Category Archives: Syria Crisis

U.S. Admits it’s in Syria to Make it ‘Difficult’ for Moscow & Damascus to Defeat Terrorists

The State Department’s special envoy for Syria has just admitted that the US aims to defend jihadist militants in Idlib against ‘Russian aggression,’ proving once again that the swamp in Foggy Bottom is alive and well.

Continue reading U.S. Admits it’s in Syria to Make it ‘Difficult’ for Moscow & Damascus to Defeat Terrorists

Putin Thumbs Down Erdogan’s Ottoman Ambition in Syria

In recent weeks, Sultan Erdogan is testing Vladimir Putin’s resolve in defending Syrian sovereignty by sending more Turkish troops to aid the remaining ISIS terrorists at their last stronghold in the Idlib province. Erdogan even complained about what the Russians are doing in the area, as if the region is still under the reign of the Ottoman Empire.

Ex-USMC intelligence officer Scott Ritter wrote this for Russia Today,

New Putin-Erdogan deal is sugar-coating the Turks’ surrender

by Scott Ritter

This week’s meeting between Presidents Putin and Erdogan in Moscow was cast as preventing a war between Russia and Turkey in Syria. War, however, was never on the horizon. Putin called Erdogan’s bluff, and the Turk folded.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, accompanied by their respective senior national security advisers, met in Moscow on March 5. The purpose of this emergency summit was to negotiate the terms of a ceasefire that would bring an end to heavy fighting in Syria’s Idlib province that threatened to draw their two nations into direct military conflict.

After more than six hours of meeting, a new agreement, packaged as an “additional protocol” to the “Memorandum on Stabilization of the Situation in the De-escalation Area as of September 17, 2018” (better known as the “Sochi Agreement”), was agreed to by both parties.

A sputtering offensive

Over the course of a week, from February 27 through March 5, Syria’s Idlib province transitioned from being ground zero for a war between the Syrian army and allied forces, and heavily armed groups opposed to the rule of Syrian President Bashar Assad, into a geopolitical powder keg that threatened to pull the Turkish and Russian militaries into direct conflict with one another.

On March 1, Turkey, following up on threats previously made by President Erdogan to drive the Syrian Army and its allies back to the line of demarcation set forth in the original Sochi Agreement, unleashed a major offensive, dubbed “Operation Spring Shield” and involving thousands of Turkish troops fighting alongside anti-Assad formations.

This operation soon fizzled; not only was the Turkish advance halted in its tracks, but the Syrian Army, supported by Hezbollah and pro-Iranian militias, were able to recapture much of the territory lost in the earlier fighting. Faced with the choice of either escalating further and directly confronting Russian forces, or facing defeat on the battlefield, Erdogan instead flew to Moscow.

The new additional protocol, which entered into effect at midnight Moscow time on Friday, March 6, represents a strategic defeat for Erdogan and the Turkish military which, as NATO’s second-largest standing armed force, equipped and trained to the highest Western standards, should have been more than a match for a rag-tag Syrian Army, worn down after nine years of non-stop combat.

The Syrian armed forces, together with its allies, however, fought the Turks to a standstill. Moreover, the anti-Assad fighters that had been trained and equipped by the Turks proved to be a disappointment on the battlefield.

One of the major reasons behind the Turkish failure was the fact that Russia controlled the air space over Idlib, denying the Turks the use of aircraft, helicopters and (except for a single 48-hour period) drones, while apparently using their own aircraft, together with the Syrian Air Force, to pummel both the Turkish military and their allied anti-Assad forces (though neither side has officially confirmed the Russians bombing the Turks – that would be a disaster for the talks).

In the end, the anti-Assad fighters were compelled to take shelter within so-called ‘Observation posts’– heavily fortified Turkish garrisons established under the Sochi Agreement, intermingling with Turkish forces to protect themselves from further attack. Operation Spring Shield turned out to be a resounding defeat for the Turks and their allies.

Problems talking doesn’t solve

Under the terms of the original Sochi Agreement, the Turkish military was supposed to oversee the removal of heavily armed anti-Assad forces, including Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a designated terrorist organization, from so-called ‘de-escalation zones.’ The failure to accomplish this task, coupled with continued attacks against Syrian positions by HTS fighters, prompted the Syrian Army’s attack in Idlib. The additional protocol negotiated this week in Moscow “reaffirms” the Turkish and Russian “dedication” to “combat all forms of terrorism” and to “eliminate all terrorist groups in Syria”.

How this will be implemented is not spelled out in the additional protocol, indeed, given the fact that the majority of the anti-Assad forces that have sought refuge in the Turkish observation posts are HTS fighters that had, just a week before, been provided arms and vehicles to carry out attacks coordinated with the Turkish Army, the practicalities of implementation appear non-existent.

The agreement also focuses on another critical, yet unfulfilled, aspect of the original Sochi agreement – the guarantee of safe passage along the strategic M4 and M5 highway corridors connecting the city of Aleppo with Latakia (M4) and Damascus (M5). The inability and/or unwillingness on the part of the Turks to follow through with this provision was the major impetus behind the current Syrian offensive in Idlib.

Indeed, the Syrian Army was able to gain full control of the M5 highway and was in the process of doing the same for the M4 highway when the Moscow agreement brought an end to the fighting.

Under the terms of the additional protocol, the new zones of de-escalation will be defined by the frontlines as they currently exist, securing the hard-won advances made by the Syrian Army and embarrassing Erdogan, who had promised to drive the Syrians back to the positions as they existed at the time of the original Sochi Agreement.

Moreover, the M4 highway will now be buffered by a 12-kilometer security zone (Six kilometers on each side), and will be jointly patrolled by Turkey and Russia, guaranteeing secure passage for commercial vehicle traffic. These patrols will begin on March 15, which means the Turks have ten days to oversee the evacuation of anti-Assad forces from this corridor–in effect, pushing them back north of the M4 highway, which was the goal of the Syrian offensive to begin with.

Back in line, but for how long?

While couched as a ceasefire agreement, the additional protocol produced by the Moscow summit between Putin and Erdogan on Thursday is a thinly disguised instrument of surrender. The Syrian government got everything it was looking for by launching its offensive, and the Turks and their anti-Assad allies were left licking their wounds in a much-reduced Idlib pocket.

Beyond preventing direct conflict between Turkey and Russia, the additional protocol achieves little that changes the situation on the ground. Turkey is still faced with the task of disarming the HTS fighters it currently embraces as allies, and the humanitarian crisis triggered by hundreds of thousands of refugees displaced by the earlier fighting remains.

In many ways, the additional protocol, like its antecedent, the Sochi Agreement, is an arrangement designed to fail, because by succeeding it only perpetuates an unsustainable reality that will only be resolved when the totality of Syrian territory is restored to the control of the Syrian government.

Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer. He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter

The Death of 33 Turkish Soldiers Embedded in ISIS Stronghold May Spark WW3

There are multiple terror factions operating in Syria, as there are multiple parties that have contributed to the efforts to bring down the Assad government since 2011, e.g. MOSSAD, CIA, Saudi, Turkey, US and UK. Turkey has provided the exit route for the smuggling of Syrian oil in 2011 onwards, and the subsequent escape of ISIS terrorists back to the UK, Canada and Europe, over the last 2 years.

Continue reading The Death of 33 Turkish Soldiers Embedded in ISIS Stronghold May Spark WW3

U.N. Suppressing Own Evidence Absolving Syria from ISIS Staged Chemical Attack

The Rothschild-controlled United Nations’ own Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) fact-finding investigation has found no evidence that the Syrian government has any culpability to the ISIS-staged “chemical attack” on Douma residents, years ago. Yet, its final report, as compiled by an undisclosed party who were not on site during the investigation, concluded that there were some reasonable grounds to put the blame on Assad’s government.

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Putin’s Visit Coincided with Syrian Arab Army Preparation to Clear Idlib of ISIS

Russian President Vladimir Putin has not issued any direct pronouncements yet on Trump’s decision to assassinate Gen. Qassem Soleimani, but his recent visits to Turkey and Syria, all suggest he’s not sitting idly by while the Middle East is exploding again.

Continue reading Putin’s Visit Coincided with Syrian Arab Army Preparation to Clear Idlib of ISIS

Turkey is Not A Hotel for Jihadists, EU Must Provide A Grand Welcome

The attempt to grab Syria using ISIS terrorists for the benefit of Israel has failed and has been officially ended with the Russia-Turkey joint patrols over the Northeast Syrian border, specifically to provide a safer path for the reentry of more than a million Syrian refugees from Turkey. The big question now is: what to do with the thousands of ISIS militants still holed up in Turkish prisons and in the Idlib province?

Continue reading Turkey is Not A Hotel for Jihadists, EU Must Provide A Grand Welcome

How the US Regime ‘Justifies’ the Theft of Syria’s Oil

On October 26th, the New York Times headlined “Keep the Oil’: Trump Revives Charged Slogan for New Syria Troop Mission” and opened by saying that “in recent days, Mr. Trump has settled on Syria’s oil reserves as a new rationale for appearing to reverse course and deploy hundreds of additional troops to the war-ravaged country.”

Continue reading How the US Regime ‘Justifies’ the Theft of Syria’s Oil

One Rocket Provoked the US Withdrawal from Syria

Last Friday a 155 mm artillery shell landed 300 metres from a US command post near the Syrian bordering city of Ayn al-Arab (known by the Syrian Kurds as “Kobane”) during an ongoing operation carried out by Turkey – a NATO and a US ally. This operation aimed to dislodge, at a distance of 30-35 kilometres from the border, the US-backed Kurdish militants known as the YPG, the Syrian branch of the US-EU-NATO designated terrorist group, the “Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

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US Betrays Kurds – Again

It is a maxim of US statecraft that Washington “does not have permanent friends or enemies, only interests.” That maxim, attributed to Henry Kissinger, was starkly demonstrated this week when US President Donald Trump gave Turkey a green light to launch a military offensive on northern Syria, targeting Kurdish militants.

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1,300+ Refugees Out of 40,000 Depart US Concentration Camp in Rukban Syria

Just a few weeks after we’ve posted a MintPress article on the plight of 40,000 Rukban refugees inside a US controlled concentration camp in Syria, more than 1,300 of them are being released through the humanitarian corridor facilitated by Russia. Continue reading 1,300+ Refugees Out of 40,000 Depart US Concentration Camp in Rukban Syria

Rukban: A US-Controlled Concentration Camp in Syria

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a concentration camp is defined as “a place where large numbers of people are kept as prisoners in extremely bad conditions, especially for political reasons.” It is undeniable that the Rukban camp fits this definition to the letter. Continue reading Rukban: A US-Controlled Concentration Camp in Syria

US Forces Smuggled 50 Tons of Gold from Syria with ISIS Help

This is absolutely shameful even for less civilized societies. Reports from multiple sources are saying that the US Army have transported as much as 50 tons of Syrian gold that serve as protection and safe passage fee for key ISIS terrorists escaping from Syria, or the terrorists will die. Continue reading US Forces Smuggled 50 Tons of Gold from Syria with ISIS Help

Alliance Tightening Noose on the Deep State

Russia was shocked at the boldness of Israel’s latest aerial acrobatics that resulted in the downing of one Russian reconnaissance plane by its own manufactured S-200 missile over Latakia, Syria, which ran counter to the statement made by the Russian Ministry of Defense. Continue reading Alliance Tightening Noose on the Deep State

White Helmets stealing children for 'chemical attack' theater in Idlib

“Leave our children in peace. Let our children play, stop ‘playing’ with our children.” These are the words of a mother whose child was stolen and is being imprisoned in Idlib by terrorist groups and the White Helmets. Continue reading White Helmets stealing children for 'chemical attack' theater in Idlib

Syria: A False Flag Operation Thwarted?

An organised expose by the Syrian and Russian governments over a 3 day period starting 27th August may have thwarted a British backed plan to stage a “false flag” chemical weapons attack in Idlib province that would have forced the US to launch a missile and air assault on Syria. Continue reading Syria: A False Flag Operation Thwarted?

Final Showdown: Retaking Idlib from ISIS May Involve Chinese Military, too

Right now, the Syrian Army is surrounding the last ISIS stronghold in Idlib province, where an estimated 100,000 militants are using trapped civilians as human shield. Some of the civilians have already escaped through the humanitarian corridor, while others are arming themselves to fight it out until the last terrorist is rooted out from Syria. Continue reading Final Showdown: Retaking Idlib from ISIS May Involve Chinese Military, too

Largest Russian Naval Armada in Syria vs. Imminent US-UK-France Attack

The Russian Navy is building up its presence in Syrian waters as reports of imminent US-UK-France attack on Syria will be preceded with a false flag chemical attack on Syrian civilians by White Helmets and Al Nusra remnants on the ground. Continue reading Largest Russian Naval Armada in Syria vs. Imminent US-UK-France Attack