Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 05, 2020

Syria - Another Ceasefire In Idleb - Erdogan Loses On All Points

Our last post on Syria concluded:

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

President Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and President Vladimir Putin of Russia met today in Moscow. They had a 160 minute long talk under 4 eyes and another round with their relevant staff. The parties agreed on a new ceasefire in Idleb governorate.

Idleb governorate Mar 5 2020


The so far published agreed points are:

1- Cease all military actions along the line of contact in the Idlib de-escalation area starting 00:01 on March 6, 2020

2- A security corridor will be established 6 km deep to the north and the south from highway M4, Specific parameters of the functioning of the security corridor will be agreed between the Defense Ministries of the Turkish Republic and the Russian Federation within 7 days.

3- On March 15, 2020 joint Turkish-Russian patrolling will begin along highway M4 from the settlement oo Trumba (2 km to the west of Saraqib) to the settlement of Ain-Al-Hayr.

Here are part one and two of the memo.

(I believe that Ain-Al-Hayr is also transliterated as Ain al Hawr which is on the very western end of the M4 segment that is still under Jihadi control).

The aim of the current Syrian army operation is thereby largely fulfilled. The M4 and the M5 highways will be free of Jihadis and open to traffic.

This ceasefire is unlikely to hold over a longer period. But it brings a useful pause for the Syrian army that will allow it to recover a bit and to take care of its men and equipment.

This for now also ends the Turkish threat to attack the Syrian army and to reconquer all areas it had liberated over the last months.

Erdogan, who had made many demands, saw none of them fulfilled. The agreement will cost him political points within his party.


@Hevallo @Hevallo - 18:08 UTC · Mar 5, 2020

Best thing for me from the Moscow meeting between Erdogan and Putin was the subservient stature of the Turkish delegation in front of Putin and standing under the statue of Catherine the Great who defeated the Turks several times during the XVIII century.

Posted by b on March 5, 2020 at 18:32 UTC | Permalink

next page »

I wonder how such a big country in size and in history like Russia can have its leader be in a one on one meeting. I find that kinda fascinating. I'm glad the man in charge has such mastery and dedication to lead his country with these impressive achievements.

Posted by: Stephane | Mar 5 2020 18:56 utc | 1

Propaganda coup; China is snickering.

Posted by: Pacifica Advocate | Mar 5 2020 19:04 utc | 2

Too many unanswered questions. #1 being when does Idlib become 100% deloused of its terrorist vermin. Escobar article on Erdogan's potential historical justifications for his behavior.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 5 2020 19:10 utc | 3

Some good news
"The IDF also ended early its joint exercise with the US military Juniper Cobra, which brings the IDF together with American forces from Germany and was supposed to conclude next week. After consulting with the Ministry of Health, the IDF announced Wednesday that it would cancel the remainder of the exercise."

Posted by: Mina | Mar 5 2020 19:10 utc | 4

How is this workable? This agreement is:

  1. Not well defined

    Is the security corridor along the entire length of M4 or just where the front lines are close to M4?

  2. Incomplete

    HTS and other Jihadis are not parties. We can expect them to continue hostilities. Especially with the intention of interrupting traffic on M4 and M5.

    Turkey reserves the right to respond to any Syrian "aggression" against them.

I expect the ceasefire to fail within days.

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

Whenever I see no opportunity for press to ask questions after an important meeting like this, I think "failure".


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 5 2020 19:12 utc | 5

Posted by: Stephane | Mar 5 2020 18:56 utc | 1

Putin is a product of the Soviet education system, as are most if not all of his government. You cannot maximize quality and profit at the same time. The question is: "Do you want to make your nation strong, or do you want to make a few people rich?" You can't do both, in the long run you wind up with a banana republic if that is how you run your country. Good job Republicans and Democrats.

Posted by: Bemildred | Mar 5 2020 19:13 utc | 6

Regarding 'diplomacy', Russia truly is quantum steps ahead of everyone.
Thanks *b*
Excellent photo. Elijah J. Magnier thinks so too.
Elijah J. Magnier
This is how #Russia Putin sends his messages to #Turkey. Small but important details (via @HalaJaber
). Nothing is casual in #Moscow.
Quote Tweet
· 59m
Best thing for me from the Moscow meeting between Erdogan and Putin was the subservient stature of the Turkish delegation in front of Putin and standing under the statue of Catherine the Great who defeated the Turks several times during the XVIII century. #TwitterKurds <<<

Gotta hand-it to the chess masters ribbin' the polo-playing horsemen.
Par excellénce Monsieur Putin.


Posted by: Veritas X- | Mar 5 2020 19:18 utc | 7

And Putin and Erdogan continue to talk past each other.

Putin talks of 'terrorists' in Idlib while Erdogan talks of protecting the people of Idlib and of SAA aggression against them.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 5 2020 19:18 utc | 8

Erdogan is a wannabe and is trying to inject himself and his country on the world stage. It will be interesting to see if another attempt is made on his life will Putin warned him.

Posted by: Dennis18 | Mar 5 2020 19:22 utc | 9

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 5 2020 19:18 utc | 8

Sometimes, ambiguity can be good. In the long run, both Syria & Russia need to have good relations with Turkey, and one can see that both Putin & Assad understand that. The objective here is to stop the fighting between Syria & Turkey, and extract Erdogan from his debacle. He won't be around forever, in fact I think he is about done.

Posted by: Bemildred | Mar 5 2020 19:25 utc | 10

Re: Veritas X- | Mar 5 2020 19:18 utc | 7

When Erdogan flew off to Russia days after the coup attempt on him, was he not met by the 2nd most important Russian politician in the Greek Byzantine Hall at Russia's 2nd most important city?

As you wrote "Gotta hand-it to the chess masters ribbin' the polo-playing horsemen"

Posted by: tucenz | Mar 5 2020 19:30 utc | 11

I wonder if the Turks are thinking that they will patrol the M-4 security corridor on their side of the line of contact and the Russians will patrol the M-4 security corridor on the SAA side?


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 5 2020 19:32 utc | 12

As for Ain Al-Hawr, the Arabic name is عین الحور according to, which usually is made by locals (fits well where I'm capable to check, and which is used also by liveuamap DOT com). Arabic writing do not contain short vowels, and with some long vowels as u/w and i/y/j you never know, whether it is a vowel or a consonant (as it was in old Latin), you need to know the word behind it, which in case of old names is most often very difficult. And different languages use different transcriptions (already obvious in easy Russian, whilst German will have Sacharowa, the English transcription is Zakharova), so you got a mess in different writings. Arabic عین (Ain) means spring (compare for German place names with -born/-brunn), al is the article and HWR is a proper name (may be identical with "Houri") - it could be read as HaUR, HaWiR, HuWaR, HUR ... but Hayr is no option - except this word has dialectal versions :D

Posted by: BG13 | Mar 5 2020 19:32 utc | 13

The rabbit brings up a good point. The Jihadi Orcs are not a party to the agreement, and it can be safely assumed that they will ignore it. Does the agreement specify what is to be done when this happens? When the Orcs continue their attacks and the Syrian Army fights back, will the Turks stand aside and let the Syrians mop the Orcs up? Or will Erdogan jump back into the fray on behalf of the Orcs while accusing the Syrians of violating the agreement?

Antoinetta III

Posted by: Antoinetta III | Mar 5 2020 19:37 utc | 14

Unconfirmed but likely right:

he terrorist organization Al-Nusra Front rejects the outputs of the Moscow meeting and will continue military action

Posted by: b | Mar 5 2020 19:44 utc | 15

Of course terrorist Orcs would refuse to comply:

"The terrorist organization Al-Nusra Front rejects the outputs of the Moscow meeting and will continue military action."

So, in order to make the Orcs compliant, combat operation s must continue against them and presumably against their Turk patrons. The tweets I'm reading say the combat never ceased for all three parties--SAA, Orcs, Turks.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 5 2020 19:50 utc | 16


Consortium News back online.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 5 2020 19:57 utc | 17

So basically as seen before. Deescalation zone in previous deal (Turkey never implemented) and M4 corridor now (that Turkey will not implement). Terrorists will keep on fighting as they are not bound by it, SAA will work on them, and Turkey will feel it has duty to help orcs. Russians patrols will never happen as everybody will shoot at them.

And Russians now this, and also know that Turkey (same as USA) has no intention in honoring this deal.

Posted by: Abe | Mar 5 2020 20:03 utc | 18

Really Jackrabbit? "Not well-defined" "Incomplete"

is your rush to judge on snippets reported in the media. Have you read the Putin-Erdo talk went for 3 hrs before the supporting delegations were allowed to join. I bet Putin read Erdo the Riot Act.

"Hey, Erdo keep the Sochi Agreement, show you are capable OR we will clean out the proxies; your protected terrorists in the Idlib barn. Oh, and no 30 KM zone for you on Syrian sovereign soil. Your friends in NATO are running away. Don't count on Trump and Pompeo, just all talk."

the spin from Ankara on today's Putin-Erdo talks.

[.]the additional protocol to the memorandum on the stabilization of the situation in Idlib.

The protocol urged to "cease all military actions along the line of contact in the Idlib de-escalation area starting from 00:01 of March 6, 2020."

On the protocol, Turkey and Russia, as guarantor countries to observe the cease-fire in Syria, recalled the memorandum on the creation of de‑escalation areas in Syria as of May 4, 2017 and the memorandum on stabilization of the situation in the Idlib de-escalation area as of Sept. 17, 2018.

The two countries reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity of Syria.

They also "reaffirmed their determination to combat all forms of terrorism, and to eliminate all terrorist groups in Syria as designated by the UN Security Council, while agreeing that targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure cannot be justified under any pretext."

The protocol highlighted that there can be "no military solution to the Syrian conflict and that it can only be resolved through Syrian-led and Syrian-owned, UN facilitated political process in line with the UNSC resolution 2254." (emphasis added)

Said the blind man to the elephant, "We will see if Erdo steps into the pile of worthless promises he made to Putin."

Posted by: Likklemore | Mar 5 2020 20:03 utc | 19

The cease fire includes everyone apart from UN designated terrorist groups.
As always, any cease fire arrangement Putin enters into specifically excludes terrorists.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 5 2020 20:03 utc | 20

From Pepe Escobar's latest:

This universe was always enriched by outside elements – such as Arab-Persian Islam and its institutions inherited from the Sassanids, as well as the Byzantine empire, whose structural elements were adapted by the Ottomans. The end of the Ottoman empire and multiple convulsions (the Balkan wars, WWI, the Greek-Turkish war) ended up with a Turkish nation-state whose sanctuary is Asia Minor (or Anatolia) and eastern Thrace, conformed into a national territory that’s exclusively Turk and denies every minority presence that is non-Sunni and non-turcophone.

Evidently that’s not enough for Erdogan Khan.

Even Hatay province, which joined Turkey in 1939, is not enough. Home to the historic Antioch and Alexandretta, Hatay was then re-baptized as Antakya and Iskenderun.

Under the Treaty of Lausanne, Hatay was included in the French mandate of Syria and Lebanon. The Turkish version is that Hatay declared its independence in 1938 – when Ataturk was still alive – and then decided to join Turkey. The Syrian version is that Hatay was acquired via a rigged referendum ordered by France to bypass the Treaty of Lausanne.

Erdogan Khan has proclaimed, “Idlib is mine.” Syria and Russia are responding, “No, it’s not.” Those were the days, when turcophone empires of the steppes could just advance and capture their prey.

Posted by: Barovsky | Mar 5 2020 20:10 utc | 21

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 5 2020 19:12 utc | 5

I don't think Russia/Syria/Iran/Hezbollah care if the jihadists or Turkey obey the terms of the agreement. Turkey got in its sucker punch ... I don't believe it will happen again. I think the patrols will be 'joint' and if they are attacked by the jihadi's, then Turks can either fight back with the Russia/Syrians or more likely stand aside and be even more exposed. It will probably be useful in the long run to have an agreement that you expect the jihadi's to break ... to justify continuing on to Idlib City.

Maybe Erdogan will finally come up with a good plan ... ship them all to Libya for Haftar (Hifter?) to kill.

Posted by: SteveK9 | Mar 5 2020 20:23 utc | 22

You can tell Pepe reads a lot:

The Empire of the Steppes: A History of Central Asia

Posted by: Bemildred | Mar 5 2020 20:24 utc | 23

Likklemore @20, Peter AU1 @21

It's the combination of Erdogan's insistence that:

  1. Turkey retains the right to respond to "SAA aggression"
  2. and that:

  3. Turkey was merely protecting innocent Idlib civilians
that makes me very skeptical of the ceasefire.

I see no reason why Erdogan will not continue to protect those "civilians" from "SAA aggression every time HTS takes pot shots at SAA.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 5 2020 20:24 utc | 24

Thanks b loved the photograph.
Putin, you have a wicked sense of humour.
The liberation of the M4 proceeds it seems and it is now entirely in Erdoghans useless hands to move the jihadis out.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 5 2020 20:25 utc | 25

Erdogan refused to agree to joint patrols with the Russians in Idlib. He ignored the treaty and lost a lot of territory including all of the M5. if the Russians and Turks are doing joint patrols this obviously creates a problem for the Jihadists. That is why Putin wanted it in the first place. Either Turkey and Russia are keeping the peace together or there will be no peace. Turkey can not hide from this agreement. That is why the deal is significant. The whole purpose Putin put it forth the first time was to make it a joint operation to get the M4/M5 open. Syria fought hard to get this corridor themselves for the M5. They succeeded and this is not part of the agreement anymore. Now the agreement is only the M4 since they already control the M5. If Turkey doesn't want to lose more control of territory they have to abide by it. This is Erdogan's last chance to reach an agreement with Russia.

Posted by: goldhoarder | Mar 5 2020 20:28 utc | 26

Ceasefire has some concrete consequences, actual stopping of the shooting is one of them. First, Turkey OK's supplies for SAA using Turkish straights and Turkish airspace. Russia and Turkey remain at peace etc. Second, Turkey should not provide weapons to groups fighting in the zone Turkey "gives" to Syrian government. That will probably not happen, but directly supporting these groups with the firepower of Turkish military should cease. In turn, there is a "safe zone" where SAA and RuAF should not direct fire.

Probably Turkey will keep supplying weapons, but this is something that can be handled.

What would make Erdogan to make concessions, basically stopping the use of Turkish troops One aspect is losses, the second possible aspect is that there were reports of Twitter that Russia introduced some new anti-aircraft system that was more effective against drones, so eventually the front would get saturated with those systems and SAA+allies would resume swift advances, and Turkey would bleed.

"Our Idlib" is basically a vanity project, and Erdogan has problems with economy and opposition.

One intriguing possibility is that Putin played on Erdogan mentality. The day without RuAF action and with swift advances of the jihadist had to "feel like victory", making subsequent reverses more depressing.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 5 2020 20:32 utc | 27

There was never any other outcome possible. The Turkish position is a lossing one. Eventually both the jihadis and the Turks will be gone. Those without the patience or vision to understand this will look foolish in the end.

Posted by: Nemo | Mar 5 2020 20:34 utc | 28

E. J. Magnier has some comments on the agreement:

Elijah J. Magnier
Differences between Putin and Erdogan will be discussed during Russia-Turkey-Iran meeting in Tehran.

All points discussed including the besieged Turkish observation points within the Syrian army controlled area.

Will write about all this and more.
Show this thread
Elijah J. Magnier
If Jihadists accept or refuse, it is no longer important. The question will be moved towards North-east #Syria. It will all be in the hands of the #Kurds and their negotiation with #Damascus.

Continues ...

Posted by: Bemildred | Mar 5 2020 20:35 utc | 29

My guess is Putin did what he usually does with Erdogan: read him the riot act, telling that he doesn't back down on escalation, Turkey's forces inside Syria will face the full might of Russian forces. But Putin also offered some concession to Erdogan to enable Erdogan to claim that he got something out of this deal.

I do expect Erdogan to violate the deal. This deal is similar to the previous one, it just redraws the lines to reflect the current situation on the ground - which is a win for Syria and Russia and a loss for Erdogan. But having violated the previous deal, Erdogan will violate this one. Already reports are that jihadists in Idlib are embedding themselves with Turkish troops, using Turkey's forces as "human shields" against Russian/Syrian air strikes.

This deal won't hold for long.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Mar 5 2020 20:40 utc | 30

goldhoarder @27: joint patrols

You're forgetting that Erdogan didn't just send his army into Idlib to stop "SAA aggression", he supplied weapons and uniforms to the Jihadis.

Do you think he doesn't know what he did? Do you think he forgot that Putin/Russia is adamantly opposed to the Jihadi terrorists?

If Erdogan is bold enough to defy Russia - TWICE! - then why not a third time? Each time Erdogan pretends that his hand is forced.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 5 2020 20:43 utc | 31

I just got done watching RT's "Putin and Erdogan talk to press after Idlib crisis meeting [STREAMED LIVE]" streamed 3 hrs ago:

Body Language says over 90% of what people really feel/think.
The atmosphere was extremely tense, and, One can see this agreement will fall-apart soon. Too many 'bad apples', actually *turkish tomatoes* surrounding Erdogan.

Erdogan is frail. His health isn't good. Look how he walks and watch his hands.
Same thing can be seen at their initial meeting, here:
"Putin and Erdogan meet in Moscow [STREAMED LIVE]"-

IMO, it's very clear Erdogan trusts Putin.
Perhaps not so much his ministers of defense & foreign affairs.
Look's to me a power struggle is about to take place in Ankara.
Shoigu & Lavrov faces show they know within a few weeks/months the shitshow starts again.

Posted by: Veritas X- | Mar 5 2020 20:45 utc | 32

You'd think Putin deftly pointed out the obvious to Erdo. Wake up, there is a Gathering steam, The Anti-Turkish Coalition: and the reasons cited by journal NEO-

[In recent days], yet another aspect of Erdogan’s “new age of foreign policy” has become visible that has taken shape against the backdrop of the aggravation of the armed confrontation between Ankara and Damascus, and that’s the migration card that Erdogan chose to play, effectively blackmailing the EU while obtaining support of a limited number of citizens of other countries that Turkey prevented from attempts to reach Europe. However, this strategy, like the absolute majority of Ankara’s recent steps, has also fallen flat.

For these reasons, we’re witnessing various countries approaching each other to create a united front against Turkey. This development manifests itself in the emergence of a wider anti-Turkish coalition in the Mediterranean Sea, that consists of Greece, Israel, NATO, the EU, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and a number of other states that receive tacit support from the United States and that can find various creative ways of hurting the Turkish leader. At the same time, it doesn’t seem at this point that Ankara still has any allies left to get its back.

Erdogan’s short-sightedness has already resulted in the establishment of diplomatic relations between Syria and the government of Khalifa Haftar, that led to the opening of the Libyan Embassy in Damascus, which, of course, is a landmark event in its own rights.[.]

Posted by: Likklemore | Mar 5 2020 20:45 utc | 33

If I understand ir correctly, the security zone around the M4 goes all the way Westward to the mountain town of Kabane (many ways to spell it), which means that if the agreement works as intended, the jihadi defenders will have no resupply as the main highway will be patrolled hy the Russians and Turkey. Whoever disagrees, speaks with Shoigu via the VKS :)

I really hope it works, because if it does, the SAA will achieve one of its greatest victories (considering how many lives were lost storming Kabane through the years) without firing a shot (the phrase used figuratively, not literaly:).

If the agreement does not hold, the SAA will get a much needed rest for re-grouping, resupply and strengthening the frontline air defense.

Turkey played its main card by entering the conflict directly and lost.

The result will be a huge drain on Turkish recources and morale if it stays fully invested.

PS. One of the most curious things today was the interview aired by the central TV channels in Rissia with Bashar al Assad, just as Erdogan was due to make his aufience to Putin. Al Assad said that Turkey and Syria can be partners again... So, the door for the sultan is left open...


Posted by: BG | Mar 5 2020 20:46 utc | 34

Audience, not aufience, sorry for the typo.

Posted by: BG | Mar 5 2020 20:49 utc | 35

Ever since the battle over Idlib started (in earnest), with Turkey attacking the SAA (and indirectly, Russia), it struck me that behind Erdogan stood the US. After all, Idlib is the US' proxy forces (ISIS, al-queda, blah-blah) last stand. Defeated in Idlib means aside from some bases close to the Iraqi border in the north, it's game over for the US war on Syria.

So it's my bet that the US exploited Erdogan's desire to reinvent the Ottoman Empire (Erdogan Khan as Escobar brands him), gambling I figure, that the Russians wouldn't take on NATO's 2nd largest army. How wrong can you be!

So it's a gamble that the US lost. It may not look like it now, but I think it's game over (barring the shooting) for the Empire.

Posted by: Barovsky | Mar 5 2020 20:59 utc | 36

Was Putin blindsided?

It appears to me that Putin didn't expected Erdogan to forcefully resist SAA+Russia in Idlib.

Putin expected only token resistance because, from Putin's point of view, Erdogan clearly failed to control the Jihadis in Idlib - so Erdogan had no justification for resisting SAA+Russian re-claiming Idlib.

And, from Putin's POV, the benefits to Turkey of working with Russia are overwhelming.

Has Putin only now woken up to the possibility that Erdogan would defy him or play him? (That is my impression.)

As we've discussed at moa in the days leading up to the Putin-Erdogan meeting, Erdogan's Islamist orientation and continued desire to see Assad removed cause him - personally and politically - to align himself with the West and Jihadis.

Very often, it seems that the Russian mindset makes it difficult for them to see subterfuge and deceit until too late. Obama's attack on Libya is a prime example.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 5 2020 21:09 utc | 37

I would say that the recent ceasefire deal reflects the realities on the ground. Operation "Spring Shield" failed to push the SAA back to the Sochi lines.

Beyond that I cant really judge the deal until it has clarified more in the coming days in all its details. Too many parts of it I find confusing.

Posted by: redrooster | Mar 5 2020 21:09 utc | 38

Posted by: redrooster | Mar 5 2020 21:09 utc | 39

I don't think it's at all confusing. Russia plays the 'long game' (check Marshall Chuikov on the Battle of Stalingrad). As I averred, I see the US behind it ALL, exploiting Erdogan's vanity. I see mentioned Russian inaction over Libya, but events in Libya didn't directly impact on Russia. Behind the Putin/Lavrov/Shoigu posse is the simple fact of Russian national interest. Unlike the US, Russia has NEVER forgotten its Great Patriotic War and what it did to theSoviet Union. It drives virtually every aspect of Russian foreign policy. Simply put: NEVER AGAIN!

Posted by: Barovsky | Mar 5 2020 21:20 utc | 39

On March 15, 2020 joint Turkish-Russian patrolling will begin ...

10 days from now.

I'm not optimistic that joint patrolling of M4 ever happens.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 5 2020 21:31 utc | 40

If the Jihadis had been successful in their chemical wmd false-flag (as reported by Russia), would the Putin-Erdogan meeting have even happened? I think Erdogan would've cancelled.

Now the Jihadis have 10 days to try again.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 5 2020 21:38 utc | 41

@jackrabbit 38
I don't think so.
Putin has, from the very beginning, laid his focus on army strength. But as he told us during the last days "Russia doesn't intend to fight anybody, but Russia intends to cause that no one wants to fight us".
Lavrov said a few years ago (don't remember the exact wording) "with politeness and a strong army you may reach more than with politeness alone".
Doesn't seem like blindness.
However, if you want to apply diplomacy, you need to accept the axiom, that your partner may be capable to behave alike, capable of compromises. That's also a reason why Putin likes to talk about partners ...

Posted by: BG13 | Mar 5 2020 21:47 utc | 42

Jackrabbit "I'm not optimistic that joint patrolling of M4 ever happens."

I can't see it happening either - that is if Erdogan does not have full control over the Syrian Al Qaeda franchise. Either way, the cease fire should shut down Turk artillery and rocket fire until SAA is back to full strength. Also a way needs to be found to shut down artillery fire from within Turkey during the next offence which does not include waging direct war on Turkey.

All out war between Russia Syria and Turkey is only in US interest. Russia, Iran and I believe Syria see this and want Turkey in an anti US allegiance. I think this is the main reason for the current cease fire (along with giving SAA time to get back to full strength).

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 5 2020 21:55 utc | 43

A few comments: Russian political leaders goal (mix of eurasianists, atlantists and Zionists) is to keep the occupation/fragmentation of Syria under strict control but ongoing as long as needed to weaken Iranian partners, salvaging Turkish partners. This dead born deal just does that, giving legitimacy to Erdogan occupation and war on a neighbourg (while Russian military could end it in a few days with minimal cost). The takfiri zionist mercenaries will keep on attacking and bleeding SAA limited SAA manpower, using manpads on RUAF and SAA, distracting Hezbollah and IRGC, the Zionist entity will keep on bombing Syria and occupying Golan plus ethnically cleansing Palestine. Erdo will eventually pay a price (coup or otherwise) but Syria, as well as Iraq, is forever debilitated as a nation able to stop Zionist destruction of the Arab civilzational space.

Posted by: Al arabi | Mar 5 2020 22:08 utc | 44

Martyanov has a piece on "diplomacy is a continuation of the war by other means"
Very applicable to what is occuring in Idlib between Syria and its allies and Turkey.

Erdogan's move in Idlib has halted the SAA advance and prevented them from retaking M4 at the present time. Further offensive by SAA now may well have escalated to all out war with Turkey.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 5 2020 22:08 utc | 45

At a good guess, back in 2011, Turkey was promised Idlib if and when NATO succeeded in partitioning Syria. Now, in 2020, Turkey is not only not getting Idlib but faces the prospect of tens of thousands of “terrorists” - whatever you like to call them - being forced into Turkey, out of Idlib, by the Syrian Army. And Erdogan has in the meantime learnt some disagreeable lessons especially about the Yanks. So Turkey is in a genuine pickle with few real cards to play.

It is in everyone’s interest that Turkey should salvage something out of this mess, even though it was the Turks who helped create it.

Posted by: Montreal | Mar 5 2020 22:13 utc | 46

Ten days of future are worth a hundred of the past,

Or something like that :P

The world can be a very different place in ten days. Doesn't have to be but definitely could be.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Mar 5 2020 22:23 utc | 47

Montreal | Mar 5 2020 22:13 utc | 47

I call bullshit on that.

I don't think Erdogan is particularly bothered by the tens of thousands of terrorists, cause he can use them for his various proxy wars around the world and as an islamist protection force inside Turkey against any coup by the army, which he doesn't trust at all.

Peter AU1 | Mar 5 2020 22:08 utc | 46

Obviously, but the real question is if that war is inevitable or not, assuming Syria intends to liberate all its territories up to the border. Because if it is then giving Turkey breathing time and a chance of reconciliation with NATO will make that fight much harder in the future.

Posted by: redrooster | Mar 5 2020 22:25 utc | 48

Jackrabbit @41

Kharchenko and Shilov from Anna News and their group do not intend to take the M4 for the time being, Jisr Ash Shugur is the ex-soviet republics jihadist capital, they'll take a longer route.

Posted by: Paco | Mar 5 2020 22:28 utc | 49

BG13 43

That reminds me of something Putin said in an interview or perhaps at a forum some years ago.
"When Americans see a problem, they eliminate that problem completely, but that causes a number of other problems to arise. So for each problem the US eliminates, many other problems arise.
His veiw was that problems need to be taken down to a point where they are manageable, but not to eliminate them to the point that many new problems arise.
We see this very much in the operations in Idlib and for that matter the full operation in Syria.
Russia has a very big hammer, but for them, not every problem is a nail.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 5 2020 22:29 utc | 50

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 5 2020 22:08 utc | 46

RE: Martyanov, thanks, good stuff. The only surprise was that Erdogan is such a slow learner. Meanwhile we are watching the development of the first capable modern Arab army.

Posted by: Bemildred | Mar 5 2020 22:31 utc | 51

thanks b and everyone else... quote from smoothie here "...was given a description of what kind of casualties Turkish Army (nobody counts jihadists) will sustain if it continues to do what it did in the last couple of weeks. "

i am a bit pessimistic like jackrabbit.. i can't see this holding, but i think putin and russia are very clear on this too... stay tuned for the next move on the part of all concerned.. there is no way these jihadis are going to get anything other then a trip to jihadi nirvana...

@ 48 Sunny Runny Burger .. indeed.. thanks..

Posted by: james | Mar 5 2020 23:09 utc | 52

To judge this outcome, one would IMHO need to compare the previous offer Putin made to Erdogan 1-2 weeks ago, BEFORE Erdogan escalated, and used his F16 and artillery from Hatay, and drones + MANPADS inside Idlib leading to the catastrophic losses in the SAA ranks:
Putin offered Erdogan only a 15KM border strip security zone, and did reject all of the multiple requests to talk. And he offered the 15Km zone only on the condition, that Erdogan would pull out all of his troops out of the occupied areas into this zone.

Now: SAA operations are stopped, Turks now already said to send even more troops and build more "observation posts".

