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

« previous page | next page »

@Egor68500 #196

Which temporary camps on the Turkish Greek border?
Do you know?

Nope, I have no idea—I was confused by this statement, too. I’ve posted this article because it gives an estimate of the current population of Idlib.

Posted by: S | Mar 4 2020 11:05 utc | 201

Timing of the attempted white helmet chemical attack is interesting. Jefferies and Trump's cloen in the UN go to a crossing into Idlib for a photoshoot and within hours the usual suspects try a CW attack.

"The terrorists accidentally unsealed one of the containers, which resulted in a leak. Terrorists received
"significant chemical poisoning" and failed to carry out the attack, the centre said.

The Russian military said they would soon publish the evidence on the failed chemical attack.

Earlier in the day, the Reconciliation Centre stated that the White Helmets had finished filming a staged provocation after delivering 400 litres of a chemical agent to the site."

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 4 2020 11:27 utc | 202

Things seem to be getting a bit busy on the Yank schedule;

"US strikes Taliban as Trump’s Afghanistan peace deal risks collapse"

How about that 'Donnie the Deal Maker', eh? The ink on the 'peace agreement' wasn't even dry!

The question on every nations' lips, and it has ever been so; 'Who you gonna trust?'

No need to respond - the answer's simple.

Posted by: TWHM | Mar 4 2020 11:34 utc | 203

List of Syrian refugee camps in Syria. Most look to be along the Syrian border.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 4 2020 11:37 utc | 204

Reddit: although I read Reddit all the time, the notion that it is a reliable source of information is much too optimistic, it's not bad when nothing dramatic is going on, any time a lot of people get whacked on one side or another, there are bullshit offensives conducted by whichever sides look bad. And then you might as well look elsewhere for something like the truth.

Reddit does have the advantage of having rules that expel incivility, like here, and very rigorously enforced.

And it is handy to see what the different sides are saying, what propaganda offensives are in process. Esp. to see what the Turks are up to, in particular. For Syria and Russia, you are better off with Syrian or Russian sources.

And there are two Reddits, old Reddit and New Reddit, similar but not the same.

The noise level is lower here at MoA than Reddit, and with fewer overt trolls IMHO.

"Such euphemisms illustrate one major function of language, which is to keep reality at bay." – John Carey "Eyewitness to History" Introduction

Posted by: Bemildred | Mar 4 2020 11:39 utc | 205

This looks to be a typo "previously in temporary camps near the Turkish-Greek border" as the Ruptly piece goes on to say this "There are currently about 200,000 refugees on the Syrian-Turkish border, 85,000 of whom are in the Hazano, Sarmada, Sheikh Hassan, Baskaria, Darkush and Salkin refugee camps, he stated."

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 4 2020 11:42 utc | 206

@S | 200
i tried to find a similar Russian langauge article / estimate and found none,
This is just part of the propaganda war against the west it seems.

Posted by: Egor68500 | Mar 4 2020 11:46 utc | 207

@Peter AU1 | 201
Was this in the vicinity of the border crossing - mearning aimed at harming Jeffries?

Posted by: Egor68500 | Mar 4 2020 11:55 utc | 208

James j (not to be confused with james) @177: "...tell me if the drone will become the queen of battle..."

Simple answer: No.

Drones are only effective against targets that cannot defend themselves. Yeah, Right @184 covered this point; however, drones can be made stealthy, but only at massive cost. That drone the Iranians shot down last year, while not truly "stealthy" like an F-22 or B-2, was designed with low observability in mind. It cost north of a quarter $billion.

Most people's eyes glaze over when you start talking military procurement costs, but this is a serious issue. The US Navy (it was their drone that the Iranians shot down) has been trying for decades to build up to a 300 ship naval force. They cannot do it. Sure, part of the reason is that the US simply doesn't have the industrial capacity to build that many ships, but the clincher is that they don't have the money. Now consider that for the cost of two of those kinds of drones that the Iranians shot down the Navy could have added another warship.

Stealthy drones are possible, but they are super-expensive. That defeats the major purpose of using drones in the first place. Face it, a couple A-10 Warthogs, if they could have flown around Idlib without getting shot down, would have done much more damage to the SAA than the drones did.

Important note here is that initially the SAA didn't have air defenses in Idlib. They were there to fight terrorists, after all, so why would they need air defenses? The Turks basically sucker-punched the Syrians like the pathetic cowards that they are, which is how they got away with doing damage for a day. The Syrians then moved air defenses into Idlib and since then it has been a turkey shoot, with Turk drones falling like flies.

In essence, if your battle is against goat herders armed with pointed sticks, then drones can be used with good results (or if you do a cowardly surprise attack with your drones, but you're not suggesting that, are you?). If you are fighting people with even just rudimentary antiaircraft capabilities, then combat drones will not get you very far unless you are willing to spend mountains of cash on those drones, and that is prohibitive even for the US.

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 4 2020 11:58 utc | 209


No. Near Saraqib apparently. My guess is Jeffery told the headchoppers to get their finger out and pull another CW stunt. Quite likely whatever chemical they were using was delivered at the same time.
Also coincides with UN saying Russia may be responsible for war crimes. Kelly craft, US ambassador to UN was there at the Idlib crossing with Jeffery.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 4 2020 12:05 utc | 210

@Peter AU1 | 208
A last desperate attempt.
Timing is perfevt like you say. )))

Posted by: Egor68500 | Mar 4 2020 12:16 utc | 211

if you do a cowardly surprise attack with your drones...

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 4 2020 11:58 utc | 207

It seems that the attack was not so surprising, due the petition by Turkey for Russia to stop providing air several analysts, including Elijah Magnier explain...

Russia has favored the spread of untrustfulness amongst its coalition....

As happens in not so few times, there seems to be in Russia a foreign agent at the very some labeled "trolls" here and at some other blogs have claimed during all these years...

Definitely, at any scenario, but least at war, you can not be at mass and ringing the bells at the same time...

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Mar 4 2020 12:18 utc | 212

To counter Erdogan's unleashing of migrants, it is surprising that the EU is not reacting immediately by threatening to impose economical sanctions to Turkey for every migrant who is able to cross illegally to Europe from Turkey.
Trump did that with Mexico and migrant passage stopped immediately
The EU should reply to blackmail by blackmail, that is the only language Erdogan understand.

Posted by: Virgile | Mar 4 2020 12:55 utc | 213

The Syria Deception

This short article packs a lot of summary explanation into a small space.

I think this is a rather good article for passing on to friends and associates that are likely only
consuming msm-bs and are in need of some light.

I would appreciate other opinions about this article.

Posted by: librul | Mar 4 2020 12:58 utc | 214

@Peter AU1 #204:

This looks to be a typo

If you watch the video in the Ruptly article, the counter admiral says, starting at 4:24:

В настоящее время турецкие власти гонят в сторону греческой границы около 130 тысяч беженцев, до этого находившихся во временных лагерях в районе турецко-греческой границы.

Turkish authorities are currently driving about 130 thousand refugees, who were previously located in temporary camps near the Turkey–Greece border, towards the Greek border.

So it’s not a typo.

@Egor68500 #205:

i tried to find a similar Russian langauge article / estimate and found none

There are multiple Russian-language articles about this, for example:

Posted by: S | Mar 4 2020 13:05 utc | 215

I was struck by the analysis of Thierry Meyssan at Voltairenet in this article.

