End Game: Syrian War Final Phase

"We are going to scourge the Third Reich from end to end. We are bombing Germany city by city and ever more terribly in order to make it impossible for her to go on with the war. That is our object; we shall pursue it relentlessly."  - 1944, Sir Arthur Harris, Air Marshal, RAF Bomber Command

There is a lot of material on the Boresight with respect to the war in Syria. This is because it has been the largest active shooting war on earth, and airpower - for better or worse - has been pivotal in setting the direction of the war. The Syrian War has also proven to be a test-bed of political will, and real national interests versus perceived national interests. And from whom, and for what purpose.

01-07 Nov 2020: The entire Turkmen pocket of Idlib just south of the Syrian city of 'Jandaris' is now under round-the-clock heavy bombardment by Syrian Government forces and the Russian Air Force. There is a new demarcation line just south of  'Jandaris' which is also revealing. The Turkish incursion areas around Idlib in Syria are now being pounded. Russia can operate high combat sortie rates in Syria.

20-Oct 2020: Heavy Russian airstrikes in Idlib province. Turks are pulling out and dismantling some observation posts as Syrian government units simply advanced around and past them. The Turkmen pocket around Idlib will not hold if Russian pounding continues.

27-Sept 2020: Persistent reports of heavy Russian air activity over the Turkish zone near Idlib in Syria. Also many reports of heavy shelling by Syrian government forces in and around the towns/villages of: 
Al-Fateera, Kansafra, Al-Bara, Kansafra, Al-Zaqqum, Mansoura, and the Al-Ghab Plain in Idlib southern countryside.

16-Sept 2020: Heavy bombardment by Russian aircraft and government artillery in Idlib province and Turkish occupied Syrian territory. The Turkish incursion into Syria was never sustainable.

18-Aug 2020: Two American MQ-9 Reaper drones (remotely piloted vehicles) were shot down over Idlib. The Americans say the two drones collided with one another. The flaming wreckage of two UAVs falling to the ground is more consistent with a shoot down rather than collision?

22-Feb 2020: Turkey massive incursion into Syria. New post here. The Syria pro-government offensive may have paused, for now, however, the Turks have shown no inclination to neutralize or control jihadist elements remaining in northern Syria.

The conflict has also tested, or more descriptively - largely brushed aside - international humanitarian law. Assad forces are starting to apply pressure to the Turk-backed pocket in the north after a large offensive started in September was delayed. Now with US quasi-withdrawal, many think Turkey will move against the Kurds in Syria. A Turkey/NATO vs Russia confrontation could still materialize.

The Russian Air Force has used "over-kill" bunker-busters, gravity high-yield bombs and incendiary munitions in the conflict. However, with respect to bunker busters and high yield dumb bombs, we would remind the reader that vast tunnel networks have evolved, and these networks, from a military perspective, must be attacked if they can be detected - preferably with the combatants still inside. Russia does not invest in high numbers of expensive "precision munitions" as the West does, this is because satellite guidance is installed in the aircraft (called SVP-24) - and not the bomb. This discrepancy in cost-benefit philosophy -  has had no discernible relevance is totally upending the trajectory of the war in Assad's favor - much to the chagrin of many in Washington, Riyadh, Doha, Ankara, and at the Pentagon.

This investigation from the New York Times shows that underground hospitals have not been spared by the VKS. This is deliberate to make life unliveable in areas in Syria still held by opposition-FSA/Al-Nusra/Jabhat Fatah al-Sham/etc. We warned that Russian entry into the Syrian war would be more like the second Chechen War. That the Russian could effectively flatten Syria.
30-Jan, 2020: After weeks of heavy bombardment and VKS/SyAAF airstrikes, Government forces are advancing on the eastern side of the Turkmen pocket, up the M5 towards the town of Saraqib.

22-Dec 2019: Weeks of heavy artillery and VKS and SyAAF bombardment has finally produced the collapse of the Turkmen pocket near Sarman in Eastern Idlib. Erdogan (Turkey) has gotten nervous and sent a delegation to Moscow. The UN reports some 60,000 people have fled in recent weeks and many are steaming towards Turkey.

12-Aug 2019: Massive artillery and air bombardment by pro-government forces along the entire southern Idlib front including Kafranbel, Jirnaz, Ma'ar Shamsheh, Deir Al-Sharqi, Telmens, Jabala, Dar Al-Kabira, Sufohen and Kfroma in southern Idlib countryside. these strikes are behind (north of) the Turkish observation post at Ma'arr Hitat. The Syrian government and the Russians appear to have the inertia to sweep Opposition/Jihadist/Turkmen military formations from northern Syria.

01-Aug 2019: Massive bombardment by government forces of the Turkish backed Turkman pocket just north of Hama. Air raids on the cities of Kafrzita, Altamneh, Morek, and villages of Latmin, Arbain, and Zakat. No place is safe for civilians. This overall offensive should mark the beginning of the end of the Syrian opposition and jihadist forces including Tahrir al-Sham (al-Nusra) in Syria.
Photo: Tass
[Below] Video synopsis of Russian and SyAAF application of airpower during the conflict. Footage shows Russian Mi-24P,  Su-25SM, Su-24M2, Su-34 (employing SVP-24) Tu-95MSM and SyAAF MiG-21Bis, MiG-23MS, MiG-29, Su-22M3, Su-24MK, Mi-24. And it is truly frightening.
28-Aug 2019: As we predicted: Pro-Assad forces targeted Turkish army observation post No 10 in Shir Magar. The Syrian government is not going to tolerate uninvited foreign troops on Syrian soil.

The Russian Air Force carried out 20 sorties against oppositions militant tunnels networks (Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and Turkestan Islamic Party) at Kabani; this was followed by strikes from Syrian Arab Army 4th Division.

26-Aug 2019: Khan Shaykhun pocket has collapsed by advancing pro-government elements. Use of tank decoys at playback point 18:17.

21-August 2019: A very busy day. Syrian Arab Army units advanced from the Tal Tari axis meet Syrian army forces in Khan Shaykhun, and traping a 24 sq/km pocket of Hama territory with Kafr Zita, Latmaneh, Morek and the Turkish observation point at Morek now completely surrounded.

Also, the Turkish Army is building a new observation post near Hish on M-5 highway north to try and prevent Syrian Government forces advancing up the M5 to Maarat al-Numan.

In addition, there are two unconfirmed reports of Turkish jets [again] over Syria, this time near northern Aleppo and over Afrin-Tel Rifaat. This comes on the heels of unconfirmed reports of Syrian based Russian Su-35 fighters intercepting and forcing THK F-16s out of Syrian airspace just the day before.

We may yet see a direct Russian/Turkish military confrontation in Syria. We think an aerial confrontation between the two is greater than 60 percent.

18-August 2019: Syrian Government forces are threatening to take the city of Khan Sheikhoun and encirclement of roughly a 12 km deep pocket of opposition-Jihadist territory including the towns of Al Lataminah and Kafr Zayta. This war has seen extensive use of tunnels, so progress can be slow and weaponry employed seemingly disproportionate to the laymen.

Video from 'Anna' is one of the few places we can find any footage of the war in Syria.

All subtitles can be set to English under "setting" in the lower right corner of the video. Translation is not perfect.

17-August 2019: This is precisely the kind of issue we have been concerned about since Olive Branch. A direct confrontation between NATO and Russia as Turkish backed forces are pushed out of Syria.  "Russian observation point in Tel-Rifaat area has been shelled today evening by Turkish-backed factions, at least three shells have landed near the base, causing serious injuries one Russian soldier" Source

15-August 2019: Lots of footage of fighting in the Turkmen pocket

30-July 2019: New video of government assault.

14-August 2019: SyAAF Su-22 goes down over Idlib province. Pilot captured (and surprisingly not summarily shot by opposition factions).
It remains unclear if the aircraft had a mechanical problem or was shot down. The SyAAF dwindling Su-22 fleet is overworked.
24-Sept 2018: After the loss of a Russian IL-20M, there are now these developments. Isreali airpower in the region will now be forcibly controlled with respect to IDF-AF capacity to attack targets in Syria. The Israelis will attempt to employ anti-radiation munitions in response.

2018: Ground assault in Idlib appears to be delayed, over a new 15km "demilitarized zone" has reduced Turkish-rebel-jihadist territory by about 20km in the west, east and south. We think the Turks and their armed groups are simply buying for time - as their destruction is a certainty.

08-Sept 2018: Major offensive underway by pro-Assad government forces to retake Idlib province. One push is from the south northward and the other from the east westward. Very heavy aerial and artillery bombardment. We fully expect all manner of munition to be employed to knock out rebel tunnel networks, with humanitarian organizations and [other] detractors likely view this as excessive,  as in Aleppo before it fell to government forces. Humanitarian laws of armed conflict and other international conventions have also been brushed aside by all parties, whether it be targeting of hospitals, or summarily shooting of bailed out pilots. This dreadful war simply needs to end.

As of August 2018, pro-Assad forces have rolled up all rebel groups in Daraa and are now directing efforts to begin ejecting the Turks and Turkish controlled jihadists in the north centered in Idlib. Meanwhile, Daesh (ISIS) has been reduced to just a few pockets in the south and the east.
The large offensive and bombardment has started, to begin to retake Idlib province. This province is the last remaining "rebel" province and is dominated by jihadists groups, including some 10,000 Al-Qaeda affiliated/foreign jihadis, including factions under control of the Turks.
Thankfully, U.S. warnings via twitter to the Russians and Assad, not to recklessly attack Idlib province - have been ignored by the Kremlin. Warnings from Turkey have also been ignored, as the Turks have started moving their M-60 tanks around in Idlib Governorate. [The M-60 is no match for the anti-armor weaponry of the Syria war - no match].

This dreadful war must end. Russian airpower has proven instrumental in destroying jihadists in Syria and helping the government regain control of the country. While we are no fans of the Assad regime - its survival is far superior to the results in Iraq and Libya from Western regime-change orthodoxy.
History will be scathing on American and Western reckless military adventurism in the Greater Middle East, resulting in the deaths of perhaps over 500,000 Iraqis (directly and indirectly) from the 2003 American invasion of Iraq alone. We frankly have grown tired of long ago, of Washington's hypocritic groaning about Russian intervention in Syria, especially with respect US involvement in Yemen.
Turkey effectively holds over a thousand square kilometers of northern Syrian territory after Ankara's Operation Olive Branch. Again, a direct confrontation between East and West could occur as Turkey is still a NATO member. Our hope is the 5th article of the NATO treaty doesn't cover Turkey's military expedition into Syria.
Rebels also still hold territory in the south near the Jordanian border crossing. We firmly believe the Assad-coalition will move to eject US-backed rebels at some point soon as well. Then the Kurdish question in the northeast of Syria will again come into focus. Assad and the Kurds are both secularists, so we think negotiation is a viable option.
03-Feb 2018: [Above/Below] The first operational combat loss of Russian fixed-wing aircraft in the Syrian war (the ambush of an Su-24 notwithstanding). The combination of operating with a low cloud deck, and the pilot selecting not to employ expendables coming off the target, resulted in a MANPAD hit from Syrian rebels. The Su-25SM "Frogfoot" was hit over Idlib and the pilot ejected, but was shot (and killed) by the Islamists fighters on the ground. There are few good actors in this war, and the "Syrian rebels" are certainly not one of them (and are certainly not an improvement over the Assad regime). The more jihadists factions liquidated in Russian airstrikes - to be frank - the better. This war is already over for Syrian rebels - so now it is just a rising death count - for no purpose. The Kremlin says it is working with Turkey to have the pilot's body returned. Why would Ankara have any sway with Jaysh al-Nasr, Al-Nursra or any other Jihadist army in Syria?

Su-25SM "blue 06" with the serial number "RF-95486" was part of the 37th Flight Regiment stationed on the Crimea.
02-Nov 2017: Russian Tu-22M3 launch new airstrikes in Deir-ez-Zur province. There is a lot of material on the Boresight regarding Syria, however, it remains the largest shooting war on planet earth right now and airpower has been pivotal in turning the tide.

19-Dec 2016: Russian ambassador to Turkey - Andrey Karlov - is assassinated in Ankara. With the assassination of the ambassador to Turkey by a Jihadist Turkish national (and the rant that followed) it is now abundantly clear who was fighting against Assad in Aleppo - it was Jihadists. The legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people for political reforms at the start of the Syrian uprising - was hijacked by the Gulf States and the CIA to engage in a proxy Jihad in Syria to ‘regime-change’ out Assad - so as to advance regional gas pipeline politics (along with the Turks and Jordanians). With this shift, and Syria (and Iraq) now crawling with Wahhabi/Salafi-Jihadists, an authentic Syrian rebellion for political reforms - was doomed. Syrians were instead - to be butchered to determine pipeline routing for liquefied natural gas.

Many Syrians fighting against Assad appear to be young teenagers with AKs, but in a way almost reminding us more of the rock-throwing kids of the Palestinian Intifada.

The Turks are now incurring actual combat losses on the ground in Syria in al-Bab including Leopard 2A4s, so their honeymoon with the Daesh appears to over (remember the Kurds fighting IS in Kobani while the Turks watched). We do not trust the Turks. They have switched sides too many times during the war to be reliable. They should be ejected from NATO for migrant-smuggling alone due to the destabilizing outcomes on other NATO alliance members.
Photo by: Andrei Chursin
We all remember Donald Rumsfeld not counting “collateral damage” during Operation Iraqi Freedom (the US invasion of Iraq) in 2003. Why? Because Rumsfeld did not [want to] enter the Iraq campaign with sufficient ground forces (economy of forces) to clear Iraq in house-to-house fighting (in order to presumably protect Iraqi civilians) and hold territory. So, American airpower was used in 2003 instead - as the great equalizer to uproot Iraqi resistance and keep the peace. Civilians suffered as a result. Syria is no different. In Iraq, liberation forces attempting to liberate Mosul from Daesh are taking 50% casualties – to protect civilians. This own force Iraqi attrition rate is unsustainable. In short order - Iraq won’t have enough soldiers to continue the campaign to clear out Daesh in Mosul. Your offensive stalls, the war drags on, and your enemy gets more time to prepare, to counter, dig tunnels  – and to kill you. These are the kinds of military decisions that any general the ground - is forced to balance.

Everyone knows that both the Daesh and Jihadist in the region are martyring civilians as human shields.

While we are no friend of the Assad regime - this is why civilians must heed leaflet drops and leave areas were opposition fighters without an air force - are operating. Making war a ‘surgical procedure’ is simply not possible. In trying to protect civilians - ends up in the death of more of your own soldiers – so please explain the morality of this? This issue needs to be explained to international humanitarian organizations and the press as they don’t understand the nature of war and therefore lack authentic context. All war is immoral.

Donald Rumsfeld did not count “collateral damage” during the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Why not?

Editors note * Pro-government forces are suffering from an acute manpower shortage - as the loss of Palmyra to Daesh attests. How airpower can mitigate the situation in Palmyra is unclear. It might be time for area denial munitions on Palmyra to hinder Daesh movement there and in the ancient city? As of 20-Jan 2017, the Syrian Army is again advancing toward Palmyra
Russian Air Force Su-34 'Fullback' underway during a night mission at Hmeymim Air Base, Syria. When this kind of combat power was introduced into the war on the side of Assad - the outcome of the war would no longer be in doubt. It was simply a matter of time. As we are writing, reports of roughly 4000 Daesh fighters from Iraq - have attacked the ancient city Palmyra and reportedly taken parts of the city. It won't last - whatever gains ISIS has made will be rolled back in short order. Russia needs to intercept/interdict arms shipments to Jihadists.

Published December 6, 2016. Source.

"The civil war in Syria is over. Now it is time to stop the fighting.

Aided by Russia, Iran, Shiite militias and Hezbollah, the government of President Bashar al-Assad is on the verge of taking Aleppo, once Syria’s largest city. Supported by its powerful allies, the Syrian Army will then move to eliminate the remaining pockets of resistance, notably around the northern city of Idlib. While Iran has been Mr. Assad’s most important military ally, the Syrian regime would still want to have Russian airpower to finish its reconquest of the country’s populous west.

OFAB-250-270 iron bombs and a Su-25SM attack jet in Syria.
The Assad regime has prevailed through tactics of unspeakable brutality — barrel bombs, starvation, the targeting of hospitals and rescue workers and the suspected use of chemical weapons — but it has prevailed. Samantha Power, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, has rightly focused attention on these war crimes, but these denunciations will make no difference to the situation on the ground.
A mountain of Western criticism has been heaped on Russia for using inaccurate “dumb” iron bombs in Syria. The Su-34 and Su-24 (and Tu-22M to some extent) are designed to release drag-retarded munitions at very high speed, at very low altitude, at night – where “dumb” bomb accuracy is very high. In Syria, (a lower intensity conflict) weapon release was at medium/higher altitudes and low speeds – beyond the range of ground fire and MANPAD threats. Bombs can drift under these conditions. However, remember what Argentine air force and naval aircraft did to the British Royal Navy with ‘dumb’ iron bombs in the Falklands – so these “dumb iron bomb" criticisms are largely academic. 
There is an absolutely counterproductive idea favored by Washington’s foreign policy elites of both parties, recycled recently by President Bill Clinton’s secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright and Stephen J. Hadley, national security adviser to President George W. Bush, for providing additional military support to the moderate Syrian opposition. Such aid cannot possibly now change the trajectory of the war, but will certainly get more people killed.
The Soviet military that entered Afghanistan in 1979 is not the same Russian military that came out of Chechnya. The notion that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the CIA/Pentagon could take on the formal Russian military in a proxy war in Syria - as we predicted - is (and has proven) completely ridiculous. All it did was cause more people to die. It is a near certainty that the CIA will assert that they wanted the Kremlin to pay a heavy price for their actions in Syria on behalf of Assad. Our sense is the CIA (and Pentagon) will live to regret that decision. Russia’s 'VSMPO' is the major titanium supplier to Boeing and United Technologies. American rhetoric, the CIA, and the Pentagon - all need to be reeled in. Having Syria overrun by Jihadists was never the [a] winning strategy.
Though the outcome is clear, how the war ends matters greatly. The United States has an interest in a result that allows as many Syrians as possible to go home, that ensures the total defeat of the Islamic State and other extremist groups, and that safeguards the Syrian Kurds, who have been America’s principal ally against the Islamic State.
Achieving these goals will require close collaboration with Russia, whose intervention enabled Mr. Assad to turn the tide of the war. Fortunately, Russia shares many of America’s objectives, even if its Syrian ally does not.
The United States and Russia could start by negotiating terms that would end the fighting between the regime and the moderate opposition. The terms might include an amnesty for the rebels, the right of Syrian refugees to return and equal access to reconstruction assistance. It could even include some promises of basic political freedoms, international monitoring and the removal of Syrian officials (not including Mr. Assad) responsible for the worst crimes.
The Russians have considerable leverage with a Syrian government that wants Russian backing for mopping-up operations. The United States, with less leverage, will have to persuade the non-Islamist opposition that a negotiated surrender is better than total destruction.
European countries have a strong interest in creating conditions to encourage refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey to return to Syria rather than heading west. America should work to ensure the diplomatic engagement of European allies to bring an end to hostilities, as well as their financial support for reconstruction in Syria.
In eastern Syria, Kurdish forces supported by the United States Air Force and special forces are battling the Islamic State in a largely separate conflict. On a recent trip to the Kurdish areas, I traveled to within 15 miles of Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State. Kurdish fighters feel confident that they can take the city, but their leaders understand that they’re not in a position to govern a large Arab city. Since there is no viable Arab alternative to the Syrian government, this will mean transferring control of Raqqa to the regime in Damascus.
To date, the combat performance of Russian flown Mil Mi-24P ‘Hind’ helicopter in Syria has been nothing short of outstanding. Two Mi-35 aircraft have been lost due to contact with the enemy – but not a single Mi-24P. When we saw actual combat footage of Russian Mi-24P in Syria – flying through hails of ground fire - we knew the gig was up – and that the Russians had the technical and operational combat employment proficiency to up-end the outcome of the war. Assurances by Western analysists that Russia would suffer heavy material losses in Syria - have instead affirmed more hollow Western assertion(s). Mi-24P uses retractable landing gear, while the Mi-35 uses the non-retractable fixed gear.
Finally, the United States must provide long-term guarantees to the Syrian Kurds, who now control a large territory, not all of which is Kurdish. For now, the Syrian Army is in no position to take on the Kurdish forces, but eventually, Mr. Assad will surely try to recreate the centralized Arab state he inherited from his father. He will also want to use Syria’s oil resources — much of which are now under Kurdish control — to finance reconstruction.

Note that SyAAF Su-22s has repeatedly been documented dropping parachute bombs from medium altitudes in daylight – not the optimal release parameters for these munitions. The SyAAF is now understood that it also can operate at night. Having said that, the Russian effectively neutralized the Syrian MANPAD threat as Mi-24P operations attest.

[Above] White '75' underway. After the MANPAD threat became acute, daylight raids were conducted medium altitudes as to mitigate this and the ZPU threat. It is unknown at what altitudes nighttime sorties were conducted. The Russian SVP-24 aerial munition targeting system would be highly accurate a low altitude using “iron bombs” at night. Photo: Russian Mod.

White '77' Photo: Russian MoD

One option is to establish an American-protected Kurdish safe area in northeastern Syria similar to the one created in northern Iraq after the first gulf war. That expensive option

However, Russia’s leverage with Mr. Assad will diminish as the opposition crumbles in Syria’s west and Russian airpower becomes less important. At that point, the opportunity to extract concessions will disappear, and the field will belong to Mr. Assad and Iran.
President-elect Donald J. Trump has stated his intention to work with Russia and Mr. Assad to defeat the Islamic State. The sooner America reaches out to Russia, ideally before January’s handover of administration, the better."
"Peter W. Galbraith is a former United States ambassador to Croatia." Published December 6, 2016. Source.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/06/opinion/how-the-war-ends-in-syria.html?_r=0

Misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda are tools of war. We urge readers to remain skeptical of what is being reported (by all sides) until more fact(s) can be established. This can take time.

Here in the West extreme bias and recriminations against Russia and the Assad regime is on full display with no real counter-reporting of Western/Gulf State proxy-support of groups like al-Nusra and other Salafi-Wahhabi jihadists "rebels." The absence of accurate reporting here in America (with too few exceptions) is revealing. The bulk of our trumpeted "free press" has become a mouthpiece for Washington policy dogma - rather than doing journalism. We are no friend of the Assad regime, however, it reminds us of the cheerleading by too many in the US media during the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. It was ugly then...and it is ugly now.

The United States government, that includes the CIA and the Pentagon - need to be careful here. The US has depleted its production reserves of titanium. The US currently imports nearly 80% of the titanium (aerospace grade 'titanium-sponge') used in US civilian and military aerospace applications. A large percentage of this comes from Russia. American rhetoric, (including its media) and especially CIA/Pentagon "opposition rebel" policy in Syria - needs to be reeled in.

Thankfully CENTCOM has begun hitting Daesh near Palmyra. Thank God. Privately our sense is many in the US military and the Pentagon would rather work together with the Russians (and even Iran) to eviscerate Salafi-Jihadist threats in both Syria and Iraq. We agree. A brutal secular dictatorship in Syria is a far less-worse outcome than a Salafi-Wahhabi Jihadist failed-state transnational terror threat, fueled with petrodollars.

We would urge thoughtful US military leaders to work closely with Russia. It’s a far better option - and we'll even learn a lot more. Don’t forget to protect the Kurds. They share our values, have emancipated Kurdish woman, and are secularists. If at the end of all this - we throw the Syrian Kurds under the bus (we have one wheel on them already, due to the Turks) – we will never forgive you – and neither will history.

The notion that modern war through technology - can be distilled down to some "antiseptic procedure" is very troubling - and false. All war is immoral. The only good war...is a short war.
Russian Su-25 over al-Habeet - February 2017
The US-led effort against ISIS in Iraq and Syria is well represented both on television and on the Internet. It is the Russian intervention in Syria that is the real story to military historians and air power observers - due to its uniqueness. It has also proved a sobering development for too many Western defense analysts - that frankly should be ignored from now on.

- All media found here is for scholarly and research purposes and protected under U.S. Internet ‘Fair Use’ Law -


  1. If our troops are pulled out, as has been suggested by our current administration, would ISIS once again reemerge with power enough to resume their operations as they once did?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Hi Gurney,

      I don't think so. None of the Pro-Assad actors want ISIS to return. Russia/Iran/Iraq/Assad, all want ISIS wiped out. Assad was very sneaky and released a horde of syrian jihadist from prison near the start of the war, to discredit the legitimate syrian opposition - and it worked. Jihadists blended into and with opposition actors and then he could say he fighting terrorists. When russia entered the war vast swaths of the high population areas in syria were pulverized of all opposition to Pro-Assad block. I think the US syria strategy is been adrift for a while now.The US has no real role to play except to try an protect the Kurds - but my sense is Washington will betray them. The Americans just don't have direct interests in Syria as the Russians do - the Kremlin went into Syria to protect Gazprom from a Qatari liquified Natural Gas pipeline(s) going into Europe thru Syria. Gazprom sales into western Europe is 80% of Gazprom revenue. When the Kremlin realized Assad might lose in 2015, they acted, because it was the Kremins direct strategic interests to do so. This help explain why russia has not really been defending syria from Israeli raids on hezbollah/IRGC in Syria. They are simply there to block any business threat to Gazprom from Qatar or anyone else. Qatar has the largest LNG reserves in the world - and they been trying to crack into the EU market. Currently they must use shipping to move their LNG to Europe - and there are chokepoints in the Suez that limit ship size, so qatari needs pipeline(s) thru Syria to complete on price with Gazprom.
      - Boresight

    3. "Samantha Power, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, has rightly focused attention on these war crimes, but these denunciations will make no difference to the situation on the ground."

      This is indeed rich seeing as the US has been actively been supplying these very forces on the US taxpayer dime. Some of the photos of weapons displays if captured gear in Syria now resemble arms displays at Fort Benning... The Russians are not saints either but they are at least not hypocritical...

    4. Good observation. The conflict is up to its eyeballs with bad state and non-state actors. Thank you for your input! - Boresight


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