Syria

U.S. to end air war against Islamic State in Syria | Reuters
It's pretty much a done deal now. The US is pulling out of Syria, stopping air ops against IS in accordance with UNSC Resolution 2249. Trump says it is to fulfil his 2016 campaign pledge. Whether France, Germany and the UK can step up somewhat (they don't have the forces to do it entirely) or whether they too will withdraw, remains to be seen:
Trump defended his decision on Thursday, tweeting that he was fulfilling a promise from his 2016 presidential campaign to leave Syria. The United States was doing the work of other countries, including Russia and Iran, with little in return and it was “time for others to finally fight,” he wrote.

U.S. officials said Trump’s order to withdraw troops also signifies an end to the U.S. air campaign against Islamic State in Syria, which has been critical to rolling back the militants there and in neighbouring Iraq, with more than 100,000 bombs and missiles fired at targets in the two countries since 2015.

The SDF, supported by about 2,000 U.S. troops, are in the final stages of a campaign to recapture areas seized by the militants.
France obviously has reasons to stay, not least beause UNSC Resolution 2249 was theirs:
France’s Europe Minister Nathalie Loiseau said: “For now, of course we are staying in Syria because the fight against Islamic State is essential.”
the rest of the article goes on about previous points already raised.

Russia's Putin agrees with Trump that Islamic State defeated in Syria | Reuters
Vlad agrees IS are defeated (much like Assad said they were in November 2017). So far they've seen no signs of a US withdrawal:
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that he largely agreed with U.S. President Donald Trump that Islamic State had been defeated, but added that he was sceptical whether the United States would withdraw fully from Syria.

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Putin said Moscow had not noted any signs of a U.S. withdrawal, and that the United States had many times said it was leaving Afghanistan, but still retained a presence there.
U.S. representative for Syria cancels U.N. meetings - U.S. officials | Reuters
The US special representative for Syria has also cancelled his meeting at the UN:
The United States’ special representative for Syria has cancelled his planned meetings at the United Nations on Thursday to discuss the Syria peace process, U.S. officials said.

It was not clear who Jim Jeffrey had been scheduled to meet. The U.N.’s envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, was set to brief the U.N. Security Council on Syria’s peace process later on Thursday.
 
the Kurds, a group of people who have had promises broken to them for decades by the West/NATO and may be about to suffer yet another betrayal. It seems a cheap coffee counts for more than a Kurdish life!
To be 'fair' it appears they're being betrayed for a multi-million dollar Patriot missile contract, but essentially yes the Kurds are people who pretty collectively we don't think count,
 
I'm going to add a very rambly post. :)
I've been having a look at various posts on a selection of forums today.

It's very clear that many UK based posters are massively upset at the goings on with Brexit and are outraged that their kids may need to spend 30 minutes getting their travel arrangements sorted to visit Europe in the future, or are worried that the lack of free travel will mean that their is no migrant from Europe on minimum wage to serve them their coffee in Starbucks.
I don't see even one post from these people even mentioning the Kurds, a group of people who have had promises broken to them for decades by the West/NATO and may be about to suffer yet another betrayal. It seems a cheap coffee counts for more than a Kurdish life!

Next ramble.
Avoiding being accused of invoking Godwin's law, I can't help seeing that more and more that President Trump is acting like he is a 'clever chap' with the answers to make his country strong, while not only annoying his neighbours but making some incredibly dumb strategic choices for his military or allies.
I know that is nothing new, but perhaps he is stepping up to a new level of stupid.

Ramble/rant over :)
As one of those ranty UK based posters, that is a tad harsh, as some of us are perfectly aware of what else is going on in the world. I would say to redirect fire onto the media, as its them who have wiped the story off the news, since the fall of the rebel positions in the south.

The Kurds is a tough one to resolve, as they are landlocked and surrounded by enemies. The only solution is unacceptable to all the regional players and its not the colonial era anymore, where we can dictate borders.

On your second ramble; Surely, one lesson learned from Iraq and afghan, was not to overstay our welcome, as we then become part of the problem, for someone in that region to exploit and use as a convenient scapegoat to keep the war chugging along.
 
U.S. to end air war against Islamic State in Syria | Reuters
It's pretty much a done deal now. The US is pulling out of Syria, stopping air ops against IS in accordance with UNSC Resolution 2249. Trump says it is to fulfil his 2016 campaign pledge. Whether France, Germany and the UK can step up somewhat (they don't have the forces to do it entirely) or whether they too will withdraw, remains to be seen:

France obviously has reasons to stay, not least beause UNSC Resolution 2249 was theirs:


the rest of the article goes on about previous points already raised.

Russia's Putin agrees with Trump that Islamic State defeated in Syria | Reuters
Vlad agrees IS are defeated (much like Assad said they were in November 2017). So far they've seen no signs of a US withdrawal:

U.S. representative for Syria cancels U.N. meetings - U.S. officials | Reuters
The US special representative for Syria has also cancelled his meeting at the UN:
And Mattis gone as well

 
Turkey bolsters military on Syrian border as U.S. readies pull out: media | Reuters
Looks like there’s going to be a race for Manbij with Erdogan itching now Trump has said the US are pulling out. Erdogan reportedly postponed his Op after the announcement of troop withdrawals, but he’s lining up his first objective:
Turkey is sending reinforcements to its border with Syria, Demiroren News Agency (DHA) reported on Sunday, adding that some 100 vehicles including mounted pickup trucks and weaponry had made their way to the area.

The heightened military activity comes days after President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would postpone a planned military operation on Kurdish YPG militia east of the Euphrates river in northern Syria following the United States’ decision to withdraw from Syria.
E2A: Trump talks to Turkey leader about 'slow' Syria troop withdrawal | Reuters
Trump and Erdogan have spoken. The withdrawal will be ‘slow and highly coordinated’. They discussed IS (thought they were ‘defeated’?), their mutual involvement in Syria (I don’t recall a great deal of that, a couple of airstikes during Euphrates Shield from memory), and after ‘many years they’re coming home (four since 2014). Mention is also made of ‘highly expanded trade talks:
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday he spoke with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan about “a slow and highly coordinated” withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, a decision that sparked criticism from U.S. lawmakers, including fellow Republicans.

“We discussed ISIS, our mutual involvement in Syria, and the slow and highly coordinated pullout of U.S. troops from the area,” Trump said in a tweet. “After many years they are coming home.”

Trump said he and Erdogan also discussed “heavily expanded” trade between the United States and Turkey, after the two NATO allies’ relationship went into a tailspin over the summer.
 
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Turkey bolsters military on Syrian border as U.S. readies pull out: media | Reuters
Looks like there’s going to be a race for Manbij with Erdogan itching now Trump has said the US are pulling out. Erdogan reportedly postponed his Op after the announcement of troop withdrawals, but he’s lining up his first objective:


E2A: Trump talks to Turkey leader about 'slow' Syria troop withdrawal | Reuters
Trump and Erdogan have spoken. The withdrawal will be ‘slow and highly coordinated’. They discussed IS (thought they were ‘defeated’?), their mutual involvement in Syria (I don’t recall a great deal of that, a couple of airstikes during Euphrates Shield from memory), and after ‘many years they’re coming home (four since 2014). Mention is also made of ‘highly expanded trade talks:
Could Trump be playing a blinder and trying to draw Turkey into a war with Russia?
 
Could Trump be playing a blinder and trying to draw Turkey into a war with Russia?
I’m not sure that’d be a ‘blinder’ personally as Turkey is in NATO. On the face of it, it looks like he’s doing what Erdogan wants, which is having a Turkish zone on the border with Syria. They’ve been going on about Manbij for ages, since Euphrates Shield.

As for ‘replacing’ what the US do as part of the coalition against IS in accordance with UNSC Resolution 2249, highly unlikely. They’re not interested in supporting the SDF as on or around 50% of that force is YPG who Turkey considers a terrorist organisation due to its links with PKK which pretty much everyone agrees is a terrorist organisation.

The more important questions are how far Turkey will move into SDF controlled Syria? Will they be happy with just control of border areas? Or take the entire area east of the Euphrates or somewhere in between? Also, what happens to the other coalition forces currently supporting the SDF? Obviously, they won’t fight against Tr sponsored FSA, but will they get enough notice of an attack to pull back?

All while IS continue to exist in Iraq and Syria and the conditions for their demise aren’t there yet. Interesting times ......

If Putin/Assad want to have a go at Turkey in Syria, that’s easy enough to do. Just attack Idlib and ignore the protests from Ankara. How Assad reacts to how far the Turks enter is also a factor. He wants his whole country back.
 
Turkish coordination with U.S. in Syria not limited to military coordination: Erdogan spokesman | Reuters
Do they read Arrse?
Coordination between Turkey and the United States in Syria is not limited to military coordination, President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said on Monday.

U.S. troops are preparing for withdrawal following Washington’s surprise decision to pull out of Syria, where it has backed the Syrian Kurdish YPG forces against Islamic State.

Ibrahim Kalin made the statement at a news conference.
 
U.S.-led coalition reports recent air strikes on ISIS in Syria | Reuters
Air strikes ongoing, from 16-22/12/2018, despite Trump saying IS are defeated and the pullout of US forces. Strikes against logistic facilities and staging areas, along with damaging the ability to finance their activities and ‘removed several hundred IS fighters from the battlefield’:
The coalition said its attacks during the week of Dec. 16-22, including air strikes and “coordinated fires,” had destroyed logistics facilities and staging areas used by Islamic State, damaged the group’s ability to finance its activities and “removed several hundred ISIS fighters from the battlefield.”
The U.K. General says they present a very real threat to long term stability in the region and the mission remains the same:
“ISIS presents a very real threat to the long-term stability in this region and our mission remains the same, the enduring defeat of ISIS,” said UK Major General Christopher Ghika, the deputy commander of the coalition.
 
