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17 January 2016


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Babak Makkinejad
Would this also include a Kurdish state in the Syrian Federation - perhaps along the Turkish border with Kobani as its state capitol ?

Medicine Man

Heh, fair enough Colonel.



In Latakia it seems the jihadists are in the process of being completely defeated psychologically. Curious, what Erdogan does?


And a map of the kesselschlacht that Col. Lang and Mr. Bahzad forecast some months ago.



PB: Did the Syrian government ever offer the fighters in Madaya a deal like that offered to the fighters in Homs?


MM: Hopefully, right after March 1st, when Super Tuesday will mercifully end the candidacy of "No Fly Zone" Christie.


The reports from December about the next step in the Syria peace talks said that not only would there be agreements about a broader Syrian government, but the goal was to bring everyone together (Syrian govt side + approved Syrian opposition groups) to declare a ceasefire on each other and whoever did not agree to the ceasefire would become the enemy. So either you're with us or you're with the enemy (or you're with ISIS?). I have no idea if this next level of sorting out can be pulled off, but that's what Kerry and Lavrov were discussing in December. When the Russians first intervened, it seemed like one of their first goals was to do the first round of sorting out with FSA and moderate rebels, exposing AQ, etc.

Are all wars as complex as the Syrian war in terms of different fighting groups, factions, who's fighting whom, proxies & sponsors, etc? Because this one seems like a record breaking level of crazy.


jack, those dug in defensive forces still need food and replacement ammunition. If the logistics are cut, then those forces will run out of food and ammunition. It looks like that is what is happening. It is called a cauldron. Russians suffered that in Sevatopol and the Germans in Stalingrad during WWII.


"Would this also include a Kurdish state in the Syrian Federation?"

A Kurdish autonomous region in the future Syria is inevitable, given all that's happened. But not an independent state. Syrian Kurdish territory is too slim economically for independence.


"Russians and Syrians realize the risks of turning Aleppo or even Idlib into a besieged city."

Is not Aleppo already a besieged city? The question is how enthusiastic the rebel part is for the rebels. If the ring on Aleppo is closed, how long will they last?


I agree with you but I cross my fingers.


"Yes, I doubt that the R+6 will destroy Aleppo. As you say a series of negotiated surrenders is more likely and I DO think Erdogan will ship the jihadi types to Europe."

I entirely agree with you that if the R+6 succeed in surrounding Aleppo, it is a question how long the rebel quarters will hold out. Enthousiasm for the country activists may be limited.

However, if you permit, I would doubt that Erdogan will ship jihadis into Europe. That wave is more or less over. All the European countries have turned against Syrian immigrants. And that message will have reached the poor Syrian refugees still in Turkey.

Today's hope for them is that what you say is right. That R+6 will win, and they can go home.

different clue


Perhaps government reworking would mean a kinder and gentler form of secret policing and also a measure of experimental democracy on trial bases for the non-traitor and non-rebel parts of the population. And economic development will be confined to the pro-government areas long enough for the wealth-difference between them and the anti-government areas to become very starkly and visibly apparent. At which point those anti-government areas which are willing to undergo brain re-engineering will be brought into the "re-development zone" on a one-by-one trial basis to see if such brain re-engineering really sticks and persists.

different clue


If Russia were concerned that any of these Foreign fighters would rather pass through Turkey and head to Russia, then Russia would want to see each of them killed in detail in Syria. China might well share that feeling. Could China and Russia together threaten Turkey with such total economic strangulation so as to torture the Erdogists into sealing their border against Foreign fighter escape? If China and Russia added threats of genuine heavy support to the PKK, would that be enough to get Erdogan to seal the border against Foreign fighter escape?

different clue


Candidate Clinton is just as "No Fly Zone" as candidate Christie. What will it take to terminate "No Fly Zone" Clinton's candidacy?


"the probable timeline for the closure of the Turkey-Syria border by the SAG+allies?"

In the case of the "moderate" rebels, yes. In the case of Da'ish, no. They will always have their access through Mosul to Turkey, as signalled by the evanescent Turkish base near Mosul, but otherwise replaced by Erdogan's good relations with Barzani. Barzani doesn't have a choice. He needs to Turkey to survive.


You joke. The EU has turned against immigrants.


Different Clue
Send more money to Sen Sanders & bring ten friends to the polls to vote for Sanders.


gemini asks: Are all wars as complex as the Syrian war?

Did you ever try to make sense of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Balkan wars that occurred during and after the Ottoman's were driven out of the Balkans at the turn of the 20th century? Now that was complex. Those complexities were more or less resolved after 1914 only to set the stage for WWII not to mention the current upheaval in the ME.


I have addressed two questions to two different commitee members here on this thread - and you have replied to both, thanks for your opinion. But even if the Cologne assaults have turned the whole of the EU against the jihadis I am not confident that the EU has the collective capability to stop the waves Turkey may send . And I was hoping I might get Col Lang's opinion - hence my addressing my question to Col Lang

alba etie

Will the Kurds be allowed top actively participate in the Vienna talks?


You need look no further than the neighbouring Zabadani, where the remaining insurgents took the offer to withdraw in December. Noteworthy is the fact that place didn't appear to have problems as severe concerning supplies as Madaya, regarding which all the hullaballoo was made.

Those holed up in Madaya probably resolved to make their stand despite the questionable military purpose of the whole exercise. Of course, they may have anticipated the media campaign launched largely in their favour. And with all eyes on Madaya, noone need pay attention to their brothers-in-arms besieging Al-Fu'ah and Kefraya up in Idlib.

And that encirclement may well be broken up in the following weeks once SAA and allies move out from the regions they consolidated directly south of Halep city - Aleppo -, which are only about 20 Km away from those two places.
Maybe when this comes to pass - or possibly earlier than that -, the remaining insurgents occupying Madaya will take the way out offered in general by the truce and humanitarian aid agreement for Zabadani-Madaya and Khefraya-Al-Fu'ah reached in September last year and join their brethren in their fight elsewhere further up north.


Barzani needs money to stay in power. With how the oil price is now i don't see that happening. Add the diminished treat of Daesh and i would expect a civil war in Iraqi Kurdistan.



Not in any way and I think we are looking at the end of Shengen. pl

Patrick Bahzad


Technically there is a difference between "encircling" a city and "besieging" it. Besides, as you noticed, Aleppo is neither as there is an open corridor to the North for the rebel enclave.

Cutting off roads to and from the city and waiting for surrender will only strengthen another "Madaya" narrative. Pounding the city Stalingrad style would be even worse.

That's why the idea must be to negotiate very locally, area by area, in a "quadrillage operation", possibly offer terms to those wanting to leave, deal with the rest without attracting too much attention.


"I think we are looking at the end of Shengen."

As the economic benefits are quite high for smaller countries I expect a smaller Schengen zone for the future, not an end of the whole construct.

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