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Death Trap For Russia In Northern Syria

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Death Trap For Russia In Northern Syria

A Russian soldier gestures during a patrol near the Syrian and Turkish border in north Syria on Friday. Oct. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad)

On November 18, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey will launch a new military operation in northeast Syria if the area was not cleared of what he called terrorists.

Cavusoglu claimed that the United States and Russia had not done what was required under agreements that halted a Turkish offensive against “terrorists” (i.e. Kurdish armed groups – the YPG and the PKK) in northern Syria. Under the Turkish-US and Turkish-Russian agreements Kurdish units had to remove from the area near the Turkish border.

“If we do not obtain a result, we will do what is necessary, just as we launched the operation after trying with the U.S.,” Cavusoglu said, referring to work with the US to remove the YPG from the area before Turkey launched its Operation Peace Spring on October 9.

Turkey sees the YPG, the main component of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which control the northeastern part of Syria, as a terrorist group with links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party that involved in a long-standing rebellion against the Turkish state.

The statement of the Turkish foreign minister came following a new attakc on a joint Russian-Turkish patrol in northeastern Syria by YPG-affilated radicals. YPG supporters threw petrol bombs at Russian and Turkish vehicles.

On November 19, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov commented on Cavusoglu’s statement describing it as surprising.

“The Russian Defense Ministry was surprised to hear Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s statement about Russia’s alleged failure to fulfill its promises, as well as his threats about an operation in northern Syria,” Konashenkov said. “The Turkish top diplomat’s statement calling for military activities may raise tensions in Syria’s north instead of easing them in accordance with a joint memorandum signed by the presidents of Russia and Turkey.

The surprise of the Russian Defense Ministry towards the statement of the Turkish foreign minister is surprising itself. Ankara has been providing a consistent foreign policy towards Kurdish issues and Syria as a state. The November 18 statement goes fully in accordance with this course.

It should be noted that the Turkish leadership has never seen Russia as a long-term partner. Rather, Ankara sees Moscow as a situational ally and aims to exploit the gullibility of this ally to achieve own goals.

The Turkish foreign course is an apparent demonstration that Ankara is not seeking to make ‘friendship’ with other regional and global actors. Turkey’s foreign policy is mobile and variable. However, it is always designed to defend interests of Turkey as a regional leader and the key state of the Turkic world.

Cavusoglu’s statement hint at a new shift of the Turkish foreign policy, which may undermine the Russian influence in northern Syria.

By November 19, Turkish and Russian forces had conducted at least 8 joint patrols in the framework of the reached ‘safe zone’ agreement. Most of them, excluding the very first ones, were marked by attacks and provocations carried out by YPG-affiliated Kurdish radicals. Initially, pro-YPG rioters threw stones. Then, they blocked patrols and attack vehicles. Recently, they started using petrol bombs. What’s next? Anti-tank guided missile strikes?

By these provocations, the Kurdish leadership are testing red lines of the Russians that are the main factor that limits Turkish response to such actions. Attacks on Russian vehicles also demonstrate that at least a part of the local Kurdish population sees the Russian military presence as hostile. The main reason is Moscow’s open and active cooperation with Ankara in the region.

The developments of the last weeks demonstrate that Turkey launched its Operation Peace Spring in northeastern Syria in de-facto coordination with Iran and Russia. The Turkish offensive was also un-publicly supported by the Trump administration. After the end of the operation under the US-Turkish and Russian-Turkish deals, the region of northeastern Syria had all chances to move towards a further stabilization.

The full implementation of steps agreed by Ankara and Moscow in the framework of the safe zone agreement will bring a long-awaited peace to the territory of northeastern Syria in the next 1-2 years. Nonetheless, the Turkish leadership is not interested in this. The Erdogan government needs the “Kurdish threat” and the instability in northern Syria to have a wide group of formal pretexts for a further expansion into the neighboring country and backing of pro-Turkish groups operating there. Turkey is interested in a peace on its own territory. At the same time, it prefers a low intensity conflict in the ‘instability zone’ in northern Syria.

If Ankara successfully plays Russia in its northeastern Syria ‘safe zone’ game, it will achieve the following goals:

  • To discredit Russia and its personnel in the eyes of the Kurdish population;
  • To undermine Russia’s political position in this part of Syria;
  • To indirectly demonstrate the fallacy of the Russian initiatives in northern Syria.

The further growth of tensions in the regions and continued attacks on Russian vehicles patrolling the area contribute to this scenario.

The Russian forces were deployed to the north as a part of Moscow’s wider effort to back the Assad government and support a broader political settlement of the conflict. Therefore, Russia has very limited interests there, but already faced notable obstracles (from the intractability of the Kurdish leadership to the shift of the Turksih policy).

In own turn, the Russian withdrawal from the border area as a result of some major security incident or a series of smaller ones will allow Turkey to continue pursuing its mid-term goals:

  • To keep under the control the “Kurdish threat”, which is being actively exploited by the Erdogan government in its domestic and foreign policies;
  • To seize key logistical routes, including the chunk of the M4 highway east of the Euphrates, in northern Syria. In some cases, Turkish forces may even push to capture some oil fields in the area;
  • To justify an increase of support to pro-Turkish groups in northeastern Syria and in the Idlib de-escalation zone.

By undermining the Turkish-Russian safe zone agreement and thus the Russian position in the region, the Kurdish leadership hopes to strengthen its negotiating position with Damascus and gain some additional political and financial revenue despite the collapse of its pro-US policies. Despite this, the wider look at the situation demonstrates that this approach is leading towards an even larger catastrophe. If the safe zone deal collapses and Turkish forces resume their offensive, the Kurdish population will get under the wheels of the Turkish military machine. A large part of the Kurds will be repressed or have to flee towards the US-occupied or Damascus-controlled areas. The US will keep control of the oil. Turkey will get the north. However, the Kurds will blame the Russians because they ‘did not protect them’.

According to some experts, the US is fully aware of this scenario and its intelligence services are now working to support YPG radicals that attack Turkish-Russian patrols because this gives Washington levers of influence to pressure forces of the Assad government and Russia on the eastern bank of the Euphrates.

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  • Wolfgang Wolf

    over-exaggerated bs-analysis… nothing will happen.. just the Sultan is making some noises…

    • PZIVJ

      Indeed, for how long was Erdogan threatening to move into NE Syria before he actually did?
      Must have been at least a year and a half. :)

      • Pave Way IV

        There wasn’t much incentive a year or two ago, but Erdogan did move into Afrin as he had long threatened. In the mean time, Erdogan effectively used the 3.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey as a bargaining chip. He constantly bitched about having to host all of them, but he also got EU (probably Syrian, Russian and US) concessions regarding other Turkish issues.

        Erdogan milked the refugees issue as much as possible. The EU lost interest lately, so the refugees are becoming useless to Erdogan as a bargaining chip and are costing him a fortune. The Turks, themselves, are getting really pissed at all the refugees in their cities. That’s the difference today: Erdogan’s motivation to rid Turkey of the refugees either 1) in a Syrian 30km YPG-free safe zone, or 2) in Europe. I don’t think he cares either way. No “YPG-free” zone, no refugee return to Syria.

        Russia wants the refugee resettlement started, even if it’s under Erdogan’s YPG-free conditions. Kurd civilians throwing rocks at the joint patrols isn’t the issue – Erdogan thinks there are still YPG in various areas of the 30 km zone despite SAA presence or Turkish/Russian patrols. So he’s sending in the head-choppers in to clear out the YPG that have not left yet. His threat about releasing the refugees to Europe stands if anyone opposes his head-chopper YPG-cleaners. That doesn’t just mean the SDF, but Syria, Russia or the US.

        Russia would have preferred NO Turkish head-choppers were used, but Russia has no obligation to fight the YPG to force them out of the 30 km zone, nor fight Turkey and it’s proxies from kicking out the YPG. Syria obviously doesn’t want Turkey or their head-choppers 30 km inside Syria but isn’t going to be able to stop them. The SAA isn’t able to kick out the YPG either (at least to Erdogan’s satisfaction) and I question how hard they would fight to prevent Turkey from doing that. Turkey has no right to do any of this but who’s going to stop them?

        • Willing Conscience (The Truths

          The US will stop him eventually if Russia doesn’t, but it’s starting to look like Russians might stop him themselves, despite their rhetoric saying they won’t.
          Turkey has less than 400,000 soldiers most of them new conscripts, but Russia has 400,000+ proxies in Syria, 200,000 SAA, 100,000 Arab + Druze militias, and 100,000 SDF fighters, mostly all well trained with combat experience, all of them would fight Erdogan and Turkey on Russia’s behalf, just Russian planes, bombs, ammo and intel required, no soldiers needed at all.

          • Pave Way IV

            Stop him from what? Sending the four million refugees back to Syria? Erdogan already has his Plan B destination: Europe. Why would the US or Russia cause that to happen by fighting with Turkey in Syria? Nobody cares who would win a shooting war – everyone just wants the refugee problem to go away (except the Kurds). Russians have a very long memory. Do you think they’re going to just forget Smeagol’s refugee shenanigans after this?

          • Willing Conscience (The Truths

            There is no refugee crisis in Turkey, Assad would accept all but the very worst of those refugees home in an instant, as a matter of fact that’s exactly what he keeps saying Syria needs, all the displaced Syrians to come home.
            So what refugee problem are we talking about, the one Erdogan helped create and is still perpetuating to suit his own agenda, even the EU have gotten tired of that old line, and Assad nearly explodes whenever he hears it.
            There is no refugee problem to solve and there hasn’t been since June last year, that’s when the US, EU, Arab league and Israel all said the refugees could safely go back to Syria, and even though they didn’t say the worlds I just used, they instead said Assad could remain in power, which is exactly the same thing.
            It’s not Just the Kurds who are upset at the prospect of having terrorists as their new civic leaders, the Arabs and Christians are equally mortified.

          • Mehmet Aslanak

            Erdogan’s border safety zone will be useful for Putin & Assad. Because losing border means losing political power for the Kurdish Workers Party who wants an independent Kurdish state. Eventually central Kurdish parties will rise to power who are not seeking for an independence. Just like Barzani government in Northern Iraqi Kurdistan who is friendly to his neighbours.

          • Willing Conscience (The Truths

            I always defer to what Assad himself has to say about it, he’s the only one who knows what’s best for Syria, and he keeps saying NO safe zone, NO Turks in Syria, NO refugees creating a new state of Turkey in Syria.
            So Assad’s the only one I listen to now, he’s the only one that has Syria’s best interests at heart, everyone else has an agenda of their own, and they don’t often overlap with Assad’s agenda.

          • Pave Way IV

            Characterizing it as a ‘crisis’ unnecessarily confuses the issue. It’s a crisis in the mind of Erdogan when it suits his agenda.

            “There is no refugee problem to solve…”

            Really? There is most certainly a refugee ‘problem’ when a significant number of the registered Syrian refugees (in Turkey’s case) fled because they did NOT want to live in any kind of Assad-controlled Syria and they do not want to go through the reconciliation process – for whatever reason. Is that 40% of the refugees? 80% of them? I don’t know. But you’re still ignoring the issue that Erdogan holds the cards here. If he simply wanted to reduce the number of refugees, he would have been bussing the willing back to government-controlled Syria for years. Or at least since last June, by your reckoning. What does he do with the other couple of million unwilling to return – force them at gunpoint? Erdogan’s YPG-free zone is also effectively an Assad-free zone. ‘Unwilling’ problem solved.

            Now add in the additional 400,000 NON-Syrian refugees in those camps that Syria has no intention of ever taking back. Erdogan doesn’t want to get stuck with those leftovers – they’ll stay in the camps or Turkey forever. Far easier for Erdogan to dump the whole lot in northern Syria illegally and without any kind of reconciliation or screening. Syria’s problem after that, not his. He’s not going to let Syria screen any of them, ‘return’ them to Turkey or the dismantled camps for any reason. But that’s the whole point of Turkey administering the safe zone: Syria isn’t even allowed to come in and weed out non-Syrians.

            Your point about non-Kurds in the area also opposing Erdogan’s mass relocation/ethnic cleansing is noted. You might also add in many of the refugees themselves who don’t want to be sent there.

          • Willing Conscience (The Truths

            “But you’re still ignoring the issue that Erdogan holds the cards here. If he simply wanted to reduce the number of refugees, he would have been bussing the willing back to government-controlled Syria for years”.

            Not many refugees are willing to go back to where they came from, Syria’s poor and the EU is rich, and most of them are now economic refugees, they’re not fleeing hostilities anymore, they’re just looking for a better life.
            Erdogan’s already moved 100,000 refugees into the safe zone but can’t find anymore to ship in, the refugees living in Turkey are just as reluctant to return to Erdogan controlled Syria as they are Assad controlled Syria, they want to go to the EU instead.
            Erdogan doesn’t hold all the cards anymore, the EU smacked most of them out of his hand when they stopped accepting his tidal wave of refugees, and also refused to help stop the SAA advance into Idlib [that was driving a million more refugees to Turkey’s border], that’s why he’s had to move to a military option.
            What happens to the inhabitants of the safe zone when Erdogan ships in 3.6 million refugees, exactly what Assad says is going to happen, they become displaced refugees he has to look after and find new homes for, since Erdogan stole their old ones, solve one problem by creating another one, mmm that never works out well.
            And Assad also says the new safe zone will be just another Idlib mark 2, with the terrorists acting as the military/police/political and legal system, and look how well that’s working out for the civilians living in Idlib.
            I believe Assad’s assessment of the situation, and he keeps saying Erdogan just wants to steal more territory and any of the oil that comes with it, and the refugees living in Turkey and the Kurds are just an excuse to do it.
            And in SF yesterday the Russians also admitted the Turks are just using the Kurds as an excuse, that was very revealing, and Lavrov also said a few days earlier that the Turks invasion interrupted an imminent reconciliation between the SDF and Assad’s government, so I think the Turkish invasion has much more to do with the domestic elections than it does the Kurdish and Syrian refugee problem, the Kurds and refugees are just tools for Erdogan to use to get re elected now.
            Information the Russians have been revealing over the last few days isn’t going down well with many of our fellow SF readers, but I think it’s the first time since June last year we’ve actually been told the truth.
            Assad and Russia are on the same page at last, the Russians have now fallen into line with Assad’s rhetoric and saying the same thing about Erdogan, we can’t trust him, he’s using the Kurds as an excuse, he wants more territory, but they also added that because he’s now revealed his true intentions which aren’t in line with Russia’s, Russia intend to outmaneuver him first.
            I think things are about to improve for Assad and Syria, Erdogan’s running out of friends fast.
            Cheers.

  • klove and light

    wellllll……….i´ll say it…i must say it………TOLD U SO!!!!!

    never trust the moslembrotherthood erdogan prick controlled by zionists……making great Agreements for the good of syria with his treachrous Zionist Buddy Putin……..

    one Agreement after the other signed…..one Agreement after the other broken on the day signed….and the Farce continues…..IDLIB 2.0 says hello..

    ps. SAA again got butcherd at Kabani……..and that after months over months of russian airforce attacks…..BUllshit……if they wanted to, the russian airforce could tottaly eradictae the pricks at kabani……the are not allowed by Putins orders…….just as in Idlib…..BS airforce attacks with ie. typical 2-3 terrorists killed……BULLSHUIT…there are 20,000+ terrorists in Idlib as Russia and SAA say themselves……it is a total Farce and becomes more obvious each adn every day…….if Folks would just USE theri Brains here with their stupid Putin love……at kabani and in Idlib, the russian airforce has 100% total air superiority..and who wants to make a mokery out of himself by telling me that this modern airforce cant eradicate those terrorists……this Episode makes a movckery of modern Warfare… add to that Putins “great “agreemenst with moslembrotherhood prick erdogan over afrin,idlib and now this bs saftey corridor…..here we go…PUTIN u treachrous Zionist pig.

    death to america death to Israel curse on the jews

    • Terence Silvestre Jr.

      You are totally right my friend. You just commented pure truths, and you could not have said it better. You talk about two leaders such for which, playing their own dirty games at the expense of the honorable Syrian people. Sad but very true at once.
      we just have to wait and see what next.

    • Tommy Jensen

      I think they try not to slaughter too many civilians by starting to offer deals. When most offerings seem in vain the Russian go to next level.

      Remember it is said to be 100 000 radicals in Idlib plus a population of 1,5 million. Its only an easy job from a key board.

  • Blaubeere

    So, Moscow should set some red lines and not only express “surprise” towards Turkey. The Kurds and their leadership should also be informed very clearly that such provocations may have very nasty consequences. And Moscow should demonstrate in a convincing way that such consequences can be very painful.

  • The Russian will have to ship more military hardware and personnel to show Turkey that they are not a NATO allies,they are a world power and tough words will get them nowhere.

    • Simon Bernstein

      the russkies are a regional power at best, they have a tiny navy with barely 1 functioning aircraft carrier, a tiny airforce with less than 1,000 outdated 1980’s era fighter jets, and a tiny ground army of less than 350,000 troops

      • cechas vodobenikov

        r u stupid intentionally r merely a
        cia liar?

        • PZIVJ

          Simon is another Jacob Wohl account, the posting style and material are the same.
          Both are intentionally stupid, spreading fake news and BS on this site.

        • Ricky Miller

          CIA Liar. He doesn’t seem to understand yet that not running around the world and attacking and trying to dominate less powerful states doesn’t make Russia weak. Smart. Concerned with the escalation that can’t be put back in the bottle. Several countries, places that Mr. Bernstein knows well, are just dying to try and start off the big one.

        • Ishyrion Av

          non intentionally; he is just like that

      • Rhodium 10

        But 7000 nuclear warheads…enough to wipe off all europe and USA just watching..unless yankees want to live inside a radioactive coal country!…

      • Ricky Miller

        Wow. You are completely ignorant of the upgrades to Russia’s armed forces, especially the quality and velocity of her new tactical missiles. Russia is never as weak as she seems, Russia is never as strong as she seems. What she is is a defensive superpower, and underestimating Russian capabilities have proven fatal, time and again. And your statement about her air force is an outright lie. The numbers of SU-34’s, SU-30’s, SU-35’s now total right around 350. Backed up by about 1,000 1980’s and 1990’s era jets, about 300 of whom have been upgraded, especially the MIG-31’s of which there are now about 120. Russia’s naval strength continues to remain in her submarines and ultimately her superpower status is founded on Russia’s ability to strategically destroy any country in the world in just under a half hour. At least accurately understand the civilization you hate.

      • Ricky Miller

        Your information about the Russian Army is wrong. You Wiki cited the 350,000 figure, but that’s just conscripts and career professionals. The Russian Army breathes soldiers in and out as contract soldiers who sign up for specific drills or tasks then muster out, six months here, six months there. They also take Industrial security contracts, are bodyguards, police officers, bouncers. There are around 100,000 of those hardened characters available for call up as are the reserve men-conscripts from the previous three seasons, 90,000 a year for the past three years, That’s a 270,000 strong Individual Ready Reserve, all with a year of training under their belt. Finally, there is the National Guard, more than 250,000 strong. They are the Border Guards, Coast Guard, FSB. They are in the national military plan as being able to be militarized. That’s an available ground force of 970,000 trained personnel available or active within a month. There is stored equipment and weapons for a million plus reserves. Get your facts straight.

      • Ricky Miller

        Regional power? Yes the world must be filled, in your book, with regional powers that launch their own satellites? Have a manned space program? Has an Atomic icebreaker fleet? How many regional or big powers have their own geolocation satellites? How many regional countries have the only growing worldwide nuclear power industry? How many regional or world powers have a booming agricultural sector and can feed themselves? How many regional powers build, not buy, their own fighters, missiles, and bombers? Has their own Surface to Air missile network? How many regional power countries are top five in natural resource categories by the bunch, like fresh water, timber, hydrocarbons, rare earth minerals, heavy metallic ores, refined metals. Topsoil? Russia stands to be one of the only major states at all with any topsoil left. How many regional countries has a university system anything close to the size and quality that Russia has? Russia has problems and weaknesses but she is far more than you admit here.

      • Stinky Man

        What country possesses hypersonic weapons?
        What country does not possess a defense against hypersonic weapons?

      • Stinky Man

        What country does the USA depend on to get its folks to the Space Station?

      • S Melanson

        You are absolutely correct… if you said this twenty years ago.

      • Paul

        Lol, and a tiny percentage of that Army was enough to thwart the geopolitical goals of America in Syria.

      • Martin

        Russia may have limited resources, if you compare them to the US. But it has a leader who is smart enough to make the most out of these limited resources, with results that are far superior to what the Western side is able to do with all its military overkill in combination with disastrous policy.

  • Tudor Miron

    I would call it a very short sighted article :) There’s one major point that some do not understand. Turkey is not going to stay in Syria as an occupying force (for several reasons). Main factor of occupation at this point is Kurds that don’t obey to legitimate government of Syria while providing US a pretext to stay there. This is why Russia will simply step aside from this area and allow Turkey to again instill some sense in dumb heads of those throwing stones while hoping for uncle sam’s help.

    • Lazy Gamer

      Turkey is definitely not going to stay. However, they will move all their refugees, proxies, and turkmen in these areas.

    • PZIVJ

      Russia and SAA should step aside to let Turks and their NSA trash take more Syrian territory?
      I don’t think so. For how many years will the Turks stay! Maybe best to keep the joint patrols out of some areas. especially around Kobani. The problem is Turkish vehicles in these areas creating anger, not Russian. The civilian population should not have to pay for the acts of some Kurdish extremist.

    • BMWA1

      Very bad article.

    • S Melanson

      Yes, agree. I posted above a detailed critique of what is an article of poorly argued conjecture.

    • FlorianGeyer

      Good point, Tudor.
      Realpolitik is not a word that the US leadership understands anymore.

  • John

    Nah…..

  • JoeAlpha

    Russia is trying to tame Turkey, negotiate to reunite the Kurds with a legitimate Syrian state, monitor and limit the movement of US troops in the region, not to mention the problems at Idlib. This is not an easy task for Russia. Using soft tactics will take time. Unless using hard methods such as using the military on a large scale, this method might work but is not suitable and is not needed at this time. It must be admitted that the patience of Russian troops in the field was extraordinary.

  • Simon Bernstein

    Great news! IDF have destroyed over 24 syrian regime/IRGC hezbollah targets all across Damascus! 30+ missiles successfully intercepted their targets! all syrian air defense missiles intercepted fake decoy targets! Once again the F-35s prove Syrian s-300s/s-400s to be USELESS :D

    • PZIVJ

      Oh look, Jacob is using his weasel face account again!
      Any links for this fake news?

    • Rhodium 10

      jajaj…Syria launched 4 missile and surely like palestine rockets (iron dome failed) and 50% hit israel assets…later Israel launched 4 IA-Harop drones and all of them were intercepted and destroyed!..

    • Ricky Miller

      You don’t know that yet. Israel clearly struck big tonight and there are reports of damage but there are also reports of multiple intercepts. And, the S-300 and S-400 systems are not protecting Damascus. The S-400’s are dedicated to the defense of the Russian airbase in the North of Syria and Syria’s S-300’s are centrally located and Israel is launching missiles from well within her own territory. I’m sure Syria would like to move an S-300 battalion South but Russia won’t allow it, upon request from Israel. One of these nights your crazy national leadership is going to go too far, kill a bunch of kids in an apartment or something and Russia is at long last going to close the door to Israeli “self-defense.” But do, spout on.

  • cechas vodobenikov

    the fake US/israeli news misses everything—both USA/and their puppet, Israel r losing influence in the ME and internationally

  • Bill Rood

    Pity the poor Kurds. Everybody victimizes and betrays them. (/sarc)

  • Tommy Jensen

    With its economy in tatters, Russia is now trapped in a total quagmire in Syria that will slowly but surely will suck the rest of the shekels out of the Russian population and spread famines all over Russia.

    Russia will collapse and US will invade and take over all the gold. The fat lamb China is surrounded, and US can take over the world and realize it made the world biggest investment of $8 trillion……..and won.
    We won again.

    • FlorianGeyer

      Was that a Disney account of world affairs you learned from,Tommy?

      • S Melanson

        LoL. I think Tommy sometimes writes satirical prose that is not serious but entertaining at times. What is interesting is his post reads a bit like a quatrain of Nostradamus. The prophesy is obviously not Nostradamus. More likely a recounting of some fairy tale dream John Bolton had on one starry night of extreme flatulence.

    • verner

      the unhinged states of A almost managed to lay their greedy and sticky hands on all russian commodities during the yeltsin years – fortunately Putin put an end to those plans and made it eminently clear that russian commodities should be owned by russian corporations or russian citizens although foreign corporations could hold minor interests, which companies like royal dutch, exxon etc accepted since a minority interest in a giant russian gas field is better than nothing.

  • Willing Conscience (The Truths

    OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG.
    The Truth.
    The truth at last.
    The undeniable truth at last.
    THE UNDENIABLE AND GLARINGLY OBVIOUS TRUTH AT LAST.

    All my negative comments about the Turkish/Russian MOU and the proposed and desired Turkish/Russian alliance, are already becoming self evident, alliance’s with an unreasonable, untrustworthy madman never work out well.

    Congratulations to SF, I think this is by far the best article I’ve ever read on SF bar none, no conflation, no spin, no omissions, and no lies, just the truth, WOW. Well maybe right at the end there’s just a little conflation, but at least it’s an honest conflation.

    I suspect the shoes about to be placed on the other foot now, all the blackmail NATO the US and EU have endured thanks to Erdogan’s decade long reign of terror, is about to be used against Putin now.
    Putin will now get a taste of his own medicine, all the things that he used to pry Erdogan away from the US, NATO, and the EU, the US, NATO, and the EU, will now also use to pry Erdogan back again.

    Lavrov told the truth the other day too, twice, what’s going on?
    Is there another mini rebellion against Putin, maybe.
    I hope everyone takes the time to read this story in full, it’s not very often we’re told the truth, so this story should be obligatory reading, since it’s way more revealing than anything else we’ve ever been privy to so far.
    And this comment from SF itself blew me away,

    “It should be noted that the Turkish leadership has never seen Russia as a long-term partner. Rather, Ankara sees Moscow as a situational ally and aims to exploit the gullibility of this ally to achieve own goals”.

    “gullibility”, that’s a word I never thought I’d see used in this context, but it’s the perfect word to use, bravo SF.
    …..

    and what about this statement,

    “The Turkish foreign course is an apparent demonstration that Ankara is not seeking to make ‘friendship’ with other regional and global actors. Turkey’s foreign policy is mobile and variable. However, it is always designed to defend interests of Turkey as a regional leader and the key state of the Turkic world”.

    In other words the Muslim brotherhood comes first and everyone else, Russia included, comes last, there are no second best friends in Erdogan’s world, just enemies to take advantage of. Isn’t that what the fanatical Islamic terrorists do too, mmm.
    …..
    And what about these 2 separate statements, the first leading to the next a few lines later,

    “After the end of the operation under the US-Turkish and Russian-Turkish deals, the region of northeastern Syria had all chances to move towards a further stabilization.

    “Nonetheless, the Turkish leadership is not interested in this. The Erdogan government needs the “Kurdish threat” and the instability in northern Syria to have a wide group of formal pretexts for a further expansion into the neighboring country and backing of pro-Turkish groups operating there. Turkey is interested in a peace on its own territory. At the same time, it prefers a low intensity conflict in the ‘instability zone’ in northern Syria”.

    This is exactly what Assad’s been saying, but we didn’t even need to believe what Assad was saying, we could see for ourselves what was really going on, it wasn’t something Erdogan could hide, even though he had his propaganda machine and paid for trolls working overtime to stop us realizing what the truth was, but then again so did the Russian propaganda machine, right up until now that is, LOL.
    ………
    and what about this statement made just after the last one I just highlighted,

    “If Ankara successfully plays Russia in its northeastern Syria ‘safe zone’ game, it will achieve the following goals:

    To discredit Russia and its personnel in the eyes of the Kurdish population;
    To undermine Russia’s political position in this part of Syria;
    To indirectly demonstrate the fallacy of the Russian initiatives in northern Syria”.

    I have a slightly different take.

    To discredit Russia and its personnel in the eyes of the of Syria and whole the world
    To undermine Russia’s political position in this part of Syria for Turkey’s own political gain.
    To indirectly demonstrate the fallacy of the Russian initiatives in northern Syria, by turning what was originally an excellent solution by the Syrians and Russians, into a totally unworkable solution with the the Turks now calling the shots.

    That’s what I think they should have said, but I still like what they did say, it was still enough to do the job it was supposed to.
    …..
    That’s not how an ally acts is it, oh hang yes it is, that’s exactly the same way Erdogan’s been treating his allies the US, EU and NATO for the last decade, so did anyone really expect Erdogan would treat Putin and Russia any differently, and as I pointed out in a recent post of mine, the US, EU, and NATO have a lot more to offer Erdogan than Russia does, so Russia’s even more susceptible to Erdogan’s blackmail threats than any of the others were.
    But we don’t even have to look at Erdogan’s past dealing with the other parties to realize he’s not a good partner, lets see how well he’s treated Putin so far in the early stages of his partnership with him, at an early stage when he’s actually supposed to be the most amicable and responsive, LOL.

    The Turks shot down a Russian jet on 24 November 2015, but on 18 December 2015, the Russians, Turks and Iranians all passed in UN resolution 2254 [a mechanism the Turks could use to destroy the political system in Syria], that was just a couple of weeks after Erdogan killed a Russian airman.
    But the Russians must have secretly partnered up with the Turks many months before that incident took place, so why did the Turks kill their new partners pilot after they’d already agreed to [tried to but Assad refused] implement resolution 2254 and make the Turks happy.
    Erdogan was kissing some US butt, that’s why the Russian pilot was killed, and he killed the Russian pilot while Putin was kissing Erdogan’s butt. Resolution 2254 mostly suites the Turks and their proxies in Syria, and apart from being something to woo Erdogan with, resolution 2254 has no benefit at all for the Russians, in fact it’s quite the opposite, it actually has some drawbacks that don’t come with the Syrian partnership.
    Erdogan’s also broken 12 of the 13 Astana agreements, the first one before the ink had even dried on the page, most of us would’ve stopped at agreement number 2 or 3, maybe even 4, but 13 is pure treachery from Erdogan, and pure insanity from Putin.
    …..

    Now this next statement paints Kurdish/YPG dissent as being one of the factors that are threatening to derail the Turkish initiative, but in reality it’s just one of the many problems it faces, this one in particular being the least significant of all.

    “By undermining the Turkish-Russian safe zone agreement and thus the Russian position in the region, the Kurdish leadership hopes to strengthen its negotiating position with Damascus and gain some additional political and financial revenue despite the collapse of its pro-US policies. Despite this, the wider look at the situation demonstrates that this approach is leading towards an even larger catastrophe. If the safe zone deal collapses and Turkish forces resume their offensive, the Kurdish population will get under the wheels of the Turkish military machine”.

    Not if the US intervene they won’t, and I don’t think the US giving Erdogan a bloody nose will amount to too much anyway, there’d be no objection from the Turkish political opposition or the Turkish legal system, in fact it would probably just help the Turkish opposition too get rid of Erdogan legally before the next election, that’s if he lost an illegal war he had no justification starting. The Turks do have laws that comply to international laws, despite the fact Erdogan skillfully twists things around to circumvent them, and the Turkish opposition parties are way more pro US than they are pro Russia, and they’re predicted to win the next Turkish election in a landslide, mmmm, Erdogan getting a blood nose from a US smack, who cares, he’s going to either end up in a Turkish or international jail anyway.

    Lavrov was alluding to the Kurdish factor the other day too in a comment he made, but he went even further, he actually said that after the US had announced it’s pullout, and before the Turks new invasion, the Kurds/SDF were at the point they were going to make a deal with Assad, but after the Turkish invasion they justifiably went running back to the US to ask for help, and the US couldn’t justifiably refuse them.
    Now this article is saying they’re doing the same thing with Assad, mmm so maybe they’ve finally learnt to not put all their eggs in the one basket, which is good, Trump still hasn’t changed his mind, he still wants out.
    You can’t make deals with terrorists, which also means you can’t make deals with the people who lead them, that’s the simple truth.

    Well done SF, excellent article and totally unexpected, I wonder if this means the Russians and the Turks are already having some other problems we’re not yet aware of, and that are also totally unrelated to the so called “Kurdish problem”, we’ll find out soon enough, blabbermouth Erdogan always dobs in his buddies, LOL.
    Did someone just say the US are reverse engineering the S400’s already, LOL.

    • verner

      blather and more blather – you’re becoming more unstuck by the minute so see your shrink, now!

      • Willing Conscience (The Truths

        And if you’re not a paid for troll, which I think you are, it instead means you’ve totally misunderstood just about everything about the situation in northern Syria altogether, because everything you’ve been saying in all your posts recently, has now just been proven to be total utter gibberish, and by the Russians themselves, lol.
        Your as dumb as two short planks.

        “the Russians will put the Kurds in line, and if they don’t the Turks will, and the Russians should just let the Turks take over Syrian territory to teach the Kurds a lesson”,

        LOL LOL LOL, read what the Russians say now wanker, exactly the same thing I’ve been saying, EXACTLY the same thing.
        And you say I’m just blathering, is that because I’ve been saying it for several months already, and you’ve been constantly criticizing me for my assertions, well you have to start criticizing the Russians too now, because they’ve just said the same thing I’ve been saying.
        Go back to your boss Erdogan and tell him you think Putin may be upset with him, or did you miss that story too, just because the article didn’t specifically mention Putin’s obvious displeasure with Erdogan about something that’s happened or didn’t happen.
        Maybe I’d better give Erdogan a ring myself and let him know Putin’s upset with him about something, since you seem too stupid to realize it, oh but hang on, I don’t have his number, do you mind sending it to me please.
        F off you halfwit, go blather on some more about your hero Erdogan’s right to solve all of Syria’s problems if he wants to, he hasn’t listened to any of Assad’s objections up until now, and now it seems he doesn’t have to listen to Putin’s objections either, LOL LOL LOL. Great ally isn’t he.

        • verner

          more blather and then some rave and rants. however much you write you miss the point!

          • Willing Conscience (The Truths

            LOL, pick up a mirror.

  • SFC Steven M Barry USA RET

    Is anybody astonished about damned human garbage Turk perfidy?

    • FlorianGeyer

      Nope :)

  • klove and light
  • Rafik Chauhan

    Turks Kurds and US they all are from one plate. they want to occupy East Syria and it’s resource. Russia Syria has to fight by own don’t trust this trio at all. Russia has to take stand and finish the job in Idlib so Was can move in east Asap

    • hhabana

      Agree with you 100%. Idlib should be conquered. Brutally.

  • Mehmet Aslanak

    There is another hope. Silent Kurds will uprise against Kurdish workers party guerilla by support of Barzani & Turkey. Then YPG will have no place in leadership just like in Northern Iraq. Erdogan happy. Barzani happy. Putin happy. Assad happy. Sesame street becomes M4 highway.

    • verner

      don’t think so since neither erdogan nor assad are happy having a kurdish semi-sovereign statelet anywhere in the area. they require that the kurds crawl back into the tenancy situation and that turkey, syria can continue to lord over its vassals, i.e. the kurds.

      • Mehmet Aslanak

        Barzani is the perfect example that Turkey is not against Kurds or the Kurdish statelets as long they don’t attack Turkey. Fake media is pressing hard to assume that Turks are against all the Kurds. In fact there are Kurds in Turkish side or Barzani’s side against communist Kurds.

  • hhabana

    I think the Russians, Damascus and “possibly” the Turks destory the Kurds. There is no peace there without their subjugation. They have to be destroyed militarily. They won’t work with Damascus or the Russians who are protecting their asses. When I see them attacking Russian vehicles, you have no choice, but to destroy them. Muslims have thick skulls. You gotta stack ’em in a big pile to make them docile.

  • S Melanson

    Few observations on this article.

    First, there is a lot of conjecture in the article that lacks solid argumentation and is unconvincing.

    Second, Russia is not trying to protect the Kurds, Russia is trying to create the safe zone that Turkey demands. Russia is also assisting Assad with taking over Kurd held areas. Russia is hardly an ally of The Kurds and was it not the US that was and sort of still is allied with Kurds and together they now occupy the oil fields, a move that Russia has repeatedly denounced.

    Third, Turkish dissatisfaction is nothing new as it was the case with US and Turkish joint patrols. Now it repeats for joint Russian and Turkish patrols. This may be to lay groundwork for action against SDF that Russia may look the other way. The SDF have made no friends (I would not call US a friend), but have proven skilled at making many enemies. Certainly Assad is furious with SDF and US occupation of oil fields.

    Fourth, if Erdogan is dissatisfied with implementation of agreements in Northeast Syria, well Russia and Syria ca be equally if not more dissatisfied with Idlib. It could be viewed as a nod from Erdogan to let Assad and Russia finish off the Jihadists enclave before it becomes a problem for Turkey, now that Turkey has shifted the desired headchoppers from Idlib to Northeast Syria – what is left in Idlib is expendable and in fact, inconvenient for Turkey. While Idlib gets squeezed, Erdogan can clean up the Kurdish problem – I really have trouble understanding the SDF handling of events as it seems to have further alienated everyone.

    Fifth, the conjecture on playing naive Russia is a stretch. Let’s start with Erdogan’s reasons for a not so loving relationship with the US.

    Erdogan is well aware of CIA involvement in a coup attempt to take him down – Erdogan will not trust the US given the CIA influence in US policy and capabilities to bring about regime change. Erdogan is also displeased with US support for SDF which still continues, for US support of KSA, and the crudely delivered threats over S-400 deal.

    Let us examine the developing relations with Russia.

    Erdogan wants the S-400 system to lessen dependency on the US for defence as well as recognizing the waste of money buying systems shown to be grossly ineffective against a modest volley of drones and missiles. The purchase of the S400 is not a short term move. Erdogan also sees the way the winds are blowing – not in the favour of the US, as US hegemony cracks and influence in ME steadily weakens. Russia is right on Turkey’s border and makes a more natural partner in the region compared to the US.

    On Russia’s part, Turkey is the prize to pull out of NATO and US orbit. China is also in on this as it has provided significant capital to bolster Turkish reserves in the face of US sanctions.

    Russia wants Turkey. Erdogan knows this. The two understand perfectly well each other and notwithstanding possible errors of judgement and miscalculations, I doubt it is anything like what is described in the article.

    • verner

      but matters move along in good order and before long erdogan will be back within the turkish border, the kurds will be back as tenants in the borderland and the unhinged states of A will have had to fold the tents and made an orderly retreat and syria will be back to its original state. minor hubbubs here and there will be nothing more than isolated issues that will not detract the major movement towards the russian end-game.

      the primary loser is israel whose existence will be threatened by the now armed to the teeth neighbours who in addition have taken on a severe to annihilation dislike of the squatters and how these neighbours will deal with the squatters remains to be seen. my recommendation would be to kick them to kingdom come since a) they have caused havoc and misery in the region for more than 100 years and b) this is unlikely to change. conclusion – kick them out.

  • Lelouch Vi Britannia

    Russia shouldnt side with SDF, with Turkey they can end that seperator terrorists

  • JustPassingThrough

    BTW, Bernstein is paid by the number of comments he generates.

  • JustPassingThrough

    Turkey has been playing this game for months.
    The Caliph must behave like a Caliph, musn’t he?
    Or else he wouldn’t be a Caliph, would he?
    Turkey has too much to lose.
    One day Erdoclown will grow up.
    Hopefully in this lifetime.

  • gustavo

    Of course, Turkey sees Russia as its protector of any Turkey action in Syria, as it has almost been so far.

  • Ishyrion Av

    I think the article is pointing very well the policy of Turkey and the weakness of Russian approach to the region. Moscow is considering Turkey a rationale actor, but in fact turks are mad and stupid.
    I’m curious how Russia and Iran will deal with this new old development.

  • Vitex

    Death trap? Oh come on

  • Tommy Jensen

    What everybody should do, is to stop fumbling around and listen.

    US should concentrate on Manbij to gain the lever on the heart city of the heartland. Turkey should continue its raid in NE-Syria and clean the border area for scumbags, and at the same time send 1 million refuges over the border to Europe to keep Europe busy.

    Russia should wait and see until the strategic moment where they can take over Kurdistans gas fields. Syria should take back Idlib and get Irans anti-air missiles to defend Damascus. Iran should build up dummy bases in Syria to trick Israel and build stealth secret bases not long from the dummy bases.

    But most important, the parties cant resolve anything if they refuse to listen to intelligent peoples advises!

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