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10 February 2016


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Mennagh Military Airport is still in Nusra hands but gets steadily bombed. The town Mennagh is under YPG control.
A good piece by Peter Oborne who visited Aleppo

Journey to Aleppo: How the war ripped Syria's biggest city apart

Turkey is preparing an invasion of Turkey. But Hurriyet cites the Turkish General Staff that the army would not step on Syrian soil without UNSC resolution. It may be that the army will hold Erdogan back. But he will probably just fire more Generals until the army does what he wants.

The Russians are salivating. Several airborne brigades of Russia's southern command are in alarm posture. A Turkish invasion would be destroyed on Syrian soil. There would be no legal case for NATO intervening.

alba etie

The UN Security Council is meeting regarding a cease fire -that's not going to happen anytime soon . But was wondering how soon might the siege of Aleppo be lifted so that relief convoys might get food and other provisions to the civilian there?


I wonder if the major convoy was in the process of retreat (i.e. breaking point passed). Surely by now the opposition forces understand that major convoys will get destroyed. progress likely will accelerate barring a Turkish incursion.


Colonel, TTG,

Clapper whines about Russia and other things, and Brennan goes into meltdown.




The seige of east Aleppo will probably go on a long time.

( west Aleppo has been in Syrian Governments hands since the Civil War started and has been under seige since then)

Reports are that in the days before east Aleppo was surrounded, the Unicorns of the FSA along with most of the civillians fled towards Turkey, while al Nusra flooded into east Aleppo.

Trey N

Great news! Expect more such tantrums as the cold, dark shadows of reality continue to close in around the Borg. It is aware that ongoing economic collapse and military impotence will result in its imminent doom. International boundaries are not only going to be redrawn in the Middle East. The world is going to be a very different place in a few short years....

Ishmael Zechariah

1-You might re-think you choice of words "The Russians are salivating". Responsible commanders/leaders would not salivate over opening a new, unneeded front. They do not necessarily feel happy over annihilating soldiers who were ordered into battle by politicians. A statesman of Putin's caliber can deal with tayyip w/out this. Read his statements over the ambush of his Sukhoi.
2-"But Hurriyet cites the Turkish General Staff that the army would not step on Syrian soil without UNSC resolution." There are still enough responsible commanders left in our General Staff to stop tayyip's silly adventures.
3-"But he will probably just fire more Generals until the army does what he wants." Perhaps. I remember quite a few imbeciles who gleefully were celebrating tayyi[p & co. "de-fanging" TSK. It is fun to watch them squirm now. The germans were premier about lecturing us about our bad army and how we treated the poor islamists a decade ago. Times have changed.

Merkel is still playing shieldmaiden to tayyip. Perhaps she should not channel Brunhilde. tayyip is no Siegfried.

Ishmael Zechariah

It might be good to remember that "tayyip" is a fully-paid up borg construct.



"Turkey is preparing an invasion of Turkey. But ... Erdogan ... will probably just fire more Generals until the army does what he wants."

Perhaps that's not a typo and the generals will use the Turkish army in Turkey to restore what Erdogan is rapidly destroying.



"Read his statements over the ambush of his Sukhoi."

It is Russia's Sukhoi not his. A point I think important given his conduct as President of the Russian Federation.

Bill Herschel

Kellie Pickler should replace Clapper and Brennan. She knows more about the world than they do. And she is a ton better looking.



From the FSA+jihadist takeover 2013 of the now contested Menegh airport


Yes, the British Guardian (often referred to as the Fraudian here in Albion, and the Brit establishments go to paper for Russia bashing) is going into overdrive in accusing the Obama admin of treachery over Syria.

Check out its latest editorial: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/feb/10/the-guardian-view-on-the-battle-for-aleppo-a-rebuke-to-america-and-the-world

Babak Makkinejad

However regrettable Erdogan may be in his choice of policies, it remains clear to me at least that he represents a rather large section of Turkish electorate.

The non-Religious Turks, it seems to me, cannot defeat what he stands for on the plain of ideas.

Until that segment of the Turkish electorate changes its collective mind, I am afraid, there would be many more such like him.

Ghost ship

Nah, I think the Turkish army generals will try to persuade the supposedly senile King Salman Ibn Abdel Aziz to deploy the Saudi armed forces to invade Syria now that Saudi Arabia is a superpower what with all the billions of dollars they've spent on American, British, and French weaponry. The Russian and Syrian won't stand a chance 'cos they'll all die from laughing too much.


I suspect that the Saudis don't have the logistics capability to do what the article suggests in the time frame it mentions.


Tidewater to All,

It is unthinkable to me that the Turkish army would go into Syria.

If Turkey does go in, I would think that the First and Second Bridges over the Bosphorous would be at risk; as would be the new Bosphorous tunnels and what is built of the Third Bridge; as would be the Galata Bridge over the Golden Horn.

To lose them would be an incalculable setback for Istanbul and for the country. The suspension bridges could take years to replace. I don't think there is much Erdogan would be able to do about it. Except maybe to die well.


Thinly veiled threats from Russia about the possible consequences of a Turkish attack on Syria.


"The Russian Foreign Ministry will study the inquiry of Russian parliamentarians on denouncing the Moscow Treaty of Friendship and Brotherhood with Turkey signed on March 16, 1921, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova told a press briefing on Wednesday.

"We should consider a possibility of legal review of all Russian-Turkish agreements that are unfavorable for our country and its allies. Ankara must understand what the escalation of the conflict could be fraught with for it. Only this can bring it to earth and prevent it from carrying out new provocations," Obukhov told Izvestia. He noted that "two of the three Transcaucasian republics - Georgia and Armenia - did not recognize the terms of the treaty considering it unfair."

Under the treaty "the former Kars region and the southern part of the former Batumi region that were part of the Russian Empire since 1878 as well as former Surmalin district of Erivan Governorate that was part of the Russian Empire since 1828 with Mount Ararat were ceded to Turkey."

Bryn P

Indeed, Seamus. However looking at its readers comments it seems that they totally disagree with the Guardian's editorial. Personally I give little credit to it as a sensible and balanced newspaper these days. It has become another right-wing Borg mouthpiece.

Aidan B

I don't think "Right-wing Borg mouthpiece" is accurate. I see the problem here being more one of lazy journalists repeating briefings from the Borg uncritically. Their support position is more accidental rather than deliberate political lobbying. Specific points I would pick up are:
1. "the rebel-held city" - it's only part of it - this is quite a distorted picture
2. "barrel bombs are dropped on the city" - there probably are some in use but how significant is this. Emotive language to drive a point
3. It implies fleeing inhabitants are evidence of regime barbarism. Personally I would flee a city about to be a battleground regardless of how civilised the two armies were. (In this case both sides are pretty unpleasant by Western standards)
3. "The rebels whom the US and its allies have claimed to support all along are, in Aleppo, in need of anti-tank and anti-aircraft weaponry, yet there is no indication they will be supplied with it." - the Guardian seems to approve of arming a group that are in significant part jihadis. Would the sort of weaponry it would be practical to provide, even really make much difference against Russian air strikes with the latest equipment? Others here could answer this more easily than me.

On other fronts it seems to have moved much more in line with SST than has been typical of the mainstream media. For example, it seems to acknowledge:
1. The rebels are collapsing
2. Russia/Assad have little interest in peace talks now they are winning.
3. A no-fly zone is "all but impossible".

What is not very clear on is what it thinks that the US/West should have done and when to prevent this situation developing.

Ishmael Zechariah

"The non-Religious Turks, it seems to me, cannot defeat what he stands for on the plain of ideas."

A lofty sentiment indeed. Some random observations:
1-50% of the Turkish population are below average intelligence.
2-Secular pragmatists cannot promise heaven with forty virgins, unlimited wine, toy boys, etc. in the after-life.
3-49.5% of Turkish population voted for tayyip after tayyip illegally cancelled an election where he got 43%.
5-The validity of tayyip's "islamis" ideas are being tested now, with quite plain results. Perhaps reality is a bit different than this "plain of ideas" of yours.
Ishmael Zechariah


Russian military briefing of today. In particular relevant after 04:00

William Fitzgerald

Seamus and all,

I find it interesting that this editorial makes the same points as the Ignatieff editorial in the Washington Post, cited yesterday.


Bill Herschel

Am I a complete idiot, or is this the most worrisome article I have read about the Syrian war? Are they really planning for NATO to destroy the Russian base in Syria? Is this one half of a pincer movement? How could they be that crazy?


If the response is "You're a complete idiot," I welcome it.


All -

The latest Russian defense ministry video briefing by Major General Igor Konashenkov is a must see! Here is a true professional really pissed about obviously false IO statements (Russian air strikes hitting two hospitals in Aleppo) by a US military spokesman in Iraq (a Col. Steve Warren) that were easily exposed as false as there were no Russian air strikes in (or near) Aleppo that day. MG Konashenkov then let out what had been relatively secret info that the US has been making air craft and drone strikes in Aleppo and had made nine airstrikes there the day of the alleged Russian hospital strikes. It appears that MG K gets that the Western media is in total IO mode (among other things using old pictures/video of destruction in Aleppo from long before Russia began airstrikes in Syria - claiming they represented results of recent Russian airstrikes.

Clearly hearing a "professional colleague" making wildly false statements was "a bridge too far".

Lot's of other info here about the total non-cooperation by the US - including one-way intelligence sharing..

The briefing text is here: http://eng.syria.mil.ru/en/index/syria/news/more.htm?id=12078017@egNews

I can't grab the video briefing link which does not appear to be on the MOD website yet, but is available somewhere..

robt willmann


Regarding John Brennan and the Senate, this article of 10 February from the Washington Post says that Brig. Gen. Mark Martins filed a declaration in a military commission trial at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba which says that the facts laid out in the executive summary of the U.S. Senate report on CIA torture are true. He wrote: “As such, the Prosecution will stipulate that the facts contained within the Executive Summary occurred,” Martins stated.



The Guardian seemed to change quite a bit after Glenn Greenwald left and then even more after Alan Rusbridger retired, and become more establishment friendly. According to Wikipedia it is a centre-left paper, whatever that means in the UK these days. I stopped checking in regularly in 2014.

Today The Guardian published this hit piece by George Soros...

Putin is a bigger threat to Europe’s existence than Isis http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/feb/11/putin-threat-europe-islamic-state

The comment section is not very supportive, with only a few agreeing with Soros.

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