Sunday, June 24, 2018

World leaders congratulate Erdoğan on election results

Daily Sabah

Supporters of Turkish President Erdoğan hold Turkish and AK Party flags and greet after closing voting for the Turkish presidential and parliamentary elections in Ankara, Turkey, 24 June 2018.
 
World leaders, including Palestine's Mahmoud Abbas, Azerbaijan's Aliyev, Hungary's Viktor Orban and Bosnia's Bakir Izetbegovic called Recep Tayyip Erdoğan late Sunday as the preliminary results suggested a victory for the incumbent president.
Waiting on the reports of Putin's call to congratulate
It'll be interesting to read about who calls and who doesn't call
Aliyev was the first head of state to call his Turkish counterpart after the results.
With almost 80 percent of votes counted in Turkey's presidential elections, incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is predicted to emerge winner with a 54.4 percent lead.
Main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) presidential candidate Muharrem Ince received 29.8 percent of the votes.
Meanwhile, the newly formed Good Party's (İP) presidential candidate Meral Akşener gets 7.5 percent of the votes and the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party's (HDP) candidate Selahattin Demirtaş has won 7.2 percent.

Following up on:

 Also Russian airstrikes in Daraa assisting SAA- it's been a busy weekend

 Related to: 

 

Turkey's Election: Voting Closes, No Serious Incidents Reported.

Not including countless 'social media' reports. Unsubstantiated, of course.
Turkey's election has various monitors from different organizations. As you will read below.
 
TASS

Turkish Woman Votes In Istanbul
 ANKARA, June 24. /TASS/. Early presidential and parliamentary elections that were held on the same day for the first time in Turkey’s history finished without any serious incidents as polling stations closed at 17:00 local time (same as Moscow Time) on Sunday, Anadolu Agency reported.

According to Turkish Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gul, no serious incidents were reported across the country on the voting day. Incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said no serious violations of the law had been reported. The European security watchdog OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) reported no restrictions concerning election monitoring procedures either.
 Security has been tightened in Turkey’s major cities. At least 16,000 police officers will be on duty in Ankara, and more than 38,000 law enforcement personnel will ensure security in Istanbul.
Hundreds of journalists, local observers and 415 representatives from eight international organizations, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, will monitor the vote.
Repeating:
Hundreds of journalists, local observers and 415 representatives from eight international organizations, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, will monitor the vote.
Six candidates, including Incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, are taking part in the presidential race. Erdogan’s main challenger is Muharrem Ince of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP).

Turkey uses paper ballots with an official seal on it. 

There are reports of the HDP attempting to add fraudulent ballots to the voter boxes
Turkish authorities have opened legal proceedings against three people who attempted to cast fraudulent votes for the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in eastern Turkey's Agri province.
Legal proceedings have also be opened against an HDP observer who allegedly abetted the fraud attempt.

The accused attempted to cast votes using forged ballot papers, which they presumably copied from the internet, according to a statement.

Officials identified the fake papers as they were not carrying a seal by the election council.

"Legal proceedings have been initiated against the people who attempted to cast the fake ballot papers and an HDP observer who stealthily placed the fake ballot papers into their pockets," said the governor's office.
 
It's being reported police had to resort to firing guns in the air after they'd been tipped off to an attempt at ballot box stuffing.

Link
Turkish police had to fire into the air to stop a vehicle they had been tipped off was being used to rig the election in Suruç, Urfa province, left-wing newspaper Evrensel said .
Four sacks filled with pre-stamped voting papers were found in the car plate number 27 BSU 52, and its three passengers were arrested.
Police had been tipped off that the votes were to be switched in for the real votes in order to help fix the election.
 In my opinion the AKP party will win this election. The HDP party was in danger of losing it's official status- and would have an incentive to rig votes in order to maintain their place.

I've never known of such security measures here in Canada during elections.
 
Never see law enforcement around- Ever. I suspect the police being out in full force- along with the presence of so many observers suggests of an expectation of outside interference. And after the coup attempt, it's understandable.

The prospect of AKP winning this election was surely the impetus for this article at Gulf news:"Erdogan has turned into a geostrategic threat"- from Simon Tisdall of the Guardian. Before getting to the Gulf article I'm including an excerpt from Jonathon Cook's facebook page regarding Mr Tisdall

"Simon Tisdall was once my boss at the Guardian. Either I've changed a lot since I left the paper more than a decade ago (undoubtedly true!), or he's subsequently become nothing more than a mouthpiece for the US-Israeli security establishments (and there's plenty of evidence for that!)"

