Syrian War Report – October 4, 2019: Iran Foils Attempt To Assasinate Commander Of Qods Force

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Turkey is fortifying its border with the Syrian province of Idlib with cement blocks, barbed wires, and other military-style structures. According to Ankara, Idlib is in the hands of the so-called moderate opposition. However, it is for some reason concerned over the presence of these moderate activists in the border area.

During the past months, the Turkish military deployed notable forces, including heavy military equipment, on the Turkish side of the border with the Syrian province. Most of these forces are located near the opposition-controlled border crossings.

Meanwhile, the situation once again escalated in the southern part of the Idlib de-escalation zone. On October 3, the Syrian Army shelled militant positions near the town of Kafr Nabudah and Baarbu in southern Idlib with heavy rockets. On the same day, helicopters of the Syrian Air Force delivered a fresh round of strikes in northern Lattakia targeting Hayat Tahrir al-Sham near Kabani.

Pro-militant sources also reported that the Syrian Army shelled area near a Turkish observation point in Maarat.

Despite efforts of Turkey, Iran and Russia in the framework of the Astana format, Idlib militant groups continue shelling positions of the Syrian Army along the contact line in southern Idlib and northern Lattakia on a regular basis. This forces the army to respond and fuels instability in the area.

The Intelligence Service of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps announced that it had foiled an “Israeli-Arabic” plot to assassinate Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Qods Force of the IRGC. According to Hojjatoleslam Hossein Taeb, the assassination squad bought a house next to the shrine of Gen. Soleimani’s father, prepared 350-500kg of explosives and planted them in a tunnel under the shrine. The squad planned to carry out the attack on September 8 or 9, which are the 9th and 10th days of the holy Islamic month of Muharram. Gen. Soleimani was supposed to visit his father shrine on one of these days. The IRGC arrested the entire squad consisting of 3 operatives. G_3

Iran is yet to name the side responsible for the supposed assassination attempt. However, most likely, Teheran will accuse Israel and Saudi Arabia.

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Russian Federation – Minister for Foreign Affairs Addresses General Debate, 74th Session

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September 27, 2019

Sergey Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, addresses the general debate of the 74th Session of the General Assembly of the UN (New York, 24 – 30 September 2019).

Transcript : http://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/3822351

28 September 201900:13
Statement by H.E. Mr. Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, New York, September 27, 2019

Unofficial translation

Distinguished Mr. President,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The 75th anniversary of the United Nations which was established as a result of the Victory in World War II and the realization of the need for a collective mechanism to maintain international peace and security, is getting closer. Regrettably, the events of the Cold War, which started soon after, prevented this tremendous creative potential from being unleashed.

The hope arose again almost 30 years ago when the Berlin Wall symbolizing confrontation of the two irreconcilable systems fell. It was the hope for the possibility to finally turn the grievous pages of wars – not only hot but also cold – and to join efforts for the benefit of all mankind.

However, we have to admit – although World War III was prevented thanks to the UN, the number of conflicts on the planet has not declined and enmity has not weakened. New most acute challenges emerged – international terrorism, drug trafficking, climate change, illegal migration, the growing gap between the rich and the poor. It is getting harder to address these and many other challenges from year to year. The fragmentation of international community is only increasing.

In our view, the reason for the current state of affairs lies, first and foremost, in the unwillingness of the countries which declared themselves winners in the Cold War to reckon with the legitimate interests of all other states, to accept the realities of the objective course of history.

It is hard for the West to put up with its weakening centuries-long dominance in world affairs. New centers of economic growth and political influence have emerged and are developing. Without them it is impossible to find sustainable solution to the global challenges which can be addressed only on the firm basis of the UN Charter through the balance of interests of all states.

Leading Western countries are trying to impede the development of the polycentric world, to recover their privileged positions, to impose standards of conduct based on the narrow Western interpretation of liberalism on others. In a nutshell, “we are liberals, and we can do anything”. Pursuing these aspirations, the West is less frequently recalling international law and more often and importunately dwelling upon the “rules-based order”.

The aim of such a concept is obvious – to revise the norms of international law which no longer suit the West, to substitute it for the “rules” adjusted to its self-serving schemes which are elaborated depending on the political expediency, and to proclaim the West and only the West as an indisputable source of legitimacy. For instance, when it is advantageous, the right of the peoples to self-determination has significance and when it is not – it is declared “illegal”.

In order to justify revisionist “rules” the West resorts to manipulation of public consciousness, dissemination of false information, double standards on human rights, suppression of undesirable media, bans on practicing journalism. Moreover, the West got “apt students” among its wards on the post-Soviet territory.

Instead of equal collective work, closed formats beyond legitimate multilateral framework are being created, and approaches agreed upon behind closed doors by a narrow group of the “select few” are then declared “multilateral agreements”. This is accompanied by the attempts to “privatize” the secretariats of international organizations, to use them in order to advance non-consensual ideas in circumvention of universal mechanisms.

Attacks on international law are looming large. The US withdrawal from the JCPOA endorsed by UNSC Resolution 2231 is broadly discussed. Washington not just repudiated its obligations enshrined in this Resolution but started demanding from others to play by American “rules” and sabotage its implementation.

The United States set a tough course for abolishing the UN resolutions on international legal framework of the Middle East settlement. It suggests waiting for some “deal of the century”, meanwhile it has taken unilateral decisions on Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. A two-state solution to the Palestinian issue – which is essential for satisfying the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and providing security for Israel and the whole region – is under threat.

Apparently, when NATO members were bombing Libya blatantly violating the UNSC resolution, they were also guided by the logic of their “rules-based order”. It resulted in the destruction of Libyan statehood, and international community is still disentangling the disastrous repercussions of NATO’s adventure with African countries affected the most.

“Hidden agendas” in countering terrorism remain – despite the universally binding Security Council decisions on listing terrorist organizations, some countries made it a “rule” to cover terrorists and even to engage in cooperation with them on the ground as it is happening, for instance, in Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria. The United States has already been saying it loud that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is a rather moderate structure which “can be dealt with”. As recent discussions on the situation in the Syrian Idlib showed, the United States wants to induce members of the UNSC to such unacceptable logic.

The West also has its own “rules” regarding the Balkans where it is pursuing an open course for undermining the UNSC decisions on Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina settlement.

Universal conventions together with the SC resolutions are an integral part of international law. The West would like to substitute even them for its “rules” as it happened in the OPCW whose Technical Secretariat was illegally granted “attributive” functions through unlawful manipulations and unscrupulous pressure in direct violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and exclusive prerogatives of the Security Council.

Playing with Conventions obliging all countries to provide linguistic, educational, religious and other rights of national minorities continue. Even here our Western colleagues are guided by their “rules” – they turn a blind eye to the open denial of national minorities’ relevant rights and indulge the retaining of an ignominious phenomenon of statelessness in Europe.

The course for the revision of international law is more frequently observed in the persistent policy of rewriting the history of World War II, justifying an increasing number of manifestations of neo-Nazism, vandalism against the monuments to the liberators of Europe and Holocaust victims.

The key principles of the UN Charter – non-interference in internal affairs, non-use of force or the threat of force – are also undergoing durability tests.

We are now facing the attempts to add Venezuela to the list of countries whose statehood was destroyed before our eyes through aggression or coups inspired from abroad. Like the overwhelming majority of the UN members, Russia is rejecting the attempts to return the “rules” dating back to the times of Monroe Doctrine to Latin America, to change from outside regimes in sovereign states descending to the methods of military blackmail, unlawful coercion and blockade as it happens in relation to Cuba in defiance of the UN resolutions.

Next year marks the 60th anniversary of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples adopted at the initiative of our country. However, a number of Western states are still clinging to the old “rules”, ignoring this Declaration and other decisions of the General Assembly on decolonization addressed directly to them, while keeping former overseas territories under their control.

This November marks another anniversary – 20 years since the adoption of the Charter for European Security and the Platform for Co-operative Security. These documents set out principles of cooperation for all countries and organizations in the Euro-Atlantic region. Heads of states and governments solemnly declared that no one should provide his own security at the expense of other’s security. Regrettably, the consensus reached back then today is substituted for taken as a “rule” NATO practice, the organization which continues thinking in terms of searching for enemies, while moving its military infrastructure to the East to the Russian borders and increasing its military budgets, although they already exceed the Russian one more than 20 times. We call on NATO to return to the agreements on shaping equal and indivisible security in the OSCE area. Recently, responsible European politicians have been speaking in favor of it, which, in particular, was demonstrated during the meeting of the Presidents of the Russian Federation and France in August.

The Asia-Pacific region needs a reliable and open architecture. It is dangerous to yield to the temptation and divide it into conflicting blocs. Such attempts will contradict the task to join efforts of all countries in the region in order to effectively address the continuing threats and challenges there, including the task to resolve a whole range of issues on the Korean Peninsula exclusively by peaceful means.

Actions taken by the United States, which, following its withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, destroyed the INF Treaty with the overwhelming support of all NATO members, caused a huge damage to the global system of strategic stability which had been established for decades. Now the United States is questioning the future of the New START Treaty, refusing to ratify the CTBT. Moreover, it has lowered the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons in its doctrinal documents. The United States is setting course for transforming cyberspace and outer space into the arena for military confrontation.

In order to prevent further escalation of tensions, Russia proposed several initiatives. President Vladimir Putin announced the decision not to deploy land-based intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles in Europe or other regions if and as long as the Americans refrain from doing it. We called on the United States and NATO to join such a moratorium. We have also repeatedly suggested Washington that we start negotiations on prolonging the New START Treaty. Together with China we support the harmonization of a legally binding document on the prevention of an arms race in outer space. So far, the reaction of the United States and its allies has not been encouraging.

We are alarmed by the protracted lack of answer to our proposal made to American colleagues already a year ago – to adopt a high-level Russian-American statement on unacceptability and inadmissibility of the nuclear war which by definition cannot have a winner. We call on all countries to support this initiative.

Today I would like to make an announcement – at the current session of the General Assembly we are introducing a draft resolution on Strengthening and Developing the System of Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Agreements. We invite everyone to conduct substantial talks. The adoption of the resolution would greatly contribute to the creation of conditions for a successful hosting of another NPT Review Conference next year.

Russia will continue to work persistently in order to strengthen universal security. In this sphere, we are acting with utmost responsibility, exercising restraint in enhancing defence capacity – obviously, without any damage to the effective delivery of national security and in full compliance with international law.

We support the consolidation of efforts to combat international terrorism under the auspices of the UN. In the interests of mobilizing the potential of regional organizations to suppress the terrorist threat Russia initiated a Ministerial meeting of the Security Council with the participation of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Among the most critical tasks of the world community is elaboration of generally acceptable approaches to the digital sphere management and understanding of the processes related to the creation of artificial intelligence. Last year, the General Assembly endorsed the beginning of the substantive work on discussing the rules of the responsible conduct of states in information space. Resolution on Combating Cybercrime was adopted at Russia’s initiative. It is important to work for achieving legally binding agreements on all aspects of international information security.

We need to step up efforts to facilitate the settlement of numerous crises and conflicts in all regions of the world. The main point is to seek compliance with already existing agreements from parties without allowing them to invent pretexts to refuse from implementing obligations already taken during negotiations. This also concerns conflicts on the post-Soviet territory, including the need to strictly follow the provisions of the Minsk Package of Measures to settle the crisis in the East of Ukraine.

In Syria, where major success in combating terrorism has been achieved, further advancement of the political process lead by the Syrians with the assistance of the UN is at the forefront. With the decisive contribution of Russia, Turkey, and Iran as guarantors of the Astana format, the establishment of the Constitutional Committee has been finished, which was announced by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres a few days ago. Post-conflict reconstruction and creation of conditions for the return of the refugees are the items on the agenda. Here the UN system is to play an important role.

Yet, on the whole, the Middle East and North Africa still face many challenges. We witness what is happening in Libya and Yemen. Prospects for the Palestinian settlement are on the verge of collapse. Efforts to play the “Kurdish card” – which is combustible for many countries – are alarming.

The Persian Gulf region is facing artificial escalation of tensions. We call on overcoming the existing disagreements through dialogue without baseless accusations. On our part, we made a contribution having presented this summer the renewed Russian concept of the collective security in this region.

Supporting the efforts of the African states to put an end to conflicts on their continent, yesterday Russia organized the meeting of the Security Council on strengthening peace and security in Africa. At the end of October, Sochi will host the first ever Russia-Africa Summit. We hope its outcomes will help increase the effectiveness of addressing modern challenges and threats and of work to overcome the problems of development African countries are facing.

The reform of the SC is aimed at improving the UN anti-crisis and peacekeeping activities. Given the realities of the multipolar world, the main task is to find a formula which would correct an obvious geopolitical imbalance in its current composition and would ensure increased representation of African, Asian, and Latin American countries in the Council with the broadest possible agreement of the UN Member States.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dividing lines are harmful not only to the world politics but also to the economy. Its inclusive growth is curbed as a result of the WTO norms being substituted for other “rules” – methods of unfair competition, protectionism, trade wars, unilateral sanctions, and open abuse of the American dollar status. All this leads to the fragmentation of the global economic space, negatively affects people’s standards of living. We believe it necessary to get back to the substantial work both in the UN system organizations and in the G-20. To this end, we will contribute to the creation of favorable conditions, including through the opportunities offered by BRICS, where Russia will assume the chairmanship in 2020.

Together with other like-minded countries we support the harmonization of integration processes. This philosophy lies at the core of President Vladimir Putin’s initiative of the Greater Eurasian Partnership involving the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), SCO, ASEAN, and which is open to all other Eurasian states, including the EU countries. We have already started moving in this direction by interconnecting development plans of the EAEU and the Chinese Belt And Road Initiative. Consistent implementation of these endeavors will contribute not only to increasing economic growth but also to laying a solid foundation in order to form the territory of peace, stability, and cooperation from Lisbon to Jakarta.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the run-up to the next anniversary of the United Nations, I would like to underline – the UN-centered system of the world order, despite all trials, is stable and has a great margin of safety. It is a kind of a safety net which guarantees – if the UN Charter is respected – a peaceful development of mankind through finding a balance of sometimes rather contradictory interests of various countries.

At the outcome of these 75 years the main conclusion is probably that the experience of de-ideologized cooperation of states at the face of common threat, gained in the years of that most severe war, is still relevant.

Today’s challenges and threats are no less dangerous.

Only working together we will be able to effectively address them. Half a century ago a prominent scientist and public figure, the Nobel Prize Laureate Andrei Sakharov wrote the following – The division of mankind threatens it with destruction. If mankind is to get away from the brink, it must overcome its divisions It was the unity which was considered the key task of the UN by its Founding Fathers. Let us be worthy of their legacy and memory.

SYRIAN WAR REPORT – SEPTEMBER 20, 2019: RUSSIA GAVE SYRIA ‘GREEN LIGHT’ TO USE S-300

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On September 19, the Syrian Air Defense Forces shot down an unidentified unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over the town of Aqraba, south of Damascus. Pro-government sources claim that the intercepted UAV was likely operated by Israel.

On August 25, two Hezbollah members were killed by Israeli strikes in the same area. These strikes and the incident with Israeli drones in Beirut led to a local escalation between Hezbollah and the Israeli military at the Lebanese-Israeli contact line on September 1. Since then and until September 19, the situation around Damascus and in southern Lebanon have remained relatively calm.

The al-Qaeda-affiliated militant coalition Wa Harid al-Muminin announced that its forces had shelled positions of the Syrian Army near the area of al-Mashari’a. In a separate development, Idlib militants shelled the Abu al-Duhur humanitarian corridor with mortars in an attempt to prevent civilians from leaving the militant-held area.

On September 18, the joint Russia-Syria Coordination Center on Refugee Repatriation announced that work to resettle refugees from the Rukban camp the US-controlled zone of al-Tanf will begin late on September 27. During the last two years, the camp was in a constant state of humanitarian crisis due to the lack of aid, clean water and food. Nonetheless, the US-led coalition and coalition-backed militants sabotaged previous attempts to evacuate civilians from it.

Russia has given Syria a green light to use the S-300 missile defense system against Israeli targets, according to reports in Russian media citing own sources. Reports claim that the Syrian military received permission to use its air defense systems in response to Israeli actions. However, in this case the Syrian side would bear full responsibility for such a move.

Since the start of the week, positions of Iranian-backed forces near al-Bukamal have come under at least two aerial attacks that are commonly attributed by Israel. Some mainstream media speculated that the September 18 strike may have been delivered by the Saudi Air Force. However, this version was immediately denounced by Saudi Arabia itself.

SYRIAN ARMY INTERCEPTS ARMED, BOOBY-TRAPPED DRONE NEAR ISRAELI-OCCUPIED GOLAN HEIGHTS (PHOTOS)

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) brought down on September 21 a large quad-copter unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) near the separation line with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Syrian Army Intercepts Armed, Booby-Trapped Drone Near Israeli-Occupied Golan Heights (Photos)

Click to see full-size image

According to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), the army was able to take control of the hostile UAV and land it once it reached the town of Erneh, 8km north of the separation line. Electronic warfare means were apparently used to control the UAV.

“While inspecting and disassembling the UAV by specialized engineer teams, it became clear that it was armed with submunitions on top of being booby-trapped with a C4 explosive charge, in order to prevent its dismantling and protect its secrets,” a security source told the SANA.

The state-run agency said that the UAV came from the western direction. The SAA controls the entire region, while Hezbollah controls the nearby Lebanese villages. This suggest that the UAV came from the Israeli-occupied areas in northwestern Golan.

Photos of the UAV reveal that it was armed with two small-diameter submunitions, both equipped with a parachute.

Syrian Army Intercepts Armed, Booby-Trapped Drone Near Israeli-Occupied Golan Heights (Photos)

Click to see full-size image

Syrian Army Intercepts Armed, Booby-Trapped Drone Near Israeli-Occupied Golan Heights (Photos)

Click to see full-size image

Syrian Army Intercepts Armed, Booby-Trapped Drone Near Israeli-Occupied Golan Heights (Photos)

Click to see full-size image

Syrian Army Intercepts Armed, Booby-Trapped Drone Near Israeli-Occupied Golan Heights (Photos)

Click to see full-size image

Last month, two quad-copters equipped with explosive devices attacked a center of Hezbollah in Beirut’s Southern Suburb. The incident was blamed on Israel, which appears to be using such drones in its covert operations.

SYRIAN ARMY SHOOTS DOWN ARMED DRONE NEAR HELICOPTER BASE IN NORTHWESTERN HAMA

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) shot down on September 21 an armed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that attempted to attack its positions in northwestern Hama.

Local sources said that the UAV was shot down near the town of Jubb Ramlah. The drone was reportedly armed with several munitions.

The UAV was likely heading to attack a large helicopter base of the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) to the west of Jubb Ramlah. The base has been supporting the SAA’s operations in Greater Idlib for months now.

Syrian Army Shoots Down Armed Drone Near Helicopter Base In Northwestern Hama

Click to see full-size image. Via Google Earth.

No side has claimed responsibility for the failed attack, so far. However, al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) is known for manufacturing and operating this kind of armed UAVs.

The failed attack is a violation of the current ceasefire. Such provocations could force the SAA to resume its ground offensive in Greater Idlib.

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SYRIAN WAR REPORT – SEPTEMBER 5, 2019: SYRIAN ARMY PREPARES SECURITY OPERATION IN WESTERN ALEPPO

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Late on September 3, Idlib militants carried out an attack on Russia’s Hmeimim Airbase with armed unmanned aerial vehicles. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the airbase’s air-defense forces intercepted all the UAVs. The attack caused no casualties or damage at the airbase.

The attack took place just a few days after the start of the ceasefire in the Idlib zone on August 31. It demonstrates that despite diplomatic efforts by the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance, Idlib militant groups are not very interested in a real de-escalation in the region.

On September 4, the Suqour al-Sham Brigades accused Russian special forces of attacking positions of its fighters near Ejaz in southern Idlib. The militant group said that two its members were killed and seven others were injured.

Last week, at least sixteen militants of the Ahrar al-Sham Movement were killed in southern Idlib in a similar mysterious development. That militant groups also blamed the Russians.

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies are preparing to launch a military operation to secure Aleppo’s city center, according to reported in local media. Several units of the SAA and 1,500 Iranian-backed fighters will reportedly take part in the operation that would target militants’ positions in the districts of al-Zahra and al-Rashidin, north and northwest of the city.

Over the past year, militants in al-Zahra and al-Rashidin have fired hundreds of rockets and mortars on Aleppo’s city center, killing and injuring dozens of civilians. They even attacked the city with chlorine gas last November.

The SAA is expanding its infrastructure at the T4 airbase in the province of Homs, according to reports and satellite images appearing online. The images show that the length of the airbase’s southern runway is being expanded from 3,200 m to 3,750 m. A third runway is also apparently being built.

Pro-Israeli sources link this development with the growing Iranian presence in the country. Iran uses the T4 airbase as one of the sites involved in drone operations across Syria.

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How Syria Defeated the 2012-2019 Invasion by US & Al-Qaeda

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How Syria Defeated the 2012-2019 Invasion by US & Al-Qaeda

September 4, 2019

On August 31st, the brilliant anonymous German intelligence analyst who blogs as “Moon of Alabama” headlined “Syria – Coordinated Foreign Airstrike Kills Leaders Of Two Al-Qaeda Aligned Groups”, and he reported that,“Some three hours ago an air- or missile strike in Syria’s Idleb governorate hit a meeting of leaders of the al-Qaeda aligned Haras-al-Din and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) aka Jabhat al-Nusra. Both were killed. It is likely that leaders of other Jihadist groups were also present. The hit completely destroyed a Haras al-Din guesthouse or headquarter. The Syrian Observatory says that more than 40 people were killed in the strike. The hit will make it much easier for the Syrian army campaign to liberate Idleb governorate.

At long last, Syria’s army and Russia’s air force are no longer being threatened with World War III by the US and its allies if they proceed to destroy the tens of thousands of Al-Qaida-led jihadists whom the US had helped to train and arm (and had been protecting in Syria ever since December 2012) in order to overthrow Syria’s non-sectarian Government and replace it by a fundamentalist-Sunni Government which the royal Sauds who own Saudi Arabia would appoint. All throughout that war, those Al-Qaeda-led ‘moderate rebels’ had been organized from the governate or province of Idlib (or Idleb). But now, most (if not all) of their leadership are dead.

Turkey’s leader Tayyip Erdogan had hoped that he would be allowed both by Russia’s Vladimir Putin and by the United States’ Donald Trump to grab for Turkey at least part of Idlib province from Syria. But now, he is instead either participating in, or else allowing, Syria’s army and Russia’s air force, to slaughter Idlib’s jihadists and restore that province to Syria. On 9 September 2018, Russia and Iran had granted Turkey a temporary control over Idlib, and Erdogan then tried to seize it permanently, but finally he has given it up and is allowing Idlib to become restored to Syria. This turn-around signals Syria’s victory against its enemies; it’s the war’s watershed event.

Here is the history of how all that happened and how Syria is finally a huge and crucial step closer to winning its war against the invaders (which had originally been mainly Al Qaeda, US, Turkey, Qatar, and the Sauds,, but more recently has been onlyAl Qaeda and US):

reported, back on 10 September 2018, that:

Right now, the Trump Administration has committed itself to prohibiting Syria (and its allies) from retaking control of Idlib, which is the only province that was more than 90% in favor of Al Qaeda and of ISIS and against the Government, at the start of the ‘civil war’ in Syria. Idlib is even more pro-jihadist now, because almost all of the surviving jihadists in Syria have sought refuge there — and the Government freely has bussed them there, in order to minimize the amount of “human shield” hostage-taking by them in the other provinces. Countless innocent lives were saved this way.

Both Democratic and Republican US federal officials and former officials are overwhelmingly supportive of US President Trump’s newly announced determination to prohibit Syria from retaking control of that heavily jihadist province, and they state such things about Idlib as:

It has become a dumping ground for some of the hardcore jihadists who were not prepared to settle for some of the forced agreements that took place, the forced surrenders that took place elsewhere. … Where do people go when they’ve reached the last place that they can go? What’s the refuge after the last refuge? That’s the tragedy that they face.

That happened to be an Obama Administration official expressing support for the jihadists, and when he was asked by his interviewer “Did the world fail Syria?” he answered “Sure. I mean, there’s no doubt about it. I mean, the first person who failed Syria was President Assad himself.”

Idlib city, incidentally, had also been the most active in starting Syria’s ‘civil war’, back on 10 March 2012 (that’s a news-report by Qatar, which had actually helped to finance the jihadists, whom it lionized as freedom-fighters, and Qatar had also helped the CIA to establish Al Qaeda in Syria). Idlib city is where the peaceful phase of the “Arab Spring” uprisings transformed (largely through that CIA, Qatari, Saudi, and Turkish, assistance) into an armed rebellion to overthrow the nation’s non-sectarian Government, because that’s where the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda was centered. On 29 July 2012, the New York Times headlined “As Syrian War Drags On, Jihadists Take Bigger Role” and reported that “Idlib Province, the northern Syrian region where resistance fighters control the most territory, is the prime example.” (Note the euphemism there, “resistance fighters,” not “jihadists,” nor “terrorists.” That’s how propaganda is written. But this time, the editors had slipped up, and used the honest “Jihadists” in their headline. However, their news-report said that these were only “homegrown Muslim jihadists,” though thousands of jihadists at that time were actually already streaming into Idlib from around the world. Furthermore, Obama lied and said that the people he was helping (the al-Saud family who own Saudi Arabia, and the al-Thani family who own Qatar) to arm, were not jihadists, and he was never called-out on that very blatant ongoing lie.) But the US-allied, Saud-and-Thani-financed, massive arms-shipments, to the Al-Qaeda-led forces in Syria, didn’t start arriving there until March 2013, around a year after that start. And, then, in April 2013, the EU agreed with the US team to buy all the (of course black-market) oil it could that “the rebels” in Syria’s oil region around Deir Ezzor were stealing from Syria, so as to help “the rebels” to expand their control in Syria and thus to further weaken Syria’s Government. (The “rebels,” in that region of Syria, happened to be ISIS, not Al Qaeda, but the US team’s primary target to help destroy was actually Syria, and never ISIS. In fact, the US didn’t even start bombing ISIS there until after Russia had already started doing that on 30 September 2015.)

A week following my 10 September 2018 news-report, I reported, September 17th, about how Erdogan, Putin, and Iran’s Rouhani, had dealt with the US alliance’s threat of going to war against Russia in Syrian territory if Russia and Syria were to attack the jihadists in Idlib:

As I recommended in a post on September 10th, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan jointly announced on September 17th, “We’ve agreed to create a demilitarized zone between the government troops and militants before October 15. The zone will be 15-20km wide,” which compares to the Korean DMZ’s 4-km width. I had had in mind the Korean experience, but obviously Putin and Erdogan are much better-informed about the situation than I am, and they have chosen a DMZ that’s four to five times wider. In any case, the consequences of such a decision will be momentous, unless US President Donald Trump is so determined for there to be World War III as to stop at nothing in order to force it to happen no matter what Russia does or doesn’t do.

What the Putin-Erdogan DMZ decision means is that the 50,000 Turkish troops who now are occupying Idlib province of Syria will take control over that land, and will thus have the responsibility over the largest concentration of jihadists anywhere on the planet: Idlib. It contains the surviving Syrian Al Qaeda and ISIS fighters, including all of the ones throughout Syria who surrendered to the Syrian Army rather than be shot dead on the spot by Government forces.

However, after Erdogan got control over Idlib, he double-crossed Putin and Rouhani, by trying to solidify his control not only over Idlib but over adjoining portions of Syria, I headlined on 14 July 2019 “Turkey Will Get a Chunk of Syria: An Advantage of Being in NATO”, and reported:

Turkey is already starting to build infrastructure even immediately to the north and east of Idlib in order to stake its claim to a yet larger portion of Syria than just Idlib. This might not have been part of the deal that was worked out by Russia’s Putin, Iran’s Rouhani, and Turkey’s Erdogan, in Tehran, on 9 September 2018, which agreement allowed Turkey only to take over — and only on a temporary basis — Idlib province, which is by far the most pro-jihadist (and the most anti-Assad) of Syria’s 14 provinces. Turkey was instead supposed to hold it only temporarily, but the exact terms of the Turkey-Russia-Iran agreement have never been publicly disclosed.

Turkey was building in those adjoining Syrian areas not only facilities from two Turkish universities but also a highway to extend into the large region of Syria to the east that was controlled by Kurdish separatist forces which were under US protection. In July 2019, Erdogan seems to have been hoping that Trump would allow Turkey to attack those Kurdish proxy-forces of the US.

For whatever reason, that outcome, which was hoped for by Erdogan, turned out not to be realized. Perhaps Trump decided that if the separatist Kurds in Syria were going to be allowed to be destroyed, then Assad should be the person who would allow it, not he; and, therefore, if Erdogan would get such a go-ahead, the blame for it would belong to Assad, and not to America’s President.

Given the way Assad has behaved in the past — since he has always sought Syrian unity — the likely outcome, in the Kurdish Syrian areas, will be not a Syrian war against Kurds, but instead some degree of federal autonomy there, so long as that would be acceptable also to Erdogan. If Erdogan decides to prohibit any degree of Kurdish autonomy across the border in Syria as posing a danger to Turkish unity, then Assad will probably try (as much as he otherwise can) to accommodate the Kurds without any such autonomy, just like in the non-Kurdish parts of the unitary nation of Syria. Otherwise, Kurdish separatist sentiment will only continue in Syria, just as it does in Turkey and Iraq. The US has backed Kurdish separatism all along, and might continue that in the future (such as after the November 2020 US Presidential election).

Finally, there seems to be the light of peace at the end of the nightmarish eight-year invasion of Syria by the US and its national (such as Turkey-Jordan-Qatar-Saud-Israel) and proxy (such as jihadist and Kurdish) allies. Matters finally are turning for the better in Syria. The US finally appears to accept it. America’s threat, of starting WW III if Russia and Syria try to destroy the jihadists who have become collected in Syria’s Idlib province, seems no longer to pertain. Maybe this is because Trump wants to be re-elected in 2020. If that’s the reason, then perhaps after November of 2020, the US regime’s war against Syria will resume. This is one reason why every US Presidential candidate ought to be incessantly asked what his/her position is regarding the US regime’s long refrain, “Assad must go”, and regarding continued sanctions against Syria, and regarding restitution to Syria to restore that nation from the US-led war against it. Those questions would reveal whether all of the candidates are really just more of the same actual imperialistic (or “neocon”) policies, or whether, perhaps, one of them is better than that. Putin has made his commitments. What are theirs? Will they accept peace with Russia, and with Iran? If America were a democracy, its public would be informed about such matters — especially before the November 2020 ‘elections’, and not merely after they are already over.

SYRIAN ARMY SECURES AL-TAMANAH, CAPTURES THREE NEW HILLTOPS WEST OF IT (MAP, PHOTOS)

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies have secured the key town of al-Tamanah in the southeastern countryside of Idlib.

In the early hours of August 30, the army was able to besiege the remaining militants inside the town after capturing the northeastern hill of Soukaiyate and the northwestern hill of Sidi Ali.

Syrian Army Secures Al-Tamanah, Captures Three New Hilltops West Of It (Map, Photos)

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Syrian Army Secures Al-Tamanah, Captures Three New Hilltops West Of It (Map, Photos)

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After securing the town, the SAA began a new push in the western direction, capturing the hilltops of Jabal Saghir, Turki and Sidi Jaffar.

Syrian Army Secures Al-Tamanah, Captures Three New Hilltops West Of It (Map, Photos)

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Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the al-Qaeda-affiliated Wa Harid al-Muminin operations room and the Turkish-backed National Front for Liberation (NFL) attempted to hold onto their positions in al-Tamanah and its surroundings with their full strengths.

Pro-government sources are now claiming that the SAA will continue its operation and advance towards the city of Ma`arat al-Nu`man. However, this is yet to be confirmed.

Syrian Army Advances In Southeastern Idlib Amid Heavy Clashes With Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (Map, Photos)

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Early on August 30, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) liberated Sakiyat and advanced on al-Tamanah in southeastern Idlib following heavy clashes with Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and its allies.

The SAA began its attack by capturing the Soukaiyate hill northeast of al-Tamanah and the Sidi Ali hill northwest of the town. After besieging the town and cutting the militants’ supply routes, army units attacked militants inside the town itself.

Earlier, heavy clashes took place in al-Tamanah farms, with HTS attempting to hold onto its positions in the vicinity of the town. The terrorist group targeted a gathering of the SAA with a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED).

Syrian Army Advances In Southeastern Idlib Amid Heavy Clashes With Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (Map, Photos)

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Syrian Army Advances In Southeastern Idlib Amid Heavy Clashes With Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (Map, Photos)

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Syrian Army Advances In Southeastern Idlib Amid Heavy Clashes With Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (Map, Photos)

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Syrian Army Advances In Southeastern Idlib Amid Heavy Clashes With Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (Map, Photos)

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A day earlier, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) resumed its advance in southeastern Idlib capturing the towns of Khuwayn al-Kabir and Ard al-Zurzur as well as the Aghir hilltop.

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SYRIAN ARMY DEPLOYS TROOPS, BATTLE TANKS METERS AWAY FROM TURKISH POST AFTER CAPTURING MURAK (VIDEO, MAP)

The Syrian Arab Army inside of Khan Sheikhoun after declaring full control over the city on Thursday, August 22nd, 2019.

BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:40 A.M.) – On Thursday, the Syrian Arab Army’s High Command announced that the strategic city of Khan Sheikhoun was under the military’s control after a short battle.

The Syrian Arab Army was able to fully secure Khan Sheikhoun after entering the city from all axes on Wednesday; this was followed by a thorough combing operation to ensure that Khan Sheikhoun was cleared of all explosives and militants.

While Khan Sheikhoun was not declared under the Syrian Army’s control until Thursday, all of the militants from Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and Jaysh Al-Izza had already withdrawn from the southern part of the city by Wednesday.

One of the major reasons Khan Sheikhoun fell so quickly to the Syrian Army was due to the military’s capture of the strategic hilltop of Talat Al-Nimr.

Talat Al-Nimr is a large hilltop that overlooks both the northern sector of Khan Sheikhoun and the Hama-Idlib Highway (var. M-5 Highway).

Syrian Army cuts the last militant supply lines to the northern countryside of Hama; thus, leaving the militants fully besieged.Al-Masdar News

Following the loss of their most important supply line to Khan Sheikhoun, most of the militants inside the city abandoned their posts and fled to the Ta’manah area, where they exited the pocket before it was closed by the Syrian Army on Wednesday.

The Syrian Arab Army would follow up this advance by seizing several areas south of Khan Sheikhoun on Thursday.

With virtually nowhere to retreat, the remaining militants in northern Hama will likely rely on the Turkish Armed Forces for protection and a potential exit from this pocket.

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