In Turkey, it is by now a good tradition to threaten Syria with a war every time when luckless Idlib rebels suffer another military defeat from the Syrian Army. This week was no exception. Recept Tayip Erdogan spearheaded the choir of threats on February 12 by repeating that the Syrians should withdraw from all the areas (in told over 2,000km2) retaken from the opposition. He vowed to “hit regime forces everywhere” if Turkish soldiers are harmed. It is worth noting that this time loud words came amid some actions.
On February 10 and February 12, al-Qaeda forces that mainstream media modestly calls “opposition and anti-regime armed groups” conducted two large-scale attacks on positions of government forces. Turkish artillery units, special forces and military advisers directly supported both of the attacks. Idlib groups used Turkish-supplied military equipment and weapons en mass.
The first attack took place in eastern Idlib with an aim of capturing the village of Nayrab west of Saraqib. The Turkish Defense Ministry even announced that ‘regime forces’ had fled the village. Nevertheless, 5 killed and 5 injured Turkish soldiers became the only real results of the attack. Pro-government sources claimed that 40 militants were also killed, but this number remains unconfirmed. On the same day, a Turkish-supplied MANPAD was used to shoot down a Syrian military helicopter. After the February 10 clashes, the official number of Turkish casualties in Idlib – 14 dead and 45 injured.
The February 12 attack took place in western Aleppo and was aimed at hindering the Syrian Army progress in the M5 area. Evil dictator Bashar al-Assad wants to reopen the Damascus-Aleppo highway. So, forces of democracy just could not leave this unanswered. Unfortunately, for them the attack failed and Syrian forces restored full control over the M5 capturing a number of nearby points.
Furthermore, they have started creating a foothold for an advance on Artaib. A few other encounters initiated by Idlib groups resulted in no changes on the frontline. At the same time, Idlib groups launched dozens of ATGM strikes.
The Turkish Defense Ministry compensated setbacks on the ground with a powerful counter-attack on Twitter claiming hundreds of Syrian personnel killed. The US and NATO vowed to support Turkey, but so far they have limited this support to public encouragement for further military actions in Idlib.
The interesting thing is that the Russian side played into the hands of the Turkish media campaign claiming that 400 Syrian personnel were killed and 900 others were injured during the past month. These numbers as well as those provided by Turkey remain very questionable. Most likely, Moscow decided to help Ankara to save face amid the apparent military failure in Idlib. If Turkey does not wage a full-scale war on Syria, it will not be able to change the frontline to its own favor. However, the cost of this war will be too big. So, Erdogan may opt to declare that the Syrian Army standing on the M5 just a few kilometers away from Idlib city is a big success and accept a new ceasefire.
On February 12, a US military patrol was blocked and confronted by angry locals in the province of Qamishli. At some moment, US troops found themselves in an intense firefight with the villagers. According to reports from local sources, it started after the US troops had shot and killed a teenager participating in the protest. The incident happened near a checkpoint of the Syrian Army. So, pro-US Kurdish media sources loyal to Idlib radicals immediately claimed that the angry villages were sheep-dipped agents of the ‘Assad regime’. The Pentagon accidentally forgot to mention the role of the Syrian Army and the Russians in the victorious statement on the encounter. Videos showing Syrian and Russian forces that intervened in the hostilities, put an end to the violence and allowed the US patrol to withdraw were apparently computer generated images created by hackers in the Kremlin basement.
Late on February 13, the Israeli Air Force carried out a new wave of airstrikes on Damascus targeting the city’s international airport and the region of Eastern Ghouta. Likely, Mr. Netanyahu forgot his password to Twitter. So, he decided to support fancy bearded Idlib hipsters with traditional Israeli actions.
The Syrian conflict does not seem to be nearing any end.
Washington does not want the conflict in Syria to end because it will be yet another failed exercise in nation rebuilding. It is interesting that a nation that represents the rules-based law is, in fact, one of the greatest rule breakers, particularly given that they were not invited to participate in Syria’s lengthy war.
‘Rules based law’ means we are ignoring international and national laws in favor of our made up rules.
We think Idlib and we think desert, weapons, headchoppers, noise of explosions, stuttering firing weapons, fire in and from the air, SAA, one of the last provinces in Syria that has to be liberated, sheer drudgery of ongoing war, civilians fleeing, the sheer horrible shock of war. We never think of this – It is a beautiful place and is really not desert. I am hoping no more cease fire interruptions – I am hoping “finish this off now” and somebody, do something to Erdogan a time or two, or, let him go on vacation for a while.
Maybe Russia supported Turkeys view of so many Syrian dead and injured to give good cause for Syria to retaliate proportionally……
Conflict in Syria IS the goal! Destabilizing the Arab states and carving them up into small ethnic bantustans has been at the core of zionist strategy from the very beginning of the state of Israel.
the author claims a Russian officer who speaks in the Arabic language incites the residents of Khirbet Omar village to confront the American forces there. This is after the confrontations that took place between the residents and the American forces in that village.