Relevant extracts are:-

"Since the publication of the Pentagon’s map of the "reshaping of the Middle East", all states in the region (except Israel and Jordan, which are not involved) know that their best ally wants to dissect them alive. NATO member Turkey is no exception."

"The Turkish General Staff is today persuaded...that after having destroyed Syria, the Pentagon is going to attack its homeland, Turkey. In the midst of urgency, panic and despair, it has devised a response consisting in threatening all its NATO allies with imminent catastrophe if they let Turkey be destroyed and offering them another battlefield, as far away as possible, in Libya."

"The deliberate attacks against Russia (assassination of FSB officers on February 1st, meeting with the head of the Tatar militia, meeting with anti-Russian banditry supporters in Ukraine, clashes with the Russian army in Idleb, shooting at Russian reconnaissance planes, drone attack on the Hmeimim base, arrest of journalists of the Russian press agency in Turkey) are not directed against Moscow. They are means of threatening the United States with the worst cataclysm imaginable: a Third World War, if they do not back down."

"Threats to launch columns of refugees on the roads of the European Union are not intended to destabilize the EU. They are calls for help: if Turkey is destroyed, these flows of migrants will be inevitable, so act before it is too late!"

"If President Erdoğan wanted to go to war with Russia, he would not have taken the initiative to call President Putin on February 4, 12, 21 and 28 and would not have gone out of his way to meet him."

And this quotation from Erdoğan to: "the deputies he had gathered at the Palace of Dolmabahçe (the former residence of the Sultan): ’The real target of the scenario we are facing is not Syria, but Turkey. Those who get what they want in Syria will immediately turn their eyes to Turkey. It is worse than reckless to think that those who have effectively divided Syria into three parts will respect Turkey’s territorial integrity.'" The source of this quotation is Presidency Of The Republic of Turkey website.

Posted by: ADKC | Mar 4 2020 13:22 utc | 216

Short video of an apparently captured HTS terrorist who confesses that Turkish military personnel were training jihadi groups and that HTS planned to stage chemical attack.
From Vanessa Beeley's YouTube channel

Posted by: vato | Mar 4 2020 13:41 utc | 217

William Gruff @ 210 says:

...but the clincher is that they don't have the money

that's funny. last i heard the DOD shut down their first ever audit 'cause they just couldn't, well, i dunno, they just couldn't track down an unaccounted for $21 TRILLION.

Call it irony or call it symptomatic of the department’s way of life, but an analysis by the Project on Government Oversight notes the Pentagon has so far spent roughly $6 billion on ‘fixing’ the audit problem — with no solution in sight. If anything, the Defense Department’s accounting practices have been getting worse(William Hartung, Director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy)

let's call it symptomatic. if they can 'misplace' $21 trillion and then spend $6 billion to not find it, i'd think they could at least 'afford'another aircraft carrier.

Posted by: john | Mar 4 2020 13:48 utc | 218

Seems like Turkey was willing to play along, for a price.
The price became unacceptable.
Seems Turkey is pivotal to many issues at this time and Erdogan is trying to make the most of it.
Russia having to send supplies through the Bosporus seems rather awkward.
Arent tanks simply targets at this point in warfare.
Cruise missiles would be the weapon - cheap and effective.
Iranian ones would be a nice touch - from the Ayatollah with love.
But maybe that would be an escalation and suspect is red line for Israel.

Posted by: jared | Mar 4 2020 13:54 utc | 219

@: S | 216

I should have been clearer. I was searching for articles that corroborate the information.
The articles you link to all quote and refer back to the same source.

I am unable to view the video for some reason - does it show anywhere near 130k people even? That number would smash through the wire defenses and any police retaliation would result in carnage - at least that's my thinking.

I've not had any news from friends there for a couple of days now. But it is highly unlikely that 128k entered the area in that time and yet the world ignored it and all the press salivating over a potential conflict decided not to film it ...

Just doesn't make sense.

Posted by: Egor68500 | Mar 4 2020 14:21 utc | 220

@ ADKC | Mar 4 2020 13:22 utc | 217

Turkey is certainly nervous and itchy about the USA-run little Kurdistan in Syria east of the Euphrates, especially in light of the reshaping project.

Meyssan's idea that Turkey's actions in the region are all motivated by a pervasive fear of the "reshaping" map are a blemish to his own reputation as an analyst of the region.

To begin, the infamous map was drawn by Ralph Peters, a retired US army lt. col. and published as part of his essay Blood borders in the "Armed forces journal". Note that Peters is retired and not speaking on behalf of the Pentagon, nor is the journal. It states at the footer of every page:

Not a U.S. Government Publication
A Sightline Media Group site

Somehow the article achieved mythical status and most people seem to have forgotten or never noticed its rather insignificant pedigree. Armed forces journal reviewed the article, the map and the stir it caused more recently and laments that it has been erroneously taken as Washington's blueprint for the area by "conspiracy theorists".

The Turkish military staff is not so stupid that they are not aware of the facts. Thierry Meyssan simply blunders here, as he has clearly not done his homework. If he wants to argue that the Peters map is a serious cause for trepidation among the top Turkish military analysts, he has to come with some really exceptionally good arguments for such exceptional claims. To his own detriment, he gives none at all.

ADKC you could have figured this yourself too. Meyssan is not alone in his display of lacking judgement.

Obviously, if the Turks really fear dismemberment in a region reshaping dynamic, it would be in their primary interest to counteract this dynamic, in this case specifically by acting in solidarity with its neighbour being reshaped. That would also have the practical advantage of lessening the viability of any Kurdish state. However, that is not what the Turks are doing. So, this hypothesis does not hold.

By applying Occam's razor, Erdogan's aggressive moves can be properly explained simply as opportunistic political moves by a populist leader aiming to please and distract his home crowd. To please by appealing to revanchist nationalistic turanism and islamic retro-ottomanism sentiments among many Turks. To distract from the disastrous results of his rather unconstructive foreign policies and his exceedingly corrupt practices at home.

On the face of it, that is the most simple and fitting logic: an overreaching melon salesman with a Hitler syndrome stirring a nation that has gone almost full retard. Not a nice picture. I would not like to be in Putin's shoes.

Posted by: Lurk | Mar 4 2020 14:29 utc | 221

@ADKC | 217
Excellent piece. I have a lot of time for Meyssan. The issue of Turkey's partition is at the very heart of the Nationalist revivalism married to Erdogan's Muslim Brotherhood. The very chant "The fatherland in immortal, the fatherland won't be divided" comes from precisely that place and is now to be heard everywhere as a rally cry at funerals, while attacking Syrians, or simply ...
Intriguing to think, however, that Turkey was and still is to be honest more than happy for neighbours to be divided and everyone regionally knows this. There's a traitor in the region and it is a NATO member. Simple as.

Posted by: Egor68500 | Mar 4 2020 14:30 utc | 222

Fsck this , Injust typed a long rebuttal of ADKC's and Meyssan's ridiculous nonsense and it got eaten somehow.

Anyway, main points are:

1. the "Peters map" is not in any way Washington policy. It is part of an essay by a retires US army lt. col. in a journal unrelated to the Pentagon or the USA government in general.

2. Meyssan obviously did not do his homework, nor did ADKC. The Turkish military likely has and knows the pedigree and reality value of the Peters map.

3. Disregarding the above, if the Turks really fear tombe dismembered, they would be aiding Syria, not attacking and dismembering it. So this hypothesis does not hold in a most obvious way.

4. Occam's razor points at the most simple and sufficient explanation: a populist under duress, aiming to please and distract his electorate. To please by playing on revanchist nationalistic turanism and retro-ottoman islamism. To distract from his disastrous diplomatic and economic policies and his rampant corrupt clique.

In other words, we are watching an overreaching melon salesman with a Hitler syndrome. I would not want to be in Putin's shoes.

Meyssan sometimes has interesting contributions, but here he really disappoints.

Posted by: Lurk | Mar 4 2020 14:44 utc | 223

@ john | Mar 4 2020 13:48 utc | 219

It is either an aircraft carrier, or a dozen luxury yachts for beltway insiders. Which would it be?

Posted by: Lurk | Mar 4 2020 14:47 utc | 224

@librul #215:

I think this is a rather good article for passing on to friends and associates that are likely only consuming msm-bs and are in need of some light.

I would appreciate other opinions about this article.

It’s better to link to the original at Swiss Propaganda Research: The Syria Deception.

I think it’s a great article and would work really well to quickly bring people up to speed on Syria. However, before you send it to people who have been brainwashed by the MSM, you should soften their defenses first. Show them:

  1. photos of White Helmets members smiling and posing for a photo with known jihadists,

  2. videos that prove some of White Helmets’ footage to be staged (e.g., multiple takes),

  3. the hilariously bad video of opposition activists pretending to be severely burned (I believe it was a Channel 4 video),

  4. the video where adults rehearse “dropping dead” with a group of kids,

  5. the failed English-language interview with Bana Alabed where she forgets the proper order of replies,

  6. the testimony of Omran Daqneesh’s father,

  7. the testimonies of the Douma boy (the one hosed with water) and his father at the Hague,

  8. the OAN’s report from Douma,

  9. the video that shows Assad driving a car alone (with no guards) through Damascus and then onwards to the newly liberated Eastern Ghouta,

  10. the video of that Syrian soldier who dropped his rifle and went to the side of the militants to try to persuade them to stop fighting,
and other photos and videos. Once they see how they’ve been lied to about Syria over the years, they’ll be open to new information.

Posted by: S | Mar 4 2020 14:59 utc | 225

Ru MFA said in 664-08-04-2018 "We have to say once again that military interference in Syria, where Russian forces have been deployed at the request of the legitimate government, under contrived and false pretexts is absolutely unacceptable and can lead to very grave consequences."

Just something for people to keep in mind...Erdo 'specially.

"very grave consequences" is the polite form of "liquidation of opposing forces", or, if you prefer, WW4.

Evidently some people felt that this was bs.

Posted by: Walter | Mar 4 2020 15:18 utc | 226

@Egor68500 #221:

I am unable to view the video for some reason - does it show anywhere near 130k people even?

No, it’s a video of a press briefing given by Counter Admiral Oleg Zhuravlyov, the head of the Centre for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides and Refugee Migration Monitoring.

Perhaps, the 130,000 figure he gave refers to the total number of refugees in the European part of Turkey (which one could describe as a region near the Turkey–Greece border)? And the “temporary camps” part is a result of some kind of misunderstanding?

Or maybe you’re right and the figure is bogus.

Posted by: S | Mar 4 2020 15:23 utc | 227

William Gruff | Mar 4 2020 11:58 utc | 210 ("drones") Seems like a natural method to cast out many very cheap and essentially throw-away drones as decoys to exhaust and overwhelm AD logistical support. One can imagine inflatable "drones" with little aluminum radar reflector and a model airplane motor, simple magflux compass, flies a heading and if not shot down it simply flies on to its death...100 bucks mass produced. The key being to flood an opponent with targets indistinguishable from real threats. I suppose we'll see such infernal corruptions.

Posted by: Walter | Mar 4 2020 15:26 utc | 228

Maybe Erdogan can explain under whose occupation the three parts of Syria are? He will say : "Part one the Syrian regime, part two the terrorist Kurds and part three ... "

The irony of the occupier of one of the famed three parts of Syria cries about an imaginary partition of his own country.

Posted by: redrooster | Mar 4 2020 15:34 utc | 229

Lurk @223

That's the way I see it too.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 4 2020 15:40 utc | 230

That's weird, I just can't post a link to the 2006 Armed Forces Journal that published Ralph Peters' essay and his infamous map. You'll have too duckduckgo it and the 2013 review of it in the same journal. Not sure what keeps me from posting it.

Assad seems to agree with my argument:

Yusha Yuseef @MIG29_
Syrian President Bashar #Assad stated that the feud between his and Turkey is "illogical", stressing that Damascus had not attacked Turkey and that both states have common interests.
3:42 p.m. · 4 mrt. 2020

Posted by: Lurk | Mar 4 2020 15:42 utc | 231

Lurk @230

I rarely have problems but I always copy what I write before posting.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 4 2020 15:42 utc | 232

Lurk @232

Linking to certain domains/sites cause comments to be placed into the moderation queue.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 4 2020 15:44 utc | 233

vato @218

Thanks. Important first-hand account confirming the Turk-HTS connection and continuing plans for a chemical ff.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 4 2020 15:48 utc | 234

"if they [US military] can 'misplace' $21 trillion and then spend $6 billion to not find it, i'd think they could at least 'afford'another aircraft carrier." --john @219

Yeah, you'd think! Or maybe a baker's dozen of them even. Unfortunately the missing $trillions are not available for building drones or ships with. The fact of it being missing kinda implies that. Those $trillions are missing precisely because they were not used to build ships and things with. Instead those $trillions ended up in someone's pockets and the military didn't get anything in return. If the auditors could at least say "Hey, we spent a cool $trillion on this awesome toilet seat!" then that particular $trillion would no longer be missing, but they don't even have that.

The fact remains that the Navy really wants to get up to a 300 ship combat force but they cannot afford it, regardless of all the money that keeps disappearing.

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 4 2020 16:21 utc | 235

Russia accuses Turkey of merging observation posts with terrorists

A few days ago Russia was saying that "all agreements" related to Idlib were in full force. Now they are saying Turkey is violating the agreement.

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

Will Erdogan go to Moscow only to get an ultimatum to leave Idlib? Savvy political asshats like to get ahead of bad news. Possibility: Edogan announces that Russia has violated the agreements by allowing Syria free reign, cancels his Moscow trip, and sends more troops into Idlib.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 4 2020 16:32 utc | 236

JackRabbit 237,

If Erdo wants to commit suicide, that would be the way to do it.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Mar 4 2020 16:34 utc | 237

Walter @228: "Seems like a natural method to cast out many very cheap and essentially throw-away drones as decoys..."

Yes, disposable drones do make sense, and the Ruskies apparently do make use of them. Some of the ones the Russians have been using do not even have landing gear. They just fly until they run out of fuel. Naturally, that is not compatible with the philosophy that drives American military procurement. Expensive-as-possible per unit is how you can hide the most cash that you are leeching off the taxpayer. You can pocket more cash off a single $100 million drone than you can off a million $100 drones. Once you are in mass production territory then it becomes much harder to skim off the cream.

