Military Events in Syria and Iraq Thread #4

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Judging by the amount of fighting and number of casualties experienced during this "US occupation", it would seem the Kurds and other local populations want the US there much more than Kosovars want Serbs or Chechens want Russians, but of course since you hold the US to a different standard than Serbia and Russia, it's natural that you would overlook your own hypocrisy.
Where do your numbers come from? There is almost on daily basis information about conflicts between the Arabs and the Kurds. Some dead, wounded, taken as hostages or imprisoned are nothing I would notice or find worth to mention here. The body count there is certainly much greater than in Chechnya today, which is regarding security from terrorism comparable to Europe if not better.

That the Kosovo Albanians, who have with NATO support genocided the Serbians out of Kosovo, want the US protecting them is, btw, obvious, as well as that the Kurds would be no more than the environment of some US base and would have no chance for a separate state, and for genociding the local Arab populations out of the regions with oil, would do everything to get the US support for this. Where you see double standards in comparison with Kosovo is beyond me, both are cases of criminal US wars and US occupation, supporting dubious nationalist movements. International law is in all cases on the side of the state which fights a separatist movement, and against the US, which has started wars of aggression directly to occupy Kosovo, indirectly in Russia by supporting the Chechen jihadists, as well as in Syria, where the US supported Al Qaida and IS, and, after they have lost that war, switched to supporting Kurdish separatists.
The Turks have started their operation against the Kurds.

The US occupants seem to have been withdrawn at least from the critical areas.
The first days consist mainly of artillery and aircraft attacks near the whole border:

But the Turks have also already started to take some villages, with a clear strategic intention: They attack the villages East and West of two important towns, namely Tal Abyad and Ras al Ayn. Both are divided towns, with one part in Turkey, one part in Syria.

Here four villages East of Tal Abyad claimed to be taken by Turks / pro-Turkish gangs:

But there are similar claims also about villages West of Tal Abyad. Similar for Ras al Ayn:

There are claims that it has been essentially already encircled.

An interesting point is that Tal Abyad is essentially an Arab town, Kurds are only a minority there. In other words, Kurds are only occupants here too (as in most of the Southern parts of the SDF-controlled area). This makes it possible to split the Kurdish controlled area into parts along the line to Raqqa, which is, similarly, Arab.
Found two much better maps from Tel Abyad:

as well as Ras al Ayn:


Actually, there are claims that the pro-Turkish forces have established control over the border crossing point at Ras al Ayn and they seem to be inside the town.
Today a key event has happened - the Kurds have made an agreement with the Syrian government, with Russia as the guarantee. The Syrian army has already started to move. They have secured the border line with the pro-Turkish forces West of the Euphrat and secured the key bridge from Manbidsh to the Eastern part. They have also secured Tabka (airbase, town and dam) and is moving toward Raqqa. They have also already taken full control of Hasaka and Quamishly (which were up to now only partially controlled by the Syrian army). Other towns which seem to be already under Syrian control: Mansura, Ain Issa.

Moreover, the SAA is crossing the Euphrat near Deir Ezzor.

The US seems to have decided to leave the Eastern part of the Euphrat immediately, and remains one month more in Al Tanf. France has also decided to leave.
A map from today:

There are claims that the pro-Turkish gangs have started an operation from the North in the direction of Manbidsh. Implausible and dangerous. We will see. The crossing at the Euphrat near Deir Ezzor is nonsense, given that near Deir Ezzor the Syrian army already controls some part of the other side, it means nothing but enforcements, but no particular action.

There are claims of Syrian troops in the outskirts of Kobane, supported by pictures which show nothing one could geolocalize, thus, unclear.
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There are now official (Syrian TV) claims that the Syrian army has entered Manbidsh. There is a story that they were in Manbidsh much earlier, but they have waited until all the US forces left the town before officially declaring that. On the other hand, there is not yet any geo-localizable support for this, and there are sources that deny this.

Whatever, the Syrian army has taken control of the environment of Manbidsh, the US is in the process of leaving or has already left that area.

There have been also first claims that the Syrian army has reached Raqqa.

