Syrian War Report – March 13, 2017: Power Struggle In Aleppo Province

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Clashes between the Syrian army and pro-Turkish forces were reported in Tadef, south of al-Bab on March 12. The Sultan Murad Division (consists of Turkmens) released a statement that 3 Syrian army soldiers had been captured by the Free Syrian Army near the al-Bab Silos. If confirmed, a notable level of tensions between pro-Turkish forces and Syrian forces remains in the area. This also means that Ankara cannot or does not want to control its proxies to avoid this.

Russian and Syrian military personnel were spotted in the town of Manbij, controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), mostly consisting of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). Photos confirm an intensification of contacts between the Syrian army and the SDF and the unpublicized Russian-US cooperation in the area.

Intense clashes took place between the Syrian army and ISIS in the area of the Jihar Airbase. Last week, the Syrian army’s Tiger Forces reached the ISIS-held airbase and successfully entered it. At some moment, government troops even had a tactical control over the site, but they failed to consolidate the gains. Since then ISIS had conducted a number of counter-attacks to push government troops back from the area. Government forces are now holding positions near the airbase.

The Syrian military is reportedly concentrating significant number of military personnel and equipment for a military operation against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham militants in western Aleppo. Local sources and media activists report about a high presence of pro-Iranian militias, fighters of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party and other pro-government groups in the area.

The US-backed SDF has captured the village of  Kas ‘Ajeel 48km southeast of Raqqa and reached the al-Ray channel near Jadidat Khabour.

The US State Department declared that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and all factions which merged into it are now considered by the US as a terrorist group. This statement is similar to the position of the Russian-Syrian-Iranian alliance over this “moderate opposition faction” operating in the Syrian province of Idlib.

Formally, HTS is a coalition of militant groups led by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda). Indeed, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham had absorbed a number of smaller groups operating in Idlib. Saudi Arabia is the main sponsor of the group and uses is as its tool in the Syrian war. HTS has been repeatedly made significant efforts to sabotage any kind of peace talks involving more moderate parts of the so-called Syrian opposition and conducts numerous terrorist attacks against civilians. Last weekend, the group claimed responsibility for double suicide bombing in Damascus, which killed over 40 and injured 120 others people, mainly Iraqi pilgrims. Meanwhile, the Trump administration officially aims at expanding and strengthening US ties with Saudi Arabia.

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  • 888mladen .

    Dealing with proxies will not stop this war. Main sponsors have to to be dealt with and that’s KSA and Turkey. However it seem like RU is not willing to do anything about it. It doesn’t serve its interests or so they are made to think. Deprived minds of Great powers to be keep Syria bleeding to death.

    • Barba_Papa

      That’s because Russia needs the KSA to help increase the price of oil. That’s international politics. In some areas you will be enemies, in others you will be forced to work together.

      Also Russia has no quarrel with the KSA in general. It just has a conflict with the KSA over Syria. Other then that its like the two countries are engaged in a Cold war where they will try to fight eachother wherever possible.

      • Bob

        It’s been widely argued that the Saudi deliberate crashing of oil prices was less about halting US shale production, and more about weaponizing OPEC over production against the Russian resources dependent economy, in conjunction with Washington to gain leverage over Russian in East Ukraine and Syria. This is hardly the first time either – in mid 1980’s Saudi’s and US did exactly the same thing, against the then Soviets over Afghanistan, crashing international crude price, which had major negative impact on highly centralized and rigid Soviet central budgets. The Russians have no memory lapses about the Saudi and US political and economic collusion against them in oil markets – twice – and Russia does indeed have dormant quarrels with Saudi Arabia, who financed and recruited the mujahedin to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan, and who equally financed Islamist’s in central republics in 1990’s, including in Chechnya, that fact is not forgotten.

    • Brad Isherwood

      Certainly the recent decades ME wars were oil and USD trade.
      http://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/09/mnuchin-calls-on-congress-to-raise-debt-limit-as-deadline-approaches-reuters.html
      Federal Reserve….It’s the Jews
      http://www.rense.com/general85/feddrec.htm
      The game is running away on them….They must find a way to go digital
      And control global finance.
      Russia and Eurasia will be on their Version of Swift.
      Empire has to either break Iran off of Russia/Eurasia….or regime change.

      Trump’s putting US troops into Afghanistan now, …Rumor that US will be involved
      In another coalition to tumble Libya.
      If Saudi/Qatar cannot get their pipeline to Europe. …even though they support
      USD,…on volume….Empire and they loose.

      Russia and Eurasia can ignore Empire….sanctions really do not hurt them.
      China has corruption in its Fiscal market…the Party will have to Crack down on that.
      China’s central economics is merging with the Military.
      All that technology is getting filtered thru the military.

      US now verging 20 Trillion in debt,
      And they got there quickly under Obama as he supported the huge military spending.
      US public pay for the weapons which cast nations in chaos,
      Their citizens get maimed by the 100,000s…and perish for the Bankers.

  • gustavo

    Rusia is completely neutralized by Turkey and its poppets (free syrian army).

    • 888mladen .

      Sooner or later Turkey’s loose cannon will have to be contained.

      • First Lastname

        The world needs to end those fucks. Erdogan the islamist needs to hang.

    • First Lastname

      That’s only because Russia doesn’t want a war. If Russia decided to fight Turkey, Turkish mothers would weep for 1000 generations.