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20 September 2017


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Urgent call for 61,200 virgins in Idlib


The militants’ estimated losses include some 850 fighters, 11 tanks, three infantry fighting vehicles, 46 armed pickup trucks, five mortars, 20 freighter trucks and 38 ammo supply points.

BTW, I doubt the accusation that US security services instigated the offensive but given the outcome it's obviously something they should be doing quite frequently.

Allen Thomson

Open Thread!

OK, speaking of Deir ez Zor (modulo many different transliterations), I notice that the big shed over the site of the claimed and former nuclear reactor that was bombed by Israel ten years ago has been stripped of its walls and ceiling. See 35.7079 N, 39.8330 E in Google Earth.

I suspect that this is just the doing of local metal scavengers looking for sheet metal to sell, but would be interested in other interpretations.


Don' still tell me we ain't supporting ISIS!

BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:45 A.M.) – According to the Russian Ministry of Defence, Coalition and Kurdish-led forces are assisting ISIS terrorists in eastern Deir Ezzor through a variety of means in what appears to be an attempt to prevent the Syrian Army and allied paramilitaries from liberating the region.

Major General Igor Konashenkov, a ministry spokesman, has noted that the strongest ISIS counterattacks and artillery shelling against the Syrian Army bridgehead on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River come from the north where American and Kurdish forces hold positions and not from the south where the Islamic State is still unchallenged by any force.

The Russian general has also pointed out other acts of sabotage being committed by the US-led so-called anti-ISIS Coalition against Syrian Army forces.

According to Konashenkov, in the process of elite Syrian Army units crossing to the eastern bank of the Euphrates, the water level drastically rose in several hours, this being something which could only be achieved by the flushing of large river dams further north – dams that are under the control of Kurdish forces.

Finally, Konashenkov also mentioned reports from Syrian Army commanders that US special forces and Kurdish fighters were lending medical assistance to ISIS militants and that the commanders concluded that this appears to be the only objective of the Coalition-led eastern Deir Ezzor offensive at the moment.




If all that turns out to be true, it would be evidence of collective madness in the Borg, a madness like the madness that got us into VN. The Israelis have been providing medical support, fire support to both IS and HTS on the Golan front. pl


Konashenko provides pure speculation. Where is his evidence? This is the grandchild of Soviet 'dezinformatsiya', used as a tactical weapon. And a great weapon it is. I'd like to see them use it more strategically to counter Trump's threats to Iran and others.


Meanwhile Konashenko has clearly been dishonest in denying the Syrian/Russian airstrike on the SDF. Or perhaps his sources are lying to him?


You can build a timeline for its state using View and then ticking the Historical Imagery option, which shows the old structure complete on 12/31/2004 and 8/18/2007.

I agree with your interpretation about the scavengers but I would add with the site having been under SDF control for several months why hasn't the department of the USG responsible for monitoring nuclear proliferation (in a bureaucracy so big there must be one) done anything about it like sending out some investigators to see what the Syrians were really up to and if any evidence could still be found to identify who supplied the kit. That they haven't suggests to me that they know the Israeli claims were junk all along.

Hood Canal Gardner

FWIW a 'reasonable' case IMO can be made that in the "macro" sense wars vs battles , (eg) what's going on in Iraq-Syria-Afghanistan-Ukraine-Asia, "losing is winning." Just perhaps the unwritten policy goal of the US military is to keep putting pots on the stove/keep stirring them wherever. The 50 year run of the US/world defense industries is real.


Where's your evidence?
Maybe the SDF have been lying. After looking at all the likely Twitter feeds I can find no evidence that supports the SDF claims relating to their advance towards Deir Ez-zor of:

Fourteen SDF KIA so far in the Deir ez-Zor operation. They were attacked by eight VBIEDs plus four suicide attacks. They have confirmed the death of hundreds of Daesh. They liberated 4,000 civilians and evacuated them to safe areas.

There is some evidence that they liberated some civilians but that's about it. Now I acknowledged that I might not be looking in the right place but when I asked where to look, your reply was really a nonreply:
I agree about the pervasiveness of false claims going on in Syria. By many sides. In any case, the SDF did acknowledge the deaths of several of their fighters in the DeZ op. I seriously doubt they would publish names and photos if they had not actually had those KIA.

Still no links to evidence but I looked again and found this:
Which Bing translates to:
"15-19 in September #Rakka and #DeirEzZor was killed in combat in 8 #YPG/#SDF Terrorist."

Given the differences between fighting in Raqqa and east of Deir Ez-zor it's entirely possible that they all died in Raqqa and the SDF PR Office are muddying the water by conflating Deir Ez-zor and Raqqa. And eight dead rather than 14? The SDF Press Office should be more careful.

So where is the evidence of the destruction the SDF wrought on ISIS.

Looking at the CizireStorm feed again there are pictures and videos of a large convoy of armoured vehicles, etc. driving through Qamishli on the way to Deir Ez-zor which puzzles me slightly. Is the convoy delivering new or replacement kit. If it's the former then why wasn't it delivered before the operation started? If it's the latter, since the CizireStorm operation seems to have suffered so little damage, why is it needed. This just gets more and more intriguing


Has the feel and touch for me too.

I found the floating the Euphrates via dam's in the Kurdish area suggestion interesting. What about the energy they are meant to provide? Or do they have other functions, I am not aware of?


The Ru MOD stated that the SA/Ru attack on "Coalition Forces" earlier this week on the east bank was conducted due to the lack of conflict between IS and the coalition forces. Lack of hostilities was prima facie evidence of cooperation between the forces.
Today reports of further "assistance"...surely not the "fog of war" BS we've been fed so many times before.
BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:00 A.M.) – The US-backed forces in Deir Ezzor have shelled the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) positions at least twice this week along the western bank of the Euphrates River, the Spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of Defense, Major General Igor Konashenkov stated on Thursday.

“The Syrian governmental troops have been shelled twice from the areas on the western bank of the Euphrates controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces and the US military,” Konashenkov said.

In addition to shelling the Syrian Army’s positions, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have been accused of trying to obstruct the government’s advance across the Euphrates River by flooding the areas in the Euphrates River Valley.

Despite the US’ efforts to stop the Syrian Army from crossing the Euphrates, the latter’s forces successfully conducted an amphibious landing on the eastern bank of the river this past week.


A recap of the events demonstrates coalition strategy adapting to SA success in Deir Ezzor by taking the heat off IS. Now the gloves come off...guardedly!
The Russians don't threaten...they act.

“Russia unequivocally told the commanders of US forces in Al Udeid Airbase (Qatar) that it will not tolerate any shelling from the areas where the SDF are stationed,” Konashenkov said, adding that the attacks put at risk Russian military advisers embedded with Syrian government troops.

“Fire from positions in regions [controlled by the SDF] will be suppressed by all means necessary,” he stressed.

Konashenkov said Moscow suspected the SDF of colluding with the terrorist group Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS/ISIL) in Deir ez-Zor rather than fighting it, as it claims to be. He said Russia had detected the transfer of SDF fighters from the IS stronghold of Raqqa, to join forces with the jihadists.

“SDF militants work to the same objectives as IS terrorists. Russian drones and intelligence have not recorded any confrontations between IS and the ‘third force,’ the SDF,” the Russian general said.


If you look back over the history of the conflict, the lion's share of BS is coming out of the beltway. Sorry to say but I trust Russian statements more than our own. They mean what they say and keep their mouths shut otherwise. We bray, belch and spew all kinds of nonsense and then eat crow. (Red lines, chemical attacks, junior varsity players, etc.) We seem committed more than ever to the Rove doctrine of deciding what reality is because we are so exceptional. Sorry to say but the wheels are coming off the "reality"...or put another way, the emperor has no clothes!


Irrigation for the region as well. As for the quality of reporting from US sources which rely on hearsay and official pronouncements, well....it don't stand up to light of truth from a thousand vectors of social media and news outlets that have reporters on the ground. One thing though...the Russians have put up with lost of US BS and now they have drawn another line...they're pissed...they're in the right; they're slow to mount but ride hard and fast.

Today the Russian Defense Ministry accused the U.S. proxy forces of directly shelling its Syrian allies and the Russian forces accompanying them:

Russia warned a representative of the US command in Al Udeid, Qatar, that "any attempts of shelling from the areas where the militants of the Syrian Democratic Forces are based will be immediately curbed."
"Firing points in these areas will be immediately suppressed by all means of destruction," the general said.

Fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces approaching Deir ez-Zor from the north are easily joining IS terrorists, and Russian drones and reconnaissance recorded no clash between the IS with a "third force," namely the SDF over the past week, he explained.

However, massive fire from mortars and rocket artillery was opened twice on the Syrian troops from the areas on the eastern shore of Euphrates where the SDF fighters and servicemen of US special forces are based, Konashenkov said.

The U.S. paid "Syrian Democratic Forces" that pushed into northern Deir Ezzor without meeting any resistance are mostly local tribes who were aligned with the Islamic State until the U.S. diplomat Brett McGurk hired them to fight on the U.S. side. They are led by Kurdish commanders and "advised" by U.S. special forces.

The U.S. wants to keep Syrian government forces away from the oil fields north of the Euphrates. It has plans to build and control a Kurdish proto-state in north-east Syria and control over the eastern Deir Ezzor oil would give such a state the necessary economic base.


I wonder how this will play out over the years regarding alliances and such.



