Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 28, 2020

Syria - Deadly Bomb Strike Warns Turkey To End Its Escapades

The last three days of the Idleb campaign were quite eventful.

The Turkey supported Jihadis threw everything they had against Saraqib where the M4 and M5 highways join. This enabled the Syrian army to take some 40 towns and cities at the southern front. The whole Ghab plain has now been liberated and the frontline has been massively shortened.

Idleb governorate Feb 25 2020


Idleb governorate Feb 28 2020


Saraqib fell to the Jihadis but they paid a very bloody price for it as the Syrian and Russian airforce continued to intensively bomb the approaches to the city. A new defensive line has now been established around Saraqib and the Syrian army is preparing to recover it.

To take the large area in the south in difficult terrain and against little resistance was more important than the temporary loss of Saraqib.

Yesterday saw a extraordinary escalation as the Russian airforce bombed a Turkish infantry battalion which went south of the M4 highway and came near to the southern frontline. Metin Gurcan deciphered the event:

What exactly transpired on Feb. 27? At around 5 p.m., a Turkish mechanized infantry battalion, comprised of about 400 soldiers, became the target of an airstrike on a road between al- Bara and Balyun, some 5 kilometers (3 miles) north of Kafr Nabl in southern Idlib. According to local sources contacted by Al-Monitor, two Russian Sukhoi Su-34 and two Syrian Su-22 fighter jets had launched intensive bombings of Turkey-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) targets in southern Idlib at around 11 a.m. that day. The same jets hit the Turkish convoy in coordinated action, the sources said. A first, a relatively lighter strike by the Su-22s forced the convoy to stop, after which the pounding intensified, forcing the soldiers to take shelter in several roadside buildings. What followed next was likely the dropping of KAB-1500L bombs — a variation of advanced laser-guided bunker buster bombs capable of penetrating to depths of up to 20 meters (65 feet) — by the Russian jets. Two of the buildings collapsed in the attack, leaving the Turkish soldiers under the rubble.

At least 35 Turkish soldiers, some say 55, were killed and some 60+ were wounded.

The incident was a signal to Turkey that its escapades have to end.

Throughout the last weeks Turkey had used large armed drones to attack the Syrian army. The Turkish troops in Idelb governorate had additionally used man portable air defense missiles (MANPADs) against Syrian helicopters and Russian bombers. Enough was enough.

Turkey does not have permission to use drones within the Syrian airspace. On Wednesday Syria's air defense destroyed one of them.

To use manpads against Russian planes is an act of war. The Russian strike was a reminder to the Turks that it is quite able to wage one.

Russia denied that its planes had launched the attack and Turkey accused Syria of doing it. But these statements are designed to deescalate and to allow for continued peaceful relations between Russia and Turkey. Both sides know very well what really had happened.

There is still Erdogan's threat to launch a full sized attack on the Syrian army on March 1. He threatened to push it back to the old Sochi memorandum ceasefire lines. Russia has moved two frigates into the Mediterranean Sea which are armed with cruise missiles.These will be used if Turkey really attempts to implement its idiotic plan.

NATO and the U.S. have both rejected getting involved in the Idleb affair. Turkey is on its own and Erdogan will have to be careful. He is not only losing in Syria but also in Libya and he can not risk to further upsetting Russia because the Turkish economy depends on it.

Posted by b on February 28, 2020 at 18:18 UTC | Permalink

next page »

What about Erdogan turning the refugee spigot back on?

Posted by: Jim | Feb 28 2020 18:32 utc | 1


it's just Turkey trying it's old trick to blackmail Europe into supporting it's uninvited foray into Syria.

It won't work this time. All eyes and need are on the Corona virus, it won't even make headline I think.

Posted by: A.L. | Feb 28 2020 18:45 utc | 2

BBC had emotional pleas from jihadi wives in Idlib running all through the night; filmed professionally in HD of course.

It's being presented as some sort of pogrom being led by "The Assad regime and their Russian enablers..." yada yada. And also quite a bit of time given to Turkish officials soberly lamenting this and that. I mean we all know the BBC is garbage but wtf. Propaganda overdrive.

Posted by: sejomoje | Feb 28 2020 18:48 utc | 3

The changes in the that map look to me like the jihadists have given up on the southern area but they're trying hard to hold onto Idlib city. They seem to want Saraqib and the nearby section of the M5 as a sort of buffer zone.

Posted by: Brendan | Feb 28 2020 18:54 utc | 4

Turkey needs some face saving gesture to enable it to retreat from Idlib without making it look like it abandoned its jihadists. A possible war with Russia might qualify. I remain deeply skeptical of the number of "Turkish" troops that are in those convoys. Erdogan can put jihadists in Turk uniforms and he can send suspected Gullenists there too.

That said, Erdo is a nut.

Posted by: alaric | Feb 28 2020 19:11 utc | 5

Erdoğan could send the Syrian civilians of Edlib who do not want to be under Bashar Al Assad rules to Libya. This country is Arab, rich and underpopulated. They will join the thousands of the well paid Syrian mercenaries that Erdoğan has sent to the GNA, a Moslem brotherhood friend...,,

Posted by: Virgile | Feb 28 2020 19:12 utc | 6

Brendan 4
They are likely to get a cauldron boxed in on the west, east and south with the possibility of escape to the north and Turkey. The cauldron will then close on them should they decide to stay.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Feb 28 2020 19:13 utc | 7

Posted by: sejomoje | Feb 28 2020 18:48 utc | 3:

Propaganda engine back in gear big-time in the UK’s imperial big sibling as well, including the front page of yesterday’s NY Times (“Children Freeze to Death. Bombs Rain Down. And ‘Nobody Cares’”), and this morning on progressivism-for-suckers outlet Democracy Now! (“Catastrophic Humanitarian Crisis in Idlib as Syrian Troops Advance & Children Freeze to Death”).

