Syrian War Report – February 21, 2018: Government Forces Entered Afrin


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Over the last few days, the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army have captured over a dozen villages from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the Afrin area.

A complicated situation on the frontlines forced the YPG to at least temporarily forget “the US is our only ally” mantra and to start implementing what local sources describe as a Damascus-YPG deal that will allow deployment of government troops in the region.

On February 20, a column of the government-backed National Defense Forces (NDF) consisting of about 20 vehicles entered the YPG-held area and moved toward the city of Afrin. The column was within about 10km of the city when it came under Turkish fire. At least 2 NDF members were killed in the TAF strikes.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that the column retreated after this incident. However, according to existing video evidence at least a part of the column reached Afrin city.

While 20 vehicles are not enough to reverse TAF gains in Afrin, the deployment of government forces in the area as well as Iranian and Russian diplomatic support can limit and even counter a major part of the Turkish military plans. Few hours before the column deployment Erdogan vowed to lay siege to the city of Afrin in three days time.

The situation remains tense. Many will depend on the terms and conditions of the YPG-Damascus deal.

On February 20, Eastern Ghouta militant groups conducted a massive shelling of the government-held areas of Damascus. The Russian center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria was among targets. The shelling killed at least seven civilians and wounded over 40 others. No casualties among the Russian personnel were reported.

No ground operation has yet started in Eastern Ghouta but the mainstream media is already full of reports about the so-called Assad forces attacking civilians there. These reports ignore that a large part of the pocket is controlled by groups, which have never respected the ceasefire – Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Ahrar al-Sham and Faylaq al-Rahman.



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  • antoun

    is not ndf it,s milice shiite iranians!!

  • Daniel Miller

    Well its good to see eastern ghutas time has finally come.

  • Pave Way IV


  • dutchnational

    A small columm of some 20 verhicles and maybe a few hundred men will not have a real military impact in itself.

    However, if it also entails aircover, which does not seems the case, the impact could be much higher.

    Also, it remains to be seen of this columm is the sum total of the aid by Assad. If it is, then it is welcome but only symbolic.

    • FlorianGeyer

      Have patience Dutch . There is surely much going on that will only become apparent later and I trust the leadership of the Syrian coalition . Thus far Syria is being cleansed of the US Coalition of terror.

  • Pave Way IV

    CENTCOM and their MSM lackeys enacted iron-fisted control of any reporting when they leveled Raqqa. They had no account for what happened to the quarter-million residents, MOST of whom have not been allowed back into the city yet. The Kurds and Arab tribal forces were reluctant to do much door kicking/urban clearing until CENTCOM leveled entire neighborhoods – and then there were no doors left to kick. CENTCOM repeatedly denied causing any but a few civilian casualties during the Raqqa campaign or dismissed them as exaggerations (but they promised to ‘investigate’ the claims).
    Whether this was ‘the only way’ to clear Raqqa (or East Ghouta) is debatable, but that’s not the point here. The SAA and allies are clearing East Ghouta using a lot of artillery and air strikes, and the MSM is howling about civilian casualties and the inhumanity. A remarkable burst of humanitarian concern considering they reported nothing about Raqqa except CENTCOM reports and happy newz. When any of the talking heads on news shows have this duplicity pointed out to them, they act confused and defensive: “There WERE no civilian casualties in the fight for Raqqa… Maybe a few, but Assad is responsible! And the Russians! And Iran. Yeah, them too!”

    • Ma_Laoshi

      Western state media have extensive control over their own populations, and there’s not much that can realistically be done about that. But the way in which those same media seem to have considerable influence on the Kremlin is Russia’s own fault. Try to save as many civilians on the ground as you can, but do NOT try to placate MSM bullies. How often do you think Trump will hesitate before a decision “What will the Russians say about this?”

      • Turkish-American

        Not just state media, u forgot to mention that most of those private own media belongs to zionists

  • Smith Ricky

    These zio funded factions in east Damascus need to be exterminated asap

    • Turkish-American

      And the zionists in Daraa area.

    • Rob
      Watch here how Zionist America, UK and Israel justifying their invation, brutality and making our world a fire hell.

    • Icarus Tanović

      Wahhabie zionists. Actually wahhabis are zionists.

      • Andrea Howard

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  • Joe Doe

    There are 2 packets in Damascus area and those two packets needs to be eliminated. Kurd’s in Afrin have been put in sacrifice list by the Americans to keep Erdagon happy and prevent Afrin fall under Assad control.

  • Feudalism Victory

    The saa needs to show their willing to fight for the territory not push a few expendable second tier formations in.

    It seems they were unprepared for any response other than a victory march.

    Maybe the syrians should just accept trh partitions annexations give up afrin gola rojava and get on with the business of living. Syria did good just by surviving I get the sense theres no fight left and understandbly s and let everyone run pipes through the country who wants to.

    • Joe Doe

      I would agree that Syria is exhausted with the wars. Syria is fighting the war almost alone, Russia failed protect Syria and discourage others attacking Syria. Putin as weak leader and with his inaction provides license to attack Syria without any impunity. I am not sure if any one is taking Putin serious anymore. Under Putin Russia become nothing more than punching back, which put also Russian in danger.In case Putin should at least provide Syria with Air Defense system, such as S-400, Pantsir-S1 or S2 and VERBA MANPAD in order fr Syria can defend itself. Putin should also deliver YAK-130 Syria made orders long time ago, plus attack helicopter and Su-29 and Su-30

      • FlorianGeyer

        President Putin is not a weak leader. He is pragmatic and realised that there is only so much that can be immediately achieved and that to try to achieve all at once is counter productive.

      • NeoLeo

        “Under Putin Russia become nothing more than punching back”. Are you serious? Remember Russia under Yeltsin? No? Why t.f. is Putin’s fault that Syrian army is so incompetent? (except a few decent brigades). The only reason they still exist (and winning!) is because Russia helped them. Not enough? Do you know how much these systems costs, you think Russia just should throw money (and lives) to help Syria?

    • FlorianGeyer

      Perhaps you should offer your services to the SAA , you obviously have the talent of WW1 General :)

      • Feudalism Victory

        Only the very finest in armchair generalship. ;)

  • paul ( original )

    I regrettably don’t have anything insightful to add here. I just feel I
    need to say that the more I hear about the Turks and Egdogan the more
    intensely I loath and detest them..

    • Turkish-American

      That is ok bro. For people from the west, it is very normal to be ignorant about what is going on in the middle east. Zionist jewish media is poison.

  • Samantha Green

    ABORTION RIGHTS IS AFRIN! Other than that, I don’t care who wins.

  • Hide Behind

    All of those forces that are not part of Syrian governments efforts are “civilians”, war criminals no more than that.
    A column of 20 with no air cover or mechanized infantry and advanced scout spec ops?
    Were they no more than sacraficial lambs, or led by leaders dumb as rocks who should all be cashiered out of military higher ranks.
    Those who now plead for Syrian military support are only trying to save own butts, while letting SA A fight and take the casualties they would incur on their own.
    The foot soldier but follows orders, and his battle vision sees only that which is in front of him, foxhole vision, and depends on the REMF for good guidance.

  • Hide Behind

    Maybe someone can sit on ass while blaming Israel, for slaughter, but it seems many will.

  • Icarus Tanović

    Roles are superb performed. Turky “shells” SAA, Russia and Iran aproves SAA in Afrin. Great political game. Read between lines.

    • Empire’s Frontiers

      You possess one in a million awareness.