Now Gulf News:
The prospect of a triumphantly re-elected Recep Tayyip Erdogan armed with sweeping new presidential powers is deeply alarming to many Turks, but it is also a scary prospect for the international community. ( Read, Usrael)
Lots of rubbish about human rights abuses- as if that really matters. Tears for the PKK terrorists.
 " His growing military collaboration with Vladimir Putin, symbolised by the purchase of advanced Russian S400 missiles, seem certain to get worse if he wins a new five-year term. Turkey’s voters have a duty to the world, not just to themselves. Kick him out"

 -Collaboration with Russia. Worse for who?
- Turkey's voters have zero duty to the world.  

Reports of Continued Airstrikes in Daraa- Syrian and Russian Airforces

Information sourced from here

It seems RuAF and SyAF continue to bomb the Daraa area
Updated 21 minutes ago at link 

S. : massive airstrikes on E. countryside.


Reports of  villages retaken as well

S. : village of Jaddel in is confirmed seized by Assad forces following yesterday's takeover of Shomarah. Photos geolocated in heart of village:

Following up on:

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Breaking: Reports of Russian Airstrikes on Daraa - Escalation Potential...

.......comes from the possibility of Israel intervening, That said, IF Russia is indeed striking the area Israel will NOT intervene. Will the US? If any other party would it will be the US.

Looking for further verification, since, it’s SOHR reporting.

Dailymail
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said around 25 strikes slammed into rebel-held towns in Daraa, a province in Syria's south that has faced escalating regime shelling in recent days ahead of an apparent ground assault.

"Intense Russian air strikes are hitting towns in Daraa's eastern countryside for the first time since the ceasefire was agreed in southern Syria last year," said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

Reuters Aman Jordan- Opposition reporting airstrikes
Russian jets struck an opposition held town in southwest Syria on Sunday, opposition sources said, in the first air cover provided by Moscow to an expanding Syrian army offensive to recapture the strategic area bordering Jordan and the Israeli occupied Golan Heights.

Two tracking centres that monitor military aircraft movements recorded at least twenty strikes on Busra al Harir, northeast of Deraa city, two sources told Reuters.
Syrian government forces had so far made heavy use of artillery and rockets in the current assault, and Russian warplanes that were critical to the recovery of other rebel-held areas had not been deployed until now.

Syrian Army Gaining Ground
 Syrian regime forces on Saturday made their first gains on the ground against rebel fighters in the southern province of Daraa after several days of intensified bombardment, a monitor said.

Since Tuesday, regime troops have been ramping up shelling on opposition-held areas in Daraa's eastern countryside ahead of an apparent military offensive against rebels there.

"Regime troops made their first advance in the area since the military escalation on Tuesday, seizing the villages of Al Bustan and Al Shumariya in the eastern part of Daraa province," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The shelling and clashes are currently focused on a wedge of rebel territory between Daraa's eastern countryside and the western part of the neighbouring province of Sweida.

The army seems to want to split that wedge into a northern and southern section,
Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said, "to facilitate their operations and increase the pressure on rebel factions, allowing it to advance more quickly".
Flashback: Pt.2- Syria MUST Take Back Daara: Washington Faces a Choice

"Militarily speaking, the rebel-held southwest seems unlikely to be a difficult target to capture for the Syrian army, particularly if Russia provides air support for an offensive. Rebel territory can be cut at a few key junctures and then defeated in pieces. The government has also been engaging in talks with rebel-held towns across the southwest to make sure they don’t act when the Syrian military marches south.

The main deterrent to a Syrian military offensive had been the danger that the involvement of Iranian-backed militias would set off Israeli intervention.”
Will Israel Intervene?
"Syrian state news agency SANA also reported the advance, saying army units edged forwards against rebels in Daraa's east.

After securing the capital Damascus, Syrian troops have turned to the country's south, where rebels still hold a majority of the provinces of Daraa and Sweida.

Southern Syria is a particularly strategic zone: it borders both Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, and also lies close to Damascus"

I had read earlier today that there were 'intensive negotiations' taking place
"In an effort to avoid a deadly offensive, international powers are holding talks aimed at reaching a negotiated settlement for Syria's south.
"All sides should seize the opportunity to negotiate a deal for the conditional return of the Syrian state to the south west and avert a military conclusion that, for all sides and the local population, would be a worse outcome," wrote the International Crisis Group think tank last week"
Negotiations were mentioned in the Flashback Pt2 post highlighted above
Syria Must Retake Daraa- It's not an option if Syria is to survive and thrive.

Dangerous Times

UPDATE # 1: Times of Israel 

The Observatory said the warplanes used Saturday — based on type, location, munitions and flight patterns — had come from the Russian-operated Hmeimim base in coastal Syria.

The Golan is also home to thousands of Druze whose relatives live in Sweida, which has remained loyal to Assad.

Steady thud of strikes

“The Russian strikes started around 10:30pm local time (1930 GMT) and stopped after midnight,” said Ibrahim Mohammad, a media activist in the battered rebel town of Busr al-Harir in Daraa.
He said he and other residents had taken to their basements and bomb shelters as soon as they heard the planes, describing a steady thud of bombardment for nearly two hours.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Time Magazine Published Fake "family separation" News. Intentional Disinfo

As a person who sifts through the news tirelessly trying, year after year, to draw some facts out of all the fiction that passes as "news reporting". 
 The retraction (barely) regarding this latest manipulative image and it's accompanying caption has me quite annoyed.  I see manipulative imagery or videos regularly provided by the media to the masses. Pick a destabilization? A 'chemical attack' Staged photo ops- 
I recall in Egypt the colourful bullies on camels beating persons in the crowd-STAGED
I've forgotten  just how much nonsense, presented as fact, has been addressed here regarding Syria. Photos- videos- and more
There's even been fake news out of Israel! (Think it was a knife attack?- staged for the media/ likely a media instigated event) All of these incidents and more, many more,  have been duly recorded here

Nor is it lost on me that TIME retracted or corrected their fake news on Friday-
When no one will notice.

I don't like Trump. So this isn't about Trump. 

 What I despise is the manipulation of the masses by the media- It's is the reason I started this blog and the reason I'm still here more then 10 years later.

Ironically, earlier today, I'd left a comment at Syper's that ended with this observation:

“Perception is the priority. Reality is secondary to managing the mass mind.”

Below is a perfect example of how reality is secondary, while managing your perception is the real priority. 

I saw this image & it's caption everywhere including published in the Globe and Mail

Link
 "U.S. Border Patrol officials said Friday that a girl who is pictured on the cover of this week’s Time magazine was not separated from her mother, despite the poignant image of the child standing alone, weeping.

Time attached a correction to the story, saying “The original version of this story misstated what happened to the girl in the photo after she (was) taken from the scene. The girl was not carried away screaming by U.S. Border Patrol agents; her mother picked her up and the two were taken away together.”
The Time caption says the photo was taken when the girl and her mother were apprehended by Border Patrol officers on June 12 and the mother was being searched “before being sent to a processing center for possible separation.”
PBS
"The two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker seen here crying as her mother is searched and detained near the U.S.-Mexico border was not actually separated from her mother, U.S. government officials said.

Time magazine used an image of the girl, by Getty Images photographer John Moore, on its cover this week, next to a picture of a towering Trump. While Time corrected a story it had written about the photo, its top editor defended the cover."
NBC News
"The Honduran girl whose photo has come to symbolize Trump's family separation policy was not separated from her mother, it turns out.

A photo of a crying Honduran girl used as a symbol of the Trump administration's policy of separating undocumented migrant children from their parents turns out to not be as representative as originally believed."
Yanela's father, Denis Varela Hernandez, came forward late Thursday to tell The Daily Mail that a Honduran official in the U.S. had informed him that the toddler was never separated from her mother except for a brief pat-down and that the two were being held together in a family detention center.
If the father would not have come forward TIME would never have 'corrected' their story

TIME did NOT act responsibly. Either, TIME did not undertake the minimum due diligence 
necessary before publishing this latest report.
1- the degree of care that is to be reasonably expected or that is legally required, esp. of persons giving professional advice
2. an assessing, evaluating, etc. conducted with prudent or necessary care
 Or they intentionally mislead their audience! 

They published a lie. A falsehood. Which is what I think they did! At the blog I do my utmost to verify the information posted here- As a one woman show
TIME has resources I can’t even imagine at their ready!!

