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14 August 2019


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Nothing like a good kesselschlacht. It smells like victory. Yes, "those are regulars by God!"


This fight in the so-called DMZ has been going on for some time. I find it impossible to believe that these Sunni militants are not getting logistical support from outside.(Washington or Ankara??) Otherwise, how could a group of no-account jihadists be able to stave off a conventional military for so long??

And once the zone is cleared of jihadis, then what?? Will Putin support an attack on the Turkish units that are holding territory in North syria?

No way.

Putin has done an admirable job preventing the jihadist alliance (US-Turkey-S Arabia??) from toppling the Assad government and turning the country into another Libya, but the borders in the North and east have already been redrawn by the invaders. It doesn't look to me like that will change. But I could be wrong.

The Twisted Genius

Plantman, of course the jihadis are being resupplied, rearmed and reinforced through Turkey. It's been that way since the beginning. Didn't you see the M-16 with night sight captured from the jihadis in the video. There have been many photos of the brand new Turkish APCs filled with jihadis.

I doubt the SAA will attack the Turkish observation posts, but they will choke them out and make the Turks life a living hell if they don't withdraw. It may take a long time, but I'm fairly confident Damascus will eventually regain control over all Syrian territory. Ten towns in Raqqa governorate signed on with Damascus recently. More will follow as the FUKUS alliance proves its fecklessness.

JP Billen

Any thoughts on the next cauldron after Khan Sheikoun? I see there have been a lot of airstrikes softening up defenses on secondary roads on the way to Maarat al-Nu'man - parallel to the M5 on its western side. If so, that would put two more Turkish OPs in the pot.

Jihadis are bragging they shot down a Syrian AF Sukhoi near Khan Sheikoun. Sounds like propaganda to compensate for their loss of so much territory there.

Harlan Easley


English Outsider

Great update, TTG! Seems like the terrorists are leaving Khan Shaykhun fast. So if there's any evidence of the poison gas incident left, or witnesses, they may not have time to remove it or eliminate the witnesses. It would be good to get that incident finally cleared up.

The Russian reconciliation teams are reported to be working out of the airbase, not on the ground. Is that a dud report or are they tackling reconciliation differently in Idlib? Just wonder how the civilian leaders would be getting to the airbase through it all.

The Twisted Genius

EO, The Russian Reconciliation Center is headquartered at the airbase, but it has teams working all over Syria. Whenever the SAA clears an area, the reconciliation teams are there. The Russians also have observation posts around Idlib just like the Turks.


A SyAAF Su-22 has been lost in South Idlib Area, Pilot Captured by those on the Ground - Hopefully he can be rescued through talks or force. I would not envy his Fate.

What I do wonder is - having taken many losses of late - but having had a long period of relative quiet to refit and reinforce - how serious could those in the 'Cauldron' resist or is it better to leave the Door open for a contested withdrawl through Khan Sheykhun? (with those from Tal Sukayk moving north to At Tamanyah first)

Normally I think the approach best (unless overwhelming means is available) - is to leave the Lid off the Pot, encouraging a withdrawl - that you contest. But Khan Sheykhun has it seems few Elevations near by to guard its approach or exit, and no doubt Civil Traffic will be heavy as Civilians try avoid the likely battle... So mining the exit and attacking light forces is a major Issue...

I just worry how many might be in that Area around Murak etc, that may again slow down the advance of SAA forces that ideally would like to move North into the interior of Enemy Lines.



IMO with the jihadis retreating in disarray the SAA should pursue them north along the M5 corridor, leading with the armored teams and conducting a series of shallow double envelopments as they move north. the important thing is to keep up the pace and the pressure using Syrian and RU air to create a "pont au feu" (bridge of fire) over which the advance can continue. If you will pardon a historical conceit, this would be much like Sherman's advance to Atlanta from north Georgia.


What happens if a heavily armed Jihadi rump retreats and finds itself with its back on the Syrian-turkish border? Is Erdogan going to let these bastards retreat into Turkish territory with weapons and units intact? I would have thought not because they then could threaten the region if they get loose. There are a lot of European, and American tourists all over Turkey who are potential targets.

I would hope that the Turkish Army would seal the border, providing an anvil against which the jihadis can be crushed.

I also think we are due for a White helmet compassion attack shortly. You know - poison gas/barrel bombing/hospitals/dead children etc. Probably timed for the weekend talk shows.


If Robert E. Lee had been one-tenth as bad as his reputation in modern America (or modern South where his statues defaced and destroyed daily) he could have made the decision to shift to a guerrilla campaign and bled the North for 200 years. Consider how many 20th-century foreign entanglements this would’ve precluded. But also lives. I had family on both sides. I assume you did as well, Col. Lang? (https://www.nps.gov/civilwar/search-soldiers.htm#sort=score+desc&q=Lang)


Whilst I agree a lot, the Issue with this is two Fold.

Depth of Force - These Forces may already have a good motivation to stay and fight given prexistant positions.. - which if sufficient Number - may reduce that advance we all desire beyond... allowing the bulk to dig in again...

Making sure any advance does not indeed promote them to stand fast as opposed to continual withdrawal - A good part of this depends on the depth of SAA Forces

JP Billen

Grazhdanochka -

With a Lid on the Pot the TKK troops near Morek would be surrounded. The Turkish government would have to beg the Russians to protect them and help with an evacuation. Assad and many in Damascus would probably love to humiliate Erdogan.


Where is Syria getting its ammo from.seems like Russia has lost a few ammunition dumps lately.https://www.dw.com/en/explosions-rip-through-russian-ammunition-depot-for-second-time/a-49969498.
Guy fawkes would be proud.



I would love to belong to the SCV but sadly am unqualified. My uniformed ancestors were in Wisconsin infantry regiments.

Unhinged Citizen

I hope that the leveled Khan Shaykhoun is paved over and the Syrians erect a 500 m statue of Hafez extending the middle finger in the general direction of Turkey, for its role in the gas attack hoax.

Barbara Ann

Idlib could yet prove to be Erdogan's nemesis. Will he escalate to protect the TAF forces in the OP's once they start (soon) to be cut off? Russia has surely anticipated this possibility and neutralized the threat. Alternatively, if the jihadis see TAF forces pulling out and realize they have been betrayed, will they let them do so unimpeded, or perhaps look for some hostages to force Turkey's hand?

I can't imagine Erdogan will let the takfiris back into Turkey, for the reasons you set out. But if Turkish forces are used to kill them in order to prevent this, Turkey itself could immediately become Global Jihad enemy #1.

The time bomb of close to 4m Syrian refugees is a third third problem. Hostility towards their guests has been increasing in Turkey and a flood of yet more from Idlib may result in outright violence directed against them and maybe even the government. This would be far from the image of Turkey as Leader of the Islamic World which the Sultan wishes to portray. What a mess.

Turkish press still has almost nothing on Idlib despite the recent advances by the SAA, Syrian column inches are all taken up with speculations about the Safe Zone plans. Previously, Turkish press has played up Turkey's role in protecting the Ummah in Syria. The relative silence now suggests to me that Erdogan will seek to cut his losses in Idlib. Russia has the ability to make this excruciatingly difficult, or not. I'd therefore expect Erdogan to be forced to accept terms dictated by Russia/SAG in due course and the longer he delays the worse those terms will be for Turkish interests in NW Syria.


Thank you TTG, pieces like this are why SST is a rare gem on the internet.

Ishmael Zechariah

The operation to eliminate Assad was not of Turkish origin, even though the current regime took an active and enthusiastic part in it. FYI, the plot is still alive. The FUKUS-I gang is still trying to oust Assad through their PKK/PYG proxies. The game might get even more interesting when/if the SAA finally meets PKK/PYG and their "advisors".
Ishmael Zechariah


I suspect if the Jihadis are routed in Turkey they will ether be flown to the new safe zone or flown out of the country, likely to do some work around Lybia.


It would be useful to know just which groups they are fighting and where. Is HTS heavily involved, Ahrar al Sham or what? Where are the Chechens or other foreign groupings now?

Mathias Alexander

Likely to be some work in Central Asia destabalizing Iran/ Russia/China.

Mathias Alexander

" Where are the Chechens or other foreign groupings now?"
Central Asia?


It was a Su-22 flying too low.

JP Billen

More likely that Erdogan will settle them on Kurdish land in southeastern Turkey to continue ethnic cleansing.

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