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04 October 2014


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"A great mystery (to me) is the ineffectiveness at Kobane of US air."

There simply isn't even an attempt of using U.S. air at Kobane. I have the video live feed running here and there was never a sign of a jet around.

Some deal Obama made with Erdogan? Yesterday Biden lapsed and said the truth that Turkey had helped ISIS and other Jihadis. Erdogan then made a Netanyahoo like standup and Biden had to retract. One wonders what talks are going on behind the scenes.

Obama needs Incirlik and the Turkish army to be effective against IS in Syria. Erdogan will only allow that if Obama also takes out Assad. That would be stupid though and Obama does not like to do stupid things (still does a lot of those).


The Syrian army too Handarat but a counter-offensive cut off those troops and they are now somewhat besieged within the city.

But the situation between Damascus and the Jordan border is troublesome. The CIA trained goons and Jabhat al-Nusra are taking some towns there. They have a free walk from Jordan along the Golan height demarcation line under Israeli protection. Any attempt by the SAA to interrupt them there is punished by Israeli artillery and anti-air. From that jump-off base the attacks south of Damascus are quite easy to do. That will be a busy area for a while.

Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

No mystery to me, ISIS needs to remain intact to wage war against SAR and the Shia Government of Iraq.

Am I to believe that US and her allies are executing a plan to destroy ISIS and afterwards they would give the sovereign control of those areas now controlled by SISI to allies of Iran?

I do not believe it.

ISIS was taught a lesson not to attack KRG; that is all I can see.

I agree with Mo, like in Lebanon with the Sunnis and their Jihadi agents.

Babak Makkinejad


Turkey's role:




I do not know what to say about US air at Kobane. the ground is completely open and air attacks should be effective. pl



IMO the Syrian Arab Army will succeed in holding the hill that overlooks the town. from there they will cover the road with fire. The town itself is unimportant. pl



So, in your world the US , Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Israel created ISIS for their own conspiratorial purposes. In that world Turkey and the US are plotting together to overthrow Assad and all is intended to accomplish that goal. I suppose that you think that turkey is denying the US the combat use of the air bases so that ISIS will not be too badly damaged and that the US is a party to that deception. In Iraq the US badly trained and equipped the ISF so that ISIS could easily defeat them? Is it a problem for you that the US is reintroducing its military in agreement with the still Shia run government? pl


A good friend of mine was directing the restoration of the old city, including the souk, when the civil war began. Little or nothing was left untouched, I understand. And now?

The human cost of 'intervention' and subsequent destabilization of the entire region is obscene. Less so, but somehow equally sad, is the destruction of a place and way of life that no American will ever know again. That's a pity, really, as Aleppo was a joy. It'll be rubble soon but somebody will call it civilization.



It would not only be stupid but an unconstitutional act of war against a sovereign state. Not to mention further provoking the Russian Federation.

Babak Makkinejad

I do not think ISIS was created by US and her allies; it was there in Iraq and US military forced it to decamp to Syria to fight another day.

I have come to the conclusion US allies, Turkey, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar have nourished ISIS - as the Telegraph article and Mr. Biden both attest.

I think US intervened when ISIS go to big for its breeches and attacked KRG.

And yes, I do think that Turkey wishes to keep ISIS intact (as does Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar).

I wonder if US is also party to that "deception"; you posed the question of why ISIS is not attacked in Kobani.

And I stated that perhaps because ISIS is needed in Syria.

ISIS exists because US, EU, Canada, Australia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar all agreed to wound Iran through Syria.

That policy is still in effect as far as I can tell.

It is not a problem for me that US is helping the Shia Government of Iraq.

I just do not comprehend the policy which seeks to wound Iran in Syria and yet helps Iran in Iraq.

May be I am missing something here.



What you have missed again is that the US government is a "ship of fools." pl

Babak Makkinejad

No doubt about that; old houses in Damascus were being purchased and refurbished for tourism and new money was moving in to develop tourism in Syria.

It was the only place outside of South America that you could drink matte.




According to the Kurdish commander at Kobane there have been air strikes but they are poorly directed. pl

Ishmael Zechariah

Dr. Makkinejad,

IMO linking to undocumented conjecture will not clarify Turkey's role.

The following link may be of help in selecting "evidence":

I am thinking of starting a pool on the remaining duration of tayyip's reign. Any ideas?

Ishmael Zechariah

FB Ali

Col Lang,

It is possible that this is the price the US is paying Turkey in order to get it to join the coalition against the IS, namely, no action to be taken to impinge on Turkish security interests. One of these is to degrade the fighting capacity of the Kurdish YPG, which is an ally of the Turkish Kurdish PKK.

For form's sake the US carries out a number of air strikes at Kobane, but ensures they are not very effective (with total command of the air, and all those air and ground surveillance assets available, there is no excuse for strikes to be "poorly directed"!).


Where are the JTACs, Colonel?

All we hear about is a conflict lasting "years."

Really hate to admit this but Bush Jr's handling of the initial phase of OEF-A sure appears more effective than this.

I get the impression U.S. strategists are using the IS crisis as a means to an end, in shaping political preferences in Iraq and ultimately for Syria. The strategy is high risk, in my opinion.



Not deployed to Syria. I fear the USAF has oversold their ability o operate without them. pl



To embellish a bit. The SAA should put a dug in company sized force of infantry on the hill with some tanks. they should then plan their fires with artillery concentrations on the road involved and final protective fires all around the hilltop position. A CAP would be a good idea. They have the assets for all that. A sizable reserve force would be a good idea. pl

Babak Makkinejad

I personally have come to the conclusion that Erdogan is like the Turkish secularists.

The secularists talked a good talk of Pan-Turkism and Erdogan is talking a good talk of pan-Islamism.

But there is never any substance behind either except the advancements of Turkish interests as understood by the Anatolian Turks.

For if Erdogan were a man inspired by Islam, he would not have been complicit in ruining another Muslim state - creating millions of refugees.

But he and his kind - just like the secularists in the same position - made the determination that was essential for Turkey to harm Iran in ways possible for Turkey.

I think it is clear that Turkey only follows very narrow national interests - under secularists or under the so-called Islamist.

Therefore, I should think that Erdogan will finish his term.


That's been on my mind, FB Ali.

I came across a demonstration over here in Cologne today. It was huge, really huge, against IS terror. It felt they were domininently people with Kurdish roots, although I cannot say, since a very, very mixed crowd. Some left solidarity groups among them. People are very, very concerned. And I can understand. Pretty impressive masses.

This feels very, very different from the faked urgency in 2003. Maybe like the selfulling prophesy the WOT always felt like a little coming full circle.

Edogan's parliament officially decided Tukey may use force after much hesitation. But yes now there is concern over here, what exactly that could mean. Remember PKK, Öcalan?

Bad Google translation of a German paper (left)


It seems to me that the Syrian army is doing this, and even doing this in a bit broader way. The hilltop in the advanced Handarat position is supported by two hilltops in the rear that the Syrian army got control over in the very same move Friday. Hence the reports of fighting not only in Handarat, but also in Sifat and Dowir al-Zeitoun. The goal seems to be that the three hilltops can give cover to each other and any rebel inside this hilltop triangle is trapped.

Here I marked the new positions of the Syrian army on a map:


The important positions in that area which are still held by the rebels are here:


I guess those of us who are closely following this story, I guess, in the coming days we will find out more on who prevailed where.

Regarding shooting into the rebel supply lines, I assume using a detachment of special forces disguised as some fringe rebel shop for finding out which movements on the rebel supply line are worthy targets for the army would be a good idea, too.

My working assumption is that the Syrian army isn't going to totally close the ring, because such a much bears the danger of unifying the rebels. Instead I assume the Syrian army will only choke rebel supplies in Aleppo, hoping to get the rebels in Aleppo to surrender (or reconciliation) in this way.

For next military moves of the Syrian army in the Aleppo theater I expect the army will dig well in in it's new won positions, and when that is done, move on to connect the newly won areas with the Shia city complex of Nubol and Zahraa, thereby again not totally closing rebel supplies into Aleppo, but further choking it.



That's quite good. What staff college did you attend, Cochise? Actually, it is more like the kind of thing you learn in the captain's course. IMO it would be better to close the kessel altogether. People always think that you can leave the door slightly open like that but in the end they slip away. The Falaise Pocket would be an example. The Germans should have been completely encircled. But, good work. pl

The Virginian

Another strand of thinking that may have some credence is that Ankara is - building on the point by FB Ali - standing by on Kobani as a means to weaken the PYD / PKK vis-a-vis the KDP, and to mitigate against Rojava (a Syrian Kurdish region) from being permanent. The KDP's Barzani, while likely concerned over the lack of Turkish support to Erbil in the face of IS, also faces internal rivalries with the PYD / PKK as well as PUK and Goran. The PYD / PKK have proven more capable fighters, while the PUK is the more influential group in Kirkuk despite having lost certain legitimacy to Gorran over the last three years.

With respect to air power in the Kobani area, could it be the lack of availability of persistent patrols over the area (drones to find and mark targets / drones plus manned aircraft to conduct strikes / operations over Iraq taking up assets) combined with with no on the ground targeting support, or a bit of hesitancy within Washington for either the Turkish / Kurdish angle pointed out above and by others, or something else? Washington's "ship of fools" mitigates against any real sophistication of coordination on such policy matters, thus I am uncertain.

The Aleppo encirclement by the Syria army, as pointed out by Col. Lang, will further force rebel elements to either join IS or acquiesce to government control (localized deals have been made elsewhere). While some may see this as simplifying the battlespace, it may make it even more problematic for efforts to create a viable third force, not that such an effort stands much chance anyway, at least in the near-to-medium term.



I'm in no way military, just reading news, talking to different people and thereby trying to find out what's going on, and inform people about that. What disginguishes me from some other news consumers is that to inform myself I follow up some conflicts very closely, use very distinct sources from Reuters over various Youtube channels to Hezbollah and that I look up places of reported events on a map.

Reagrding building totally closed boilers or kessel in Aleppo by the Syrian army, I read about that possibility already at the end of last year, more or less saying the Syrian army could move west from Aleppo airport, thereby cutting off the insurgency in southern Aleppo of all supplies. I totally agree that the Syrian army could have done that, going about one or two km through densely populated Aleppo areas. I think the strength of the army would have been far then enough to do that. However, the Syrian army didn't do that, but instead used it's strength to go from the airport north to the Industrial area of Sheikh Najjar and to the besieged Aleppo prison.

And now the Syrian army goes from Aleppo prison not south to close the kessel, but west. That's why I believe the Syrian army is deliberately leaving the door a bit open on the insurgent areas in Aleppo. And that's why I believe the Syrian army is likely going from Handarat not south to close the kessel, but northwest, to link up with the besieged areas of Nubol and Zahraa. Of course, I have no idea whether that decision, if it's taken, is a good decision.

But what I can say, is that this way, if it's taken and successful, has the potential to put all of Aleppo under siege, including highly densely populated northern Aleppo suburbs like Kafr Hamra. See here on a map what the Syrian army seems up to put in a boiler now:


For a reference on the current situation, look at Wikipedia, it currently updated it's map regarding the situation west of Aleppo prison:


So, for me it looks like, that the Syrian army is building an ever bigger boiler around Aleppo. Will the Syrian army be successful in this or will it overplay it's hand? I think, time will tell.


- Syria
According to a Kurdish news agency there were some 5 U.S. air strikes around Kobane after midnight local time. No news yet of what/how they hit to what effect.

The city is so far holding. The defenders claim 10 dead on their side and 60-70 on the IS side. Current fighting is around the radio tower hill which has changed hands at least twice so far.

Next IS step may be intense suicide attacks.

- Iraq
AN IS strike force moved to Kubaysah 20km south-west of Hit and took the town. The tactical aim seems to be to isolate the al-Asad airbase.

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