Tuesday, March 10, 2020

What's the US Prepping For ?: Turkish/Russia Ceasefire Holding - Birth Pangs

The ceasefire looks to be holding, but, I've some concerns about statements made by US Special Representative of Syria James Jeffrey
  It appears to me the US might have some ideas about interfering with this arrangement. 

Pay particular attention to Jeffrey's statements- Bearing in mind he is speaking on behalf of the US administration!

“They are out to get a military victory in Syria and our goal is to make it difficult for them to do that,” Jeffrey said.
“Our goal is…to make them think twice. If they ignore our warnings and preparations and move forward, then we will react as rapidly as possible in consultation with our NATO and European allies on what the package of sanctions and other reactions will be.”
"our goal" Our Goal" "OUR GOAL" Mr Jeffrey is explicitly stating the goal of the US is to cause Syria difficulty. "Our goal is to make them think twice" "If they ignore our warnings and preparations. What is the US warning about? In preparation for what, exactly?
U.S. special representative for Syria James Jeffrey told reporters on March 10 that Turkey had to “clarify” its position on the Russian S-400 missile systems for the U.S-Turkey security ties to advance
After reading a diverse selections of news articles it sure looks as if the ceasefire is holding SO FAR. South Front appears to be the only place claiming otherwise. Which isn't a shocker given the poor quality of their  dis/mis/ information on a near regular basis.

 Turkey, Russia stay committed to ceasefire in Syria’s Idlib — Turkey’s defense ministry
 Turkey and Russia have reiterated commitment to lasting ceasefire in Syria’s Idlib de-escalation zone, Turkey's National Defense Ministry said on Tuesday after telephone talks between the two countries’ defense ministers, Hulusi Akar of Turkey and Sergey Shoigu of Russia.

"Akar and Shoigu exchanged views on the ceasefire in Idlib and on the issues of the return of more than one million refugees. The sides reiterated their commitment to the ceasefire, their liabilities under the agreement [on Idlib], and efforts to maintain peace and stability in the region," the ministry said.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said earlier on Tuesday that the two defense ministers had discussed measures to stabilize the situation in Idlib. "The sides discussed issues of the implementation of the additional protocol to the memorandum on the stabilization of the situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone (signed in Moscow on March 5, 2020)," the ministry said, adding that the conversation was initiated by the Turkish side.
Apparently there were some small incidents but not anything severe enough to call off the ceasefire- That's great news! 

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu confirmed the regime’s minor attempts of violation on Tuesday, ensuring that the incidents were too small to harm the cease-fire.
I guess Turkey's not "looking for any excuse" to begin fighting anew then?
Çavuşoğlu said that in the aforementioned incidents, some regime soldiers, acting individually, were engaging in violent acts such as breaking the windows of houses. However, he said Turkey was informed that as a response to such actions, Russia rigorously warned the Bashar Assad regime.
Cavusoglu isn't pointing a finger at Damascus - regime soldiers acting individually.

SOHR is reporting relative calm- Russian drones fly over Idlib as tense calm continues in “Putin-Erdogan” area
"SOHR sources say that tense calm continues throughout the area of “Putin-Erdogan” as the new ceasefire entered its fifth day in a row."
Meanwhile, opposition factions and regime forces have exchanged fire this morning on Kafr Ta’aal frontline in western Aleppo countryside, with suspension of aerial operations since Thursday evening. Russian drones have occasionally flown over the area.
Yesterday, Observatory sources reported that jihadist factions targeted a military vehicle belonging to regime forces on Al-Ankawi frontline in northwestern countryside of Hama.
Sniping and exchanging fire took place on frontlines between jihadist factions on one side, and regime forces and loyalists on the other.
Activist also told SOHR that regime forces, stationed in western Aleppo countryside, targeted Turkish military vehicle near the 46th regiment in Al-Atareb area with heavy machine guns, aiming at provoking Turkish forces. No casualties have been reported.
Joint Turkish-Russian patrols will also begin on March 15 along the M4 highway from the settlement of Trumba, 2 kilometers (1 mile) to the west of Saraqib, to the settlement of Ain-al-Havr, according to the deal.
In order to discuss the details of the patrols, a Russian delegation is in Turkey today, having meetings with Turkish authorities. According to many pundits, the beginning of the patrols may ensure the security of the region better than the current situations
Turkey's military will patrol to the north of a security corridor being set up around a highway in Idlib, and Russian forces will patrol the southern side, Çavuşoğlu said on the issue.
The foreign minister added that Russia would ensure that Syrian regime forces do not try to enter the corridor along the M4 and that Turkey-back opposition forces would remain in place.
 Turkey to patrol north, Russians south of M4 highway in Idlib: Minister
Turkey’s military will patrol to the north of a security corridor being set up around a highway in northwest Syria’s Idlib province and Russian forces will patrol the southern side, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on March 10.

Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, he recalled that Turkish and Russian military delegations would start negotiations on March 10 on the issue of parameters for the functioning of the security corridor 6 kilometers deep to the north and 6 km deep to the south from the M4 highway in the war-torn country’s last rebel bastion.

Çavuşoğlu said Russia would ensure that Syrian government forces do not try to enter the corridor along the M4 and that Turkey-backed rebels would remain in place.

Besides the talks on the security corridor of the strategic M4 highway, Ankara and Moscow would continue dialogue to set a permanent ceasefire in Idlib, he noted.

“Now we work on to make this cease-fire permanent,” Çavuşoğlu said.
So far, so good. Let's hope the ceasefire sticks. And is not interfered with.
 But, Mr Jeffrey's statements are a cause for concern

And Finally: Israel has "concerns" Syria is making chemical weapons  
According to Yediot Achronot, one of the targets hit in central Syria is believed to have been a chemical-weapons production facility.

If this is indeed the case, the Syrian regime has gone back to its wicked ways and continues to be active in developing chemical weapons, despite past efforts by the international community to disband Damascus’s program, Professor Eyal Zisser, a lecturer in the Middle East History Department at Tel Aviv University, told JNS on Sunday
Could this be a clue  to Jeffrey's preparations?

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