To see this as some kind of total loss for Erdogan is extremly far fetched.

We must admit, that Erdogan now holds a much more powerful position than even 2 weeks ago.

Had the airspace not been left open after Russia killed the 33 turks, and had both Russia and SAA not underestimated, that Erdogan would see this as a sign of weakness, and massivly exploit this, Erdogan would hold a far lesser hand now.
The still looming threat of a full blown invasion and war against the SAA is also a major joker Erdogan holds. Russia would not directly intervene, and the SAA would stand no chance.

Some weeks ago, most would not have thought, that Erdogan would escalate so massively, risk loosing many KIA or even consider and threaten to declare full blown war. But he proved to have no qualms at all.
Therefore, knowing he could and can always use this threat of a full invasion in the future, he certainly is much more emboleded and stronger than 2 weeks ago. And using artillery and stand off weapons from Turkey, he does not even need to invade to create a deadly quagmire in Idlib for the SAA.

And as others have said: This will not hold anyway. Erdogan wont risk loosing prestige with his ultra nationalist/fascist supporters. And with the stronger position he is now in, he has no reason too.
US state department has made its mind up, and will continue to push for deepening the allaince with Turkey, open or covert.
There is no way back to the pipedream of Russian-Turkish allaince.
Only a long and bumby road of violence.

And underestimating Erdogans ambitions and his will to escalate, even for the price of all out war, should now be off the table for anyone serious. Underestimating this has led to the huge losses and setbacks for the SAA of the least 1-2 weeks.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Mar 5 2020 23:10 utc | 53

Veritas X- #33

Thanks for the RT link to the press statements. Agree with your analysis bye bye Erdogan. May the millions of civil Turkish people celebrate your departure. I saw on another twitter thread that the Israel electoral commission has finished the count and Netanyahoo has missed his majority and the other party has a majority.

Maybe things will improve but I wont hold my breath.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 5 2020 23:28 utc | 54


Numbers of Erdogan troops are meaningless. They have been in Idlib a long time. What has changed is Turk military has fought side by side with al Qaeda and launched a turk military offensive against Syria. That along with Erdogan trying to pull EU into a war with Russia and unleashing refugees has turned EU strongly against him. Erdogan's Turkey now has very few allies.
Nobody would come to Turkey-Erdo's aid if russia decided to anhilate Turk forces in Idlib.
This was a counter move by erdogan that has prevented the taking of M4, but overall he is in a far weaker position than he was a couple of months back.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 5 2020 23:34 utc | 55

Turkish polls were conveniently released earlier today, showing that there's definitely less than 50% of the Turkish people supporting Turkish troops being in Idlib. I say "conveniently", because I tend to suspect such a release was OK'd by Erdogan, to justify his concessions. I don't think the polls were tampered with - otherwise they would've shown a 75% support for total war -, but that Erdogan deliberately allowed the polls to be made public, because it allowed him to agree to a deal and a ceasefire, instead of having to double down, with increasingly huge risks and increasingly lower odds of winning the jackpot. People who can understand Turkish and read Turkish papers should be able to see if, in the next few days, AKP/Erdogan/government actually mentions that he decided to take into account some doubts and reluctance from his beloved people, so that he had to reluctantly halt his glorious jihad.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Mar 5 2020 23:35 utc | 56

@ veritas / uncle t... people have been speculating erdogans demise for many years... i wouldn't put all my eggs in that basket.. and his position has been fragile for many years and continues to be here too...

Posted by: james | Mar 5 2020 23:35 utc | 57

Montreal #47

It is in everyone’s interest that Turkey should salvage something out of this mess, even though it was the Turks who helped create it.

Sure Montreal, Turkey can salvage all those jihadis that they recruited and gave illegal passage to Syria through their aiports and roads. Turkey permitted them straight across the Turkish / Syria border to attack Assad and murder thousands and steal millions of dollars of Syrian industry goods and household goods and then sell in Turkey.

Is that what you mean by salvage?

You don't reward criminals and butchers with anything other that eradication and that includes Erdogan.

I wouldn't give Erdoghan much more time in office. He is busted and the entire Turkish evil adventure on behalf of FUKUSAI is busted with him.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 5 2020 23:37 utc | 58

Propaganda coup; China is snickering.
Posted by: Pacifica Advocate | Mar 5 2020 19:04 utc | 2

China snickering?

Posted by: Vig | Mar 5 2020 23:39 utc | 59

Peter AU1 @46:

I think Martyanov is correct. It had to go this way. But what led to this was Putin's belief that his investment in the relationship with Turkey would pay-off (as I explained @38).

No matter how fleeting a truce, it is a transition.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 5 2020 23:51 utc | 60

Don't believe @ 54
Although I think you may slightly overstate the strength of Turkey's position, I agree that letting up for 48 hours seems to have had a very significant cost. Mystifying, really. Even 12 hours would have been a lot. I do think the intent is comprehensible but if, as is likely, the diplomatic prevailed over operational tactics, this stands to have causes immense frustration and potential loss of trust on the part of the allies -- RF, IRGC, Hez, SAA.

Not unrecoverable, except the loss of life, and as you say, only a fool would be in any doubt about the capacity for treachery at this point. I was half expecting an all out Turkish attack immediately as the ceasefire took hold.

But if, as you say, Ergogan demonstrated a willingness to go all in (or paint himself into such a corner) with a full invasion, that would have been a possibility regardless of the 48 hours. perhaps it's better that everyone understands this might actually be on the table well in advance. Who knows how the Kurds are processing these past few days, but it may be better that they commit to a political settlement in order that Turkey know that they will be attacking a more united Syria, with many more friends and potential allies in Iraq and within Turkey itself.

Much to be speculated about, and illuminated in the coming days and weeks. Perhaps not much more than that.

The Russians may have to seriously considered establishing a bastion-level defensive set up (if I understand what Martyanov means by that-- if they're hoping the check(or discourage) a Turkish tank run for Lattakia without striking into Turkey / NATO article 5 territory proper.

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Mar 5 2020 23:52 utc | 61

james @53:

stay tuned for the next move on the part of all concerned.. there is no way these jihadis are going to get anything other then a trip to jihadi nirvana...

I think you right about this. But it's not worth speculating on what they might be. Except for a newed attempt by Jihadis for a chemical wmd false-flag. They are so predictable. LOL.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 5 2020 23:57 utc | 62

People should ease up on Ur-dog and the turkeys for a bit. The failure of America's Syria adventure has left them (Ur-dog in particular) in zugzwang. The only moves they have available to make are stupid ones. No matter what the Turks do they are screwed... well, except maybe turning a 180 on the battlefield and throwing their lot in 100% with Russia, Syria, and Iran, but even that would be a Hail Mary play at this point.

As horrible as things have been for the Syrians, at least their path forward is clear. They know what they need to do and just have to grind away at it. There is no such clarity for the Turks. No matter what they do they are up shit's creek. Sure, they are in a bind of their own making (mostly involving trusting the American Empire of Chaos), but 2020 is a year for perfect hindsight. Who could have imagined a decade ago that the Evil Empire could lose with that swarthy Nobel Peace Prize winner at the helm?

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 6 2020 0:19 utc | 63


The destruction of the convoy is something important to consider in this. Russia has stated they were not informed Turk military was in that position. At the time I thought the hit on the convoy was Russia giving Erdo a warning. Judging by events however, it was Erdo who was prepared for the hit whereas Russia was left on the back foot. I now think that when Russia was saying they did not know of the Turk troop movement or position they are telling the truth.
That means Erdo deliberately used those Turk troops as sacrificial lambs to try and draw US and there proxy NATO into the fight. Not a lot different to AQ and whitehelmets killing people for their 'Assad gasses own his people' snuff movies which have the same intent, to pull US NATO ect into the fight.

The saying 'The best laid plans of mice and men...' Russia, Syria and Iran certainly intended to take the M4 but Erdo has made his counter move. M5 is now open, Erdo holds less ground and the deal is the same. UN designated terrorist groups must be removed from Idlib and there is no truce or de-escalation with the terrorists.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 6 2020 0:22 utc | 64

@Veritas X- | 33
Where do you think the threat to Erdogan is coming from? Be interested to hear your thoughts.

Erdogan is ageing and he had just been put in his place by Putin. Had you seen him triumphant at the AKP Regional Assembly on Monday he was strong, powerful and dominated a loyal and united AKP. There are divisions in AKP but they do not threaten Erdogan directly yet; maybe his leadership of AKP but not his Presidency.

What we saw also was an irate but contrite Putin. Contrite because he had indeed walked into Turkey's trap and killed 35 soldiers and that the subsequent agreement with Erdogan led to the loss of Syrian Army lives; irate that Erdogan had played such a card and irate that even after Putin having stated that he was busy on the 5th Erdogan again forced his hand and insisted on a meeting.
However in agreeing to the meeting Putin of course knowingly insisted that it be in Moscow thereby destryoing Erdogan's Merkel/ Macron 'Summit' in Istanbul previously announced for the 5th and showing him once again who is in charge in Syria. I am pretty sure Erdogan knew what that meant ... Don't know what happened to Merkel/ Macron, has the date been changed? Were they left waiting at the airport? Did Putin have the grace to tell them not to bother? )))

Remember that in Turkey the headline language of the meeting reads well a) "ceasefire" - just what Erdogan had said he intended to argue for; b) Security corridor - precisely what he has been demanding for ages now ( is going to mention M4 or look at a map!); c) Joint patrols with Russia - the impression that Syria is sidelined; d) His promise to return refugees to Syria (Erdogan mentioned this when he spoke.) d) And probably the safe return of the soldiers at the observation posts. The meeting can be sold as a good outcome in Turkey and one that was directly the result of Turkey's aggressive stance.

Putin is indeed graceful in victory. Real statesmanship.

Posted by: Egor68500 | Mar 6 2020 0:42 utc | 65

Peter AU1 @65

You forgot to add: if the agreement reached today actually lasts long enough.

b thought the Russians hit the convoy to give the Turks a warning also. I wasn't sure and kept silent. I think you're right that now, in hindsight, it appears that the Russians didn't know they were hitting Turks.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 6 2020 0:45 utc | 66

Can anyone believe that Erdogan will live up to its promises to secure the safe zone and neutralise al Qaeda any more this time than it did the last time it made promises, at Sochi? Of course not, because everyone knows that Erdogan has no intention of keeping its promises. But apart from being vicious and greedy it is also stupid, which is why invasion of Syria loses it more territory. Had it taken out al Qaeda as it promised at Sochi Idlib would have been under its de facto control for years to come and could have been Turkified like Afrin and de facto annexed if not de jure annexed like Hatay (given as a bribe by France in 1939 to keep the Ataturkist ethnic cleansing fascist regime out of WWII). Instead it tried to grab everything, and each time it does so it ends up losing control of more territory. This is basically what Erdogan's Ottoman ancestors did through the 19th and early 20th centuries. Today's Ottoman state has apparently not learnt even a molecule of a lesson from that, so the whole circus will be repeated again.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Mar 6 2020 1:14 utc | 67

The picture of Erdo under the Empress steely gaze is priceless. Good job!

And it reminds me that several years ago Comrade P visited the monks on Mt Athos, and they seated him in the chair of the Byzantine Empire. There were pictures, it really did happen, I'm pretty sure. Anyway when I saw the picture that's who I saw, a troublesome satrap kneeling before the Byzantine Emperor. There's a continuity to the ways of History...

Seems kinna spooky, eh?

Posted by: Walter | Mar 6 2020 1:30 utc | 68

Turkey deployed 1,000 police at Greek border to stem push-back of migrants. They also banned reporters from approaching the border. Acts of provocation most definitely coming. Be wary of what you believe.

Posted by: Nick | Mar 6 2020 2:20 utc | 69

@Nick | 70
I am really not sure what the purpose of this deployment is.
We've seen that the Turkish state is using refugees as a kind of battering ram, are they now going to prevent refugees leaving the no-mans land? Aree they going to pressure the refugees to fight harder? Or is this the first step in a round up of refugees and their subsequent deportation?
What ever the action Turkey has shown incredible degrees of sheer inhumanity to refugees both on the western and southern borders - we hear much less about the southern borders but the stories I have been told over the years are abhorent.

Posted by: Egor68500 | Mar 6 2020 7:09 utc | 70

Posted by: Nick | Mar 6 2020 2:20 utc | @70

just waiting for merkel to open the borders again. this time she will fly them out directly to germany. germans can't get enough of "refugees". turkey will cause inhuman situations at the border for media consumption, compelling europeans to bend the knee. most german left-wing politicians and the women are already calling for bringing them in again.

Posted by: srtz | Mar 6 2020 7:34 utc | 71

What has changed is Turk military has fought side by side with al Qaeda and launched a turk military offensive against Syria.
Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 5 2020 23:34 utc | @56

Good observation. SAA was slowing down considerably once Turkey got involved directly. The heavy turkish firepower was causing substantial SAA casualties. Putin's move was smart in that it spared the SAA from further heavy losses. SAA cannot sustain a longer direct war with Turkey, even with Russian air cover.

Posted by: kompel | Mar 6 2020 7:42 utc | 72

@srtz | 72
It's always easier to shirk responsibility when you have someone to blame .. In this case Merkel, again.

Posted by: Egor68500 | Mar 6 2020 8:05 utc | 73

I'm from Austria. I know what is going in Germany, I cannot believe that Merkel is really an idiot. IMO she was cynical in 2015.
AFAIK , Merkel party is in a middle of an internal elections if she goes with it she will kill her 'ally' Armin Laschet and burst her rival Merz who has said that will destroy her 'legacy'. Germany is also in recession with companies firing en masse, how will she handle it? Also, the 'Coronavirus' pandemic.

BTW the Balkans countries wouldn't accept it again out of blue, it would be end German influence in the region. Also in Greece, where attacks against German NGOs in Lesbos by locals are out of control. Even here in Austria the German influence would be diminished, it is already decreasing with Kurz in search of more independent policies with Hungary, Italy and even Russia. FRance has municipal elections in two weeks, it would be fatal for Macron a 'new 2015' again.

She wouldn't last a week after doing it again.

I don't see it happening, as a Social Democrat, the German left parties pressuring for it are idiots.

Posted by: Nick | Mar 6 2020 8:42 utc | 74

That Putin/Erdogan photo is great, but not the only one.

Want more of a treat?

Find @Mariak1973 on twitter - 5 hours ago she posted one more great photo :-D

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 6 2020 9:05 utc | 75

That Putin/Erdogan photo is great, but not the only one.

Want more of a treat?

Find @Mariak1973 on twitter - 5 hours ago she posted one more great photo :-D

Posted by: Arioch | Mar 6 2020 9:05 utc | 76

Uncle Tungsten @ 59
You are absolutely right that the FUKUSAI attack on Syria was mainly fed through the Turkish border, which doesn't of course necessarily mean that Turkey was primarily to blame for the war - you nominate America as the leader and again you are probably right. Victory has many fathers but defeat is an orphan! My point is that all Turkey's fair weather friends have flown away (for ever one hopes), leaving Turkey to deal with the mess in the shape of tens of thousands of terrorists - and their families - at present in Idlib, but being forced back into Turkey, who will need food to eat and a roof over their head. Turkey's resentment at its abandonment by its former friends is clear. It seems to me that Russia once again is trying to solve a practical problem without escalating it - which means having to take Turkey's concerns into account, despite the fact that Turkey is jointly responsible for creating the mess in the first place. Russia is trying to place the building blocks of a lasting peace for the future and it recognises that poking Erdogan in the eye is not the best way to do this.

I have the possibly mistaken impression that there are people on this site who are rooting for a massacre of the terrorists - not only as a suitable punishment for their having been on the wrong side in the war but generally as an tidy way of cleaning up the mess.

Posted by: montreal | Mar 6 2020 10:09 utc | 77

the Saker offers his analysis:

I feel Putin gave Erdoğan as much as he could. Erdoğan has spun it in Turkey as well as he could. Most Turks, of course, do not support Erdoğan's Idlib or Libya adventures, but his hard core and the MHP people probably will be disappointed.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Mar 6 2020 10:12 utc | 78

@Arioch #76

Indeed. There was another sculpture in that room related to a victory of the Russian Empire over the Ottoman Empire, this time during the XIX century. B should add it to the post.

Posted by: S | Mar 6 2020 10:26 utc | 79

The legalistic, pacifying, stalling, waiting, infuriating Putin believes in building a case before he annihilates you. And he doesn't mind putting the tempting bait of friends and allies -- like these Russian MPs in the de-escalation zone -- out there for his enemies consideration and his justified retaliation. Neither he nor Assad cares or believes that this "deal" will "work." On paper, he just got a lot of territory for free and it didn't cost a single life. If the paper holds, that fine -- if it doesn't, that's even better. The SAA's recent sweeping gains are now irrevocable. Everything that's happening is pushing Turkey and its proxies toward friction and conflict as Gollum sells them out. Better they should die in Idlib than be alive in Istanbul. Soon there will be a liquidation sale on every takfiri south of the M4.

Posted by: street worm | Mar 6 2020 11:13 utc | 80

montreal @77 -- "...there are people on this site who are rooting for a massacre of the terrorists..."

It is not a matter of "tidy" solutions. These are individuals who cannot be reintegrated into any society on Earth. They were threats to the societies they originally came from when the CIA and its subsidiaries first recruited them from around the world, and years of having their most brutal and inhuman tendencies coddled, encouraged, and cultivated by the West in its effort to destroy Syria has concentrated their evil and purged their humanity. These "refugees" are societal poison no matter where they end up.

It is not as if those who helped the CIA collect this human detritus to attack Syria with didn't know that the force they were building in Syria was a terminally intractable problem. They just didn't expect Syria to survive the attacks, and so these rabid dogs could then be confined to Syria's shattered and chaotic remains and nobody involved in creating this death squad army would then have to take responsibility for it.

But maybe Canada can take them in. Canucks don't mind if psychotically snarling subhuman animals rape their daughters and behead their sons, do they?

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 6 2020 11:21 utc | 81

@ Posted by: montreal | Mar 6 2020 10:09 utc | 77

Massacre? If I were the commander-in-chief of the Syrian Army, I would order all the terrorists captured alive to be tortured and then crucified.

Assad is being extremely nice with the enemy - probably for PR reasons.

Posted by: vk | Mar 6 2020 11:44 utc | 82

Thierry Meyssan claims Turkey acts out of selfdefence against the US and Nato plans to bring war to Turkey.
He says what goes on is Turkey crying for help and , sort of, threatening to cause WWIII in order to twart the threat against Turkey and it isnt really about any genuine conflict of interest between Russia and Erdogan.

Western propaganda against Turkey
by Thierry Meyssan

Posted by: Peter Grafström | Mar 6 2020 11:52 utc | 83

William Gruff @ 81 says:

These are individuals who cannot be reintegrated into any society on Earth

notwithstanding the ignorance, religious brainwashing, and captagon, i'd wager that many of these knuckle draggers are in Syria 'cause it beats 'herding goats' back home.

why, i'd wager that there are former combatants of every stripe, from every war zone, who have committed atrocities, who have reintegrated into society and are walking the streets this very moment.

Posted by: john | Mar 6 2020 11:56 utc | 84

"Massacre? If I were the commander-in-chief of the Syrian Army, I would order all the terrorists captured alive to be tortured and then crucified.

Assad is being extremely nice with the enemy - probably for PR reasons."

Posted by: vk | Mar 6 2020 11:44 utc | 82

Written like a true bolshevik, eh,vk?
What a fucking piece of shit attitude to have. There are far more humane ways to deal with the challenges and fortunately more conscious minds than yours are at work.

Posted by: tucenz | Mar 6 2020 12:10 utc | 85

@ Posted by: tucenz | Mar 6 2020 12:10 utc | 85

This is not a "bolshevik" tactic. The Romans (you know, the founders of Western Civilization) had a tactic called vastatio (from where the term "devastation" comes from), which involved massacres, crop burning and torture of the surrounding populations so that the enemy would be in such a state of shock it would surrender before the battle begun (be "pacified"). Julius Caesar used and abused this tactics during his conquest of "the entire Gaul". It's the rough equivalent of the "shock and awe" tactics used by the Americans nowadays.

The aim of the vastatio is to dissuade the future enemies from wanting to become enemies in the first place. If the terrorists receive an extremely harsh treatment, the future terrorists will think twice before accepting those USD 500.00 a month from their Qatari/Emirati bosses. It would at least make it more expensive for the terrorism-sponsor nation-states to do so, since fear would be a greater factor than before.

Posted by: vk | Mar 6 2020 12:26 utc | 86

Napoleon, they say, said that one can do anything with bayonets [an army of headchoppinmercs] except sit on them...Ive muddled the quote - but you get the idea.

At the same time we have the western canon, which has a basic principle that the means to achieve Justice must also be Just.

These then, when combined, tell us what ought to be done. I believe Sun Tsu gives advice about how to liquidate an army.

Always interesting when the solutions from vastly disparate clutures are identical.

Posted by: Walter | Mar 6 2020 12:44 utc | 87

There are said to be tens of thousands of jihadist fighters in Idlib. They have been inflicting heavy casualties on the SAA; such a force needs considerable amounts of light and heavy weapons, ammunition, food, clothes, shelter, fuel, vehicles, spare parts and medical equipment.

If all this material is being flown in, that would be known and very easy for the Russian air force to stop, putting a rapid end to the war. It would also raise the question of where the supplies are being flown from and by whom. Therefore, as Idlib is not on the sea, the area must be getting its supplies overland from Turkey. How is this being done and who is paying?

The answer to these two questions is the key to ending the conflict. Why isn't anyone raising such an obvious point?