To be fair, the countless children blown up and buried alive in Mosul and Raqqa by the U.S. and friends didn’t freeze to death.

Posted by: David G | Feb 28 2020 19:16 utc | 8

There’s no way the Turkish public won’t be angered by what’s been going down. I just hope that anger is directed more at the wannabe sultan in Ankara than Syria and Russia.

Posted by: David G | Feb 28 2020 19:18 utc | 9

I wonder how many of these now surplus jihadists will be ferried to the Philippines in the coming days and weeks. Duterte has just kicked the Yanks out of there, and we all know how much the Yanks really, really dislike being told to piss off.

Posted by: Hal Duell | Feb 28 2020 19:19 utc | 10

I am looking at the topo map and thinking, what is the sense of the "land grab" in Sahel al Ghab = al Ghab plane. NE part of al Ghab is under the escarpment with a ridge at ca 800 m altitude, the plain is below 200 m altitude, mountains on Latakiya province (SAA control except small but very rugged bit on the north side) side reach 1400 m.

Perhaps it makes sense if SAA wants to push on a narrow front, like 1 mile, on the plateau along the escarpment. Then these positions will be connected with the plain, be easily reinforced, and the control can be extended to M4. 5 miles away. This would mess up jihadist supply routes quite a bit. It could create a domino effect extending control of M4 from the north tip of al-Ghab to SAA controlled section in Latakiya.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 28 2020 19:22 utc | 11

When examining the Idlib battlefield, understand that Russian Generals are directing the war. Syrian forces are successful because they coordinate like fingers on a Russian hand. Russian special forces set the targets for Russian and Syrian bombers, all to support the ground attack by the Syrian Army. It has worked since 2015.

Assad will win against Erdogan because the goal of Russia has been to secure the Syrian borders pre-war.

The US, Israel and the Arab states have backed off if not left Syria alone. Russia forced them all to retreat.

Turkey will be broken if it persists against Russian wishes.

Erdogan didn't just make a deal with the devil. He has fathered the devils, mentored the devils and sustained the devils.
Now, the Russians are going to exterminate the devils. If Erdogan stands with them, he'll be collateral damage.

Al Nusra isn't like his first proxies, FSA. These freaks are totally psychotic killers. Russian experience with such terrorists in Chechnya has shaped their policy to kill them all.

Idlib is al Nusra's altar of immolation. They will be extinguished there.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Feb 28 2020 19:26 utc | 12

It has just crossed my mind...Erdogan is engineering this series of events to justify reneging on the S400 deal.

Posted by: Guy THORNTON | Feb 28 2020 19:33 utc | 13

Putin must have agonized over the decision to nail these guys, but it had to be done to avoid a bigger conflict

Posted by: plantman | Feb 28 2020 19:39 utc | 14

The shortened FEBA will aid SAA. The Turk casualties have generated negative political feedback for Erdogan. He's clearly out on a very slender limb at the top of a tall tree. Peto Lucem's newest map shows SAA very near the M-4 at the Northern end of the al-Ghab plain. The Turks continue to funnel themselves and their terrorists into the meatgrinder at Saraquib begging the question how weak are the defense lines at Idlib City and Jisr al-Shughour now. I'm certain we'll soon find out!

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 28 2020 19:40 utc | 15

It might be no coincidence that Russia has just announced its first ever successful test launch of a hypersonic missile from a ship.
That kind of weapon would be complete overkill for attacking jihadist or Turkish forces in Syria. But Russia might be brandishing the missile towards the Western world - it might be sending out the message "don't even think about it" to anyone in NATO who wants to support Turkey militarily. The West won't win WW3.

Posted by: Brendan | Feb 28 2020 19:44 utc | 16

@13, Guy THORTON,

After MANPADs fired at Russian Su-34s and armed Drones from Turkey attacking the Latakia AFB, Putin didn't hesitate a minute. The Generals running the war for him already had the policy to take action to null the Turkish insanity.

The Israelis and the Americans know this policy. If there was any hesitation, it was to load the bombers with the block buster bombs that were used. Probably, took ten minutes. Flying time to Idlib is in minutes.

Now the Turks have to face two Russian frigates in the East Med armed with Kalibr cruise missiles Putin has sent. Flying time to Idlib will be in half-minutes.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Feb 28 2020 19:48 utc | 17

Saker's Syria update contains a translation of a Colonel Cassad item speculating that there's a backroom deal between Putin and Erdogan which has been mentioned here a few times.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 28 2020 19:50 utc | 18

"Idlib is al Nusra's altar of immolation."


Posted by: Lozion | Feb 28 2020 19:59 utc | 19

Thanks 'b' for such a to the point update. Am especially interested to see no mention of today's theatrics in Turkish news - guess there were no armed drones or F-16s flying raids over Idlib after all.
Turks have the opportunity to feel that they have given as good as they got at least. )))

Posted by: Egor68500 | Feb 28 2020 20:00 utc | 20

No mention of the large personal hardware loses suffered by the Syrian Army from Turkey drone directed artillery and drone launched missiles.

These drones are flying unhindered by the Russian air forces and air defense units (we don't know why as it would be trivial for the Russians to shootdown them). The Syrian army downed a drone but then seems it lost in the retalation most of their limited air defense assets in the area and now they are flying without opposition. That's is likely the main reason the Syrian Army failed to keep Saraqib, rather than the jihadist attack.

Posted by: ThePaper | Feb 28 2020 20:01 utc | 21

It is reported that the possibility of meeting Putin and Erdogan in Moscow on March 5 or 6 is being explored.
It will be interesting to look at Erdogan's face at this meeting.

Posted by: alaff | Feb 28 2020 20:05 utc | 22

thanks b... very on points as egor notes... thanks @12 red ryder.. that and the deal that @ 18 karlof1 notes is in line with my thinking here..

Posted by: james | Feb 28 2020 20:06 utc | 23

points - point..

Posted by: james | Feb 28 2020 20:06 utc | 24

I watched some of the turk footage of their drone strikes when they appeared on twitter.
A number of tanks were hit but appeared unharmed. a few lighter skinned vehicles look as though they may have been destroyed and a number of SAA killed. One of the tanks hit looked to have been carrying troops on top.
Possibly the Turk surveillance drones fitted with some sort of HE missile.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 28 2020 20:08 utc | 25

As an example of the state of West-European armies: from 2015 to 2018 the Dutch army had a shortage of bullets. During this period soldiers were not issued bullets when on exercise; instead the soldiers were ordered to shout "bang bang". Since then the shortage of bullets has been solved. But the doubt whether Western armies are fit for war remains.

Posted by: passerby | Feb 28 2020 20:08 utc | 26

It's encouraging, if it's true, that Russia finally decided to let Turkey know that it is not going to allow the major powers trying to devour Turkey to proceed. If that is true, however, I think Russia needs to follow through in two ways. First, it needs to seriously bulk up its presence in Syria. Second, it needs to send a clear signal to Israel as well. Enough is enough. Ultimately there will have to be a showdown with the Hegemon itself.

Posted by: paul | Feb 28 2020 20:17 utc | 27

Oops, "trying to devour Syria" I meant to say.

Posted by: paul | Feb 28 2020 20:18 utc | 28

We will see what happens to the turkish troops if they shot-down another russian plane with MANPAD they are firing all over Idlib. Then Erdogan will see how tough are the ruskies when betrayed

Posted by: DFC | Feb 28 2020 20:19 utc | 29

The turkish drones seem to have become a real menace to the Syrian Army and wrecking havoc. In a video of today even hitting a Syrian Pantsir S-1.

On positive news : Greece vetoed NATO communique declaring support to Turkey after latest Idlib attack

Posted by: redrooster | Feb 28 2020 20:28 utc | 30

Videos appearing now may be from prior to the Russian strike. Around that time, Syrian airspace was closed to all but Russian and Syrian military aircraft. I am guessing this was when SAA realised Turkey had armed its surveillance drones.
The agreement on Turk surveillance drones in Idlib seems to have allowed one to get into the blind spot above a pantsir and destroy it.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 28 2020 21:27 utc | 31

Turkey's ANADOLU Agency reports for home consumption topics of the day:

- Merkel condemns attack on Turkish troops in Idlib

- Turkey destroys Syrian regime's 8 tanks. 4 armed vehicles, 5 howitzers, 2 rocket launchers: neutralizes 56 regime elements. [they got up close for the count]

- US envoy to UN demands Russia grounds all war planes in Syria

- Turkey has full support of US to respond in self defence to unjustified attacks



Does Turkey have any rainy day friends or only acquaintances ? the US when it suits a deal

Turkey's failed gamble -

Even NATO is unwilling to touch Turkey’s Idlib mess with a ten-foot pole - Scott Ritter RT OP-ED

[.] Having failed in its effort to get NATO support in Syria, Turkey is now left with the Hobson’s choice of retreating or doubling down. Neither will end well for Turkey, [.]

Posted by: Likklemore | Feb 28 2020 21:58 utc | 32

The Russians have dispatched two Kalibr-carrying frigates (Admiral Makarov and Admiral Grigorovich) to the Med following the interception of two missiles aimed at Hymeim. These may arrange a demonstration for the benefit of the Turks if the Turks don't back down.

The Minister of defence of Turkey, Hulusi Akar personally attended control center for the strike on Syrian targets 27/28 February.

Erdogan may be approaching his SuckAssVilli moment

Posted by: Yonatan | Feb 28 2020 21:59 utc | 33

This would be a great opportunity to a turkish/qatar and israel/us/sa/uae reconciliation. Turks get the kurds and occupy the oil in syria in exchange for every democratic muslim brothers and the palestinian annexation plan. Trump can leave syria, israel can finally join the nato and MSB/islamist can attack iraq/iran/yemen/lybia/etc.. Turkish people must be fed a lot of anti-shiite/russian propaganda to make them fight this war. US will provide the weapons, if they fail against the russians, it was the turkish incompetence. It will be the great proxy worldwar of 2020.

Posted by: gary mckinnon | Feb 28 2020 22:08 utc | 34

Sputniknews Live updates @ 22:02

BREAKING: Pompeo: US Engaging With Turkey and Reviewing Options to Assist Ankara in Syria's Idlib

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has launched a verbal attack on Syria and Russia, saying the United States was “reviewing options to assist Turkey” following the escalation in Syria’s Idlib, which has resulted in the death of 34 Turkish troops.

thought the US was only remaining in Syria for the oil !? This help is not tied to cancel the S-400. how about a serving of onions?

Posted by: Likklemore | Feb 28 2020 22:24 utc | 35

The prediction of b are already behind the facts. There is a mood here to look down on Turks army. Instead of following B prediction and run, they licked their wounds and striked harshly on SAA. Much more than 33 deads soldiers.

THORNTON @13 I think Erdogan has already paid the S400 cash.

Thepaper @21 "we don't know why as it would be trivial for the Russians to shootdown them)."
I still stick to my claim which goes against the general belief in this site: the russian AA stuff is not tested and probably full of holes. There is a huge difference to shot down a surveillance drone that shine high in the sky from an low flying military object or short range incoming missile. Against these one, I never saw any the Russian AA able to protect something, not even itself.

This pantsir was active and does not seems to be ware of the drone that film it nor the one that shot a missile to it, nor the missile itself. Junkstuff. SAA troops are now hunted like rats. Hopefully for them, I don't think that Erdogan army as much precision guide missiles in stock so this show should comes to a quick end unless Trump sent new one.

As of the russian fleet with their super Kalibr, hyper glide missile and so on, in this small corner of mediterranean sea, they are just a bunch of targets for anti ship missiles of which Turks have plenty to serve. A ship seen seen is a shid dead. The only think that Russian fleet would be able is to run to Haifa where they would be safe from the Turcs.

Thinking to the Kurds and YPG, all those SAA, Russians, Jihadis, Turcs, there is only bad guys on this ground. I bet they took their Abacus and count happily each hits, irrelevant to who kills who. Every hit is just closest to Rojava freedom.

Posted by: murgen23 | Feb 28 2020 22:25 utc | 36

Russia sweetly sits on its hands while Turkey destroys the SAA.

Posted by: paul | Feb 28 2020 22:26 utc | 37

Is there any substance behind Metin Gurcan's take. No pics whatsoever of the destroyed buildings. If casualties were in rubble it would have taken some time to dig them all out with casualties ariving at the Turk hospital over a fairly long period of time. There is video of of the convoy peppered with shrapnel and one pic of the interior of one vehicle but no pics or video whatsoever of the destroyed buildings. Although the video did not show much of the surroundings, it did not appear to be near buildings. Also if building were included in the incident and were nearby, it is odd the video of the convoy did not pan onto the buildings.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 28 2020 22:26 utc | 38

Video from in the town of Balyun.
A convoy has been hit here so perhaps a second strike on a convoy within the town of Balyun and the troop transport convoy being on the road south of Balyun.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 28 2020 22:43 utc | 39

Russia doesn't need air defense to shoot down the drones. They are simple propeller planes, they can be shoot down with short range IR missiles or even their SU-34 or SU-30 auto-cannons WW2 style. Probably Syria could do the same with their own Mig-29 which are for air defense and haven't been deployed through the war.

Posted by: ThePaper | Feb 28 2020 22:43 utc | 40

Erdogen has one weapon he can use.....closing the bosspherus straits to russia, thereby preventing sea supplies to the mediteranean.

Posted by: Hermius | Feb 28 2020 22:45 utc | 41

To add to 39, The convoy that was hit in the town of Balyun looks to be supply trucks rather than troop transports. It is spelt babolin in the Twitter account so possibly different town. Difficult to tell with Arabic to English spelling.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 28 2020 22:48 utc | 42

At least they are talking. Fwiw. Erdo is nursing wounds.
Today, Erdo called Mr. Putin:

MOSCOW, February 28. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a phone call on Friday, during which they hashed over the implementation of the agreements on Syria’s Idlib, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov informed.

"Today, a phone call between presidents Putin and Erdogan has been held at the initiative of the Turkish leader. The talks were detailed. They discussed the need to do everything possible to implement the original agreements on the de-escalation zone [in Idlib]," he said.

Putin and Erdogan also allowed the possibility of holding new contacts on Idlib at different levels. "A possibility was discussed to shortly hold necessary contacts at this or that level. Literally an hour-and-a-half ago, reports came that the Russian and Turkish negotiators who worked in Ankara yesterday and the day before yesterday, had agreed to continue work today," Lavrov informed.

Hashing over implementing agreements that Erdo ignored, time and again.
Wondering how long before Mr. Putin's patience ends. Erdo's tomatoes may rot on the vine and his farmers will grab some hay pitchforks.

Posted by: Likklemore | Feb 28 2020 22:53 utc | 43

Erdogen has one weapon he can use.....closing the bosspherus straits to russia, thereby preventing sea supplies to the mediteranean.
Posted by: Hermius | Feb 28 2020 22:45 utc | @41

...and Russia will just take that lying down?

Posted by: diur | Feb 28 2020 22:54 utc | 44

Peter AU1 this is a link to pictures of the destroyed building and a googlemaps link to it.

Posted by: JohninMK | Feb 28 2020 22:55 utc | 45

Erdogan is a mad man. Even his equally lunatic NATO accomplice seems to know that as well.

