Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Idlib Agreement: A few more details

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The Latest: Details released of agreement on Syria's Idlib

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on the disappearance of a Russian military aircraft over the Mediterranean and other issues related to Syria (all times local):
11:45 a.m.
A pro-government Syrian newspaper says the agreement reached between Russia and Turkey over the northwestern rebel-held Syrian province of Idlib envisions three stages in returning Damascus government institutions to the area.
The daily Al-Watan reported on Tuesday that the agreement struck in Sochi the day before also calls for the establishing of a demilitarized zone along all the front line in Idlib by Oct. 15.
The rebels are to hand over their heavy weapons under the supervision of Russia and Turkey by Nov. 10.
The paper says the third phase will see government institutions return to the rebel-held region after militants withdraw from residential areas.
The agreement between the leaders of Russia and Turkey on Monday is thought to have averted an all-out offensive by government forces to retake the last remaining rebel stronghold in Idlib.
Additional Reading at Fars

Monday, September 17, 2018

No Idlib Offensive- Russia & Turkey Agree Joint Patrols & Demilitarized Zone

 UPDATED HERE WITH INFO I'D SEEN PRIOR TO THIS NEWS BREAKING:

Putin talking to Erdogan ahead of his meeting: 
"Our relations are developing dynamically and positively. It can be said about our trade and economic ties, which are growing rapidly. It can be said about our security cooperation, especially within the region, on the international arena in a broad sense of the word," he said. "There are a lot of problems, some of them being very difficult. I am glad to see you not only to exchange views on the entire range of problems but also to try to find solutions where there are none as of yet."
 Putin clearly stating that on several fronts Turkey and Russian relations were growing dynamically and positively. On some fronts they had problems that they were trying to work out.

This story has since been updated and the statement below is gone now- No matter I'd saved the quote :

 Find it in the comments section here: PennySeptember 17, 2018 at 9:39 AM
“The statement which we will make after the meeting in Sochi will contain new hope for the region,” Erdogan said through an interpreter. He gave no indication of what would be in the statement. 
 Which I found interesting and indicative that a deal had previously been worked out between the Astana partners. Pay attention to that fact that Erdogan is talking about a solution for the region.

Earliest reporting that I've seen so far:

Russia and Turkey will create a buffer zone of 15-20 kilometres wide between rebels and Syrian government forces by 15 of October

Erdogan & Putin in Sochi September 17/18


 Recall my reporting of this possibility in this previous post?

In yesterday's post I'd entertained the idea that there was a deal in place:

"Russia said on Monday that there will be no new military operation against Syria's Idlib by the Syrian government forces and their allies after president Vladimir Putin met with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The two leaders, who back opposing sides in Syria’s seven-year war, came together in an ad hoc meeting in the Russian resort city of Sochi as tensions over the fate of rebel-held Idlib province ratchet up.
They have signed a memorandum on the stabilisation of Syria's Idlib city to prevent an offensive by the Syrian government forces that would lead to scores of casualties of civilians.
The Syrian government, backed by Russian air power, appeared recently to be poised to stage an assault on the last major opposition bastion, which is also home to thousands of hardline militants.
Putin said that they agreed with Turkey to create a demilitarised zone of 15-20 kilometres wide between rebels and Syrian government forces by 15 of October.
Russian and Turkish forces will patrol the demilitarised zone.
Radical rebel groups, including Al-Nusra Front, will withdraw from the zone, and heavy weapons held by Syrian rebels in Idlib city should be handed over by October 10.
This approach, Putin said, is supported by the Syrian government of Bashar Al-Assad.
Translation: Our wish in Turkey and Russia is to solve the Syrian crisis according to the UN Security Council resolution 2254. We will keep our cooperation to achieve this goal.

Turkey's president Erdogan said that his country will carry out coordinated patrols in the demilitarised zone in Idlib with the Russians. 
He said that the biggest threat to Turkey is the Kurdish movement of People's Protection Units (YPG) rather than Idlib. Turkey considers the YPG as a terrorist organisation.

Yielding results

Erdogan and Putin met 10 days ago in Tehran alongside Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, where the Turkish leader publicly called for a ceasefire.
The situation in Idlib has been calm for three days. It looks like we obtained a result with the efforts which were made
- President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish daily Hurriyet on Monday quoted Erdogan as saying he believed his words in the Iranian capital had had a positive effect.
"The situation in Idlib has been calm for three days. It looks like we obtained a result with the efforts which were made," the newspaper quoted the president as telling reporters on a flight back from Azerbaijan at the weekend. "But we are still not satisfied.”
 "Let's all take steps, measures together against the terror groups among the opposition in Idlib," Erdogan said according to Hurriyet. "But let's not create an excuse and take a step like bombing there."

Sunday, September 16, 2018

“Syria’s rebel Idlib prepares for a losing battle”: Idlib Deal Ahead of Operation?

⟱ Important Update below

Interesting news article at PBS- Syria's Rebel Idlib Prepares for  A Losing Battle

I’m opting to leave out the spin and that which is rubbish in my opinion and go for as factual an accounting as can be extracted from the 5 eyes media.
“A wide offensive is only likely after a green light from Russia. But delicate diplomatic moves are at work. Moscow is keen on strengthening ties with Turkey, at a time when Ankara’s relations are at their lowest with the United States. Turkey, by calling on the United States and Europe for support, seems to be playing on that interest to pressure Russia to accept its proposals for a solution on Idlib that avoids an attack.”
On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets for the second time in 10 days with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, this time in Sochi, Russia.
As reported the other day:
“After proving its influence in Syria and the Middle East, Russia wants to pull Turkey away from the West much more than achieve a military victory over the armed Syrian opposition,” Mustafa Ellabbad, an expert on Turkish-Arab relations, wrote in Kuwait’s al-Qabas newspaper.
I think Russia wants a "victory" however that's defined and yes, also good relations with Turkey. - Why not, they share the same 'hood.

The province, the size of Lebanon, has been the beating heart of the rebellion for years. In rebel hands since 2015, it is the largest contiguous territory they controlled.

Russia and Syria moved fighters and others aplenty to Idlib
The Turkish reinforcements are  going to 12 observation points that Ankara set up around Idlib last year under a deal with Russia and Iran creating a “de-escalation zone.”

I’ve mentioned all the outposts, Iranian and Russian, not just the 12 Turkish ones, in two separate posts- PBS claims that reinforcements are going to the observation posts- The outposts have been manned since last year.
The posts were discussed twice last month. Here and here.

Outposts, again.
If Syrian forces retake Idlib with no agreement on the fate of the opposition fighters, they could threaten the Turkey-controlled enclave, and Ankara would lose credibility with the fighters and leverage with Damascus on any future deal.

“There is really no way for the Syrian military and Damascus’ allies to launch a military offensive on Idlib that doesn’t have deeply negative, injurious effects on Turkey. There is no real way they can cushion this for Turkey,” said Sam Heller, a Syria expert in the Brussels-based International Crisis Group.
Is there no way that Russia and Syria can cushion this operation for Turkey? I think it's possible by undertaking a more controlled, measured operation in Idlib -  And have mentioned repeatedly the advantages to all parties in doing this. Save for the US and their proxies.

Turkey’s strategy in the opposition areas has been complicated by the presence of radical fighters. By backing the National Front, it argued it can draw fighters away from the al-Qaida-linked HTS, the dominant power in the province, forcing it to dissolve and creating a new opposition force ready to negotiate with the Syrian government.

The strategy has had limited success.
The National Front in recent months gained control of territory in Idlib from HTS, which still controls nearly 70 percent of the province. HTS began to show signs of splits and two weeks ago, Turkey declared it a terrorist group.
As reported here at the blog- probably two weeks ago or nearly so.

September 04/18: Turkey Green Lights Syria/Russian Idlib Op - Hayat Tarir Al Sham Designated A Terror Group

"But with the onset of a military offensive, HTS has set up joint operation rooms with different National Front factions.

The HTS spokesman in Idlib said now was not the time to talk about dissolving into Turkish-backed rebel groups. He underlined that an arrangement must eventually be made for the foreign fighters in the group"
Recall my mentioning that HTS was no friend to Turkey?- Hence the lack of cooperation.
Hence the inability for Turkey to get them to dissolve into the Turkish backed rebels- Since HTS is beholden to different masters (US/UK/Israel) Turkey was destined to fail in resolving this problem.


"Syrian forces and Iranian-backed militias are likely to avoid a clash with the Turkish troops"
 No advantage to fighting with them. And as my hubby just stated it's possible this was always the end gameAs in Turkey, Russia, Iran and Syria had an Idlib plan all ready to go.

That's why I love that guy :)
“Assad and Russia gave the choice to the international community: First we kill everybody. Second thing, (they said) if you want to protect (Idlib) then take those people you think are nice … It is cynical but puts the international community before its contradictions,” said Balanche.
Repeating:

Second thing, (they said) if you want to protect (Idlib) then take those people you think are nice … It is cynical but puts the international community before its contradictions,” said Balanche.

I like the idea of putting the international community before (in front of) it’s contradictions.
It’s very just. It’s in fact an ideal concept- Oh, you don’t want these “nice” people. ??

Oh, dear, the nice people as is claimed are not so nice. Perfect.

The international community gets it's just deserts

I've been talking this topic up at Nomadic Everyman 
Including the fact that no humanitarian corridors had been set up prior to the alleged start of Idlib operation that was supposed to have occurred over a week ago- Russia didn't blink. Turkey didn't impede it. No one did. The operation wasn't ready to go. 
Additionally:

Consider the fact that humanitarian corridors had not been established tells us there was no operation ready to go.
Considering humanitarian corridors precede the military operations- as a rule in Syria.

take care Scott!
Ziad at Syper has also reported today- September 16/2018
THE GREAT EXODUS:  Uighers, Uzbekis, Chechens, Daghestaanis and a few Albanians are heading north with their families to the Turk border to avoid what they know to be the inevitable push to exterminate them.  They are moving their families out of harm’s way.  The actual number is not known, but, the Turks are allowing them in as long as they leave the country permanently.
Another wave of emigration is also taking place, except, this one is heading south to the areas controlled by the SAA.  These are the actual citizens of Idlib who want nothing to do with the terrorists who are planning their own Masada in Idlib.  Some are successfully using the Russian humanitarian corridors to escape despite repeated threats of retaliation from the terrorist grubs.
Humanitarian corridors may now be in place as Lavrov said they would be:

September 14th post: Russia and Turkey working out humanitarian corridors
Russian foreign minister says talks are underway between Turkish and Russian officials on Syria’s Idlib
A humanitarian corridor will be created in Syria’s Idlib to prevent civilian casualties, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday.
🙋Russia, Iran, Turkey and Syria might just have played this very smart
We'll know more tomorrow - Let's hope the US doesn't get any dangerous ideas?

 ⟹UPDATE Begins

Turkey and Russia agreed on the fate of Idlib..

Columnist Nedret Ersanel wrote to pro-government Yeni Şafak daily.

"The political pressure of the West couldn't spoil the Astana peace talks," Ersenal noted, "that's why all the discussion are held within the framework of the alliance." 
According to Ersanal, Russian airstrikes in Idlib do not serve a disagreement between Russia and Turkey; instead, airstrikes represent Russia's support for Turkey and "reminders of the tight schedule" to solve Idlib problem.

 Right after the diplomatic contacts between Germany-France-Turkey-Russia delegation on Friday, the Kremlin announced that there would be an Erdogan-Putin meeting on Sept. 17, only ten days after Tehran Summit!- is an evidence of proceeding to a different phase about Idlib.

"It seems that the 'design' and 'mechanisms' of what will be done in Idlib is arranged," Ersanel added"
It's looking as if what ever the Astana 3 have planned for this stage of settling up Idlib is arranged. This goes back to hubby's idea of a plan already in place for Idlib, which is why terrorists were moved there. All spin aside.
 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Syria Thwarts New Batch of Israeli Missiles Heading for Damascus Airport

Breaking...

RT
Syrian Army air defenses have intercepted several “Israeli missiles” over Damascus International Airport, state news agency SANA reported, citing a military source.
“Our air defense systems thwarted an Israeli missile aggression,” the source said. A SANA reporter meanwhile reported sounds of explosions in the vicinity of the airport.
Sputnik 
Syrian air defenses downed several projectiles fired by Israel near Damascus airport on Saturday night, Syrian state media reported.
"Our air defences responded to an Israeli missile attack on Damascus international airport and shot down a number of hostile missiles," Syrian state news agency SANA cited a military source as saying, which gave no immediate report of casualties or

Several powerful explosions occurred in Damascus at 9:50 p.m. (6:50 GMT) on Saturday.

damage.
According to AFP, this month Israel acknowledged having carried out over 200 strikes inside Syria over the past 18 months, mainly against Iranian targets. Syrian state media last reported Israeli strikes on September 4, when it said its air defenses downed several missiles in the coastal province of Tartus and in central Hama.

SANA: Damascus International Airport............???




A military source said that the Syrian air defenses confronted an Israeli missile attack on Damascus International Airport, shooting down a number of enemy missiles.
Earlier, SANA’s correspondent reported that explosions were heard in the surroundings of Damascus International Airport.

On Youtube- which is really interesting because there were 'rumours' that youtube had removed all Syrian information from youtube- Apparently not?

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cHovv_6fh8

Friday, September 14, 2018

Russia & Turkey Working Out Humanitarian Corridor for Idlib- Updated!

➨  No major offensive planned for Idlib: Lavrov
Russia-backed regime forces have massed around Idlib in recent weeks, sparking fears of an imminent air and ground attack to retake the last major opposition bastion.

“What is being presented at the moment as the beginning of a Russian-backed offensive by Syrian forces is not a faithful representation of the facts,” said Lavrov during a German-Russian forum in Berlin.

“Syrian forces and we ourselves are simply reacting to the attacks coming from the zone of Idlib,” he argued.

Curious? Where will the terror crowd be moving to in this scenario?
I'm expecting the Astana 3 will be cooperating on the Idlib plan. It sure seems they have been cooperating so far.
AA

Russian foreign minister says talks are underway between Turkish and Russian officials on Syria’s Idlib
A humanitarian corridor will be created in Syria’s Idlib to prevent civilian casualties, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday.
Addressing a meeting of the German-Russian Forum in Berlin, Lavrov promised that they would take measures to prevent civilian casualties in the area.
"Whatever we do we will try to keep in mind the issues and the interests of civilians in that area… a humanitarian corridor will be created in Idlib, just as we did in Homs and East Ghouta," he said.
"We will not act in the way the U.S.-led coalition acted in Mosul or in Raqqa when there were no negotiations about local cease-fires with opposition groups," he added.
Lavrov said currently, talks were underway between Turkish and Russian officials on the situation in Idlib, the last opposition stronghold in Syria.
"And next week the two presidents will be looking at the situation," he said.
As mentioned earlier:

Erdogan & Putin To Discuss Syria in Sochi- Monday Sept.17/18


Erdogan & Putin To Discuss Syria in Sochi- Monday Sept.17/18

Link
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in the Russian resort city of Sochi on Monday, Turkish official said Friday.
Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a televised press conference in Pakistani capital Islamabad on Friday that the two presidents will discuss the situation in Syria's Idlib.
"Turkey is working to reach a cease-fire in Idlib," he said. "We will continue our efforts with Iran and Russia ... We will continue our efforts on international platforms as well."
Erdogan met with the leaders of Iran and Russia last week in Tehran to hold a summit on Syria crisis amid rising international concern over a looming Syrian government's offensive in the rebel-held Idlib province.

Related to:

 also

Escalation ties right into Nikky Haley's statement. Good thing Trump's been presented as so very deranged. Or as I like to think of his presidency - being the right actor for an ever bigger war theatre.

Flashback: Wednesday, January 18, 2017- Trump's Presidency: A Dangerous Deception 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Nikki Haley Threatens US Strikes Over Any Attack On Idlib- Updated!

 ➱ U.S. Tells Russia and Iran Not to Attack in Syria, Conducts Major Military Drills in Syria around Al Tanf
 The U.S. military has conducted rare, large-scale exercises with allied Syrian rebels at a time when Washington was urging Russia and Iran to restrain their ally from pursuing a major operation against an Islamist-led insurgency elsewhere in the country.
Colonel Muhanad al-Talaa, commander of the Pentagon-sponsored Maghawir al-Thawra rebel group, told Reuters on Thursday that his forces had just completed the first training of its kind with the U.S. military, which oversaw saw hundreds of insurgents and U.S. troops participate in eight days of simulated assaults from land and air. He said the drills "have a big importance and have beefed up the defenses of the area and raised the combat capabilities and morale and that of civilians" in the U.S.-controlled deconfliction zone around Al-Tanf in southern Syria.
Talaa warned that the rebels "are staying whether the Russians or Iranians want or not." If Iranian or Iran-backed militias operating in support of Assad approached the restricted area, "there is a big likelihood they will be hit" by U.S. airstrikes, he added.
While a cautious calm surrounded Idlib on Thursday as Turkey tried to stave off an anticipated Syrian military assault, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova criticized U.S. threats against Assad and his government, noting the drills in the Al-Tanf, where the U.S. was "illegally located in the territory of Syria."

"We see in the event surrounding Syria an attempt by the Americans to work out a new mechanism for ensuring their own world domination. The essence is to create a shock coalition of the leading Western powers in order to demonstrate the strength and attitude to provide a military solution to the problems that arise in this or that part of the world," Zakharova told journalists at a press briefing, noting that such a move undermined the U.N. charter.
"In our deep conviction, this approach, capable of putting the world on the brink of a precipice, is a dangerous challenge not only for Syria. It must be confronted in the most determined manner, combining the efforts of all sensible members of the international community," she added.

Wow. 



Washington and its allies have also warned Syria that they will act not just in case of chemical weapons being used, but against any attack on the province, the US envoy to the UN said.
“Any offensive on the civilian people in Idlib was going to be dealt with,” Haley told Fox News’ Bret Baier.
As has been repeatedly stated here- The US/French/Israeli Kurdish proxies are the biggest beneficiaries of any attack on Idlib- They are waiting for the opportunity. This is why there has been no moves made on Idlib by the SAA and Russia.  

You can watch her making this very statement in the video below- Start at around 2:00 minutes in.She states the 'sternest warning' came down from most members of the Security Council
This explains all the hype today about the operation for Idlib being set to go.
 


I've written so much about Idlib this last little while- I'm not sure what else to say? At least for today! I'll just relink the previous posts which go back into August: