Russian special forces repel a US-planned attack in Syria

The Saker is very good on military tactics, and when he says he is worried this situation in Syria might spiral out of control, I have to say I agree with him.

However the size of the oilfields  in eastern Syria are not big, Syria had its “Peak Oil” in 2002 at 667 kbpd and by 2011 it consumed all it produced. That left Assad with the task of finding money to import oil for the first time. At the same time, a drought was making agriculture very difficult and farmers were forced to leave their farms and head for the cities, where the high price of fuel and bread were making life very difficult. A perfect situation for an uprising, and that’s what they got.  Thus Peak Oil played an important role in destablising Syria.  The same is true of Egypt.

https://thesaker.is/russian-special-forces-repel-a-us-commanded-attack-in-syria-denounce-the-usa-and-issue-a-stark-warning/

Russian special forces repel a US-planned attack in Syria, denounce the USA and issue a stark warning

Something rather unprecedented just happened in Syria: US backed “good terrorist” forces attempted a surprise attack against Syrian government forces stationed to the north and northeast of the city of Hama.  What makes this attack unique is that it took place inside a so-called “de-escalation zone” and that it appears that one of the key goals of the attack was to encircle in a pincer-movement and subsequently capture a platoon of Russian military police officers deployed to monitor and enforce the special status of this zone.

The Russian military police forces, composed mainly of soldiers from the Caucasus region, fought against a much larger enemy force and had to call for assistance.  For the first time, at least officially, Russian special operations forces were deployed to rescue and extract their comrades.  At the same time, the Russians sent in a number of close air support aircraft who reportedly killed several hundred “good” terrorists and beat back the attack (Russian sources speak of the destruction of 850 fighters, 11 tanks, three infantry fighting vehicles, 46 armed pickup trucks, five mortars, 20 freighter trucks and 38 ammo supply points; you can see photos of the destroyed personnel and equipment here).  What also makes this event unique is the official reaction of the Russians to this event.

Head of the Main Operations Department at Russia’s General Staff Colonel General Sergei Rudskoi declared that:

“Despite agreements signed in Astana on September 15, gunmen of Jabhat al-Nusra and joining them units that don’t want to comply with the cessation of hostilities terms, launched a large-scale offensive against positions of government troops north and northeast of Hama in Idlib de-escalation zone from 8 am on September 19 (…) According to available data, the offensive was initiated by American intelligence services to stop a successful advance of government troops east of Deir ez-Zor“.

Today, other Russian officials have added a not-so-veiled threat to this accusation.  The Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov has declared that:

Russia unequivocally told the commanders of US forces in Al Udeid Airbase (Qatar) that it will not tolerate any shelling from the areas where the SDF are stationed (…)  Fire from positions in regions [controlled by the SDF] will be suppressed by all means necessary.

This is unprecedented on many levels.  First, the Russians clearly believe that this attempt to kill or capture a platoon of the Russian military police was planned by the United States.  The fact that they are making this accusation officially shows the degree of irritation felt by the Russians about the duplicity of the Americans.  Second, this is the first time, at least to my knowledge, that Russian Spetsnaz forces had to be sent in to rescue a surrounded Russian subunit.  All Spetsnaz operators survived, but three of them were wounded in the operation (the Russians are not saying how badly).  The close air support by very low flying SU-25 aircraft was obviously coordinated by Spetsnaz forward air controllers and probably saved the day.  In other words, this was a close call and things could have ended much more badly (just imagine what the Takfiri crazies would have done, on video, to any captured Russian serviceman!).  Finally, a US-organized attack on what was supposed to be a “de-confliction” zone combined with an attempt to capture Russian soldiers raises the bar for American duplicity to a totally new level.

The big question now is “do the Russians mean it?” or are they just whining with real determination to hit back if needed.

There are a couple of problems here.  First, objectively, the Russian contingent in Syria is a tiny one if compared to the immense power of CENTCOM, NATO and the ever-present Israelis.  Not only that, but in any US-Russian confrontation, Russia as a country is objectively the weaker side by any measure except a full-out nuclear exchange.  So the Russians are not in a position of force.  Furthermore, for historical and cultural reasons, Russians are much more concerned by the initiation of any incident which could lead to all-out war than the Americans who always fight their wars in somebody else’s country. This might seem paradoxical, but the Russians fear war but they are ready for it.  In contrast to the Russians, the Americans don’t fear war, but neither are they ready for it.  In practical terms this means that an American miscalculation could very well lead to a Russian military response which would stun the Americans and force them to enter an escalatory spiral which nobody would control.

Remember how Hillary promised that she would unilaterally impose a so-called “no-fly” zone over Syria?  She promised not only to deploy US aircraft above Russian forces in Syria, but she also promised that she would force the Russian Aerospace forces out of the Syrian skies.  Thank God, this crazy witch was not elected, but it appears that folks with the same arrogant and,frankly, completely irresponsible point of view are now back in power under Trump.

My fear now is that the incompetent, arrogant, not too bright and generally ignorant commanders at the Pentagon and the CIA will simply ignore clear warning signs coming from the Russians, including the public announcement that the Kremlin has given the authority to use force to protect Russian personnel to the local Russian commanders in Syria.  In plain English, this means that if they are attacked the Russians in Syria do not need to consult with Moscow before using force to protect themselves.  By the way, such rules of engagement are pretty common, there is nothing earth shattering here, but the fact that they were made public is, again, a message to the AngloZionist and the “good” terrorist they use to try to conquer Syria.

This time around we (the world) were lucky.  The Syrians fought hard and the “good” terrorists were probably surprised by the ruthless determination of the Russian military police forces (in reality, mostly Chechen special forces) and of the Spetsnaz operators.  It is one thing to fight Syrian conscripts, quite another to deal with these hardened warriors.  But the next time around the outcome could be different.

The bigger picture is also one which gives me a great deal of concern.  The Syrians, with Iranian, Hezbollah and Russian help, have freed Deir ez-Zor and have crossed the Euphrates river and are moving further East.  In plain English this means that the US and Daesh have lost the war and that the last region of Syrian from which the AngloZionists can hope to partition the country (their current “plan B”) and establish a permanent US military presence is now threatened by the Syrian advance.  The distance between the US forces currently deployed in northeastern Syria and Syrian, Iranian, Hezbollah and Russian forces is becoming shorter and shorter each day.  I can just imagine how, say, Iranian or Hezbollah forces which are already “smelling” the nearby presence of US forces are drooling with hunger for the moment they will finally be able to get their hands on their old and most hated foe.  I feel sincerely sorry for the first US unit to make contact with the Iranians or Hezbollah forces.

Right now the Americans are hiding behind the Kurds, but sooner or later the Iranians or Hezbollah will find them.  As for the Kurds, their situation in Syria is precarious, to put it mildly: they are surrounded on all sides by the Turks, the Syrians and the Iranians and their only more or less stable zone of control is in Iraq.  The Americans understand that perfectly, hence their desperate attempts to stop the Syrians.

This is a very dangerous situation: even though CENTCOM and NATO are by far the “biggest guys on the block”, in Syria the Americans are cornered, their corner is shrinking fast and it remains entirely unclear how this process can be stopped.  Hence the attack on the de-confliction zone we just witnessed.

I hope that eventually the Americans will do what they did in al-Taif and simply pack, declare victory and leave.  That would be the only rational thing to do.  But after listening to Trump at the UN I don’t get the feeling that being rational is at the top of the US priority list.  That’s all rather frightening.

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Turkey kills 99 Kurdish militants in Iraq border area

Both Turkey and the US recognise the PKK as being terrorists, and yet the US is using them as its “boots on the ground”.  I wonder if they are going to dare to complain about Turkey killing them.

 

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-security/turkey-kills-99-kurdish-militants-in-latest-operations-military-idUSKCN1BK0CR?il=0

<h2><b>Turkey kills 99 Kurdish militants in latest operations: military</b></h2>

Reuters Staff

September 9, 2017

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish security forces have killed 99 Kurdish militants, including a high-ranking one, in operations in southeast Turkey over the last two weeks, the armed forces said on Saturday.

Security forces targeted outposts and caves used by the militants for shelter and storage in the southeastern provinces of Sirnak and Hakkari, near the Iraqi border, the military said in a statement.

“Ninety-nine terrorists have been neutralized. One is in the so-called leading ranks,” it said.

The outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), considered a terrorist organization by the United States, Turkey and the European Union, has waged a more than three-decade insurgency against the state.

The PKK, which seeks autonomy for the largely Kurdish southeast, has bases in the mountains on both sides of the Turkey-Iraq border and is frequently targeted by Turkish security forces.

The operations, which were carried out between Aug. 24 and Sept. 7, led to the seizure of 420 kg (925 lbs) of ammonium nitrate, used to make explosives, as well as bombs, guns and rifles, the military said.

Syrian “poison gas” lies

This long and very detailed article completely debunks the idea that the Syrian Government used chemical weapons, and that the main culprits were probably the rebels themselves, with the MSM selectively choosing the “facts” that supported their argument. Why would they do this if they were aiming to present a balanced report of the situation ?

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/47775.htm

A New Hole in Syria-Sarin Certainty

Special Report: A new contradiction has emerged in the West’s groupthink blaming Syria for an April 4 chemical attack, with one group of U.N. investigators raising doubt about the flight of a Syrian warplane, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

September 09, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – The U.S. mainstream media is treating a new United Nations report on the April 4 chemical weapons incident in Khan Sheikhoun as more proof of Syrian government guilt, but that ignores a major contradiction between two groups of U.N. investigators that blows a big hole in the groupthink.

Though both U.N. groups seem determined to blame the Syrian government, the frontline investigators from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) reported that spotters of departing Syrian military aircraft from Shayrat airbase did not send out a warning of any flights until late that morning – while the alleged dropping of a sarin bomb occurred at around dawn.

The report by the U.N.’s Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic noted that “two individuals interviewed by the OPCW claimed that on the morning of 4 April the early warning system did not issue warnings until 11 to 11:30 a.m., and that no aircraft were observed until that time.”

If the OPCW’s information is correct – that no warplanes took off from the government’s Shayrat airbase until late in the morning – then the Trump administration’s rationale for launching a retaliatory strike of 59 Tomahawk missiles at that airfield on April 6 is destroyed.

But the U.N. commission’s report – released on Wednesday – simply brushes aside the OPCW’s discovery that no warplanes took off at dawn. The report instead relies on witnesses inside jihadist-controlled Khan Sheikhoun who claim to have heard a warning about 20 minutes before a plane arrived at around 6:45 a.m.

Indeed, the report’s account of the alleged attack relies almost exclusively on “eyewitnesses” in the town, which was under the control of Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and allied jihadist groups.

The report also gives no attention to the possibility that the alleged sarin incident, which reportedly killed scores of people including women and children, was a staged event by Al Qaeda to reverse the Trump administration’s announcement just days earlier that it was no longer U.S. policy to seek “regime change” in Syria.

The Khan Sheikhoun incident prompted President Trump to launch the missile strike that, according to Syrian media reports, killed several soldiers at the base and nine civilians, including four children, in nearby neighborhoods. It also risked inflicting death on Russians stationed at the base.

Lost History

In the U.N. commission’s report, the possibility of a staged event is not considered even though the OPCW had previously uncovered evidence that a chlorine-gas attack in the rebel-controlled town of Al-Tamanah, which also was blamed on the Syrian government, was staged by Al Qaeda operatives and their civilian “relief workers.”

OPCW investigators, who like most U.N. bureaucrats have seemed eager to endorse allegations of chlorine-gas attacks by the Syrian government, ran into this obstacle when townspeople from Al-Tamanah came forward to testify that a supposed attack on the night of April 29-30, 2014, was a fabrication.

“Seven witnesses stated that frequent alerts [about an imminent chlorine weapons attack by the government] had been issued, but in fact no incidents with chemicals took place,” the OPCW report stated. “[T]hey [these witnesses] had come forward to contest the wide-spread false media reports.”

In addition, accounts from people who did allege that there had been a government chemical attack on Al-Tamanah provided suspect evidence, including data from questionable sources, according to the OPCW report, which added:

“Three witnesses, who did not give any description of the incident on 29-30 April 2014, provided material of unknown source. One witness had second-hand knowledge of two of the five incidents in Al-Tamanah, but did not remember the exact dates. Later that witness provided a USB-stick with information of unknown origin, which was saved in separate folders according to the dates of all the five incidents mentioned by the FFM [the U.N.’s Fact-Finding Mission].

“Another witness provided the dates of all five incidents reading it from a piece of paper, but did not provide any testimony on the incident on 29-30 April 2014. The latter also provided a video titled ‘site where second barrel containing toxic chlorine gas was dropped tamanaa 30 April 14’”

Some other “witnesses” who alleged a Syrian government attack offered ridiculous claims about detecting the chlorine-infused “barrel bomb” based on how the device sounded in its descent.

The report said, “The eyewitness, who stated to have been on the roof, said to have heard a helicopter and the ‘very loud’ sound of a falling barrel. Some interviewees had referred to a distinct whistling sound of barrels that contain chlorine as they fall. The witness statement could not be corroborated with any further information.”

Although the report didn’t say so, there was no plausible explanation for someone detecting a chlorine canister in a “barrel bomb” based on its “distinct whistling sound.” The only logical conclusion is that the chlorine attack had been staged by the jihadists and that their supporters then lied to the OPCW investigators to enrage the world against the Assad regime.

The coordination of the propaganda campaign, with “witnesses” armed with data to make their stories more convincing, further suggests a premeditated and organized conspiracy to “sell” the story, not just some random act by a few individuals.

The Ghouta Attack

There was a similar collapse of the more notorious sarin incident outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013, which killed hundreds and was also blamed on the Assad government but now appears to have been carried out as a trick by Al Qaeda operatives to get President Obama to order the U.S. military to devastate the Syrian military and thus help Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front to win the war.

You might have thought that these experiences with staged chemical attacks would have given U.N. investigators more pause when another unlikely incident occurred last April 4 in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, which was under Al Qaeda’s control.

The Trump administration had just announced a U.S. policy reversal, saying that the U.S. goal was no longer “regime change” in Syria but rather to defeat terrorist groups. At the time, Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front, the Islamic State and other jihadist forces were in retreat across much of Syria.

In other words, the Syrian government had little or no reason to provoke U.S. and international outrage by launching a sarin gas attack on a remote town with only marginal strategic significance.

Chemical attacks, especially the alleged use of chlorine but sarin gas as well, also offer minimal military effectiveness if dropped on a town. Chlorine gas in this form rarely kills anyone, and the international outrage over sarin far exceeds any military value.

But the jihadists did have a powerful motive to continue staging chemical attacks as their best argument for derailing international efforts to bring the war to an end, which would have meant defeat for the jihadists and their international allies.

And, we know from the Al-Tamanah case that the jihadists are not above feeding fabricated evidence to U.N. investigators who themselves have strong career motives to point the finger at the Assad regime and thus please the Western powers.

In the Khan Sheikhoun case, a well-placed source told me shortly after the incident that at least some U.S. intelligence analysts concluded that it was a hastily staged event in reaction to the Trump administration’s renunciation of Syrian “regime change.”

The source said some evidence indicated that a drone from a Saudi-Israeli special-operations base inside Jordan delivered the sarin and that the staging of the attack was completed on the ground by jihadist forces. Initial reports of the attack appeared on social media shortly after dawn on April 4.

The Time Element

Syrian and Russian officials seemed to have been caught off-guard by the events, offering up a possible explanation that the Syrian government’s airstrike aimed at a senior jihadist meeting in Khan Sheikhoun at around noon might have accidentally touched off a chemical chain reaction producing sarin-like gas.

But U.S. mainstream media accounts and the new U.N. report cited the time discrepancy – between the dawn attack and the noontime raid – as proof of Russian and Syrian deception. Yet, it made no sense for the Russians and Syrians to lie about the time element since they were admitting to an airstrike and, indeed, matching up the timing would have added to the credibility of their hypothesis.

In other words, if the airstrike had occurred at dawn, there was no motive for the Russians and Syrians not to say so. Instead, the Russian and Syrian response seems to suggest genuine confusion, not a cover-up.

For the U.N. commission to join in this attack line on the timeline further suggests a lack of objectivity, an impression that is bolstered by the rejection of OPCW’s finding that no take-off alert was issued early on the morning of April 4.

Instead, the U.N. commission relied heavily on “eyewitnesses” from the Al Qaeda-controlled town with unnamed individuals even providing the supposed identity of the aircraft, a Syrian government Su-22, and describing the dropping of three conventional bombs and the chemical-weapons device on Khan Sheikhoun around 6:45 a.m.

But there were other holes in the narrative. For instance, in a little-noticed May 29, 2017 report, Theodore Postol, professor of science, technology and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, challenged the Syria-government-did-it conclusions of The New York Times, Human Rights Watch and the Establishment’s favorite Internet site, Bellingcat. .

Postol’s analysis focused on a New York Times video report, entitled “How Syria And Russia Spun A Chemical Strike,” which followed Bellingcat research that was derived from social media. Postol concluded that “NONE of the forensic evidence in the New York Times video and a follow-on Times news article supports the conclusions reported by the New York Times.” [Emphasis in original.]

The basic weakness of the NYT/Bellingcat analysis was a reliance on social media from the Al Qaeda-controlled Khan Sheikhoun and thus a dependence on “evidence” from the jihadists and their “civil defense” collaborators, known as the White Helmets.

Sophisticated Propaganda

The jihadists and their media teams have become very sophisticated in the production of propaganda videos that are distributed through social media and credulously picked up by major Western news outlets. (A Netflix infomercial for the White Helmets even won an Academy Award earlier this year.)

Postol zeroed in on the Times report’s use of a video taken by anti-government photographer Mohamad Salom Alabd, purporting to show three conventional bombs striking Khan Sheikhoun early in the morning of April 4.

The Times report extrapolated from that video where the bombs would have struck and then accepted that a fourth bomb – not seen in the video – delivered a sarin canister that struck a road and released sarin gas that blew westward into a heavily populated area supposedly killing dozens.

But the Times video analysis – uploaded on April 26 – contained serious forensic problems, Postol said, including showing the wind carrying the smoke from the three bombs in an easterly direction whereas the weather reports from that day – and the presumed direction of the sarin gas – had the wind going to the west.

Indeed, if the wind were blowing toward the east – and if the alleged location of the sarin release was correct – the wind would have carried the sarin away from the nearby populated area and likely would have caused few if any casualties, Postol wrote.

Postol also pointed out that the Times’ location of the three bombing strikes didn’t match up with the supposed damage that the Times claimed to have detected from satellite photos of where the bombs purportedly struck. Rather than buildings being leveled by powerful bombs, the photos showed little or no apparent damage.

The Times also relied on before-and-after satellite photos that had a gap of 44 days, from Feb. 21, 2017, to April 6, 2017, so whatever damage might have occurred couldn’t be tied to whatever might have happened on April 4.

Nor could the hole in the road where the crushed “sarin” canister was found be attributed to an April 4 bombing raid. Al Qaeda jihadists could have excavated the hole the night before as part of a staged provocation. Other images of activists climbing into the supposedly sarin-saturated hole with minimal protective gear should have raised other doubts, Postol noted in earlier reports.

Critics of the White Helmets have identified the photographer of the airstrike, Mohamad Salom Alabd, as a jihadist who appears to have claimed responsibility for killing a Syrian military officer. But the Times described him in a companion article to the video report only as “a journalist or activist who lived in the town.”

Another Debunking

In 2013, the work of Postol and his late partner, Richard M. Lloyd, an analyst at the military contractor Tesla Laboratories, debunked claims from the same trio — Bellingcat, the Times and Human Rights Watch — blaming the Syrian government for the sarin-gas attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013.

Postol and Lloyd showed that the rocket carrying the sarin had only a fraction of the range that the trio had assumed in tracing its path back to a government base.

Since the much shorter range placed the likely launch point inside rebel-controlled territory, the incident appeared to have been another false-flag provocation, one that almost led President Obama to launch a major retaliatory strike against the Syrian military.

Although the Times grudgingly acknowledged the scientific problems with its analysis, it continued to blame the 2013 incident on the Syrian government. Similarly, Official Washington’s “groupthink” still holds that the Syrian government launched that sarin attack and that Obama chickened out on enforcing his “red line” against chemical weapons use.

Obama’s announcement of that “red line,” in effect, created a powerful incentive for Al Qaeda and other jihadists to stage chemical attacks assuming that the atrocities would be blamed on the government and thus draw in the U.S. military on the jihadist side.

Yet, the 2013 “groupthink” of Syrian government guilt survives. After the April 4, 2017 incident, President Trump took some pleasure in mocking Obama’s weakness in contrast to his supposed toughness in quickly launching a “retaliatory” strike on April 6 (Washington time, although April 7 in Syria).

A Dubious Report

Trump’s attack came even before the White House released a supportive – though unconvincing – intelligence report on April 11. Regarding that report, Postol wrote, “The White House produced a false intelligence report on April 11, 2017 in order to justify an attack on the Syrian airbase at Sheyrat, Syria on April 7, 2017. That attack risked an unintended collision with Russia and a possible breakdown in cooperation between Russia and United States in the war to defeat the Islamic State. The collision also had some potential to escalate into a military conflict with Russia of greater extent and consequence.

“The New York Times and other mainstream media immediately and without proper review of the evidence adopted the false narrative produced by the White House even though that narrative was totally unjustified based on the forensic evidence. The New York Times used an organization, Bellingcat, for its source of analysis even though Bellingcat has a long history of making false claims based on distorted assertions about forensic evidence that either does not exist, or is absolutely without any evidence of valid sources.”

Postol continued, “This history of New York Times publishing of inaccurate information and then sticking by it when solid science-based forensic evidence disproves the original narrative cannot be explained in terms of simple error. The facts overwhelmingly point to a New York Times management that is unconcerned about the accuracy of its reporting.

“The problems exposed in this particular review of a New York Times analysis of critically important events related to the US national security is not unique to this particular story. This author could easily point to other serious errors in New York Times reporting on important technical issues associated with our national security.

“In these cases, like in this case, the New York Times management has not only allowed the reporting of false information without reviewing the facts for accuracy, but it has repeatedly continued to report the same wrong information in follow-on articles. It may be inappropriate to call this ‘fake news,’ but this loaded term comes perilously close to actually describing what is happening.”

Referring to some of the photographed scenes in Khan Sheikhoun, including a dead goat that appeared to have been dragged into location near the “sarin crater,” Postol called the operation “a rather amateurish attempt to create a false narrative.”

Now, another U.N. agency has joined that narrative, despite a key contradiction from fellow U.N. investigators.

A new square on the Grand Chessboard

This story is a prediction of what may happen in the future, so it inherently can not be tested now, but it can certainly be watched and tested in the future.  The US has managed to insert its proxies, the Kurdish fighters, into Syria without the agreement of the Syrian Government, in fact they have declared it to be an invasion by an enemy power.

Yet by continued backing of the Kurdish cause for a state of their own, which ALL the region’s powers are against, the US will have produced a very intractable problem. So this problem will never be resolved, and the US bases in Syria will continue to remain in Syria and northern Iraq.    This would leave them well-placed to influence any further military actions in the future, whatever they may be. A new square on the Grand Chessboard has been created, and the US holds it, albeit at great expense over the coming years and at the cost of antagonising Turkey, Iraq and Syria.  (It is completely accidental that the region has its own oil resources.)

Al-Mansar is an independent news agency with close ties to the Syrian Government, so has been pilloried in the western media for years. But this prediction makes a lot of sense – we shall see.

 

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/us-forces-occupy-syria-decades-come/

US forces to occupy Syria for decades to come

 

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:00 P.M.) – According to Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spokesman Talal Silo, the strategic interests of the United States in Syria dictate that its forces will continue to occupy the northern regions of the country, in collusion with Kurdish separatist wishes, for many decades to come.

 

According to the SDF representative, Washington will continue to develop its strategic policies in SDF-occupied northern Syria via various military and economic cooperation initiatives with Kurdish-dominated political structures that have been established under the Democratic Union Party (PYD) long after ISIS in gone.

In the past, Silo has openly admitted that the SDF is a tool of American foreign policy in Syria and that the alliance group is forbidden by its US handlers from cooperating with either the Damascus government or Russia.

The announcement by Silo comes around the same time British Army representative for Operation Inherent Resolve Major General Rupert Jones said that the US-led coalition (supposedly against ISIS) would not allow “Syrian regime forces” to move north of the Euphrates River (into SDF-occupied regions). In doing so, Jones essential confirmed suspicions long-expressed by pro-Damascus analysts that Western powers (led by US) pursue a second unspoken policy in Syria aimed at preventing government forces from restoring sovereignty in the country’s northern regions.