Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 02, 2020

Syria - Another Short Note On The Recent Developments

After the confusion caused by the sudden stand down of Russian forces in Syria and the following Turkish drone attacks everything seems to be back to normal.

Russian planes are again bombing Jihadis and Turkey has been told by Russia that none of its planes or drones will be safe within Syria's sky.

The Pentagon announced that it will not provide air support to Turkey. It will also not send any Patriot air defense to Syria but President Trump promised to ask other NATO countries to do so. They are likely to deny the request. It seems that Pentagon has won the fight with the State Department which supported the Turkish push for protection.

The Turkish president Erdogan said that Turkey has no "particular problem" with Russian and Iran aligned forces in Idleb. This comes after Iran and Hizbullah had warned that Turkish troops in their now surrounded 'observation posts' would be easy targets. The Turkish units which have invaded Idleb were quiet today.

Source: Peto Lucem - bigger

The Syrian army has again regained the areas that were lost during the last week. The city of Saraqib is again liberated. Russia let it be known that its military police will take care of security in the city. This means that it is off limits for another Turkish Jihadi attack. The M5 highway can now be reopened and will be secure.

There is another large supply operation from Russia underway. During the last three days two Russian landing ships, which usually carry heavy weapons like tanks, passed through the Bosporus on their way to Syria. Eight Ilyushin Il-76 strategic airlifters landed at Hmeymim, Latakia during the past three days. These likely carry additional air defense systems or additional fighter planes.

The resupply should silence any talk that Russia has given up on Syria.

Erdogan wants Idleb but neither Syria nor Iran nor Russia will let him have it. President Putin will meet Erdogan during the commong days and will make sure that the point is understood.

Posted by b on March 2, 2020 at 18:39 UTC | Permalink

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I never could figure out the scale of the Turkish retaliaton. Such wildly different reports, and the usually reliable Russian reports were not forthcoming.

Posted by: D | Mar 2 2020 18:47 utc | 1

Thanks b for the update. The fog of war is clearing, and hopefully calming down the hysteria over Putin's actions and intentions.

Posted by: Trisha | Mar 2 2020 18:56 utc | 2

Maybe the confusion was intended to allow for face-saving for both sides?

Posted by: Andrew Ho | Mar 2 2020 18:57 utc | 3

As with all previous cease-fires,they will soon be broken by the jihadis or now, by Turkrey itself, to the detriment of the SAA and its allies ... let's hope that Putin can structure Thursday's negotiations in such a way that the detriment would be minimized.
My preference would be to demand that all Turkish military support defending Idlib City be withdrawn (leaving the jihadi fanatics on their own) and allow the SAA and its allies to finish the vermin off.

Posted by: chet380 | Mar 2 2020 19:21 utc | 4

There are three reasons Erdogan will reverse course.

Kalibrs, Iranian missiles, and Syrian air defense (integrated with Russian missile defenses).

He got away with a vicious attack by drones and artillery. However, he knows that if he repeated that tactic, killing Syrian and Hezbollah troops in large numbers, Syria would decimate the Turk observation posts, and he would lose many hundreds of men.

He also knows the Russians will pulverize him if any Russian MPs or special forces in Idlib are killed or if a Russian aircraft is shot down.

Iran has signaled bluntly that missiles will fly if he continues his aggression.

Most likely, new air defenses are coming to Syria from Russia. Additional Pantsir units is all that is needed to take care of the drones.

Because of the changing geopolitical dynamic of China, I expect the port at Tartus will soon have a ship load of Chinese tanks gifted to the Syrians (in exchange for oil and drilling rights). China has been very clear that it wants those thousands of Uyghurs in Idlib eliminated before they return to Xinjiang, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Mar 2 2020 19:26 utc | 5

China has been very clear that it wants those thousands of Uyghurs in Idlib eliminated before they return to Xinjiang, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Mar 2 2020 19:26 utc | @6

Then why don't they do something about it? China has done FA to date to help the Syrians.

Posted by: frint | Mar 2 2020 19:35 utc | 6

The competent opinion of a well-known Russian political scientist on the escalation of Russian-Turkish relations in Syria. The aggravation of the situation was a deliberate step of Moscow.

Posted by: alaff | Mar 2 2020 19:37 utc | 7

What scares me now, is what Erdo will do to save face. He made a lot of threats and he has to deliver something to his public. Lets hope Putin will give him something or all Turkey's neighbors are in danger.

Posted by: Erlindur | Mar 2 2020 19:43 utc | 8

Thank you for bringing the sunshine to clear the clouds.

Poor baby Erdo. Tantrums and hissy fits.
Read that Esper refusal earlier today. Hopeful there will be no hidden contraband in the promised humanitarian aid.
There seems to be a lot of confusion in the mealy mouthed statements out of D.C.
We stand by our ally Turkey but No, no helping hand. You are on Syrian soil, and you are on your own
But, but NATO is ready for anything that might happen

What does this say about US capabilities with troops still in Syria?

Also Monday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said there was "no clear, unambiguous intelligence on who was flying which planes" in the deadly attack on Turkish troops in Idlib last week.

If you believe that, I have some lakeside properties in the Namibian desert for sale. Price is incredible. Pre-purchase alert: Temperatures dip significantly around midnight.

Posted by: Likklemore | Mar 2 2020 19:45 utc | 9

Russia had offered joint patrols with the Turks before. Turkey had declined it. I would think any deal starts there. Russia and Turkey doing joint patrols and sharing information. Reopen the M4 and M5. Keep the crazies close to Turkey or kill them all.

Posted by: goldhoarder | Mar 2 2020 20:03 utc | 10

I wonder if Russia will be sending any of those new S-350 defence systems for battle testing. This is exactly what they have been designed for.

Posted by: Dean | Mar 2 2020 20:05 utc | 11

chet380 @5

I lean toward the same understanding.

We see the failure of Turkey to convince Russia to unilaterally end their support for the Syria's reclamation of Idlib. That is all.

I think we may well see a renewed, and more forceful attempt to sideline Russia via a false flag - possibly a chemical wmd false flag on Turk soil from where they launch artillery or drone attacks.

US/NATO 'reluctance' would then disappear, as that 'reluctance' is just for show.

Some are hoping that when Vlad and Recep meet, a little more than 2 days from now, they will exchange friendship bracelets and giggle like school-girls at the recent 'misunderstanding' between them. That's naive.

AFAICT, nothing is resolved. This is just have a cooling-off period prior to the meeting.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 2 2020 20:06 utc | 12

Short vid of how refugees are being treated by Turk "minders" at Greek border: child abuse to the max White Helmet style!

"'The #Turkish-staged wave of refugees that is storming the border with Greece seems to be employing propaganda methods that they’ve learned from their #WhiteHelmets counterparts in #Syria.
Turkish-sent refugees keep children near fire to make them cry.'"

Two more Turk drones shotdown, while Zionists provoke unrest in Daarra again. Maybe in a year or so when Syria finally looks to regain the Golan that region will finally be weeded of its terrorist elements.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 2 2020 20:14 utc | 13

I have this simplistic idea that Erdo is simply one of those kind of people who simply cannot stay out of trouble. If this is the case, these small but deadly 'incidents' will likely just go on and on.

Someone around here mentioned that the Kurds have the habit of multiplying like rabbits. So Erdo might have a realistic reason to be disturbed by that.

Posted by: blues | Mar 2 2020 20:16 utc | 14

@ Jackrabbit | Mar 2 2020 20:06 utc | 13

There are no "white helmets" in Turkey to organize a gas attack false flag. Also, since Turkey is not a headchopper jungle no-go zone, the site of alleged attacks would be immediately inspected by independent experts, which would not be very convenient for the organizers a staged event. If there is to be one more false flag, it would most likely be staged either in Idlib city or in one of the refugee camps on the border with Turkey.

