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02 March 2020


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I noted on Twitter that several Turkish Army sniper teams were (allegedly) killed, 10-20 men in total. In that particular action I suspect the Russian SOF.


interesting that both jihadist and Turks have same uniforms.easy to rotate out and send to mykonos for a souvlaki.ru European countries should block all attempts for this next wave of refugees.This is the main objective of turkey and Syria,to flood Europe with ex jihadist.everything else is smoke.as usual Israel will have to keep an eye on movements.imho


Is it not generally the case that elite units do most of the fighting, especially offensive work, and that the bulk of any army is used for little more than holding ground?

Antoinetta III

"He’ll also have to figure out what he’s going to do with all those jihadi friends of his."

I think this is a good part of the reason Erdogan is so anxious to hang on to a substantial portion of Idlib.

Most of the Orcs are not Syrian, they come from all over the Middle East and beyond, including from China (Uigurs), Georgia (Chechens), Afghanistan, and various European countries, as well as from Turkey itself.

You may recall that several years ago the Orcs blew up a popular restaurant in a high-end tourist district in Paris with several dozen casualties. A similar incident happened in Ankara around the same time. These states have made it clear that the Orcs from their countries are NOT welcome back. Even the Turks don't want their HTS Orcs back, which I am sure is why some thousands of these have been packed off to Libya. Indeed, one of the conditions the Turks placed on those going to fight in Libya is that they do not return to Syria.

These remaining Orcs are all the die-hards, and it seems clear that it is impossible to re-integrate them into any sane society. Wherever they end up, they will blow stuff up. Therefore, indeed, "what to do with them" is the real question. It seems like a hard-core "Kill 'em all" approach is the only means left. Or, in Erdogan's mind, if he can hang onto a chunk of Idlib, he can leave the Orcs more or less bottled up on Syrian territory. As Assad takes over more and more of Idlib, the Orcs' only option is to flee into Turkey, and as I noted before, Erdogan doesn't want them around any more than anyone else.

How many Orcs are there in Idlib anyway? Those that were there originally at the time the war started in 2011, add in those who came there to fight alongside HTS or Al-Qaeda, most of these via Turkey, then add in those green-bussed there from all over Syria as the Syrian government recovered various regions. Then subtract the number of Orcs killed in their own internal HTS vs Al-Qaeda vs ISIS groups fighting each other for two or three years. I've heard figures of those Orcs presently in Idlib from 10,000 to 60,000 but have no idea what the real numbers are.

Antoinetta III


if turkish sniper teams were killed they'd be more difficult to replace than an average head chopper islamist type. It takes time to train a sniper team (or luck and talent, something no sane army or leader should and would rely on). They are harder to replace.

If it was turkish army clad jihadi shooter and a turkish army advisor - good riddance.

Syria or Russia can hardly be asked to stop time or freeze them and check carefully whether they are jihadis, turkish soldiers or turkish soldier jihadis or multi-polar folks who are Cummings or Bannon weird, drugged, drunk, inane, insane, communist and capitalist as well at the same time - or just had something bad for breakfast.

Impractical. I'd say armies do not provide therapies but limit themselves to deal with the symptoms. "Likely wants to kill us" suffices to be targeted. As for the why exactly and how exactly - who cares?

In essence, Syria and Russia have called Erdogan's bluff in north Syria and he had poor cards and lost. And complained that these nasty evildoers Assad and Putin had their troops defend, shoot back or shoot first.

Yesterday Erdogan was letting loose a few thousands refugees on Greece and Bulgaria, with turks leading them to the border and Erdoganists threatening that many, many, many more (millions!) would be coming.

All that because he accused the EU paying turkey less than promised (or desired). Nonsense of course since some 3,5 or so billions have been paid as promised by the EU ... BUT: Not to Turkey and Erdogan but to independent aid organisations (since Erdogan with his blackmailing game and his extended family selling jihadi stolen Syrian oil cannot be really trusted?).


What about the L-39 ground attack jet shot down, allegedly by a Turkish F-16? I can see the Turks shooting at the SAA aircraft from out of Turkish airspace, like the Israelis do. Does counter fire in this case include Russian or SAA anti-aircraft fire from inside Syria at Turkish aircraft in Turkish airspace? What a puzzle.

Peter AU1

There were a couple of ambushes before Kafr Nabl. At the time of the first two, there was nothing on SAA losing ground but wasn't hard to work out what was going on. It was good to see them laying ambushes rather than just heading back to the next place they would try and defend.


"they pulled many of their fighters off the battlefield to address the threat to the M4 to their west. They could not hold Saraqib and attack south of the M4 at the same time. Their chance to retake Saraqib is now gone. The Russians have moved their MPs into Saraqib as a signal to Erdogan that it is forever part of Syria." TTG is correct. The combination of a front line to hold in Saraqib and an impending interdiction of the M-4 MSR in the west placed the Turcojihadis in a position where their choice was to "s--t or go blind." (a favorite saying of my Old Army father). BTW "R+6" is my term for the alliance of Russians, SAA, Palestinian troops, Hizbullah troops, Iranians, and various militias.


Quite an absurdum here is the 'let the US support Erdogan with Patriot missiles' from the neocon and Pomepoists troupe.

IIRC it was so that Turkey went to Russia to get their decent air defence system because they were sort of excluded from joining projects like MEADS, Patriot and Aster (and the F-35) for, say, impulsiveness and unreliability (wouldn't that make Erdogan a keen friend of Trump as ... NoKo Kim?).

