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30 August 2019


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@Pat 9:20 am
"It was actually WEST Aleppo that the R+6 re=took from the jihadis. The government never lost control of EAST Aleppo."

No. It was east Aleppo city(!) the Jihadis had captured and which the SAA liberated.
There was also a successful campaign in east Aleppo governorate.

@TTG 2.04pm
"The SAA is also massing in East Aleppo"

The SAA is massing in the suburbs southwest of Aleppo city which is the western Aleppo governorate. From there it will be one front axis generally along the M5 with another one coming up from the south. The third axis along the M4 to Jisr ash-Shhugur is a bit more difficult (mountainous, Uyghurs).

@Jack @2:04
"What do you make of the US cruise missile attack on a meeting of jihadi leaders in Idlib?"

Probably not cruise missile as 7+ hits reported.

It was a coordinated action.
Turkey provided the intelligence. After closing its border and stopping to deliver new ammo Turkey has to fear the Jihadis. (Putin paid for Erdo's ice cream.)
Russia cleared the airspace by announcing a (temporary) unilateral ceasefire. It also shutdown its GPS jamming.
The U.S. launched the weapons.
Note that the CENTCOM statement speaks of U.S. "allies and partners". The "allies" are Turkey. The "partners" are Russia.


Would the Russian naval units at Tartus and on station come to the assistance of that tanker if the Israelis tried to board and detain it? Better yet, would the Russians supply an escort for the tanker in the Eastern Mediterranean? The cynic in me could well believe the Israelis capable of mounting a false flag operation against the tanker and blaming it on "Somali Pirates."



I have no idea. that would be a policy decision for the Russians.



you need to go back and look at the situation maps at the time. Yes, the jihadis held a big piece of east Aleppo for a time but the city wsa essentially re-taken from east to west supplemented by concentric attacks from other directions.


One heck of an oil slick if the Israelis torpedo the tanker. There would also be a hue and cry if the crew were not taken off first.

English Outsider

Fred - Yes. On this sort of thing the BBC's still usually carbon copy State Department. I don't usually bother with the BBC radio any more but heard this as I was driving somewhere. Found it quite shocking, how they dovetail the false picture with what one knows of the true and with what might be true. There must be a lot of work going into that somewhere, I thought - I no longer believe that this is explicable just as groupthink.

The Twisted Genius

b, the liberation of Aleppo was quite complicated with the R+6 and the jihadis besieging each other at the same time. The R+6 held the airport and the industrial area north of the airport. That area is what Colonel Lang and I are referring to as East Aleppo. The jihadis held the center and government forces were to the west of the jihadis. Then to the west of those government forces were more jihadis. Definitely a complicated situation. In the final battles, the R+6 forces cleared out the jihadis from the east to the west with supporting attacks from other directions as Colonel Lang described below.

It is jihadi attacks from their current positions in the western outskirts of Aleppo against the civilian population of Aleppo that is the impetus behind the buildup of SAA forces in Aleppo.


The hue and cry always comes after the fact and has no effect on either what happened or what will happen again. One can actually say that the hue and cry will be the only response, the huers and criers will be all proud of their words and deeply convinced of their virtue. The dead will remain dead.


I guess I'm the only one who thinks Putin will let Erdogan hold onto parts of northern Idlib.

I'm not sure Putin wants to clear the area beyond the de escalation zone. He might want to give Erdogan a break so he can speed up a negotiated settlement and bring the war to a swift end.

In military terms, this would be stupid, but in political terms, it makes perfect sense. Putin needs to strengthen relations with Erdogan in order to break up Nato and create a valuable partner in natural gas distribution throughout southern Europe.

Putin does not need to clear every inch of syrian soil from foreign occupation to achieve his broader geopolitical goals, in fact, humiliating Erdogan might negatively impact Russia's real interests.

Bottom line: Putin needs Erdogan in his struggle against a belligerent and threatening Nato. He gains nothing by kicking Erdogan's a** in front of the world.

JP Billen

HTS shot at and dispersed Idlibi civilians protesting Erdogan and trying to flee into Hatay at the Bab al-Hawa crossing.


So HTS is trying to keep their human shields in Idlib? Maybe doing it at the request of the Turks in order to get a new shipment of AT weapons? Possibly both. No way they are just doing it to maintain order.


If Erdogan ever had any neo-Ottoman ambitions, they have long given way to more pressing issues re Syria. Not only there is the threat of a new wave of refugees, which, this time round they will not offer safe harbor to. Perhaps most important beyond the Kurdish "threat," is the seriously rising anti-Syrian sentiment, and even violence, in Turkey, especially in the large cities to which many migrated to from the camps in the border area. He is trying desperately to get them to move back to their camps or, better yet, to return to Syria, to dwell, despite their original regions, in the areas Turkey has occupied, such as Al Bab and Afrin.

A few thousand have taken up his offer, but are probably from that area. In both cases, much of the civilian population, very diverse, have fled, not just from the Turks, but from the jihadis that make up his local forces. They have been responsible for destroying sacred sites belonging to the Kurds, Yezidis, and Alevis [not to be confused with Alawites, who have also departed]. Obviously, anyone connect to the YPG got out some time ago. Erdogan has been trying to use demographic engineering in the same way that the Assad regime did and that Turkey has done in the southeast.

[[The populations in that region traditionally include: Sunni and Shia [Ismaili] Arabs, Alawites, Alevis [Kurdish speakers for the most part], Armenians, various Syriac communities, Armenians, Arab Christians, Yezidis, Mandeans, Mhallami [now an Arabic=speaking group that was originally Syriac, but converted to Islam during the genocide], Dom [the local distant cousins of the Roma, and who are known elsewhere in the Arab states as Nawwar], Turkmen [possibly also including Alevis], Circassions and Chechens.]]

Some of the Alawites and Christians are originally from Hatay, but fled when the French decided to hand it over to the Turks as they were departing in the 30s. Armenians are survivors of the Genocide, as are the Yezidis, who also followed other Armenians into what is now the Republic of Armenia, the Syriacs in that area [the Khabour River basin] were settled there, in separate communities according to their tribes by the French. They are the survivors of three massacres: originally in Hakkari, then in Urmia when it was occupied by the Turks, and also in Iraq, where the British did nothing to protect them.

Erdogan is still furious and fearful as a result of his AKP having lost control of the large cities in municipal elections. In Istanbul and Ankara, it has resulted in careful examination of government funds spend on the "NGOs" in the multi-millions and with members of his family on their boards. Eight new buildings almost completed, set to be given over to these organizations are now in the hands of the municipality and will be used for other purposes. The more they did, the more dirt they will find on a significant level.

He is also weak because these elections demonstrated that the sectors he assumed were loyal to him are now up for grabs. The opposition CHP and pro-Kurdish progressive HDP made a private deal that neither party would put forward candidates in areas where they were not competitive and instead ask their constituents to vote for the other. Suddenly, Ocalan's lawyer and later his brother were allowed to visit him and no surprise, he had a message for the Kurds not to be fooled by the opposition maneuver and vote for the AKP! It did not work. Erdogan and Ocalan are real autocrats who need each other when the time to settle comes around.

The economy is still in the toilet. The retiring of certain military officers was accompanied by the reassignment to desk jobs of others who refused to move deeper into Syria. And consider that this is an army that just a couple of years ago was massively purged of all officers thought to be supporters of Gulen. It seems that the subsequent reorganization of the military and security services did not solve his problem with the military corp.

In sum, Erdogan does not hold all the cards in the country and even in his AKP, there is talk of his former and still popular associates to return to the scene. There is clearly an Erdogan and an AKP fatigue in the country. Next big elections are in 2024.

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