International Military Review – Syria, June 10, 2016

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Written and produced by SF Team: Brian Betts, Daniel Deiss

Thursday, June 9 proved to be a trying day for combat ground forces around Aleppo. Syrian Arab Army (SAA) units and anti-government forces, including the Faylaq Al-Sham, or the so-called ‘Sham Legion’ engaged each other in multiple fronts in villages around Aleppo.

In northern Aleppo, pro-government Tiger Forces, National Defense Forces and Liwa al-Quds were reported to have stormed Mallah Farms in an attempt to wrest control from the anti-government Sham Legion. The assault ultimately failed, and there have been a reported 15 deaths on the pro-government side.

The Sham Legion reported a number of victories with video evidence, including TOW missile attacks in Khalasah, southern Aleppo, which destroyed SAA armor and anti-aircraft units. The SAA also suffered the loss of a missile team of their own when the so-called “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) forces attacked a 9M113 Konkurs team with a TOW missile.

A combined terrorist assault force comprised of the Sham Legion, FSA and Jabhat al-Nusra engaged pro-government forces in al-Humayra, southern Aleppo. An FSA TOW missile team destroyed what appears to be an SAA or Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) tank, while Sham Legion drone footage appears to show IRCG forces retreating from the same village.

Jaysh al-Fatah briefly reported the capture of Zaytan, a village in southern Aleppo. However, pro-militant pages have admitted that Jaysh al-Fatah had to retreat from Zaytan.

The Syrian Democratic Forces, supported by US-led coalition warplanes, cut off the least major ISIS supply line to in the area of Manbij: the Al-Bab-Manbij highway. Meanwhile, the QareQowzaq bridge has been repaired . Now it allows to send more reinforcements and suppliies to SDF units, battling for Manbij.

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  • Pave Way IV

    It should be pretty obvious by now that the actual SDF objective was not Manbij. True, they have it surrounded and will eventually take it back, but the real intent was to grab as much Syrian land as possible for the U.S.-planned Kurdish state while staying outside Turkish artillery range. It looks like cowardly CENTCOM has acknowledged a Turkish-imposed safe zone along the northern Syrian border of approximately 25 km or so (artillery range). All Syrian sovereign territory and resources south of that zone are available for western theft by whatever means.

    The U.S. has supposedly negotiated with Turkey to refrain from attacking the SDF in the Manbij campaign as long as the Kurdish YPG elements of the SDF retreat back to the east of the Euphrates afterwards. This still fulfills the ultimate U.S. goal of creating a Syrian Kurdistan because the Arab SDF (such as the Manbij Military Council) have agreed to be part of the future U.S. fake Kurdistan. Obviously, nobody has consulted the Syrian government about this blatant land-theft scheme. If the Syrian government attempts to reclaim their sovereign territory at some future date, the U.S., their Kurdish oligarch puppets and well-bribed Arab tribal leaders will scream bloody murder at the aggression.

    • BofBof

      Only after 10 days you have understood that the aim of the SDF was to join both parts of the future syrian autonomous Kurdistan ? Don’t be afraid , Syria government has accepted this future evolution of the country. Nothing can be worst than Daech and its integrist affiliates

      • Pave Way IV

        “…Only after 10 days you have understood that the aim of the SDF was to join both parts of the future syrian autonomous Kurdistan?…”

        I always understood perfectly well what the U.S. was scheming through its SDF proxy army. What I didn’t believe (and still don’t) is that the average, honest Kurd in the YPG/YPJ is willing to die for U.S. pipeline routes via a fake, U.S.-puppet-led Syrian Kurdistan. Kurds may want a truly free and independent Kurdistan, but they will get nothing close to that if the U.S. is involved in any way. They will get the Kurdish version of Ukraine.

        “…Don’t be afraid , Syria government has accepted this future evolution of the country…”

        Actually, I have no say in what Syrian citizens decide is best for their country. If your delusions of partition ‘acceptance’ were even marginally true, then so be it. Nothing is further from the truth, however.

