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06 February 2018


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The Russian search and rescue efforts do need improving.

When I heard the news it reminded me of the film the The Bridges at Toko Ri. With William Holden as the downed pilot holding on until his ammo ran out.

Balint Somkuti, PhD

Or better they should get some CSAR (Combat Search and Rescue) capability.


MIT is practically running the "moderate rebels" as well as al-Qaeda in Syria.

This - related - is quite revealing:
The Story Behind the Rise of Turkey’s Ulema

Having learned of the planned coup during a dinner with intelligence chief Hakan Fidan and Moaz al Khatib (a leading member of the Syrian opposition and ulema), then Diyanet chief Mehmet Görmez (2010–July 2017) [3] rallied the body’s 112,725—strong religious corps, including the imams of some 82,381 mosques controlled by the body.
The Diyanet has been active in Syria, revealed by the former chief’s meeting on the evening of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt with Sheikh Moaz al-Khatib—the same individual who caused controversy in 2012 by calling on the United States to reconsider its decision to list Syria’s Jabhat al-Nusra as a terrorist organisation. [20] Al-Khatib is also the former president of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, former imam of the Umayyad mosque in Damascus, and a member of the League of the Ulema of Sham (Rabitat Ulama al-Sham, established in 2012 by opposition ulema from Damascus and Homs, and member of the umbrella group, the Syrian Islamic Council, Al-Majlis al-Islami al-Suri), which is ideologically close to the Muslim Brotherhood. [21]

I wonder how long Russia is willing to play with Turkey which is cheating on any deal at every corner. What is Putin trying to achieve?

Account Deleted


Filipov has set a very high bar for the conduct of personnel who are not fortunate enough to benefit from such rescue services. His conspicuously heroic act is all the more inspirational given its juxtaposition with the mundane anti-heroic sacrifice of his enemies. Their sacrifice is only possible after indoctrination into a belief system which glories in death and inverts the natural celebration of all that life is. Filipov doubtless chose to act despite his love of this world. The astonishing bravery in doing so bears no comparison with the willing suicides of those that show such disdain for it.

FB Ali

Roman Filipov was a brave soldier, a model for all patriots who fight (and sometimes) give their lives for their country.

Such soldiers don't die. They live on, as does Roman Filipov!


Major Roman Filipov is a hero and an inspiration.
Thanks for this post.

Can anyone point me to a link that explains whether Turkey is winning or losing in its attack on Afrin?
I can't find anything anywhere and yet, the Turks first started bombing on Jan 19, so this thing has been going on for 3 weeks.
Afrin isn't that far from the Turkish border, and Turkey has a huge army.
Are they bogged down? Is the YPG winning?


I wonder how long Russia is willing to play with Turkey which is cheating on any deal at every corner. What is Putin trying to achieve?

Caucasus. Turkey does have leverage there. In fact, Turkey can blow Caucasus up if she really wishes to. This is a very serious issue for Russia.


When the Turkish army first intervened in Syria they entered Jarabulus in August of 2016. It wasn't until late February 2017 when they took al-Bab. It took quite a while but they keep working away at it.

In the Afrin campaign the weather was quite bad so it slowed the start and I've seen stated that much of the Turkish army is conscripts and they want to keep casualties low to maintain popular support. The Turks are also looking for long term support of the local population so for example in al-Bab they compensated families that lost lives or property. Now in al-Bab the schools are teaching Turkish. A major rebuilding is taking place in the Jarabulus/al-Bab/a-zaz triangle. Erdogan has said he intends to move/encourage Syrian refugees to settle in these areas of Syria.




While I agree that Russia improving Search and Rescue services is a good idea I don't think that would have make any difference in the case of Roman Filipov.

Roman Filipov flew low over an area saturated with undisciplined insurgents hell bent on quickly killing any enemy they get in their hands. Flying low meant he could not even steer his parachute to get away some miles from that high concentration of insurgents after his aircraft was hit. I doubt even the very best Search and Rescue services could have helped him successfully escape from that area where he landed. I think it was like being shot down and landing in the yard of a major enemy base.

Imho, the only way to avoid such a situation is not flying so low with manned aircraft. That's what the RuAF is said to be doing now - they fly higher. Of course, Filipov had a reason to fly low. The weather was at least partly cloudy, so flying above clouds he could not see the enemy forces to fight them. So, the only way I see to avoid that is using UAV to fly low when it's needed to see the enemy. Of course, UAVs may well be shot down by enemy fire, and the material loss may hurt, too, but at least there would be no human loss in such a case.


There are two other scenarios that have been in the media about Filipov's death. The first, which appears to be verified by the jihadi video, is that he was caught alive and "executed." The second is that he committed suicide rather than find his way into the hands of the head-choppers.

As for Russia and Turkey, I don't think the latter would dare do much to Russia having burned most of its bridges with the West and placing its hopes in the massive Eurasian trade scheme launched by China. If Turkey becomes a "problem child," the trains and roads could just wiz right past.

Turkey has as yet not worked itself sufficiently into Russia's good graces to have had the last of the ban lifted for its agricultural goods entering the Russian market. That is what happened to Turkey as a result of the loss of the life of another Russian pilot some years ago.


Turkey has as much leverage on the Caucasus just as it thought it had with Crimean Tatars. Yes, it can create some local trouble, but that is not strategic leverage.

Jony Kanuck

Maj. Filipov's body has been returned to Russia. My Russian friends knew last night! Yesterday's speculation that I read this morning has the 'hit' being done by the Turks. Or maybe someone else did it to make it look like the Turks did it...
I read last night that the Turks have stopped flying missions over Afrin. Either that is Syrian air defense being brought up into Idlib or more likely Russia telling Turkey to back off on the air raids. Without air support I don't think the Turks & their pet jihadis can make big inroads. Also a couple thou YPJ came over from western Rojava last night.


NATO also. He wants to break Turkey away from NATO. Assad and Rouhani don't want to go along with that. So Putin is walking a tightrope trying to keep Turkey on the same side as Syria, Iran, & Hezbollah.

Sooner or later Erdogan is going to have to give up Syrian land it has taken. If he digs in his heels many would like to see him lose Hatay Province. The Syrians still have a full plate of acrimony that Turkey annexed it in 1939, even though had Ataturk signed the Treaty of Lausanne confirming that it belonged to Syria. At least one Syrian Alawite militia, the 'Popular Front for the Liberation of the Sanjak of Iskandarun' has been carrying out raids and bombings on Reyhanli and other towns in Hatay. Their leader Mihrac Ural was recently in Sochi to the great displeasure of MIT.


There is suspicion that this same group is responsible for attacks in Reyhanli Turkey last week, but officially Erdogan is blaming those bombings on the Afrin Kurds.

scott s.

Sorry for some OT, but on the subject of heroism, we have the 50th anniversary of heroic actions:

Sgt Alfredo Cantu Gonzalez USMC

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as platoon commander, 3d Platoon, Company A. On 31 January 1968, during the initial phase of Operation Hue City, Sgt. Gonzalez' unit was formed as a reaction force and deployed to Hue to relieve the pressure on the beleaguered city. While moving by truck convoy along Route No. 1, near the village of Lang Van Lrong, the Marines received a heavy volume of enemy fire. Sgt. Gonzalez aggressively maneuvered the Marines in his platoon, and directed their fire until the area was cleared of snipers. Immediately after crossing a river south of Hue, the column was again hit by intense enemy fire. One of the Marines on top of a tank was wounded and fell to the ground in an exposed position. With complete disregard for his safety, Sgt. Gonzalez ran through the fire-swept area to the assistance of his injured comrade. He lifted him up and though receiving fragmentation wounds during the rescue, he carried the wounded Marine to a covered position for treatment. Due to the increased volume and accuracy of enemy fire from a fortified machine gun bunker on the side of the road, the company was temporarily halted. Realizing the gravity of the situation, Sgt. Gonzalez exposed himself to the enemy fire and moved his platoon along the east side of a bordering rice paddy to a dike directly across from the bunker. Though fully aware of the danger involved, he moved to the fire-swept road and destroyed the hostile position with hand grenades. Although seriously wounded again on 3 February, he steadfastly refused medical treatment and continued to supervise his men and lead the attack. On 4 February, the enemy had again pinned the company down, inflicting heavy casualties with automatic weapons and rocket fire. Sgt. Gonzalez, utilizing a number of light antitank assault weapons, fearlessly moved from position to position firing numerous rounds at the heavily fortified enemy emplacements. He successfully knocked out a rocket position and suppressed much of the enemy fire before falling mortally wounded. The heroism, courage, and dynamic leadership displayed by Sgt. Gonzalez reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps, and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country."

During the same action in the battle for Hue City, GySgt James L. Canley USMC received the Navy Cross for his actions. The application to upgrade his award to the MOH is awaiting Pres Trump's approval.

"The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Gunnery Sergeant James L. Canley (MCSN: 1455946), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as Company Gunnery Sergeant of Company A, First Battalion, First Marines, FIRST Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, during operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam from 31 January to 6 February 1968. On 31 January, when his company came under a heavy volume of enemy fire near the city of Hue, Gunnery Sergeant Canley rushed across the fire-swept terrain and carried several wounded Marines to safety. Later, with the company commander seriously wounded, Gunnery Sergeant Canley assumed command and immediately reorganized his scattered Marines, moving from one group to another to advise and encourage his men. Although sustaining shrapnel wounds during this period, he nonetheless established a base of fire which subsequently allowed the company to break through the enemy strongpoint. Retaining command of the company for the following three days, Gunnery Sergeant Canley on 4 February led his men into an enemy-occupied building in Hue. Despite fierce enemy resistance, he succeeded in gaining a position immediately above the enemy strongpoint and dropped a large satchel charge into the position, personally accounting for numerous enemy killed, and forcing the others to vacate the building. On 6 February, when his unit sustained numerous casualties while attempting to capture a government building, Gunnery Sergeant Canley lent words of encouragement to his men and exhorted them to greater efforts as they drove the enemy from its fortified emplacement. Although wounded once again during this action, on two occasions he leaped a wall in full view of the enemy, picked up casualties, and carried them to covered positions. By his dynamic leadership, courage, and selfless dedication, Gunnery Sergeant Canley contributed greatly to the accomplishment of his company's mission and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service."

The Twisted Genius

When the end became inevitable, Major Filipov went out on his own terms with a grenade. He took as many jihadis out with him as he could. I can identify with that. My relatives who survived their time in the Lithuanian Freedom Army told me it was common practice for their forest brothers to do the same when faced with capture.

Plantman, in my opinion the Turks and the FSA are bogged down. With the arrival of more YPG/YPJ reinforcements and the denial of Turkish overflight by the SAA and the Russians, I doubt the Turks will make anymore meaningful progress. They never made a full on attack, relying on the FSA for the bulk of their fighting and I doubt they will go all in at this stage of the fight. They still have plenty of artillery, but I have a feeling SAA counter-battery fire may start making itself felt.

Den Lille Abe

Major Roman Filipov apparently chose the quick way out instead of the of being burned alive. Or having his head sawed of and his liver eaten.
Sigh! Civilisation is indeed a thin veneer, barbarism and atrocities are nothing new in warfare, but it seems to me it has soared to new heights.
May Major Roman Filipov rest in peace.


Colonel & all,

Unfortunately there doesn't appear to be any "level of collegiality" in returning
the sexually mutilated bodies of YPJ woman to their bereaved families. NATO seems incapable of exercising any restraint on the Turks & their jihadists cronies.



I know the Turkish army well. The jihadis did that. pl



Only a civilian would think that significant. pl


Den Lille Abe

"Always save the last round for yourself." Old US Army tradition when fighting savages. pl


Yes, it can create some local trouble, but that is not strategic leverage.

It is, once one remembers Nagorny Karabakh. Moscow doesn't need war there, Turkey may help to start it.


And a pretty old British Army tradition in similar circumstances, to judge from Kipling's famous concluding verse to "The Young British Soldier".

Though I've handled a Martini-Henry, and I imagine it would be quite tricky to blow your own brains out with it if you are already wounded.

Ishmael Zechariah

1-re: 'Popular Front for the Liberation of the Sanjak of Iskandarun' Can you post any documentation about Ural being the leader of this group?
2-According to your own link, Ural is the leader of People’s Liberation Party-Front (THKP-C), a Marxist-communist organization. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DHKP/C_insurgency_in_Turkey). Do you think "Popular Front for the Liberation of the Sanjak of Iskandarun" is an affiliate of THKP-C? Any documentation?
3-Hatay joined Turkey after a referendum. Turkish forces did not enter Hatay until after the referendum. Thus, the sequence of events is slightly different than the Crimean referendum. Why did you omit mentioning this fact?
4- re: "There is suspicion that this same group is responsible for attacks in Reyhanli Turkey last week".
Any verifiable sources for this "suspicion" of yours ore are you making this up as well?
Ishmael Zechariah


scott, Total respect & awe for the GySgts & Sgt your post referenced,
however I'm curious why no mention of any above the call of duty bravery
to any ranks above or below Sgt? Are the gentlemen you named new in receiving honors?


The transfer of Hatay to the Republic of Turkey was not so straightforward. It had been a part of the province of Aleppo in Ottoman times nad came under the French mandate at the end of WWI. In 1936, only 39% of the population was ethnic Turkish. Arabs, to include the largest group of Arabs, the Alawites, Christians, and Sunnis made up the overwhelming majority of the population, nearly 50%. Certainly, the 11% that were Armenian, survivors of the genocide who had returned to their homes under the French, did not want what was then the "Republic of Hatay" to revert back to Turkish control.

In advance of the referendum, the Turks brought in tens of thousands of Turks and provided them with Hatay citizenship, with which they voted. The French were fully aware of this but they had no intention to buck the Turks and so it became part of Turkey. This meant that the Armenians and the others Christians who had been disenfranchised per the Treaty of Lausanne had no place in the Turkish Republic and were also fearful for their lives. Those who could, managed to sell their property to fellow Alawite citizens and moved south into Syria. Many Muslim Arabs fled as well not wishing to live under the Turks, preferring to be in Arab-majority Syria. I believe that today, the majority of the Arabs in Hatay are Alawite.

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