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https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-manbij/syrian-army-reinforced-close-to-front-with-turkish-backed-forces-idUSKCN1OO0RM
Looks like Assad’s regime forces are also moving towards Manbij. The ‘race for Manbij’ between Tr sponsored FSA supported by Tr armed forces (Leo2s reported moving up), against the SDF once US forces finally pull out (they completed Joint US and Tr patrols recently) is on. It should be noted Assad’s forces also moved up to the area around Afrin when Turkey launched Op Olve Branch. Whether there will be any direct engagement between Assad’s forces and Tr sponsored FSA, remains to be seen.

Their deployment is apparently in agreement with the Manbij govt:
Syrian government troops backed by Russian forces have sent extra troops toward the city of Manbij in coordination with the militia that controls it, a militia spokesman said, as Turkish-backed Syrian rebels said they were preparing to attack it.
The deployment was coordinated with the U.S.-backed militia in Manbij, the spokesman for the Manbij Military Council said.

The battle will start soon according to Tr sources:
“The battle will soon start,” Major Youssef Hamoud, spokesman for the National Army, the main Turkish-backed rebel force in the area, told Reuters.
“What we see on the front now is reinforcements to all forces to reach full preparedness for the battle.”


I had a look on the ‘Syria Live Map’ about this and other actions. Always worthwhile imo to see what other reporting there is. It shows the SDF attacking IS positions east of the Euphrates near the Iraq border, supported by coalition air strikes.

It also still shows the large expanse west of the Euphrates claimed to be under IS control inside Assad’s govt controlled areas:
TSK Leopard 2A4 tanks reportedly crossed the border and went to outskirts of Manbij in Syria. - Map of Syrian Civil War - Syria news and incidents today - syria.liveuamap.com


Also reports around Deir al-Zor and Assad’s regime rounding up people.

Erdogan believes he’ll probably meet with Putin: Turkey's Erdogan, Russia's Putin to meet over U.S. pullout from Syria, Erdogan says | Reuters

Peskov says no plans: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-turkey-russia/russias-putin-has-no-immediate-plan-to-meet-turkeys-erdogan-kremlin-idUSKCN1OO0HB
 
Russia: Israel's Syria strike directly endangered two civilian flights
Russia's Defense Ministry said Wednesday that the airstrike in Syria attributed to Israel "directly endangered" two civilian flights. The ministry also said Syrian air defenses destroyed 14 out of 16 Israeli missiles.

Israeli aircrafts struck an arms depot west of Syria's capital city of Damascus from Lebanese airspace, Syrian state media reported Tuesday. According to reports, three Syrian soldiers were wounded in the attack which targeted Hezbollah depots.
It is a serious warning. Syria could be supplied with attack missiles (for example Iskander) to retaliate and cause unacceptable damage in Israel. Iskander missiles can not be intercepted.
 
The UAE have reopened their embassy in Damascus. UAE reopening its embassy in Syria | CBC News
The United Arab Emirates is reopening its embassy in Damascus on Thursday, providing a diplomatic boost for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from an Arab state that once supported his opponents.
The UAE said their goal is to normalize relations with Syria again.
The UAE Foreign Ministry said its chargé d'affaires has assumed his duties at the embassy, and that the aim of the reopening is to normalize relations between both countries and curb risks of regional interference in "Arab, Syrian affairs."
The president of Sudan visited Damascus earlier this month.
Earlier this month, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir became the first Arab head of state to visit Damascus since the start of the Syrian conflict.
The border crossing between Syria and Jordan was reopened in October.
The border crossing between Syria and Jordan, another U.S. ally that backed the rebels, was reopened in October.
Nearly all of the Arab League apparently want Syria to resume membership in their organization, having been suspended by them in 2011.
An Arab diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters last week he believed a majority wanted Syria to return to the Arab League — with only three or four states expected to oppose this — but there had been no official proposal yet.
The secretary general said the decision to suspend Syria's membership has been "hasty".
The secretary general of the Arab League, veteran Egyptian diplomat Ahmed Aboul Gheit, in April said the decision to suspend Syria had been "hasty."
It would appear that Syria's relations with most of the rest of the Arab world are in the process of being normalised, with their previous disagreements being swept under the carpet. So much for "Assad must go", at least so far as the Arabs are concerned.
 
Syrian army enters town of Manbij and raises flag - statement | Reuters
Assad’s forces have entered Manbij and raised their flag. It’s unclear whether they will be taking over the entire area, or just one part, saying they will provide ‘full security for all Syrian citizens and others in the area’:
The Syrian army entered Manbij on Friday for the first time in years, it said in a statement, after the Kurdish YPG militia urged the government of President Bashar al-Assad to protect the town from Turkish attacks.

The army said it would guarantee “full security for all Syrian citizens and others present in the area”.

It was unclear whether the government forces had spread out into the town, where U.S. forces have operated and set up a base earlier this year.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday he spoke with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan about “a slow and highly coordinated” withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria
So, a clusterfúck of galactic proportion then ?
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