US Inaugurates Its First Military Base in Israel



...near Bersheeva

Quartered Safe Out Here

This from the AP today. I thought we had been doing this, or something similar, all along.
US, Russian militaries hold unprecedented talks on Syria

38 minutes ago
https://apnews.com/7efcc1730f794214b2a8bfd9c81b8865 Link copied!
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. says American and Russia military leaders have met for an unprecedented, face-to-face session in Syria or nearby to discuss increasing tensions around a remaining Islamic State stronghold in Syria.

Syrian government forces, Russian special forces and U.S.-backed militants are fighting for the oil-rich Deir el-Zour province.

Army Col. Ryan Dillon says U.S. and Russian general officers shared maps, graphics and information about where their forces are battling in the area. The recent discussions suggest an expanded effort to cooperate in the fight.

Dillon says U.S. and Russian ground forces in Syria have coordinating over telephone lines in the past month or so to ensure their forces don’t fire on each other.

Russia has accused the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces of firing on Syrian government troops in the area.

Red Cloud

At this point it should be easy for anyone to notice a consistency between all of these "coincidences" relating to the US helping ISIS


"...I doubt the accusation that US security services instigated the offensive but given the outcome it's obviously something they should be doing quite frequently."

Wording matters. US security services sounds like an accusation at the CIA's Syria shop doing their usual stuff. Well it did the world a favor by sending the martyrs to their moment.


The West is looking very disorganised over the future of Syria.
On the one hand we have the 'Friends of Syria' saying they won't help with reconstruction until there is a transition away from Assad http://www.reuters.com/article/us-un-assembly-syria/anti-assad-nations-say-no-to-syria-reconstruction-until-political-process-on-track-idUSKCN1BT1WP?utm_campaign=trueAnthem:+Trending+Content&utm_content=59c0bbc204d3014e325c1b0d&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=twitter

On the other we have a recent statement from the EU announcing that they will hold a second Brussels conference in spring 2018 on assisting recovery- but no mention of Assad-must-go prior conditions https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/32598/remarks-high-representative-mogherini-eu-hosted-high-level-event-syria-margins-72nd-un-general_en

There's clearly plenty of weasel wording in the EU statement, but the lack of reference to political prior conditions is interesting.


“An American flag is flying permanently over a US army base situated inside one of our bases.”


"The country has bought 50 F-35 stealth fighters from the United States.

Israel has a sophisticated anti-missile defence system, including the Iron Dome short-range interceptor which has successfully brought down rockets fired from Syria, Lebanon, Egypt’s lawless Sinai region and the Gaza Strip.
It also has the medium-range David’s Sling and the Arrow missile defence system, designed to counter more distant threats.

Heimowitz did not comment on the specific role of the new joint base, but said the “few dozen” US personnel there would be under Israeli command.

“This is not part of an exercise or manoeuvre,” he said. “It is a presence as part of the joint effort of Israel and the US to improve defence.”


Flying the Stars and Stripes yet under Israeli command?
If one of the PoG's missiles strikes scores a hit does that mean we would be officially at war?


I agree about beltway BS. And I admire Russian foreign policy.

On the other hand I trust statements by US Army Commanders in Iraq and Syria. Especially compared to agitprop coming out of the R+6. Why should we trust Konashenko's word, or the Russian MOD for whom he speaks? They are allied with Assad, who considers us an enemy of Syria (he has a point after our bungling of the FSA/CIA fiasco). The Russians will use whatever means necessary to support their ally. And that includes their century old history of deception and disinformation. They invented it. To believe that they would give up that tactic after the fall of the CCCP is ludicrous IMO.


First they denied it ever happened. Then they change the story to say yes-we-did-it-but...

Then they conflate "lack of hostilities", which BTW is not true, with "cooperation".

There probably was some alignment between locals living under Daesh and the SDF Arab components who come from that area. Why not? Those locals had been forced to comply with Daesh. Key word here is 'forced'. To say no meant death. Plus the Arab SDF components were members of the same tribes. They were kinsmen. Although that did not stop them from killing or capturing the hard-core. Assad has done the same. He has incorporated both former Daesh and former FSA into his militias. Makes good sense to me, I do not condemn Assad for doing it. Reconciliation is not just an emotional, touchy-feely kind of thing; it is a darn good tactic.

As for the shelling, the SDF have no heavy weapons. Thet depend on French and US artillery batteries to do their shelling for them.


More testing of the Syrian air defences?



Irrigation for the region as well.

I noticed. Looking up possible dams that would have fitted into the given scenario. Physics. In my own very, very nitwit way, admittedly.

Can I use "more or less" the way I use it in everyday speech over here, by the way? The way I use it or its German equivalent: mehr oder weniger, suggest more generally, yes might be the fog of war, but vaguely open to doubt.

Thanks for the feed back.

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