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 4 2020 16:47 utc | 238

William Gruff | Mar 4 2020 16:47 utc | 239 (flyers)

Yes, I think your reasoning is accurate. But the method, the policy, of larding on more expense leads to defeat in conflict, because, I suppose, being defeated is, as a process, more "profitable", even though, after defeat the opponent may impoverish you. The internal contradictions ultimately require resolution. Sun Tsu speaks to matters along such lines..."long war" and so forth...leading to defeat.

I can even imagine weather balloons (using h2 from a little chemical gas generator as lifting gas) and a radar reflector that flopped 'round on a tether - a pie plate - the gain of reflected signal would be a hoot, variable at random... But I'm just an old guy, and it's all cruel infernal stuff. I hate it.

Posted by: Walter | Mar 4 2020 17:08 utc | 239

apology for off topic, about the Skirpals..Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook @ minute 34 and on.

incomplete> gorilla-radio [dot] com/2020/02/21/

Helmer has nailed it.

Posted by: Walter | Mar 4 2020 17:27 utc | 240

Drones without landing gear being caught in not all that big nets have been common since at least the mid eighties, probably all the way from the start of drones considering the weight-saving benefits. Oh and launched by catapult/sling of course (looks like a five meter or thereabouts long beam).

So they're not necessarily throw-away although there would be less that has been thrown away in case they don't return, thus cheaper too.

It's not the only way to do it, I could be mistaken but I think the Norwegian micro-drones PD-100 Black Hornet are launched by holding the body of the drone with your fingers (like in the picture).

I don't remember the name of the older "small backpack" drone the US used as much as perhaps a decade or two ago or more which they launched by one person throwing it into the air (still only talking about drones without any landing gear at all ie. not ordinary quadcopters or anything like that which only needs a couple of sticks).

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Mar 4 2020 17:57 utc | 241

Putin needs to be a little less X Tchaikovsky and more X Rammstein.

Posted by: jared | Mar 4 2020 18:21 utc | 242

With Turkey using footage from Libya, fabricated footage plus some genuine footage, plus not showing aftermath of strikes (footage ends as smoke or heat haze it clearing) it has be hard to see what is happening and how much damage was done to SAA.

This I think will be fairly close.

Izvestia's sources say that during the first three days of Turkey's Operation Spring Shield, before Syria moved up air defense systems, Turkey destroyed 23 tanks, 16 IFVs, 9 rocket launchers/MLRS and killed 191 SAA fighters and wounded another 293. 171/

According to Izvestia's sources, SAA Pantsir and Buk air defense systems have shot down 5 Anka and 7 Bayraktar UAVs. In response, their sources claim that Turkey is mostly flying its UCAVs at low altitude and at night. 170/

Baraktor drones are unarmed surveillance and do not appear to have a laser designator though I take it they would be capable of giving real time GPS co-ordinates for GPS guided munitions (Trump's ammunition resupply).

Anka drones can carry 200kg payload - equivalent to four hellfire missiles and have a laser designation that can used to illuminate targets for artillery long range rockets and so forth.
According to wikipedia Turkey only has 16 of these.

Another thing I ran onto was that with both Russia and Turkey saying they wanted to de-escalate, a deal was made where each side could fly surveillance drones over the area.
A deal like this being made sounds feasible unlike a one sided truce declared by Russia.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 4 2020 20:16 utc | 243

There are many type of small observation drones that dont have landing gear. They glide to a landing. And it is clear now the mythical drone apocalypse was smoke and mirrors. These drones are to small and slow to be effective in hostile airspace. Once air defences were brought to the field it was game over. Expensive loses are mounting for Turkey.

Posted by: Nemo | Mar 4 2020 20:34 utc | 244

I think the way the turkish army are dealing with the SAA air defense (Pantsir included) is using very hard to detect small drones (not combat drones, but other smaller versions) flying on top of trees to evade radar, as target designators for smart 155mm artillery rounds like the Copperhead or Excalibur Laser Guide Projectile (LGP). Because without a complete complex system with early warning and EW planes, the AA systems let alone are doomed against this kind of systems.

You can see, in fact, huge explosions on tanks and AA systems that cannot be produced by the small missiles carried by the turkish combat UAV's, there are other case when you can see much smaller explosions on soft targets (like trucks and "technicals"). The explanation of the huge explosions are the 155mm rounds fired by the turkish howitzers.

I think it is the US who, in fact, is testing the capability of this combination against the russian systems (through SAA's russian supply air defense). Apart from geopolitical and military reasons, there is a huge market there for anti-aircraft weapons and Russia is depending, in not small part, on these exports to balance the budget and gain political advantages against the US block; so a blow to the almighty russian air defense system always is a good opportunity for the US MIC. That is the reason the russians are putting more and more resources in the game specially their more modern early warning and EW planes that right now are wreaking havoc in the turkish drones (detecting, jamming and directing the fire from AA systems and planes).

In fact we are seeing a technological warfare between US and Russia through their proxies.

Posted by: DFC | Mar 4 2020 21:05 utc | 245

As much propaganda war on US Turk part. One MAN mounted Pantsir may have been hit in Libya but that's about it at the moment. Turks put out another very short stitched together video - first segment showed a pantsir, second stitched on segment showed an explosion.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 4 2020 21:23 utc | 246

Yes most of the drone footage Turkey has released is of artillery strikes and I suspect mostly unguided munitions. Remember, you only get to see what they want you to see. All the misses end up on the cutting room floor. Same with the Syrian planes downed. Three have been hit but how many shots missed? Turkey wont tell you that. And the big story here is the dog that didn't bark. The Turkish air force. They are committing drones to the fight because their air planes wont enter Syrian air space.

Posted by: Nemo | Mar 4 2020 21:33 utc | 247

Lurk #224 etc, on Meysan

Thanks for your corrective. One dimensional analysis from Meysan is normal.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 4 2020 21:34 utc | 248

Peter AU 1 @ 203 (may have been at 201 originally):

I did see the news of US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft ducking across the Turkish border into Idlib province for that photo-op on another site. She must be trying to emulate Samantha Power who was also a notorious photo-shoot chaser in the past. Power collected a nine-year-old casualty along the way too, if memory serves me correctly.

It would have been most embarrassing had Craft also collected a casualty during her nip over into Syria or herself had become a casualty of the botched CW release. Crossing over into Idlib province from Turkey is, I think, kind of ... illegal.

You also have to wonder whether the jihadis get much training in handling dangerous chemicals. I suspect that they don't ... their sponsors and suppliers regard them as disposable.

Posted by: Jen | Mar 4 2020 22:03 utc | 249

I have been watching the Turk drones on flightradar24 when in Turkey they have a transponder on so their positions appear on flightradar24 although they come up as invalid transponder code. When they cross the border, the transponder is turned off and they disappear. looks as though they circle near the border, sometimes slipping across but soon reappearing on the Turk side of the border.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 4 2020 22:04 utc | 250

Jen "You also have to wonder whether the jihadis get much training in handling dangerous chemicals."

I wondered about that. Perhaps this time there was a rush to get the job done so work place health and safety, along with training was skipped.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 4 2020 22:37 utc | 251

And in Ankara
Brawl Erupts in Turkey's Parliament Over Syria Involvement

A fight broke out in the Turkish parliament between lawmakers from opposing parties during a tense discussion about Turkey's military involvement in northwest Syria.

 ANKARA, TURKEY (AP) — A fight broke out in the Turkish parliament between lawmakers from opposing parties Wednesday during a tense discussion about Turkey's military involvement in northwest Syria.[.]
Some lawmakers fell to the ground during the fray, Turkey's Haberturk television reported.

Fighting is a frequent occurrence in Turkey's parliament. The clash on Wednesday started when Engin Ozkoc of the opposition Republican People's Party took the rostrum. During a news conference shortly before, Ozkoc called Erdogan "dishonorable, ignoble, low and treacherous."

He also accused the president of sending the children of Turkey's people to fight while Erdogan's own offspring allegedly avoided long-term military service.[.]

and for the US, it's all about sales.

Scott Ritter, a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer. He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector, posits:

Impotent in Idlib: US pits Turkey & Russia against each other with ammo offer, but remains irrelevant in Syria

The US has offered to provide Turkey with ammunition to help resolve the ongoing crisis in Syria’s Idlib province. This proposal underscores the impotence and irrelevance of the US when it comes to Syria today.
Following high-level discussions with his Turkish counterparts in Ankara, US Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey told reporters that, while Turkey was pressing the US for humanitarian aid, Washington was prepared to offer it “ammunition” instead.

“Turkey is a NATO ally,” Jeffrey said. “We have a very, very big foreign military sales program. Much of the Turkish military uses American equipment. We will make sure that the equipment is ready.” This idea, Jeffrey noted, came from President Trump himself.

Jeffrey’s remarks come as Turkish President Recep Erdogan is preparing to travel to Moscow to meet with Vladimir Putin to discuss the devolving situation in Idlib and how best to prevent any escalation between Turkish and Russian forces. With reconciliation and deconfliction dominating the agenda, it is difficult to see how the American proposition could be seen by Turkey as anything other than counterproductive.

Jeffrey’s comment appears to be a byproduct of the total breakdown in interagency policy coordination within the Trump administration. [.]

President Trump resides in a world governed by transactional politics, where there is no such thing as a zero-sum game. Seen in this light, the offer to provide ammunition to Turkey is merely a knee-jerk reaction to Russia’s provision of arms and munitions to Syria, an act of short-term desperation to compensate for the fact that the US has no plan in place to deal with the unfolding crisis taking place in Syria today.

By injecting itself into bilateral Turkish-Russian diplomacy at this late stage, the US hopes to play the role of disruptor. The reality is, all it has accomplished is to underscore its impotence and irrelevance.

Impotent in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Posted by: Likklemore | Mar 4 2020 22:44 utc | 252

I've known about Dönmeh Turks & Jewish Zionists for a long time now.
My question has always been, "Where's the evidence for Erdogan?".
I posted a few days ago a short video with the butcher A. Sharon & erDOGan shaking hands:

Well @YNMS posted a few minutes ago a link to an excellent & quick summation of the zionist doggy found below:

Decide for yourselves:
***Erdogan, the Tool in the Hands of the Zionists***
June 24, 2018 Arabi Souri

"The Arab Spring started a long time before what is known now in Tunisia in 2010. It actually started in a non-Arabi, and even in anti-Arab country Turkey, which was also an anti-Islamic and ultra-secular country...
But what I know for sure is both Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his buddy Abdallah Gul have betrayed their mentor, their religion, their people and worked as the faithful servants of the Zionists, just like true anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood members would do....".

Watch ex-PM Necemettin Erbakan, Erdogan's mentor, and Erdogan confirming what Erbakan said about him being a zionist tool. It's a 3 minute vid:


Posted by: Veritas X- | Mar 4 2020 23:09 utc | 253

Just discovered.

Summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Erdogan in Moscow tomorrow to discuss the situation in Idlib
Ice cream is ready
Winking face
Face with tears of joy

Plus there was this small gem with a video:

Turkish officer beating and threatening with his pistol people to make them leave the bus and lead them to greek border
Turkey the "champion of human rights" and "protector of muslims" weaponizing them to blackmail EU for more money

Evil gamers these Turkish soldiers. They make it look like Turkey should be partitioned into Armenian and Kurd lands and some Turkish lands to the west.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 4 2020 23:31 utc | 254

Peter AU1 #244

Thank you for that exposition on drones in use in the Syrian battlefield (except Idlib??). That is why I found the Turkish assault to be a grievous error on the SAA side. Drones and unexpected assaults from FUKUSAI have been the norm in Syria.

Add to that the regular attacks from Latakia on the Russian airbase to the west then you might appreciate why I see the absence of air cover on those fateful days as being ignorance or a very bad reliance on the Russian air defence capability. I am saying that Syria and Iran and Hezbollah need to maintain their own air defence cover. The Houthis are now responding.

Iraqis and Lebanon might take note of the precaution as they are mighty exposed and evidently threatened daily.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 5 2020 0:20 utc | 255

Insulting the President in Turkey resulted in a huge number of sentences. But pre-brawk insults ha a context (al-Jazeera):

Ozkoc called Erdogan "dishonourable, ignoble, low and treacherous".
He also accused the president of sending the children of Turkey's people to fight while Erdogan's own offspring allegedly avoided long-term military service.

During a speech to members of his party, Erdogan earlier accused the opposition of being "dishonourable, ignoble, low and treacherous" for questioning Turkey's military involvement in Syria's northwest province.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 5 2020 0:41 utc | 256

Syrian sources claim that Russians introduced a new anti-air weapon, forgot the acronym, that is more effective against drones, has a better detection of small targets.

There was also an Israeli attack on eastern Homs, perhaps near T4 base -- in the desert south of Deir-ez-Zor, with 6 or 12 missiles shot down and no casualties. It is possible that Syria will gradually get saturated with layers of air defenses. Israel may move down a few pegs in their sense of security, right now it requires periodic mayhem around, and merely clobbering Gaza does not suffice. With Syria out of bounds, boisterous Israelis may become pensive, morose and eventually, melancholic.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 5 2020 0:51 utc | 257

Veritas X- @254

For anyone that questioned the 2016 coup, this makes some sense.

'Assad must go!' conspirator Erdogan was able to consolidate his power - which was helpful to his 'Assad must go!' Coalition partners because a power struggle in Turkey would have undermined their ability to continue the war (which they clearly have been doing).

The second 'clue' was the October 2019 shake-up of the chessboard whereby USA moved their forces to the oil fields and Turkey took a part of NE Syria. IMO this coordinated move was planned long before.

Putin gave Erdogan 3 months to clear Idlib of terrorists in September 2018. In December 2018 Trump announced his 'pull out' of troops from Syria - which was NOT a 'pull out'(!) but a sneaky way of preparing for a shake-up of the chessboard.

SAA delayed retaking Idlib so the drama took longer to play out.

PS: I wrote about this on my blog.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 5 2020 0:52 utc | 258

uncle tungsten

Until Erdogan's drone assault, everything was played out through proxies. Turkey has not directly targeted Russian forces and vice versa and similar between Syria and Turkey though Turkey has pulled the odd one of strike in the past. There seem to be some very fine lines here, all players walking on the edge of an abyss. Syria at the moment cannot afford overt war with Turkey, Israel or US. They take the hits and rely on Russia to avert a major attack from any of these players.
Not very nice when an attack happens but that looks to be the both Syria nand Russia are playing the long game.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 5 2020 1:24 utc | 259

Reasonably decent summary of syrian situation by South Front-comments in general also appear to be informed and detailed.