To have the Pompeos suggest that the US now protect Turkey with the Patriot missiles the US didn't weant to sell them is really something.


Iirc once a State Department official said that the US offer to sell the Patriot missile defense system to Turkey is "off the table," having expired following Ankara's decision to accept Russian S-400. That's someone screaming and tweeting "More Rent! MOre REnt!! MORE RENT!!!" and all that.

Erdogan is Erdogan but Erdogan probably hasn't forgotten that. I am almost disappointed tha this arms peddle duress was not made by 'the man who only says what the Whitehouse says' Grenell. People in DC who have forgotten that are IMO so daft they likely cannot find the toilet without GPS.


"To have the Pompeos suggest that the US now protect Turkey with the Patriot missiles the US didn't weant to sell them is really something."

That says quite a bit about Pompeo's strategic vision.


Excellent analysis, as usual.
I wonder if the Corona Virus will
play a part in the Battle for Idlib.
Either naturally spread or deliberately


The world is confronted with a Napoleon III problem. He was the Napoleon who whipped the French into a frenzy of militarism and hatred of the Prussians and attacked(!) Prussia only to be catastrophically defeated on the battlefield and taken prisoner by the Germans. Needless to say, he landed on his feet, exiled in luxury in England, and continuing to meddle in French politics. The only thing he lacked was Twitter.

How many Napoleon III's are there out there today? Donald, Erdogan, Kim, Pompeo, Johnson, Xi.... These are all completely irresponsible war-mongers who will land on their feet no matter how much their people suffer. People who when they make an error it is a catastrophe, but who always blame it on someone else and seek adulation above all things.

That is the political world above the grazing fire level.


re I wonder if the Corona Virus will play a part in the Battle for Idlib. Either naturally spread or deliberately introduced.

You forgot another possibility "naturally spread or deliberately introduced or utterly fictitious" - naturally valiantly reported by incredible Bellingcateers, Intelligence Integriteers or White Helmeteers, enduring with iron wills bitter realities (or the absence of it) ... and that's then where the valiant cavalier Giuliani will ride to help in that storm attack, screaming that reality isn't reality anyway



"Corona Virus .... Either naturally spread or deliberately introduced."
One more reason for Europe to close their borders.

Keith Harbaugh

In an incredibly detailed post (running for 35 pages when printed in my Chrome browser)
sundance, and/or associates,
details some of the political machinations behind
America's tragic involvement with various forces in the Muslim world,
from Libya (Gaddafi) to Syria (Assad) to Afghanistan (the Taliban).
Don't be fooled by the title of the post, it's really a review of all those interactions.
"Despite DOJ Objections – Judicial Watch Wins Court Order
Forcing Hillary Clinton and Cheryl Mills to Sit for Depositions…"

by sundance (and probably others), 2020-03-02
A sample:

The uprising in Syria was only a few months behind the uprising in Libya.
Arguably if the timing were reversed you could ponder that
Assad would have met Gaddaffi’s fate,
and Gaddaffi would be as alive today as President Assad.


Looks like you might be right about Spetsnaz.
I dug up this video on youtube that shows operations in Idlib in 2019.
I would imagine they are still in the area.



Europe seems to be the one exporting the coronavirus to us and the third world(all cases in Africa thus far have a source in Italy/France), not the other way around.

Barbara Ann

Good stuff TTG. The loss of Saraqib and the aftermath was a mistake, but it seems to have been rectified and then some. The deployment of Russian MP's there is an unmistakable rap on the knuckles for Turkey. Very good news.


I like your Napoleon III analogy for Erdogan, though I think there is a good chance he could end up hanging from his feet, rather than landing on them, if he is not very careful.

Speaking of this historic period, I see today is the anniversary of the Treaty of San Stefano which ended an earlier Russo-Turkish war in 1878. Turkey will lose this proxy war too and Russia's main political job now will be to manage Erdogan though the 5 stages of grief until he come to terms with Syria as a sovereign state again. My guess is he is in phase 2 right now (anger) which means the potential for a dangerous escalation remains high. Talks on 5th will be crucial.

Tyler Vincent

I doubt the Turks want Idlib for anything more than a launch pad to continue terrorist activities with the Al-Qaeda buddies and Zionist masters



Liwa al Quds seem to now be one of the favorites of the Russians. I've read that they have become the infantry storm troopers or commandos for the SAA. And that they have received Russian Special Forces training, arms, uniforms, and embedded Russian officer/NCO advisors. Do they have their own organic heavy weapons and armored vehicles? Or do they depend on the Tiger Force and Russian airpower for fire support?


Word is that the U.S. will be supplying Turkey with ammo for their Syrian incursion.


This is a critically important article about the power of Turkey's air force and drones. The machine translation in Chrome is excellent. Bottom line: Turkey has the advantage in the air right now. Please consider reading it. Because it is in the Russian press from an outlet that is not anti-Putin, I give it credence.




Turkey can't even make their own ammo? That's pretty sad after all those years with Edrogan in charge.

Brian Weston

Surely the Syrian Army numbers must be really depleted after 10 years of war. If Russia is stepping up more perhaps we will see more of Iran more overtly taking action.


Brian Weston

Maybe the SAA is smaller but "what is left is choice." Recruitment has continued steadily so it is difficult to say how much smaller.

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