Russian female intelligence agents -- ancient Greek idea of using pairs of male lovers had some merit.

The other aspect is what liberals really believe (neo- and plain vanilla). There is a general schema of maintaining social and global hierarchy while offering some necessities to the lower classes, rather than keeping them lean, mean and fighting each other, that would be more Conservative. The "while" part requires some differentiation from Conservatives. And this differentiation requires to formulate a number of safe "progressive causes". Many of those causes are laudable. Some are obnoxious. Some laudable causes are "weaponized" to unleash holy anger upon adherent of unsafe progressive causes. Some are pure bonkers, perhaps inventions of the genuinely deluded.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 18 2020 17:04 utc | 66

Posted by: Veritas X- | Feb 18 2020 16:59 utc | 64

Whilst I just about understand your post I don't understand you motivation in writing it. I certainly wasn't having a go at you.

If I am an example of your "primary study of bots" I think you need to double check your methods.

I am not in Intel, never have been. Now retired in middle England, I was a computer salesman for most of my working life. Just interested in military matters. Although lurking all the time here for many years I only comment when I have something constructive to say.

Posted by: JohninMK | Feb 18 2020 17:11 utc | 67

Piotr Berman @63

True enough. But what about "The hubris, arrogance, and self-righteousness of officers have isolated the military from modern thinking and mores." What are the "modern thinking and mores" that Bakken is so triggered over?

"...the military operates in an intellectual fog, relying on philosophy and practices that literally originated at West Point two hundred years ago."

It is a good thing Bakken didn't look into math! That relies upon philosophy and practices that originated a few millennia ago! But to even make a complaint like that is to suggest some sort of "clean break" is needed between "old conservative thinking" and fresh "modern thinking". Old ideas must be discarded and new ones developed from scratch. The old West Point thinking from two hundred years ago was based upon the Enlightenment and materialism (as opposed to metaphysical booga-booga nonsense) and the belief that Truth can be approached by successive approximation (the Scientific Method). What can "modern thinking" be if it stands in opposition to that? What can "modern thinking" be if centuries of successive approximation to reach truth must be discarded to realize it?

"Modern thinking" is just the rejection of rationalism that I mentioned up @48. It is the effort to distance oneself from reality and embrace delusion. It is an effort to return to pre-Enlightenment metaphysical booga-booga nonsense. It is the encroachment of the ideology of a new Dark Ages. It is neoliberalism.

Posted by: William Gruff | Feb 18 2020 17:18 utc | 68

Syria: Who's in control of Idlib?

Posted by: Virgile | Feb 18 2020 18:03 utc | 69

I am so thoroughly confused by all of this because Donald Trump, our greatest president ever, declared that the US had defeated all the terrorists in Syria! I know none of this could be true because our reliable and trustworthy news organizations are reporting nothing about it! Well, I did hear some grumblings about a "humanitarian disaster" in NW Syria...

But seriously, I have wondered over the last 17 years how long a system, a nation, an empire built entirely on lies could survive. Yet, the last time I looked Wash DC has not been swallowed by the earth taking with it all the liars, grifters, sycophants, and ideological halfwits.

Even more seriously, now that the Russians and the Syrians are really, truly, and actually cleansing Syria of the terrorists (while Uncle Sugar/Donald Trump enables the oligarchs and plutocrats to shit on Americans) I do wonder what the end game is for Russia. It will take decades and generations to rebuild Syria into a functioning state safe for all Syrians, if indeed that is possible given shifting climate regimes and the extended draught that helped precipitate this empire engineered disaster.

So I watch Israel and the US, constantly trying to discern which one is the dog and which one is doing the wagging. Most of what I've been able to understand of this mess tells me that Erdogan cum Turkey is/are just shameless opportunists riding on the back of the US campaign of chaos and destruction (that would be GWOT.) Whatever Russia's end game is, I am at least thankful that they are helping to expose the deceit and treachery of the last 17 years.

Posted by: vinnieoh | Feb 18 2020 18:03 utc | 70

1. So where are the folks who were claiming that Russia had sold out Syria?

2. Unfortunately, the Empire is not going to simply throw up its hands and say "I guess we lost fair and square this time!" Playing for time is an long-standing Russian tradition.

Posted by: Sid Finster | Feb 18 2020 18:22 utc | 71

Here is the latest Iran position on recent developments in Syria!

Very encouraging. Take note of the very last paragraphs.
I post this as an antidote to the US/U.K. propaganda !
The clash between western lies and reality are self evident along with the cognitive dissonance.

Posted by: mark2 | Feb 18 2020 18:40 utc | 72

Ok well I take back what I said yesterday. As I predicted, Russia, having allowed Turkey to send a massive invading force into Syria with barely a hint of even verbal opposition, has agreed to cave to Turkey in what are euphemistically called "negotiations". This is basically a repeat what Russia did when they first made the 'Sochi' deal with Turkey, a deal that itself was nothing more than giving in to extortion. So it seems Russia has now predictably agreed to Turkey's demand that Sochi be restored. What exactly this means in detail remains to be seen. Will it mean an outrite rollback by the SAA? I would guess that Syria will be allowed to keep the chunk of Aleppo that Turkey surrendered (and now we see why they pulled out their proxies there) and that is all. Turkey will be even more entrenched in the rest of Idlib. Sochi was never a legitimate deal, in that it was a forced takeover of part of Syria by Turkey. But Russia has allowed Turkey to use the Sochi 'deal' as legitimization for its presence and authority in Syria. Turkey has flailed that deal as though it were a charter.

So Russia continues its pattern of giving lip service, at best, to Syria's sovereignty. Syria is in the fix that it is in partly because it was protecting Russia's back, vis-a-vis the pipeline deal. Syria was also standing up for the 'multipolar world' and by doing so was taking on the brunt of the fight that was ultimately headed for Russia. Russia needs allies, or it must bow to the Hegemon. But even though it was obvious after Libya fell that Syria was next on the Hegemon's hit list, Russia did little to support Syria. It didn't play a significant role in the war, even when it became clear that Syria was under heavy assault from all directions, with the US and its allies behind it all, until Syria was almost lost. Even then Russia kept pulling out of the war prematurely, allowing Syria's opposition to consolidate. With Idlib now securely in Turkey's hands and the East securely in US hands and the south dominated by the US and Israel, Assad is left with at best a rump state that is completely dependent on Russia's good will. Yes Assad has most of the population, but not the resources and little control over transportation and borders. Syria is a mockery of sovereignty. It may be to some extent a precursor to the mockery that is, it seems, soon to be called a Palestinian State. Limited control over borders. No control over airspace. Limited control over resources. State of permanent dependency on other powers. This war was never about whether Assad was good or bad. The final carve-up seems to be just about established. The final details are yet to be worked out, but the basic outlines seem clear. Major powers will have zones of influence, client mini-states. There may be loose federation of these states to allow everyone to claim that Syria has been made whole. Assad will surely be gone and Iran will surely be gone. Or maybe they'll be worked in somehow. It was a fine feast and all the major powers got a little something.

Tremble, Venezuela. Your name may well be next on the Hegemon's dance card.

Posted by: paul | Feb 18 2020 18:41 utc | 73

paul | Feb 18 2020 18:41 utc | 73

Curious: from where did you get all this? Latest news that you saw first?

Posted by: Hausmeister | Feb 18 2020 18:54 utc | 74

@Sid Finster #71

Speak of the devil…

Posted by: S | Feb 18 2020 18:56 utc | 75

vinnieoh @70--

You and others have asked what's in it for Russia or words to that effect. Based on Russian history and the mindset its shown over the past 20 years of the Putin Era, IMO what's sought is justice and a return to the Rule of Law--globally--as its Syrian policy fits within those parameters. Read Putin and Lavrov's words on the overall topic as they don't lie and toss about useless clichés and metaphors. The stakes are the same as those in the Great Patriotic War, the outcome of which resulted in the 100% betrayal of Russia. So, we might see some type of revenge motive underlying everything, although it's the most tactful of revenges. Russia sees it can attain its goals via geoeconomics instead of the brutal Imperialism employed by the West over the past 500 years. In this view, Syria is just part of the whole, although Russia's intervention does mark a turnabout in its policy as it refused the Ukrainian bait.

The Munich Security Conference just concluded; it's theme this year was "Westlessness," which seemed to be an attempt at rebutting Putin's charge of liberalism being obsolete. Here are three links about all that. First, an RT op/ed on the Conference; second, the Conference's own essay defining and lamenting its self-declared Westlessness; and third, Putin's famous interview with Financial Times where he declared liberalism obsolete.

IMO, it's ironic for the author(s) of the Munich Security Conference's essay to cite Oswald Spengler and attempt to set him up as the foil for what they see as a refutation. But Spengler never predicted the when of the West's decline as he had a completely different concept that opposes the liberal linear progression of time that very few understand and are thus capable of appreciating today--Time is both linear and circular and is thus 3-dimensional, not two, which is why we can see the march of history while it also closely replicates itself. Throughout human history, what's called the West has been inferior for the great majority of time and the situation is slowly returning to its normal relations. But as with those in Spengler's era, many refuse to read the proverbial writing on the wall and prefer the false images projected for them by those imagining themselves as their controllers.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 18 2020 19:16 utc | 76

Posted by: Hausmeister | Feb 18 2020 18:54 utc | 74

Agree with you. Where has this been posted. I can't find it anywhere. There is silence out there on the subject.

Posted by: JohninMK | Feb 18 2020 19:25 utc | 77

Piotr Berman @66

I never said Black people cannot achieve. It remains a fact, though that Black people, in America at least, continue to not occupy a place in society equal to other ethnicities, particularly and most importantly in economic terms. This is a fact and not something worth debating. "Believing" them to equality is not going to get them there, either.

Women can reject their feminine attributes, load up on steroids and become monsters like Serena Williams, and form killer armies. There is no reason they cannot do this, but is it really feminist for them to reject their femaleness like that? Or is it self-hate? Self-hate that the victim tries to overcome by wishing and striving to be something other than what they naturally are?

To be sure this is something promoted by those in command of the economy. I don't think they promote this entirely to fragment the working class, though. I think many among the elites actually believe this crap.

Posted by: William Gruff | Feb 18 2020 19:36 utc | 78

Paul #73

That was an amateur propaganda rant. I trust you will go out and buy an ice cream with your shekel.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 18 2020 19:40 utc | 79

Virgile #69

That bbc link was silly. Nothing more than whitewash meander where the word terrorist, Al Qaeda were never mentioned whilst describing the rebels and opposition.

It was tripe, balderdash and bbc propaganda. Not worth tuppence.

Why did you post this? I do not get your point. Who do you think is the rightful governor of Idlib, Syria?

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 18 2020 20:01 utc | 80

France goes on attack against Erdogan and Turkey:

"French President Emmanuel #Macron accuses #Turkey of supporting extremists inside #France and announces the opening of an investigation into centers and projects related to the #MuslimBrotherhood funded by #Ankara on #French soil."

And we can be sure this also involves events in Libya.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 18 2020 20:35 utc | 81

@80 I thought the BBC article was quite balanced for a change.

"In 2016, al-Nusra Front declared that it had severed formal ties with the al-Qaeda network and renamed itself Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.

The following year, it merged with several small jihadist groups fighting in Syria and formed HTS.

Although HTS insists it is independent and not linked to an external entity, the UN, US and Turkey consider it a group associated with al-Qaeda and list it as a terrorist organisation."

It also refers to the Syrian government rather than 'regime'. That's always the first thing I look for in any news about Syria.

Posted by: dh | Feb 18 2020 20:42 utc | 82

"I never said Black people cannot achieve. It remains a fact, though that Black people, in America at least, continue to not occupy a place in society equal to other ethnicities, particularly and most importantly in economic terms. This is a fact and not something worth debating."

So what is it that you try to say? That the military should not recruit Black people or admit them to officer schools, or at least it should discriminate among those admitted? I truly do not understand how the average status of Blacks in any way relates to deficiencies of "neoliberal thinking" in American military.

The lessons of lamentably racist Enlightenment era are less applicable than you think. The largest deficiency of American military is inability of productively work together with "lesser people", be them Vietnamese, Afghan or Iraqis. They detest people they work with and are hated back. Compare Russians in Syria with Americans in Iraq. "The hubris, arrogance, and self-righteousness of officers" may be part of the reason, except that it is a mental setup shared by civilian part of "war management". It has something to do that Anglo-Saxon never faced the need to treat other peoples with dignity, unlike Russia. Of course, in the feudal period, feudals of other nationalities were treated with dignity, and not only Baltic Germans, concerning the commoners... comparably with Russian commoners. Nevertheless, Russian mindset is historically more flexible.

About "obsolete mores", US military has some quirks that are obvious to military lawyers. For example, harsh and truly obsolete treatment of extramarital affairs that lead to martial court cases.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 18 2020 20:58 utc | 83

Piotr Berman @83: "The largest deficiency of American military is inability of productively work together with "lesser people", be them Vietnamese, Afghan or Iraqis."

This is unfair and not the fault of the US military. The US military was sent into these people's countries as enemies, invaders, and occupiers. How could the locals possibly feel other than adversarial about that? The US military was tasked with destroying the state in all of these countries. The military didn't choose to do that all on their own. The orders came from civilians. Given the choice the military would just stay home and polish their guns. It isn't the military that wants to rampage around the world killing "little brown people", it is the civilians back home. None of America's wars were ever started by the military. They were all started by businessmen and politicians. The mistakes in all of these cases are political and economic, not military. It is not the military that chooses who to attack next, it is civilians, and in particular ones that don't have to go out and do the killing and dying, who choose the victims.

The military isn't employing neoliberal ("modern") thinking, and it is that which Bakken is criticizing it for.

Posted by: William Gruff | Feb 18 2020 21:28 utc | 84

Bubbles @85--

Based on the info at the link you provided, I don't see any connection between Mogilevich and Putin's vision for Russia whatsoever. I don't discount ties between Trump and various mobs; indeed, there seems to be ample proof of collusion and more. IMO, there're many more reasons to call Trump Mafia Man than Pat Riley. But which is more honorable: Being a mob member or CIA?

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 18 2020 23:15 utc | 85

karlof1 @ 76, sorry I couldn't access the report on 'Westlessness', and even trying to search it I got no quotes, so I will just be commenting on Putin's interview as a result, with some observations of my own to add. It's curious to me that after he makes that comment that the liberal idea is obsolete, he ends by answering a question that the world leader he admires is Peter the Great. Actually, Peter the Great was a westernizer - that is, St. Petersburg, which he built, was to put the capital of Russia closer to Europe. And the second leader he proffers is Chirac, another Western leader. So, I'm not at all sure that the concept of 'westlessness' is against Russia. I'd say the true western ideals (I'll give it a small 'w') are those coming out of Greek and Roman concepts of law and order, the virtues, just as eastern ideals have a basis in the morality of the great thinkers of the eastern sages. But I guess that isn't what the conference was addressing.

When Putin seems to condemn liberal ideas he does walk back that condemnation, comparing it to traditional ideas, saying that neither should be taken to the extreme and both ought to be respected. In the case of Peter the Great, that leader moved Russia closer to Europe with many reforms to Russia's traditions. The extremes of liberal ideas took Merkel too far, in allowing free passage to so many refugees that the country suffered.

Too much freedom ends in lawlessness, not westlessness. Too little is just as bad.

Posted by: juliania | Feb 18 2020 23:15 utc | 86


Larry Johnson has written a number of pieces on Sater at Pat Langs SST blog

Sater worked for the FBI and was part of the operation to try and entrap Trump for Russiagate.
It is worth reading through all Johnson's articles on the FBI Sater and Trump. I think there is more than what I have linked.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 18 2020 23:23 utc | 87

the latest article from Thierry Meyssan is again a very good summary of the West's strategy. It all makes sense, as almost everything Meyssan writes and has written.

Posted by: Phil | Feb 18 2020 23:26 utc | 88

juliania @87--

Yes, I had to click that twice to reboot the link and display the pdf from my link above. This is the author's definition from the essay:

"Far-reaching power shifts in the world and rapid technological change contribute to a sense of anxiety and restlessness. The world is becoming less Western. But more importantly, the West itself may become less Western, too. This is what we call 'Westlessness.'"

As you can see from this YouTube vid, Pelosi has her own acute case of Westlessness. IMO, Putin is distressed by the new line of attacks being made via Liberalism on what he sees as traditional family values, particularly the multi-gender phenomenon. Indeed, he attacks Liberalism's lack of tolerance for those resisting the pressure for the phenomenon's acceptance. This troubles Putin as himself and most Russians pride themselves on being open and accepting--tolerant--of all people, what's supposedly fundamental liberalism.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 18 2020 23:36 utc | 89

@ dh | Feb 18 2020 20:42 utc | 82

"I thought the BBC article was quite balanced for a change."

The BBC cleverly scattered a few true statements here and there, so readers would believe their version of how the war on Syria began, which would be laughable if the reality had not been so tragic.

To see the real version, go here --

The day before Deraa -- How the war broke out in Syria

Posted by: AntiSpin | Feb 18 2020 23:53 utc | 90

@82 Oh I know all the BBC's tricks thank you but unfortunately they have a lot of influence. Slagging them is of course de rigueur among enlightened readers.

But observing changes in the language and tone they use can sometimes be informative. I think the UK government is wary of getting too deeply into Syria but at the same time they can't say anything nice about Assad. The BBC reflects that.

The link you posted explains the origins of the Syrian conflict. It's well known but somewhat dated.

Posted by: dh | Feb 19 2020 0:15 utc | 91

Sorry....that was meant for #91.

Posted by: dh | Feb 19 2020 0:17 utc | 92

karlof1 @76

I composed a very long post, mostly rambling. But to stay on-topic I'll cut it down to this: It can probably not be overstated, the importance of what is now happening in Syria, which is why it is virtually absent on our msm.

I will attempt to follow your links so that I can understand this conversation and others to follow. Thanks for your patience and courteous reply.

Posted by: vinnieoh | Feb 19 2020 0:22 utc | 93

Karlof1 - 90
Thing is, some people, like Putin, rely on reality-based tolerance. Liberalism - both the economic neo-liberalism and the current SJW version of progressivism - is not reality-based but is pure unadulterated magical thinking.
And as you mentioned in your previous post, the trick is that the West rises and prospers when it relies on Greek and Roman principles, values and cultures - which were quite reality-based - and declines when it casts them out - as we've seen when Christianity took over the Imperium and people were fully obsessed with their imaginary friend, to the point that probably 95% of the West's intellectual production was, from then on, glorification and comments on various parts and tenets of Christianity, to the near exclusion of anything else. We're not there yet, but our current Western societies definitely show a trend of turning towards ludicrous pursuits and to object to most worthy endeavours.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Feb 19 2020 0:24 utc | 94

Clueless Joe @ 95

Or maybe the problem can just as well be understood not as

the West rises and prospers when it relies on Greek and Roman principles, values and cultures - which were quite reality-based - and declines when it casts them out

but rather as the failure of the jewish community to follow the Essene understanding of judaism and the hijacking of their collective's development of judaic consciousness by Paul.

Posted by: pogohere | Feb 19 2020 1:12 utc | 95

skeptic23 @ 98

My comment on #2:

Anyone who believes this:

“Having thus shown that he remained the master of the game by eliminating the most symbolic personalities of both sides, claiming it, and without incurring any significant retaliation, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo revealed the final scheme on January 19 in Cairo.”

has missed the most important revolution in military affairs since WW2. The successful missile attack on a major US base in the Middle East, Ayn al Asad on 1-8-20 to which the US could not respond, marks the end of “constructive chaos” without devastating consequences directly on US military assets in all of the Middle East.

That Iranian response and the inability of the US to rely on the projection of power via its naval carrier task forces due to the hypersonic weapon capability of the US’ formally recognized opponents–which simultaneously wipes out the ocean barriers to attacks on the US mainland– marks the end of the American century.

Posted by: pogohere | Feb 19 2020 1:24 utc | 97

Bubbles #28

Thanks but I am aware of all that background and more. I have been on this site and others for a long time. It was the subtle details that I appreciated in the to comments I referenced.

I think Erdoghan has capitulated and is now doing the slow motion slaughter of the loony jihadis he sent there in the first place. He was able to double deal Russia/USA right up until the point where he purchased high priced Russian military technology. Then the USA tried to screw him. Funny that. China was never a problem with all the mobile phone technologies up to 4G as they were all USA patented and key components USA manufactured. The very minute China developed its own 5G and chip masking capacity, the USA ground them, or is trying to. Soon the USA will capitulate there too.

Erdoghan has surrendered to the might of the Syrian Army and the brilliant leadership of Assad fully supported by Hezbolah, Iraqi and Iranian militia and the Russian war strategy and technology. Russsia is a champion now of half the world and the USA is in disgrace. All because of Syria and its great good fortune to have stood up to empire. Salut to all freedom loving Syrians.

Afghanistan next.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 19 2020 5:28 utc | 98

Bubbles #85

Mogilevitch and the Russian mafia. Felix Sater working on behalf of Mossad did a little arms dealing and apparently one purchase was for powerful missiles that could have ended up in the ME but were diverted to Israel or one of its agents. It was a BIG deal worth millions and much kudos. The chabbad chapter of New York made him a Hero of Israel or some such. The only thing Sater may have in association with Syria is opportunistic arms peddling and not likely to Assad and the SAA. Only in that sense might there possibly be a Mogilevitch connection as he will trade anything lucrative. Unless you are talking about child trafficking, brothels in Turkey,Israel, Saudi Arabia etc., there you might find moggy.

It was you who who raised moggy as a red herring NOT anyone else. and that link is sketchy, vastly incomplete to the point of misleading and fails to fully divulge the loathsome role of Felix Sater. It doesn't even reference the youtube video of his chabbad award. BTW same chabbad as Trump and other noteworthies attend.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 19 2020 5:48 utc | 99

skeptic23 @96:, Magnier, etc -

Those guys are interesting writers, I keep an eye on them, they have some good sources, but they also are wrong a lot, and have "interests" in what is going on. for example does not have good insight into US' politics, thinks much too highly of Trump, Magnier tends to push the excellence of "the Resistance" beyond what the facts allow, etc. It's just like US' media, just not a bad. The proprietor of the bar here is better than all of them at not jumping to conclusions, which is what I look for. Crooke is another one, can't think of any others in that category at the moment, some of the writers at Off Guardian maybe.

Posted by: Bemildred | Feb 19 2020 11:12 utc | 100

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