Official Middle East/ISIS thread: ISIS Dead, People Still Killing Each Other in Syria

Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by Illinihockey, Apr 12, 2015.

  1. JGator1

    JGator1 I'm the Michael Jordan of the industry
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    Just speculating but I think a possible scenario is the Kurds having more autonomy and possibly a cut of Syrian oil revenue in exchange for handing over the oil fields they have to the regime. Turkey's proxy forces can't control the whole border so not much they can do except complain.
     
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  2. JGator1

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  3. JGator1

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    And here we go, Kurds reaching out to Damascus
    https://apnews.com/1763896ff550414a9b0e7ecd094e9a58



     
  4. JGator1

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  5. JGator1

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    Hadn't seen anything about protests in Jordan but the Gulf states are stepping up to help



     
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  6. JGator1

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    Daraa campaign should start soon, not sure the US will actually do anything despite warnings about violations of meaningless "de-escalation agreements"



     
  7. MK 3rds

    MK 3rds Dork

    You don't fuck with SA22s
     
  8. JGator1

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  9. JGator1

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    seems like we're playing with fire



     
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  10. Illinihockey

    Illinihockey Well-Known Member

    This video is the PKK hitting a Turkish target
     
  11. Fargin' Icehole

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    And didn't we just sell a bunch of F-35s to Turkey?
     
  12. MK 3rds

    MK 3rds Dork

    Yeah sure but the best two air forces in the world (USAF, USN) can barely get them working. Good luck Turkey
     
  13. JGator1

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    Was referring to other tweet
     
  14. JGator1

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  15. JGator1

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  16. JGator1

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    Everything seems to be falling to Assad quicker than expected, Jordan's already a mess and tapped out refugee-wise.



     
  17. JGator1

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    Syria war: 270,000 displaced by fighting in south-west

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-44682266

    At least 270,000 people have fled their homes in south-western Syria since the military launched an assault on rebel-held areas two weeks ago, the UN says.

    Many of those displaced by the fighting in Deraa and Quneitra provinces have headed towards the borders with Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

    But neither country has said it will allow an influx of refugees, sparking fears of a humanitarian "catastrophe".

    Government forces have been advancing with the help of Russian air strikes.

    On Sunday, rebels in the major town of Bosra al-Sham reportedly agreed to lay down their arms and accept President Bashar al-Assad's rule.

    More than 130 civilians have been killed since hostilities escalated, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group.

    Deraa and Quneitra had been relatively calm for almost a year because of a "de-escalation" agreement brokered by the US and Jordan, which support the opposition, and Russia, a staunch ally of the government.

    But Mr Assad set his sights on regaining full control of the provinces after defeating rebels in the Eastern Ghouta region outside the capital Damascus in April.

    [​IMG]
    UN officials estimated only six days ago that up to 50,000 people had fled their homes in rebel-held towns and villages in response to the government's intense air and artillery strikes. By Monday, the figure was more than five times higher.

    "We were expecting the number of displaced in southern Syria to reach 200,000, but it has already exceeded 270,000 people in record time," Mohammad Hawari, a spokesman for the UN Refugee Agency in Jordan, told AFP news agency.

    Up to 70,000 of the displaced are reportedly gathered near the closed Nassib border crossing with Jordan, where many families are being forced to live in makeshift shelters or out in the open, with limited access to food or water.

    "We lost our children, our houses, our places to take shelter," one woman at a camp told AFP news agency on Sunday. "We are sitting on the ground. We have no water to wash our hands. We have no water to drink, no food to eat."

    UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad Al Hussein has warned of a humanitarian catastrophe in Deraa and urged neighbouring countries to provide safe passage to those wishing to flee the violence.

    [​IMG]Image copyrightAFP
    Image captionThose living in the camps near the Jordanian border have limited access to food or water
    Jordan has kept its border closed and said it will not take in any more refugees, while Israel has said it will not allow Syrians to cross into its territory.

    After meeting UN officials on Monday, Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told reporters that it had been delivering tents and medical supplies to crossings with Syria, but that there had been issues getting it across the border to those in need.

