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21 January 2017

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mike

TTG -

Any American that puts on their old web gear, should consider going with the YPG and SDF against Daesh in Raqqa or DEZ. There is an international brigade fighting with them, probably more like company size than brigade size. But they will need all the help they can get.

Idlib? Forget it. The Salafis in Idlib province got a second life from the SAA and the Russians after the deal with Erdogan. But no worry, whoever CentCOM doesn't take out in Idlib will be fighting against other Salafis. The thieves are falling out and killing each other. No way the SAA or their allies are going to liberate Idlib until other areas are cleared. In the meantime Assad is hoping that al-Qaeda and other Turkish allies will overrun or weaken the Kurds in Afrin Canton.

mike

TTG -

PS - YPG and the SDF has advanced to the boundaries of Tabqah Dam. But they are going to need a lot more firepower than the maybe six or so T-55s, the few dozen armored HUMVEEs, and the oddball captured mortars to take Raqqa. Maybe Trump will do the right thing and give them better arms.

Jack

Sir

Would you know why the R+6 have let Deir Ezor be surrounded with only air support? There's a hundred thousand civilians there. I find it amazing that a small garrison stationed there have been able to keep the juhadi wolves at bay for so long. How long can they last in their defensive position?

Peter AU

Isis forces attacking Deir Ezzor will most likely collapse shortly which will carry through to Palmyra. Soon after Trump was sworn in, Russia sent its strategic bombers to Deir Ezzor.
The headchoppers in Idlib are busy shooting each other, a deal has been done with Turkey over al-Bab, two new fronts have been opened against ISIS by Syrian forces.
So what's the chance of Syria/Russia leaving the Idlib headchoppers to their own wars and attempting a sweep through to the Euphrates when ISIS collapses at Deir Ezzor?
All the country west of the Euphrates from Deir Ezzor up to al-Bab or as far toward that goal as possible?

The Twisted Genius

mike,

Don't worry. I'm smart enough to realize that the last thing the YPG/SDF needs is a broke down 63 year old trying to act like a 25 year old. Besides, SWMBO would kill me herself before I kill myself in Rojava.

The Twisted Genius

Jack,

Deir ez-Zor was surrounded years ago before the Russians got involved. Neither the Russians or the SAA have ever had overwhelming force to lift the siege. Several of us have been saying the Russians should bring more force into the theater, but we're not calling the shots. How long can they last? They will last until they win or are all dead.

elaine

mike, I can't claim any inside channels or even pretend to know what's really in the mind of retired Lt. General Mike Flynn but I have noticed there's a plethora of opinions on the net that appear to insinuate Flynn is cozy with Erdogan; ergo as Flynn is national security adviser to Pres. Trump
it may be unlikely Trump is going to arm the Kurds.

The Twisted Genius

Peter AU,

I also sense the fighting is approaching a culminating point in this area. I am also reminded of one of my favorite stories as told by Jerry Clower. The final line comes close to describing the situation.

"Well just shoot up in here amongst us. One of us got to have some relief."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AX9QoFhEhI

Babak Makkinejad

Gen. Flynn has publicly stated that Islam is not "even a religion". It is doubtful that he could be cozy with any Muslim - after all he has insulted every single one of them.

"A Heavenly Crown is Politeness,
Wear it and go wherever you desire."

mike

TTG - My SWMBO would do the same, but why she cares about my 73-year-old bones is beyond me.

Elaine - I have heard that about Flynn also, and seen reports (unconfirmed) that Flynn's son has some sweetheart deals in Turkey. I hope that is fake news. And hope that the favorable comments that Trump has made about the Kurds turn into action. The least he could do is what Obama did and support them with air and Special Forces, and arm their allies the SDF which is reportedly Syriac, Arab, Armenian and others.

Peter AU - Russia started sending strategic bombers to Deir ez-Zor since at least November 2015. There are also news reports that they sent them again in July and August 2016. Seems to me it has nothing to do with Trump.

Peter AU

A couple of interesting articles at almasdanews

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/russian-air-force-syrian-army-inflict-heavy-damage-isils-defenses-deir-ezzor/
"Taking off from Qamishli Military Airport in northeastern Syria, the Russian Air Force began the onslaught by launching several airstrikes over the Sheikh Yassine, Al-Rusafa, Al-Jubeileh, Al-Rashidiyah, and Al-Hussiniyah districts of Deir Ezzor."

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/us-led-air-strikes-wipe-out-90-boats-carrying-isis-members-in-mosul/
"US-led air strikes wipe out 90 boats carrying ISIS members in Mosul"

Trump working in the interests of his country, Putin working in the interests of his country, and both working together to crush the wahabbi offshoots? Now wouldn't that be something.

Peter AU

mike, you obviously haven't been following the recent ISIS full scale attack on Deir Ezzor.

Re the Kurds. The only natural ally the Syrian Kurds have is the Syrian government. Both have the same enemies. US lost the Kurds when US tried to jump on Erdo's bandwagon at the start of Euphrates Shield.