In my opinion, this image was published, with the caption chosen specifically for the sole purpose of spreading perception managing disinformation.

From earlier today:

  1. The Continuing Saga of theManbij Military Council & America's Duplicity

Earlier this week: 

  1. Pt.2- Syria MUST Take Back Daara: Washington Faces a Choice

  2. Syria MUST Take Back Daraa

The Continuing Saga of theManbij Military Council & America's Duplicity

Turkish Soldiers Patrolling Near Manbij- Not In Manbij
Daily Sabah Oped

Excerpts with commentary and additional information.
DS: "In a very lackluster manner, the results of the much-anticipated Turkey-U.S. working group meetings, that culminated in talks focused on the issue of Manbij, have begun to tear at the seams. To some this may come as a surprise; while an avid observer of the Syrian file knows this is not at all a surprise"
You can put me in the avid observer category- coming apart at the seams is not at all a surprise!
To leave or not to leave?
DS: "Fast forward to November 2016 and Brett McGurk, the U.S. envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh, was announcing another YPG retreat from Manbij. The conflicting reports are obvious even to a novice observer. Just two months previous to McGurk's statement another international anti-Daesh coalition spokesman was also claiming that the YPG was leaving Manbij. An astute observer would question why the YPG withdrawal from Manbij was being announced more than once?"
 How often has this duplicity been discussed here?  I’ve lost track, but, it’s definitely been covered  going back years and years Including mentions of Brett McGurk as the Lawrence of Kurdistan
“ McGurk’s role in all this somewhat resembles the role of TS Lawrence, or Lawrence of Arabia, 100 years ago. Some see McGurk as a kind of “Lawrence of Kurdistan.”   
DS: “Throughout 2017 the Turkish government was hopeful that the incoming Trump administration would follow through with its campaign promises and reconsider its faulty strategy in Syria – supporting one terror outfit to defeat another. A matter Turkish officials have repeatedly addressed with both the Obama and Trump administrations.

Then in January 2018 Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch continuing to pursue its goal of clearing the border areas from terror groups. In Afrin, the obvious target was the PKK and its Syrian terror affiliates. This time around the situation was a bit different since the international coalition did not have direct access to these locations – at least that was the assumption. In this regard, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag warned in a televised interview that "If we happen to see American soldiers in YPG uniforms, they are a target. Let them not confront us." U.S. troops are known to be travelling in the same convoys, sometimes wearing YPG uniforms, during the U.S.-led international coalition training and support operations in northern Syria.”
 
The one difference on the ground in Syria’s northwest vs the northeast was the proximity of Russian forces to the territory.  Turkey got Russian and undoubtedly Syrian permission to fly over the area.  Americans weren't even going to ask. Americans were undoubtedly embedded with PKK/YPG in Afrin-  but with no ability to fly over the area and bomb everyone, the Americans, Brits, and French forces embedded with the PKK thugs in Afrin... FLED!
That's right. They left. Rather then have a PR disaster on their hands they ran!
From Manbij to Qandil?

DS: Interestingly, on June 6, a pro-Saudi publication Okaz, published an interview with Syrian PKK leader Fehman Hussein, known by his nom de guerre Bahoz Erdal, from the Qandil mountains. The Turkish military is currently engaged in an offensive in northern Iraq moving steadily toward the PKK's mountainous enclave. It was thought that Hussein, born 1969 in northeastern Syria, was killed near Qamishli in the summer of 2016.  (Yet, he was alive and in Qandil!) His interview, conveniently timed with the announcement of a YPG withdrawal from Manbij, clarifies a number of issues. Hussein claims he was in Syria in 2014 for three months on a social visit; offered advice and ammunition to the YPG in fight against Daesh; and warned Turkey of an increasingly violent fighting season this summer. Some of these facts are confirmed and clarified by Talal Sillo, the defected SDF Spokesman, who explained the intricate relationship between the PKK, YPG, and SDF; as well as Hussein's role in relaying orders from the PKK command to the SDF. Hussein's positions as a military commander for the PKK in Syria and his heading of a group known as the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK) as cover for the PKK presence in Syria is well known to security officials since 2012.

Readers here should recall Talal Sillo-  The whistleblower that nearly no one paid any mind to what he was reporting. Even though, he was connecting the US directly to well  known terrorists- Not that his testimony was needed Least not in my opinion. The connections were obvious. 
One would have thought that would have been BIG news in the alternative/empire challenging media- But it wasn’t. Since there really isn’t much alternative empire challenging alternative media save for a few very small bloggers.

  1. Flashback: A Whistle Blows & No One Hears: Where Is The Alternative Media? 

  2. Flashback:SDF defector Spills Still More Beans

  3. Flashback:Talal Silo Spills the Beans "SDF created as cover to arm PKK"

 American Duplicity
DS: "Despite reaching an agreement on a road map for withdrawal and future operations, the fate of Manbij and eastern Syria remains unclear. American forces have numerous bases in northeastern Syria and are the main force protecting the YPG from a Turkish operation similar to that of Operation Olive Branch and Operation Euphrates Shield. Iraqi airstrikes in Syrian territory; Turkish concerns about the YPG taking more territory from Daesh with the U.S. help; ongoing Turkish operations in northern Iraq towards the PKK's historic mountain base, and a shifting geopolitical playing field all complicate the possible scenarios following the Manbij road map meetings.

What is clear, however, is that the United States is unwilling to fulfill its promises of pulling out of Syria, supporting a terror group that threatens a major ally – the second largest military in NATO – and taking much needed steps towards normalizing relations with Turkey.Mattis recently announced that talks would take place in Germany to discuss the implementation of the Manbij withdrawal road map. He described the first phase of the plan as efforts to identify where the Turkish and American military forces are positioned and then possibly conducting joint patrols in the area. Is it possible that they will use these new armored vehicles to transport the YPG fighters out of Manbij? If so, where will they take them? Qandil?

One thing is for sure, the road to clearing the Manbij pocket from terror elements is getting windier day by day"

 The author of the oped is entertaining the idea that even if the PKK exits Manbij, US forces will stay in place and continue on as guarantors of the Kurdish annexation project. The US will move the fighters to Qandil as reinforcements to terrorize Turks/ destabilize Turkey from yet another position. Entirely possible.  The Americans are that duplicitous and allies do come and go. Except for Israel and the UK.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Pt.2- Syria MUST Take Back Daara: Washington Faces a Choice

Follow up to: Syria MUST Take Back Daraa

 Selected excerpts from War on the Rocks
my limited commentary in red

" The United States faces a critical decision in southwestern Syria.  

A Syrian military offensive on the southwest now seems imminent. Clashes broke out on the area’s eastern edge on Tuesday, and the Syrian military bombed rebel-held towns from the air, an unambiguous breach of the de-escalation agreement. Time is short. Still, there may still be a chance for an alternative. In our latest report at the International Crisis Group, Keeping the Calm in Southern Syria, we urge all sides – the de-escalation agreement’s three sponsors as well as, indirectly, Israel and the Syrian government – to broker a deal to prevent a bloody fight for the southwest.

For the Trump administration, that means it has to choose:
  • 1- Will it deal with the southwest on the area’s own terms? (ignoring the civilian rhetoric/ the US does not care at all about civilians) and promoting the interests of Jordan and Israel, two close allies?
  • 2- Or will it fail to engage seriously in negotiations and allow events to take a more brutal course, one that crushes the southwestern opposition, rends the area’s remaining social fabric, and squanders whatever terms and guarantees Washington and its allies might have been able to negotiate in advance?
The sponsors of the de-escalation agreement discussed expanding the size of the buffer area, but higher-level trilateral negotiations faltered late last year. The Amman-based ceasefire monitoring center has continued to meet, but any expansion of the buffer zone and other substantive developments to the de-escalation agreement are the province of trilateral political talks among the United States, Russia, and Jordan. Those talks last convened in November 2017 – and since then, the agreement has been on autopilot.
The southwest is critically important to an ongoing struggle between Israel and Iran over the nature and duration of Iran’s presence in Syria, a regional conflict that has run parallel to the country’s civil war. The intervention of Iran and Hizballah in defense of their Syrian ally has given them a political prominence and military role in Syria with no precedent prior to the 2011 uprising. Israel has become convinced that Iran’s expanded presence risks upsetting the two countries’ tenuous deterrent balance across the region and has declared it will not allow Iran to establish a lasting strategic military presence in Syria. It has outlined a set of “red lines” that, if crossed, would prompt Israeli military action. These red lines include Iranian-backed militias taking up offensive positions in the southwest, opposite the occupied Golan. Israel has attempted to establish its red lines with an escalating series of strikes against what it alleges are Iranian or Iranian-linked targets in Syria. These strikes have recently come dangerously close to escalating into open interstate war.
 The ceasefire and buffer zone established by the de-escalation agreement were meant to serve both Jordanian and Israeli security needs.

America’s Syria Policy and an Endangered De-Escalation

1- The de-escalation agreement was meant to be not just a ceasefire, but also the basis for a more complete, evolving deal in the rebel-held southwest. Yet the Trump administration’s shifting policy has undermined the de-escalation deal, and, since last fall, prevented negotiated progress to advance the agreement.

2- The de-escalation agreement was also meant to be underwritten by an influx of stabilization assistance to support governance and services and restore some normality to the rebel-held southwest, led by the United States and the United Kingdom."
In other words the de-escalation agreement was intended, on the part of the US/UK to create an alternative government to the elected government in Damascus- with an eye to annexing still more Syrian territory.
"Militarily speaking, the rebel-held southwest seems unlikely to be a difficult target to capture for the Syrian army, particularly if Russia provides air support for an offensive. Rebel territory can be cut at a few key junctures and then defeated in pieces. The government has also been engaging in talks with rebel-held towns across the southwest to make sure they don’t act when the Syrian military marches south.

The main deterrent to a Syrian military offensive had been the danger that the involvement of Iranian-backed militias would set off Israeli intervention.

That meant an offensive posed a real danger to Damascus and might have discouraged crucial involvement by Russia, which has invested in its relationships with both Israel and Jordan. Yet Damascus can muster newly mobile Syrian forces, after its victories elsewhere, and energetic Russian diplomacy may have neutralized the risk of Israeli action"

If Russian diplomacy has neutralized the Israeli actions? We shall see.
"According to news reports and Israeli officials who spoke to my organization, Israel and Russia have arrived at a preliminary understanding on the return of the Syrian state to the southwest, conditional on the exclusion of Iranian-backed elements from that area and Israel’s continued freedom to strike inside Syria"
I wonder who has provided this information to Mr Heller's organization? It's unverifiable. We can only know afterwards if this accurate. I would hope Russia wouldn't make that type of a deal with Israel. 
"The U.S. State Department has warned Damascus against violating the de-escalation agreement and repeatedly promised “firm and appropriate measures.” But there is no indication of what that entails, or even if that language is backed by an actual threat. The U.S. government previously told rebels that if the Syrian military attacked, it would “do everything in [its] ability” to preserve the ceasefire – a reassurance that rebels told the International Crisis Group they found ambiguous and underwhelming"

Flashback: U.S. to take 'firm, appropriate measures' against so called Syria violations- Funding Terrorist White Helmets, Again.

"One Chance for a Negotiated Alternative
  The United States has a compelling interest in negotiating a settlement that avoids open war and mitigates the harm to the southwest’s residents and Syria’s neighbors.
 As an interim step, the de-escalation agreement’s sponsors should adopt a Jordanian proposal to shift the agreement’s focus to a “stabilization zone.” Stabilization would mean new steps toward the institutional and economic integration of the rebel southwest into its Syrian government-held surroundings – including trade both cross-line and cross-border through a Nasib crossing returned to Syrian state control – and draw in a broader set of international stakeholders, including Russia. The result would hopefully reassure the Syrian government and Russia that negotiated progress is possible and forestall a military attack.
Many southern rebels will resist any deal. But a negotiated resolution is better than a crushing military defeat at the hands of the Syrian military and the Russian air force, followed by unforgiving, prejudicial surrender deals that rip out large sections of the southwest’s clan-based society and expel southerners to Syria’s rebel-held north. Southern Syrians are better served by a deal that spares pointless bloodshed and preserves their tightly knit social fabric by keeping southern communities intact, preventing social breakdown that encourages crime, radicalism, and recruitment by Iranian-linked elements. Syria’s neighbors are better served, too. So is America.
Syria’s southwest matters. If the United States is going to protect its interests and the interests of its closest regional allies in this corner of Syria’s war, it needs to invest in talks and produce a solution specifically for the southwest – for the southwest’s sake and for America’s."
Can it get any more obvious that the whole concern here is for Israel?

Related: