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18 January 2016


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Interesting comment right under the article, by one 'Empowering The Vicious And The Filthy'. Just as remarkable are the 10 likes.


Info on the 4th Assault Corps in this article on p.13:

a ... "plan is underway to gradually dissolve NDF forces and fold them into the conventional army through the 4th Corps. The process is to occur in stages on a region-by-region basis. Although the NDF are believed to have been key in keeping the regime afloat, tensions between NDF fighters and military personnel have been a constant concern for the government and its supporters...

The fourth accompanying article ... explains that as Moscow’s involvement grows, pro-Assad fighting forces will rely more on the Russian model and less on the Iranian one. The former, the author argues, relies on local militias recruited on a sectarian basis, while the latter focuses on reinvigorating and modernizing conventional forces."


One can call that development dissolving the NDF, or one can call it upgrading from an irregular light infantry to a heavier force under more central control, probably stiffened by Syrian army regulars.


Almost more interesting is the follow-up article on p.15, headlined "Uighurs and the Changing Demographics of Syria’s Idlib Province". The influx of Uighurs into Syria is being facilitated by Turkey.

"According to the article, the Uighur families who are settling in Idlib
are filling in the homes of Syrian Arabs who have either fled to Europe or
taken refuge in Turkey’s Hatay Province. Because Uighurs are a Turkic
and Muslim group and, at least those who have made it to Turkey, are
grateful to Turkey for its support to the Uighurs, the Uighurs in Idlib will
likely form a pro-Turkish base of support. This would help extend Turkish
influence into Idlib and contribute to Turkish geopolitical objectives of
establishing pro-Turkish areas along the Turkish border in Syria and
serving as a base for offensives against the Syrian government and
repelling incursions into northwestern Syria from Kurdish militias."

I.e. Syrians returning from Europe would - courtesy of Erdogan - find their old homes occupied by these newcomers, not just by Uighurs, but Islamist Uighurs of groups like the Turkistan Islamic Party, who happen to fly the same flag as Al Qaeda. The idea would be that they serve as an insurance against Kurdish ambitions and to extend Turkish area of influence.

That is, we're speaking of ethnic cleansing by Turkey in Syria. That is what Erdogan's safe zone was about - create a Turkish zone of influence in northern Syria. Erdogan's of neo-ottoman, pan-turkish pan-islamism in practice.




According to a senior officer from the Syrian Arab Army in Damascus, a fresh batch of recruits that just graduated from training camp in the Qalamoun Mountains (Al-Nabk and Dayr Attiyah) have been deployed to this front in order to fulfill the army’s recent manpower quota.

The source further added that the aggregated number of military personnel is in the thousands.

Most of these conscripted soldiers hail from the Syrian capital of Damascus, as well as the Syrian provinces of Al-Quneitra, Al-Sweida, and Homs.

The arrival of these reinforcements should free up several soldiers from the Tiger Forces and Liwaa Suqour Al-Sahra (Desert Hawks Brigade) that are currently tasked with protecting the captured villages.


The Samantha Power indicator, Kenneth Roth edition. See https://twitter.com/KenRoth/status/688910876720672768

So the rebels hold civilians hostage and the Syrian government must lift its siege?


"According to Chinese report, published in 2002, between 1990 to 2001 ETIM had reportedly committed over 200 acts of terrorism, resulting in at least 162 deaths and over 440 injuries.[17] Since the September 11 attacks, the group has been designated as a terrorist organization by Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, United Arab Emirates,[18] China, and the United States.[19]"

Ok, we have to go back all the way and look into the convenient label of "War on Terrorism". Then go into the history of labels before and after.

then, we may, or at least, I, would like to look into the time frame at which this specific ethnically Turkey related type of discontent that may have surfaced in these regions and/or and or look into why at one time it may have adopted the language and practise of more prominent, at the time, one way or the larger section of discontents.

But thanks for reminding everyone around here that the topic surfaced in Asia Times, and has a related academic


What essential facts would I miss, if I don't follow your argumentwise supportive links?


The LA Times is the first main paper (I notice) that reports the advances of the Syrian army.

"Backed by Russian air power, Syria's army builds on gains"


Currently bad weather is supporting (counter-)attacks by the Jihadis in Latakia and Deir Ezzur. But their successes seem to be small and are likely to be reversed as soon as the weather clears up.


The Islamic State announced that its wages in Raqqa will from now on only be cut by half. That is quite a success for the Russian campaign against IS' main income source. IS is no longer expanding but expending ...


Turkey has its "Turkmen" proxy forces attack the Islamic State in Syria from the western "rebel" corridor to Aleppo directly along the Turkish border towards the east. The movement is supported by Turkish artillery from across the border. IS responded by sending Katyushas onto Kilis killing at least one person. This is another Erdogan attempt to form some kind of buffer zone.


sorry, badly proofread. You get my train of thought?

Medicine Man

Some very sour grapes there. I guess things aren't going well for his preferred side.

Medicine Man

I suspect the media's acknowledgment of the situation in Syria will resemble the war of attrition itself. A slow grinding process with only modest movement until a breaking point is reached. Once it has become painfully clear how things are going in Syria, the media will probably go into total "we've always been at war with Eastasia"-mode and jam their previous spin completely down the memory hole.


Not long ago there were said to be at least 8,000 trucks carrying stolen oil from Iraq and Syria to Turkey; of which the Russians destroyed about 1,200. I wonder what is the latest score?

different clue


I should think the ChinaGov would very much like to see each of those Uighurs killed in place right there in Turkey, so that not one of them survived to return to re-infest Sinjiang Province. Might China therefor quietly consult with Russia on what China could do to help the R + 6 assure the complete non-surival of so much as even one of those Uighur settlers? And on the "brainwar dimension", what if trial-ballooners for the R + 6 were to start referring to "Illegal Uighur settlements in the Turkish Occupied North Bank" to see if that meme takes off?

different clue

Medicine Man,

Except that various websites like this one can prevent the effective memory-holing of past reporting that the MSM would like to achieve. And even if the MSM retro-erases and re-writes everything on its own websites, there may still be paper newspaper copies here and there of what the MSM wrote. And there is the balky clumsy hard-to-access Wayback Machine on the Internet Archive site, which may preserve webstuff against retro-memory-holing.

Chris Chuba

It's interesting to see how ISIS is reacting to these developments. They have been hitting the SAA enclave in the Rakka province pretty hard; before that they attacked the SAA out of Palmyra and it even looks like they took a few villages at the base of the Kuweires salient.

The last point might not seem obvious but I go to militarymaps.info for daily updates which seems to get a lot of info from pro-govt sources and I noticed that they had updates like 'the latest intelligence confirms that Daishev controls this location' near Kuweires while the SAA was advancing towards Al Bab. The area under govt control seemed to shrink at the base of Kuweires, I am not suggesting that Kuweires is in any trouble just that ISIS is active there.

This seems to indicate that ISIS doesn't like what it sees developing and they are attacking in multiple locations to try to diffuse govt forces rather than meet them head on in their drive to Al Bab. Perhaps they are being opportunistic thinking that since the govt is committed to a big move in the Idlib area that its now or never for some attacks that they have been planning for a while, such as the pocket in the Rakka province which is the easternmost govt held area.

Chris Chuba

Here's an article on a Russian bomb guidance system that I thought was very interesting
It was mentioned here before but given the details in the article, it sounds plausible. It's an attachment to make a conventional bomb more accurate by using GPS (actually GLONASS). Given pre-determined GPS coordinates, the Jet flies over the location and the SVP-24, which also uses GPS, will control the release of the bomb to hit the target. They claim an accuracy of 3-5m.

The SVP-24 releases the bomb so it is reusable; it factors in the external wind speed, as well as the speed and angle of the Jet. Now of course this would be useless against moving targets but this would have a great niche application against stationary targets including idle troops if they didn't see the Jets coming. So if a spotter could provide GPS coordinates at night, during cloud cover, or at twilight, it could be a nightmare for enemy troops to now have to worry about moving around just in case they are spotted. I would think that Jets flying at a high enough altitude would not be heard.
I suppose if you had big wind sheers at different altitudes that could be a problem but I don't know common that is, perhaps that accounts for the 5m inaccuracy but that's close enough if you are dropping a couple of 500lb bombs.

Being able to hit stationary targets in poor visibility conditions is definitely a useful tool to have in your arsenal.

robt willmann

Here is another multimedia show by the Russian military from 15 January 2016. It is in two parts. The second part focuses on the propaganda, a/k/a "information operations", by the opposition to the Syrian government and Assad. It talks about the round-faced man who is the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and also mentions Senator John McCain. The English subtitles should be displayed after clicking on the 'cc' button on the video window--




So comes this interesting article about the Iranian-US negotiations regarding removal of arrest attempts on executives of Mahan Air which is the logistical support mechanism for the Iranians and Hezbollah into Syria among other places.
I think if Obama were going to keep resisting Iranian's help of Assad, this would not have happened. Does this portend a larger US policy shift with regard to Iran and Assad?

alba etie

"Does this portend a Lager US policy shift with regards to Iran & Assad?"
Yes IMO it does , an we also see this week president Putin meeting with Qatari official in Moscow to 'discuss' who gets what at the Vienna peace talks . I believe that after the dust settles we will be closer to Iran and further from our dear wahaabi supporting friends in KSA , Turkey & the GCC.

Ishmael Zechariah

Different Clue,
re:"I should think the ChinaGov would very much like to see each of those Uighurs killed in place right there in Turkey, so that not one of them survived to return to re-infest Sinjiang Province"

What do you thinks should be done with these Uighurs? Soap? Lamp-shades? Canned dog food?

Those who support various groups for "nations" seem to be quite ethno-selective. Why? Do you think Uygurs (the Turkish spelling) have any right to life and liberty?

Ishmael Zechariah

Babak Makkinejad

US policy with respect to Iran was at a cul-del-sac for years. I would say that this was a necessary course correction - normal for any state. I do not read much more into it.

alba etie

alba etie

I also feel like there is a significant shift away from the USG government and the Likud Party - both here in CONUS and in Israel . BiBi has seriously 'mis-understimated " the amount of fury and rancor President Obama feels about how the Likudniks tried to derail the Iran Deal . Ms Sherman is in Tel Aviv right now sweetly delivering that message IMO..

ex-PFC Chuck

Thanks for the Russia Insider link. A classic example of thinking outside of the box.



President Xi is currently on a three day State visit to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and then Iran.

Public pronouncements on the results of private diplomacy should be forthcoming. A precursor is the announcement today that the Christian communities in Lebanon have agreed on their Presidential nominee.

Stacks being rearranged on the Global Gametable.


Coincidentally, just now I was cleaning up one of my email folders and saw an old article from STRATFOR about US-Iranian relations. Since at least 2010 STRATFOR has been encouraging the US to improve relations with Iran. I remember thinking at the time it was one of the few areas where they consistently went against the MSM narrative of the day, so thought that eventually the pro-Iranian faction hidden somewhere in the bowels of the FP bureaucracy might prevail.

BTW, I am not renew my STRATFOR subscription since they have become more and more establishment sycophants over time, and I learn more much more here and get much better analysis as well. My dollars are much better spent on SST!

FYI, George Friedman left STRATFOR (which he founded) to start a new business venture in December. http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/prnewswire/press_releases/Texas/2015/12/02/DA70048

Perhaps I will send some of the former STRATFOR funds to NEWSBUD if I like how they implement it http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2016/01/12/newsbud-where-media-integrity-matters-with-sibel-edmonds-peter-b-collins-pepe-escobar/

Ishmael Zechariah

Here is a link on those Uygurs "infesting" Sinjiang Province.
Ishmael Z.


Alba Etie,

Recent comments by Daniel Shapiro, US Ambassador to Israel, criticizing Israels' policies on the West Bank and IMO the Israeli government's commitment to a two state solution suggest that you are correct.

Full text of his speech at http://israel.usembassy.gov/amb01182016.html

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