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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 23-Aug-2019
23-Aug-19 World View -- Syria regime wins major victory in Idilb, after attacking Turkish military convoy

Web Log - August, 2019

23-Aug-19 World View -- Syria regime wins major victory in Idilb, after attacking Turkish military convoy

Russia admits its ground troops are fighting in Idlib

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from

Syria regime and Russia major victory in Idlib, capturing Khan Sheikhoun

An Arab cartoon expressing the view that Vladimir Putin blindly bombs wherever Bashar al-Assad tells him, making Putin the puppet of puppetmaster al-Assad (Mideast Monitor)
An Arab cartoon expressing the view that Vladimir Putin blindly bombs wherever Bashar al-Assad tells him, making Putin the puppet of puppetmaster al-Assad (Mideast Monitor)

The regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad, supported by Russia's army and airforce, has achieved a major victory in al-Assad's campaign to recapture Idlib province from anti-Assad rebels. This comes after weeks when the Idlib war was at a standstill and frozen in place.

Syrian and Russian forces entered the strategic town of Khan Sheikhoun on Wednesday, after capturing another strategically important town, Al-Hobeit, last week. These two towns lie on the key M5 highway that connects Damascus with the northern city of Aleppo. Anti-Assad forces have been in control of these towns since they were captured in 2014, so their recapture represents a major symbolic and strategic victory for al-Assad.

As the Syrian and Russian forces closed in, all the "moderate" anti-Assad rebel fighters, many of them supported by Turkey, withdrew. Reports indicate that they moved north and east, towards the Turkey border, to try to prevent the Syrian and Russian forces from proceeding further.

Another group of anti-Assad rebels, the al-Qaeda linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS, Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Nusra Front) has issued a statement that the withdrawal is a "redeployment" of its fighters to the southern part of Khan Sheikhoun from where they would continue to defend their territory.

There are over three million people in Idlib, most of whom fled there from Bashar al-Assad's violence in other regions. About 70,000 are anti-Assad rebels, and rest are families of men, women and children. Bashar al-Assad considers all three million of them to be "terrorists," and are to be exterminated. He's made it pretty clear that this is his intention, although he hasn't specifically used the word "exterminated."

Now Idlib is being bombed and attacked by Syrian regime and Russian forces as happened in previous "de-escalation zones," including Aleppo, Ghouta, Daraa, but there is no other place to flee to. This is the last major region for al-Assad's genocide and ethnic cleansing of his Arab Sunni political opposition. Al-Assad is particularly targeting hospitals, schools and markets, in order to kill as many women and children as possible. However, al-Assad has not yet begun using chemical weapons -- chlorine gas, phosphorous and Sarin gas -- as he did regularly in other regions.

Many families in Khan Sheikhoun and the surrounding villages are afraid of leaving their homes for fear of losing their land, their crops, their animals, and their belongings. Tens of thousands of families have left their homes in the last two days alone, and are fleeing north and west toward the border with Turkey. The regions closer to the Turkey border are becoming more and more crowded, since Turkey, which already hosts 3.5 million Syrian refugees, has closed the border. At a time of his choosing, al-Assad and his Russian puppets will be able mop up the crowds of civilian families all at once.

Syria attacks Turkey's military convoy

As a result of the so-called "Astana process" last year, Turkey and Russia agreed that Idlib was a "de-escalation zone," and Turkey would police it, and take the guns away from the anti-Assad rebels. Turkey has set up a dozen small military bases (observation posts) around the region, as part of that agreement, but has not been successful in disarming the anti-Assad rebels.

These Turkish observation posts have been attacked repeatedly by artillery from the Syrian army. Turkey has repeatedly demanded that Russia keep al-Assad under control, but Russia has been unable or unwilling to do so.

The situation became much more alarming on August 17 when, for the first time, Syrian warplanes targeted a Turkish military convoy on its way to an observation post near Khan Sheikhoun. Three civilians were killed and 12 wounded.

Turkey's Defense Ministry blamed the Russians, saying that Turkey had supplied the Russians with advance information on the route that the convoy would be taking. However, an al-Assad spokesman said that the convoy was attacked on purpose, because "Turkish vehicles loaded with munitions... are heading toward Khan Sheikhoun to help the terrorists." In other words, Syria used the information to locate the convoy, and targeted it on purpose.

None of this is surprising. The UN is conducting an investgation of Syria and Russia for targeting hospitals and schools. The UN had supplied the Syrians and Russians with the coordinates of the hospital and school in Idlib, so that they would not be targeted by warplanes. Instead, the Syrians and Russians used those coordinates to target schools and hospitals on purpose.

Russia admits its ground troops are fighting in Idlib

During 2015, I repeatedly reported that the army of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad was near collapse, after al-Assad's army suffered a number of significant major setbacks, and was being crippled by massive desertions. ( "8-Apr-15 World View -- Bashar al-Assad's Syria army showing signs of collapse")

At that time, al-Assad was saved by the massive intervention by Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah. It's been known that Iran's troops from the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have been fighting alongside al-Assad's troops in Syria. It's been known that Hezbollah troops, under orders from their Iranian puppetmasters, have also been fighting alongside al-Assad's troops in Syria.

Russia's warplanes have been an essential part of al-Assad's slaughter of his Sunni Arab enemies. But Russia has always denied that Russian troops were fighting in Syria, even though numerous reports said that they were.

However, during a press conference on Tuesday, Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov finally confirmed that "There are Russian soldiers on the ground in the Syrian province of Idlib."

He added that Russia would respond to any attack on its soldiers in Syria. That would be a warning to Russia's supposed ally, Turkey.

It's not surprising al-Assad's army needs even more help. Syria is in a generational Awakening/Unraveling era, and the people have little will to fight another war. The civil war in Syria should have fizzled years ago, but it's continuing because Bashar al-Assad is a psychopathic monster, and because he's received massive support from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.

Turkey and Russia on a military collision path

There's nothing new here. Syria and Russia have always used the "peace talks" as a cover to hide the continued genocide, and they're doing it again in Idlib.

Turkey has played along, but there are two things that would change that: attacks by Syrian or Russian warplanes on Turkish forces, and a massive humanitarian disaster that would push hundreds of thousands of people across the border into Turkey.

Bashar al-Assad has said repeatedly that he intends to take control of Idlib province. There is absolutely no reason to doubt his intentions, or that he intends to do it using the same methods he used in Aleppo, Ghouta, Daraa, and previous de-escalation zones: targeting markets, schools, hospitals and residences with barrel bombs laden with metal, chlorine gas, ammonia, phosphorous and chemical weapons targeting innocent Sunni women and children, and using Sarin gas to kill large groups of people. He considers all Sunni Arab political opponents to be cockroaches to be exterminated.

The first warplane attack on Turkish forces occurred four days ago. As al-Assad's Syrian forces continue to move north, they're going to encounter more Turkish observation posts (military bases), and there are going to be more convoys to attack. If such an attack occurs again, Turkey may attempt to shoot down the warplane with a surface to air missile.

As Syria and Russia continue their attacks on civilians in Idlib, and push them farther north and east to the border with Syria, the humanitarian situation with worsen. Hundreds of thousands of families have already been forced to flee their homes and head for Turkey's border. The United Nations has for months been warning of the potential of one of the greatest humanitarian disasters in history.

The point is that all of these activities are pointing towards a military clash between Turkey versus the Syrian regime and Russia.

Bashar al-Assad is a Shia/Alawite, and Syria's last generational crisis war was a religious/ethnic civil war between the Shia Alawites versus the Sunnis, including the ethnic Turkmens, climaxing in February, 1982. So there's a great deal of animus between the Alawites and the Turks.

Turkey and Russia may be having a marriage of convenience at the present time, but they are no friends, as I described in "25-Nov-15 World View -- Turkey shoots down Russian warplane, evoking memories of many Crimean wars".

Syria: The crucible of a major Mideast war

As I've written many times, Generational Dynamics predicts that the Mideast is headed for a major regional war refighting the 1948 war between Jews and Arabs that followed the partitioning of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel. The war will also pit Sunnis versus Shias, and various ethnic groups against each other.

Generational Dynamics predicts that in the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war, the "axis" of China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries will be pitted against the "allies," the US, India, Russia and Iran.

It is 100% certain that Turkey and Russia will be at war. The only remaining questions are the timing and scenario.

I've assumed that the most likely scenario for the start of a major war in the Mideast would be Israelis versus Palestinians and other Arabs. However, as Israel has developed alliances with Egypt, Jordan, United Arab Emirates and other Arab countries, that scenario has seemed less likely.

We now see a new scenario growing more likely, based on the following observations:

This suggests a possible scenario where a military clash begins in Syria between Turkey and Russia, and spreads to a regional or larger war. This scenario is not certain, of course, but in view of centuries of wars between Turkey and Russia, it's certainly plausible.

Other major geopolitical issues

As the alignment of nations in a future Mideast war becomes clearer, there are still a number of questions about how the nations of Europe will line up.

Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Greece all have different and sometimes conflicting interests in the Mideast, and these differences could expand into clashes. Within Europe itself, there are sharp differences between North and South, and between East and West. Recall, for example, that one of the major reasons for Brexit is that many Britons objected to immigrants -- not the Muslim immigrants from Syria but the Christian immigrants from Poland and Hungary. And, of course, the Balkan nations are a hotbed of anger and hostility.

Meanwhile, I continue to be absolutely astonished that, after hearing politicians for decades say "Never again!", referring to the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews, that there are now three Holocausts currently in progress, in three different countries, all targeting Sunni Muslims:

Something new and astonishing occurs every day.


Related Articles:

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the Generational Dynamics World View News thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (23-Aug-2019) Permanent Link
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