Peter AU

mike, I should have expanded a little on the strategic bombers. Not long ago US/NATO forces moved into position around Kaliningrad. The positioning of the forces in Poland along with the polish forces apparently made up an attacking force. US NATO deployments to Lithuania/Latvia made a blocking force.
Although Russia would have judged the chances of attack on Kaliningrad to be low, they would be obliged to keep sufficient forces on hand to mitigate the possible threat.
With the swearing in of Trump, it seems Russia judged the threat as negligible or non existent.

aleksandar

mike
"Assad is hoping that al-Qaeda and other Turkish allies will overrun or weaken the Kurds in Afrin Canton."
False. Nobody so far knows what Assad "hope" and what sort of deal, Assad and Putin have made.
Worse, that is the usual Wapo or NYT anti-Assad propaganda.

TTG
Please don't mix NATO with Syrian war, Nato as an organisation has nothing to do with it.

mike

Peter AU -

The US-led airstrikes that wiped out Daesh boats in Mosul were reported on Saturday. But those strikes took place early in the morning of Friday the 20th, long before Trump was sworn in.

So it was Obama working to crush the wahabbi offshoots, not Trump. Sorry to bust your bubble.

mike

Reportedly there was another CentCOM strike in Idlib province just an hour or so ago. This one on an ammunition depot belonging to Jund al-Aqsa near Srmin in rural Idlib close to the Turkish border.

In the aftermath, the ratlines to Turkey became clogged with Salafis heading home to Papa Erdogan.

Annem

FLASH! Rojava is no longer Rojava. Forced by its partners in the SDF and their civilian components, the Kurds have allowed the adoption of a new name "Democratic Federal System of Northern Syria" That name is to be more inclusive of the rest of the area's population of Arabs, Assyrians, Armenians, Turkmen, Circassians, et al.

Being associated with the United States may prove their greatest liability as the various forces in Syria position themselves for the best possible balance between desires and realistic goals in the end game haggling. Their closest neighbors, the KRG and Turkey, are eager to destroy them and it is not clear that the Assad Regime would not let them get away with it.

Chris Chuba

It looks like Assad and his allies are leaving Idlib intact to function as a leper colony for Jihadists. Whenever they put an isolated pocket of rebels in a hopeless situation, they offer them a green bus to Idlib and pardon the more secular ones. They are currently hammering out deal like this at Wadi Barada
https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/syrian-army-rebels-reach-new-agreement-wadi-barada/

Every time they succeed, they free up troops that were tied and concentrate their problems in Idlib like a boil that they will eventually pop. It seems like a decent idea since they have limited resources.

mike

I realize full well that the coalition has been bombing Daesh controlled oil infrastructure near Deir ez-Zor. I brought that fact up a few days ago on another thread of this blog. Should we leave those oilwells, pumps, transport and backyard stills alone to let Daesh profit from it? Or to convert it to fuel for use in their kamikaze truck bombs?

No way I say. Better it stays in the ground for now. Because Assad is nowhere near taking back Deir ez-Zor province.

mike

Elaine -

Reportedly President Trump's nominee for State, Rex Tillerson or T-Rex as some call him, has stated in testimony to the Senate that the Kurds in Syria and Iraq are our greatest allies in the fight against Daesh. So that gives me hope that Flynn will not be allowed to backstab the Kurds.

https://twitter.com/Furiouskurd/status/823195531820331008

Plus both McCain and Graham today said they have changed their mind would not block a vote on T-Rex. Perhaps because of T-Rex's favorable comments re the Kurds?

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2017/01/22/McCain-Graham-to-support-Tillerson-for-secretary-of-state/3441485110851/


Babak Makkinejad

Any continued support, political or military, for the Kurds in Syria and Iraq will be viewed with very deep suspicion by the governments of Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey.

At worst, it would be viewed as mercenary army that is controlled by a foreign agenda and is a threat; at best, as a serious irritant to the unity of those countries.

The United States is not the legitimate authority in any way, shape of form it that part of the world. Support for Kurds by US, in my opinion, only prolongs the regional agonies and causes more young people to die.

I think it will be a good idea to try to put forward a positive programme rather than this.

trinlae

Thanks for the informative correspondence, Colonel (& TTG),
I wonder how many noticed the import of the not so discreet World news report on WSJ Saturday's front page side bar announcing US special forces going after Al Qaeda in Syria.

This day one debut seems to have gotten lost in the crowd counting math hysteria, so i am feeling reassured that SST had a UCONN women's huskies approach to "dropping the ball."

Happy new year!

mike

trinlae -

I can't afford the WSJ paywall. But I suspect they are late in reporting, as is usual with their journalism. We have been going after al Qaeda in Syria for two to three years now.

trinlae

Even Chinese style hearts and minds economic development will probably be suspect for years to come, if coming out of usaid and usual vectors of confounded aid+politiking. But the indigenous networking and accountability structures could be supported, and not only via junkets abroad for conferences but simple things like office furniture and board room outfitters and notebooks and ipads would probably be a helping hand that might not attract an amputation.

trinlae

Unfortunately i saw this in a paper while traveling and cant confirm now but wonder if i saw it said Syria verbatim so that fact should be double checked, but my sense of it was east Syria / Iraq border area.

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