by Aram Mizraei for The Saker Blog
This week saw the Syrian Army re-commit to the previously undertaken Northwestern Syria offensive as they attacked and liberated several villages after a few weeks of relative calm across the battlefield. While terrorists still roam freely across Idlib and Hama, this offensive could be pivotal to the war effort as the aim would be to eliminate the jihadist presence in Latakia and Hama. Sputnik News Agency, citing a Syrian Arab Army source reported that Syrian Army forces are working to control the strategic hills near Kabani (Latakia) before they launch a large-scale attack.
[Excerpts from the Sputnik report] “Work is being done to control a range of strategic hills in the area and on the axes of the Zuwayqat Mountain and Height 1154,” the Syrian Army source said, adding that taking control of these sites will pave the way for the military to capture Kabani.
Kabani, situated at a high mountain top has been a constant thorn in the side of the Syrian Army and its allies as they have for years tried and failed every time to capture this town. Due to Kabani’s high elevation, the Syrian Arab Army has struggled to break through the jihadist defences, despite their constant airstrikes on the town.
[Update] Unfortunately, on Friday, the Syrian Army announced once more that the Syrian Army will agree on a ceasefire in Idlib if the militants retreat from the 20-km-long demilitarized zone in northwestern Syria. According to a military source near the front-lines, the Syrian Army is willing to halt their hostilities if the militants agree to fulfil their obligations as part of the September 17, 2018 ceasefire agreement. I am willing to bet my life that they wont, and that once more Damascus’ and Moscow’s generosity will be taken advantage of. The source said that the Syrian Army is giving the militants one last chance to salvage the September 17 deal; if they do not withdraw from the area, the military will resume their operations.
Moreover, Moscow has given their Turkish partners 24 hours to withdraw their allied militants from the demilitarized zone in northwestern Syria or else the Syrian Army will resume their offensive. Unsurprisingly, the Tahrir Al-Sham terrorist outfit has refused to do so, proving once more that any kind of negotiation with these base animals is useless.
Elsewhere, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was allegedly invited by Iranian Press TV to be interviewed, an offer that Pompeo accepted, stating that he would “happily go to Tehran and willingly appear on Iranian television to explain US reasoning behind its sanctions against the Islamic Republic.”
His response was met positively by several important people in Iran. Member of Parliament Ali Motahari welcomed Pompeo’s offer saying that “In my opinion, this is a good opportunity, but the interview shouldn’t be one-sided in which Pompeo [only] speaks. The interviewer must bring up issues skillfully in a way that would [prove] US [lack] of logic,” said Motahari in an interview with a local media.
Even though I personally don’t believe this would happen, one would wonder as to why Pompeo would agree to such an interview. The obvious reason for me and many others would be to spread propaganda in a desperate attempt to reach out to the ones that suffer the most from the sanctions against Iran. Pompeo also likened a trip to Tehran to how Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif communicates with the American public during his trips to the United Nations in New York. He went on to claim that Zarif is “no more in charge of what’s going on in Iran than a man in the moon. At the end of the day, this is driven by the ayatollah. He will be the ultimate decision-maker here.”
Having said this, only a week later Pompeo tweeted that Mohammad Javad Zarif was now the target of fresh US sanctions, since Zarif apparently is a “chief apologist” for the Islamic Republic, and is “just as complicit in the regime’s outlaw behaviour as the rest of @khamenei_ir’s mafia”. One of the most dangerous potential conflicts in this world is being “debated” on Twitter by the chief men responsible, as Zarif and Pompeo frequently trade blows on the social media platform. One can’t help but think that it was only bound to happen as the mutually hateful Washington-Tehran relationship continues to reach new heights.