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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

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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? William Gruff | Feb 18 2020 21:28 utc

Killing less wantonly, not applying torture, treating the troops they trained with respect, giving frank input to the civilian authorities (however deluded they were, the military could try) etc.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 19 2020 11:28 utc | 101

Pogohere - 95
The true failure of the Jewish people at the time actually happened in 2th century BC, when part of them went full religious nationalist and revolted against Hellenism, wiping out the best parts of their community in the process - since they were hellenized Jews and therefore the Enemy as well as the Greeks and Macedonians. Their temporary success convinced them they were on the right track and could prevail against major foreign powers, until the Romans put down their revolts twice.
Sure, Paul was terrible, but then both he and Essene were religious loonies to begin with.

Interestingly, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem offers a quite frank assessment of the Maccabees and of the later Zealots as extremists against the more tolerant majority of the Jewish people; it also is quite honest in acknowledging that the ultimate Bar Koshba revolt was doomed and never had any chance of any kind of success and only brought massive destruction on Judaea and its people.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Feb 19 2020 12:06 utc | 102

"Killing less wantonly..." --Piotr Berman @101

The military was tasked with invasion, occupation, and subjugation of the local population. Are you suggesting that there are kinder and gentler ways to do that? I think that the notion that the military take-over of a country can be some kind of pleasant experience for the victims is part of the problem and is an expression of the delusion that leads the West into these horrendous wars. The military doesn't share that delusion. They know that there is no pretty and friendly way to kill people.

"...treating the troops they trained with respect..."

What quality of people will an invading and occupying force be able to recruit to help maintain the occupation of their own country? The kind that are not deserving of anything like respect. Scum, in other words.

The military doesn't provide much input to the puppet government that gets installed after the invasion. The puppet government gets run by the CIA/State Department... by civilians.

It seems that you might be misunderstanding the nature of imperialist war. It is not the behavior of the military that makes them bad, but rather the fact that the war was launched at all. Wars are by their very nature bad. It is unalterably baked right into the act of war itself. Pretending that wars can be "nicer" if only the military would be better behaved doesn't lead to more "humane" wars, but simply to more of the regular old barbaric wars. The delusion that you can have "nice" wars is precisely the delusion among civilians in the West that I have been speaking of. The military doesn't share this delusion, and that offends delusional morons like Bakken.

Posted by: William Gruff | Feb 19 2020 12:08 utc | 103

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

I agree with you that the most bellicose members of the USA are civilians. The most down-to-Earth Americans I've ever read were military (who are inevitably more cosmopolitian, since they are the line of contact between the USA and the rest of the world).

However, the higher-ups of the Pentagon are equally as corrupt and non-reality-based. See, for example, the absurd case of the self-heating coffee mug, whose weight ended up on par with gold's.

Posted by: vk | Feb 19 2020 12:19 utc | 104

vk @104

Yes, there is tremendous corruption in the Pentagram, particularly in procurement. What many people don't realize is that most of those positions are actually civilian. It is among those civilian government employees that the famous military-industrial revolving door exists. It is, in general, not so easy for an enlisted or commissioned officer to take a break from military life to spend a couple years in private industry and then go back. Likewise you cannot just go from the private sector to a high ranked military position, skipping all of the lower level steps that military officers are expected to proceed through to get to that rank.

Basically, yes, the Pentagram is full of corruption, but we are still talking about civilians and not actual military personnel.

Posted by: William Gruff | Feb 19 2020 13:40 utc | 105

r @16:

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.

That might be true if the end of the war were in sight. But the war continues. The Assad must go! Coalition is still determined to win it.

To do so they need the Jihadis. In Syria and probably also in Iraq. Because Iraq is also part of this long war.

This is why I don't ascribe to the hopium that Erdogan is helping Russia to extinguish the Jihadi pestilence.

Today: Operation In Idlib Is ‘Matter Of Time’. Turkey Is Not Satisfied By Talks With Russia: Erdogan


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 19 2020 13:43 utc | 106

The military was tasked with invasion, occupation, and subjugation of the local population. Are you suggesting that there are kinder and gentler ways to do that?

