Syria

It would seem that quite a bit of considered opinion would disagree with you.

According to the World Economic Forum, the Middle East has been in almost continuous drought since 1998, and this is the worst dry spell in 900 years.

The WEF represent the world's largest corporations.


According to the Atlantic Council, the Middle East will be hit the hardest by climate change. Parts of the Middle East and North Africa will become "uninhabitable". As warming intensifies, state capacity will weaken and conflict will increase.


Again from the Atlantic Council, Syria is given as a prime example of the problems which climate change is causing. They say that drought drove the rural population into the major cities such as Damascus and Aleppo, and primed the populace for large scale political unrest. Between 2002 and 2010 the urban population increased by 50%. Climate driven economic stress also drove Assad's privatisation of state industry, increased economic inequality, and severed the governing power's connections with the rural population who had migrated to the cities (rural farmers had been prime beneficiaries of state largess).

The Atlantic Council are supported by a long list of major multi-national corporations along with major governments such as the UK.

According to The Economist, climate change is making problems worse in the Middle East with longer droughts and hotter heat waves. Crops are withering as the dry season becomes longer. The Economist sees the longer term as being "apocalyptic".


According to the World Bank, climate change's effects on the Middle East is already "dire". Areas suitable for agriculture are being reduced and some regions will become "unlivable". Higher temperatures will put "intense pressure" on agriculture and already scarce supplies of water. The risk of conflict is increasing.


According to the good and great of the world, climate change's effects on the Middle East will be dire, it is already a major contributor to the war in Syria, and what we are seeing in Syria is just a foretaste of what is to come more widely in the Middle East and North Africa.
I did caveat it by stressing that vegetation cover needs to be maintained - a key problem in places like Syria is taking too much from the land. Only a minor credit admittedly, but Bashar Al-Asad put a lot of research and investment into improving the quality of Syrian agriculture.

There are also other views that challenge the the above:


A small, but spectacular example of the greening effect in another part of the world is Ascension Island - barren rock 200 years ago - the uplands are rapidly turning to forest and lush vegetation as vegetation promotes rainfall in a virtuous cycle...
 
I did caveat it by stressing that vegetation cover needs to be maintained - a key problem in places like Syria is taking too much from the land. Only a minor credit admittedly, but Bashar Al-Asad put a lot of research and investment into improving the quality of Syrian agriculture.

There are also other views that challenge the the above:

Let's see, one study based on a computer model with lots of adjustment of numbers and including lots of caveats about other things having an effect, versus the overwhelming majority of climate studies saying that overall the Middle East will become drier and is already becoming drier. I think I'll take the latter.

A small, but spectacular example of the greening effect in another part of the world is Ascension Island - barren rock 200 years ago - the uplands are rapidly turning to forest and lush vegetation as vegetation promotes rainfall in a virtuous cycle...
Ascension Island is a pretty simple case. The early European navigators released goats on the island to act as a food source for passing ships. The goats ate the island bare, as goats will do if unchecked. Beginning in the late 19th century there were British efforts to restore the ecology with considerable success.
 
Lots of stuff hitting the fan today in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. Overnight, Israel launched attacks on Hezbollah (Lebanon and Syria), Iranian (Syria) and Iraqi Shia PMU (Iraq). The reason given by Israel for the attacks is that thet prevented attacks by armed drones on Israel. As a result of the attacks, tensions are running very high. Drones (supposedly Israeli) are reportedly active above Iraq, Lebanon and Syria; the Lebanese PM has called the attacks an act of war; Russia has warned of the risk of regional war.



Interstingly (or unfortunately) Hezb and PMU have in recent days begun an attempt to reduce IS pockets in Syria and Iraq, so the timing of the Israeli attacks is thought-provoking. Hezb and PMU have had notable success vs IS.
 
....Interstingly (or unfortunately) Hezb and PMU have in recent days begun an attempt to reduce IS pockets in Syria and Iraq, so the timing of the Israeli attacks is thought-provoking. Hezb and PMU have had notable success vs IS.
What’s the source of the alleged operations by Hezbollah and Iranian sponsored militias aka PMF/PMUs against IS in Iraq and Syria?
 
What’s the source of the alleged operations by Hezbollah and Iranian sponsored militias aka PMF/PMUs against IS in Iraq and Syria?
I will have a look. I have seen somewhere these week - probably a pro Gov or pro-Shia/PMU tweet.
Found:


The other one I can't find atm but was via, Reddit, about Hezbollah returning to south east Syria to fight IS. I will keep looking.
 
I will have a look. I have seen somewhere these week - probably a pro Gov or pro-Shia/PMU tweet.
Found:


The other one I can't find atm but was via, Reddit, about Hezbollah returning to south east Syria to fight IS. I will keep looking.
You were mentioning Reddit on another thread. Not that I don’t believe what the Iranian sponsored militias and their supporters say, it just seems ‘convenient’ that they say they are conducting ‘anti IS ops’ at the same time (presumed) Israeli attacks go in. It is unusual, or at least in comparison to attacks in Syria, that attacks in Iraq are taking place. Maybe a HVT was about?

That village apparently did have a PMF force stationed there and people started leaving it last month as they were not providing the required security. IS apparently launched attacks against PMF units in the area recently.

The bigger question is if Israel is striking PMF units in N Iraq, (semi autonomous Kurdistan), why? Is there a senior Quds force commander leading the attack?
 
You were mentioning Reddit on another thread. Not that I don’t believe what the Iranian sponsored militias and their supporters say, it just seems ‘convenient’ that they say they are conducting ‘anti IS ops’ at the same time (presumed) Israeli attacks go in. It is unusual, or at least in comparison to attacks in Syria, that attacks in Iraq are taking place. Maybe a HVT was about?

That village apparently did have a PMF force stationed there and people started leaving it last month as they were not providing the required security. IS apparently launched attacks against PMF units in the area recently.

The bigger question is if Israel is striking PMF units in N Iraq, (semi autonomous Kurdistan), why? Is there a senior Quds force commander leading the attack?
Good questions. In all seriousness, there does seem to be a pattern of govt success in Syria being followed by an Israeli attack. My (not very subtle) reading of the situation is that Israel is disrupting pro-Iran forces not only to prevent possible attacks on Israel but also to assist anti-Iranian forces. A Syria/Iran/Ru 'victory', and a stable, pro-Syria, Lebanon, are not helpful to Israel.
I know that's an unsophisticated analysis. I am open to contrary suggestions.
 
You were mentioning Reddit on another thread. Not that I don’t believe what the Iranian sponsored militias and their supporters say, it just seems ‘convenient’ that they say they are conducting ‘anti IS ops’ at the same time (presumed) Israeli attacks go in. It is unusual, or at least in comparison to attacks in Syria, that attacks in Iraq are taking place. Maybe a HVT was about?

That village apparently did have a PMF force stationed there and people started leaving it last month as they were not providing the required security. IS apparently launched attacks against PMF units in the area recently.

The bigger question is if Israel is striking PMF units in N Iraq, (semi autonomous Kurdistan), why? Is there a senior Quds force commander leading the attack?
P.s. The Reddit SCW page is excellent. I don't know of another source like it. Many of the contributors/comments are from board members who are in Syria, Turkey, Iraq, etc.

 
Good questions. In all seriousness, there does seem to be a pattern of govt success in Syria being followed by an Israeli attack. My (not very subtle) reading of the situation is that Israel is disrupting pro-Iran forces not only to prevent possible attacks on Israel but also to assist anti-Iranian forces. A Syria/Iran/Ru 'victory', and a stable, pro-Syria, Lebanon, are not helpful to Israel.
I know that's an unsophisticated analysis. I am open to contrary suggestions.
I don’t believe a ‘Shia crescent’ dominated by Iran is in Israel’s interest. They have multiple form for attacking IRGC units abroad and will continue to do so whilst they consider the IRGC a ‘clear and present danger’.

The fact this upsets Assad’s advances is in my view neither here nor there. They target what they consider are legitimate targets in view of Iranian support to terrorist organisations in Lebanon and Gaza. A stable Syria is of benefit to Israel. One dominated by Iran and used as a supply route to arm terror organisations isn’t. Assad relies on Iranian support and is clearly happy to let them supply their sponsored militias.

The other point is if they are Israeli strikes, Russian and Syrian AD aren’t as capable as they make themselves out to be. Same on coalition tracking of air assets, albeit no doubt in view of Pence’s recent comment, ignored.
 
P.s. The Reddit SCW page is excellent. I don't know of another source like it. Many of the contributors/comments are from board members who are in Syria, Turkey, Iraq, etc.

Yep, as always with Reddit it’s separating the wheat from the chaff. It’s a source of what people are saying but it doesn’t say how much credence to give it.
 
An Anna news video about Northern Hama. Including an interesting interview of civilians in the area, a tank decoy (18.20 mins) and a long look at what are very extensive and deep rebel tunnel networks.
The video presents a broadly pro-govt and pro-Russian view of events. The value lies in the presentation in depth of events, which no one else is doing, or perhaps able/allowed to do.