Posted by: Steve | Feb 28 2020 23:00 utc | 46

A month old but worth following

Posted by: Mina | Feb 28 2020 23:02 utc | 47

Could someone please clarify?
So while Putin was talking to Erdogen (43) - or after he had spoken to Erdogen - or maybe before he spoke to Erdogen.....Erdogen was busy attacking and killing Syrian soldiers and their weapons in a massive and deadly drone attack....
And in their own country.
As someone who has always had utter faith and confidence in President Putin - this has shaken me somewhat.
What is going on?
I would appreciate any reply and/or explanation.
Will their be any retaliation if the report of the attack is factual?

Posted by: Emily | Feb 28 2020 23:10 utc | 48

Emily there was no massive as you put it drone attack. This is a collection of clips from an unknown time period with many unknown locations. Probably put out by Turkey to put on their TV to show they are doing something.

Separately there seem to be unopposed drone strike going on but we don't know much about them.

If you want a good background description, up to this week, of the Erdogan/Putin to and froing there is a good one at

Posted by: JohninMK | Feb 28 2020 23:23 utc | 49

JohninMK 45

Thanks. A good chance there were strikes on two convoys but you link I would take with a dose of salt. Looking through the twitter account it is another bellingcrap type investigator who spends his time geo-locating schools and hospitals bombed by evil Assad and Russia. There is nothing in the pic to link it to the strike. No convoy trucks, nobody on the site sifting through rubble. I doubt the destroyed building in the pic was involved.
The pics actually come from bellingcrap via @JakeGodin.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 28 2020 23:26 utc | 50

It's after midnite here but important.
Ca 1 hr ago:
Danny Makki
Syrian Officers from the Republican Guard who were killed by Turkish strikes in #Idlib

1. Major General Burhan Rahmoun, Commander of 124th Brigade

2. Brigadier Ismail Ali, commander of Battalion 873th

3. Colonel Mazen Frowati

4. Lt Col. Muhamad Hammoud

Danny is reporting live this nite:
Perhaps these guys will too:

Good Night/Morning X-

Posted by: Veritas X- | Feb 28 2020 23:31 utc | 51

Turkey can't defeat the Syrian army with toy airplanes carrying light weapons. Good for propaganda and little else. If turkey was actually making any impact on the saa their positions would have already been tageted in a major way. So far only collateral damage has been suffered by the sultan's army. When it gets real they will know it.

Posted by: Nemo | Feb 28 2020 23:32 utc | 52

The Turks are very bad including Erdogen , he let the terrorists through his country helped and weaponized them along with NATO , USA with monetary support from the gulf states , all for grappling Syrian territory like they did take Iskandaron from Syria after WWII , the French gave the province as always the colonizing west give lands not theirs .
He has to pay and the west should reminded him that is his problem to deal with these nasty terrorist .
If I am Putin , I will kick him so hard that he did know what hit him .
The UN has no power , it is run by the NATO alliance.
It is time for the Russian along with the Chinese and Iranian and their allies to form front to oppose the west christian including the hypocrite USA and their Zionist friends .

Posted by: Bobby | Feb 28 2020 23:32 utc | 53

Look at the map. Turkey is being directed and assisted to the max by the US/NATO. Whatever US/NATO says, they are throwing everything they can in terms of equipment and intelligence into the battle on Turkey's side. Why?

The Russian base and the Russian airfield. It is to protect those assets that Syria moved the front line north and it is to stage an attack on them that Turkish troops are venturing so far south.

Remove the Russian presence in Syria and the "West" goes home very very happy. Allow it to remain, and no one sleeps at night. Everything that comes out of Erdogan's mouth is intentional distraction as is everything that comes out of the mouths of Western leaders. Turkey and its jihadists are attempting to mount an attack on the Russian bases, a very, very concerted attempt supported to the hilt by the US etc.

Does Russia know this? Does Putin know how to tie his shoes?

Posted by: Bill | Feb 28 2020 23:34 utc | 54

Likklemore 43

That Putin has answered the phone means erdogan has capitulated. Russia and SAA will now most likely clear idlib leaving a narrow buffer strip housing the refugee camps that Erdogan will have to feed and water.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 28 2020 23:37 utc | 55

Thanks Peter AU1, I had not made the Bellingcrap connection.

Posted by: JohninMK | Feb 28 2020 23:40 utc | 56

btw, that makes it 3 Syrian Generals have been killed by the türkies.
Damascus & RF Military must be livid!
It's gonna be interesting what happens this nite.

Posted by: Veritas X- | Feb 28 2020 23:43 utc | 57

Veritas X- 51

@Dannymakkisyria is Middle East Institute based in Washington.

Middle east institute funding page.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 28 2020 23:46 utc | 58

The makki-guy could be a paid-c_nt.
I don't know.
But @Zoka, @Canathama, @YMNS haven't posted for quite a few hrs now.
Let's see what happens.
It's bedtime now.

Posted by: Veritas X- | Feb 28 2020 23:52 utc | 59

John 49
Thanks for replying and I have read your article on link - and very interesting it is.
Thank you for that as well.
But it was written a day or two ago and the events of today seem to have overtaken it.
I based my query and concern on this very new post on Southfront
I really hope you are correct and it is inaccurate.
If it is correct - and you may be certainly right - I hope so - then Turkey must be made to pay.
Will they?
I guess we wait and watch.
If they allow Turkey to get away with this act of war - a blatant act of war - then what?

Posted by: Emily | Feb 28 2020 23:59 utc | 60

lots of propaganda to weed thru...

Posted by: james | Feb 29 2020 0:03 utc | 61

Not sure if verified. Reports are that Mahmoud Abbas has died. Not sure if verified.

Also I recommend following that user on Twitter for keeping up with Syria.

Posted by: Mr. Wiggles | Feb 29 2020 0:04 utc | 62

i like this guy!

‘Idlib is inside Syria, not California’: Jaafari to UN Security Council

Posted by: james | Feb 29 2020 0:05 utc | 63

Emily 48
Yesterday, Turkish social media was shut down and news agencies told to only report official government information that would be given them.
The drone footage was part of that official government information given to Turk news agencies.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 29 2020 0:08 utc | 64

Peter 64
Thanks for that.
Again I trust you and John are correct.
As of now there are 130 comments on the Southfront article.
Very mixed views.
The very latest post just up
Tim Williams
'Turkey chopper shot down near Jarbu ... Aleppo countryside'
Let us at least take heart with that.

Posted by: Emily | Feb 29 2020 0:31 utc | 65

Erdogan is shifty Asiatic warlord.

Posted by: Seamus Padraig | Feb 29 2020 0:36 utc | 66

And now the latest from Zerohedge

Posted by: Emily | Feb 29 2020 0:42 utc | 67

I have seen the claim by Turk that they have fought 16 wars with Rus....
Maybe so. I wouldn't know.

I also see that they have lost 16 times...

Enthusiasm does count, doesn't it?

Posted by: Walter | Feb 29 2020 0:47 utc | 68

There is something going on still but mixed with Turk propaganda and Syrian twitter reports some which will be correct and some not. Fog of war I guess.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 29 2020 0:51 utc | 69

Numbers quoted in the southfront piece which is official Turk number are hardly catastrophic losses.
The videos I have seen of strikes on tanks, once the smoke or heat shadow clears, the tanks appear undamaged though if troops riding on top (as in the southfront video) are most likely all killed.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 29 2020 0:59 utc | 70

Possibly relevant to any intended drone attacks by Turkey against Russia...

Russia just deployed the S-350 "cruise missile killer" antiaircraft system to its forces. This variant of the S-system has enhanced capability against cruise missiles, drones and aircraft, ranging from 6 to 75 miles depending on missile type used. It carries up to 12 missiles per launcher.

I would expect Putin to order this system deployed to Russian bases inside Syria sooner rather than later. During development a unit was sent to Syria in 2017.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Feb 29 2020 1:04 utc | 71

Info stream's drying up which usually indicates Syrian government news blackout related to an offensive. Unfortunately that opens the field to the disinformation artists. I prefer to await what the dawn brings. One item of interest: Pompeo was accused of lying to Congress about Soleimani's murder:

"Democrats on the committee said they were not convinced by Pompeo's repeated assertions that Soleimani's assassination was justified because of an immediate threat to American lives and interests.

""I have seen that classified information and after reviewing it, I don't think that you are telling us the truth,' said Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas).

"In a fiery exchange, Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) asked Pompeo to show him on a map of the region which four embassies had been under threat from Soleimani.

"'Point out for us, which of our embassies were under threat of such an imminent attack that you had to kill General Soleimani—regardless of what the consequences might be—on January 3, 2020,' said Levin.

"'I'm never willing to disclose classified information,' Pompeo replied. 'I assume you're not either.'

"After a lengthy back and forth in which Pompeo repeatedly claimed the locations were classified, an exasperated Levin fired back a sharp retort.

"'You can't hide behind classification on this one because you can't classify something that doesn't exist,' said Levin."

IMO, Pompeo's in need of a massive facial rearrangement to make his outward ugliness match the evil residing inside.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 29 2020 1:11 utc | 72

Posted by: Hermius | Feb 28 2020 22:45 utc | 41
Read the Montreux Convention. Closing the Bos to Russia? You're sporting. Do you posit that Turkey declare war on Russia? See link below.

Posted by: diur | Feb 28 2020 22:54 utc | 44

Recall Turkey's 2015 blockading the Bos to Russian vessels - after shooting down Russia's military jet. What did Russia do?

Turkey’s Blockade of Russian Naval Vessels’ Access to the Mediterranean, Russia’s Black Sea Fleet Completely Cut Off.

The Strategic Role of the Bosphorus Straits and the Dardanelles linking the Black Sea to the Mediterranean:[.]

The Convention consists of 29 Articles, four annexes and one protocol. Articles 2–7 consider the passage of merchant ships. Articles 8–22 consider the passage of war vessels. The key principle of freedom of passage and navigation is stated in articles 1 and 2. Article 1 provides that “The High Contracting Parties recognize and affirm the principle of freedom of passage and navigation by sea in the Straits”. Article 2 states that “In time of peace, merchant vessels shall enjoy complete freedom of passage and navigation in the Straits, by day and by night, under any flag with any kind of cargo.”

The International Straits Commission was abolished, authorizing the full resumption of Turkish military control over the Straits and the refortification of the Dardanelles. Turkey was authorized to close the Straits to all foreign warships in wartime or when it was threatened by aggression; additionally, it was authorized to refuse transit from merchant ships belonging to countries at war with Turkey.

Turkey has now invoked its power, but has not publicly stated whether they are blocking Russian Naval Vessels because Turkey is “threatened with aggression” or whether Turkey considers itself to be “at war.” Last week, Turkey shot down a Russian military jet over Syria and this has caused a major rift between the two nations.[.]

Blockading Russia and preventing its Black Sea fleet from traveling to the rest of the world, or back to its home port, is something that will not sit well with the Russians.

Earlier today, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the deployment of 150,000 Russian troops and equipment into Syria, but then ALSO ordered the deployment of 7,000 additional Russian Troops, tanks, rocket launchers and artillery, to the Russian Border of Turkey at Armenia, with orders to be “fully combat ready.”[.]

Erdo had no support from NATO, they shot first was not attacked on their soil. Erdo was hung to dry on the clothes line in the hot sun.
Russia imposed an embargo of Turkey's export to Russia. No Russian tourists to Turkey causing significant political and economic costs for Turkey.
Oh added, there is a fair amount of revenue from ships transiting the straits. Ouch!!

Erdo quickly begged forgiveness.

Posted by: Likklemore | Feb 29 2020 1:46 utc | 73

IMO, Pompeo's in need of a massive facial rearrangement to make his outward ugliness match the evil residing inside.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 29 2020 1:11 utc | 73

IMHO, he would name make a carrier as a male model. Even as a model for "Plus size male apparel". IfI were a little girl and this guy would offer me a cookie, or even ask for directionsI would run like hell, shout and weep.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 29 2020 1:47 utc | 74

Inviting Turkey into Idlib back in 2018 was a mistake. If Assad was against it, he was right.

Erdogan will not abandon Idlib without getting bruised militarily, which won't happen unless Russia is willing to engage TAF openly and commit a lot more assets to the fight (and take losses).

If by tomorrow night we don't have significant TAF losses (including drones), then Turkey will have prevailed and the updated agreement with Russia, Iran will reflect that reality.

Posted by: s | Feb 29 2020 1:50 utc | 75

A war between Greece and Turkey was in sight since 2015.I don't like Vice yet its an interesting article from Sep. 2019

Posted by: Nick | Feb 29 2020 2:08 utc | 76

One thing I am finding looking through the twitter accounts is zero locations where the turk drone strikes took place.
Aleppo air defences are or have been firing at targets to the north which is away from idlib frontlines.
I'm starting to think the Turks scored a propaganda victory on twitter.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 29 2020 2:10 utc | 77

Live UaMap doesn't seem to list this attack. It only refers to a small number of civilian deaths near this location. Interesting.

Posted by: Extra | Feb 29 2020 2:55 utc | 78

karlof1 #73

IMO, Pompeo's in need of a massive facial rearrangement to make his outward ugliness match the evil residing inside.

Thanks karlof1, I support such a treatment for Pompous Pilat and I immediately thought of this old Russian facial treatment dished out by the Czars and their thugs. It was one reason that drove the Russians to seek an alternative government in communism. Currently the englanders are dishing out a modified form to Julian Assange while his home government remains cowardly silent.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 29 2020 3:09 utc | 79

So this is one way to begin to throw off NATO. Lets see...

Posted by: UnionHorse | Feb 29 2020 3:11 utc | 80

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 29 2020 2:10 utc | 78

"I'm starting to think the Turks scored a propaganda victory on twitter."

Yep, I get the feeling that a great deal of bullshit is being bandied about, no idea what is going on under the hood. Turks haemorrhaging bullshit. Lots of gaslighting. Everybody is acting odd. Thinking it over, I would hazard that something is up, and things are going to keep happening.

Posted by: Bemildred | Feb 29 2020 3:12 utc | 81

re twitter...
well the shot of some party blowing up the panzir demands some answers.... any thoughts on what happened here??

Posted by: james | Feb 29 2020 3:16 utc | 82

JohninMK #45

Peter AU1 this is a link to pictures of the destroyed building and a googlemaps link to it.

Peter AU1
I note that the twitter site linked to above by JohninMK has links solely to the jihadist killers and they are referred to as 'opposition fighters' while SAA is refered to as 'regime forces'.

I also note the twitter sight is very helpful in giving gps exact position data when reporting SAA sites and there is no mention of same GPS data for the 'opposition forces'

I smell belling cat piss.

What do you think?

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 29 2020 3:27 utc | 83

james #83

re twitter...
well the shot of some party blowing up the panzir demands some answers.... any thoughts on what happened here??

Thanks James I took a peek and yes it looks like some radar rotator truck got the shot but where, when, etc. Hard to know if the video and the story are reality.

Further down that thread one or two steps is a title about turkish air strike of a 'Assad chemical factory' where you see two lads making a dash out of a single story building just before a blast inside goes off. That does not look like an airstrike to me. A chemical factory? pull the other leg.

That site and some of its links are a bit dodgy I would say.

If any one were to believe that then perhaps they might be interested in buying an island I have for sale by the name of Diego Garcia, great resort lots and cement patio and direct flights.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 29 2020 3:37 utc | 84

Crocodile tears for Idlib but nothing for Gaza?

Posted by: Arch | Feb 29 2020 3:41 utc | 85

Drones did attack SAA. From what I can find, under the Idlib agreement Turks were allowed surveillance drones in Idlib. They used this for a surprise attack and it was some time before SAA realized it was drone strikes not two strikes. This was shortly before, perhaps in the day or so before the Russian or SAA strike on the Turks. One drone was shot down not long before that strike.
If this is correct, then the drone would have hit the pantsir while the pantsir crew thought it neutral. The pantsir's radar was operating so the crew would have known it was there. the other thing I thought about is the radar has a blind spot above it which the drone under cover of being neutral got into before firing a missile.
I suspect the strike put out by Turkey as being their strikes in the 24 hours after the russian strikes may have been from before the Russian strike when SAA realized Turkey had armed its drones.
Turkey has stepped up attacks right across the frontlines, a lot of artillery strikes against SAA Kurd frontlines and this is all mixed with Turk propaganda that is spreading through pro syria accounts that have been reliable over the last few weeks.
A photo taken from the ground of damage supposedly to a building at kuweires airbase began with a turk or turk supporter and is now doing the rounds on the pro syria accounts.