The attack of the pro-Turkish gangs against Manbidsh has appeared to be mainly fake, there was some shooting at the borderline, that's all. Given that on the Turkish side are not Turkish troops, but only pro-Turkish jihadist gangs, the danger is not that big.

But there was a meeting between the Russian MoD Shoigu and the Turkish MoD, and there was clearly something they had to discuss.

We will see the results of that meeting, together with the real content of the agreements between the Syrian government and the Kurds, during the next days.
it looks like turkey will be the new middle east Muslim super power of the world...
just like in the old days history books of Constantinople
which is all plane sailing for turkey unles syria bomb Turkish civilian population centres.
then what will the UN say ?
will it be called terrorism or self defense ?

will Turkey demand the USA help them fight back ?
i doubt russia will be keen to be seen sharing a cup of tea with either side.

feels all a bit brinkish yet pre-determined

soo when or if depending on how syria retaliates (asymmetrical is most likely)
will turkey be capable of driving their army straight up to the iraq border ?
then what ?
cheap oil deals for them
lucky them.

what happens with the sunni shiite thing ?

who is on turkeys side ?
israel ?
russia ?
usa ?
iraq ?
uae ?

Turkey get to play the colonial blitzkrieg on a country that have no air power or army to respond
all under the guise of preventing terrorism, when it looks like they may be doing 2 things

1 making themselves a bigger target
2 releasing a lot of people who are anti turkey, anti-west and anti christian and anti-moderate muslim.

right into the rabbit warren of Syrian dystopia.

doesn't turkey own or control a lot of global shipping ?
or is that just paper companys

how much will it cost turkey to defend against guerilla warfare with their civilian shipping ?
iran have made it fairly obvious you need some pretty serious hardware to protect ships.

its all so weird im trying to not think about it.

how many cruise ships go through that area ?

whos military protects cruise ships ? no ones ! that's a problem !
RT has got a nice snapshot on the road to Kobani, with some American forces moving out from Kobani meeting a car with a Syrian flag moving toward Kobani. In Raqqa, on the central place there is now a Syrian flag:

All this looks like everything being negotiated between all the participants, with Russia as the central negotiator and guarantor. The actual map looks possibly close to this:


The Syrian army seems to care most about the M4 road. Problems may appear given that the pro-Turkish gangs have been already on the M4. But this looks like what has been negotiated between Turkey and Russia. When the news appeared that the pro-Turkish forces have cut the M4, it was followed by other news that they were taken back again. There is also agreement about Kobane.
The situation around Manbidsh is incorrect on this map, it looks more like everything except Manbidsh itself is under SAA control, in particular, the whole border with the pro-Turkish gangs, and there is not yet geo-localizable confirmation of SAA in Manbidsh.
it looks like turkey will be the new middle east Muslim super power of the world...
just like in the old days history books of Constantinople
which is all plane sailing for turkey unles syria bomb Turkish civilian population centres.
Not at all. Turkey is far from being a super power, even to become a super power among the Muslim countries they would need nuclear weapons (Pakistan, also a Muslim power, has them). There is no reason for Syria to bomb anything on Turkish territory. In fact, all that they are interested in is fighting the pro-Turkish jihadi gangs which occupy some part of the North, but this would not start a war between Syria and Turkey.
then what will the UN say ?
Nobody cares. The UNSC is usually blocked, everything else is irrelevant.
i doubt russia will be keen to be seen sharing a cup of tea with either side.
In case of conflict, Russia will negotiate with both sides, because such a war is not at all in Russian interest.
soo when or if depending on how syria retaliates (asymmetrical is most likely)
Why would they even try to retaliate? Even if Syria has officially protested, it is quite likely that they have accepted the Russian deal with Turkey. Cui bono gives a clear answer here. The actual operation is clearly positive for Syria, mainly because the US occupants leave the country. They will get back large territories without a necessity to fight. Even if they have to leave the safety zone some period of time to Turkey, this is not a big problem. They have yet to do a lot of things on the territories they have gained, and that the Turks will send the refugees into this zone is not a problem for Syria too, it anyway wants most of the refugees back. Actually they care about securing the Northern border, then, after taking back the oil fields, they will have to revive the corresponding infrastructure. Then, they have to finish Idlib. Only after this, they will start to care about that Northern border zone. The Russians will use all this time for negotiations with the local pro-Turkish gangs, trying to make them switch sides.
Turkey get to play the colonial blitzkrieg on a country that have no air power or army to respond
all under the guise of preventing terrorism, when ...
Nonsense. Syria has experienced air power. Then, it has Russian support, and the Russian airpower is much superior to the Turkish one. Erdogan knows this and will not start anything against Syria.
The region around Manbidsh, as well as Manbidsh itself, is now under control of the Syrian army. Syrian TV has reported from an abandoned US base in al-Sa’idi’a.