    "We believe that it is in nobody's interest to have Syrians depart their country," he said. "There is no shortage of [aid] supplies. The question is just to get it across."

    Mr Safadi also said he would hold talks with his Russian counterpart in Moscow on Tuesday, which he hoped would "take us more steps forward to contain this crisis and prevent more destruction".

    The Israeli military has also stepped up its humanitarian efforts.

    On Friday, it took in six injured Syrians, including four young children, for emergency medical treatment. It also supplied tents, food, baby formula, medical equipment, clothing and shoes to camps in the Golan Heights demilitarised zone.

    "We will continue to defend our borders. We will extend humanitarian assistance to the extent of our abilities. We will not allow entry into our territory," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a cabinet meeting on Sunday.
     
  18. JGator1

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  19. southlick

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  20. Killy Me Please

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    Lucky bastard
     
  21. JGator1

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    Assad sees no reason to give anything in negotiations and the rebels left are fucked






    Signs of normal life and optimism in Syria’s capital as the war ebbs
    https://www.stripes.com/news/signs-...m-in-syria-s-capital-as-the-war-ebbs-1.535979
    DAMASCUS, Syria — Traffic flows normally again, masses of children trod to school through streets that used to be on the front line, shoppers and office workers clog the commercial avenues that were once the target of rebel artillery fire.

    The once ubiquitous sandbagged roadblocks — adorned with Syrian flags and posters of President Bashar Assad — that created massive traffic jams throughout the capital are either gone or empty of gun-toting soldiers and policemen who used to man them.

    There are still reminders of the Syrian civil war, such as reports by state television of a missile strike near the airport Tuesday. But generally, while the war rages on in other parts of the country, life in the capital appears to be returning to the chaotic normality that has long characterized the city of 2.6 million people.



    Stars and Stripes was granted a four-day visa to visit the city, though a reporter was not allowed to go farther afield and requests to interview senior officials were not granted.

    In early 2012, the United States withdrew its diplomats and shuttered its embassy in Damascus soon after then-President Barack Obama called on Assad to step aside and introduced sanctions against Syria. Almost seven years later, Assad’s grip on power appears strong though much of the country has been devastated by war.

    The fighting has uprooted nearly half of Syria’s pre-war population of 22 million. According to United Nations statistics, around 5 million have fled Syria, mostly to neighboring countries or Europe. Six million more are internally displaced, the majority having fled to areas under government control.

    Bishop Armash Nalbandian, primate of the Armenian diocese of Damascus, said there is a sense among his parishioners that the war, which has reportedly killed at least 300,000 people, is finally winding down.

    A church-run school recently reopened after being closed for three years, following the expulsion in April of rebels who occupied the eastern outskirts of Damascus since the early days of the Syrian war in 2011. Classes resumed after the militants, who had regularly shelled the mainly Christian neighborhood from nearby districts, were granted safe passage in a Russian-mediated peace deal.

    “The front line used to be just 200 meters from this church,” Nalbandian said. “The church and adjoining school were repeatedly targeted from the other side. After a mortar round killed two students in 2015 we had to discontinue classes.”

    Hopes for economic renewal
    Damascenes expressed relief that the sporadic mortar and rocket attacks on civilian neighborhoods ceased after the militants were removed from their last bridgeheads near the capital. According to unofficial counts, about 16,000 people perished in Damascus and its surroundings from rebel fire since 2012.

    In Damascus, the Armenian Orthodox Church is located just inside the ancient walls of the capital’s old quarter, which consists of a maze of narrow alleys and Ottoman Empire-era buildings. Some of these buildings have been turned into boutique hotels with verdant courtyards — and small shops that used to cater to the hundreds of thousands of tourists before the war.

    Now many of the shopkeepers along the Tariq al-Mostaqim, or Straight Street, that cuts across the walled town, also say they believe an end to the conflict is in sight. This would mean the return of tourists to a city believed to be the oldest inhabited location in the world.

    “We of course hope this normality means the end of the war is near,” said Eli Kassis, owner of a business making the famous Syrian furniture with inlaid mother-of-pearl mosaics.

