Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 14, 2020

Syria - Attacks On Turkish-Russian Patrols Endanger Ceasefire

The Syrian province of Idleb continues to be a hotbed for Jihadis. Since the last Turkish Russian ceasefire agreement the Turkish army deployed more and more troops in Idleb to bring the various Jihadis it unofficially supports under control.

The main Jihadi group, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), has now taken the role of a Turkish proxy force. All other groups were told to submit to it and after a few rounds of infighting during which dozens were killed most of them did do so.


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One condition for the ceasefire was the re-opening of the M4 highway which connects Latakia with Aleppo. Common Turkish Russian patrols were established to control security on the road. If the re-opening does not happened the Syrian and Russian forces will attack to gain control over at least the southern part of the Jihadi held (green) area to regain full control of the economically important road.

HTS and other 'rebels' arranged 'protests' against the first patrols and tried to prevent them. After a few minor incidents Turkey told them to stop it. It is not interested in another round of fighting against the Russian supported Syrian side.

But the trouble continues. Earlier today some Jihadi attacked a common Turkish Russian patrol along the M4 highway east of the town Arihah. (Google map)

The suicide attack was by an explosive filled car which had been hidden in a garage right next to the M4. An armored Russian vehicle was thrown off the road and a Turkish mine protected vehicle was damaged. Three Russian soldiers were injured as were several Turkish ones.

A group of Chechen Jihadis, Khattab al-Shishani, claimed responsibility for the attack:

Our Knight attacked the negotiations table, to sign it with his blood, fire, steel and blazing heat.

The group published pictures of the incident.


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There is also a video of the attack.

The same group had claimed a similar incident about a month ago. But it is doubtful that such a Chechen group exists at all. The Chechen Jihadis in Syria are not known for suicide bombings. They are mercenaries who train other groups and fight for money. It is more likely that some disgruntled folks from HTS or some other Jihadi outfit are trying to undermine the Turkish role in Idleb and the Turkish-Russian ceasefire agreement.

The Russian military responded to the attack with airstrikes on local headquarters of HTS in Benin and Jabal Al-Zawiya.

The Turkish Defense Ministry issued a statement:

The 21st Turkey-Russia Joint Patrol was targeted by terrorists with a car bomb to disrupt efforts to ensure an environment of peace and trust in Idlib. Two vehicles in the convoy were partially damaged. There was no loss of life. United Patrol Activities carried out within the framework of TR-RF Consensus will continue by taking all necessary measures.

That the Turkish statement speaks of a 'terrorist' attack is interesting. Turkey had always claimed that the Jihadis in Idleb are solely 'moderate rebels' who fight to 'liberate Syria'. That Turkey announced the continuation of the patrols shows that it currently has no interest in any escalation.

But a new escalation will come. Despite all other difficulties caused by sanctions, the pandemic and the economic consequences of Lebanon's bankruptcy Syria and its allies are committed to regain control over Idleb province.

It is Russia that is currently holding them back. But should another attack on a Russian patrol cause serious casualties that restraint is likely to vanish. 

 

Posted by b on July 14, 2020 at 17:19 UTC | Permalink

Comments
The Russian military responded to the attack with airstrikes on local headquarters of HTS in Benin and Jabal Al-Zawiya.
Wouldn't surprise me if the local Turkish Army commanders supplied the Russians with the co-ordinates of those headquarters. Most armies don't mind dying for their countries but the possibility of Turkish soldiers dying because some jihadi pricks want to make a point is beyond the Pale.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jul 14 2020 17:38 utc | 1

Thanks for the Syria update b.

While others may disagree, I respect the breath of world issues and facets of our civilization war that you chose to cover. The coverage you provide is journalism that is not available elsewhere.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 14 2020 17:39 utc | 2

To what extent might the Hagia Sophia take-over and this attack be related to Erdogan's ambitions in Libya?

=

Was Hagia Sophia take-over a retaliation for this: Mysterious airstrike hits Libyan airbase controlled by Turkish-backed forces?

Was this attack in Idlib a warning after this: Libyan House Of Representatives Grants Egypt Right To Military Intervention?

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 14 2020 17:54 utc | 3

This thread claims responsibility rests with "Turkistan Islamic Party"

https://twitter.com/MichaelNo2War/status/1282947469966483456

Posted by: jayc | Jul 14 2020 18:47 utc | 4

Wondering about HTS itself. These guys (the former Jabhat al Nusra) have been the toughest and most violent of the jihadis before IS came on the scene. As best as I can I tell, they were native Syrians. Are they now in the vanguard of converting Turkey’s newest province (Idlib) into a Turkish language only enclave? Do those clowns even speak Turkish? This entire war and the organization of these insurgent armies has been very confusing and chaotic- I can only imagine all to the advantage of NATO participants.

Posted by: DougDiggler | Jul 14 2020 19:11 utc | 5

Another angle of the video, trust Southfront to get the scoop on it as always

https://southfront.org/first-person-video-shows-moment-of-car-bomb-attack-on-turkish-russian-convoy-in-syrias-idlib/

Posted by: Et Tu | Jul 14 2020 19:24 utc | 6

By the way, what the hell is going on with the new clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan?

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-53402476

We just had India v China, Iran nuclear facilities blowing up, Libya flaring up between Turkey and Egypt... do we really need another hot spot right now???

Posted by: Et Tu | Jul 14 2020 19:31 utc | 7

Turkey's military is embezzled in Libya and cannot act efficiently in Edlib. In addition Turkey is now considering the HTS more as as a thorn than an ally. This is probably why the HTS, seeing their end nearing and the support of Turkey waning, want to show some independence to attract more jihadists in their ranks to pursue their agenda of reviving ISIS

Posted by: Virgile | Jul 14 2020 20:02 utc | 8

thanks b.... i agree with your conclusion at the bottom... this can only go on for so long before another event happens and russia will respond aggressively...

Posted by: james | Jul 14 2020 20:12 utc | 9

I understand that it is impossible to foresee all the moments and control absolutely everything. But shouldn't the route of the convoy be controlled from the air by UAVs/drones? Oddly enough, a suicide car was able to freely approach a military police convoy. I mean, the UAV/drone was supposed to detect in advance a [strange] car approaching the route of the convoy and clearly intending to break into the convoy.

Obviously, what happened is an occasion for the Russian military to improve their attitude towards the proper escort of military police convoys.

Posted by: alaff | Jul 14 2020 21:09 utc | 10

DougDiggler no, HTS was part of IS. And when Bagdadi decided to discard AQ and go solo, his second in command Joulani asked AQ for the permission to form new AQ branch in Syria. Then he and part of the former "AQ in Iraq and Syria" broke off and began fighting with Joulani for control. ISIS kicked Nusra (now HTS) from the east, and Nusra with help from other jihadi groups forced ISIS out of Darra and Idlib.
But the fights were brutal for both sides. Without this internal jihadi civil war, SAA might not have lasted until Russia came to Syria

Posted by: de4thwolf | Jul 14 2020 22:31 utc | 11

*began fighting Bagdadi for control.

Posted by: de4thwolf | Jul 14 2020 22:32 utc | 12

alaff 10

If a car is parked in a garage or otherwise hidden until the convoy is passing, how will a drone see it. If it is only a few hundred meters off the road, by the time it s spotted moving towards the convoy, it is too late.

"Obviously, what happened is an occasion for the Russian military to improve their attitude towards the proper escort of military police convoys."

You've got to be a real dumbfuck if you think that. Russians do take risks when trying to prevent or stop wars. A big difference to the yanks that just bomb everything in sight.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 14 2020 23:23 utc | 13

I'm a first time poster who has come to regard the barflies and this site with appreciation and respect (save for the evident trolls who have attached themselves like barnacles). Thanks b. for the Syria update. Always useful.

Mannequin

Posted by: Mannequin | Jul 14 2020 23:28 utc | 14

Remind me why the RF forces in Syria transported all already defeated terrorists to Idleb

Posted by: Sadness | Jul 15 2020 0:02 utc | 15

Sadness @15--

It was done as part of the deconfliction effort to protect civilians from harm since they were being used as shields by said terrorists. Not only were lives saved but also lots of vital infrastructure was kept intact or unharmed by further combat. The idea was novel and successful. The protraction of the situation in Idlib is completely separate from the actions that ensconced terrorists in the province. Recall that this continues as a war brought by NATO against Syria in an attempt to overthrow the legal government and enslave the populace.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 15 2020 0:22 utc | 16

Thanks b.

This is the kind of reporting I come here for.

Keep it up!

Posted by: Cadence Calls | Jul 15 2020 4:33 utc | 17

DougDiggler @ 5:

Hayat Tahrir al-Shams (HTS), the former Jabhat al Nusra, if it had ever been separate from ISIS, might have been made up originally of native Syrians (and in particular, those Syrians who defected from the Syrian military back in 2010 or 2011) but over the years, after losing so many fighters, have recruited foreigners to their cause.

One of the biggest foreign contingents in those jihadi groups, if not the largest such contingent, comes from western China (Xinjiang province) and is made up of Uyghurs and their families. Other Central Asians are also said to be in Idlib province at present.

"Analysts: Uighur Jihadis in Syria Could Pose Threat"

"From China, Chechnya and beyond, foreign jihadists flocked to Syria. Is Idlib their final stand?"

Jenan Moussa's 2017 documentary "Undercover in Idlib" is still available with English sub-titles on Youtube.com.

The make-up of these jihadi groups has been as fluid as the groups themselves are. They may be one thing today, and another thing tomorrow.

Posted by: Jen | Jul 15 2020 4:56 utc | 18

karlof1 16 Sadness 15

It brought the jihadis under state control where they could be wound down. Perhaps that will succeed, perhaps not. If it does not work, many families will need to be annihilated as the mothers will bring the little tykes up to be just like their daddy.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 15 2020 5:31 utc | 19

It is high time to get it straight.
Turkey passed a law naming HRS terrorist organizatikn

HTS = UK/US outfit from the beginning;
tried to take over Aleppo, pushed out into
Idlib.
Turkey=Turkish controlled rebels must give up
their commanders and accept Turkish-designated
uniforms and commanders.
Since Turkey moved into Idllib many militant groups
abandoned HTS, and HTS is hurting.
HTS used to control. aid — not any more
US tried to send message to defectors — killed
defecting leader in a strike recently
UK/US expected their HTS outfit. remain
in control of the province and constitutional
committee could not start work until HTS represents
IIdlib — under a new invented name.

The only aid approved by UN is using Syrian
controlled M5 and Russia-Turkey controlled M4.

The attack was a mistake —not only will Russia target
them, but Turkey will send ground troops to control
and. allow more local militia to escape HTS
control.

Please try to understand what is going on.
Russia and Turkey are implementing the same
strategy utilized to control YPG Kurds — and joint patrols
along Turkey border.

Western push to prevent Syria and Russia beat
HTS is now slowly undermined by Russia and Turkey.

How can you mistake HTS for Turkish proxy?

Posted by: Bianca | Jul 15 2020 6:03 utc | 20

Bianca # 20

How can you mistake HTS for Turkish proxy?

There is no mistaken identification here.

Turkey is annexing Idlib and using whatever proxy it can buy to achieve that end. The funds to purchase the jihadis comes from USUKI via various channels.

Turkey will not leave Idlib unless it is thrown out by the Syrian Arab Army with assistance from Russia. The government of Idlib is in Damascus and led by Mr Assad. The Russians and Assad are in no rush but they will clear the USUKI murderous scum out soon it seems.

Twitter reports indicate that for the past months Turkey has been delivering multiple convoys and weapons to Idlib province. Turkey does not need this volume to defend its watchtowers in the province. Turkey intends to attack the Syrian Arab Army as it clears the jihadis. This clearance might commence any day as it has been building for weeks.

My view is that Russia and Syria have extended sufficient rope to Erdoghan to hang himself. Mind you Erdy may have tied himself in knots over Libya and be assaulted on both fronts simultaneously it seems.

Time will tell.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jul 15 2020 8:33 utc | 21

Thanks b, aa always. Thanks Bianca @20 I have no idea who is who, but your description sounds plausible. Obviously this is not my blog, and I am a rare poster, but - guys, can we try to stay polite and not descend into the petty abuse that plagues some other sites?

Posted by: Tim Glover | Jul 15 2020 8:33 utc | 22

Sadness #15

Remind me why the RF forces in Syria transported all already defeated terrorists to Idleb


There were a number of vital tactical reasons to clear the jihadis from the east toward Deir Ezor and then the south that borders on Jordan and Israel illegally occupied Syrian land of the Golan Heights.

Leaving that nest of jihadis in the South west would mean that the perpetual belligerence of Israel and the USAI captive kingdom of Jordan would continue to attack Syrian civilians in that region. ie a rerun of the daily experience of civilians in Palestine.

Israel was providing advanced medical support for injured jihadis as they were transported to the Golan Heights district where Israel had established hospitals. The porous borders here meant that an avalanche of arms could be brought across and were brought across. You will find numerous stories of large arms caches being unearthed in Daraa after the jihadis got either bussed north or conveniently escorted through the illegally Israeli occupied Golan Heights.

At the same time those Syrians that sought to end their fighting and return to civil society in Assads Syria were granted some equivalent of absolution and in return had to commit to non violent civil society norms.


Bussing the remainder to Idlib got them out of the direct mendacious clutches and rearmament reach of the USAI.

It also compressed the killers into one zone between Syria and the untrustworthy but negotiable Turkey. It also put pressure on the Kurds in the far north to strike a deal with Assad for protection of get slaughtered and evicted.

Predictably the Kurds blundered and believed that the USAI promises to 'come to their aid' meant military action instead of cigarettes in the post. The Kurds got dealt the devil card and have retreated east opening the far north west to Syria/Turkey contest. The Kurds have lost the entirety of the Syrian western districts and all those houses are now settled by the jihadi new settlers.

It is militarily and socially better to have the criminal jihadis in one cauldron to be eliminated. Turkey shipped many off the Libya to die and now might try to return them to save his dreamed of annexation of Syrian land.

While they are stuck in that cauldron with only the Turkish border to cross that is good for Russia and better for Syria. It is bad for Turkey as the rats are returning to home.

Now Erdogan is out in the open, he has failed entirely to guarantee access along the entirety of the M4 joining Aleppo and Latakia. Soon there will be one almighty push into Idlib city and the the province split by conquering Syrian Arab Army.

The sideshow regarding the contested religious Citadel/Cathedral/Mosque is a win for Erdogan and his Sunni Brotherhood faction and just in time as he is about to get his treacherous arse kicked in Libya AND Syria. That man (among others) needs some distractions right now.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jul 15 2020 9:13 utc | 23

Meanwhile, we are just days away from the Three Gorges Dam failing and conveniently destroying the Sponge City of Wuhan. Afterall, China is as much at war, revising the definition of war to encompass contemporary complexities, now as it was at war with Japan in 1938 when Chiang Kai-shek decided to sacrifice greater than 800,000 lives and create millions of flood refugees. History repeats, especially when you never learn from it. Or rhymes at least. America is not immune. Look at 9/11. The end justifies the means they say but what if the means are the end?

Posted by: 450.org | Jul 15 2020 13:47 utc | 24

However, would Russia actually to admit to causalities in such a precarious situation ? Judging by the video and photo evidence, I have a hard time believing no one got killed.

Posted by: Fog of War | Jul 15 2020 14:09 utc | 25

Posted by: 450.org | Jul 15 2020 13:47 utc | 24 "America is not immune"

Such a stange example you gave...what has to do 9/11 with this?You say its been an act of war?Even my dog knows it's been an inside job..it had nothing to do with war..America is immune yes,like others thug states.Then I missed a bit of anti-chinese propaganda..even in the Syrian topic you find something to blame China..Reporting like this are gems for me because of the complexity of this matter(at least for me)..read as I do and learn from other people here who really seem to know the things going on there.Why you didn't mention the millions of refugees that the zionist war in Syria had caused?

Posted by: LuBa | Jul 15 2020 14:41 utc | 26

Fog of War @Jul15 14:09 #25

I also have a hard time believing that Turkey and Russia suffered nearly equally.

To have maximum impact, the detonation would have been as close to one vehicle as possible, not between vehicles. So my guess is that a Russian vehicle was targeted.

Russian Service Members Received Minor Injuries In M4 Bombing (Video)

The Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria claimed that several Turkish soldiers were also injured in the explosion. Turkey has not yet provided details on this issue.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 15 2020 14:53 utc | 27

LuBa @26: "...even in the Syrian topic you find something to blame China."

"Demonize China!" is the current top priority of the Mighty Wurlitzer. They need lots of repetition to swing public opinion around so the order has come down to the corporate mass media and its social media sock puppets to throw everything they've got at China. They are so desperate with this anti-China campaign that they even have Democrat Party trolls who work for David Brock like the one you responded to pitching in to help with flinging their feces at China. They have to include digs at China in everything that they do for the time being.

This level of desperation is really off the charts. Even during the height of the Russiagate hysteria the empire's trolling wasn't this bad. This either exposes the weakness of the imperial establishment's position or it indicates that they are trying to build up for something big; probably both.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 15 2020 15:29 utc | 28

this 450.org is a real shill and troll... b - get rid of them..

many others - thank you for your comments...

Posted by: james | Jul 15 2020 16:07 utc | 29

Posted by: james | Jul 15 2020 16:07 utc | 29

The more the trolls grasp at straws, the more unoriginal they become.

Also, I'm surprised that the US still haven't blamed China for their 2 LSTs burning in homeport or the four(!) fighter crashes since 15 May.

Posted by: J W | Jul 15 2020 16:38 utc | 30

There are a lot of bizarre ideas on this thread of comments, unless there's some real evidence. Firstly HTS never had anything to do with ISIS/Da'ish. They have a similar doctrine, that's all. HTS was mainly Syrian, and Da'ish mainly foreigners. Da'ish came from Iraq, and their main centres are still there.

The Chechens are not simply mercenaries, but jihadis who may be being paid, but who left their country to fight for Islam in Syria, after being defeated by Russia at home.

The Uyghurs of the Turkistan Islamic Party similarly, only they hadn't been defeated in Xinjiang, but at the time they were under pressure from the Chinese. It was a big mistake, as the Chinese under Xi Ping have undertaken a much more nationalist Han policy, as we see in Hong Kong, and the Chinese profited from the manifestations of Uyghur Jihadism in Syria to justify a severe crackdown in Xinjiang, including the concentration camps of which we hear so much today. I'm pretty sure that the Jihadis who took my Syrian student on the road to Aleppo were Uyghurs - he described them as 'slitty-eyed'. I recounted this story to you back in 2017. They asked him to recite the Surat al-Baqara (Sura 2 of the Qur'an, the longest). He didn't know it, but quickly figured out they didn't know it either, so recited Quranic rubbish until they got fed up.

I doubt very much whether Erdogan wants to annex parts of Syria. It would be more trouble than it's worth. He's more interested in a buffer zone to protect Turkey from turbulent events, particularly Syrian Kurds who might help Turkish Kurds.

Equally, the reconversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque probably has nothing to do with all this. It's a project that has been brewing for some time, probably in Erdogan's religious electoral base, a movement against Atatürk's secularism. It's very hard for Christians to complain about, particularly the Pope, when the Catholic Church has resolutely refused to hand over the mosque in Cordoba to a similar status of museum, and continues to arrest and fine Muslims who attempt to say their prayers in the mosque. That's a scandal, but we don't hear about it, because it's only Muslims, and they don't matter.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 15 2020 17:00 utc | 31

To what extent might the Hagia Sophia take-over and this attack be related to Erdogan's ambitions in Libya?

=

Was Hagia Sophia take-over a retaliation for this: Mysterious airstrike hits Libyan airbase controlled by Turkish-backed forces?

Was this attack in Idlib a warning after this: Libyan House Of Representatives Grants Egypt Right To Military Intervention?

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 14 2020 17:54 utc | 3

I doubt Hagia Sophia is anything to do with it. It probably more to do with Turkey that moving in SAM into GNA forces airbase.

Posted by: Lucci | Jul 15 2020 17:11 utc | 32

" I doubt very much whether Erdogan wants to annex parts of Syria. It would be more trouble than it's worth. He's more interested in a buffer zone to protect Turkey from turbulent events, particularly Syrian Kurds who might help Turkish Kurds. "

The buffer zone excuse is also used by a certain " shitty " country. What do you call a permanent buffer zone ?

Posted by: Fog of War | Jul 15 2020 17:19 utc | 33

Laguerre @Jul15 17:00 #31

... the reconversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque probably has nothing to do with all this. It's a project that has been brewing for some time ...

Erdogan's controlled the timing of the take-over of Hagia Sophia. Naturally he knows the impact that the take-over would have in Greece and Russia.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 15 2020 18:05 utc | 34

Posted by: Fog of War | Jul 15 2020 17:19 utc | 33

I didn't explain my views in full, because it was a general round-up post.

The territory occupied by Turkey is in general inhabited by Syrian Arabs and Kurds. There are Syrian Turkmens (i.e. ethnic Turks), widely scattered, and many of whose fighters have been sent off to Libya to be a Foreign Legion for Turkey.

Integrating such a rebellious lot into the Turkish state would be very difficult. Change of population would be difficult.

That's why I say that's Erdogan's aim is a buffer zone, to keep the jihadi and Syrian Kurdish pests out of the homeland.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 15 2020 18:28 utc | 35

Erdogan's controlled the timing of the take-over of Hagia Sophia. Naturally he knows the impact that the take-over would have in Greece and Russia.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 15 2020 18:05 utc | 34

More likely he couldn't resist the demands of his electorate any longer. I doubt if this is a personal project of Erdogan. It's more that it comes from underneath. Me, if I were a Muslim, I would be offended to the core that the Catholic church maintains control over the mosque of Cordoba, arresting and fining Muslims who pray there, but yet they're expected to bend the knee, and nevertheless continue to respect the anti-Muslim decisions of Atatürk. I have certain respect for their feelings.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 15 2020 18:48 utc | 36

@ jackrabbit.. i didn't respond to your theories on erdogan and the timing of the hagia sophia conversion but i agree with lucci and laguerre... erdogan is just a nut doing everything he can to curry favour with the religious nuts and zealots in his own country... i am sure many in turkey see thru his actions too...

@ 31/36 laguerre... thanks for the wider perspective you shared....

Posted by: james | Jul 15 2020 19:42 utc | 37

" I didn't explain my views in full, because it was a general round-up post. "

Fair enough. However, still please tell me the name of a permanent buffer zone ? Such as in Cyprus for example.


" Integrating such a rebellious lot into the Turkish state would be very difficult. Change of popoulation would be difficult. "


Also, how would Syria deal with such a situation ? In my opinion the only way to pacify these elements is by replicating what Russia did in Chechnya. Lets just say, the Russians didnt play footsie during the second Chechen war.

Posted by: Fog of War | Jul 15 2020 20:00 utc | 38

Reports of Russian and unnamed air attacks in Al-Bab. Turkey has turned of power in Al-Bab to eliminate all night lighting to make aircraft spotting difficult. Turkey getting prepared announcing drone landings at turkish airports etc., and then reports of some Tr/Rus agreement or cease fire.

A Kurdish ammunition store in Hasaka is popping very loud noises and light show. Scroll down for an assortment of video takes.

ynms is always worth a check in from time to time.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jul 15 2020 21:21 utc | 39

A point worth mentioning is that this attack came literally hours after a phone call between Putin and Erdogan. I do not consider that a coincidence.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jul 15 2020 21:30 utc | 40

Laguerre @Jul15 18:28 #35:

That's why I say that's Erdogan's aim is a buffer zone, to keep the jihadi and Syrian Kurdish pests out of the homeland.

Erdogan likely wanted to annex Idlib and other parts of Northern Syria when he chose to support ISIS before the Russian intervention. It's logical to assume that the other conspirators against Syria promised to allowed such annexation.

Now those Jihadis are inconvenient? Well, not too inconvenient because Edogan still uses them against both Syria and Libya.

And, while his plans for annexation have gone awry, that doesn't mean that Erdogan doesn't still plan to annex Idlib if USA-Israel prevail (there is still a conflict!). But he insists on a 'buffer zone' while Russia-Syria have the upper hand.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 15 2020 21:42 utc | 41

@Laguerre | 36
This is entirely Erdogan's doing. The only speculation currently in Turkey is that maybe this is down to deliberately bad advice being handed to Erdogan because he has lost the support of the big financial players. That remains to be seen. But it is true that AKP's rating is at 30% and that it will have a hell of a job to win the next election whether it be held now or in 2023. 2023 is an incredibly important target for Erdogan. It will be his crowning.
As for muslims being peeved at the Spanish cathederal that's just nonesense simply because so few of them were aware of it until Cavusoglu started doing his 'they did it first' whining. (These guys are all big talkers but barely have the courage of their own convictions. It's laughable).
Interesting also is the desperation of Turkish media - very tightly controlled by the state - to find evidence of the west 'Turkey hating' because of the decision. Some of the footage being used is clearly staged. It's a joke, but very telling of the intended purpose of Erdogan's decision.
Anyway. Those who are interested, a) watch the Albayrak - Soylu dynamic. It is claimed that war for successor to Erdogan has already started between them. b) Babacan is going to be important in the elections whenever they happen becuase he has the support of professional conservatives and their trust on the economy. Can he split the AKP vote sufficiently to remove its stranglehold on Turkish politics? And c) Erdogan has gone to harsh extremes before to ensure election success - remember his annulling the 2015 results and effectively initiating a civil war against Kurdish regions because of Demirtas's succeess? He even had the audacity to say that only and AKP government votes back in in the 're-elections' could bring peace!! What lengths will he go to for the upcoming elections?

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jul 15 2020 21:53 utc | 42

@uncle tungsten | 39
Any nore info on those reports. Woukd be very interested to hear about them and what might be going on.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jul 15 2020 21:55 utc | 43

William Gruff #28, James #29

China has had an immediate and rapid recovery from the Fort Detrick virus attack.

The USA has had an immediate suicidal economy failure as they are too inept even to control their own weapons or confine them to base.

Here is China forging ahead.

Meanwhile the USA bankster gang and their idiot leaders Trump and Biden has effectively milked its citizens of 6 Trillion dollars in six months and still cannot account for #23Trillion siphoned off by its military.

Meanwhile in the USA THIS is their ignorance of democracy!

And we have 450.org vomiting all over his pudding - again.... Time to watch some ticked off Vic and insert 450.org each he references some clown.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jul 15 2020 22:00 utc | 44

AtaBrit #43

You could scavenge about the ME press sites like South Front and so on to pick up some info but there does not seem to be a mass troop movement by SAA. Lots of target shelling by SAA heavy cannon but no forces mobilised from what I have seen. This is the breaking up preliminaries but does not necessarily result in full force engagement.

Keep an eye on what Egypt is doing regarding Libya. Yesterday the Libyan government in Benghazi that has the LNA invited Egypt to assist in the erasing of the Islamic brotherhood GNA fake government in the Tripoli.

"Libyan House of Representatives passed a resolution requiring Egypt to intervene militarily if Turkey crosses the”red line” fixed last month by Egyptian president El Sisi;"

Turkey is at the bottom of the V curve and most vulnerable to a double assault (libya AND Syria) to the extent that it would drive Erdy and his fanatical chauvinist supporters over the edge. An assault on Turkish naval vessels would be possible. But then Turkey is part of NATO and yet appropriates christian churches for mosques. Precarious times but empire has no real care for religious matters unless they can start a good war.

In a diplomacy and tactical sense Turkey is in a peak vulnerability location.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jul 15 2020 22:21 utc | 45

Laguerre @ 36:

The issue is why has President Recep Tayyip Erdogan decided to reconvert the Aya Sofya into a mosque at this time and not before, when he has been President for nearly six years and had plenty of time to mull it over.

According to the World Socialist Web Site, back in 2019 Erdogan even dismissed the idea of reconverting the Aya Sofya into a mosque. So what persuaded him to change his mind now?

One possibility surely is that Turkey's economy has been tanking for quite a while, with the value of the lira plummeting against major foreign currencies and the COVID-19 pandemic threatening higher unemployment in Turkey, at a time when unemployment and inflation are already major problems in the country. All these issues concern Erdogan's support base. Changing the Aya Sofya back into a mosque should serve to distract (supposedly) those lower middle class and working class voters who supported Erdogan in the past and who might change their minds in the next elections if Erdogan can't deal with the country's economic problems.

Posted by: Jen | Jul 16 2020 1:26 utc | 46

$$ uncle tungsten.. thanks for the links and overview.... the thing that got me on 450s post is the fact this thread is about syria, not china... it is clear the person is a troll!

Posted by: james | Jul 16 2020 1:54 utc | 47

@Jen | 46
Precisely. But the act will have little significance if he does not capitalise on its minimal effect by calling early elections. And it is this that is fuelling speculation. But he will not give up his power easily and is as a laat resort once again trying to sell very cheaply swathes of land along his 'crazy' canal route to Arabs, this time Qatar, even though the project is unlikely to be realised. More fool Qatar if they think they can continue to prop up the Tall Man.

@uncle tungsten | 45
"Turkey is at the bottom of the V curve and most vulnerable to a double assault". This is exactly the reson for my asking. It seems only a matter of time Erdogan is nothing if not a survivorbat any cost. There is also a lot of pressure from other sides, he's been round the world with his begging bowl and got nothing: UK is not going to replace Amkara Agreement with anything substantial; Germany and Austria are taking steps to reduce Turkey's influene on Islam there and maybe remove Turkish Imams; The US ...? Well, I nevwr bekieve what I read, wait to see if the US will do anything. ))
It is Kurban Holiday in the Islamic calendar in a week or so. When that is behind them we might see something start to happen

(Oh and latest news is that an observation plane has crahed on Turkey's Southern border killing 7 forces men. Don't have any other info at the moment.)

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jul 16 2020 4:29 utc | 48

Jen #46

Changing the Aya Sofya back into a mosque should serve to distract (supposedly) those lower middle class and working class voters who supported Erdogan in the past and who might change their minds in the next elections if Erdogan can't deal with the country's economic problems.

Yes to all of that plus I am cognisant of the extreme violent chauvinism of Erdogan's team and close advisers. Their behaviour is immediate violence when challenged. Recall their agression in the USA some years back when there was a muscular brawl over one of the attendees/speakers at a Harvard or Pew forum. These guys are the brownshirt thugees and Erdy may have to keep them assuaged with occasional antics like the Aya Sofya changeover.

Nationalist chauvinism in the male mind no matter where is an ugly and violent circumstance from what I have seen and experienced. Consider the Israel and China and India evil we have witnessed recently. The Palestinians get in the face EVERY DAY of every year for the past five decades.

If Egypt goes into Libya to smash Erdogan and his evil forces there will be brutal consequences.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jul 16 2020 5:07 utc | 49

Turkey reaps what it sows in Syria (and Libya), as Turkey has armed and sponsored jihadi terrorism in Syria in order to colonize swathes of Syrian land.

Al Qaeda Thanks Turkey for Protecting It Against Assad, Russia, Iran
https://www.greanvillepost.com/2020/03/08/al-qaeda-thanks-turkey-for-protecting-it-against-assad-russia-iran/

This Turkish land theft is perpetrated under the pretext of a establishing a "buffer zone" against the chaos that Turkey itself has actively fomented for years in Syria--including Turkish ethnic cleansing of non-Turkic populations inside Syria.

Sadly for Turkey, its delusions for a Neo-Ottoman Islamicist Empire abroad cannot distract from the explosive socio-economic political situation inside Turkey.

Erdogan's recent conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque is another example of Turkey pathetically playing its "Islamcist card" in order to divert from these explosive social tensions that saturate Turkish society.

Erdoğan’s conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque and the danger of war
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/07/15/turk-j15.html

Not content with waging war on Syria or Libya, however, Turkey has now set its sights on Yemen no less.

New Evidence Suggests Turkey Preparing for Libya-Style Military Intervention in Yemen
https://libya360.wordpress.com/2020/06/11/new-evidence-suggests-turkey-preparing-for-libya-style-military-intervention-in-yemen/

Turkey has much in common with its NATO "ally," the United States of America, in this fundamental regard.

Posted by: ak74 | Jul 16 2020 5:34 utc | 50

450.org this is for you

Other barflies might appreciate some of Rich's videos.

Nathan Rich has a really good channel and has a sane take on China. The world needs sanity these days.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jul 16 2020 5:59 utc | 51

On a slight aside, a) does anyone know why Iran decided to throw its support behind Turkey in Libya? Is it just tactical rhetoric? Has it already been disccused in another thread, if so, apologies. b) seems like these barflys forgot that yestderday was indeed the 4th anniversary of the 'Managed' coup in Turkey - Democracy Day. Oh how history will laugh.
Maybe next year 'b' could write/ commission an appropriately satirical hommage to the 'Treachery of the Century", "The resistance of the Turkish People" "The defense of Democracy" .... ))))

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jul 16 2020 8:29 utc | 52

@Laguerre | 35

"Erdogan's aim is a buffer zone, to keep the jihadi and Syrian Kurdish pests out of the homeland."

There are so many faults with this argument but feundementally it shows that after years of following this conflict you either still don't understand the Turkish involvement or for whatever reason you willfully mislead.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jul 16 2020 10:24 utc | 53

@49

The Egyptian military isn't going to smash anyone except its own people. That's its history and nothing has changed in this regard. The Egyptian military are cowardly bullies who kiss Israel's ass.

Also, fyi, I'm capable of being an equal opportunity critic when it comes to tyranny in ALL its manifest forms. Therefore, I can chew gum and dribble a basketball at the same time, meaning I possess the necessary intellectual acumen to be able to objectively and critically analyze China's "leadership" every bit as much as I can objectively and critically analyze and evaluate America's "leadership." Tyranny is tyranny no matter which way you slice it. I will not side with one tyranny over another. I oppose ALL tyranny. This is most so-called "leftists" have historically gone wrong. They have aligned with one tyranny over another and in the process destroyed whatever credibility they may have had.

Posted by: 450.org | Jul 16 2020 12:52 utc | 54

"Despite all other difficulties caused by sanctions, the pandemic and the economic consequences of Lebanon's bankruptcy Syria and its allies are committed to regain control over Idleb province."

Assad can barely control his own territory.

https://syrianobserver.com/EN/news/58967/russian-meetings-with-alawites-worry-the-syrian-regime.html

Posted by: Louis N Proyect | Jul 16 2020 13:09 utc | 55

Louis N Proyect @Jul16 13:09 #55

Assad can barely control his own territory.

Louis Proyect can barely control his own sphincter.

Louis Proyect is a liar with disturbing behavior

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 16 2020 13:23 utc | 56

There are so many faults with this argument but feundementally it shows that after years of following this conflict you either still don't understand the Turkish involvement or for whatever reason you willfully mislead.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jul 16 2020 10:24 utc | 53

Or maybe it is that you don't understand anything about Syria. I was just presuming that Erdogan was being realistic. Fantasies there may be in Erdogan's megalomania (I seem to remember you're always very condemnatory of Erdogan, and take very much the line of the Istanbuli upper classes, who've been proven wrong time and again about Erdogan, because they think he ought to think like them), but international situations tend to demand realism in the actual results, and I was only crediting Erdogan with basically being realistic. He used to be but less now. Annexing parts of Syria will never work, and he'd do better to act in accordance, because withdrawal is what he will have to do in the end.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 16 2020 16:05 utc | 57

@ Louis N Proyect | Jul 16 2020 13:09 utc | 55

Yeah, right. Because the sponsors of the "Syrian" revolution (ie. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, FUKUSI and Turkey) are such well known advocates of Worker's Rights.

And don't forget the Muslim Brotherhood, that super progressive club of comrades, so thoroughly appreciative of the philosophical truths contained within dialectical materialism.

Cool story, bro.

Fkn dolt.

Posted by: Lurk | Jul 16 2020 16:22 utc | 58

Jackrabbit | Jul 16 2020 13:23 utc | 56

There is no way of knowing if that poster really is the "Louis N Proyect" who is widely known as a famous movie reviewer at rotten tomatoes. Lets not overassume anything.

Sincerely,

Donald J. Trump

Posted by: Lurk | Jul 16 2020 16:39 utc | 59

@Laguerre | Jul 15 2020 18:48 utc | 36

if I were a Muslim, I would be offended to the core that the Catholic church maintains control over the mosque of Cordoba

While Hagia Sophia has been used by Muslims and (very briefly) by Catholics, it has been overwhelmingly Orthodox Christian since the Roman Emperor Justinian, who was Orthodox, built it about 500 AD -- long before the birth of Mohammed. Hence the church's relevance to Greece and Russia, both of which are mainly Orthodox.

I wonder if you are as well informed about the "concentration camps" for Uighurs in Xinjiang (@Laguerre | Jul 15 2020 17:00 utc | 31) ?

Posted by: Cyril | Jul 17 2020 4:04 utc | 60

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