I will say that South Front IMHO has at times appeared to inconsistent as to accuracy and quality but this piece seems ok.

Posted by: Thomas Minnehan | Mar 5 2020 1:25 utc | 260

To add to 260.. I originally thought Russia had hit the Turk column as a warning to Erdogan. Now with the way things have turned out, I am not so sure on that.
Erdogan putting Turk troops where they would be hit (not informing Russia of their positions) and having them hit immediately put Russia on the defensive and in damage control mode. Erdo takes advantage of this to launch his drone offensive.
Up until The convoy hit there had been no overt direct fire between Turk troops and SAA (apart from plausible deniability stuff). Erdogan used the hit on his troops as an excuse to launch direct air and artillery offensive against SAA in conjunction to a ground offensive by Turk backed al Qaeda.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 5 2020 1:35 utc | 261

Russian colonel asseses the military sitiation in Idib at

Posted by: mike munk | Mar 5 2020 4:03 utc | 262

lurk and others... what did you make of the link that @ 217 adkc shared? i thought it was quite interesting.. here it is again..

@ DFC, peter au and others.. thanks for the additional comments.. always interesting..

Posted by: james | Mar 5 2020 6:24 utc | 263

i take it from these RT headlines that russia is about ready to address israels bullshite.. i could be wrong..

Human shield tactics again? ‘Israeli jets’ striking Syria force TWO civilian planes to change course

Posted by: james | Mar 5 2020 6:26 utc | 264

@226 S... thanks for giving the direct link to what librul shared.. much better!

Posted by: james | Mar 5 2020 6:30 utc | 265

james #264

What is nerdy saying?? he says that both Syria and Russia and others like Kurds and USA are an existential threat to Turkey. He conflates the entirety into a single threat.

Why doesn't he attack the Kurds?
Does he think Russia is in some way dependent on Turkey because of Turkstream and a case of tomatoes and wont continue on its course to eradicate the jihadis?

Erdoghan is just playing BS politics and trying to cover his arse with the home audience. If they are that stupid or desperate to believe his BS that is their bad luck. I do note that serious brawl broke out in the Turkish parliamentary chamber. I take that as a statement of unbelievability and no trust in Erdoghan and his faction.

I gather Erdoghan had a tip from his Israeli ally that the Daraa gig was on he may have thought (been led to think) they would bomb the crap out of Damascus as well. The former was pathetic and the latter was a failure. Israel is either incompetent or playing Erdoghan as a fool and incompetent.

Erdogan is a complete disaster for all in this game EXCEPT Syria and Russia at this stage. Neither of the latter can possibly afford to let jihadis off the hook of their doom in Idlib and anywhere else and nor should they. Erdoghan ignores this at his countries peril.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 5 2020 7:05 utc | 266

I have put together as best I could a list of events from the last week. I now think the strike on the Turk column was a deliberate strategy to put Russia on the back foot and in damage control mode when he kicked of his offensive that he had promised.

"The defense Ministry of Russia accused Turkey of violating the Sochi agreement
The Russian defense Ministry has stated the violation of the Sochi agreements on the part of Turkey. According to the Department, Ankara artillery continues to support the actions of illegal armed groups and uses drones for attacks on the Syrian military."
27th Turkey asks Russia to open airspace to armed drones.
Strike on Turk column evening of 27th or early morning 28th. Casualties arriving in Turkey early morning 28th.
28th Syrian airspace closed to Turk helicopters. Casualties taken back to Turkey by road.
NATO meeting and Erdogan call to Putin later on 28th.
28th Turk TRT journalist
- An emergency security meeting on the situation in Idlib will be held under the presence of Turkish President Erdogan.
- Several reports of soldiers arriving send in ambulances to Reyhanli
- Talks with Russia ended without results, no opening of airspace
28th Turks put out footage of claimed drone attacks.
To clearfy something, again, Turkish drone strikes on SAA forces were carried out even days before Saraqib battle, they were carried out over the span of two weeks and may be even more.
At first some of the losses were countributed to ATGM strikes, then the SAA found out that the drones, which should be observaing only, are actually firing.
After this the SAA issued its warning, the ANKA and several Bayraktar TB2 were shot down within 48 hours. Turkey halted its UCAV oeprations after this."
28th Lavrov
""As reported today the Ministry of defense, the coordinates that were passed yesterday, did not mention those places where eventually killed by the Turkish military who were in the ranks of terrorist groups," Lavrov said at a press conference.

He said that the presidents of Russia and Turkey Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a telephone conversation, discussed the settlement of the situation in Idlib. The Minister said that "the conversation was detailed, he was devoted to the need to do everything to fulfill the original agreement on Iglinsky area of de-escalation"."

"He noted that Russia "is not to deny the Syrian army to fulfill the requirements written down in resolutions of the UN security Council on the deadly, uncompromising struggle against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations"."

At some point for several hours on the night of 28th 29th, air defence was silent, but operating on 29th. Reports of new air defenses arriving Idlib Aleppo area on 29th.
The timelines of more prolific Syrians on twitter only go back to around 29th and the 1st. No or very sporadic reports of drones on the 28th. the main drone attack seems to have started on the night of 28th-29th and continued until Syria got more air defence into the area. From what I can make of it, Syria had air defence around Aleppo and most likely around Hama in the Homs governate but none following the frontlines.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 5 2020 11:10 utc | 267

One other thing I should have included in the list of events was the retaking of Saraqib by the jihadis and Turks. That was retaken on the 28th or on the night of 27-28. Cutting the M5 was an important prerequisite for the offensive and Why the jihadis left the southern front and took big losses in retaking the town.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 5 2020 11:31 utc | 268

re: Peter AU1 | Mar 5 2020 11:10 utc @ 268

Thanks Peter. Good composite.
I myself followed that day/evening/nite very closely and, believe the 'time interval' for the actual *lapse*, if we can call-it-that...was somewhere between 7-9+ hours, even though certain 'now-banned syrian twitter accounts' had stated...the local Russian Military in Syria was...screaming for...authorization to re-engage all defensive/offensive measures.
Yeah. Could be at least 10+ hours, considering the live-twitter-feeds suddenly stopped after the 'lapse'.
Look's like someone, 'didn't answer the phone' in Moscow.
I wonder who. And why.
Achoo-achoo. Makes me sick btw.

Posted by: Veritas X- | Mar 5 2020 11:41 utc | 269

Looks like Turkey is intent on starting a war with Greece as well.

Turkish Ministry of Interior Soylu says Turkey has deployed 1.000 Special forces to prevent Greek push-back of refugees which trying to pass to Europe via Turkey.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 5 2020 11:44 utc | 270

Two points we can make as of now :

1. Turkey's counteroffensive to push the Syrian Army back to the lines of the Sochi agreement has so far failed.

2. Turkey's "refugee"-blackmail operation against Greece has so far failed too.

Of course both operations are still in progress but as of yet have not succeeded in their objective.

Posted by: redrooster | Mar 5 2020 11:46 utc | 271

Earlier I thought from the wikipedia entry on the Bayraktar TB2 that they were not armed but it seems they are. A picture of a TB2 in an earlier link showed a missile or bomb under each wing.

MAM-L munition.

MAM-L Smart micro munition.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 5 2020 11:56 utc | 272

Veritas X-

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 5 2020 12:13 utc | 273

Veritas X-

Russian and Syrian planes stood down for over five hours, but then although SU-34 have air to air capabilities, in the time Russia has been in Syria aircraft have never been used that I know of for air defence. After the earlier shootdown of the Russian plane, SU-35s escorted the 34's and 24's, but I have not heard of SU-35's being on this front.
By what I could make out from social media reports at the time, there was about a two to three hour interval when air defences were not firing. Another thing to remember it that Russian air defence in Syria has only been used to repel attacks on the Russian bases. It was not used in the two US missile attacks, and it has not been used in the ongoing Israeli strikes.

But yeah, that interval when the air defences stood down, I would like to know what happened there.
Also worth remembering the circumstances of the Attack on Deir Ezzor. Kerry had just done some sort of piece deal with Russia, so Russia hesitated to act - I believe US wouldn't answer the military to military hotline for some time and by the time Russia realised things were serious, the damage was done.
Also worth remembering how Russia turned what looked like a disaster into an ISIS meat grinder.

I suspect Erdogan pulled something similar to kick off his attack. Let see what happens to his innocent Syrians of Idlib with their ISIS shoulder patches now.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 5 2020 12:29 utc | 274

The meeting between Putin and Erdogan has begun.

Putin began with expressing condolences for the death of Turkish soldiers and saying that Syrian forces had no way of knowing there were Turkish troops (embedded with the terrorists..), which was pure trolling as the Russians most certainly knew they were there and bombed them themselves or at least provided cover for the SAAAF).

Erdogan said that Russina-Turkish relations have reached their peak (a little trolling from Erdo as this can be understood both ways).

Very interesting what happens next.

By staying behind the Syrians, Russia left itself with a wide field for maneuver, while Erdo has put himself into a corner. Maybe a compromise will be found (it has to), because Turkey really has no choice. Syria doesn't have to strike Turkish territory - it has 10000 Turkish troops potential hostages (or target practice) and a dozen of observation posts (probably more than a 1000 Turkish soldiers) of actual hostages - unextractable in reality as this will mean full-scale war.


Posted by: BG | Mar 5 2020 12:54 utc | 276

The Sputnik Live Updates use a London clock.

It seems that they started talking about 11:15 am and now it's nearly 1pm in London.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 5 2020 12:55 utc | 277

You are absolutely, 100% correct with the...5 hr interval(minimum)...regarding...'reports' Peter.
Whereas, I said, "authorization to re-engage all defensive/offensive measures".
I believe I saw, that happen 7+ hrs.
No Worries.
I forgot to mention also that, considering I've never(as You also) have 'verified' these sources as being...non-governmental sources(cough cough), it's safe to assume some of the tweets were, 'deleted on purpose' too.
I can only speculate.
However, I choose the word *lapse*, not 'stand down'.
There is a huge difference as You know.
Without facit-in-hand, I think it's best to use that.
Regards X- in Sweden

Posted by: Veritas X- | Mar 5 2020 13:01 utc | 278

@ S @226

That article is so helpful.
The site has a great deal of interesting, informative work.

This article also offers some interesting background beyond the immediate subject:
France’s support for extremist groups in Syria, particularly near Idlib - MintPress News

Posted by: jared | Mar 5 2020 13:36 utc | 279

This by Magnier may well be the reason for the pause on the night of 28-29th

"The conflict Erdogan envisions between Russia, Iran and Syria on one side and Turkey on the other would suit the US and Israel. They would be happy to see Presidents Putin and Erdogan sinking into the Syrian quagmire and Hezbollah losing more men in the Levant."

Like Syria, Iran was deliberately targeted by Erdogan with a meeting of IRGC and Hezbollah being hit after Iran had notified Turkey of the co-ordinates. Iran is taking the same line as Russia in trying to avoid a war with Turkey.
US-Israel would be the only beneficiary.

It will be interesting to see what comes of the meeting in Moscow. Magnier thinks their may be a Truce for a while and some arrangement made as to new borders to jihadistan.
If SAA have been hit hard this could well be the case as it will give them breathing space to get back to full strength. 200 dead perhaps 300 wounded, some equipment destroyed. Troops that were hit quite likely included a high percentage of the small number of SAA capable of leading offensives who would have been on the front lines that Erdogan was trying to drive back.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 5 2020 13:49 utc | 280

It is the *TOS-1 Theromobaric* here, not air strikes.
From less than 20 minutes ago:

Russian air force and SAA intensely bombing terrorists positions in Jabal al Zawiya south of Idlib

In everyday-language, kebab soon ready.

Posted by: Veritas X- | Mar 5 2020 13:55 utc | 281

Veritas X-

Air defences are well behind the frontlines, located near cities or high value installations.
Many civilians would know when the defences are active and when they are not. I guess it could checked more thoroughly by scrolling through a lot of twitter accounts and check the time of the posts. I checked back through a couple of accounts I read each day while they were still marked as to who many hours old they were. That where I got the two to three hours that the defences where down, though that may not be very accurate as those comments are posted when the account holder gets the news if they are not in the area.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 5 2020 13:59 utc | 282

Peter AU1 | Mar 5 2020 13:49 utc | 281

Yes, unfortunately it looks like the same failed handling that lead to the situation today. Next time it will become even harder to push Turkey out of the occupied areas.

The correct way would have been to seige the chance now that Turkey has no-to minimal support from the West to adopt a hard-line outright threatening and demanding complete withdrawal from Syria peacefully or if needed violently.

Posted by: redrooster | Mar 5 2020 14:05 utc | 283

PeterAU1 @281: Magnier thinks their may be a Truce for a while

I think that is unlikely because:

  1. Finding agreeable lines is too difficult
    - Accepting less than ALL of Idlib compromises Erdogan's position that he's the protector of Idlib (as granted via the Sochi and Astana agreements).

    - Russia and Syria would want to have the lines drawn so that the M5 and M4 highways are clear. For Erdogan that would be too waaay too much territory.

  2. A ceasefire now is a tacit acceptance of Erdogan's "veto" of reclaiming Idlib
    - Would a future (third) attempt to reclaim Idlib ever be mounted? Turkey would be emboldened to apply her 'veto' (once again).

    - SAA morale would suffer while Jihadi moral would soar.

  3. This situation is not comparable with prior ceasefire agreements with Jihadis

    Russia + SAA allowed Jihadis to escape to Idlib as they were clearing pockets of Jihadis in Syria. Such tactical measures are not applicable to Idlib.

  4. There's never a good time for war

    But when it comes, you don't back down. Neither side will want to look weak.

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

My view is that Erdogan has shown his hand in Idlib. His sympathies are with the 'Assad must go!' Coalition. Better to recognize that and deal with it sooner rather than later.

Those that stress that Erdogan is an independent player that is playing both sides are excusing Erdogan. There's no reason to support Jihadis in Idlib except as support of Assad must go!.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 5 2020 14:26 utc | 284

The Assad must go! Coalition strategy is to force regime change via endless war and economic misery. By my count, this new strategy represents a third phase of the war against Syria: "moderate rebels" => ISIS => "quagmire"/war of attrition.

In that regard, Idlib is a strategic holding. And Erdogan's pretenses are nothing more than playing Putin as a fool. If he appeases Erdogan his leadership will be questioned.

Whether you approve of the "Assad regime" or not, it's clear that a group of countries conspired to remove him by force and carve up Syria. Assad has met that challenge bravely and ably.

And now the entire affair has become a geo-political nightmare that risks WWIII.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 5 2020 14:43 utc | 285

Veritas X- @ 282

Not sure it was a TOS-1. Most of the explosions don't have the orange at their core and there are more than 24 (a full TOS-1 salvo). So unless two TOS-1 were operating together it looks much more like a 40 rocket Grad salvo. Whichever it was it was better watching it than being under it.

Posted by: JohninMK | Mar 5 2020 14:49 utc | 286


Copying is what I do with all of your posts!In the end I will have an unique "copy" of this anthology of Encyclopedia Jackrabbitica,to be redistributed as an antidote for hopium.

Posted by: willie | Mar 5 2020 15:00 utc | 287

Jackrabbit "But when it comes, you don't back down. Neither side will want to look weak."

No of the Syrian alliegence of Russia Iran and Syria have bothered too much about proving who is Biggus Dickus. They have absorbed and ignored all provocations to date.

The only reason that I thought a short term truce may come about was if the SAA needed a bit of time to get its offensive forces back up to strength.
Apparently, Hezbollah sent a fairly large contingent to Saraqib and played a big part alongside Tiger Force in retaking the town.
It made me think Tiger Force may have suffered a good number of casualties.
Then there is the 5th special corps that were on the southern front. Jihadis backed by drones retook a fairly large area there, so they would have taken a reasonable number of losses as well.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 5 2020 15:06 utc | 288

We have heard nothing yet of the pre-announced Russian naval excercises of the Syrian coast scheduled for today.

I guess, if the negotiations in Moscow fail we may see a salvo of Kalibers on high-value targets in Idlib today on positions not officially disclosed to contain Turkish troops..

Posted by: BG | Mar 5 2020 15:14 utc | 289

@Peter AU1 | 275
Given Erdogan's loud and decisive announcement that he had a deadline of the 29th to take appropriate action against Syria, which in turn seems to have been timed to conincide with the subsequent showpiece AKP Regional Assembly in Ankara, is it not possible that Erdogan intentionally drew Russia's fire, the "payback" for which would be his gallery drone attacks?

@Peter AU1 | 281
Magnier is of course right in saying that a rift between Turkey and Russia et al suits the US which is probably why the US said they will suppprt Turkey by providing ammunition - very darkly concise way of clarifying their position maybe! )))
Interesting also because I just watched a professor on HaberTurk stating that whatever the outcome of the meeting with Putin he wants to see Turkey rebuilding relations with the US and NATO in order to curb Iran's regional interests ... Not a surprising comment given the rivalry between the two countries, but maybe ominous.

Posted by: Egor68500 | Mar 5 2020 15:26 utc | 290

@Jackrabbit | 285
"His [Erdogan's] sympathies are with the 'Assad must go!' Coalition."
This has allways been the case. The so called rapproachment with Russia was always Russia leveraging Turkey - both to manage its Syria ambitions and to build greater 'bonds' with Russia which would then lessen the likliehood of Turkey returning to being a vassal state - this also explains to some degree the relationship between Erdogan and Putin.
This coincides with Turkey's Euroasian ambitions, but does not mean anything other than interests converge at places.
Suffice to say that those bonds have been developed and for Turkey, beyond Erdogan, to break those bonds would be very painful economically. That does not mean, of course that Turkey can not also have good relations with the US, it just means there is an unavoidable balance now.

Posted by: Egor68500 | Mar 5 2020 15:39 utc | 291

In German major news outlet Der Spiegel,recently I found four or five articles claiming for European and German government support for Erdogan,even military!This is outrageous,and seen as such by hundreds of commentators who accuse Der Spiegel to be enslaved to USA.

Posted by: willie | Mar 5 2020 15:41 utc | 292

War is always illogical until it starts. Then it's said to have been "inevitable".


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 5 2020 16:01 utc | 293

Putin / Erodgan press conference going on now
Erdogan looks like he's been slapped about the face with a sturgeon )))))
And the Turks fighting to get on camera ... Hillarious. )))

Posted by: Egor68500 | Mar 5 2020 17:19 utc | 294

As usual Russia sell out their "friends".
Instead of kicking Turkey out of Syria, Russia agree with Turkey, will work together to establish "security" inside Syria.

A six-kilometer-wide security corridor is to be established in the area, with the militaries of the two countries given a week to agree all the details.
Russian and Turkish troops will also be carrying out joint patrol missions along Idlib’s M-4 highway.

Posted by: Zanon | Mar 5 2020 17:51 utc | 295

@Zanon | 296
The 6+6km zone is along the M4 and will be patrolled by Turkey and Russia. It gets close to Southern Hatay at one point but is not a border zone as such.
Could it be a temporary measure to facilitate the safe withdrawl of soldiers at Turkey's observation points?
The ceasefire is in accordance with Astana and excludes HTS.

Posted by: Egor68500 | Mar 5 2020 18:16 utc | 296

This is what Putin originally wanted and Erdogan refused. Joint Turkish/Russian patrols to reopen the M4/M5 highways. Erdogan has had to concede to this along with losing territory. This is his last chance. It he screws this up Turkey will be considered non agreement capable just like the USA. lol

From Southfront...

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that his country will be sending additional forces to Idlib province under a new agreement with Russia, but that the status of Turkey’s Operation Spring Shield will be “changed”. Erdogan added that starting at midnight between 5 and 6 March a ceasefire regime will be established in Idlib for both Turkish and Syrian forces. At the same time, the Turkish president said that the army reserves the right to respond to any actions of the Syrian forces.

It includes the following items:

The cessation of all hostilities along the existing line of contact from midnight on March 6th;
Russia and Turkey create a six-kilometer-long security corridor north and south of the M-4 highway in Syria
Russia and Turkey agreed on March 15th to begin joint patrols along the M-4 highway in Syria.
“It is inevitable to establish a new status in Idlib after the sad events of the regime’s aggression targeting our soldiers,” President Erdogan said.

“The spirit of cooperation between us and Russia has made an unprecedented contribution to international efforts to end the conflict in Syria,” President Erdogan explained.

Posted by: goldhoarder | Mar 5 2020 18:17 utc | 297

@goldhoarder | 298
A human / supplies corridor I guess.
Turks are falling over themselves trying to call it a safe zone/ safe corridor etc so that it reads like a success for Erdogan, then they look back at the map ...))
Putun while not forcing the point at the press conference has given no ground it seems

Posted by: Egor68500 | Mar 5 2020 18:43 utc | 298

According to a senior HaberTurk journalist the observation post situation will be decided within the next seven days.

Posted by: Egor68500 | Mar 5 2020 18:50 utc | 299

Egor68500 291 "is it not possible that Erdogan intentionally drew Russia's fire, the "payback" for which would be his gallery drone attacks?"

That has been my thought for a while now. Having a large number of Turks killed was a part of Erdogan's strategy to throw Russia of balance and give him a window to kick off his offensive.
Initially I thought the strike was a warning to Erdogan over manpads being used against Russian aircraft.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 5 2020 20:34 utc | 300

« previous page | next page »

The comments to this entry are closed.