Posted by: William Gruff | Feb 19 2020 12:08 utc | 103

Nah, the military could have behaved a lot better in Iraq. They were extremely dismissive and contemptuous of the civilian population. There are lots of videos of the most outrageous behaviour. Unfortunately the same treatment of Iraqis as sub-humans fed through into the British contingent, and it's certainly why the British lost in Basra. What could have been a humane occupation of a people who'd had enough of Saddam and didn't fight the invaders, swiftly turned into an insurgency, and the US troops being unable to leave their bases, except in force.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 19 2020 13:44 utc | 107

@ Posted by: William Gruff | Feb 19 2020 13:40 utc | 105

But it's not uncommon for a retired general to go to the private sector to serve as an "advisor". Those "advisors" are essential to keep those private contracts going, since they know the shortcuts.

I agree most hawks in the Pentagon are civilian. But there is a West Point aristocracy, extremely corrupt and inneficient.

Posted by: vk | Feb 19 2020 14:07 utc | 108

Thanks, karlof1 @ 89. Last night I was running through some sequences, so I'll give those here first. For me, to understand Russia it is an enjoyable task (at least I found it so) to read some of its great literary works. It was interesting to me that on his arrival at the airport Snowden was given to read Dostoievski's "Crime and Punishment". I've answered my own question why by understanding that there was something about that particular novel that the Russians wanted to convey. It is considered the first of Dostoievski's major works, the others being "The Idiot", "The Devils", and "The Brothers Karamazov". There is, I think, a progression to be seen in each corresponding somewhat to Dostoievski's own progression as he viewed both the Russian state and his own life experiences.

Signs are that Snowden is stuck still back at Crime and Punishment,being a techie at heart - but Russians have not been as slow. They got as far as "The Devils" during the Communist era and produced "Dr. Zhivago" and "Master and Margarita".

Putin and Dostoievski both are from Saint Petersburg - the novel given to Snowden takes place in that city. There is a progression throughout all these great novels I have mentioned between the state actors and individual 'heroic' figures, ending with 'Master and Margarita', which can now be transposed from Moscow to Washington D.C.

And to Clueless Joe, who thinks that the West went astray when Christianity entered the picture, no, you are quite wrong. You see, both Putin and Dostoievski are, fundamentally, Christians, as are the writers of the novels I have named.

Posted by: juliania | Feb 19 2020 14:21 utc | 109

Laguerre @107

Again, the assumption that you can have a "humane occupation" following a "humane invasion" as part of some kind of "humane war" is pretty much the Original Sin of western delusion that leads to these tragedies. It is fantasy. It is American Exceptionalism with a big dose of the British conceit of their White Man's Burden mixed in.

Let us not dance around a major point here either: Blaming the military for doing what they are tasked with doing for the failures that arise from civilian delusion is just civilians trying to dodge responsibility for their own misdeeds.

"Oh, but we meant well! It's just that the military messed it all up! If they had just done the war as we imagined in our Hollywood-addled minds that it should go, then everything would have been wonderful!"

When you order your military to attack another country that right there is the source and cause of all of the crimes and villainy that follows.

And that order always comes from civilians.

Posted by: William Gruff | Feb 19 2020 14:25 utc | 110

If the Russian invasion on Israel (that will follow after a Russian Turkish war) was not a likely scenario, then you wouldn't have all those cryptic funds belonging to Israeli and Jewish Americans, maybe even Russian Jewish too - buying all that real estate in Italy, Spain, Greece (dirt cheap and lots off in Greece) . It is likely something the Israelis are completely in the dark about it. (along with the rest of the world of course) These masses of refugees all over Europe will be responsible for shifting public opinion of NATO involvement in to a WWIII.

Meanwhile China up until recently was the biggest customer in Real Estate in southern EU countries. But now they got the virus. Think about it.

Trump is the real estate man of Zionism and his son in law owns airbnb...

Things to ponder.

(Turkey is going to OK EastMed soon?)

Posted by: Qparticle | Feb 19 2020 14:44 utc | 111
"Turkish Presidend Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that he has informed his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump of his country’s plan to launch a counter-offensive against the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the Idlib Governorate.
According to Erdogan, Turkey’s counter-offensive against the Syrian Army is only a “matter of time”, as he pointed out he will not leave Idlib to the government or its Russian allies.

“Operation Idlib is just a matter of time. We have discussed (Idlib) with Trump. We have shared our opinions. We won’t leave Idlib to Assad regime neither those who encourages him (Russia),” Erdogan said."

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 19 2020 14:45 utc | 112

Trump and Netanyahou will destroy Israel.
Mark my words.

Posted by: Qparticle | Feb 19 2020 14:48 utc | 113

Erdogan speech apparently.

"#ERDOGAN: "#Turkey cannot be confined within the 780,000 km2 border. #Misrata, #Aleppo, #Homs & #Hasaka are outside our actual borders, but they are within our emotional & physical limits, we will confront those who limit our history to only 90yrs." #Libya"

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 19 2020 14:49 utc | 114

Gruffy and pals--

Seems to me that the dehumanizing of all of these peoples is pretty ingrained in the west and the US particularly.

Posted by: arby | Feb 19 2020 14:55 utc | 115

Clueless Joe | Feb 19 2020 12:06 utc | 102

There used to be around 22 ancient Greek cities and townships inside just the current Israeli borders, God knows how many in Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Lybia.
Tip: Mediterranean was not always like this. They obviously scanning for Jewish antiquity all along the Mediterranean route of EastMed...

Posted by: Qparticle | Feb 19 2020 15:08 utc | 116


Dilawar (born c. 1979 – December 10, 2002), also known as Dilawar of Yakubi, was an Afghan taxi driver who was tortured to death by US army soldiers at the Bagram Collection Point, a US military detention center in Afghanistan.

He arrived at the prison on December 5, 2002, and was declared dead 5 days later. His death was declared a homicide and was the subject of a major investigation by the US Army of abuses at the prison. It was prosecuted in the Bagram torture and prisoner abuse trials.

Dilawar was tortured for 5 days and nights, until his legs turned to pulp and a blood clot blocked his heart.

Several participants met military justice:

n August 2005, lead interrogator Specialist Glendale C. Walls of the U.S. Army pleaded guilty at a military court to pushing Dilawar against a wall and doing nothing to prevent other soldiers from abusing him. Wells was subsequently sentenced to two months in a military prison.

Beiring and Brand showed no remorse when recounting the torture. Beiring was charged with dereliction of duty, a charge that was later dropped. Brand was convicted at his court martial, but rather than the 16 years in prison he was facing from the charges brought against him, he was given a reduction in rank.[10]

In August 2005, Sgt. Selena M. Salcedo, an interrogator with the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion, admitted to mistreating Dilawar. In a military court Salcedo pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty and assault, admitting she kicked the prisoner, grabbed his head and forced him against a wall several times. Two related charges were dropped and she was reduced in rank to corporal or specialist, given a letter of reprimand and docked $250 a month in pay for four months.


So this is military disciple enforced by superior officers and military justice system. The prosecution happens because (Wikipedia again)

Leaked internal United States Army documentation in the form of a death certificate dated 12 December 2002, ruled that his death was due to a direct result of assaults and attacks he sustained at the hands of interrogators of the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion during his stay at Bagram. The document was signed by Lt. Col. Elizabeth A. Rouse of the U.S. Air Force, a pathologist with the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington DC, and listed as its finding that the "mode of death" was "homicide," and not "natural," "accident" or "suicide"[5] and that the cause of death was "blunt-force injuries to lower extremities complicating coronary artery disease".[6]

A subsequent autopsy revealed that his legs had been "pulpified," and that even if Dilawar had survived, it would have been necessary to amputate his legs


The other details are that Dilawar was driving a taxi with three passengers, and all of them were mistakenly arrested by members of a militia that cooperated with Americans. You can see pragmatic military problems: you can hide torture from American public, but not from the affected population. The cooperating militia becomes a part of hated, criminal occupation. The torture program went amok, they were not even trying to care about the truth -- the torturers figured quickly that the captured people are unlikely to be insurgents. But the immense power over another person becomes an addiction. It seems the only the medical personnel was not affected.