But I doubt that we will be seeing any more "gas attacks". All these false flags in Syria were British operations. The Brits have left the scene, James Le Mesurier even in quite spectacular fashion.

Posted by: Lurk | Mar 2 2020 20:32 utc | 15

The scenes on the border of Turkey/Greece are disgusting. Where is the UN to denounce Erdogan in instrumentalizing migrants as a political tool?

Posted by: Nick | Mar 2 2020 20:32 utc | 16

Mar 01, 2020:"US aircraft carrier group enters Mediterranean amid heightened tensions between Russia, Turkey in Syria:"

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower crossed through the Strait of Gibraltar and entered the Mediterranean Sea on Saturday night, the Marine Traffic maritime information portal has reported.

Posted by: Imagine | Mar 2 2020 20:39 utc | 17

To better understand Russia’s moves, a take from Putin’s latest interview for TASS:

“ We are not going to fight against anyone. We are going to create conditions so that nobody wants to fight against us. “

Posted by: RobvC | Mar 2 2020 20:41 utc | 18

@ karlof1 | Mar 2 2020 20:14 utc | 14

It is impossible to judge from that clip what the larger context of that scene is. The man appears tombe holding a child in smoke of smouldering fire, presumably to make it cough. Also notice the man with a white hoodie, he wears a shawl over his mouth, as if protecting from smoke or tear gas. What is the hysterical woman doing? Is she the mother of one or both of the children? When the men run of with the children, she stays behind.

Unsurprisingly, the Greek border guards use tear gas (and even rubber bullets) for crowd control. Is the clip showing an attempt to stir outrage over Greek border guards firing tear gas at young children?

More curiously, there are also reports and pictures of "refugees" throwing Turkish-made tear gas grenades towards Greek border guards:

Here's even a video of rioters at the border throwing objects and waving a Turkish flag:

Posted by: Lurk | Mar 2 2020 20:49 utc | 19

@ karlof1 | Mar 2 2020 20:14 utc | 14

It is impossible to judge from that clip what the larger context of that scene is. The man appears tombe holding a child in smoke of smouldering fire, presumably to make it cough. Also notice the man with a white hoodie, he wears a shawl over his mouth, as if protecting from smoke or tear gas. What is the hysterical woman doing? Is she the mother of one or both of the children? When the men run of with the children, she stays behind.

Unsurprisingly, the Greek border guards use tear gas (and even rubber bullets) for crowd control. Is the clip showing an attempt to stir outrage over Greek border guards firing tear gas at young children?

More curiously, there are also reports and pictures of "refugees" throwing Turkish-made tear gas grenades towards Greek border guards:

Here's even a video of rioters at the border throwing objects and waving a Turkish flag:

Posted by: Lurk | Mar 2 2020 20:49 utc | 20

@ karlof1 | Mar 2 2020 20:14 utc | 14

It is impossible to judge from that clip what the larger context of that scene is. The man appears tombe holding a child in smoke of smouldering fire, presumably to make it cough. Also notice the man with a white hoodie, he wears a shawl over his mouth, as if protecting from smoke or tear gas. What is the hysterical woman doing? Is she the mother of one or both of the children? When the men run of with the children, she stays behind.

Unsurprisingly, the Greek border guards use tear gas (and even rubber bullets) for crowd control. Is the clip showing an attempt to stir outrage over Greek border guards firing tear gas at young children?

More curiously, there are also reports and pictures of "refugees" throwing Turkish-made tear gas grenades towards Greek border guards:

Here's even a video of rioters at the border throwing objects and waving a Turkish flag:

Posted by: Lurk | Mar 2 2020 20:49 utc | 21

Canthama has moved to VK! Not quite as friendly to the general public as Twitter, but much better for the user policy-wise.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 2 2020 20:52 utc | 22

@Dean #12

Nope, no S350E. I will point out that the movement of such equipment by road would be noticed by many and such information posted on Russian also happens in the US where troop train movements are noted by many eyes ;-)

Posted by: 07564111 | Mar 2 2020 21:02 utc | 23

From the Bloomberg:

''Istanbul’s working class neighborhood of Zeytinburnu was buzzing Sunday as migrants huddled in groups debating whether to travel to the border with Greece so they could achieve their dream: to live in Europe. Following Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to open the frontier, excitement rippled through the district of about 300,000 people that’s home to young Afghans, Central Asians and Iranians, as the propaganda machines went into overdrive on both sides of the border.''

Why aren't authorities denuncing Erdogan in using migrants/poor people as a political weapon?

Posted by: Nick | Mar 2 2020 21:05 utc | 24

alaff #8

Thanks for that link but I found the writer vacuous and inconclusive. His proposition that there is a end game where Iran and turkey are best of buddies is absurd and demonstrates an ignorance of history and contemporary political/religious differences. Economists lik Paul H
Kruger write like that and I thought he was trained in that style. Wishful imaginings guiding the pen.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 2 2020 21:05 utc | 25

Lurk @20--

Your objections are noted. There were many more reports of the sort of ill-treatment shown in the vid plus the Greek's actions aren't any better. IMO, it's important to recall which Outlaw Nation started it all as it's ultimately responsible for all the deaths, destruction and displacement of peoples. That's why the waging of Aggressive War is the Ultimate War Crime as it contains and causes all the others. How far back along the chain of Cause and Effect must we go to get to who/what's ultimately responsible? IMO, the Buck begins with Truman and his CIA, although an excellent case could be made to aim at the group of people who were behind Truman.

Oh, and they all knew damned well what they were doing, making the entire sordid history premeditated murder.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 2 2020 21:06 utc | 26

Each time we see that the international situation would need the UN and EU technocrats really work for the amounts of money they get paid, they obviously clearly fail doing a proper job. Over the years, one could even say it is accumulating. Giving moral lectures to China but having most of the world pharmaceutical production manufactured there? Pushing globalization without any consciousness of the sanitary risks? Starting wars with no B plan?

Posted by: Mina | Mar 2 2020 21:12 utc | 27

@karlof1 | Mar 2 2020 20:52 utc | 21

I was sorry to see Canthama's twitter account suspended, so am happy to see his VK account that you linked to, looks promising. In what way is it "not quite as friendly to the general public as Twitter", simply lesser eyeballs reading it?

Posted by: pokums | Mar 2 2020 21:20 utc | 28

Social media needs a public option.

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 2 2020 21:36 utc | 29

The war will continue

Speaker of the Knesset Edelstein: A great victory for Likud and Netanyahu, and we will form a strong and good government

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 2 2020 21:42 utc | 30

'"Iran’s leadership broke the silence and ultimately warned the Turkish armed forces that Tehran’s patience and stock of “loyalty” over the situation in Idlib is running out.
The message was transmitted to Ankara through the Iranian Military Advisory Center (MAC) in Syria, learned 'Bulgarian Military' citing Iranian and Syrian sources and Iran Front page news portal.
In it, in particular, it was indicated that Turkey continues to deliver massive artillery attacks on positions of the pro-Iranian militia, despite Tehran’s incredible restraint.
The MAC’s statement said the Iranian side was urging Ankara to take a “rational approach” to the Syrian Idlib problem, which in turn would serve the interests of two peoples – Syria and Turkey.
“Our leadership gave the order not to open fire on the Turkish military. This saved their lives, because their manpower and equipment were within the reach of our artillery. In response to such a clear peace move, Turkish forces continue to shell our positions” says the communiqué circulated by the IAU.
Thus, Iran made it clear that it no longer intends to tolerate shelling of its bases and can easily avenge the damage inflicted, which would become an unbearable burden for Turkey, since fighting on two fronts (and taking into account the Russian factor, even three) is not enough who can do it.
Such an appeal by Tehran, experts say, contains an offer to Ankara to save face."'

Posted by: brian | Mar 2 2020 21:45 utc | 31

It seems that new Tu-214R russian planes have arrived to Syria and are detecting every turkish drone in or even outside Syria:

And now the turkish UAV's are falling like flies just when they cross the Turk-Suryan border:

It seems that the ruskies have said enough is enough and from the moment they said "the cannot guarantee the fate of any turkish plane in Syria" the russian SIGINT planes and the ruso-syrians anti-aircraft crews start to work together to shot-down every single enemy drone flying on Syria, it seems they have cleared all the syrian air space and now are preventing any drone from entering the syrian air space, and downing after some meters of crossing the border

Check-mate for the turkish dream, the next step of the turks is a all-out war with the ruskies, what I do not recommend (as History teach)

Posted by: DFC | Mar 2 2020 21:47 utc | 32

Dean @12 and 07564111 @ 22

Only one S-350 system has been delivered to date to a Russian military training center. It only has 2 TELs with a total of 24 missiles. It's highly unlikely its going anywhere far from Leningrad.

Anyway the S-350, or even the S-300/400 members of the same family, are really, as medium/long range SAMs (the S-350 missiles are 120km range)not what is needed this side of a shooting war with Turkey.

What the SAA needs is more Pantsyr or Buk-M3 short range AD to knock these UAV out of the sky and it looks like, from the latest reports, that they are exactly what the Russians are rolling in.

Posted by: JohninMK | Mar 2 2020 21:49 utc | 33

karlof1 @ 14, Lurk @ 20:

Why am I not surprised that the "Syrian refugees" seem to be making propaganda films involving children and throwing Turkish-made tear gas grenades at Greek border guards? These "refugees" have had more acting roles and experience in the space of a few years than most Hollywood actresses get once they are over 50 years of age. Who knows, they may even be carrying a past Oscar won for some fake jihadi documentary from a few years ago.

BTW, thanks karlof1 for the news that Canthama is now over at VK.

Posted by: Jen | Mar 2 2020 21:50 utc | 34

Twitters 'Maxwell Smart cone of silence' has engulfed @Canthama and @SyriaGeneral.

@ynms79797979 still reporting regularly and still sensibly avoiding any ghoulish videos from anywhere. brief reports on local and international events relevant to Syrian self determination and allied relationships.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 2 2020 21:57 utc | 35

pokums @27--

Thanks for your reply! Sorry, made a recall error as I'd forgotten that VK can be read without being a member; one just can't comment. It's more like a blog than Twitter, which is more of a communications platform. Igor Bundy also organized a Syria Perspectives community that will see some immediate growth. I'm sure the novelty of it all will shortly wear off.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 2 2020 22:00 utc | 36

There was a comment a day or so back that Russia had started using EW to clear the sky. There have now been several reports by plane trackers of drones losing contact or dropping as they cross the border.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 2 2020 22:03 utc | 37

Canthama continues to post updates on Syria at the latest Syrian Perspective thread and at his new VK account If you have a VK account, please subscribe to him—in the beginning, VK can feel lonely for English-language users, as its recommendation algorithms are not as good as those of Twitter/Facebook.

Igor Bundy has also set up a new VK group “syrianperspective” ( for English-language discussions about Syria; at the moment, it has 8 members, including Igor, Canthama and karlof1.

One good thing about VK is that private messages between VK users are not shared with the NSA (unless your operating system or device are compromised), as the Patriot Act has no power in Russia.

Posted by: S | Mar 2 2020 22:07 utc | 38

As yet not much more than Saraqib retaken. After the Turk hit on the headquarters meeting, Hezbollah apparently moved forces to Saraqib and alongside tiger force played a big part in retaking the town. A day or two and SAA should be back to full strength. Jihadis would have taken big losses around Saraqib and Russia looks to have put the mad dog back in its kennel, so hopefully the retaking of lost ground plus more will be fast.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 2 2020 22:11 utc | 39

karlof1 @ 21

VK is an excellent alternative to Farcebook and Twatter and is hugely successful social medium in the FSU. The messaging app is extremely good and I use it daily to keep in touch with family in Russia. As censorship by Farcebook and Twatter increases, more and more people will move over to VK.

Posted by: Peter Williams | Mar 2 2020 22:13 utc | 40

As usual the SOHR provides a more nuanced view of what has happen with the casualty figures for February

Syria Democratic Forces: 21

Regime forces: 422 of them there were 106 soldiers killed by Turkish forces and aircraft

Members of the Popular Committees, and the National Defense Forces, and loyalists to regime forces of Syrian citizens: 231

Lebanese Hezbollah: 14

Loyalists to the regime forces of non-Syrian citizens mostly of the Shiite sect: 34

Syrian fighters of Islamic factions, opposition factions and other movements and organizations: 255

Fighters of Islamic factions, ISIS, Al-Nusra Front (Qaeda organization of the Levant), and Muhjereen and al-Ansar Army and Islamic Turkestan Party of non-Syrian citizens: 455

Turkish soldiers: 63

Unknown: 3

These numbers are about 50% up on January's figures, so the effect is not trivial but the suggestion this was a major blow to the SAA and its allies is pure bullshit, and as in January more terrorists (773) died than government forces (681). Bearing in mind SOHR's political bias for the terrorists and past problems with its methodology, it's likely that the terrorist figures under-report the real number of casualties.
In another report the SOHR mentioned that approximately 4,700 terrorists had already traveled to Libya. If Erdogan has shut off the rat lines for foreign terrorists into Idlib, at this rate the 5,300 (10,000 - 4,700) remaining terrorists will all be dead sometime in September. Not forgetting that those dying now are the most battle-hardened and they're probably irreplaceable. Erdogan's problem will be fertilizing the soil of Idlib, not causing problems in Turkey or elsewhere.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Mar 2 2020 22:41 utc | 41

@ 16 Lurk Oh Yes! What a glowing obit in the NYTs! The total opposite of the Gary Webb Treatment.

Posted by: goldhoarder | Mar 2 2020 23:10 utc | 42

I called it.
Sariqib liberated in no time!
Turkish attacks are to illustrate Turkey is not
Weak, and not betraying the extremists,
who Have tunnels into her soft inside!

It's all for show, as the Sultan;

A- can't have takfiris blowing up inside Turkey
B- needs the head choppers to suppress Kurds in the East
C- needs cannon fodder to send to Libya

The general lines have been agreed to back in,
Sochi and Anastana.

The m4 will be liberated next, although it might be
Put on hold for now after the 5th.
Time will tell when, but it is inevitable!

To all those who don't understand how the great game is played... Keep on dreaming that Vlad will sell out!

Posted by: BernCron | Mar 2 2020 23:21 utc | 43

Idlib will eventually require a political solution. Dumping all the jihadis and their sympathizers there was a temporary solution and unless the plan is to slaughter them all, it will require intense negotiations and diplomacy to figure out a viable longterm solution.

Given that the population (fighters and civilians) is made up of locals who were living there before the war, anti-Assad Syrians who migrated, or chose to be relocated, there during the war and the many foreign fighters and their families, it is one hell of a complicated situation.

It’s easy for the dumber armchair generals here to say ”kill em all” or “send them to Turkey” but that is simply the ravings of loons and idiots and not be taken seriously. Have Russia and Turkey discussed what to do about the people problem? They seem to be focused solely on the military aspect of this conflict.

So...Turkey is determined to occupy Syria indefinitely and the Sochi and Astana guarantors have no plan in place to deal with the human factor. And the US/Israel will of course use this clusterfuck to inflict harm on their rivals and to advance their imperial agenda.

Even ‘b’ is worried, hence the updates that add no new information but reassure the faithful that everything in Idlib is back to “normal”, whatever that is, and that the current situation is absolutely not the result of a massive strategic fuck up on Russia’s part.

Posted by: Daniel | Mar 2 2020 23:25 utc | 44

thanks for the update b and to the many commentators here... thanks..