Posted by: B. Wildered | Mar 6 2020 13:04 utc | 88

Well said, Mr Gruff.
It seems that tucenz (85) and others have no idea what a monster the Americans created with the mujahideen in Afghanistan which morphed into DAESH/ISIS, Al-Qaeda and all the other hydra-like smaller monsters of fanatical Islam.
If secure exile or incarceration is not possible, justice would justly demand their execution.

Posted by: John Marks | Mar 6 2020 13:14 utc | 89

Good interview with Al Assad. He sure understands Erdoğan better than Escobar
I doubt that Erdoğan has ever thought further back in history than the Ottomans, Yavuz Sultan Selim being his "hero". Erdoğan's loyalty is to the MB, and himself.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Mar 6 2020 13:25 utc | 90

john @84

These are not simple "former combatants" we are talking about here. These are death squads. Their role is not to simply engage some enemy in combat. They are not soldiers... not even close. Their "job" (more like a life's calling) is to trigger shock in a population, stunning that population with terror. Their violence is intended to appear indiscriminate and senseless, and be as deliberately gory and extreme as acts of violence can possibly choreographed to be. This is Dark Ages style sadism we are talking about, only organized and institutionalized.

To help understand that this monstrousness is not just your normal unfortunate side effect of war, but rather a deliberate and (somewhat) scientifically developed component of the CIA's "regime change" operations, I recommend reading Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine". The death squads' inhuman brutality is not just an unintended consequence of normal war, but rather that sadism is the raison d'être in and of itself for the death squads.
These "moderate rebels" are not just regular joes who only happened to fall in with the wrong crowd, they are lowlife scum who were already antisocial criminals in the societies they were recruited from. The CIA collects them together and "empowers" them with standard gang psychology. Where they were once powerless animals silently raging at the civilization around them, in a gang they are convinced of their own power and righteousness. It doesn't take very much disinformation from their CIA handlers for them to begin to view the targets the CIA wants them to terrorize as the source of their internal torment, and so these psychotic gangs then gleefully engage in an orgy of inhuman brutality.

These death squads are worse by far than the most horrific Hollywood psycho killer monsters because they are real. Invite them into your country/home at your own peril.

The most humane way to deal with these rabid dogs is to euthanize them with artillery.

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 6 2020 13:45 utc | 91

B. Wildered | Mar 6 2020 13:04 utc | 89 Indeed, Napoleon also said army travels on belly... The logistics necessarily are expensive and extensive in scale..I think the phrase they use for supplying the mercs is "humanitarian relief" - guns ammo and things that add, stimulant drugs, some chow, chlorine drums...gasoline, diesel, spare parts, welding rod, all that humanitarian aid comes, they say, from Turkey.

Posted by: Walter | Mar 6 2020 13:46 utc | 92

"Vlad the Merciful" What a gem! The Byzantine Emperor Vlad, being a good Sovereign, works for the Good and for the People and their State. He allowed the fractious satrap Erdo the Mad to keep face, and remain, for a time. The Soviets made Vlad from the ruins...

Looking at Ritter's Twit we note his opinion to be bald and blunt> "While couched as a ceasefire agreement, the additional protocol produced by the Moscow summit between Putin and Erdogan on Thursday is a thinly disguised instrument of surrender.

Subsequent kibitzing remarks include a gem:

" Replying to
From now he shall be known by
His Name Vlad The Merciful

Posted by: Walter | Mar 6 2020 14:03 utc | 93

i guess all the nonsense about putin rolling over for erdogan will subside for awhile. i'm an optimist, though.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Mar 6 2020 14:04 utc | 94

The Swiss Propaganda Research Group (SPR)

Understanding the geopolitical and psychological war against Syria.
Published: March 2020; Languages: DE, EN, NO

The Syria Deception—a position paper by the Swiss Propaganda Research group

Contrary to the depiction in Western media, the Syria war is not a civil war. This is because the initiators, financiers and a large part of the anti-government fighters come from abroad.

Nor is the Syria war a religious war, for Syria was and still is one of the most
secular countries in the region, and the Syrian army, like its direct opponents,
is itself mainly composed of Sunnis.

But the Syria war is also not a pipeline war, as some critics suspected, because
the allegedly competing gas pipeline projects never existed to begin with, as even the Syrian president confirmed.

Instead, the Syria war is a war of conquest and regime change, which developed
into a geopolitical proxy war between NATO states on one side – especially the
US, Great Britain and France – and Russia, Iran, and China on the other side.

Posted by: Ashino Wolf | Mar 6 2020 14:12 utc | 95

Oh wow, Putin humiliating Erdogan by putting him on purpose in front of clock/statue depicting Ottoman defeat in Balkans!

The Turkish delegation in Moscow stands under the statue of Catherine the Great who defeated The Ottoman empire 11 times! Erdogan humiliated Turkey in every way possible..!

Posted by: Nick | Mar 6 2020 14:37 utc | 96

Sorry the first above, this one is with Erdogan

Posted by: Nick | Mar 6 2020 14:38 utc | 97

re: William Gruff | Mar 6 2020 13:45 utc @ 92

Thank You W.G..
You are 100% Correct on ALL points.
The murdering, headchopping, heart & liver eaters, serial rapists & thieves deserve what is normally applied in any civil society; life sentences.
However, in wartime, they are to be shot after questioning.
There is no place for them on this Earth.
Perhaps Allah has a place somewhere, but, I'm sure most all of them should truly *go to Hell*.

Posted by: Veritas X- | Mar 6 2020 14:39 utc | 98

William Gruff

These death squads are worse by far than the most horrific Hollywood psycho killer monsters because they are real. Invite them into your country/home at your own peril

you trying to scare me, William?

'cause, as you say, the real horror show stuff is not innate behaviour, but a learned tactic. a scare tactic. and it's probably not that difficult for these guys to whip up the droogs into a real frenzy.

'cause when we separate the hardcore psychotic killers from the majority of combatants we'll see that the former are relatively few, squads, a kind of special forces, and the latter, the majority, are essentially, yes, angry misfits. ISIS was largely composed, certainly at a tactical level, of the remnants of Saddam's armed forces, after all, and all together, there really weren't that many of them. unleashed in a country, without State financing and supply, they wouldn't last very long.

so, going back to my original point, i'd say that the majority of these 'terrorists' are perfectly capable of reintegrating into society...

given the right conditions, hehehe, even the real psychos could.

Posted by: john | Mar 6 2020 15:26 utc | 99

>"Vlad the Merciful" What a gem! The Byzantine Emperor Vlad, being
>a good Sovereign, works for the Good and for the People and their
>State. He allowed the fractious satrap Erdo the Mad to keep face,
>and remain, for a time.

It almost seems too good to be true. Are there really nation-states that are led by people who are not criminal psychopaths? But actions speak louder than words, and the Russians have steadily acted towards bringing stability to their borders, as much as is possible with the mad elephant Uncle Sam still on the rampage.

Erdy put himself in a vise between the US and Russia. One can well imagine what Putin thinks of Erdy, but what are personal feelings compared with stability for millions? I remain convinced that Erdy launched this invasion under threat from Uncle Sam, and of course Putin understands that.

Putin wants to unwind Turkey from Syria and the headchoppers because the last thing he wants is chaos in Turkey. But of course that is exactly what Uncle Sam wants, since the Turks refused to declare economic war on Russia.

Have the Russians ever said anything at all about the refugees, at any time since 2011? No one ever talks about refugees going to Russia. Do the Russians refuse to let them in, claiming they are all potential headchoppers?

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Mar 6 2020 15:38 utc | 100

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