And then you have problems with Afghan troops trained by Americans kill their instructors, or more typically, behave wantonly after graduation.

And then problems of not being able to tell friend from foe. And so on.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 19 2020 15:18 utc | 117

@ piotr... what a sick story that reflects how f@ked up the usa approach is... it would be nice to think this is past tense, but i doubt it...

i see erdogan let fly a comment that reveals what everyone has known for some time..."he said Turkey will not allow the Syrian government to take control of the province." a fuller quote "Turkish President Recep Erdogan said on Wednesday he was prepared to launch a military offensive in Idlib at any moment. Speaking before Turkish lawmakers, he said Turkey will not allow the Syrian government to take control of the province."

how does this guy think? he has the same torturous thinking process as the usa military in piotrs post - that is to say - tortured..

Posted by: james | Feb 19 2020 16:04 utc | 118

As a frequent lurker, I usually have little to add to the many thoughtful comments. I just stumbled on the following two "reports"(?) about which I am skeptical, to say the least. I trust b more than a self-serving media. So I wonder, how do they come up with this stuff? The "reports" leave many questions. Does anyone at the bar have an answer? I know the media will do anything to make SAA and Russia look bad.


Posted by: Tiger Lily | Feb 19 2020 16:11 utc | 119

Piotr Berman @117

Everyone is a foe to the invader. There are only foes that will try to expel the invader, those who are too afraid to try, and criminal scum who will side with the invader for short-term gain but have no loyalty to the invader. Otherwise pointless torture is a deliberate policy of the CIA that is promoted in order to move as much as possible of the population under occupation from the first group into the second and third groups mentioned above.

Of course, the CIA didn't invent this technique, though it does seem that they are trying to "improve" upon it. The technique is as old as war itself because it is part of war. It is only in the fantasy version of war in the heads of delusional fools that you can find nice, clean, and pretty wars of conquest.

This ugliness of war is not "hidden" from the aggressor's population. That population simply chooses not to see it. They delude themselves. For instance, did the German public in WWII honestly not know about the concentration camps? Of course they knew, but chose not to acknowledge them. Is the fact that the supposed victims of fictitious Syrian government chemical weapons attacks have actually been murdered by the American Foreign Legion unavailable to the western public? No, everyone knows this, but most choose not to acknowledge it.

Posted by: William Gruff | Feb 19 2020 16:23 utc | 120

@ tiger lily... they have been printing these types of stories - humanitarian disaster' since the beginning of the war... it is meant to convince people back home that idlib is this place free of headchoppers and the only real problem is the syrian - now what word gets used here countless times? regime... you guessed it.. the syrian 'regime' is responsible for all the atrocities, and the west is incapable of telling the truth about who they have supported since the onset of this war on syria - the ''''moderate headchoppers'''... you can ask others, and maybe you'd like to make the post on the new thread on syria just posted too for others response... that is my take.. cheers james

Posted by: james | Feb 19 2020 16:26 utc | 121

Out of subject. But very intriguing:

from an article on PressTV:

Two confirmed dead by the coronavirus in Qom, Iran. Both over 65 and one with injuries from chemicals in
the Iran/Irak war.

However, they never left their province and never went out of Iran in their lifetimes.

Isn't Qom one of these historic cities in Iran?

Didn't Trump announce he was going to bomb historic sites in Iran?

Should we draw a conclusion on this inexplicable event?

Posted by: CarlD | Feb 19 2020 20:42 utc | 122

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