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Syrian War Report – October 21, 2019: Syrian Army Takes Control Of Abandoned US Bases

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Syrian War Report – October 21, 2019: Syrian Army Takes Control Of Abandoned US Bases

The northeastern Syria ceasefire, agreed by Washington and Ankara, immediately collapsed. Under the terms of the reached agreement, Turkey had to halt its Operation Peace Spring for 120 hours to allow units of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to withdraw from a 32km-deep safe zone. It was supposed that after this Turkey will not resume its offensive. This plan was doomed to failure.

The SDF leadership said that it accepts the ceasefire, but rejected the forces withdrawal. In own turn, the Syrian National Army (SNA), a coalition of Turkish proxies, did not halt attacks on Kurdish fighters. The battle for Ras al-Ayn between the SNA and the SDF continued.

By October 20, the SNA backed up by Turkish Army battle tanks had resumed offensive actions near Ras al-Ayn capturing the villages of Umm al-Asafir, al-Shakariyah, Haji Hisso and Jan Tamir, where an intense fighting erupted. Pro-SDF sources claim that these villages were recaptured by Kurdish forces. Pro-Turkish sources claim that the SDF counter-attack was repelled. In reality, the area remains contested.

Additionally, the SDF-affiliated Afrin Liberation Forces attacked SNA positions near Tuways in northern Aleppo. At least 6 SNA members were killed and 9 others were injured in the attack. The SNA confirmed the fact of the attack and revealed that the killed militants were from its Al-Waqas Brigades.

On October 19, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that his country will officially resume its military operation “a minute after 120 hours” if promises given to Turkey “are not kept as in the past”. Turkish media are counting minutes until the end of the formal ceasefire.

According to an adviser to the Turkish president, Yasin Aktay, the US-Turkish-agreed safe zone should be 444-km long and 32km-deep. With the Syrian Army deployed in the supposed safe zone, and the SDF is not planning to withdraw anywhere, it is hard to imagine how this promise can be kept. Therefore, Operation Peace Spring will soon be resumed.

Aktay also claimed that any efforts by the Damascus government to protect Kurdish militias in northeastern Syria will be seen by Turkey as a declaration of war. However, he added that if Damascus provides Turkey with guarantees that Kurdish forces will not operate in the border area, Turkey may change its attitude towards the deployment of the Syrian Army in northeastern Syria. These remarks are another indication of the unpublicized coordination between Turkey and the Damascus-Moscow alliance. Pro-SDF sources itself admitted that Russia appeared the only power capable to limit the scale of the Turkish offensive and already did it in such areas as Manbij and Ayn al-Arab.

Meanwhile, the US military continued its withdrawal from northern Syria. After bombing own military facility at the Lafarge Cement Factory, the US-led coalition destroyed a radar station at Abdulaziz Mount. US troops abandoned the Robariye facility, one of its largest bases in the region.

On October 19, the Syrian Army got control of the former US military garrison in Qasir Yalda. Government troops were deployed in the nearby villages of Tell Tamir and al-Ahras as a part of the SDF-Damascus security deal. According to Syrian state media, the army even repelled an attack by Turkish-backed militants near al-Ahras and entered the villages of al-Salamas and Umm al-Khair.

On October 22, President Erdogan will visit Russia for talks with his counterpart Vladimir Putin. Besides economic and military cooperation, the sides will discuss the situation in northeastern Syria. These talks may become a turning point in settling the developing crisis.

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  • Karen Bartlett

    The poor civilians in the villages!

    • FlorianGeyer

      Were they the Kurdish civilians who had kicked out the Arab civilians during the past couple of years or not?
      The Kurds themselves have conducted ethnic cleansing operations within Syria themselves.

      • Tommy Jensen

        All occupation in the area claimed by Turkey as zone is illegal accommodations by YPG thugs. Nemesis is now knocking on the door.

        • FlorianGeyer

          YPG thugs who hate Erdogan replaced by thugs who love Erdogan, I suppose :)

      • Willing Conscience (The Truths

        And sadly forced conscriptions and the use of child soldiers can also be added to that evil stain, they’re no angels and their atrocities have been well documented over the last few years, and I’m pretty sure Assad will make good use of all that evidence when the time is right.

        • FlorianGeyer

          Yes, and SDF and PKK ‘child soldiers ‘ who the US Military were comfortable to be allied to, when a few words from the US could and would have stopped such child abuse.

          • Willing Conscience (The Truths

            Again sadly true Florian, but I think a few few words from Trump have put an end to all that now, and I don’t think Assad will let them do it anymore either, possibly even bring a few of them to justice for what they’ve done [when he can that is].

      • Karen Bartlett

        I was thinking they were probably regular Syrian civilians, Arab people whom the Kurds have already forced to accept their rule. Now they’ve got the Turks after them as well.

  • Per Jensen

    No, the corrupted SDF-leaders have no scruples sending the naive SDF-members to death.

  • alejoeisabel

    Syrian Kurds have all the right to defend Syria sovereign territory from Turkish aggression as all Syrian citizen have once the Kurds join the Syrian Arab Army. For the Kurds, as easily they went from the YPG to the SDF they can morph from the SDF to the SAA. If Turkey wants to declare a war of aggression, SYRIA CAN DEFEND ITSELF.

    • FlorianGeyer

      Yes, as Syrian citizens that have a duty to join the SAA and fight the Turkish invasion, BUT not just yet.
      Timing is everything and Idlib is still a problem.

    • northerntruthseeker .

      The issue is of course how the Kurds were so quickly wanting to stab the Damascus government in the back as they were enticed by the criminal US/Israel evil cabal into thinking that they would have their won “country”…. They obviously joined the wrong side and are paying the price now for that folly of ignorance and stupidity!

      • Gary Sellars

        Agreed, and for that perfidy the Kurds can fuck off and die in droves.

  • John

    By Syrian War standards, going smoothly over there now.

  • Tommy Jensen

    America will now be leading from behind with our Space super technology surveillance matrix and invisible high photonic laser precision tools.
    For real men only who are up to date with super modern space future technology, and not for rusty armies with obsolete hypersonics.

    • Brian Michael Bo Pedersen

      Real men dont push a button 6000miles away, they pick up the axe and go charging.

      • MasterBlaster7

        In other news, real man in syria’s head explodes from ‘alleged’ death ray shot from space. The US, Russia, and China say “no comment”.

      • smertzakrov

        Tommy lives in a surreal bubble—she is upset that the US has no defense for advanced Russian and Chinese weapons

  • Willing Conscience (The Truths

    LOL
    “Additionally, the SDF-affiliated Afrin Liberation Forces”

    “Affiliated”, I usually read “traitors”, “deserters”, “US puppets”, when I read anything the ALF have had to say about their SDF brothers and sisters in the east, not we’re secretly affiliated with them, I usually read, “we’re happy to help Assad reclaim northern Syria from Turkey and live under Syrian government authority”, not we’re affiliated to the US backed SDF in some way, the ALF actually hate the US and call both the US and the SDF traitors.
    No ceasefire for the ALF they’re still being busy little bees, and I may have to up my estimates for their kill to casualty ratio, I always say it’s 10 to 1 but I’m starting to realize that’s way too inaccurate, I should be saying my estimates are 25 to 1, they haven’t had any casualties for a while but they’ve certainly inflicted quite a few.

    “Aktay also claimed that any efforts by the Damascus government to protect Kurdish militias in northeastern Syria will be seen by Turkey as a declaration of war”.

    And this is what Pompeo had to say just recently,

    “In remarks to CNBC late Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the administration of President Donald Trump is “fully prepared” to take military action in the Middle East.
    Insisting that Washington prefers to use its “diplomatic powers,” Pompeo said that they prefer “peace to war.”
    “But in the event that kinetic action or military action is needed, you should know that President Trump is fully prepared to undertake that action,” he added.
    Failing to state explicitly what action would mean “crossing the line,” he added that he does not want to intervene in Trump’s decisions.
    “I do not want to get out in front of the president’s decision about whether to take the awesome undertaking of using America’s military might,” he added.

    LOL, would anyone dare predict Trump wouldn’t do it, I wouldn’t anymore, and I wonder if Erdogan’s also wondering if it’s not beyond the realms of all possibility.
    And it’s quite an insult to both Erdogan and his Turkish military if I’m reading it properly, be a good boy and play nice and we’ll be best friends, but if you’re nasty and don’t pay ball my army will swat your army like a bunch of flies, or am I over exaggerating, I suppose I’ll find out tomorrow when Erdogan works out how he’s going to respond to this statement, LOL, I can’t wait to see what he says.