Posted by: james | Mar 2 2020 23:35 utc | 45

@ 43 daniel... what would you do with the war crazed and hardened moderate headchoppers? a political solution is not going to get rid of this component.. everyone knows this except erdogan it seems... bullshit only goes so far..

Posted by: james | Mar 2 2020 23:38 utc | 46

OT _ regarding getting banned on twitter and moving to vk, what about telegram? that is the alternative to twitter developed by the guy who started vk...

@ 28 william gruff.. you mean like a person could read the data without having an account? this seems to be happening a lot with all the sharing of twitter links and etc..

Posted by: james | Mar 2 2020 23:53 utc | 47

Anyone care to guess why the SAA & Russian air defenses were absent for an entire day? And why the Turk drones were allowed to roam free and cause so much damage? Me thinks the SAA's ADA was told to stand down. Me thinks the Russians allowed this so the Turks could get their revenge for the 33 Turks killed in that airstrike by the SAA. Some kind of back door deal, but the Turks went way over board.
I can't think of any other explanation, because if they wanted to, the SAA could have shot down everyone of these drones as soon as they crossed over into Syrian they are currently doing.
I respect the opinions here and would like some thoughts as to why this was allowed to happen and all the needless deaths of the brave SAA troops defending their country from animal head-choppers backed by Turkey.

Posted by: BigShawn | Mar 3 2020 0:02 utc | 48

Lurk @16:

There are no "white helmets" in Turkey to organize a gas attack false flag. Also, since Turkey is not a headchopper jungle no-go zone, the site of alleged attacks would be immediately inspected by independent experts ...


Then it's curious why they slip this into the propaganda mix: Turkey destroys regime's chemical warfare facility in Syria? This "news" was widely reported: ibtimes, breibart, zerohedge, almasdar, business-standard (India's largest business daily) and more picked it up.

I don't have a crystal ball. I'm not saying that a ff WILL happen.

But it appears that USA/NATO will not get involved unless there's a terrible outrage that forces them to. There's not much that would force their hand... a wmd attack on a NATO member is almost certain to.

When "inconceivable" happen, it shakes people up.

Trump has already attacked Syria for chemical wmd attacks (both suspected of being ff within hours of their occuring - and later confirmed ff). But a wmd attack in Idlib may not move the Western public or political elite. It's easy to dismiss as not-my-problem. But a wmd attack on a NATO country would elicit demands to respond.

Plus, I think you may be giving Turkey and US/NATO too little credit. They are very good at arranging for stunts that will advance their interests. And this isn't about WWIII, it's about supporting Turkey's war for Idlib - which Turkey and it's 'Assad must go!' allies see as a strategic holding. That's why I don't see Turkey/US giving up on Idlib until/unless much more blood has been shed. And if Russian air forces are not sidelined, then Idlib is lost.

Recently, Turkey has conveniently provided the Jihadis with massive supplies that includes arms and ammunition. So White Helmets in Idlib may have the equipment they need to lob a few canisters of chemical agent toward Turkey (from near Syrian lines, of course).

Some would've said that USA 'taking out' Soleimani was "inconceivable", until it happened.

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

I only thought of this possibility after reading pat lang's post saying that an attack on Turkeys artillery might not trigger NATO's Art. 5. I immediately thought: yeah, but not if it were chemical wmd!

Either the tensions fizzle and Syria+Russia take back Idlib, or we will see a dramatic escalation.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 3 2020 0:04 utc | 49

Also, by playing into the game of the West, the sultan
Stood tall in the face of "those evil Ruskies" backing "Chemical killer Assad"...

He proved to both the audience at home and abroad, NATO gave and offered no help to Turkey when her soldiers were killed, in an operation encouraged and pushed by NATO.

While also illustrating to the world audience that Russia stands by her word and her allies.
Both in protecting Syria.
But also by not making Turkey look weak, or throwing her under the bus.
Instead, letting her act out her bluff temporarily, as well as shooting down a couple of Syrian jets and claiming "revenge" for her martyrd soldiers.

As for March 5th agreement.
I put my money on,
- M4 being liberated and the new contact line.
- Turkey "expanding" it's new idleb mission "peace shield".
- Turkey then being officially in charge of Idleb City.
- guarantee of no upcoming attack of Idleb City (in 2020).
- Turkey resealing the borders to Europe
- Victory being declared on all sides that lives are saved

Posted by: BernCron | Mar 3 2020 0:04 utc | 50


All the fighters that are part of or allied with the Syrian al Qaeda will be killed then a political solution will take place. Russia does not negotiate with terrorists. Russia has made this clear over the years. Political solution which has been ongoing is removing or taking out of the fight the countries trying to destroy Syria, separating jihadis from moderate rebels and reconciliation, plus the constitution. Constitution will be the biggest part of the political solution in Syria.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 3 2020 0:13 utc | 51

Posted by: BigShawn | Mar 3 2020 0:02 utc | 47

The story as conveyed from a couple pro-Syrian places is that Russia ordered a standdown in order to cool things off after the thirty something Turks got killed in one or two strikes (couple versions of how that occurred), not expecting the KIA to be so high. And then it took a while for that to get reversed. According to that version, the Russians were angry when they found out the extent of the Turk attacks on SAA.

There is also the Turks were allowed to vent on purpose version; and I don't rule our that the SAA/Russians were just surprised, didn't expect Erdogan to go so far. In support of that, the Turks did indeed go overboard, and appear to have taken a lot of people by surprise. I don't rule out some Kabuki being involved, the problem of what to do about Idlib has been on the table for some time now.

Posted by: Bemildred | Mar 3 2020 0:25 utc | 52

Bemildred @51: I don't rule out some Kabuki being involved ...

I don't either. But there's the dog that didn't bark: if Turkey is working that closely with Russia then why haven't we seen demonization of Erdogan and outrage regarding Turkey's 'play' for Libyan oil?


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 3 2020 0:36 utc | 53

"you mean like a person could read the data without having an account?" --james @46

Nope, I mean like people being able to participate in uninhibited communication online as a human right without corporate entities being able to shut them down.

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 3 2020 0:43 utc | 54

My last comment on MOA. Things change, people change. I will always hold this place in my heart. I leave with a song by Archie Roach, a native Australian, with a beautiful and sad song about a young woman whose son is taken away: May nature bless you all.

Posted by: Lochearn | Mar 3 2020 0:48 utc | 55

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 3 2020 0:36 utc | 52

Yes, that too, everybody was acting a bit out of character, the Russians only uttered a few stern statements, while Erdogan was trying to imitate Trump, the Turkish media went bananas, and the Syrians seemed a bit befuddled or shocked. Some mean things were being said about the Russians there for a while. But they did very promptly re-supply the Syrian after, almost like they were ready. Murky stuff.

Posted by: Bemildred | Mar 3 2020 0:51 utc | 56

The jihadists being god-fearing types love a miracle and with events in Idlib in the last few days appearing to be a miracle, jihadist stay-behinds in Daraa decided to kick off. When the scale of the miracle in Idlib actually turned out to be bathetic, they asked to be bused to Idlib instead of being sent to meet their maker (obviously no 72 virgins left for any of them), and the Syrian govt obliged. One way of reinforcing Idlib I suppose.
BTW, the earliest stay-behind operation was not Operation Gladio but Churchill's famous Auxiliary Units which were set up to provide a violent post-invasion resistance following a German invasion of the United Kingdom. Someone like James Le Mesurier would have known and read about the Auxiliary Units and Sefton Delmer's black propaganda operation so blame the events of the last few days in Daraa on the British as well as the formation of the White Helmets.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Mar 3 2020 0:51 utc | 57

The Pentagon announced that it will not provide air support to Turkey. It will also not send any Patriot air defense to Syria but President Trump promised to ask other NATO countries to do so. They are likely to deny the request.

I'd say that the "other" NATO countries wouldn't touch Trump's request with a 40-foot pole. The cute thing about Russia's policy of sucking up casualties, losses and set-backs because it's WAR, means that no-one knows what would provoke 'harsh retaliation' from the Russians. And the Eurotrash don't want to be first to find out the hard, painful way.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 3 2020 0:56 utc | 58

"I don't rule out some Kabuki being involved, the problem of what to do about Idlib has been on the table for some time now."
Posted by: Bemildred | Mar 3 2020 0:25 utc | 51

Not knowing one way or the other, I cannot rule out theatre either. But I think that a pre-planned, organized fake war dance between Russia & Turkey involving real casualties is highly unlikely. When passions are running high and real fanatics are involved, the choreography involved in stepping around a full-scale conflict while appearing to kick the crap out of each other seem far too difficult and fraught with risk.
Having followed this war closely for several years now, my feeling is that Russia did what it has always done when things appear to be moving too fast or getting out of hand - they attempted to de-escalate. It has bitten them before, but in those instances, it always involved the limited offensive firepower of the Jihadis coming back at them. The only thing different this time was that Turkey did not accept the unilateral ceasefire and sucker-punched Syria, Hezbollah and the IRGC hard - with all the resources they had available - when they had a small window to do so. As I wrote in the other thread, this was due, I believe, to inflamed emotions and Erdogan generally panicking about the setbacks his proxies have endured for the past month.
Reality is setting in again, however. Without an all-out war involving NATO this game will end eventually with Syria winning.

Posted by: Activist Potato | Mar 3 2020 1:16 utc | 59

@ 47 big shawn... i believe turkey was allowed to fly non armed drones in syrian air space... what they did was fly some armed drones and that was what threw everyone off.. this was not a part of the agreement as i understand it and which is why they are now not allowed to fly any drones in syrian airspace... it was a gesture of good will on the part of russia/syria and turkey basically shit on it after they lost some of there armed forces... that is what i seem to recall reading.. i don't think the turkey thing was kabuki theatre.. turkish gov't statements in the turkish media was kabuki though...

@ 53 william gruff... okay.. i understand what you are saying better now.. in fact people can participate in uninhibited communication online as a human right without corporate entities being able to shut them down, but it takes some effort.. presently i am in communication with a friend who is very knowledgeable on computer and internet stuff and we exchange free of nsa-google snoop... but as you know the powers that be are not going to want to see this open up in a big way... privacy is not considered sacred or anything other then to screw over according to our present age of kali yuga..

Posted by: james | Mar 3 2020 1:33 utc | 60

Posted by: Activist Potato | Mar 3 2020 1:16 utc | 58

"they attempted to de-escalate"

That is pretty much the version I read from Magnier or Canthama or maybe both. Swallowing a firehose of bullshit these last few days, things get blurry.

Posted by: Bemildred | Mar 3 2020 1:34 utc | 61

kabuki - "The Syrian Army has allegedly lost over 2,500 troops as well as dozens of tanks and armored vehicles in numerous Turkish strikes, but this is “just the beginning,” as Turkey hasn’t yet shown its “true strength,” Erdogan warned."

Posted by: james | Mar 3 2020 1:37 utc | 62

Bigshawn #47

If deliberate then it was a blood sacrifice to appease dog Erdogan and his internal needs. I really can't see any other reason for both Syria and Russia to stage a defence moratorium.

Iran certainly was NOT IMPRESSED. I don't doubt they will follow through if this emerges again. With Iran still in the game Russia has to be more strategic. Netanyahu has a new lease of death.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 3 2020 2:09 utc | 63

uncle tungsten @62

Not only did the Turks piss off Iran, but also Hezbollah - probably the finest light infantry in the world who invented urban warfare - ask the Israelis.

Posted by: cdvision | Mar 3 2020 2:23 utc | 64

I wonder about this. Its hard to believe Erdo is dumb enough to do what he appears to be doing. So the question must be asked:

Is erdo using Syria and friends to purge jihadists and some internal turk elements that threaten or could threaten him namely the Grey Wolves and Gullenists? The latter two have long term connections to the CIA. Erdo fell out with Gullen long ago but he appears to be supported by the Grey Wolves and their political wing for now. Regardless, the Grey Wolves are the natural tool for the CIA to topple Erdo and he needs to tame them if he expects any long term help from china or russia.

Posted by: Alaric | Mar 3 2020 2:31 utc | 65

It is so easy for any of us to sit back and praise the Russian actions as being sensible hardheaded realpolitick but imagine for a moment you are a Syrian bloke of the same 'baby boomer' generation as many of us are (albeit of the whitefella variety) and your son or grandson was butchered by the Turks when russian prez Putin decided to put the Russian cue in the rack for a couple of days so as not to further endanger Russo-Turk commercial dealings. You would be ropeable and have every right to be, the notion of only being half in on a conflict is ludicrous and almost always leads to the type of chaotic butchery that occurred this weekend past.

I'm going to use as an example, parts 1 & 2 of the 20th century great european war to illustrate this point.
During the first part, the majority of the action was shared between the England empire & the France empire as they fought Germany & the Austro-Hungarian empire. France was the chief operating territory although Belgium also featured many of the 14-18 killing fields and was the excuse for england entering, Belgium wasn't included in much of the decision making. France was deemed to be the primary protagonist on the 'allies' side and throughout the war the ultimate leader and chief decision maker was always a French general, initially General J Joffre, who led the regroup of the allied forces at the Marne river in 1914 which caused the first defeat of the German army in a century.

Even though Joffre was foolishly promoted out of his command in 1916 following the debacle at Verdun (the forts system had been stripped of all heavy cannon and only left with a contingent of old men by pen pushers and bean counters eager to save money on the arming of the 'more modern' Western Front's trench system plus the French military old boys network who resented Joffre being made commander in 1911 when he wasn't even a graduate of the French war college, just a provincial engineering school) and the British defeat at the Somme, ultimate leadership of the allies always remained with a Frenchman. The amerikans jacked up about that and this was largely the root cause of amerika failing to get boots on the ground until March 1917.

The allies took years to understand how to wage trench war and lost millions of men gaining that lesson but their actions were properly deliberated and co-ordinated, essentials missing following the armistice, when A Hitler played france and england off to make the territorial, strategic & resource gains at a time when Germany couldn't possibly have succeeded in a full on conflict.

Then, when WW2 kicked off properly, the lack of co-ordination between france & england, guaranteed that a success such as the Marne 1914 could not be repeated, caused the french army to be routed and the englanders to end up in Dunkirk at the mercy of Goering's Luftwaffe and only saved by A Hitler's moronic belief that as fellow aryans, england would eventually side with the nazis.

All through WW2 - especially once Roosevelt had manouvered amerika into that blue, and insisted Eisenhower be big bossfella, ratshit coordination between the allies caused increased casualties and big screw ups as england & amerika competed rather than co-operated.

The most obvious and long-running example of that was the difference in tactics between englander bombers & amerikan bombers.
The englanders who had been developing bomber tech since the conflict kicked off believed in high altitude night raids where technological evolution would give them the edge, which it eventually did.

Meanwhile the amerikan bomber command led by Lemay went for low altitude daylight 'carpet bombing' raids, which hugely increased the number of civilian casualties (French & Italian as well as German).

Lemay's strategy where his aircraft were treated as disposable (keeps Detroit in business) led to thousands of unneccessary amerikan aircrew deaths.
As you can see here if you scroll to the bottom of the page,

"The casualties suffered by the Eighth Air Force were about half of the U.S. Army Air Force's casualties (47,483 out of 115,332), including more than 26,000 dead."

The eighth airforce was amerikan bomber command in the 'european theater'.
As many will know this was what got Yossarian so het up in "Catch-22".

The englanders, who like present day Syrians compared to Russia, were the under-resourced 'poor relation' compared to Amerika, evolved far more efficient ways of attacking enemy resource and transportation facilities well before the euro war ended and before Lemay was sent to do the same to 'the japs'. A combination of radar pathfinders (usually plywood mosquito fighter bombers that was 'stealth' 1942) plus innovative bombsight development meant that the englander airforce could achieve better results from altitude at night than the amerikans were getting with their low altitude daylight raids. Far fewer aircrew casualties and much less collateral damage.
Ideas were not being exchanged because A) amerika retained supreme command over a region where they had SFA skin in the game & B) aside from the initial Normandy landings, inter force communication & co-ordination was poor.
It could even be argued that perhaps USuk would have been first to Berlin if the englander scuzzbag Montgomery and amerikan wannabe politician Eisenhower had co-operated rather than competed against each other.

It has been Russia's nonchalant refusal to go all in, balls to the wall that has made this conflict so drawn out.

IMO the supreme military leader should always be from the region that is being fought over as not only to they have the biggest interest in the result, that nation will always have the best human intelligence and knowledge of prevailing conditions.

Right now, it must seem to the average Syrian in the street, that Russia is playing silly buggers sacrificing long term gains (victory) for dubious short term advantage (swapping cheap hotel rooms for cheap tomatoes).
And that will make Russia's position in Syria after victory has been achieved, a lot less tenable than it need be.

Posted by: A User | Mar 3 2020 2:55 utc | 66

I know I'm long past cynicism and shock about this administration, particularly the utterances of pompeo and his lackies such as Jeffrey and hook.

But these were the people pushing for the us to provide patriot air defense to turkey in their war against syria. However, the turks are not trained in the patriot and could not man the patriots so the plan was that they would be manned by the us military. Fortunately, at least as it stands now, the plan was rejected by the pentagon in a rare moment of sanity.

Just step back and think about the plan for a moment-to insert us military into direct conflict with the syrians and the russians. To propose such insanity, one must conclude that these people do not have all of their faculties, they are not playing with a full deck of cards.

And of course, nitenyaahoo was involved in manipulating and controlling his puppets in efforts to generate more chaos and war.

Posted by: Thomas Minnehan | Mar 3 2020 2:58 utc | 67

What's wrong with Erdogan?

I've been wondering if I imagined Erdogan's 'No problems with neighbors' policy of a decade or so ago. Could I have imagined Turkey teaming up with Brazil to protect Iran from (((Western))) bullshit about its peaceful Nuclear program?

I googled *Turkey's 'No problems with neighbors' policy* which turned up an Asia Times article from January 2020 titled How Turkey dumped 'no problems with neighbors' policy.

It's worth noting that the article is about HOW the policy was dumped, but leaves WHY it was dumped to the readers imagination.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 3 2020 3:34 utc | 68

Daniel at #43 and Peter AU at #50:

No political solution is possible. As Peter makes clear, Russia does not negotiate with terrorists. The idea of “moderate rebels” is fiction; anyone who has picked up a gun in opposition to the Syrian government has by default aligned themselves with the Orcs of the Muslim Brotherhood (HTS), Al-Qaeda or ISIS. If Putin and Erdogan haven't discussed the “people problem", this is why.

Most of the Orcs are not Syrian, they come from all over the Middle East and beyond, including from China (Uigurs), Georgia (Chechens), Afghanistan, and various European countries. You may recall that several years ago the Orcs blew up a popular restaurant in a high-end tourist district in Paris with several dozen casualties. A similar incident happened in Ankara around the same time These states have made it clear that the Orcs from their countries are NOT welcome back. Even the Turks don't want their HTS Orcs back, which I am sure is why some thousands of these have been packed off to Libya. Indeed, one of the conditions the Turks placed on those going to fight in Libya is that they do not return to Syria. By default, the only remaining solution is indeed to “Kill them all.”

Peter, after all the Orcs that “are part of or allied with the Syrian Al-Qaeda” are killed, you will see that there are no fighters left.

And as for the Syrian constitution, that is a matter for discussion between the Syrians alone, AFTER the Orcs are all killed off, and the fighting ends.

How many Orcs are there in Idlib anyway? Those that were there originally at the time the war started in 2011, add in those who came there to fight alongside HTS or Al-Qaeda, most of these via Turkey, then add in those green-bussed there from all over Syria as the Syrian government recovered various regions. Then subtract the number of Orcs killed in their own internal HTS vs Al-Qaeda vs ISIS groups fighting each other for two or three years. I've heard figures of those Orcs presently in Idlib from 10,000 to 60,000 but have no idea what the real numbers are.

Antoinetta III

Posted by: Antoinetta III | Mar 3 2020 4:08 utc | 69

"No problems" policy is not totally gone, I guess there are no problems with Georgia and hardly any with North Cyprus. So with few exceptions, Armenia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Cyprus, Greece and Bulgaria, there are no problems.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 3 2020 4:09 utc | 70

james #59

Not kabuki. Treachery.
There is no military logic to standing down the close monitoring of every Turkish drone.

With close monitoring the minute one drone became hostile, the entire air defence should have retaliated. The abject absence of preparedness is 1/ a disgrace, 2/ militarily inexcusable, 3/hopefully a permanent reminder of erdogan's treachery.

There was a similar absence of air defence at Deir Ezzor a couple of years ago and the cowardly USA AUSTRALIAN and their scabrous allies murdered 120 Syrian Army soldiers just as they were about to vanquish ISIS and relieve the siege of Deir Ezzor.

Perhaps we may never know the background for this dereliction of command but it is deeply disturbing to think that Syria might be totally subservient to stupid Russian battle follies.

I have hope that Syria and Iran will take care of business on their terms for a while especially as Israel has just announced it will drive Iran out of Syria in the next year.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 3 2020 4:11 utc | 71

On the kids being made to cry by putting their heads in smoke - Its worth remembering that dead kid a few years back that was was positioned at the edge of the water and photograghed from all angles.
At that time, US was trying to push hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants into Europe.
Now its just Turkey, but I guess there will be plenty of whitehelmet types there who don't mind gassing a few kids for a photo shoot.

I take it a good number of those who left northern Syria and want go to Europe are not Sharia law enthusiasts. Things may have been tough when they left but I can't help thinking they would be better off going back to Syria rather than be helpless pawns in Erdo's and anyone else's games.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 3 2020 4:13 utc | 72

uncle tungsten

From what I could make out by going back through a number of social media accounts, there was a window of two to three hours. I suspect drones were not firing missiles themselves at the start, rather using their laser designator to light up targets for long rang artillery and rockets, also realtime GPS positions.
For that laser designation, the drone needs to be positioned somewhere between the launch site and the target so the target is lit up on the side the incoming missile can see.
In all of the videos that were geo-located by the veiw through the laser designator, that was the case, with the drone being between the target and the closest part of the Turk border.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 3 2020 4:30 utc | 73

Antoinetta III " you will see that there are no fighters left"

That is what I am expecting. However, there will be families and others who are not fighters but perhaps two old or whatever, that fully embrace the jihadist ideology. These will be a problem because if nothing is done, they will bring the boys up to be just like their daddy.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 3 2020 4:40 utc | 74

Right now, it must seem to the average Syrian in the street, that Russia is playing silly buggers sacrificing long term gains (victory) for dubious short term advantage (swapping cheap hotel rooms for cheap tomatoes).
And that will make Russia's position in Syria after victory has been achieved, a lot less tenable than it need be.

Posted by: A User | Mar 3 2020 2:55 utc | 65

Disagree. Putin is doing a great job fending off U.S. imperialism, the average Syrian probably thinks just that because they know what the U.S. did to Iraq and Libya, and your analogy is very ill-fitting. The U.S. is an ideology-blinded and therefore somewhat stupid aggressive war machine being held in check by a know-nothing but street smart carnival barker who doesn't want to get deeper into the Middle East muck, especially not in an election year. Dealing with the very powerful U.S. bully (when you're far from its equal militarily) requires patience, gradualism, and sometimes ugly compromises. Nonetheless, Putin is on schedule to end the Syrian hell in 2020. It will end imperfectly, with Erdogan's invasion not entirely disposed of but nearly all of Idlib province in Syrian hands. And with Syria not ever having suffered Curtis-Lemay-style carpet bombing.

Posted by: fairleft | Mar 3 2020 4:47 utc | 75

@Jen | 33
Staggeringly ignorant assumptions on your part congratulations.
Firstly, those first refugees that were transported to the border by the state from Zeytinburno and Sisli, among other areas of Istanbul were very small in nubmer maybe a couple of hundred at most and the vast majority were not Syrian. (The reaons for this I've explained in previous threads there simy aren't the numbers of ubsettled refugees left in the larger cities since the 5-6 month police raids intended to deport or displace them.) It is these groups of Afghans, africans and a handful of Syrians that were used for propaganda purposes at sea and on the land border.
What followed was mob intimidation by mobs of Turks in cities hosting large numbers of Syrians. The mobs were shouting "Fight with the Turkish army or get lost!" as I wrote here on Friday and Saturday friends of mine were terrified to leave their houses as were all Syrians who had shops/ businesse destroyed etc. This was a specific ploy to continue the manufactured refugee wave. The most reliable reports I've seen talk about 1.5 -2k refugees at the border now. Sadly, I've lost touch with both my friends there now - probably just phone batteries run down - but believe me the vast majority there are legitimate refugees who have now fallen into Erdogan's sick inhumane game. On Sunday night one friend sent mw a text saying simply "I've gone" - I took it to mean that he had crossed the border to Greece. The next morning he rang me obviously stressed to tell me he was fine, they were looking for ways through. He had been part of the thousand odd refugees that tried to get through to Greece that night during which one of them was shot dead - it sounds awful but thankfully my friend was fine. These are legitimate refugees desperate to leave a hateful and extremely racist Turkey and they derserve far better treatment as humans alone than they have ever received in Turkey.
Were a Dutch mob to go round Rotterdam destroying Turkish shops and telling them to get lost there would be hell to pay and Erdogan would be the first to scream blue murder, but when its Syrian refugees we are all so good at finding reasons to deny them their validitty!!

Posted by: Egor68500 | Mar 3 2020 4:59 utc | 76

@Lochearn #54

Goodbye, Lochearn!

Posted by: S | Mar 3 2020 5:00 utc | 77

Peter at #73:

"However, there will be families and others who are not fighters but perhaps two old or whatever, that fully embrace the jihadist ideology."

Perhaps sadly, all these will also have to be killed. I see no other way to prevent them from raising the kids to be future Orcs.

Antoinetta III

Posted by: Antoinetta III | Mar 3 2020 5:09 utc | 78

@ 70 uncle t... @ 59 i also said not kabuki... @ 61 i gave an example of kabuki - turkish propaganda... i guess i need not be too complicated about this while at the same time trying to communicate my subjective impressions here.. at any rate, as i said - turkey as i understand it was allowed drones - non armed drones - in syrian airspace... what happened is they used armed drones and that is what caught the other team off guard - or it was along lines that peter notes @72.. and it might have been a limited window of time, but erdogan basically fried any trust anyone might have had in him here in the most complete sense of the word..

Posted by: james | Mar 3 2020 5:19 utc | 79

The fact that Erdogan is going to Moscow implies he will find out Putin's strategy for him

Posted by: Jezabeel | Mar 3 2020 5:35 utc | 80

@8 alaff

That Ishchenko piece is one of the most succinct and lucid pieces I've read in years. Thank you.

Posted by: sad canuck | Mar 3 2020 6:13 utc | 81

Just some comments to the posts above..

Russia do not want a vietnam or afghanistan.. US would prefer it rather than a win or lose situation to keep Russia occupied and drain resources.

Can not use telegram as its a publishing room or a chat room.

VK is a mix of twitter and facebook and whatsapp combined so you can move around from news commentary, group talk, private talk, discussion topic etc as needed it really helps cut down on the number of posts you have to read since it is various modules but on the same page. But I noticed a wrench in the works.. It does not always work properly. Have to play with browsers and VPN's etc I found out many times DNS resolution gets blocked and unlike fb they dont have local cache servers all around the world btu where it does, it works very well and better more relevant to the situation as except for some ukies, most nut cases tend to stay away..

Posted by: Igor Bundy | Mar 3 2020 6:44 utc | 82

Mar 3 2020 6:13 utc | 80

Yes and no. From his distance apparently Ishchenko does not realize what happens under the surface in Turkey. The better educated part of the society, especially the young urban generation, plus the HDP (not only Kurds!) are fed up with this cited political approach. The Alevi part of the populace as well. More lucid one may say: a field test about how far one may go with a populist policy that depends on splitting people and more and more illusional rhetorics. If you would have followed Turkish media coverage including social media in the last 4 days you would see it went far beyond anything credible. Such a contradiction between what has happened and what was told I have not seen in my life. On sunday and monday SAA came back hour by hour. At the same time triumph after triumph there. A reasonable follower of E. who looks at the map this morning is in the humiliating situation of being not able to believe his eyes.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Mar 3 2020 6:54 utc | 83

I assumed from the get-go that once the Russians whacked those 33 Turks that they - and the SAA - would take up a de-escalatery posture to signal to Erdogan that they don't want to go on with this.

It would be the sensible thing to do, much as Trump allowed the Iranians to take a swipe at an airfield following the US assassination of Soleimani.

All very sensible, but it assumes a rational actor able to read the tea-leaves correctly. The Iranians did, and the Turks didn't.

I think the Russians, Syrians and Hezbollah were simply taken by surprise at how irrational Erdo became by taking a series of cheap shots when the opportunity presented itself.

I suspect the Turks can't repeat that cheap shot, and if they tried then they will end up with the blood nose.

The only question would then be: does Erdo come to his senses, or does he double-down on his recklessness?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Mar 3 2020 6:58 utc | 84

@ 80 sad canuck.. thanks for encouraging me to read that link @8 that alaff shared.. i thought it was pretty good, especially the very last part...

@ 82 hausmeister... perhaps you'd like to comment on some of the statements towards the end of the article that @8 alaff shared? i quote the section that tries to understand the turkish psychology here...
" For a large part of Turkish society, [possible] compromise is a shame."

"Thus, each subsequent geopolitical retreat or defeat of Turkey fuels a thirst for revenge in society."

and the very end "The demand for war is growing, maybe not with those who offended [us], but with someone weaker. But still, we [- Turks -] must prove to ourselves that Turkey can still scare someone. So far, this trend is only growing and will grow in the near future. Of the well-known Turkish politicians, not a single one is known who claims the need to break it. On the contrary, everyone is trying to straddle the wave of public demand for militarism."

if you'd care to comment on these 3 quotes, i'd be curious about your feedback and impressions.. i think there is some truth to what he says here, but i don't know to what degree.... thanks..

Posted by: james | Mar 3 2020 7:03 utc | 85

Yeah, Right | Mar 3 2020 6:58 utc | 83

What he did last week was ultimate treachery. He will see the result on Wednesday. As Russia still wants to continue business with him I question that the result of his humiliation will be published so the present FakeNews about it will continually be served. The main positive thing will be that cleaning up Idlib will go on.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Mar 3 2020 7:10 utc | 86

Antoinetta III @ 68:

The most recent figures for the numbers of Uyghur and other Central Asian fighters and their families in Idlib province I know of are something like 10,000 to 20,000 as of 2017, according to Jenan Moussa's documentary "Undercover in Idlib", made in May 2017. It may still be available on Youtube (perhaps not in English translation).

Incidentally Moussa is not a supporter of the Syrian government. She works as a TV journalist in the UAE.

Posted by: Jen | Mar 3 2020 7:22 utc | 87

@BigShawn | 47
Since yesterday I too am pretty convinced of the same. The AKP Regional Assembly just brought to mind the timing: After the killing of the Turkish soldiers there was a wave of anti- Russia propaganda and Erdogan's plea "let me go head to head with the Regime" (I've mentioned it here a couple of times) which is exactly what happened when Russia decided on a one-sided ceasefire!!??!! This in turn coincided with Erdogan's end of the month deadline and the calm was restored just in time for the Assembly at which Erdogan was greeted as a hero by a once again united AKP.

Also, could it be that the original Turkish soldiers mixed in with terrorists could have been intended to draw Russian fire ... A set up?
Erdogan has to somw extent avoided looking like a complete loser in the Syria conflict - at least domestically.

@Jackrabbit | 13 I am not convinced of this theory, but Turkey has more than enough experience in staging emergency events within Turkey - from Gezi riots in which plain clothes police were used to provoke violenece, to the Ankara bombing, Dolmabahce bombing etc. (I'm not going to mention the most obvious because I don't want to reopen that one! But since when did z-list celebrities place themselves in harms way to become defenders of the people anywhere? )))))
So, the potential is definitely there. And look at the footage from the border with Greece/ Bulgaria - there is a reason why two independent journalists were arrested for trying to film there ...!!
When Turkey wants to 'create' an emergency it does so easily and no independent assessment or journalism is allowed.

Posted by: Egor68500 | Mar 3 2020 7:23 utc | 88

@85 it is an inescapable fact that when you take up a de-escalatory posture that you leave yourself open to a cheap shot from your opponent. That is what happens when you lower your guard as a way of signalling that you want the Buff! Bash! Bang! to end.

That's exactly what the Russians and the Syrians did, and Erdogan couldn't resist taking the cheap shot.

But you only get one shot at that, and Erdo's just had his

If he tries it again then he is more than treacherous - he's an idiot. The Russians must be very close to concluding that Erdogan isn't just A Nasty Piece Of Work (they can work with that), but that he is actually an irredeemable f**kwit.

He better hope there are no more CIA-inspired coup attempts in his future, because next time Putin may not bother to warn him.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Mar 3 2020 7:59 utc | 89

@Yeah, Right | 88
Fair enough.
But to take such a posture - a unilateral ceasefire as others have called it - during an ongoing conflict seems absurd (and it was only the Russians that took that stance if I understand correctly.) And then to take that stance knowing that your opponenent is seeking revenge for soldiers killed is downright negligent.
This is what I fail to understand, unless it was intenrionally done to allow Ersogan to attack Syrian forces directlty by way of revenge. Don't forget that if this is a face-saving exercise going against Russia would be counter-productive, going against the Dictator Assad and his Regime that are killing innocent muslim civilians, as Turkish propaganda still holds, is indeed a noble and righteous fight (jihad?) hence head of religious affairs leading so many prayers praisjng the fatherland and its martyrs. It also allows the rampant nationalism in Turkey manufactured to protect Erdogan's position to let of some steam.

Posted by: Egor68500 | Mar 3 2020 8:17 utc | 90

Remember Bana Alabed? She and her family got Turkish citizenship have any of these Syrian refugees or any others received Turkish citizenship ?

Posted by: Brian | Mar 3 2020 8:17 utc | 91

@Lochearn #54

"I share your tears..."
Be Strong. X-

Posted by: Veritas X- | Mar 3 2020 8:19 utc | 92

@Brian | 90
I remember a figure released at the end of laat year stating that 150k had been given citizenship. On what grounds is unclear as such opportunity is not available, as a general rule.
Having said that, remember that Erdogan has always promised to repay 'martyrs' or 'soldiers' with citizenship for themselves and their families.
Certainly, the refugee situation is such that only those who are linked to the Turkish aggression against Syria receive anything, even as far as the UNHCR registration goes!!
This is also why the Kizilay Card which was intended to get EU cash directly to Syrian refugees has only been issued to 170k people. Those I helped try to apply for the card were told that they were not eligible!
The only help - education and healthcare - available to all refugees is provided for and funded by the UN Temporary Protection programme and is not vetted by UNHCR.

Posted by: Egor68500 | Mar 3 2020 9:07 utc | 93

Turk and Russian reps or negotiators met to try to come to some agreement on Idlib. Russia's position is there must be no UN designated terrorists or terrorist organizations in Idlib and Idlib remains Syrian sovereign territory. Both the Russian and Turkish side publicly said they wished to de-escalate. The stand down of the air defences for several hours came shortly after both sides publicly said they wished to de-escalate. I very much doubt it was a unilateral ceasefire by the Russians.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 3 2020 9:24 utc | 94

Lurk @16
"There are no "white helmets" in Turkey to organize a gas attack false flag."

No, but there is the Turkish government, perfectly able to organize any kind of false flags.

"Also, since Turkey is not a headchopper jungle no-go zone"
but has now renewed its traditional Franco-type dictatorship

"the site of alleged attacks would be immediately inspected by independent experts"
like all the sites that are off limits to anyone, some even to the Turkish army?

Posted by: Piero Colombo | Mar 3 2020 9:49 utc | 95

@Peter AU1 | 94
"I very much doubt it was a unilateral ceasefire by the Russians."

Posted by: Egor68500 | Mar 3 2020 9:49 utc | 96

As I tried to say weeks ago, Turkey will not back down,

Syrian Warplane Downed by Turkish Forces in Idlib - Turkish Defence Ministry
Earlier, a Syrian Defence Ministry source confirmed that Turkish F-16s had violated Syrian airspace in Idlib and shot down two Syrian Air Force aircraft on Sunday, with the pilots ejecting and making it to safety. Damascus has since closed the airspace over the region.

Posted by: Zanon | Mar 3 2020 9:54 utc | 97

Antoinetta #69

Thank you. I see it as death to all Orcs and their keepers and financiers from now to eternity.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 3 2020 9:54 utc | 98

I have just read the piece linked by alaff @8.
The link again

Erdogan twitter acc
Yandex translate

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Mar 1
Turkey is in a struggle for the present and future historic and vital. The results will be at least as big a struggle as it was 100 years ago, while preserving the interests of our country and our nation for we are working day and night to go out with the victory.

Throughout its history of occupation, have been subjected to persecution in this region, if we run back the struggle for a moment, a moment of unity unless we have unity in our awareness we are moving forward with a much bigger price we pay.

While this great struggle, all that makes this land with their blood the martyrs once again our country is a mercy from Allah wish. Our rights will continue until the end of the struggle against oppression. The hill of the martyrs is empty, won't be empty.

Turkey won't stop the struggle from right back in no time. No the blood of martyrs will not leave the place. No betrayal will not forget. With every difficulty we overcome our nation, our country corner, we're going to give a history lesson for those who those who thought they would be.

Each one is a piece of our lives which those who attempt on the life of our soldiers, it is our obligation to burned to the ground.

“Anyone have to do with us, what was Russia doing in Syria, Iran, France is doing the job of what he has to say,” you did not. But the business when it comes to Turkey immediately “what are we doing in Syria,” they fuss print.

The hill of martyrs is not empty,
Land is waiting for Heroes!
To float and a flag;
The wind is waiting for you!

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 3 2020 9:56 utc | 99

@96 "Meaning"

I would interpret it this way: Putin and Erdogan both agreed to stand down, and the moment the Russians did so the Turks stepped up and king-hit the Syrians while they could.

Or, in a word: perfidy.

Which works in the short term, no question, but over the long term it tends to end with your head separated from your neck and stuck on the end of a gibbet.

Peter AU may have a different take on this, but that's how I see it.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Mar 3 2020 9:59 utc | 100

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