Saturday, May 11, 2019

Syria: Blow by Blow 4- Hama to Idlib

Following up on the earlier post from today:

Turkey’s S-400 & Iranian oil purchase/EU Idiocy/Hama/Idlib

Blow by blow:

1-Syrian army reaches Idlib border
"The Syrian military forces have liberated five settlements in the northwest of Syria from terrorists on Saturday, reaching the administrative border between the provinces of Idlib and Hama, the Al Mayadeen TV channel informed.

According to the channel, the Syrian fighters had managed to destroy a command center and several warehouses belonging to the Jabhat al-Nusra terror group (outlawed in Russia).

It was informed earlier that Syrian troops had thwarted terrorists’ offensive attacks in the north of Hama province, eliminating more than 40 Jabhat al-Nusra members.

The military operation the Syrian army launched on May 6 is aimed at taking control over a highway connecting Hama and Aleppo and ensuring the safety of settlements in the Sahl al-Ghab valley that militants are shelling on a regular basis."
 I'd mentioned earlier this week it looked possible the Adana agreement was at play...

2- Russian-Syrian forces pound Idlib, Turkey shifts attention to Kurdish positions
"The operation in Idlib remains confined to aggressive aerial bombardment, aimed more at breaking moral of the opposition than ejecting it from the Syrian city. That will be the task of the Turkish Army, through an agreement between Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reached last September.

The Turkish president reverted to his earlier agreement with the Russians, seeking Putin’s support for a limited operation in the Kurdish territories in exchange for cleansing Idlib on Russia’s behalf, both from the Islamic State (ISIS) and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).
In theory, once the city was “clean,” Syrian government forces would be ushered back into Idlib, under the watchful eye of the Russian Air Force, with implicit approval of the Turks. A Russian-led reconciliation process would follow, like those in East Ghouta and Daraa. Until that happens, the Russians will bomb HTS on Erdogan’s behalf, which is what they have been doing since late April.
The two leaders had worked together in the past on similar agreement. In 2016, Erdogan looked the other way as the Russian Air Force pounded his Syrian proxies in Aleppo. In exchange for letting them retake the city in full, the Russians did nothing to prevent the carving of a Turkish-administered “safe zone” along the borderline, free from any Kurdish presence."
Have long suggested to readers here there has been cooperation between Russia and Turkey for some time now..... It sure looked as if there was coordination in many instances.
"Three years ago, the Turks took control of Jarabulus, Azaz and al-Bab and, in mid-2018, marched on Afrin, west of the Euphrates, also within Russia’s sphere of influence.
A similar scenario is in the making, amid Turkish silence over the attacks on the Idlib-Hama axis. Turkish troops at nearby positions have looked the other way as Russian bombs were dropped on Idlib.
Simultaneously, however, Turkish troops advanced on Tell Rifaat in the Aleppo countryside, where, Erdogan claims, thousands of Kurdish fighters fled from Afrin last year"
Go to the May 04 post: Syria: Blow by Blow
It appears Syria and Russia are working one location. As Turkish backed rebels work another. Moving on Idlib? Limited fighting? Something else? Perhaps cooperative? 
In the spirit of Adana? 
"It has been on Erdogan’s hit list since December, along with Kobane and Ras al-Ayn. The last two were problematic, because of a heavy concentration of US troops but Tell Rifaat was accessible, situated within the Russian zone.

The devil, however, lies in the details. For starters, how will the Kurds of Tell Rifaat respond to the Turkish operation? After their defeat in Afrin, they regrouped and rearmed, making Tell Rifaat far more difficult to overrun than Afrin.
Second, will the Americans stand by and watch their Kurdish allies being exterminated (drama) in Tell Rifaat, as they were defeated in Afrin?
Third, what will be the fate of Turkey’s remaining forces in Idlib, known as the National Liberation Front, once through with their operation against HTS? "
I've never been a big believer in the idea that Turkey supports all the factions in Idlib. 
Some, yes. But not all.
"In the past, armed groups who said no to the Russians were shipped off to Idlib but now, with Idlib poised to return to government control, where will the militants go? There are very few pockets left in Syria that are under control of the armed opposition and those that are will refuse to welcome a contingent from HTS and the Islamic State.
Meaning either the Russians will have to come up with another Idlib or defeat them fully in Idlib itself, something that will probably take a very long time and is easier said than done."

Syrian army reaches Idlib border

More:
http://tass.com/world/1057797

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