The following map shows the region around Raqqa, and there seems to be no reason to doubt that the key points marked as controlled by the Syrian army are indeed under Syrian army control, in particular, the whole part West of the Euphrates, the whole region around Tabka, and the way up to Ain Issa:


Why Raqqa itself is missing is not clear, may be there is not much beyond some Syrian flags in Raqqa yet.

The best map about the Northern part is the following:
The Syrian army presence in Manbidj and Raqqa is sufficiently clear now:

What is interesting is that the conditions of the agreement between the Kurds and the Syrian government remain unclear. It looks like essential parts have been left for the future, and Russia has tried hard to make Assad accept what the Kurds have offered. Probably the decisive question was that it is time to go into the area to stop the pro-Turkish gangs to gain too much.

A quite interesting map appears to be the map where most of the Kurds have lived before the war:

It follows that up to now all the fighting by the pro-Turkish gangs as well as all that the Syrian army has taken control over are essentially Arab territories.
The Syrian army has now entered Kobane.

Essentially, the people were waiting for this already the whole day (inclusive many reporters), so there were a lot of negotiations and resulting delays behind this. It is quite clear that they had to wait until all the US occupants have left the whole region. Whatever, the Syrian army is now in control of the part of the border around Kobane too (the Syrian army has been at the entry already during the day but did not enter, but they have plausibly already started to take control of the border.

The interesting and dangerous part in this area will start later when the Syrian army moves from Kobane toward the East until they meet the pro-Turkish gangs, or, possibly, the Turkish army.

There is information about fighting between the Syrian army and the pro-Turkish gangs along the M4 West of Tal Tamer. I don't think this is very dangerous, given that there will be some agreement between Russia and the Turks behind it, and part of this agreement will be the line the pro-Turkish gangs will be allowed to reach. One can reasonably guess that Russia insisted on the M4 being controlled by the Syrian army. One cannot expect the pro-Turkish gangs to follow everything Erdogan tells, but if they don't, they are fair game for the Syrian army, and the Turkish army will not care about this.

The SDF fights now much better, they have retaken Ras al Ain together with some nearby village. This is quite plausible, given that they have now a real chance to win (all they have to do is to defend their gains until the Syrian army arrives).
The Syrian army seems to have used the night to take into control as much as possible from the region around Kobane, as suggested by the following map:

This is, essentially, the whole Western Kurdish enclave which is now under Syrian army control. The forces coming from the South, through Ayn Issa, seem to have expanded in Northwestern direction. The author of the arrows seems to think differently, namely that these places have been reached coming from the West along the M4. Both ideas make sense, it is clear that establishing as much control of the M4 as possible is high priority for the Syrian army. That the Tishrin dam is under Syrian control is important too.

On the Eastern side of the Turkish operation the picture looks like this:

Ras al Ain seems to be encircled and heavily attacked, moreover, the pro-Turkish gangs attack the remaining Kurdish-controlled parts of the road to Ras al Ain. It looks like the Syrian army cared about further extension toward the West along the M4.
The result of the meeting of Putin and Erdogan in Sochi was a stop of the Turkish military operation leaving the following situation:


In particular, the M4 road will be completely under Syrian control:

AFAIU this part of the agreement has been already realized, with the Syrian army having taken actual control of the whole M4. Along the Syrian-controlled parts of the border with Turkey, there will be patrols of the Turks together with Russian military police into a depth of 10 km.

The Kurdish forces have to leave the region of 30 km of the Turkish border. This is interesting, and nice for Assad too, given that the main Kurdish population lives inside those 30 km. So, they have to leave the regions where they want to stay to protect their people. But Assad has a simple offer, namely to integrate some of the Kurdish forces into the Syrian army. Then, as no longer being SDF but SAA, the Turks cannot object against them being there. This will increase the speed of this integration.

Syria has now full control of another way to Iraq. Which will, of course, also improve the possibility to connect with Iran. So, the main point of the US occupation of Al Tanf - to prevent such communications - becomes invalid too.

Turkey gets a sufficiently large Arab-populated territory to transfer the Syrian emigrants.

Regarding the remaining US-occupied territories, it looks like the Syrian army will wait if the US withdraws, and advance only peacefully, avoiding any conflict with the US. One has to expect a lot of problems with this, and one variant would be that the US will not give away the control of the main oil fields, making the criminal character of the US even more obvious to the world. The Syrian army will, instead, care first about the liberation of Idlib.
An actual map:


So, the Turkish-Russian agreement seems to work.

The US is actually realizing their plan to occupy the oil fields and even transferred some of the soldiers back from Iraq to bases in the Syrian oil fields. They also try to turn the SDF against any further cooperation with Assad and the Russians, offering them some of the income from stolen oil.
The Syrian army seems to have started a new offensive against the terrorists in Idlib. They liberated some villages in the South-Eastern part of Idlib:

Russian commenters think that this is not yet the main attack direction, but simply attacking the weakest point in the defense and see what happens.

The start of such an offensive was already expected by many observers. The pro-Turkish gangs are yet fighting (even if not with full power) against the Kurds, so that there may be not much support for Idlib coming from them. There have been visits near the front line by top politicians inclusive Assad, which is a good marker for an offensive in the near time, and the airforce has worked a lot during the last time in Idlib.

From a logical point of view, it is natural for Assad to remain completely peaceful East of the Euphrates, and simply to take what can be taken, and to negotiate a lot with all the local forces. To take control over the whole border as well as over the main roads takes some time, the North-Eastern corner of Syria has been taken under SAA control only today. The US has left now an airport in the Kobane area, which has been taken now by Russian helicopters. So, this process goes quite slowly. There are other things which need time, for example, negotiations with SDF, together with attempts to motivate parts of the SDF to switch sides and join the SAA even without SDF approval. One should not forget that the SDF is now at least officially out of the main areas where the Kurdish population lives, and all the territory where they are allowed to be now are essentially Arab territories.

On the other hand, there is Idlib, controlled essentially by Hatesh (Al Qaida). Clearing Idlib of terrorists is certainly what has to be done first, before starting anything else to liberate the remaining US-occupied territories.
While there are some claims that the operation in Idlib is continuing, there have been not much news about it, and it is quite possible that the expected greater operation has not yet started.

The more interesting news came from the Northern part, where the pro-Turkish gangs have made a lot of attacks near Tel Tamer during the last days. But then this was answered by a counteroffensive, coordinated by the Syrian army and SDF, which gave the following results:


After it became clear that this will not stop itself, there have been some negotiations and an agreement, with the following results:

So, the Syrian army gets the access to the relevant roads, in particular to the M4 highway. The SDF has to leave the area, and, in particular, has to stay awary from the M4 highway at least 1 km.
Some fighting between pro-Turkish gangs against SAA together with the Kurds continues. But there is no information about any advances. The attacks comes from the pro-Turkish gangs, but the Turks seem to remain inside the region where they are allowed to by the recent agreements, so that the gangs going beyond that are fair game for the Syrian army without risking any conflicts with the Turkish army.

The attacks of the Syrian army in the South-East of Idlib have nonetheless continued during the last days. There has been some sort of see-saw, with the Syrian army taking a villige, Hatesh (Al Qaida) starting a counterattack before the SAA has been able to build up defenses so that they were leaving the village. only to attack and retake it the next day. The next counterattack they were already able to withstand, they are waiting for the next counterattack in the evening. Yesterday two other villages and a hill have been taken. So, there is some medium level fighting with some advances and Hatesh having to send some reinforcements. But there remains the belief that the main operation has not yet started.
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