Syrian War Report – May 2, 2017: Russia Setting Up Military Installations In YPG-held Area

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Voiceover by Harold Hoover

A number of Russian troops and vehicles have entered the area of the Afrin Canton controlled by fighters of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), according to photos and videos appearing online.

Pro-Kurdish media activists speculate that the Russian military is going to set up a military base or even a “joint military base” in the YPG-held area near the border with Turkey.

According to more neutral sources, Russian military servicemen are setting up two posts near the border in order to monitor possible clashes between Kurdish militias and the Turkish military.

This comes amid increasing US military activity along the Syrian-Turkish border. According to Kurdish sources in northeastern Syria, US troops have been patrolling the Kurdish-held areas bordering Turkey. Thus, US troops are a buffer force that should prevent Ankara from combating Kurdish militias in Syria.

The YPG which is a branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and a core of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), is described by Turkey as a terrorist group.

In the province of Raqqah, the SDF is very close to capturing the whole area of the town of Tabqah from ISIS. When Tabqah is secured, the SDF, supported by the US-led coalition’s air power, artillery, and military advisors, will focus on securing the Tabqa dam and will continue attempts to further isolate Raqqah.

Earlier this week, western backed militant groups captured Al-Humaymah southwest of Deir Ezzor. This operation was part of the broader effort aimed at expanding control along the Syrian-Iraqi border.

With the collapsing of ISIS defenses in central Syria and in the area of the Iraqi city of Mosul, various factions involved in the Syrian conflict have increased efforts aimed at gaining control of as many important areas as possible.

While there is little doubt that the SDF, with significant US military assistance, will be able to seize Raqqah one day, the Deir Ezzor countryside and areas along the Syrian-Iraqi border will remain contested between US-backed forces and the Syrian government.

Fighting between government troops and ISIS terrorists continued near the Talilah crossroad east of Palmyra. ISIS has been conducting harassment operations against the Syrian Arab Army in the area in order to prevent a possible government advance along the Palmyra-Deir Ezzor road.

Government forces, led by the Republican Guard, continued military operations against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its allies in the district of Qaboun in eastern Damascus. Government troops there are seeking to divide the pocket into two separated parts. This will be a major move, if accomplished, on the way to a full liberation of the area from militants.

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  • El Mashi

    The Kurds and Russians have been historical enemies of Turkey whereas Americans have been the masters of Turkey. Who is more likely to betray the Kurds? Assad must negotiate autonomy with the Kurds; otherwise Kurds will be forever vassals of the United States and the hated Zionists.

    • Jonathan Cohen

      Assad will have to do better than autonomy, that is IF the Kurds don’t feel like bringing abortion rights to all of Syria and beyond. Turkey has abortion rights already, leaving little reason for Turkey and Rojava to fight. I expect that the US is patrolling the border in both directions, preventing Turkey from invading Rojava but also preventing PKK from infiltrating Turkey. If Rojava interprets that as a betrayal than so be it. Turkish Kurds, who are many, may have to move South into Syria if they can’t get along, leaving room in Turkey for the many Syrian refugees there; But remember that YPJ will need lots of Syrian territory if it is to settle all the Turkish Kurds who don’t like Turkey; so that both Turkey and Rojava can maximize abortion rights territory at the expense of Syria and maybe Iraq too.
      I especially want to see the YPG invade israel and restore Israeli abortion rights, They might have to take Damascus on the way. Then Kabul and Luanda.

      • Samuel Boas

        Your fary tale kurds will never take Damascus, how naive and stupid are you????

        • Jonathan Cohen

          Well then they can’t take Tel aviv either. Maybe just Palmyra and Mosul then. But I’m so glad the US finally has found a proxy that deserves the weapons they get. I hope they get LOTS, and take them FAR South, West and East, but not North.

          • Samuel Boas

            Take Palmyra and Mosul ?what the hell is wrong with you. What is your next idea, create Kurdistan? You are very disturbing. They are just another group of terrorists that America is used to support just like Al-Qaeda, ISIS and the FSA. Stop watching cnn kid.

          • Jonathan Cohen

            SDF is a thousand times better than the others because SDF defends abortion rights and FSA does not. FINALLY, after 50 years, the US has a proxy that Americans can wholeheartedly support! With that support, and Russian support too due to history, we can go VERY FAR!

          • John Mason

            keep your legs crossed then there is no need for an abortion.

          • Jonathan Cohen

            I can only cross one pair of legs, not 7 billion pairs.

          • Jens Holm

            An old joke says only one small pill between the knees can do it.

          • zman

            Good grief…not to laugh at you, but I just finished reading your whole back and forth with Cohen. I laughed so hard the other half came in and asked what was up. Don’t know where Cohen is coming from with the whole abortion thing. At first I thought it was sarcasm or being cynical or just weird humor…then your replies…still haven’t caught my breath.

          • Thegr8rambino

            He is totally obsessed with abortion rights, I haven’t seen a single comment of his without him mentioning it somewhere lmao

          • Bob

            It is a peculiar fixation to base all commentary on foreign policy around.
            Perhaps a Malthusian ideologue?! – Reduce the world population now?!

          • Jens Holm

            I have tryed hard. Im not for abortion but against unwanted children.

            There are many good ways to avoid unneded children getting no kind of pregnansy from many kinds of conrtraseption to much better heakth, so all born becomes fine and needed.

            But no, its like communikating with a radio or a TV.

        • Jonathan Cohen

          YPJ taking Luanda isn’t too probable either being 8524 kilometers away. They will go as far as they want to go. Power to them however far.

    • Jens Holm

      Kurds are 2. The old Afrins and south now mainly situated in Afrin, Aleppo and abroad has having relative good relations to Assads. Above that russians as well as assads in the old day even supported the PKK-look a likes.

      So Im sure those kurds could get their autonomies and in many matters be as such.

      But I dont see the other kurds as vassal. What do You compare it with. Until ottomans collapsed there was no problems, but after they suddenly were divided into 4 and even the borderline in Iraq wasnt any line. A railroad as a borderline – typical colonial stupidity, but right away followed by kurds being mobbed by 4 very different socalled countries.

      So vassals ? The 4 goverments has done almost anything to them and has killed and killed too.

      I allow me to kind of hope all in the SDF possetions and arab associates find som solution, where the real power is decentralized to where things goes on. That also says, that the oil income should be given all persons by a yearly paycheck with no cheating.

      With no help, Assads still didnt have Palmyra and Deir el Zor and other places were very much “non Assad”.

      Putin has only helped Assads to stay for bases and likely for oil and gas influenze. With only small help the SDF taken area and more to it – even mainly low populated – could also be a kind of socalled Syrian protectorat with much local Governes.

      I might clean my glasses again, but I dont see most arabs support ISIS anymore and I also see those many sunnis in their traditions aks for Assads comming back.

      EU might help moving relevant refugees back to that safezone and those who comes from there as well as settlers which dont want to go back to bad memories in other parts of Syria.

      At least kurds are sekular to warwidows can work and supoport their families without remarrying and be asked questions about free in the streets.

      EU would like to reduce the amount if Turkish refugee hostages.

      An old kind of soing says: I You cant love the one You love, love the one You wish. It make much sense for EU to helpo much to help themselves and avoiid the comming here. Its much cheeper too and at least kurds are very positive building up the sekular even they have their own marxist version of it. Capitalism and Marxisme are much the same in most maters compared to old traditions and religions.

  • John Mason

    Kurds are dreaming or very stupid to believe that the US will protect them from Turkey. If Turkey decides to attack the Kurds the US have no choice but to stand aside, the choice between Turkey and the Kurds will always be with Turkey who have a greater value to the US than the Kurds. If the Kurds are not aware that the US supports ISIS then maybe someone should tell them. Kurds defeating ISIS, FSA etc is an illusion, the US manages to disperse those terrorists to other areas and airlift out those that if captured pose a security problem.

    • Thegr8rambino

      I would think the US sees the Kurds as more valuable, as it appears like they are using them to partition Syria and get their foot in the country without making it seem like an official invasion Iraq style

    • Jens Holm

      Same song as usual. USA and we are actually protecting kurds being in the middle. Iraqi Kurdistand and its no fly zone against Bagdad as well as Ankara has been on paper since 2004.

      You seems to have the usual strong cement in Your head. Kurds in Syria is not alone for their possetions. 25% of SDF are non kurds and there are arab associates as well.

      In Your own words, You are more stupid then them still telling, that US supported ISIS. They did seveal months 4-5 years ago, because they hoped that was the final cut for Asssad Baathistas. But ISIS showed themselves better and it went 180 degrees even Hillary hesitated a little. So after a shower people still are dirty for ever. Thats what you write.

      Not many in that country support Assads anymore. 300.000 dead so far and estimated 8-10 mio refugees, which seems to support none fighting.

      So I see a vakuum, which is already filled out. If anything You should rather calm down the old days and work for a decentralized Syria in whatever its name can and will be in.

      Turks has to be stopped as they are by someone from the outside. The AKP with Erdagan as new member has to fall and human right has to be much better.

      Look at the map and the socalled Assad progress. Its only made by russian parambuklators and bajonets. Putin has never promised Ássads all syria back. They just want their bases and some influence on the oil.

  • Bob

    The Russian servicemen in photo appear to be Military Police – those vehicles with blue stripe bands are Russian MP – they were posted in Aleppo to control the vacuum in liberayed ex militant eastern neighborhoods so presumably some redeployed to north.