 
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Let's see, one study based on a computer model with lots of adjustment of numbers and including lots of caveats about other things having an effect, versus the overwhelming majority of climate studies saying that overall the Middle East will become drier and is already becoming drier. I think I'll take the latter.


Ascension Island is a pretty simple case. The early European navigators released goats on the island to act as a food source for passing ships. The goats ate the island bare, as goats will do if unchecked. Beginning in the late 19th century there were British efforts to restore the ecology with considerable success.
Well, I have an interest in these matters, but don't consider myself an expert. I was of the view however, which doesn't necessarily contradict yours, that a key requirement for improving the situation is to increase levels of greenery in any areas where you wish to mitigate the effects of warming/drying.

Still, probably something of a thread deviation, although key to the long term future of Syria...
 
Erdogan appears somewhat delusional. Even if he gets the so called promises, he should realise who he is dealing with and that Vlad will support Assad every time, especially when Assad and co go running telling on Erdogan using his troop movements to move Tr sponsored FSA (or allegedly jihadi's):
President Tayyip Erdogan will seek steps from Russia’s Vladimir Putin to safeguard Turkish troops in the face of an offensive by the Syrian army in the country’s northwest when the two leaders meet on Tuesday, a senior Turkish official said.
Joint statement due now. Nothing seen to date:
“We expect Russia to use its influence over the regime on this matter. If there is even the smallest attack on Turkish soldiers, we will retaliate against this,” the official said.
Erdogan has been stepping up the rhetoric:
“Any step or attack that would violate the agreement should be avoided, but unfortunately we see examples of these in recent times,” the official said. “We expect Putin to take steps that will alleviate the problem there.”
Already looking after 3.6M Syrian refugees, Turkey doesn't want the remaining millions who will undoubtedly flock to the border as Assad's govt offensives continue:
“The necessary measures need to be taken to prevent a migrant wave from there to Turkey. Measures should be taken against any problems that may arise on this issue,” the official also said.
 
YPG (majority constituent of the SDF) are withdrawing from some border areas 'east of the Euphrates':
The Syrian Kurdish YPG militia has pulled forces and heavy weapons from some positions at the border with Turkey, showing its commitment to ongoing talks, the Kurdish-led authority running much of north and east Syria said.

Turkey and Washington agreed this month to create a joint centre for the planned safe zone along Syria’s northeastern border, but gave few details on the size of the zone or the command structure of the forces to operate there.

The YPG withdrew from the Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain areas in recent days, proving it is serious about “reaching a solution through dialogue,” the Kurdish-led authority said.
Looking at the map, these appear to be Syrian towns under SDF control near the Turkish border where the E99 and D905 cross from Turkey into Syria
 
Just looking at an old (2012) report on the PKK and Assad aiding them prior to the start of the current civil war: Syria and Turkey: The PKK Dimension

Reported elsewhere, but published here is information apparently from Russian sources that they are in direct command and control of 140,000 of Assad's forces. I don't believe it would be a surprise to anyone who has seen Russian influence on regime forces since 2011 and especially since 2015. The point I suppose is that if they are indeed in direct control of Assad's forces, any actions including strikes by SAAF, artillery etc. against Turkish outposts etc. is with direct Russian agreement.

With Turkey ramping up their forces for the next push across the border including reported UAV and air, there is a greater likelihood of 'accidents' happening.

It seems that the Idlib assault is being left to 4th Divn and Republican Guard units along with 'reconciliation units', presumably those who have surrendered to Assad's forces, conscripted (or 'voluntold') and sent into battle. I did wonder why there seemed to be a distinct lack of 'roid users in the latest photos. Maybe they've all been shot as they present a bigger target?

Among the figures quoted are the training of 650 officers inc VSOs. The final para, above the disclaimer is the most interesting with the training of Syrian armed forces without any Iranian or pro Iranian militias in the barracks. Maybe Russia is seeing beyond the current battles and looking to the future?:
A military source has told Al-Modon that the number of Syrian forces under the control of Russia is over 140,000, including officers, non-commissioned officers and conscripts, in military barracks under Russia’s control, including security branches and intelligence directorates, according to Al-Modon’s correspondent, Saleem al-Nahas.

A source told Al-Modon that this number is a Russian statistic, issued in July 2019, after a series of recent military and security changes which Russia carried out.

A source close to the Russians told Al-Modon that the number of officers who received training in Russia in 2019 was about 650 officers, including major generals, brigadier generals and colonels. They attended courses on scientific research, air defense, staff administration, technology sciences, morale enhancement and military administration. They will shortly undergo additional courses in Syria before taking sensitive posts in the army and intelligence agencies.

In another development, a source said that the decision to discharge some regime forces, including Classes 105, 107 and 108, which include officers and non-commissioned officers, had been issued. The General Commander of the Army and Armed Forces, Bashar al-Assad, in June discreetly signed the decision, after a direct Russian request.

The silence over the news came because of swift developments in northern and eastern Syria, and discussions of an American-Turkish safe zone.

The source said that recently issued Russian instructions had called for a reliance on local militias such as the National Defense and Popular Committees as well as the “reconciliation” units and militias affiliated with the Fourth Division and Republican Guard to take part in the Idleb fighting, while preparing to take dozens of military units away from the fighting and to retrain them and prepare them to be under direct Russia command, apart from any military operations. This was accompanied by preventing the establishment of Iranian or pro-Iran militia bases in these barracks, preparing to form a new “Syrian Army” without Iranian intervention.

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.
 
Statement ref #16,075 above. Looks like Erdogan didn't manage to get a halt to Assad's govt forces advance. 'Additional joint steps' seems to be the way forward:
“Together with Turkey’s president we have outlined additional joint steps to neutralise the terrorists’ nests in Idlib and normalise the situation there and in the whole of Syria as a result,” Putin told a joint briefing with Erdogan.

He did not mention Erdogan’s call for the Syrian army assault to be halted.
Erdogan mentioned the SAAF bombing of civilians and that Turkey has the right to 'self defence' on its border:
Erdogan, standing alongside Putin, said it was unacceptable that Syrian forces were “raining death on civilians from the air and land under the pretence of battling terrorism”.

He also said Turkey had the right to self-defence on its border. “I conveyed our country’s determination on this matter personally to my dear friend Mr Putin,” Erdogan added.
Once again, the additional influx of refugees into Turkey is mentioned:
“The necessary measures need to be taken to prevent a migrant wave from there to Turkey. Measures should be taken against any problems that may arise on this issue,” the official also said.
Meanwhile, a bit of rhetoric from rebel leaders and their latest assaults against Assad's forces:
“We launched pre-emptive operations that targeted areas where the army was mobilising and were able to inflict heavy losses in equipment and lives,” said Captain Naji Mustafa, spokesman for the Turkey-backed National Liberation Front (NLF) coalition of mainstream rebel groups.
...............
“We have killed dozens of Assad (fighters),” Abu Qutada al Shami, a commander in Failaq al-Sham group, told Reuters.
 
An Anna news video about Northern Hama. Including an interesting interview of civilians in the area, a tank decoy (18.20 mins) and a long look at what are very extensive and deep rebel tunnel networks.
The video presents a broadly pro-govt and pro-Russian view of events. The value lies in the presentation in depth of events, which no one else is doing, or perhaps able/allowed to do.

The tunnel complexes are quite impressive. Their extent and refinement both reflect the degree of importance that the rebels placed on that location, as well as how they had been long established there.

Interviews with locals can be somewhat problematic regardless of who is doing the interviewing. You have to separate out things to which they were a direct eye witness to versus things to which they most likely heard through the rumour mill. In the case of the latter they may not know anything more about what really happened than we do (which is very little).

The decoy tank was fascinating. I do wonder how widely they are used, and if not much, then why not.
 
The tunnel complexes are quite impressive. Their extent and refinement both reflect the degree of importance that the rebels placed on that location, as well as how they had been long established there.

Interviews with locals can be somewhat problematic regardless of who is doing the interviewing. You have to separate out things to which they were a direct eye witness to versus things to which they most likely heard through the rumour mill. In the case of the latter they may not know anything more about what really happened than we do (which is very little).

The decoy tank was fascinating. I do wonder how widely they are used, and if not much, then why not.
I felt for the old man and, I assume, his son. What can you say? You have lived in the rebel stronghold and are under suspicion. I thought the younger man pitched it better than the older. A good point was made by the older man about not being able to ask men 'which faction are you?'.
The decoy was fascinating. I don't know enough about how targets are identified by aircraft to know how effective a visual decoy is. Does a modern decoy need an electronic, magnetic, or heat 'presence' to seem a real tank?
The decoy looks commercial in origin. Edit: just seen a clearer image and have revised that opinion!
ECrQ893WkAAG9kd.jpg
ECrQ9nEX4AApePM-1024x498.jpg
ECrQ8SMXkAA-s4o.jpg
 
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