There is this from AMN "According to a military source in the Aleppo Governorate, the Turkish military heavily targeted their armored and technical vehicles, causing significant destruction to their northwestern Syria arsenal."

AMN is not always accurate but from what I can pick up, the main part of the Turk attack was around Aleppo.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 29 2020 3:47 utc | 86

uncle tungsten 84

I put a comment on it back up the thread @50. The account is another bellingcrap that geo-locates schools and hospital bombed by Assad and Russia. The photos and geo-location is direct from bellingcrap via @JakeGodin who is part of the bellingcrap team.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 29 2020 3:57 utc | 87

According to this, the refugees Turkey let go are stuck in no mans land between Turkey and Greece.
The first lot Erdo organised to go in the middle of the night may well have got through before Greece blocked its border.
No win for Erdo in that direction by the looks.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 29 2020 4:19 utc | 88

Boris Rozhin says it’s UAE’s Pantsir destroyed in Libya by Turkey (UAE’s Pantsirs are mounted on MAN trucks, not KAMAZ trucks).

Posted by: S | Feb 29 2020 4:28 utc | 89

I hadn't thought of Libya as a source for some or a lot of the Turk drone video.
Syrians like their mobile phones and if Turkey was doing as much damage as they claim in Syria, some of it would have leaked out.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 29 2020 4:56 utc | 90

Ivan Sidorenko's account.
This one may turn out to be reasonably accurate.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 29 2020 4:58 utc | 91

Not only did Turkey and destroy a lot of equipment with its drones, but it also killed a lot of SAA soldiers. They launched multiple missiles from Hatay Turkey at Latakia an eastern Aleppo. They successfully took out several high ranking Syrian and Hezbolla commanders at a meeting in Aleppo. Erdogan just upped the stakes today.

You an go to this twitter account for more info including pictures. @evacool_

Posted by: lgfocus | Feb 29 2020 5:04 utc | 92

this is the best blog on the internet with regard to middle east coverage, particularly syria.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Feb 29 2020 5:33 utc | 93

I forgot the link to Sidorenko's account.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 29 2020 5:39 utc | 94

By attacking the Syrian army overtly, Syria now has a good justification to kick out turks and their minions form all parts of Syria including afrin. Because until now it has been turkey was only politically supporting rebels, now it is clear that Turkey is in fact thew agressor and the minions are just mercenaries. Only the US still maintains that mercenaries are democratic liberators..

By now the SAA dont even need to use or need permission of the kurds to liberate afrin and bring it fully under Syrian government control.. since they lost it to the turks and getting it back form the turks gives same justification as kurds hole up in the deserts of dier ezzor..

Posted by: Igor Bundy | Feb 29 2020 5:59 utc | 95

NATO and the U.S. have both rejected to get involved in the Idleb affair. Turkey is on its own and Erdogan will have to be careful. He is not only losing in Syria but also in Libya and he can not risk to further upset Russia because the Turkish economy depends on it.
Posted by b on February 28, 2020 at 18:18 UTC | Permalink

NATO/US have a far bigger headache in Libya than Syria. I wouldn't want to be in the shoes of the Libya R2P twins, Sarkozy & Tony Bliar right now. I imagine that NATO's 'leadership' is twisting itself in knots trying to figure out whether Sarko and Bliar are worth going to war with Russia over. Given NATO-US cowardice and sleaziness I won't be surprised if they decide to stay out of Libya and opt for the cheaper option of blaming Sarko & Bliar for their cowardly Libya SNAFU. It'll be cheaper to refund the Libya Loot than to start a REAL war with Russia...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 29 2020 6:14 utc | 96

Walter #69

I have seen the claim by Turk that they have fought 16 wars with Rus....
Maybe so. I wouldn't know.

I also see that they have lost 16 times...

Enthusiasm does count, doesn't it?

General Westmoreland can vouch for that as can General Stanley McChrystal as Michael Hastings reported.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 29 2020 7:35 utc | 97

So when do SAA take out observation posts? Time for Turkish kebab.

Posted by: Jezabeel | Feb 29 2020 7:51 utc | 98

Hoarsewhisperer #97

Britain's deathbot leader in the British/French overthrow of Gaddhafi in 2011 was Blair hero worshipper David Cameron, not Blair himself.

Posted by: johnf | Feb 29 2020 8:39 utc | 99

Thank you b for your excellent journalism which knocks all other coverage, especially BBC into the long grass. Hoarsewhisperer @97. Tony Bliar has many crimes to his charge sheet but credit where credit is due. The war criminal standing with Sarkozy in the dock over Libya should be David Cameron who was UK prime minister when the interference in Libya took place. The fact that Cameron failed to get the U.K. Parliament to vote for bombing Syria and then presumably green lighted UK special forces involvement in Syria needs thorough investigation, exposing to the public and indictment too. He has subsequently managed to make himself more invisible than Saddam Hussein after the second Gulf War. Who is going to drag him into the daylight to face justice?

Posted by: PhilE | Feb 29 2020 8:53 utc | 100

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