    • [​IMG]
    Ahmed Abu Alaa stands with his son Alaa in front of his grocery store in the center of the Syrian capital. Abu Alaa said he was considering expanding the shop to cater to the foreign students he expects will return to Damascus when the war ends.
    SLOBODAN LEKIC/STARS AND STRIPES

    Some businessmen were already considering investing in improving the capacities of enterprises that are expected to grow quickly if peace returns.

    “The business climate is already much better than a couple of years ago,” said Ahmad Abu Alaa, a grocery owner who said he was planning to expand his shop. He said that before the war the neighborhood was full of foreign students studying at Damascus University, one of the largest and oldest in the Arab world.

    “I am sure they will return when the war ends. I am very optimistic,” Alaa said.

    While the situation in Damascus today is certainly not representative of most other places in the war-torn nation, major signs of change are everywhere.

    Shops, cafes, hookah lounges and restaurants remain open until late at night. Thousands of customers fill the streets on weekend nights or holidays, in sharp contrast to the situation a few months ago, when residents huddled indoors to escape the occasional shelling.

    Moufit Moukabaa, a jeweler from Jobar, said he was kidnapped and forced by militants to turn over his business and about 27 pounds of gold jewelry after they took control of the district in 2011.

    “We lost everything to the terrorist robbers,” he said standing in front of his brother’s clothing store in the capital’s Mlehah neighborhood. “There were many groups here, but they were all criminals and their aim was to drive out the Christians and all others who opposed them.”

    Assad’s support holds amid accusations
    Assad’s government has enjoyed the support of Syria’s minority religious and ethnic groups such as the Christians, Shiites, Alawites, Druze and some Kurds.

    The opposition has come primarily from the Sunni Muslim population, which comprises about 74 percent of the population, according to the CIA World Factbook.

    Protests in 2011 prior to the war cited social inequality, economic woes and widespread human rights abuses by the government under Assad, who took over the country in 2000 after the death of his father, Hafez Assad, who ruled for nearly 30 years.

    As the fighting spread, opposition forces became splintered, with U.S.-backed forces advocating democratic reforms and others advocating militant Islamism, including the Islamic State.

    Russia’s military intervention, which began in late 2015, has turned the tide in favor of Assad’s forces. The combination of Russian airpower, an influx of Iranian ground forces and fighters from Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia proved too much for rebel groups in multiple parts of the country. Government forces are now estimated to control about two-thirds of the country’s territory and all of its major cities.

    In Damascus, the evacuation of rebels after a brokered peace deal from the eastern neighborhood of Jobar and suburb of East Ghouta preceded airstrikes targeting Syria’s chemical weapons program by the United States, Britain and France on April 13.

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    The airstrikes came following a suspected chlorine bomb attack by Syrian government forces against rebel-held areas of East Ghouta. The attack killed 49 people, including 11 children, according to the New York Times, which cited a United Nations draft report.

    President Donald Trump called Assad a monster for ordering the attack. The Syrian and Russian governments denied any involvement, arguing that it would make no sense to attack the defeated rebels with banned chemical weapons while negotiations for their evacuation were concluding.

    Despite the U.S. airstrikes and rhetoric, there is doubt regarding Washington’s commitment to backing Assad’s opposition. Syrian forces recently launched an offensive with support from Russian air cover in Daraa Province, south of Damascus near the Jordanian border.

    The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Daraa-based opposition activist Osama Hourani said that the U.S. has informed rebel groups in southern Syria that Washington will not intervene, according to The Associated Press.

    The US endgame
    Assad’s troops and their allies in some regions in the Euphrates River Valley are located close to about 2,000 U.S. special operations forces in the country, according to the Pentagon.

    The Americans — working with a coalition cobbled from a Kurdish militia and their Arab allies, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces — expelled ISIS and occupied the group’s de facto capital of Raqqa in October.

    Airstrikes and heavy artillery bombardments left the city in ruins, and also killed or wounded thousands of civilians, according to a recent report by Amnesty International. Last week, U.S.-backed Syrian forces declared a three-day curfew blocking entrance and exit from Raqqa, citing ISIS plans to bomb the city.

    The U.S. military has also had to repeatedly to use a “deconfliction hotline” with the Russians to avoid potential clashes with their fighter-bombers and helicopters.

    A Western diplomat covering Syria said the danger of clashes between those forces, which seemed possible during the government’s final offensive to oust Jeish al Islam and other militant groups from eastern Damascus, appeared to ebb after the rebel fighters were evacuated.

    “Most wars end in unsatisfying ways. There is little triumph to be had (but) things will be better for many Syrians if political violence keeps declining,” said Jacquelin L. Hazelton, a professor of strategy at the Naval War College.

    “Will Syria be a more just place? No. But that outcome was never likely,” said Hazelton, who studies foreign military interventions in internal conflicts.

    “Assad’s remaining in power, however unpalatable, is likely to mean far fewer violent deaths than continued civil war,” she said. “For the United States, the costs of Assad remaining in power are limited (and) well, that outcome is nearing.”
     
  22. Illinihockey

    Illinihockey Well-Known Member

    Any of you guys watching Hunting ISIS on History channel? Like a 6 episode series about a bunch of westerners who volunteered to fight beside the YPG/Peshmerga in Iraq and Syria. Pretty raw stuff.
     
  23. JGator1

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    I only saw a brief part of one and the guy they followed clearly seemed to have mental issues which wasn't exactly surprising.
     
  24. Illinihockey

    Illinihockey Well-Known Member

    History channel is still airing them and they are also on Hulu
     
  25. JGator1

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  26. JGator1

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    more Israeli airstrikes?



     
  27. JGator1

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    Just a few remnants left in southern Syria and then the regime can then focus on Idlib



     
  28. JGator1

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    Iraq is seemingly in permanent turmoil



     
  29. ramszoolander

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    OT for a second: this is the only thread where I can't see tweets. I have flash enabled on Chrome to show these, too. Any ideas? TIA...
     
  30. gritzy

    gritzy I am a hurricane on the golf course

    You touch yourself too much at night
     
  31. JGator1

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    just one of tens of thousands disappeared by the Syrian regime

     
  32. JGator1

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    I sometimes have to refresh once or twice before they show up. I think the tweets are better then just random posts but wish there was more discussion here.


    And Israel hit Syria again yesterday

     
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  33. JGator1

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    final group of civilians from two Shiite villages in Idlib who'd been under rebel siege for years



     
  34. JGator1

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  35. JGator1

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    SAA controls all of the border with Israel and only a small portion of the Syria-Jordan border is left in ISIS control




    Idlib offensive coming next but Erdogan says Putin told him it wouldn't happen
     
  36. JGator1

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    captured ISIS prisoners by the SAA 4th Division likely to be tortured/executed

     
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  37. Trop

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    Update on isis?
     
  38. JGator1

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    Defeated in southern Syria, I don't know where the remaining members (who didn't get executed or taken prisoner) are gonna end up. They're blending back into the civilian population in other areas of Syria and Iraq.
     
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  39. JGator1

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    China's made public statements about helping the SAA retake Idlib or just participating in some kinda peacekeeping role due to the Ughyurs that make up a portion of the rebels.
     
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  40. JGator1

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    Seems problematic..........




    rebel fighter near Aleppo tries to remove SAA flag and gets killed by ied
     
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  41. Fargin' Icehole

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    Never heard of Uyghurs before. Interesting.
     
  42. clemsontyger04

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    So the caliphate has pretty much crumbled?
     
  43. JGator1

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    Yes in Syria and Iraq. They're back to hiding out in the desert or attempting to blend into the population in cities.
     
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  44. JGator1

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    Tiger Forces headed to Idlib area to prepare for the assault, shelling has already started



     
  45. JGator1

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    Arms depot blast in Syria's Idlib province kills 39 - monitor

    At least 39 people - including 12 children - have been killed in a blast that brought down a building in Syria's mainly rebel-held north-western province of Idlib, reports say.

    The building in the Sarmada town is said to have contained munitions belonging to an arms trafficker.

    Dozens of people are still missing, a monitor and correspondents say.

    Idlib is the last major rebel-held area, and is expected to be the next target for Syrian armed forces.

    In recent months, the Syrian government, backed by Russia and Iran, has made major advances in its offensive against a number of rebel and jihadist groups across Syria.

    On Sunday, rescuers in Sarmada used bulldozers to remove the rubble and pull out trapped people, an AFP correspondent in the town near the Turkish border reported.

    Hatem Abu Marwan, a member of the Idlib civil defence team, said that "buildings full of civilians were reduced to rubble", the news agency said.

    Meanwhile, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that there were still dozens of people missing.

    Some reports suggest the number killed could be higher.

    [​IMG]
    Most of those in the building are believed to have belonged to the families of jihadist fighters who have taken refuge in Idlib after being driven out of other areas of Syria.

    The cause of the explosion was not immediately known.
     
  46. JGator1

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    Excellent article by Aron Lund about the current state of Syria and the players involved

    After seven years of war in Syria, the endgame is here. All major frontlines have been frozen by foreign intervention, and military action now hinges on externally brokered political deals. The result could be a de facto division of the country.

    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s Russian-backed forces spent the past two years taking out isolated rebel strongholds, like Eastern Aleppo and Ghouta. Recently, they recaptured the area along the border with Jordan and territory near the Golan Heights—but at that point, they ran out of low-hanging fruit.

    The sight of Russian diplomats shuttling between Israelis, Syrians, Iranians and Americans to ease Assad’s return to the 1967 cease-fire line in the Golan was a sign of things to come. Israel finally relented, accepting a Russian-monitored restoration of the pre-2011 status quo, but it’s not clear things will be as easy in the rest of Syria, where the three remaining areas outside Assad’s control are shielded by soldiers from NATO member states and wrapped up in complex diplomacy.

    The smallest area still outside state control is Tanf. In this 55-kilometer bubble around a border crossing with Iraq, a few hundred U.S. forces and allied Syrian rebels remain, ostensibly to hunt remnants of the Islamic State.

    Russia has agreed not to challenge the American presence at Tanf, but what the United States wants to do with the place is unclear. Tanf has lost most of its relevance as the fight against the Islamic State has wound down, but a strong strand of thought in Washington wants the U.S. military to hang on to this pocket of territory simply to spite Damascus, Moscow and Tehran. As long as the White House can convince itself that this is money well spent, for one strategic reason or another, Tanf will remain outside central government control.

    In northeastern Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, have set up a semi-independent, socialist entity fighting the Islamic State, backed by some 2,000 American soldiers. The SDF is made up of Kurds, Arabs and Syriacs, but it is not-so-secretly controlled by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the PKK, an arch-foe of Turkey. Over the past few years, U.S. envoys have struggled to dissuade the Turks—who are about as comfortable with a PKK stronghold on their southern border as the United States was with Soviet missiles in Cuba—from attacking.

    The U.S. deployment doesn’t just keep the Turks out, it also prevents Assad’s forces from entering SDF-controlled areas. But the fact that U.S. President Donald Trump keeps saying he wants to bring the troops home has spooked the SDF’s leaders. They have no air force, no armor, no viable economy and no powerful friends apart from the United States. Left alone, they couldn’t fend off Assad or Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    Of the two, however, they prefer Assad. Senior SDF representatives recently visited Damascus to propose a system of decentralized rule in Syria, integration of SDF units into the Syrian army, and an end to anti-Kurdish discrimination by the government. Assad won’t accept genuine power-sharing, but he may be willing to satisfy some of the SDF’s less intrusive demands and fudge others, while offering protection against Turkey. In return, the SDF would be asked to show America the door and hand Assad the keys.

    That sort of plot twist might seem like a good fit with Trump’s desire to leave Syria, but U.S. policymakers are also wary of a jihadist resurgence and unenthusiastic about public humiliation at the hands of Damascus. Unless or until Trump says otherwise, some combination of inertia and ideology is likely to keep the United States engaged in northeastern Syria, making it off-limits to Assad.

    Meanwhile, Syria’s northwest is dominated by Turkey, as part of the joint Russian-Turkish-Iranian Astana Process that seeks to resolve or freeze the conflict on terms favorable to those three nations. But Turkey can’t operate safely in the northwest without Russian cooperation.

    In the summer of 2016, Erdogan sent his army into the city of al-Bab outside Aleppo, supporting a Syrian rebel coalition. Two years later, Turkish forces seized the nearby Kurdish enclave of Afrin. Moscow facilitated both interventions, allowing Erdogan to carve out a border enclave as long as his rebel clients did not attack the Syrian government. It’s a good deal for Russia, since it makes a key member of NATO dependent on Moscow.

    Assad seems less enthusiastic, having watched with dismay as al-Bab and Afrin mutate into Turkish dependencies: Electricity is now wired in over the border, Turkish is taught in schools, Ankara pays rebel salaries, Turks oversee police and local administration, and public squares are named after Erdogan instead of Assad.

    South of Afrin in Idlib, the last remaining province in Syria outside of the regime’s control, Turkish influence is more diluted. Erdogan has been trying to change that, but Idlib is a hard nut to crack. The area is larger than Afrin and al-Bab combined, and has absorbed hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians, many under so-called evacuation deals that have transferred populations from besieged areas near Damascus, Aleppo and other former rebel strongholds. U.N. officials warn that an attack could trigger a mass exodus. Even so, the presence of al-Qaida-inspired jihadists in Idlib is seen as unacceptable far outside the pro-Assad camp.

    Between October and May, some 1,300 Turkish soldiers built a dozen outposts on the edges of the province, after Russia and Iran green-lighted a plan hatched in Astana to freeze fighting between rebels and the regime while Ankara tries to put more palatable, Turkey-friendly Islamists in charge. For Erdogan, keeping Idlib calm is about preventing a refugee crisis; Turkey already hosts 3.5 million Syrians. Fearing that Assad is about to pivot north, Turkish officials are now signaling to Moscow that attacking Idlib would cross a “red line” and violate the terms of the Astana accord.

    Moscow wants Idlib’s jihadists gone, especially after a string of drone attacks on the nearby Russian air base, south of Latakia. But the Russians also have strong incentives to uphold the Astana-brokered status quo. They know Assad can survive without Idlib, Afrin or al-Bab, and Russian diplomats see no pressing reason to end a stalemate where both sides compete for Moscow’s favor. A large-scale offensive on Idlib would be “out of the question,” Russia’s special envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentyev, said on July 31, contradicting his Syrian counterpart.

    These Turkish-Russian understandings put Assad in a tough spot. His army would have trouble retaking Idlib without Russian support, and forcing the Kremlin to pick sides would not necessarily work out in his favor.

    Still, Russia might want to throw Assad a bone, and there’s a lot of gray area between total reconquest and doing nothing. Russia could very well support an attack on outlying areas like the strategically located town of Jisr al-Shughour, south of the Turkish border, or others near Aleppo. If the fallout seems manageable, that kind of limited offensive could even be acceptable to Turkey, as the coming days may reveal.

    With Syrian tanks rolling north and tensions mounting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is heading to Ankara this week. What he ends up agreeing to with his Turkish counterpart will help determine many of these outcomes in Syria. Some pieces of Idlib may be handed over to Assad, but if Russia then decides to put its thumb on the scale in Turkey’s favor, large parts of Syria’s northwest could be out of Assad’s reach for the foreseeable future.

    It wouldn’t be a clean end to the war, but does Moscow really need that? From Moldova to South Ossetia and eastern Ukraine, the Kremlin has a habit of letting messy situations linger to its advantage. As seen in Cyprus, Turkey is also no stranger to the concept of endless interim solutions.

    Seven years in, the Syrian war is no longer a struggle over Assad’s regime and his future, but over the shape of the country he will continue to rule. The fate of the areas that still elude his control is now in the hands of foreigners.
     
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  47. JGator1

    JGator1 I'm the Michael Jordan of the industry
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  48. JGator1

    JGator1 I'm the Michael Jordan of the industry
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    title should say HTS not ISIS, shoddy stuff from BBC

     
  49. JGator1

    JGator1 I'm the Michael Jordan of the industry
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    helicopter crashed in Iraq yesterday