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12 February 2018


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An article over at Russia Insider suggests that Erdogan is trying to build a "security belt" around his favorite terrorists in Idlib, countering SAA attempts to get rid of them.

Turkey Sets up 2nd Base in Rebel-Held Syria, Blocking off Syrian Army Offensive

Does this make sense to the Syria watchers here? How likely is this to succeed or provoke a confrontation between the SAA and Turkey - or Turkey and Russia?


Col Lang, just wanted to share that these Syrian war military analysis and are my favorite part of your blog...for me, this is the meat and potatoes of Sic Semper Tyrannis


Thanks Peter Au. Do you have any sources you would recommend re 2nd Chechen war?

Account Deleted

I stumbled across SST looking for this meat and potatoes. Imagine my surprise at discovering a magnificent banquet.

Account Deleted

This is interesting news Colonel, thanks.

Perhaps there is some truth in the news in AMN recently of a long-term ceasefire having been negotiated in Idlib. I must profess some surprise if so - had the R+6 not recently attained a position from which to threaten the Idlib Jihadis with extinction? Why have 500 ISIS surrounded in the desert for 2 months suddenly become more important?


Erdogan reminds me of Wile E. Coyote.


Reply to turcopolier @23;
Robert Graves, a classically trained English officer who fought through the Western Front in WW1. Who better to bring the career of Belisarius to life? As a bonus, Belisarius served in what later became Turkey and the Middle East, plus Italy! An excellent read for this humanities type. Does Graves' writing, considering his wartime service, resonate with the soldiers? (Serious question.)
Thanks, ambrit


LG & Beaver:

If anyone knows it would be al-Basri. Although I wonder about a source inside - why would he broadcast that? Other than to perhaps head-fake the remaining Daeshis and get them paranoid about each other. In this article below he claims Baghdadi is on an island somewhere between Jadin and al-Bukamal. I have my doubts.



I am a soldier and have a degree in English. I like the book. That is why I recommended it. "humanities type?" What kind of clod are you? pl


LG & Beaver:




Well, Australian doggy, perhaps you have me confused with someone else. If you had the wit to check my CV on SST or the "About" section on the blog you would know that I have a masters in Arab literature and other ME studies and was the first professor of the Arabic language at the US Military Academy. Your presence is not desired on SST. pl

Antoinetta III

Perhaps the R+6 gave the Orcs a "surrender or die" ultimatum. We don't know what the terms of the cease-fire are, possibly its just to discuss the terms of surrender.

As for the 500 Daesh in the desert, these are located just South East of the Al Bukamal, Dier Zior area. Recently Syrian and PMU forces tangled with SDF and Kurdish groups in the region. The Daesh fighters are well positioned to deliver a stab-in-the-back to the Syrian Army + Allies, whose attention will be focused on the SDF enemy to the Ease.

It really makes sense to remove this threat from the scene. Unfortunately, these 500 or so Daesh are the most fanatical of the die-hards. They will have to be hunted down and killed on the battlefield, to the last man, and, mobile and spread around as they are, this could take several months.

Antoinetta III


Antoinetta III

"these are located just South East of the Al Bukamal, Dier Zior area." i think they occupy a wider swath of easter Homs than that. pl

Babak Makkinejad

"Farsi" is the name of the language commonly spoken on the Iranian plateau which, in English, is called Persian.
Using the word "Farsi" is as jarring to a listener as the word "Italiano" would be.


Dear Colonel,

Although Israel can attempt to assassinate a single person, they cant assassinate an army, and IMO Russian training has seriously altered the balance of power in the ME by not only facilitating the transformation of the SAG, but also similar (albeit less dramatic) improvements in Iranian and Hezbollah. Likely this will tip Lebanon to solidly R+6. Meanwhile Turkey (allied with Israel in the past) has suffered its own (negative) transformation from internal purges.

These shifts must make the Izzies nervous, as should S400 sales to Saudi Arabia and increasingly close Russian military ties with Egypt, and the upcoming (history sadly does rhyme) betrayal of the Kurds as autonomous actors. Israel is a bully that depends on being able to slap around its neighbors to keep the schoolyard in line, but those days (outside Palestinians) are rapidly drawing to an end (per your earlier thread on the jet shoot down).

Can Israel adapt to the new geopolitical reality? My educated guess is not - it would require a small thing called humility. My guess is the Izzies will double down on trying to get Uncle Sam to fight their wars for them as that allows Israel to pretend everything is just fine.

My fear is a false flag attack on a US asset by Israeli operative. (The USS Liberty shows how our ally thinks about US servicemen). Hopefully our IC will spot and warn off Israel before it happens.


Antoinetta -

The Kurdish groups you refer to left Deir ez-Zor province two weeks ago to face the TFSA in Afrin. And others went to the northern border at Kobani, Tel Abyad, Ras al-Ayn, ad-Darbasiyah, Qamislo and Diwar to meet a potential Turkish threat there.

There were only Arab SDF units down by the Euphrates. Probably mostly al-Shaitat. Which could be why that pro-regime militia tried to push them out last week on the 7th.

Bill Herschel

I stipulate you are correct. What should be done?


Very very true.....


Not that anyone asked me, however I'll pipe in to defend JTMcPhee here. He's a Vietnam vet who has seen a lot, knows too much, and has served his country in many thankless roles since then. JT and I have had our disagreements in the past, however, in my opinion at least, he's someone who deserves respect, which is not to imply that my opinion should carry any weight around here. In any case, thanks for doing what you do, as it is an invaluable oasis of information within a lifeless desert of disinformation. Cheers.


I am the type of 'clod' who hasn't experienced war. That's why I ask some 'clueless' questions. "Humanities type" was poor phrasing. My mistake.

Peter AU

Razor, this is perhaps the best starting point.
Although this is a US embassy report, it is not the western or US narrative.
Although the section on Kadyrov, traditianal Chechen Islam, the arrival of Arabs and Salafism/Whabbism begins at paragraph 17, it is worth reading from the start to see what Putin inherited when he came to power.

Although I cannot find it at the moment, there is a youtube video of Kadyrov junior being interviewed where he talks about the deal Putin made with his father and how Putin stuck by his promise.
In many videos and other bits and pieces I have read there are sections that add to what is in the embassy cables.


There’s nothing particularly remarkable about Graves having a literary career (granted, Graves was extraordinarily learned). Many soldiers have wielded pens to magnificent effect. Jorge Manrique, the great Spanish poet, who died during a siege, belonged to a distinguished family of poets. The conqueror of Mexico, if Diaz del Castillo is to be believed, produced very good poems (also posted on walls) in response to graffiti allegations about the division of spoils in Tenochtitlán. Tolstoy saw service in Crimea. Jaroslav Hasek (author of “The Good Soldier Svejk”) was a conscript in the Austro-Hungarian Army during WWI. Two British FMs of WWII had significant interest in letters: Wavell produced an anthology of verse, some his own, and could produce (as demonstrated in Alanbrooke’s War Diaries) verses on the flight back from the summit in Moscow to explain how there would be no second front in 1943; “Uncle Bill” Slim supplemented his army income in the interwar years by writing novels (Anthony Mills).

Further examples seem unnecessary.


Latest Report via Al Masdar appears to be the Tigers are on Route to East Ghouta... If true hopefully a few TOS-1 is accompanying them and if BMPT has indeed been provided now would be a good Time to try use them....

The Report I saw suggests that they will be joining in Operations around Harasta Base which as we all know was under sustained attack not long ago... This Operation makes sense so as to better secure it and prevent a repeat of those Days.

Looking at East Ghouta as a whole, and with admitedly 'questionable' Maps, I could imagine two Axis of Attack,

A) From the Helicopter Base (And it appears they already have Positions on other side of the Canal/River Bank) towards - Autaya... A Commited drive with Aircover and preperation could seize this townlet, the minor Canals around it may also make counter attack more difficult as the Opposition do not have the Engineering/Bridging Capabilities to match.. This Places Al-Nashabiyah in a difficult Position and forces it rely on a Northern and more convoluted supply Route (It may also draw Fighters out of Al-Nashabiyah)

B) Coming South West into Al-Shifuniyah, control of it and the Army Base below would leave the 'Ghouta' Pocket in divided once done in conjunction with a move on Autaya...

Any move into the Heart Land of Ghouta, the Farms etc would likely tempt a Counter Offensive or risk the inevitable loss of the East.... Drawing Fighters out of those Urban Strongholds obviously brings great results...

Of course all this requires the adequate Force Balances, Dispostions, and at Times LOS/Topographical Data (Raw Satellite does not tell everything)..
Another perspective however might be that of forcing the Fighters out of the Cities and into the less developed Rural Areas, in which case - Blocking the Path of Retreat forces them to fight...

I can only wish luck to the SAA and its Allies for this Fight, For Russian Advisors this will likewise provide a good Polygon of Experience and Capabilities


According to @smmsyria

1. #SAA has begun mobilizing its forces in the western countryside of the #DeirEzzor province as they prepare for battle against #ISIS near the #Homs province border

2. #Tiger Forces units will be redeployed to #EasternGhouta region of #Damascus after a successful campaign in the #Idlib province.

3. According to the source #TigerForces will be aiding in clearing #Harasta suburb https://twitter.com/smmsyria/status/963380602836803584

About half an hour before @smmsyria posted their tweets, @Muraselon reported:

Exclusive | Syrian Elite forces to Damascus In new Mission -
https://twitter.com/Muraselon/status/963368969099993088 https://muraselon.com/en/2018/02/exclusive-syrian-elite-forces-damascus-new-mission/

"On Tuesday , Military source Exclusively told Muraselon website that the elite Syrian Army Tiger forces prepare to start new mission in Damascus .
The aim of the new objective is to liberate Eastern Gouta neighborhoods , the source added.

According the the sources, The new mission to begin in the upcoming next days."

No way of verifying whether the report that the Tiger Forces will be used to clear Eastern Ghouta is accurate, but since February 5 the fighting in that area has become extremely intense.

In other news, Sputnik International reports the Russian Military is warning of a potential 'provocation' involving the use of chemical weapons in a village in Idlib.

If one was going to carry out a 'provocation,' as the Russians call it, not sure using a village in Idlib makes sense at this time, given the Syrian Army has stopped military operations in that area. Maybe the idea, presuming the reporting is correct, is to have the material ready for use if and when attacks start again?

Russian MoD: Al-Nusra, White Helmets Preparing Provocation With Chemical Weapons: https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201802131061612872-al-nusra-front-white-helmets-chemical-weapons-russia-syria/ via @SputnikInt



I was excessive. 3/4 of successful officers are SJ type (men who make the trains run on time) The other 1/4 are NTs (humanities type). We are an oppressed minority and have the twitches to go with that condition. Try my cycle of novels to see the scars. pl

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