Syrian War Report – February 24, 2017: Turkey Seized Al-Bab. What Now?

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On February 23, Turkey-led forces made a major breakthrough in their operations in northern Syria, recapturing al-Bab, Qabasin and Bzaah from ISIS. The Free Syrian Army and the Turkish army launched a fierce attack against ISIS units in the center of al-Bab and overrun the terrorist group’s defenses. As result, ISIS commanders decided to withdraw their units from eastern al-Bab and the nearby areas. So, Turkish forces took control of Qabasin and Bzaah almost without clashes.

Thus, Ankara achieved one of the main goals of its Operation Euphrates Shield, prevented Kurdish YPG forces from linking up the YPG-held areas along the Syrian-Turkish border. According to available information, pro-Turkish militants and the Turkish army would not push further to central Syria. A demarcation line between Turkish forces and the Syrian army lays at Tadef. Only practice will show is the Erdogan regime going to follow the existing agreements with Damascus, Moscow and Tehran or not.

In any case, controlling a large chunk of the Syrian soil in the Jarablus-Al-Bab-Azaz triangle, Ankara reserved a role of one of the key players on military and diplomatic leves in the ongoing conflict. At the same time, chances of confrontation between US-backed Kurdish YPG and pro-Turkish militants from the area of Manbij are increasing.

The Syrian army liberated Rasm al-Sheikh and Rasm al-Hermel al-Khabaz north of the ISIS stronghold of Deir Hafer in the province of Aleppo. Advancing in the area, government forces pursue two goals: to isolate Deir Hafer and to expand their zone of control, preventing Turkish forces from further advances publicly justified as a fight against ISIS.

The US-backed Kurdish forces, also promoted as the Syrian Democratic Forces, have liberated a large number of villages from ISIS terrorists in the province of Raqqah. US-backed forces have taken over 40 villages east of the ISIS stronghold of Raqqah.

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  • dez nuts

    Isis dosent seem like they are putting up much of a fight in the raqqa province

    • Falcemartello

      Israeli intelligence service. Created funded vetted and coordinated by the anglo-zionist. It’s all a ploy Knowing full well that their dastardly plan to balkanise and ruin Syria has all been exposed. Iraqi officials just the other day had photographed and multiple witnessed reports on USAF dropping supplies to Daesh. Thru out this imbroglio it has been documented the weatern collusion with the takfiris its only here in the west we do not have a free and independant media hence the stories r never told cause the Khardashians r far more news worthy fro humanity

    • jj

      They are tools of the U.S., and ISIS also was created to give U.S. an excuse to bomb and occupy Syria.

  • Falcemartello

    I myself smell a rat. Swamp man Maccain visiting in Kobani and Dumford amd Pompeo visiting the Sultan of failed coup Erdoghan tells me that these anglo-zionist/antlantacist/washingtonconsensus/PAX-AMERICANA schills r up to plan C balkanisation of Syria at all costs. cuase Israel the anglo-zionist colony will be threatened in the future be it by Lebanon or Syria. long live a free and liberated Palestine and Odessa we will never forget.

    • Brad Isherwood

      If US via Kurds seize Raqqa…..they could head south in ISUS territory to Jordan
      Border.
      Tada! …..Saudi Pipeline route.

      That Russia will not shoot down Israeli, US,Turk or Saudi aircraft violating Syria’s
      Sovereignty. …suggests Moscow might not stop US partition Syria.
      If So,….the Iran,Syria Pipeline route might be ended.

      In my thinking….the Syrian border with Jordan and Iraq is key.
      Secure this,….and no pipeline route from Saudi/Qatar.
      Empire may have some statelet presence in Kurd Syria.
      Counter Russian missiles…..CIA take Kurdish children for Elite pedophile
      Rings,
      Give Kurds lots of guns and drugs .

      • Falcemartello

        In the anglo-zionist dream. @Brad. Russians don’t think or react like the west. Historically Russians have never been tit for tat displays. Further more the Russians along with the Iranians have their measure on intell. Inlike the anglo-zionist . All the west along with the anglo-zionist work on bribes and graft. The highest bidder . The Russians and Iranians work for honour ethics and morals Highly principled. The Israelis and the anglo-zionist r constantly harrassing and hounding be it the Russians or the Iranians . They never bite . C these vile creatures need a war at all costs. Just like ww2 With a greater war they can burry all thei past crimes and deviate populations away from their inevitable collapse. Israel has a shelf life and it comming. Pax-Americana has a shelf life and its comming. So orientalist like the Chinese ,Slavs and Persians r patient and know that their demise is inevitable, cuase nufin going to change 19.9 trillion dollars of fiat money debt. Nufin is going to save 600percent correction of all western stockmarket gains. Look around u a Go and visit Israel.If war were to ever come to their doors Zionist would be the first ones to run and hide. Put it this way the west/anglo-zionist/washington consensus/pax-americana have always operated like bullies . Look at what Hezbullah was able to do to the Zionist IDF in 2006 . The IDF with all its modern hardware and manpower got their gonads handed to them on a plastic plate.
        So partition of Syria will never happen just like Stalingrad was liberated in the second world war Damascus and Syria will be Takfiri free Time is on their side not the west.

      • Bob

        That is why Dier Ezzore is so important. Also why US allowed, if not outright facilitated, the local ISIS force’s large reinforcement to launch recent large scale assault on it. But only after USAF softened up SAA by ‘accidentally’ bombing their most strategic hill top defenses in front of the town. That’s lot of coincidences around a small besieged SAA defending garrison. That happens to be sitting right in middle of central eastern Syria – where any Qatar-Jordan-Turkey pipeline would need to transit through on a south – north axis.
        As long as Dier Ezzore is defended by Syrian state, NATO/GCC can’t try and claim the province as part of any breakaway or autonomous Sunnistan. Which would likely be all the territory currently held by ISIS, that also just happens to correlate to the pipeline’s requirements. If ISIS were to be ‘removed’ and were ‘replaced’ in Syria by some NATO/GCC designated force, the occupied territory would be exactly the desired pipe area, truly amazing coincidence…
        However, Deir Ezzore’s current defense remains tenuous as SAA just doesn’t have manpower for large reinforcements to an isolated besieged pocket that far east.

        • jj

          Why isn’t Iran helping Syria at all with its manpower shortage? Iran is next in line after the west gets its way with Syria, and Iran has a large population – it could spare plenty of men who are willing to fight in Syria on the Syrian government side.

          • Bob

            Iran does have decent deployment in Syria – they have lost number of mid level officers who tend to operate from front lines. But there are couple of factors that complicate environment.
            The Syrians themselves have some reservations about becoming totally subordinate to Iranian military in the field, that may seem short sighted, but as with everything politics and competing factional interests are involved. This leads directly other factor – strategy.
            Syrians and Iranians have had differing ideas about the war, Syrians have sought to maintain the cities and SAA deployed across country for political strategy – to maintain state legitimacy over their territory. But this has left SAA as static targets everywhere, and to alter this from a military forward strategy, Iranians have led push for restructured localized NDF militias to defend their local territories and to use SAA when possible as a deploy-able offensive body.
            The Syrian – Iranian military alliance on ground is work in progress. They have had to work around two competing strategies – political and military – and Iranians have had their own frustrations in these efforts and are naturally wary of throwing own troops into strategies and objectives they cannot always dictate nor prioritize, as would wish.

          • jj

            Do you have the names of these Iranian officers who’ve lost their lives? I’ve never seen them pictured/named in the memorial posts (like on twitter) or anything.

          • Bob

            Start with this Twitter and there are other similar accounts on the top right under ‘You May Also Like’ that can look at:

            https://twitter.com/IRGC_QF?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

          • Red Tick Alert

            I did write a relatively good response on your comment but managed to lose it; so I shall keep this short.

            Iran and Syria are totally different entities. All this BS generalisation about them both being Shi’ite blah blah does not wash with me – it is the same as stating the English are the same as the Germans …

            Iran and Syria have a different history and whilst I admire Iran’s input in saving Syria, as soon as they help the victory over the Americans and the Americans backed scum; they need to F. off home with a hug and a few billion in rebuilding contracts.

        • Brad Isherwood

          Agreed that Der Ezzor is pipeline route,
          But so is central Syria.
          Sunni Stan Syria/Iraq is ended now that ISUS is failing In the region
          My concern is Empire tries to take central Syria from Raqqa to Jordan.

          Syria has 1000s of soldiers released from previous detachments in numerous cities,
          Towns etc…now liberated.
          They can fly more into Der Ezzor.

          It’s puzzling why Syria leaves the Der Ezzor Garrisons in such precarious state.
          For sure. …they need lots of ATGMs, Autocannon….even Counter Battery fire
          Radar .

          Syria also needs to deploy air mobile teams around Der Ezzor city in the hinterland
          And zap the ISUS from behind.
          I’d wager lots of ammo dumps etc are not guarded by hundreds,.
          Opportunity to mark these ,using Forward air controller to call in strikes.

          Syria needs to get on the offensive. ..

          • Red Tick Alert

            Just for a little info – spelled Deir Ezzor, Deir Al-Zor, Deir-al-Zour, Dayr Al-Zawr, Der Ezzor and many other variants, is not just a pipeline route but has one of the largest production facilities + maybe more importantly uses water injection to increase the production out of the wells – how do I know ? (because I designed and commissioned it … FACT).

            The thing is that even when I was over there in the 80s / 90s the tensions were increasing because of this and the dams on the Euphrates.

            The pipelines may be important but it is the water sources that will lead to war.

            My view is that the dams will go in Iraq and Syria + the water injection plant (s) in Der ezzor.

            Regards the war itself I assume Syria and its allies have priorities, but I am becoming seriously frustrated now.

          • Bob

            That’s interesting perspective on it. Any NATO/GCC sponsored Balkaninization of a Sunnistan would need economic infrastructure, and that would put not only Syria’s eastern oil infrastructure, but also the biggest dams – Lake Assad etc – in its hands.
            Water has been a notable tactical element is this war – the militants control and sabotage of pumping facilities in Aleppo and their various attempts to disrupt and control supplies to Damascus, through contaminating it with diesel and seizing the spring-water sources.
            Have tended to think of that as just part of NATO/GCC overall pressure strategy on Syrian state. USAF has bombed much utility infrastructure as means to intensify the internal pressures on state resources/ services and attempt to undermine state support via popular hardship.
            But hadn’t really considered broader strategic issue of water control and its necessity for any Balkanizationan attempts – would explain why dams in east have been constant strategic objectives for range of fighting parties since quite early on in the conflict.
            Suggests Plan B has been around for quite a while then…

          • Red Tick Alert

            Sorry for the delay in responding.

            Water – not oil ……. is the war…… if you do not believe me, just hold it as an option in your head……. then I want an uptick.

          • Bob

            You sir, can have two upticks for very interesting point of view.
            One of other things is, that a long drought in Syria throughout 2000’s was a significant factor that CIA identified as creating hardship and rural discontent in Syria. CIA report concluded that many small scale, conservative Sunni, rural farmers leaving agriculture due to drought conditions might be discontented enough to join in broad coalition with long standing anti secular, rural based, Muslim Brotherhood, against the state leadership. CIA wrote all this up, as chance for internal meddling and regime change, back in 2009 or thereabouts, way prior to ‘Arab Spring’ events.

          • Red Tick Alert

            Interesting stuff which I did not know before now, thanks.

            Whilst this site concentrates on Syria with the odd mention of Iraq remember Libya….

            The reason I mention Libya is because 10-15 years ago, I listened to a BBC World radio broadcast (when they were still sane) that spoke about their water infrastructure built by Gaddafi….. have a quick look at this if you want – http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2869234/war_crime_nato_deliberately_destroyed_libyas_water_infrastructure.html

            and this – http://www.globalresearch.ca/libya-ten-things-about-gaddafi-they-dont-want-you-to-know/5414289

            PS In response to your prior comment and again apologies for the delay. You state “**** and then “and that would put not only Syria’s eastern oil infrastructure”, yes but no but yes ….. http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Tensions-Mount-In-The-Golan-Heights-Over-Oil-And-Territory.html

            PPS But I still stand by my view that it is about water. The oil is obviously important and it can make Israel self-sufficient but the damns in both Iraq and Syria are troubling many Countries in the ME + the water injection used for oil production mainly in Syria.

            PPPS Turkey – watch Turkey and personally I would not trust them as far as I could throw them.

          • Brad Isherwood

            https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/coalition-airstrikes-endanger-tabqa-dam-northern-syria/

            Really disappointing that Russia and Syria continue to allow US/Nato to destroy
            Syrian infrastructure.

          • Red Tick Alert

            I cannot fault your argument – you are spot on.

            Russia / Syria need o grow a pair.

            My view only.

          • Red Tick Alert

            PS I give it 2 months and then the damns are destroyed.

          • More

            Red Tick Alert
            Thanks for the water details, please ignore my earlier post asking about this.

          • Red Tick Alert

            No worries mate.

          • More

            Brad Isherwood
            “….It’s puzzling why Syria leaves the Der Ezzor Garrisons in such precarious state….”

            Both the Russian and Syrian Military allowed approx 4500 terrorists to capture Palmyra by driving unhindered across the desert from Mosul, December 2016.

            This indicates that the Russian Air Group is allowing terrorists to control certain areas and regions and the Syrian Military has no proper Battleplan in place.

            “…Syria needs to get on the offensive….”

            Battleplan requires at a minimum:
            1. Intelligence gathering on each terrorist position.
            2. Force Ratio, prepare the Forces, Equipment, Air Support.
            3. Counter Strike to destroy the terrorists.

  • More

    ISIS is armed trained and financed by the Turk facilitated “Terrorist Axis” which has now renamed itself as Turkish forces and preparing Safe Zones in northern Syria.

    Russia is allowing the Balkanization of Syria.

    • jj

      And Turkey is one of the places they go to take breaks from the fighting, and one of the main places ISIS or wannabe ISIS fighters fly to, to then get into Syria. U.S. has also aided and used ISIS. It is not much of a surprise when ISIS decides to clear out of regions when the Turks and Kurds start attacking with U.S. backing. When push comes to shove, the U.S. and Turkey can have influence over them and have ways to get ISIS to eventually obey/agree.

      • More

        jj
        The sad part is that Russia is allowing all this to happen.

        • Red Tick Alert

          But why ?. I keep thinking it is for strategic reasons, but even now – I am at a loss + getting more frustrated.

          • More

            Red Tick Alert

            The other sad part is that Syrian towns, cities and economy have been destroyed.

            The main reason for the Syrian war is due to two competing pipelines, the south to north Saudi Qatar oil and gas pipeline through Syria to Turkey and the east to west Iran Iraq oil and gas pipeline to Syria’s Mediterranean port.

            Both pipelines would compete against Russia’s aim to dominate oil and gas supply to Turkey and the EU.

            The Balkanization of Syria by the US axis blocks the Iran Iraq pipeline and the Russian axis blocks the Saudi Qatar pipeline.

            The Oil-Gas War Over Syria (In 4 Maps)
            http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-24/oil-gas-war-over-syria-4-maps

          • Red Tick Alert

            Thanks for the feedback and apologies for the delay in responding ..

            Now my response..

            You state “The main reason for the Syrian war is due to two competing pipelines, the south to north Saudi Qatar oil and gas pipeline through Syria to Turkey and the east to west Iran Iraq oil and gas pipeline to Syria’s Mediterranean port.” ……FOR ME (my view only); it is about the water … the water damn you all… forget the oil.

            Interesting link – cheers

          • More

            Red Tick Alert
            Where is the water flowing from and to?
            Who is trying to control the water in Syria?

          • Red Tick Alert

            Who is trying to control the water in Syria?

            This is well worth reading first – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tigris%E2%80%93Euphrates_river_system

            A hint – “The system is part of the Palearctic Tigris–Euphrates ecoregion, which includes Iraq and parts of Turkey, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan.”…. !!!

            Where is the water flowing from and to?

            The article gives it all.

            PS. I was literally carried out of my hotel room on the last plane from Syria because tensions in the region were so bad…. the next day the US and it’s idiotic buddies invaded Iraq in the first gulf war. I was there to commission the water injection plant in Deir ez-Zor – it is all about the water.

            PPS the 2 x oil pipelines are a distraction in my view.

          • More

            Red Tick Alert
            Thanks for the Wiki link and clues, agreed and accepted that you are an expert in this matter, area and region.

            The water dispute c 2008 is noted to go on the list for the war in Syria as whoever controls the water controls life in that region.

            The other items are the Oded Yinon Plan which is to Balkanize the countries in the ME to “Statelets” so they fight amongst themselves rather than unite against Israel.
            http://www.globalresearch.ca/greater-israel-the-zionist-plan-for-the-middle-east/5324815

            This has already happened in Iraq, Libya and now Syria.

            Another on the list was the threat Syria poses to Israel by firing missiles into Israel in the event of an Israel – US – Axis war against Iran.

            The last was the Saudi Qatar oil and gas pipeline as Qatar initially funded US$3 Billion for the Terrorists Axis in Syria (this was publicized on BBC TV News) and then Saudi Arabia joined in with more funding,, etc.

            There is too much, will keep it for another day.

          • Red Tick Alert

            Cheers for the link and response. I think you have nailed it generally, however I would add that I think that Israel is worried.

            We all think it is one of the strongest nations in the World – but is it ? – espionage etc. can only get you so far. Iran or others could take them out with 3 rockets as they could with Saudi Arabia, they have the full backing of the US at the moment but will they in the future.

            You mention Libya; this may interest you – http://www.nafeezahmed.com/2015/05/how-nato-deliberately-destroyed-libyas.html

            Regards Syria and siting Global Research again – http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-israeli-occupied-golan-heights-an-occupation-for-natural-resources-water-land-and-oil/5521207

            As for your comment starting with “The last was the Saudi Qatar oil and gas pipeline” ….for me.. FOR ME it is a little more than that – http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-24/oil-gas-war-over-syria-4-maps

            Last thing – “There is too much, will keep it for another day.” …. nope; speak now or forever hold your peace (and NO, we are not getting married).

      • Man Dagang

        Turkey hosted 2.5 million syria refugees, he deserved to rule syria, as russian is burning syria they should get lost

        • jj

          Syrian war started March 2011. Russia did not get involved until September 2015. Millions of Syrians had ALREADY left before Russia became involved.
          Russia is pushing back ISIS which was taking over more and more of Syria.
          ISIS started in Iraq, under the nose of the U.S.

        • More

          Man Dagang

          One fine day Russia or another country will destroy Turkey.

          Turkey is the facilitator of the “Terrorist axis”, Turkey is arming, training and financing the terrorists in Syria.

          Turkey created the refugee crisis.

  • Бакунин

    ISIS is loosing on all fronts. Time to kick out Erdogan from Syria. He is not more than an useful idiot. Had done all the dirty work for SDF/SAA…

  • Brad Isherwood
  • outer_rl

    “Turkey-led forces made a major breakthrough in their operations in northern Syria, recapturing al-Bab, Qabasin and Bzaah from ISIS”

    What do you mean, “recapturing”? This isn’t Turkish territory, they didn’t recapture it. They annexed it.

    • Man Dagang

      Turkey hosting 2.5million syrian refugee, they shld rule syria, whilst russian is killing syrians they shld get lost

      • AJ

        Jump off a bridge and die for us plz

      • outer_rl

        Maybe the 2.5 million refugees they’ve taken is to balance out all the terrorists and mercenaries they’ve sent into Syria.