        What DOES concern me is that a group of psychopathic neocon R2P elites have usurped the U.S. government and its Constitution for their own interests in defiance of the U.S. citizens’ will. Despite the deaths of a half-million Syrians in an illegal, unconstitutional coup attempt, they absolutely refuse to back off and accept defeat of their al-Qaeda linked FSA proxy armies. They insist on seizing Syrian sovereign territory along with its oil, gas and water resources for their global commercial interests. The Kurds will be little more than pipeline/oil field guards for the west.

        My country’s founders had very specific remedies for the government overstepping the boundaries of its authority as specified in our Constitution. THAT is my only concern here.

        “…Nothing can be worst than Daech and its integrist affiliates…”

        You need to speak with the unfortunate people living in Ukraine, Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq. Pure evil is pure evil. Living either in chaos or chains under the soul-crushing oppression of U.S. imperialism and our psychopathic puppet regimes has to come damn close to living under ISIS. And it should be no secret to any reasonably intelligent person that ISIS is the natural result of the U.S. previously supporting al Qaeda and Wahhabi extremism for its imperialistic goals elsewhere.

        • BofBof

          when you need 2 pages to answer to a short comment , it means you don’t have any strong argument. Why do you speak about Ukraine when I write “nothing can be worst than Daech” in a comment concerning Syria ? of course , you or me or anyone can found something worst than Daech somewhereelse , or in the past time ,stalinism or nazi regime for example. For an occidental point of view in Syria, the syrian kurdish constitution is more advanced than anyother one proposed by the other parties. Will this constitution be applied ? to be honnest , I don’t care. , it will be the choice of the syrian people itself. American imperialism in Irak, Syria and other countries , russian imperialism in Ukrainia,Syria and other countries are efficient during a long term period , only if the peoples accept it, Each people is responsable for the governement which rule it. And , consequently , US people is responsable for its own governement . Don’t blame a group of US neocon they are only the reflect of your US people , or (but the result is the same), of the passivity of the majority , and the inefficiency of the political opposition

          • Pave Way IV

            “…For an occidental point of view in Syria, the syrian kurdish constitution is more advanced than any other one proposed by the other parties…”

            Have you compared it with the existing constitution of Syria? Tell me specifically how it differs or how it is superior to the Syrian constitution.

            “…to be honnest , I don’t care. , it will be the choice of the syrian people itself…”

            What? You mean all Syrians will have to decide on a U.S./Kurdish-crafted constitution even though they all ready have one? Did the Syrian people ask the Kurds to re-author the Syrian constitution?

          • BofBof

            why you don’t accept the syrian people to choise its own new constitution ? (I never said the kurdish one) The “old” one has failed , as it didn’t success to avoid the civil war and foreigner countries influence (US , Russia , Iran , Irak…) That is a fact.

            You wish some examples where the Syrian Constitution can be improved:

            article 1 : The people of Syria are part of the Arab nation
            What’s about the non-arab minorities ?

            article 3 :”The religion of the President of the Republic is Islam”
            What’s about the non-islamic syrian people ?

          • Pave Way IV

            Sorry, I thought you were talking specifically about the 2014 Rojava constitution, which defines (without using those direct words) all the authority of an independent nation for Rojava. In other words, they’ll remain in the Syrian political boundaries for appearance, but are subject to no Syrian constitution, laws nor government. That document is an incomplete, flawed piece of wishful thinking primarily by the U.S.-bribed PYD, who merely wanted to establish their own authority to charter banks, collect taxes and sell stolen Syrian oil resources to foreigners (just like mafia head Barzani over in Iraq). While it fixed some issues the Kurds had with Syrian law, it never addressed other crucial human rights issues. And even the provisions of THAT constitution (social contract) are regularly violated by the PYD’s personal Stazi: the Asayish.

            Syria needs a lot of changes and we don’t disagree that Syrians – ALL Syrians – should decide, not anyone else. Yet the ‘new’ constitution being drafted is being drafted by the U.S. and Russia. Don’t you see a problem with foreign influence there? Are Syrians too stupid to draft their own constitution? So Syrians will be ‘allowed’ to vote on a foreigner-drafted constitution to end the U.S.-sponsored coup/civil war? That is the epitome of hubris and arrogance on the part of Russia and especially the U.S.

            The Syrian 2012 constitution revision was Assad’s too-weak, too-late version in response to the coup. It had almost no changes the Syrian opposition was looking for and was approved in the middle of a civil war. I agree the Syrian people would probably be looking for more substantial changes, but not a foreigner-drafted constitution. Maybe they would approve of changes to Article 1 and 3 that you point out.

            But what would you say if the 23 million Syrians did vote someday for a new constitution with the current Article 1 and 3? Shouldn’t the Syrians decide for themselves if they want to be an Islamic, Arab nation?

            Syria – especially Aleppo – had one of the most diverse cultures living side-by-side for millenia without anyone getting slaughtered – regardless of any constitution. It was only when the U.S. moved in to help their proxy FSA army overthrow Assad that a half-million Syrians lost their lives and eight million were forced out of their destroyed homes and farms. What kind of democratic, human-rights movement does that? Assad was intolerable in many ways, but he didn’t butcher a half-million of his own people. There was an opposition in the Syrian government that was working for change. Rather than help them, the U.S.-led coup destroyed any chance of them making changes to their own government and they had to flee.

            If I were Syrian (either a loyalist or opposition rebel) I would tell the U.S. that Syria has suffered quite enough of their ‘help’ for now and would they please just get the hell out and take their jihadi nutjobs with them.

          • Vidura

            Lol you retard don’t know shit!

          • PeeBee

            lol? retard? are you 19ys old american? looks like YOU are full of sh…

          • BofBof

            “Shouldn’t the Syrians decide for themselves if they want to be an Islamic, Arab nation?” I can understand that , up to you, a large majority of the syrian people can decide Syria to stay an Islamic and Arab nation , and then the kurdish and chistian minorities has to accept or to leave , but not to get an autonomeous territory.

            But why don’t apply the same logic for Ukrainia , where a large majority of the people has decided Ukrainia to be a slavic country , whithout any “russian” territory ?

            Why do you have two opposite logical reasoning for these 2 countries ?

          • Pave Way IV

            Crimeans voted to be governed by an existing state they trusted rather than the existing failed state the U.S. created. They did not send armies outside of Crimea to seize as much Ukraine land/resources as possible for themselves before voting to become part of the Russian Federation. They didn’t have to send roving gangs of Asayish out to beat down dissent and jail their political opponents.

          • BofBof

            Novorussia ….No difference with Kurds in Syria . Syria has been created by France , and France has decided to integrate the Kurd area in this new country,.

        • Alex M

          You realize that the YPG/YPJ have also been fighting Turkish/US backed Islamist terrorists around Azaz. You realize that Russia is also supporting the YPG/YPJ with arms and supplies (in fact Putin said the only forces fighting terrorists are the Assad regime AND Kurdish forces). Russia has also been adamant that the Kurds should participate in peace talks. How can the YPG be puppets of the US when they’re also supported by the Russians. The PKK has been fighting against imperialism for it’s entire existence!
          Look at the society the Kurds are creating. They’re implementing the ideology of Abdullah Ocalan (who the US & Turkey regard as a terrorist), libertarian socialism, democratic confederalism, women’s equality, social justice. The people in Rojava certainly agree with federalism & autonomy. If the people of Crimea and Palestine have a right to self determination and deciding their own sovereignty and their own destiny of their own people, why not the people of Rojava? Why not the Northern Syrians (be they Kurds, Syriacs, Turkmen or Arabs)? Nobody’s talking about partition, we’re talking about federalism, secularism, democracy for all Syria. That’s why the Kurds want a seat at the negotiating table.
          As for your strategic assessment. You were wrong. The SDF has already surrounded Manbij and will soon capture the city just as I predicted (they’ve captured over 90 villages already). Then it’s only a matter of time before all of Rojava is free, from Afrin to Hasakah. Without their supply lines going into Turkey, ISIS will be even more doomed. Unable to bring in foreign recruits, unable to sell oil, with fewer people to tax they will naturally collapse. The fascist Erdogan will probably try to block the Afrin canton with his non-ISIS islamist terrorists but he’ll fail. I doubt the artillery will stop Kurds from taking territory bordering Turkey since most of Rojava does border Turkey without any buffer zone. Assad will then be faced with a choice once all terrorists are defeated, implement federal secular democracy for all Syrian people or force a de-facto partition.

          • Pave Way IV

            “…How can the YPG be puppets of the US when they’re also supported by the Russians…”

            You love to confuse the Kurds in the YPG with the U.S.-usurped PYD, don’t you? I wasn’t convinced by your previous revisionist explanation/excuses. The will of the average Kurd is NOT represented by the criminals taking bribes while running the PYD. And I’ll believe Russia has some inordinate influence on the Kurds once I see the Russian air bases spring up out of nowhere and Lukoil secretly arranging the purchase of stolen Syrian-developed oil wells when the Rojava Kurds have no right to sell those wells.

            “…Look at the society the Kurds are creating. They’re implementing the ideology of Abdullah Ocalan (who the US & Turkey regard as a terrorist), libertarian socialism, democratic confederalism, women’s equality, social justice…”

            Then why are PYD leaders whoring themselves out to western interests? Why is the PYD (NOT the Kurdish people) interested in stealing the maximum amount of land and resources possible from the Syrian people? How much taxes will the Kurds be willing to pay the PYD or whatever federal authority emerges for an inordinately large military when their roads, hospitals and schools are falling apart (or have just never been rebuilt)? And how many Kurds are willing to die when the Syrian Army shows up to reclaim their dams, power plants, gas distribution networks and oil wells? You don’t think they’re just going to roll over like the U.S. puppet Iraqi government, do you?

            “…As for your strategic assessment. You were wrong…”

            My strategic assessment is that the YPG isn’t going to die for Manbij. They took over relatively undefended territory around Manbij, but they haven’t entered the city. Are you suggesting they will, then they’ll just leave? My strategic assessment will be right when the siege of Manbij stretches on into July or later with little gain because the YPG won’t die fighting house-to-house for a city that is not theirs. We’ll see if your strategic assessment of the fall of Manbij is ‘soon’.

            As for your ultimatum to Assad about your idea of a federal secular democracy: that is the exact same reasoning the FSA used before a half-million Syrians died for the fantasy sold to them by the U.S. State Department and the CIA. How’s that going for the FSA so far?

          • Alex M

            The YPG is the military wing of the PYD in the same way that Hezbollah has a military wing. Ask any Kurd (or non-Kurd) within the YPG and they’ll tell you they’ve learned about and support Abdullah Ocalan’s ideology of democratic confederalism. The YPG flies the flag of Rojava, the PYD and PKK.

            “Then why are PYD leaders whoring themselves out to western interests? ”

            Again, why would Russia support a US puppet? The answer is that the YPG is not a US puppet as they’ve disobeyed US orders before, as the YPG have their own agenda which sometimes correlates with the US but often differs. They’re moving north towards Jarabulus now, against US orders. There will be no Turkish “Safe zone” on Rojavan land.

            “Why is the PYD (NOT the Kurdish people) interested in stealing the maximum amount of land and resources possible from the Syrian people?”

            You mean why are they trying to liberate the maximum number of the people from ISIS and the regime? They’re hope is that the secular democratic federal system spreads to all of Syria, but if Assad refuses they’re willing to go their own way like Crimea did with Ukraine.

            “How much taxes will the Kurds be willing to pay the PYD or whatever federal authority emerges for an inordinately large military when their roads, hospitals and schools are falling apart (or have just never been rebuilt)?”

            Currently, the people of Rojava aren’t paying any taxes so I don’t expect they’ll have to pay once ISIS is destroyed and peace is reached. The oil revenue, revenue from cooperatives and voluntary support pays for the war on ISIS and the Islamists (in addition to US & Russian support). The entire point of democratic confederalism is a libertarian socialist society with a decentralized grass-roots direct-democratic “state” if you can even call it a state. The schools in Rojava’s hearlands are fully functional and they’re teaching the Kurdish language & culture and the ideals of secular democracy, ecology and women’s equality now.

            “And how many Kurds are willing to die when the Syrian Army shows up”

            The YPG/YPJ have engaged in clashes with the regime before and dozens of the Kurdish fighters have given up their lives. I highly doubt Assad would invade Rojava even after destroying ISIS when he can barely hold on to the territory already under his control. But if he did he would face the same fate as Erdogan is facing, a Kurdish insurrection. You cannot take away freedom after the people have tasted it already and lived it for years. As for Iraq, that actually proves my point. The Shi’ite Islamic Republic of Iraq is not a US puppet, they have they’re own agenda, they’re own interests and if anything they’re aligned more with Iran now (given the fact they have Shi’ite militias and the Iraqi equivelant of Hezbollah running all over the place).

            The FSA never wanted a secular democracy with rights for ethnic minorities. They wanted a Muslim Brotherhood style Sunni Islamist Republic or even worse a Wahhabi terrorist state like Saudi Arabia. You clearly do not understand the ideologies at play here. If Assad decides he’s going to bloody and massacre northern Syria to try and retake it from secular democrats, that’s his fault. If Assad decides he wants to continue his authoritarian “atleast he’s better than ISIS” rule over most of Syria and force a de-facto partition, that’s his fault. If Assad decides to allow secular democratic federalism to spread to the rest of Syria, then he may do so. Those are his only options once the Islamists are gone because the Rojavans will not give up their freedom without a fight. They will not let their Martyrs die in vain.

          • Pave Way IV

            I feel like I’m arguing with a neocon warmonger on CNN about their fantasy of xyz-liberated country and what a paradise it will be for liberty and democracy. Don’t get me wrong – I certainly wish that would happen for the Kurds – just like I wished it would happen for the Afghanis, Libyans, Iraqis, etc. But you fail to recognize the abject failures everywhere else they’ve done this. Corrupt psychopaths are incapable of supporting ANY democratic movement anywhere. They (the U.S. neocons) are in it for MONEY and RESOURCES. They will empower similar dark elements in Syrian Kurdistan. Your protective shield of ideology – however noble it may be – is doomed to failure. Or are you saying ALL Rojava are immune to western corruption?

            You keep tossing around the YPG as the PYD’s (therefore, all Rojava’s) army. Please explain how many of the Arab militias are in the YPG (not the SDF)? I know there are SOME arabs in the YPG, but not the major Arab militias – those are part of the SDF. Is the SDF Rojava’s army, or a temporary anti-ISIS alliance? What is Rojava going to do with Arab militia like the Minbec Military Council if they decide next week that they don’t want to be part of Syrian Kurdistan, but want to remain part of Syria (or perhaps be independent of everyone as well)? Will the PYD send the YPG there to kill them and retake ‘Rojava’ land? What about all the little Turkomen cities to the west of Jarabulus? What if they don’t want to be part of Rojava? Ethnic cleansing? War?

            You put up a nice, clean argument for how bad the Syrian government sucks and how much better Rojava’s will be, but ignore all the problems with implementing it in ethnically mixed environments with the simple reasoning: “Well, it’s so much better than Assad that they’ll all just love our new secular democracy!”

            What about the Arab tribes that hold the northeast Syrian oilfields? What if they decide they want their own country independent of Rojava – and they want to take ‘their’ oil wells on ‘their’ historic lands with them? What if the Arabs living in Tishreen want to remain part of Syria and want to take ‘their’ dam (and power generation and control of irrigation) with them? I’m guessing the Asayish will show up to put a bullet through their skulls, right?

          • Alex M

            Rojava isn’t a sectarian project. In Rojava there’s affirmative action for minorities (Yazidis, Syriacs, Arabs, Turkmen, Women) and local councils and assemblies for those communities from among the community, that’s direct democracy. The Syriacs, Turkmen, Arabs and Kurds all cooperate together in the Syrian Democratic Council. Rojava also isn’t about partition or separatism (the other tribes and sects wouldn’t want that) it’s about self-rule, federalism and autonomy for all of Syria. The Arab tribes and villages already are self-ruling. The YPG will go in with the other SDF militias, kick out out ISIS, secure the village and leave behind a Arab local council. If a militia sides with the Assad regime then there will be a conflict with it to the extent there is a conflict with the regime. But even then the YPG has rarely been in direct fights with the regime and usually maintains a ceasefire.
            If anything the US will probably try and betray Rojava once ISIS is gone because of their alliance with Turkey. The minute the Federation of Northern Syria – Rojava was announced the US denounced it. The US has refused to allow Rojava a seat at the negotiating table (which Russia supports). The US has armed Islamist terrorists (Turkish supported FSA, Al-Nusra, Arar Al-Sham) in Azaz to fight the YPG in the Afrin canton.

          • Pave Way IV

            So just address that one issue of the Rmeilan Oilfield then, Alex. What if the Arab tribe that owns and guards it decides it doesn’t want to belong to Rojava or pay any taxes to the PYD. What if it arranges a deal to sell oil directly to Turkey, or decides to pipe it to Iraq for refining.

            The PYD governing scheme will depend on revenue from stolen Syrian oil wells. Are they simply going to let Rmeilan go? Keep in mind it was never Kurdish territory – the Arab tribe that owns it has been there for centuries as far as I know. And it’s not ‘Kurdish’ oil -Syria itself paid to have the area surveyed and the wells drilled. It’s Syrian production equipment and pipelines. There are Syrian government employees working those wells right now – they never left.

            Doesn’t that tribe get to self-rule on what they want to do with ‘their’ oil? Or does self-rule just mean local bureaucracy, but all the resources really belong to the Rojava state because they’re inside the lines being drawn now? What if that tribe resists Rojava rule by force of arms? Will the PYD and ‘their’ YPG/YPJ army attack Rmeilan and kill the Arabs just for that oil? What if the French oil giant Total S.A. shows up with suitcases full of money to ‘buy’ Rmeilan from the PYD – will they sell it? What if Total goes to the Arab tribe that owns the Rmeilan oilfield and offers them cash to buy it outright? Will the PYD say they can’t self-rule in that kind of situation?

          • Alex M

            If militias try and violently seize the territory of the Federation of Northern Syria – Rojava, the YPG and SDF won’t tolerate that (whether they be sectarian tribal forces, Turkish backed Islamist terrorists, ISIS, the regime or whoever). Whether there would be outright war I don’t know , the YPG/YPJ and SDF seem to have their hands full with fighting ISIS and other Islamists at the moment. Regime forces (mostly the NDF) have control over some parts of north-eastern Rojava but the YPG has a long-term ceasefire with them. In fact the YPG has received huge criticism for focusing on fighting Islamists (who comprise most of the opposition) instead of the regime.
            But you’re scenario is counter-factual and a what-if hypothetical, in reality there are no Arab rebellions in Rojava because Rojava is a tolerant polyethnic society. It’s not about sectarianism as much as everyone tries to make it about that. Arabs and non-Kurds aren’t fleeing from Rojava, they’re fleeing to Rojava because of the freedom, prosperity and stability. The Syriacs, Arabs, Kurds, Alawites, Shi’ites, Sunnis, Christians, Atheists, Turkmen, all co-exist peacefully. The cultural changes that have liberated ethnic/religious minorities and women are absolutely stunning. This is a model for the entire middle east. This is organic indigenous change, the PKK has been trying to implement Democratic Confederalism for three decades and now it’s finally taken root in Syria and spread beyond the Kurdish minority.
            The oil belongs to the people and is held in commons (there isn’t a state in Rojava in the traditional sense, it’s more of a decentralized libertarian socialist federation with direct participatory democracy on the local level and multi-party politics on the national level) but overall the community manages it’s own farms, businesses and resources. In Rojava, there is private property but under the principle of “ownership by use”. There are no giant multinational corporations in Rojava to exploit people or the environment or natural resources. Three quarters of all private property is owned by the communities themselves and a quarter of businesses are worker owned and run cooperatives. Not only oil, but also agriculture is exported.
            As I said, nobody wants partition. There’s a consensus between the people whether they be Kurds, Arabs, Syriacs or Turkmen on the future of northern Syria. Northern Syria will be a secular federal democracy with self determination for all minorities and no room for Islamists. Once all the Islamist terrorists are killed and only SDF and regime controlled land is left, the regime can choose to accept this for the rest of Syria and we can have a united Syria again. Otherwise Syria will remain partitioned between regime and Rojava, and the people will continue fleeing to the north.

  • ziad

    nothing but garbage news today