I don’t speak Arabic but if true big mistake.
Russia really is caught between “a rock and a hard place ” in that situation.I’m sure they would love to give Syria full support in this situation.But Turkey’s “goodwill” is extremely important for Russia.They have staked a lot on the economic relationship with Turkey.And Turkey controls entry and exit to the entire Black Sea region.If Turkey shut off Russian use of the waterway,and shut off the Turkstream pipeline Russia would be in a pickle. So they are forced to deal gently with Erdogan,and try to keep the peace between him and Syria.The only thing I can see they could do is try to arrange a summit between Assad and Erdogan. Get Syria to pledge that they would stop any Kurdish meddling inside Turkey.And grant Turkey some kind of economic benefits.Explain to Erdogan that only with Assad in power,and peace in Syria can the millions of refugee’s in Turkey be repatriated.Which is very high on Erdogan’s want list.That might get Erdogan to give up his lust for Syrian territory and support for the terrorists.
How long are the Turks going to tolerate such a batshit crazy leader? Is there a reasonable islamic leader in Turkey who could challenge erdogan?
@ Uncle Bob
That is why I really wonder, where this last push in the Syrian north-east is going. It seems, the more the SAA is advancing (which it is), the slower and slower it is doing so (somewhat akin to compressing a spring). One cannot ignore any longer the fact that this is now taking forever. And Russians can’t/won’t help much here, because of their hopelessly intertwined interests with Erdogan, just as you observed. Messy.
I meant, in the Syrian north-west, of course, Idlib and the rest.
@UB right about rock and hard. What’s the rock, what’s the hard? Its more of “having cake and eat it too”. On one side he wants to be the new Pasha, on the other there’s no chance in hell its gonna happen.
He’s double dealing with NATO and RUS, MB and Turkish people, US and Iran and it’s so complex he does not stop wading in Malaysia (to admonish India), Pakistan (of all places – to keep it off FATF) this guy is running like a chicken with head cut off.
What it clearly means he’s lost control and vested interests are ruling the roost. Its pretty messed up there man…
I think the opposite is closer to truth. Good economic relationship is much more important to Turkey.
On top of that, do not forget who saved Erdogan’s rear end, in unsuccessful coup.
He is well and truly in Putin’s pocket and what we see in Idlib is just a face saving agreement (for Turkey) between Russia and Turkey.
As the bottom line says:
“… The Syrian conflict does not seem to be nearing any end. …”
…today, some folk sent this in Telegram: https://t.me/warjournal/5166 It just made my day, LOL..!!! It´s so appropriated..!
“The interesting thing is that the Russian side played into the hands of the Turkish media campaign claiming that 400 Syrian personnel were killed and 900 others were injured during the past month. These numbers as well as those provided by Turkey remain very questionable. Most likely, Moscow decided to help Ankara to save face amid the apparent military failure in Idlib.”
Not so fast:
Turkey’s ‘Irresponsible Statements’ About Shelling of Syrian Army Escalates Tensions – Russian MoD
“The Russian military has refuted the Turkish military’s claims about the deaths of dozens of Syrian troops in Idlib, saying that Turkey’s “irresponsible statements” can only lead to an escalation of the situation and to hastily-made decisions.
“The [Russian] Center for the Reconcilliation of the warring parties draws attention to the responsibility of officials from the Turkish ministry of defence for providing false information to the country’s leadership in the Idlib de-escalation zone,” the MoD-affiliated Center said in a statement Friday.
“Such irresponsible statements only contribute to the escalation of the situation and to the taking of hasty decisions which do not meet the mutual interests of Russia and Turkey,” the Centre warned.
Earlier in the day, the Turkish military reported on the ‘neutralization’ of 63 Syrian troops. Before that, Ankara reported on the elimination of 101 personnel in attacks on 115 Syrian Army targets in response to Monday’s attack on a Turkish observation post in Idlib which killed several Turkish troops.
“Such statements about the ‘shelling’ of Syrian government forces by units of the Turkish Armed Forces, and moreover, about the deaths of Syrian troops as a result, are untrue,” the Centre stressed.”
Otherwise, an excellent Southfront report.
Turkey is slowly being pushed from Idlib and it is being done without sparking a war between Turkey and Syria, and also without driving a wedge between Russian-Turkish relations. I realize this upsets zionazi-gays no end, but hey, that’s the breaks…
They, the zionazi-gays, cant really do anything about it, either. Be annoyances on internet website comment sections is about all the things got left…
Hipsters in Idlib, really? (removed – no attacks on the authors. Mod.) On the same topic:
Elijah Magnier on the state of the ‘Axis of Resistance’
American vehicle pushes Russian vehicle off the road in Syria: