Well, we haven’t seen General Mayhoub’s face for some time. His poker-faced style and flawless elocution as spokesman for the Syrian General Staff was a reliable measure of the seriousness of a particular event. Here, you can see him announcing the SAA’s entry into the Manbij area.
It is not clear if the SAA has actually taken over Manbij, a town formerly under the control of the SDF – an American-concocted proxy army made up of almost 99% Kurdish fighters. This northern Syrian town was run by criminal gangs for most of the war, gangs who regularly shook down citizens for money, food or anything else of value. The Syrian media has made much of the flag of the republic being raised over one of the buildings in Manbij. In the meantime, the Turk-supported proxies, to wit: remnants of the FSA, Zangi groups and Nusra, are reinforcing to the west of the town in what appears to be a counter-move designed to intimidate the SAA into approaching cautiously.
While all this is going on, several facts are starting to appear: The first is that the Kurds are feeling extremely vulnerable after Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. military elements from Syria. Without the American fig-leaf to keep the Turks far hence, the Kurdish YPG had to know, or at least suspect, that their war with Turkey was coming to a dramatic conclusion. It appears that the Kurds have decided that their quest for autonomy would have to be put on the back-burner as they replaced their erstwhile American allies with the Syrian government and Russia’s.
Another fact is Turkey’s evident willingness to occupy Syrian land. Erdoghan announced he was going to cross the Euphrates and attack ISIS on the eastern bank which is the oil-rich area the Kurds were planning to use as their economic base. Know this, o’ readers: Erdoghan is in this for the oil. There is no other reason but oil. Turkey is fuel starved and needs its own source of petroleum. Having gotten addicted to cheap oil transported from Syria to Turkey two years ago, Ankara is desperate to reclaim that same pipeline.
Just today, Erdoghan announced that if the Kurds left Manbij, he would have no reason to attack it. Well, it seems the Kurds have found a face-saving way out of the mess they helped to create by asking the SAA to come in and take over. But, is Erdoghan telling the truth? We, at SyrPer, do not believe a word from that snake in Ankara. We believe that Trump told Erdoghan that he would not mind, at all, if Turkey’s army were to enter Syria, fight ISIS and everybody else, in order to deprive the Syrian government of the oil fields it so desperately needs to start internal reconstruction. That is the “art of the deal” to Trump.
Russia is playing the role of mediator in all this and is using its own prestige and good will to extract from Turkey a covenant not to invade and commandeer the eastern Syrian oil and gas fields. What kind of response they might get is still in the world of speculation. The Russians certainly don’t want to have to foot the bill for the reconstruction of the country which is estimated to cost over 250 billion dollars, and so, they are pushing for a Turk commitment to leave the oil and gas fields alone or face the unsavory prospect of an aborted oil pipeline from Russia. The Russian Foreign Ministry just announced a meeting between Putin, Rouhani and Erdoghan for early next year.
All the while, President Omar Bashir has visited Damascus even though he has a warrant on his head for the usual crimes against humanity and war crimes. The UAE has reopened its embassy in Damascus. Bahrain is intent on reopening its embassy. It will be of interest to see if the major terrorist supporting countries like Qatar and KSA will do the same or, at the very least, contribute to the fund for reconstruction. A Mauritanian newspaper has leaked information that that country’s leader, Muhammad Weld ‘Abdul-‘Azeez is going to be the second president to visit Damascus. Europe is out! The Syrian Foreign Minister, Waleed Al-Mu’allim has stated that Europe has been “erased from the map”. Despite this, France and the U.K. still have boots on Syria soil.
Turkey stands to lose a great deal if it chooses to attack the Syrian military in northern and northeastern Syria. NATO cannot come to the aid of any member nation if that nation has provoked the hostilities. Neither France nor Britain will have the kind of stamina to withstand the blistering international condemnations for their support of an aggression against another member state of the U.N. Now, that sounds pretty naive coming from me. After all, the British, Americans and French have all invaded Syria in one way or another; the Americans at Al-Tanf, the Americans at Raqqa, the British at Al-Tanf and the French in Idlib. However, their presence in these locations is largely symbolic and has not triggered the fury of the Syrian government. The British have legal cover for their intrusions; the special forces operatives are not technically a part of the British military – they are independent contractors, mercenaries, if you will, over whom London has scarcely any control. (Yawn) And, if anything, they are retired from military service – forget that their paychecks are run through MI6 accounts in Switzerland.
With the Arab countries now realigning around Syria – a Tunisian member of the Arab League just stated that the decision to eject Syria from the AL was “hasty” and not well thought out – it will be hard to maintain the pretense of respecting international norms and laws if the Brits and the French intervene on the side of Turkey. With both Prime Minister May and President Macron in serious trouble at home, it is very unlikely that a new foreign war would tamp down the furor over their leadership. May is facing a hard Brexit and Macron has to deal with crowds demanding his head, literally. Only the Zionist Apartheid State has the kind of pariah-status that would enable it to flout international law and give Turkey decisive help. Of course, that’s if Russia turns a blind eye to it.
No, Erdoghan is doomed. His policies have generated nothing but more authoritarian (read: Islamist) legislation. His demand for justice in the Khashoggi case has been swept under the carpet by most of the world. His obsession with the Kurds has secured no support even among Turkic nations like Kazakhstan. A new war in Syria involving Turkey will open the floodgates of vilification as Erdoghan is pilloried for having demanded the rule of law for Jamaal Khashoggi while personally spitting on it when it comes to Syria. It is only a matter of time before the Turk army acts and rids the world of this grub.
Before we leave this issue, I still have one question on my mind: if the Western Media is so concerned about abandoning the Kurds, why don’t they mention the terrorists the U.S. was training at Al-Tanf? Bizarre.
The Nusra/Alqaeda terrorists are trying to create a new front in order to prevent the invasion of Idlib. They and their allies in the Turkistaani Party (supported by Turkey) have been probing around the area of Kinsibba on the border with Hatay Province. Ten days ago, they gathered mortars and 23mm cannons for a renewed aggression against entrenched Syrian Army and affiliated militias north and east of the largely abandoned town. They were spotted from the get-go by SAA scouts and were later photographed by drones. The commander on the scene ordered artillery strikes which dissipated the terrorist ranks. According to Wael, they could be seen scurrying back into Turkish-Occupied Hatay. No details about casualties.
Since December 15,2018, the Turkestaan Party, Nusra and Kataa`ib Al-‘Izza have been conducting probing operations in Northern Hama, mostly in the area of North Jooreen, Al-Ziyaara, Tal Sakhr, Al-Buwaydha, Ma’arkabba and Al-Sirmaaniyya. It is a daily occurrence with all attacks repelled.
NEWS AND COMMENT:
Superb article supporting Trump’s decision to pull out of Syria:
Another excellent article by Patrick Cockburn for the Independent analyzing Trump’s wisdom is pulling out of Syria: