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Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 06 Mar 2020 08:15
by UlanBatori

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 06 Mar 2020 08:16
by UlanBatori
Habalji, can you locate that cartoon map of Syria showing the locations that the Brutal Regime keeps bombing? All Kitten Shelters? Need it for some kind purpose...

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 06 Mar 2020 10:24
by Manish_P
UlanBatori wrote:Holding my breath for outcome of Erdogandoo begging in Moscow.

Not so subtle signaling by the russians :)


Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 06 Mar 2020 10:25
by habal
12 km M4 corridor
M4 corridor of 12 km


Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 06 Mar 2020 10:29
by habal

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 06 Mar 2020 10:55
by Rony
The biggest winners of this ceasefire are Russia and Syria.



- Bombs Turkish soilders, Says Sorry, its mistake. But no guarantee it wont repeat again.
- Doesn't allow any F16s over Idlib. Closes eyes on UAV's tactically. In return gives Russia an opportunity to reposition itself and keep relatively workable relations with Turkey.


- Consolidate territorial gains in Idlib
- SAA will use this ceasefire to fortify its positions in ways that they cannot do while under Turkish artillery and UAV attacks.


Islamist Rebels

- They know that Assad will break this ceasefire once he fortifies his positions and get reinforcements from Iran and Hezbollah and will resume his attacks on remaining parts of Idlib

Somewhere in between


- 60 Turkish deaths so far vs a vs almost nil Russian casualties
- No TuAF in Syria and ceding complete dominance to RuAF
- Fatal mistake to ask for this ceasefire when you are trying to show you are having a upper hand.
- Inspite of damages done to Aassad via UAV's, this ceasefire cedes most of idlib to Assad on the ground .
- Loses the vital M4 and M5 highways to Assad. gives up everything south of the M4 with a 6km buffer zone to both sides. Earlier buffer zone was used by Assad to recapture most of the zone in classic salami slicing fashion.
- Saving grace is they still get to keep the syrian land along their border although its less than what they originally wanted.

Optics wise, this has been a disaster for Erdogan. He asked for the ceasefire. Putin summoned him to Moscow and showed him his place

In Moscow, Erdogan kneels to Putin

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 06 Mar 2020 13:09
by Manish_Sharma
So much poison iran has against us:

TWITTER wrote:

The hearts of Muslims all over the world are grieving over the massacre of Muslims in India. The govt of India should confront extremist Hindus & their parties & stop the massacre of Muslims in order to prevent India’s isolation from the world of Islam.

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 06 Mar 2020 13:17
by vishvak
To imagine that India doesn't have right wing consolidation in the first place until hindutva started making political gains and now already religious pious momin leaders are talking about massacre to hide facts about CAA enrollment of minorities prosecuted in religious countries.

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 06 Mar 2020 16:01
by Parasu
In his meeting with Putin, Erdogan said that Turkey has reserved the right to retaliate in northern Syria and will do so again if provoked. That means, if there is violence, he will attack the Syrians again. The meeting has legitimised not only his hold over Syrian territory but also his use of force against the Syrians inside Syria.

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 06 Mar 2020 16:23
by pankajs
On a different note .. ... 3080905735
Fares Shehabi @ShehabiFares

The Turkish delegation in Moscow stands under the statue of Catherine the Great who defeated The Ottoman empire 11 times! Erdogan humiliated Turkey in every way possible..!

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 06 Mar 2020 18:57
by UlanBatori
Parasu wrote:In his meeting with Putin, Erdogan said that Turkey has reserved the right to retaliate in northern Syria {for 4 THREE days before begging for Ceasefire} and will do so again if provoked. That means, if there is violence, he will attack the Syrians again {and get his butt kicked again}. The meeting has legitimised not only his hold over Syrian territory but also his use of force against the Syrians inside Syria.

The key thing is that the Safe Zone is the 12km-wide exit corridor from Idlib to Turkey. Why?

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 06 Mar 2020 20:25
by Rony
New Putin-Erdogan deal is sugar-coating the Turks’ surrender

This week’s meeting between Presidents Putin and Erdogan in Moscow was cast as preventing a war between Russia and Turkey in Syria. War, however, was never on the horizon. Putin called Erdogan’s bluff, and the Turk folded.

Over the course of a week, from February 27 through March 5, Syria’s Idlib province transitioned from being ground zero for a war between the Syrian army and allied forces, and heavily armed groups opposed to the rule of Syrian President Bashar Assad, into a geopolitical powder keg that threatened to pull the Turkish and Russian militaries into direct conflict with one another. On March 1, Turkey, following up on threats previously made by President Erdogan to drive the Syrian Army and its allies back to the line of demarcation set forth in the original Sochi Agreement, unleashed a major offensive, dubbed “Operation Spring Shield” and involving thousands of Turkish troops fighting alongside anti-Assad formations.

This operation soon fizzled; not only was the Turkish advance halted in its tracks, but the Syrian Army, supported by Hezbollah and pro-Iranian militias, were able to recapture much of the territory lost in the earlier fighting. Faced with the choice of either escalating further and directly confronting Russian forces, or facing defeat on the battlefield, Erdogan instead flew to Moscow.

The new additional protocol, which entered into effect at midnight Moscow time on Friday, March 6, represents a strategic defeat for Erdogan and the Turkish military which, as NATO’s second-largest standing armed force, equipped and trained to the highest Western standards, should have been more than a match for a rag-tag Syrian Army, worn down after nine years of non-stop combat. The Syrian armed forces, together with its allies, however, fought the Turks to a standstill. Moreover, the anti-Assad fighters that had been trained and equipped by the Turks proved to be a disappointment on the battlefield.

One of the major reasons behind the Turkish failure was the fact that Russia controlled the air space over Idlib, denying the Turks the use of aircraft, helicopters and (except for a single 48-hour period) drones, while apparently using their own aircraft, together with the Syrian Air Force, to pummel both the Turkish military and their allied anti-Assad forces (though neither side has officially confirmed the Russians bombing the Turks – that would be a disaster for the talks). In the end, the anti-Assad fighters were compelled to take shelter within so-called ‘Observation posts’– heavily fortified Turkish garrisons established under the Sochi Agreement, intermingling with Turkish forces to protect themselves from further attack. Operation Spring Shield turned out to be a resounding defeat for the Turks and their allies

Under the terms of the additional protocol, the new zones of de-escalation will be defined by the frontlines as they currently exist, securing the hard-won advances made by the Syrian Army and embarrassing Erdogan, who had promised to drive the Syrians back to the positions as they existed at the time of the original Sochi Agreement. Moreover, the M4 highway will now be buffered by a 12-kilometer security zone (Six kilometers on each side), and will be jointly patrolled by Turkey and Russia, guaranteeing secure passage for commercial vehicle traffic. These patrols will begin on March 15, which means the Turks have ten days to oversee the evacuation of anti-Assad forces from this corridor–in effect, pushing them back north of the M4 highway, which was the goal of the Syrian offensive to begin with.

Back in line, but for how long?

While couched as a ceasefire agreement, the additional protocol produced by the Moscow summit between Putin and Erdogan on Thursday is a thinly disguised instrument of surrender. The Syrian government got everything it was looking for by launching its offensive, and the Turks and their anti-Assad allies were left licking their wounds in a much-reduced Idlib pocket. Beyond preventing direct conflict between Turkey and Russia, the additional protocol achieves little that changes the situation on the ground. Turkey is still faced with the task of disarming the HTS fighters it currently embraces as allies, and the humanitarian crisis triggered by hundreds of thousands of refugees displaced by the earlier fighting remains. In many ways, the additional protocol, like its antecedent, the Sochi Agreement, is an arrangement designed to fail, because by succeeding it only perpetuates an unsustainable reality that will only be resolved when the totality of Syrian territory is restored to the control of the Syrian government.

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 06 Mar 2020 22:34
by Y. Kanan
The Turks maintain a division+ in Idlib and a vast army of headchoppers. They’re not going anywhere, they’re just shuffling around. This isn’t over. Many more Syrians will die in the months ahead. It’s amazing how, when one has a preformed conclusion they want to reach (that Russia is big and scary), one can spin anything to look like a victory. That article is nonsense; this is no great victory for Putin. This Idlib thing will probably now drag on for years.

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 06 Mar 2020 22:57
by kvraghav
I think we should have a balanced view regarding Russia and give credit where it is due. I have observed to and fro love for both Russia and USA and might be one is because for being a long term ally and the other might be the love for H1 visa and the green cards. Had to mention this after so many years in BRF

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 00:36
by UlanBatori

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 02:14
by kit


Turkish manufacturers develop long-range drones

The „Akıncı“ is controlled via satellites, which considerably increases the range compared to the „Bayraktar TB2“ or the simple version of the „Anka“. Its payload is stated to be almost 1.5 tons, of which 900 kilograms can be transported under the wings as armament. Unarmed, the „Akıncı“ can be equipped with optical sensors, radar systems, interception devices or technology for electronic warfare.

The competitor Turkish Aerospace Industries is also developing a long-range drone with two engines. The „Aksungur“ is said to have similar capabilities to the „Akıncı“ and was flown for the first time in March. The „Akıncı“ also completed its first test flight two weeks ago. According to media reports, the system should be ready for operation next year and will initially be equipped with air-to-ground missiles with a range of 250 kilometres. A first test of the weapon was rated successful by Baykar. According to the company, the „Akıncı“ can also be used in air combat.


Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 04:07
by UlanBatori
Dang! Pretty neat design. I love the Joined Tail in front of the Pusher Prop. Wonder if desh can buy, since "develop" is not a thought these days, what with the $2 Economy and all. The thing seems to carry two AAMs? :shock:
If the Gan-doo gives a dozen to Bakistan to launch BVR mijjiles, only MiG-21s will be left to fight on Kashmir border!

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 08:46
by UlanBatori
Flee Sillian Almy does what it does best:

@Souria4Syrians·Mar 5
Zahran Alloush working for Assad
Baghdadi working for Assad
Joulani working for Assad
Erdogan working for Assad

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 08:50
by UlanBatori
Don't know what to make of this: probably 90% hope/dreams.
AIPAC members confirmed for coronavirus and likelihood of 100s others who attended conference infected
Things kicking off in Saudi Arabia as MBS goes after his uncle and cousins
Erdogan unhappy with NATO and US over their reaction to his requests over Idlib
Poles gonna shift

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 19:45
by UlanBatori
Post-ceasefire: Turkey shows musharraf for next soccer practice by Putin: Kurdistan.

Peto Lucem Retweeted
Andrew @AndrewBritani·Mar 5
This is how the ceasefire was breached: At 00:22 local time, Terrorists targeted army positions in western Aleppo, the army responded by shelling their positions at Atareb.
The terrorists violated it. Not us.

Peto Lucem Retweeted
@Brasco_Aad·Mar 5 -significant- SOHR: Turkey is ordering jihadists to launch a massive military operation against the Kurds in north-eastern Syria.

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 19:57
by UlanBatori

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 20:06
by Rony
UlanBatori wrote:No comment

This video with comment ... 77312?s=20

Erdogan lost his mind totally during the meeting, while shaking hands with the Russian side, he shaked hands with his own FM

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 20:10
by UlanBatori
This just in: Greek forces have taken UBCN advice: Pakis debriefed before being sent back

Pazarkule border crossing near Edirne, Turkey (CNN)Several migrants attempting to cross from Turkey to Greece told CNN over the past week that Greek security forces took their documents, money, phones and clothes before sending them back to Turkey in their underwear.
CNN has obtained a video showing men in their underpants arriving back on Turkish soil, allegedly sent back through Evros River, with no clothes by Greek security forces. The river, known as Meriç in Turkey, forms the natural border between both countries.
The video was captured by Turkish state broadcaster TRT. CNN cannot independently verify this specific video or circumstances surrounding how it was shot. But human rights groups like Amnesty International have documented dozens of similar refugee testimonies in recent years -- which Greek authorities have repeatedly denied.
CNN has spoken to several men from Syria, Afghanistan, Morocco and Pakistan who said they experienced this violent and degrading treatment by the Greek security forces in recent days.
Abdel Aziz, a 20-year-old tailor from Aleppo province in Syria, told CNN he was beaten up, stripped down to his underwear and had his belongings taken before he was sent back.
"We were caught by military or police, they were carrying weapons ... they took all our clothes, we were left in our underwear, they started beating us up, some people were beaten so hard they couldn't walk anymore," Aziz told CNN, as he was walking barefoot in the city of Edirne near the border. "They burned the IDs and clothes, they kept the phones and money," he added.
Hameed, a 23-year old Afghan man holding his 14-month-old son in a baby carrier, said he and his family crossed to Greece the night before, but were pushed back with a big group of other people.
He told CNN the group crossed the border river and walked for five hours before the Greek security forces stopped them, took their belongings and deported them back to Turkey.
"They beat us with some, like, sticks and then they deport us," he told CNN. He said both he and his wife were hit. CNN has spoken to several men from Syria, Afghanistan, Morocco and Pakistan who said they experienced violent and degrading treatment by the Greek security forces.
'Responding to the provocations'
The government denies using excessive force against migrants. Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told CNN's Richard Quest on Friday that "Europe is not going to be blackmailed by Turkey."
Greece had "every right to protect our borders," he said, adding "we have not used any sort of excessive force."
"We're always reacting, we are never initiating, in terms of responding to the provocations across the border."
Greece has refused to open its side of the border and responded to the influx of migrants with force. At Turkey's Pazarkule border crossing, eyewitnesses told CNN on Wednesday that Greek security forces had fired live ammunition.
Turkey accused Greek border guards of opening fire on refugees and migrants gathered at its border on Wednesday, killing one and injuring five others. The Greek government has denied using live ammunition.

CNN's Ivana Kottasová wrote from London.

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 20:15
by Rony
Turkey has inferior military compared to Egypt but are more overstretched than Egypt.

Does Egypt really have a stronger military than Turkey ?

Egypt is now a stronger military power than its rival Turkey, according to the 2020 Military Strength Ranking. The new ranking is significant since it comes at a time when Turkey and Egypt are at loggerheads over a Turkish-Libya maritime deal, Turkey’s gas drilling off the coast of Cyprus, and the ongoing conflict in Libya.

According to the ranking, which utilises more than 50 individual factors to estimate a nation’s military strength, Egypt has leapfrogged Turkey by advancing three places since last year, becoming the ninth most powerful military ahead of Turkey, which has dropped from ninth to 11th place.

Egypt and Turkey both have very powerful militaries by regional standards.

“The Military Strength Ranking is a nice point of reference, but I personally don’t think it should be taken at face value,” said Oded Berkowitz, the deputy director of intelligence at MAX Security, an Israel-based security intelligence firm.

“Like any kind of index or report on a very broad scale, it inherently misses much of the nuances,” he said. “This is not just with regards to Turkey versus Egypt, but throughout the list.”

Berkowitz believes it is difficult to make such assessments since various factors can change on “a case by case basis depending on the relevant country, the geopolitical situation at the time, other actors that are involved, and so forth.”

It is in this context that he sees the present situation in Libya, where Egypt and Turkey support opposite sides of the conflict, as unique.

In Libya, Turkey is giving direct military support to the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and Egypt is one of the backers of the Libyan National Army (LNA) headquartered in the eastern city of Tobruk.

“Egypt and Turkey were both covertly, to an extent, supporting opposing sides in the conflict for years, until recently when Turkey perceived its side, and interests, as under high threat, which along with other factors, brought it to officially start a direct military intervention,” Berkowitz said.

Since there are presently no similar factors in the conflict that could compel Egypt to take similar more direct measures, “the equation is an official direct military intervention (Turkey) versus indirect, covert military assistance (Egypt), which makes it naturally unbalanced,” he said.

Berkowitz also stressed that each theatre of conflict needed to be examined and assessed in its own specific context along with the broader geopolitical situation.

“For instance, Turkey right now is pretty stretched militarily as it’s involved in two conflicts outside of its borders (Syria and Libya) in addition to its continued domestic counter-militancy campaign against mainly Kurdish forces,” he said.

Consequently, Turkey’s capabilities to project military power beyond its borders is presently strained.

“Egypt also has limited capabilities to project power beyond its neighbouring countries, but is somewhat more free to do so, as its current military commitments are fewer,”
he said.

Turkey and Egypt have been major rivals in the Middle East and North Africa since July 2013, when a military coup in Egypt deposed Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi, who was supported by Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

After the coup, the army chief responsible for Morsi’s ousting, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, was elected president of Egypt. Sisi, with the support of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, cracked down on the Brotherhood.

Egypt certainly feels threatened, not just by Turkish support of the Muslim Brotherhood, but by Turkish regional ambitions, especially in the east Mediterranean and in Libya,” said Nervana Mahmoud, an independent commentator on Middle East issues.

“Egypt feels Turkey’s hands everywhere, from Erdoğan’s support for Hamas, to his ambitious expansion in Africa, to his open support of the government in western Libya,” she said.

Mahmoud said that in a region where most states were either failing or weak “the Egyptian leadership sees its military strength as its main line of defence against the regional ambitions of other Middle Eastern powers, particularly Turkey and Iran.”

Levent Özgül, an Ankara-based military analyst and founder of BlueMelange Consultancy, pointed out that both Turkey and Egypt “are strong military countries based on historically robust armed forces, military cultures and large populations.”

Turkey’s military, he said, was largely land-based with enormous fire-support capabilities, several drones, a huge helicopter fleet and high-level NATO-logistical standards – it remains the second-largest army in the alliance. Turkey also operates a fleet of warships armed with lethal anti-ship missiles, submarines, and an ageing air force which, nevertheless, maintains important support aircraft.

The Turkish military, he said, “mostly depends on land warfare and using old, but modernised, tanks and armoured vehicles along with Fırtına 155/52 howitzers and anti-tank missiles.”

Egypt, on the other hand, has substantially improved both its air force and navy with “rapid and aggressive modernisation efforts” in recent years with acquisitions from the United States, France, and Russia.

Cairo operates two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships it bought from France, while Turkey has not yet launched its upcoming flagship and first amphibious assault ship, the TCG Anadolu .

Özgül pointed out that Turkey had struggled to modernise its fleet of warships, adding only four new ships to its navy in the last 25 years.

However, its submarine programmes are very important for Turkey and the country has made big leaps forward in its submarine capabilities in the eastern Mediterranean,” Özgül said.

The Turkish Air Force also has not received any new fighter jets in the last 12 years.

Turkey’s armed forces are also “obsolete”, consisting of old U.S.-built M60 tanks and German-built Leopard 2A4s,
the analyst said.

Egypt, on the other hand, possesses well over 1,000 U.S.-built M1A1 main battle tanks along with Russian-built T-90MS tanks, both of which are “much more modern than Turkey’s tank fleet,” Özgül said. Egypt operates U.S.-built Apache helicopter gunships, while Turkey operates less advanced, albeit modernised, U.S.-built Super Cobra attack helicopters.

Over the last few years, Egypt also substantially enlarged and improved its air force, primarily by acquiring advanced Dassault Rafale multirole jets from France and modern MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jets from Russia.

Egypt, Özgül said, also has a “huge geographical advantage” over Turkey in the Mediterranean. Turkey’s air force is hugely constrained and incapable of carrying out combat air patrols over most of that sea, and especially not over Libya, given its limited aerial refuelling capabilities.

When it comes to establishing air superiority beyond its borders, Turkey also faces severe limitations. Its purchase of Russian S-400 air defence missiles resulted in the United States suspending sales of 100 F-35 advanced fighter jets that Turkey had ordered. This means it might not have any warplanes for the TCG Anadolu, which can only support jets with a vertical take-off capability.

Meanwhile, analysts say Turkey’s S-400s are likely only to be used for the defence of Ankara.

“There is no chance of Turkey deploying S-400s on its eastern Mediterranean coast due to severe NATO objections,” Özgül said, adding that Ankara’s four batteries were also negligible when it comes to the defence of Turkey’s entire airspace.

Egypt, on the other hand, has a far more extensive array of air defence missiles, most notably the advanced Russian-built S-300s and U.S. Patriots.

But domestically built Turkish missile systems need time, technology and a lot of money, before they become operational, Özgül said. “Therefore, Egypt’s air defence network is far more capable than Turkey’s,” he said.

Most of Turkey’s F-16s are not modernised. Some analysts have said that Turkey also lacked pilots to fly all of them as a result of the widespread military purges following the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. Its fifth-generation TF-X fighter project is also unlikely to get off the ground for the foreseeable future.

While both countries armed forces are very powerful, Egypt’s military may soon prove to be a highly formidable opponent of, and obstacle to, Turkey’s goals in the eastern Mediterranean, Libya, and beyond.

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 07 Mar 2020 20:28
by UlanBatori
Looks like Greece has proved what we all knew: That the "migrants" from Idlib are terrorists who went to Syria to brutalize Syrians. Wish Turkey all happiness as they get their wish: Now they are truly "Europeanized", being full of Pakis. :mrgreen:

It seems terribly heartless to rob refugees, but Greece probably decided to make an example of the first ones to breach their border in order to deter others. Esp. after seeing that they are Paki Terrorists.

Interesting. Maybe BSF should start throwing them in the Jhelum in winter, too. Why waste a bullet?

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 02:20
by UlanBatori
‘Surprise’: Al-Qaeda’s HTS Rejects Russian-Turkish Agreement On Greater Idlib, Vows To Fight On
‘Surprise’: Al-Qaeda’s HTS Rejects Russian-Turkish Agreement On Greater Idlib, Vows To Fight On

Al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) has officially rejected the recent Russian-Turkish agreement on Greater Idlib, vowing to keep on fighting.

In an official statement, the terrorist group claimed that the agreement would allow the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Russian forces to resume military operation in the region. The group also noted that most of the agreement’s terms are “not implementable.”

“This agreement is tinged with ambiguity and loose, floating phrases that allow the Russian occupier to use it for aggression again, and there are also terms that cannot be implemented at all, in face, they are considered an insult and humiliation of the blood of the martyrs and the sacrifices of ten continuous years,” HTS’ statement, which was released on March 7, reads.

The terrorist group also thanked the Turkish government for directly engaging in the recent battle against the SAA and its allies in Greater Idlib

HTS concluded its statement by vowing to fight on against the SAA and its allies, promising that there will be “no peace or security” until the Syrian government is overthrown.

“Know that there is no language that works with the occupier other than the language of force and weapons, so seek the help of Almighty God, the great,” HTS said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish Counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan finalized the new agreement on Greater Idlib during a face-to-face meeting in Moscow on March 5. Under the new agreement, a ceasefire was put in place and joint patrols are set to start very soon on the Aleppo-Lattakia highway.

HTS’ rejection of the agreement was widely expected. The terrorist group has already violated the ceasefire several times. This hostile behavior could sabotage the agreement. In this case, the SAA and its allies will very likely resume military operations in Greater Idlib.

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 03:15
by nam
So now Turkey will make Egypt & Israel, who have found numerous wars, join up to dislodge Turkey from Libya! :rotfl:

India will be very glad to assist.

The list of countries Sultan has made enemies.. Egypt, Israel, India, Russia, potentially Saudis.. :D

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 04:57
by UlanBatori
I don't believe these Russkies. Look at the image behind Erdogan

Made by artist Eugene Lanceray in 1880, the work shows Russian troops crossing over the Balkan Mountains during the Russian-Turkish war a few years prior. The war, incidentally, ended in a humiliating defeat for the Ottomans, who lost control over large swathes of their Balkan territories.
While some people instantly jumped to the conclusion that the clock must have been placed there deliberately as a reminder to Erdogan, Dmitry Peskov said this was not the case. “Of course it was a coincidence,” he assured reporters, adding that the piece of art has been in the room for about two decades.

The trolling theory may be appealing to Russian nationalists, but should be taken with a grain of salt even by those who wouldn’t take Peskov’s word on it. Lanceray, who despite his French name was a Russian artist, is not as internationally famous as Michelangelo or Rodin, so it's unlikely Erdogan instantly recognized this particular work and was able to decipher the alleged signal.

If anything, the Turkish leader could have had an issue with another statue he could see in the Kremlin. In the corner of the room is a big monument to Catherine the Great, the 18th century Russian Empress credited with wrestling Crimea from the Turks during the three decades of her rule. It can be seen in some of the photos of the state visit.

Erdogan and his delegation travelled to Moscow to meet with Putin. Putin had them stand under the statue of Catherine II, the Empress of Russia who crushed the Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774). It doesn’t get more humiliating than this for Erdogan.

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 09:16
by Rony
Paki Shia cannon fodder

50 Pakistani fighters killed in Turkish strikes in Syria — Pakistan officials

The deceased likely belong to Zainebiyoun Brigade, a militant group that was placed on the US Treasury’s financial blacklist in January 2019 and comprises Pakistani Shias fighting in Syria and Iran.

According to media reports, Zainebiyoun Brigade has over 800 Pakistanis fighting in Syria. The group’s fighters are allegedly trained by Iran’s Quds Force, the military unit responsible for projecting Iran’s influence via proxies across the Middle East.

“Following the clashes in Syria’s Idlib [region], 21 members of Fatemiyoun and Zainebiyoun brigades were martyred,” Iran’s Hawzah News Agency reported on Sunday, adding that 18 of the deceased belonged to the Zainebiyoun Brigade.

“This is not the first incident where Pakistanis have been killed in Syria,” Pakistani security analyst Muhammad Amir Rana said, adding that Pakistani militants fighting for both Daesh and Assad’s forces, had been killed in Syria in the past. He said many Pakistanis had also been arrested upon their return from Syria but could not provide an exact number of fatalities.

Defense analyst Brig. (R) Mahmood Shah said a small number of Sunni militants had also gone to Syria to join Daesh.

“People from the Shia community have religious affinity with Iran, Iraq and Syria and sacred places over there, so their number may be high,” Shah told Arab News. “With war intensifying in the coming days, more deaths [of Pakistanis] are expected.

Last month, Pakistani police claimed to have arrested an important member of the Zainebiyoun brigade from the port city of Karachi.

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 10:02
by Deans
The maps posted by Habal ji, show the following:
Overall Syria: The Assad Govt + the Kurds in control over 80% of the country. The exceptions are a Turkish controlled buffer zone (dark blue) between Turkey and the Kurds and 2 active rebel enclaves - one in the south on the Jordan /Iraq border and the other at Idlib. The only anti Assad foreign power which remains actively involved in the fighting is Turkey. My sense is that their role has changed from regime change to protecting their proxies from the Kurds (in the buffer zone) and from the SAA/Russians in Idlib

Idlib: SAA had pushed west from the M5 highway, towards the town of Iblib. That removes the threat to their supply lines into Allepo and compresses the Idlib pocket from the East. That's why the M5 highway was not mentioned in the ceasefire deal. SAA/Russian control of that highway is a fait-accompli. The Turkish observation posts along that highway are now isolated and surrounded. They have to either vacate them, or the men in them would be hostage to the actions of the Turkish forces elsewhere.

The SAA now has control of the M4 highway, which is the fastest way to bring Russian hardware and other supplies to the front. It also means that the southern third of the rebel held Idlib pocket (south of the M4) is cut off from Turkish support. I expect that to fall next.

The rest of the pocket would then be subjected to attacks from the North East (Kurdish forces), the East (from Allepo & the M5 highway) and the South (with supplies coming in along the M4). The whole area will soon be within artillery range of the SAA, so it helps them to have a no fly zone over Idlib.
There are 7 different rebel groups in the Idlib enclave. They can be broadly divided into Pro-Turkish / Turkic militia and most Islamist groups like Al-Nusra. I think the latter have been thrown under the bus, in the new peace deal, where the Turks have implied they are fine with air strikes against rebels, as long as no Turkish positions are targeted.
For the Pro-Turkish groups/ Turkish army in the remaining part of Idlib, the choice is either to continue fighting - a defensive battle, with a million new refugees from Idlib move into Turkey (using the refugees against Turkey in the same way that Turkey is using them against Greece/ EU), or a cease-fire which consolidates SAA/Kurdish control of the newly liberated areas and further squeezes Islamist groups.

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 10:09
by habal
the main turkic militia operating in idlib, north western aleppo and hasakah are the turkomen ethnic tribe which converted wholesale into isis, nusra, hizbut tahrir al sham. This is the definition of the word fifth column if any. After eating bread of Syria for so long they still have no loyalty.

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 10:26
by Deans
Some points about the Turkish military:
Turkey has a mostly conscript army, designed for counter-insurgency against the Kurds. The only efficient part of the army has hitherto been the professional long service officer corps (most officers are also conscripts - albeit college educated). In 2016. Erdogan purged the military. An estimated 5000 senior officers were purged mostly for lack of loyalty to the regime, or `closeness to NATO'. Professional officers have been replaced by Islamists.
The impact has been seen for e.g. a low serviceability of aircraft. Coupled with this, lack of funds for modernising hardware.

Turkey is fighting 3 wars - Support for the Libyan Govt (against rebels who control most of the country and are more popular), Action against the Kurds in Syria, Northern Iraq and in Turkey and now in Idlib. This is bleeding the Turkish economy and (if casualties increase) will cause domestic unrest if conscripts do not get to go home after their military service. Pressure on Turkey can be turned up by either supporting the Kurds (which the US and Russia may now be more inclined to do) or the Libyan rebels (supported by Russia, Egypt, UAE and possibly Saudi and France).

Most Turkish drones are made by a company controlled by Erdogan's son. It's in his interest to lose a lot of them, so he can sell the Turkish military more expensive replacements.

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 19:54
by Rony
Deans wrote: Most Turkish drones are made by a company controlled by Erdogan's son. It's in his interest to lose a lot of them, so he can sell the Turkish military more expensive replacements.

Small correction. The drone company is not of the son, but his son-in-law selcuk bayraktar after whom the drones are also named - Bayraktar series. They include Bayraktar mini UAV's, Bayraktar TB1 and Bayraktar TB2( armed version). He is married to Erdogan's youngest daughter sumeyye erdogan.

In addition to those drones, the turkish state owned Turkish aerospace Industries produces its own drones - Anka series . They include Anka-A, Anka-B, Anka-C, Anka-E, Anka-I.

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 20:05
by Rony
Janes on Turkish drones in syria

Turkish UAVs played leading role in Idlib battle

The Turkish military made extensive use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) during the eight days of intense fighting in Syria's Idlib province that came to an end with a ceasefire at midnight on 5-6 March. However, the loss of at least four aircraft raised questions about their ability to counter Syria's ground-based air defences.

UAV operations surged over Syria after 34 Turkish soldiers were killed in an airstrike in southern Idlib on 27 February. The Turkish Ministry of National Defence (MSB) subsequently claimed to have inflicted hundreds of Syrian casualties, and destroyed dozens of tanks, armoured vehicles, and artillery pieces.

Although the MSB did not explicitly credit UAVs with all this destruction, it released several video clips showing attacks that were almost certainly carried out by unmanned aircraft. It also highlighted this aspect of the operation by giving CNN Turk access to a base - probably at Hatay Airport - from where Bayraktar TB2 armed UAVs were being flown.

Meanwhile, the Turkish media reported that 'SİHA' (the Turkish abbreviation for armed UAVs) were carrying out "swarm" attacks against the Syrian military.

While the initial round of Turkish UAV attacks appeared to be largely unopposed, Syrian air defence assets began to engage the aircraft from 1 March. Two days later, Al-Masdar News cited Syrian military sources as saying as many as seven UAVs had been shot down. On 4 March, the Izvestia newspaper cited Russia military sources as saying five Anka and seven Bayraktar TB2 UAVs had been shot down by Syrian Buk and Pantsir air defence systems.

Videos and photographs from several sources in Idlib appear to confirm four Turkish UAV losses since 25 February, when the wreckage of an Anka was photographed spread across a field. Another Anka was filmed falling to the ground in flames near the strategic town of Saraqib on 1 March

Notice in the above report, the confirmation that the initial round of Turkish UAV attacks were largely unopposed. It appears that's the initial 2 day window agreed between Putin and Erdogan to vent Turkish anger over bombing of its troops by RuAF. The Turks will blame the syrians and targets their assets in those 2 days while the Russians wont be touched. Most of the turkish UAV successes, the UAV videos circulated in turkish social media were from those 2 days. After that initial given window was banned, SAA air defenses started shooting down those UAVs.

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 21:09
by Rony
Nicholas Danforth
A CRS map showing the current situation in Idlib. Turkey's observation posts stand as markers of just how much territory the regime has retaken since the last cease-fire.

Michael Tanchum
Syrian Government with Russian support will take back the area in blue. Assad-allied forces already took 2 villages today at the contact line in the south


Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 09 Mar 2020 00:54
by Y. Kanan
UlanBatori wrote:What really happened in Moscow... (worth watching)

Better map of ceasefire: Lots of Turkish observation posts even in Aleppo province!

So what does it mean for only the M4 to be "secure zone", unless it is for 1-way trip out of Syria to Turkey?

The presence of these observation posts mean Turkey has no intention of ever leaving Syria. This is a land grab pure and simple. This stolen land in Idlib, Afrin, NE Rojava, this is where the rapefugees are going (at the expense of the hapless civilians in those areas).

The moment Putin let Turkey setup those observation posts was the moment that Syrian lost its territorial integrity. The Syrians are more likely to evict the US forces as they have less staying power than the Turks and their headchoppers.

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 09 Mar 2020 07:52
by Roop
nam wrote:So now Turkey will make Egypt & Israel... join up to dislodge Turkey from Libya! :rotfl:

India will be very glad to assist.

I strongly hope that you are wrong. India should be very glad to stay the hell out of all these stupid middle-Eastern wars.

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 09 Mar 2020 22:52
by habal
Important :

A very heavy flight of Russian reconnaissance flights in the countryside of Idlib, especially in the western part of the governorate and Mount Zawia.
A Turkish drone (Bayrakdar TB-2) crashes at an air force base in Batman
The Turkish Ministry of Defense announced a short time ago that a drone was shot down during training and testing operations.

and a statement issued by the ministry said that the reason for the downing of this drone was not known yet, and confirmed that the crash of this plane did not cause loss of life among the supervisors of this air training.

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 10 Mar 2020 03:53
by Rony
Even the Americans are now reluctantly conceding

How Turkey Lost A Battle Of Wills, And Force, To Russia

Erdogan talked tough, but in the end had to surrender gains to Moscow and Damascus.

When the history of the Syrian conflict is written, the fighting that took place between the Syrian Army and its allies on the one side, and the Turkish military and Turkish-backed Syrian rebels on the other, from early February through early March 2020 in and around the Syrian town of Saraqib, will go down as one of the decisive encounters of that war.

Representing more than a clash of arms between the Syrian and Turkish militaries, the Battle for Saraqib was a test of political will between Turkish President Recep Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. History will show Turkey lost on both accounts.

The Battle for Saraqib had its roots in fighting that began back in December 2019, in the form of an offensive carried out by the Syrian Army, supported by the Russian Air Force, against pro-Turkish opposition forces in and around Idlib province. The Syrian-Russian offensive represented the collapse of the so-called Sochi Agreement of September 17, 2018, which established what were known as “de-escalation zones” separating the Syrian Army from anti-government rebel forces in Idlib. As part of the Sochi Agreement, Turkey set up a dozen “observation posts”—in reality, fortified compounds housing several hundred troops and their equipment—throughout the Idlib de-escalation zone.

In exchange for legitimizing the existence of fortified Turkish observation posts, the Sochi Agreement mandated specific actions on Turkey’s part, including overseeing the establishment of a “demilitarized zone” within the de-escalation zone where tanks, artillery and multiple rocket launchers were to be excluded, and from which all “radical terrorist groups” would be removed by October 15, 2018. Moreover, Turkey was responsible for restoring transit traffic on two strategic highways linking the city of Aleppo with Latakia (the M4 highway) and Damascus (the M5 highway.)

While Turkey established its fortified observation posts, it failed to live up to any of its commitments under the Sochi Agreement—no demilitarized zones were created, no heavy equipment evacuated, and no “radical terrorist groups” removed from the de-escalation zone. This last point was of particular note, since the most prominent of these “radical terrorist groups”—Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, or HTS—was also the largest and most effective of the anti-Assad groups operating in Idlib province.

The objective of the December 2019 Syrian military offensive was to achieve through force of arms what Turkey had failed to do—restore transit traffic capability for both the M4 and M5 highways and, in doing so, evict HTS and other anti-Assad rebel groups from the de-escalation zones. By early February 2020 the Syrian Army had, through its advances, surrounded a number of Turkish observation posts, putting Turkey in the politically difficult situation of sitting and watching while the anti-Assad forces it had helped create, train and equip were being defeated on the field of battle.

Turkey sought to blunt the Syrian advance on Feb. 3, by reinforcing its observation post located near the strategic town of Saraqib, which overlooked the juncture of the M4 and M5 highways. Whomever controlled Saraqib likewise controlled both highways. When a large Turkish military convoy heading toward Saraqib was brought under Syrian artillery fire, killing five Turkish soldiers and three Turkish civilian contractors, Turkey responded by shelling Syrian Army positions, killing scores of Syrian soldiers. This was the opening round of what would become the Battle for Saraqib and represented the first large-scale combat between the Syrian and Turkish militaries since the Syrian crisis began in 2011.

The Syrian attack on the Turkish Army in Idlib was a red line for President Erdogan, who in a statement made before Turkish parliamentarians on Feb. 5, warned that “if the Syrian regime will not retreat from Turkish observation posts in Idlib in February, Turkey itself will be obliged to make this happen.” Erdogan backed up his rhetoric by deploying tens of thousands of Turkish troops, backed up by armor and artillery, to its border with Syria, while continuing to dispatch reinforcements to its beleaguered observation posts inside Idlib.

On Feb. 6, the Syrian Army captured Saraqib. Four days later, on Feb. 10, Turkish-backed rebels, backed by Turkish artillery, launched a counterattack against Syrian Army positions around Saraqib, which was beaten back by heavy Syrian artillery fire. In the process, the Turkish observation near the village of Taftanaz was hit by Syrian shells, killing five Turkish soldiers and wounding five others. The Turks responded by striking Syrian Army positions throughout Idlib province with sustained artillery and rocket fire.

Speaking to Turkish parliamentarians after the attack on Taftanaz, Erdogan declared that “we will strike regime forces everywhere from now on regardless of the Sochi deal if any tiny bit of harm comes to our soldiers at observation posts or elsewhere,” adding that“We are determined to push back (regime forces) behind the borders of the Sochi deal by the end of February.”

The capture of Saraqib and the vital M4-M5 highway juncture allowed the Syrian Army to seize control of the entire M5 highway for the first time since 2012. The Syrian Army then proceeded to push west, toward the city of Idlib, closing to within eight miles of the provincial capital. In order to blunt the Syrian advances, Turkey deployed hundreds of Special Forces who integrated into the ranks of the anti-regime units, helping coordinate their attacks with Turkish artillery and rocket supporting fires. Starting Feb. 16, the rebel fighters, supported by Turkish Special Forces, launched a relentless attack against Syrian Army positions in and around the village of Nayrab, located mid-way between Idlib and Saraqib. Nayrab eventually fell on the night of Feb. 24. The cost, however, was high—hundreds of rebel fighters were killed, along with two Turkish soldiers.

The Turks and their rebel allies then turned their sights on Saraqib itself, pushing out of Nayrab and securing a foothold in Saraqib’s eastern suburbs and cutting the M5 highway in several locations. The Syrian Army had shifted most of its offensive power to the southwest, where they were advancing toward the M4 highway. The Syrians called in fighters from Hezbollah and pro-Iranian militias to help stabilize the Saraqib front. The Turkish military, in an effort to break up Russian and Syrian aerial attacks, began employing man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), firing more than 15. While none of these hit their targets, they did cause the Russians and Syrian to abort their attacks and leave the area.

In retaliation for the Turkish employment of MANPADS, Russia and Syrian aircraft struck a Turkish mechanized battalion operating in southern Idlib on Feb. 27, killing more than 33 Turkish soldiers, and wounding some 60 more. This attack sent shock waves through Turkey, with Erdogan threatening to punish all parties responsible, including the Russians (who denied their involvement in the attack, despite evidence to the contrary.)

On March 1 President Erdogan ordered Turkish forces to carry out a general offensive in Idlib, named Operation Spring Shield, intended to drive Syria and its allies back to the positions they held at the time of the Sochi Agreement in September 2018. The combined Turkish-rebel offensive immediately stalled in the face of steadfast Syrian resistance, backed by Russian air strikes. The Syrian Army recaptured Saraqib and took control of the entire M5 highway, reversing the earlier Turkish gains.

By March 4, the situation facing the Turkish-backed rebel fighters was so dire that they gave up all pretense of independent operations, and instead intermixed themselves within the Turkish outposts to avoid being targeted by the Russian Air Force. Erdogan, recognizing that the game was up, flew to Moscow on March 5 for an emergency summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, where they negotiated the terms of a new ceasefire agreement.

The Moscow Summit was a bitter pill for Erdogan to swallow. Although formulated as an “additional protocol” to the existing September 2018 Sochi Agreement, the deal struck between Erdogan and Putin in Moscow was very much a document of surrender for the Turks. His fiery rhetoric and threats to push the Syrian Army and its allies out of Idlib the contrary, Erdogan was compelled to accept a new “de-escalation” zone defined by the frontlines as they stood on March 6.

Moreover, the Turks were now compelled to share enforcement and monitoring of a 12-kilometer “demilitarized zone” straddling the M4 highway with Russian military patrols. Lastly, adding insult to injury, the Turks were denied a no-fly zone over Idlib, ceding control of the air to the Russian Air Force, while still being required to disarm and remove all persons belonging to terrorist organizations, which in this case meant HTS, the most numerous and effective of the anti-Assad rebel groups. In short, Russia secured for Syria all its hard-won victories, while ceding nothing to Turkey save a face-saving ceasefire.

For Syria and Russia, the Battle of Saraqib was about restoring Syrian sovereignty over the totality of Syrian territory; for Turkey, it was about securing lasting Turkish control and influence over the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib. Turkey lost on both accounts. While Turkey has been allowed to maintain its chain of fortified “observation posts”, the vast majority of these are surrounded by the Syrian Army, and of no military value.

Moreover, the dismal performance of the Turkish Army and its anti-Assad allies against the Syrian Army and its allies, including the Russian Air Force, in the Idlib campaign as a whole, and the Battle of Saraqib in particular, have put to rest any thoughts Erdogan might have retained about imposing Turkey’s will on either Damascus or Moscow; Turkey now knows that there will not be a Turkish military solution to the problem of Idlib.

Re: Levant crisis - III

Posted: 11 Mar 2020 07:35
by habal
yak herder's dream/nightmare scenario ... battle by hundreds of drones overwhelming AD systems. ... ry-attack/
“As a result of mass attack by Turkish combat unmanned aerial vehicles, two Syrian Pantsyr air defense missile/gun systems were damaged,” the ministry said, adding that repair works were nearing completion.

Reports submitted to Turkey’s head of state about the combat efficiency of the use of armed unmanned aerial vehicles in the Idlib governorate, which allegedly destroyed eight Syrian Pantsyr air defense missile/gun systems, have nothing to do with the real state of things and are nothing but an exaggeration,” the ministry stated.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, most of Syrian air defense systems, including the Pantsyrs, are deployed near Damascus, with only four Pantsyr systems being used near the Idlib de-escalation zone.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated earlier on Tuesday that Turkish drones had destroyed eight Pantsyr air defense systems of the Syrian armed forces in Idlib.

Source: TASS