On June 17, the Russian Military Police withdrew its temporary obserevation post from the village of Deir Ghusun in the northeastern al-Hasakah countryside after protests of locals affilated with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (a Kurdish-dominated group that controls a part of northeastern Syria).
— Sirwan Kajjo (@SirwanKajjo) June 17, 2020
The Syrian Democratic Forces and protestsers also sabotaged the delivery of humantiarain aid to civilians there. So, the Russians were forced to just leave it in the village.
#الخابور #الحسكةرفض أهالي دير غصن بريف #المالكية قبول مساعدات غذائية من الشرطة الروسية احتجاجاً على إقامتها قاعدة عسكرية داخل القرية
The situation in Deir Ghusun happened amid the slowly but steadily growing tensions between Russian and US-led forces in northeastern Syria. The Russian Military Police and the Syrian Army entered the SDF-controlled area in order to stop the Turkish Army operation (Operation Peace Spring October 9-22, 2019) against the Kurdish-led group and establish the ceasefire there. This move in fact rescued the SDF from a full military defeat. At the same time, the US, as it often does, just abandoned its ‘SDF partners’ in the face of the Turkish military.
This old lady telling the Russians to leave. Saying this is a Kurdish land, land of martyrs mothers and children of Kurdistan. We don’t trust you. You sold Afrin and Sarekaniye. Leave…. pic.twitter.com/efz3O5F7lm
— akram salih (@akramsalih7) June 17, 2020
However, just a few month later, the US-led coalition returned to active actions in order to limit the Russian Military Police and Syrian Army influence in northeastern Syria with the help from the SDF. The SDF military and political leadership ‘accidentally’ forgot what really happened in 2019 and sold its loyalty for US dollars once again. So, SDF units and SDF-affiliated ‘activists’ are happily assisting the US-led coalition in its occupation of a part of Syria.
The complicated position in which Russia found itself in northeastern Syria and issues in the Russian ‘soft power’ strategy in the region often become a source of fierce discussions among various experts in the Russian-speaking social media.
Military experts from Russian Telegram channel Rybar write the following:
We regularly joke over the situation, lose and suddenly develop a conscience and then spitefully turn to the Ministry of Defense. Of course, the lion’s share of readers have no idea why that’s happening.
Igor Dimitriev said the following: “Of course, it is needed to work with personnel. Prepare abstracts for officers to communicate with the local population and answers to the most important questions. Courses of military-political training. Or there should be a dedicated public relations officer. In the modern warfare, this could more important than even some military branches.”
And who will do it?
We’ll tell you a little secret: in the specialized bodies that deal with, let’s say, military-ideological questions of junior officers, have absolutely no motivation to create anything, do anything and overcome anything. Crazy work schedules, breakdowns of vacations and tasks that are not amenable to logic, set according to the principle “We do not care that we said something else yesterday. Forget it, just waltz! ”
For those of the staff who need to draw up press releases, they spread messages about US captain A. Krow, but nobody would ever take the time to explain, at all, the causal connection of the events. There will be no elaboration why this is necessary and not entirely useless.
And why is it?
Yesterday’s graduate – today’s lieutenant, receiving a salary of ~40,000 rubles in Moscow, working in one of the elite centers of informational warfare. This individual must know how to compile a formalized report on the number of messages distributed, be able to calculate the potential audience of coverage and quickly click on the “Send” button. What is inside should not excite him. And he shouldn’t ask questions – there are older and smarter comrades for whom Jabhat al-Nusra and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham exist in a singular time continuum, and the Taliban are the way to Xinjiang.
Today’s graduates don’t know how the militants of one ideology differ from another, they don’t study the formation of various bandit groups, but they are ready, like idiots, to say: “It’s all the United States’ fault!
When you meet them, you look at a graduate fresh out of the “forge for personnel of Armed Forces”, who will leave it 10-15 years later, similarly to you, and you realize that somewhere, something has rotted in the “Danish kingdom”.”
This is an example of the press release mentioned by Rybar. The text refers to Hayat Tahrir al-Sgam and Jabhat al-Nusra as two seprate terrorist entities. In fact, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra are brands used by the same group during the different stages of the Syrian conflict. MORE ABOUT THIS HERE (this video analysis was released by SouthFront in January 2018):
The screenshot below shows the text of an article from hardcore pro-Russian website “Rusvesna”. The article claims that the US deployed a special infromational warfare unit (40 personnel) led by A. Krow to discredit Russia in northeastern Syria. According to it, members of the SDF security unit Asayish cooperate with this mythical “A. Krow” posing as civilians and staging provocations.
These people, who today hold the lowest officer posts in the specialized centers, cannot find the Golan Heights on the map, although they write about Syria, they don’t know what Hezbollah is, and they heard about Qassem Soleimani only in the January news report of VGTRK (SF comment: a Russian state-run TV channel), while eating up Olivier salad and drinking warm champagne.
The Taliban, the Uyghurs, the Iraqi Kurds – for them they are all the same proteges of the treacherous State Department, which ruined the Soviet statehood, which with such aspiration and almost erotic excitement are recalled by big “bright” heads on Frunzenskaya Embankment (SF comment: a street with defense ministry buildings in Moscow).
As for great men with large epaulettes, the situation here is even worse: no one needs to delve into the ongoing processes, the ranks of executive blanks have long been replenished, and their have brains became as square-perpendicular as snowdrifts in military towns during the winter.
But there are others.
Frantic, zealously trying to gain favor and serve properly. Those whose ideological attitudes are so strong that they believe that releasing a story about repairing a sewage system in Aleppo in Syria is more important than covering an offensive operation in Idlib that no one should know about.
They believe that any stone in the garden of the armed forces is a result of the machinations of the State Department, which paid everyone and bought everyone.
They listen to state-owned media and vehemently believe in the words that everything has rotted there, and much more importance should be attributed to the footage on federal television, all of which are filled throughout with fanfare, of how foodstuffs are distributed in Syria.
Several years will pass and the first – still young and full of initiative – will join the ranks of the second.
This kind of frustration regarding the current ‘effectiveness’ of the Russian soft power in the Middle East and around the world is nothing new for Russian military experts and media organizations that have secured at least some independence. The remarks by Rybar are the most recent, but not the only example of such reactions.
Since the military operation in Syria in 2015, Russian forces have demonstrated their high effectiveness on the battlefield turning the tide of the war. The Syrians with help from Russia and Iran have achieved several important breakthroughs including the liberation of Aleppo, Palmyra and breaking the ISIS siege of Deir Ezzor. The Syrian Army and the Russian Military Police entered areas of northeastern Syria, which were captured by the US-backed SDF. Nonetheless, many Russian experts are concerned that results of all these advances on the ground may be undermined by the unarticulated ‘soft power’ policy and some third parties could exploit these military victories to promote their own interests, which often goes contrary with those of the Russian state.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Idlib Al-Qaeda Promotes Its ‘Successes’ In Fight Against Syrian Army
- Prospects Of Turkish-Russian Military Conflict In Syria
- Syria 2018-2019 and the Next Loop of the Great Game
- Russian Military Campaign in Syria 2015-2018