Preparations appear to be underway for a pro-#Assad offensive on #Idlib.

12hrs of on/off air & artillery strikes vs. southeastern & western #Idlib & northern #Hama - see marks on map (original by @ETANA_Syria + my additions).

+ multiple large pro-regime convoys moving north.
@ETANA_Syria #pt: If/when any major military campaign gets underway, expect the #Assad regime (+ #Russia & #Iran-backed militias) to focus on these 2 fronts:

1) West #Idlib (Jisr al-Shughour)
2) N. #Hama/#SE #Idlib (Latamineh, Khan Sheikhoun, Kafrazita)

-> a gradual push ‘inland’ & north.
@ETANA_Syria Very good by @theIRC’s @DMiliband:

- The West must “re-assert” itself & protect civilians in NW #Syria & as a backstop, safe-routes should be opened for civilians to flee into #Turkey.

- UNSC must demand full access to S #Syria; for aid, monitoring etc.

washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-w…
@ETANA_Syria @theIRC @DMiliband Things notably escalating in NW #Syria, as (1) regime bombing has expanded to include helicopter-dropped barrel bombs & areas close to #Turkey’s military posts are hit.

Targets:

- Khan Sheikhoun
- Al-Tah
- al-Tamaneh
- Latamineh
- Morek
- Tel Aas
- Kafr Zita
- Sukayk
- Bidamah
@ETANA_Syria @theIRC @DMiliband As hostilities now look virtually inevitable in NW #Syria, watch my 3-min explainer video for @MiddleEastInst, here:

- “#Syria & the Looming Battle for #Idlib

@ETANA_Syria @theIRC @DMiliband @MiddleEastInst #pt: And for a more in-depth analysis of NW #Syria and its complex internal dynamics, as well as the consequences of hostilities there, see my recent work for @WarOnTheRocks, here:

- “The Urgency of #Idlib

@ETANA_Syria @theIRC @DMiliband @MiddleEastInst @WarOnTheRocks BIG development.

#Russia-n aircraft have joined in an aerial assault on peripheral areas of NW #Syria.

RuAF Su-24s have been spotted bombing Urum al-Kubra, Khan al-Assal & the 46th Regiment in western #Aleppo’s countryside.

- A *deeply* sensitive area for #Turkey.
@ETANA_Syria @theIRC @DMiliband @MiddleEastInst @WarOnTheRocks One particular #Russia bombing, on Urum al-Kubra in western #Aleppo, has killed 20+ civilians, including multiple children. Many more bodies remain under the rubble.

It’s started.
@ETANA_Syria @theIRC @DMiliband @MiddleEastInst @WarOnTheRocks Updated map, showing:

- Today's #Russia & #Syria airstrikes (red stars)
- #Turkey’s x12 military positions inside the northwestern region (black pentagons).

Credit to @ETANA_Syria for the original map - the above additions are mine.
@ETANA_Syria @theIRC @DMiliband @MiddleEastInst @WarOnTheRocks National Liberation Front (#NLF) fighters have launched several barrages of 122mm Grad rockets at #Assad regime positions in #Latakia & northern #Hama tonight -- in response to escalating air attack across the northwest.

#Syria #Idlib #Aleppo
@ETANA_Syria @theIRC @DMiliband @MiddleEastInst @WarOnTheRocks Reports: ~250 #YPG/#SDF fighters have left #Raqqa province headed west, to join pro-#Assad forces for a planned ground assault into western #Aleppo countryside (en route to #Idlib).

They’re allegedly amassing in #Aleppo’s al-Rashideen & al-Layramoun.
@ETANA_Syria @theIRC @DMiliband @MiddleEastInst @WarOnTheRocks As intense diplomacy continues - primarily between #Turkey & #Russia - seeking to avoid major hostilities in #Idlib, #Assad’s airforce resumed limited airstrikes today, primarily concentrated on the southeastern pocket of #Idlib.
@ETANA_Syria @theIRC @DMiliband @MiddleEastInst @WarOnTheRocks Intriguing language from #Turkey FM Cavusoglu today, indicating a need to “fight terrorists” in #Idlib & to differentiate “moderates” from “radicals.”

Most notably, he insisted on using “intelligence” personnel to combat terrorists - indicating #Ankara’s slow-burn approach.
@ETANA_Syria @theIRC @DMiliband @MiddleEastInst @WarOnTheRocks The recently expanded #Turkey-backed and #FSA-branded “National Liberation Front” - centered in #Idlib - has released a video showing off their “Swat 82” forces.

Clearly an Ahrar al-Sham product - markedly similar in tone to features from 2015 onwards.

@ETANA_Syria @theIRC @DMiliband @MiddleEastInst @WarOnTheRocks Today, #Turkey’s military moved in prefabricated modular units to add to observation posts in #Idlib - see picture.

I’m also told that #Ankara has informed National Liberation Front leaders of its plans to deploy air-defense systems, to reinforce de-escalation/deter air strikes.
@ETANA_Syria @theIRC @DMiliband @MiddleEastInst @WarOnTheRocks Great map by @Nawaroliver & @OmranDirasat - underling the sheer complexity of the situation in northwestern #Syria.

Parallel lines of #Turkey, #Russia & #Iran.

Concentrated pro-regime focus on SW, SE & E regions, etc.

#Idlib #Hama #Aleppo
@ETANA_Syria @theIRC @DMiliband @MiddleEastInst @WarOnTheRocks @Nawaroliver @OmranDirasat Unusual -- @AFP photographers did a photo-shoot with #HTS during a training session in Jabal al-Zawiyeh, #Idlib.
@ETANA_Syria @theIRC @DMiliband @MiddleEastInst @WarOnTheRocks @Nawaroliver @OmranDirasat @AFP Rumors currently spreading amongst #Syria’s northwestern opposition that #Turkey has agreed with #Russia to entertain certain measures - possibly military - against #HTS in #Idlib.

Their defense ministers met earlier today.
@ETANA_Syria @theIRC @DMiliband @MiddleEastInst @WarOnTheRocks @Nawaroliver @OmranDirasat @AFP A convoy of 10+ #Turkish M60T ‘Sabra’ tanks arrived in #Yayladagi in #Turkey’s #Hatay province late today - deployed opposite northern #Latakia - one potential target of pro-#Assad, #Russia-backed military action.
@ETANA_Syria @theIRC @DMiliband @MiddleEastInst @WarOnTheRocks @Nawaroliver @OmranDirasat @AFP #HTS just graduated its first batch of specialist "Asaib al-Mawt" (“Death League”) or “Red Troops” in #Idlib -- called here, "the Liberated North."

I’m told these fighters were trained by the elite Malhama Tactical - #Russia-speaking former soldiers.
I’ll be on @BBCNewsnight tonight from 10.30pm British time, talking #Syria (UK withdrawal of stabilization funds; the state of play today; the future, #Russia & #Iran etc.) with @KirstyWark.

Tune in!
@BBCNewsnight @KirstyWark #HTS leader Abu Mohammed al-Jolani, pictured recently visiting frontline positions in Kabani, on #Latakia’s border with #Idlib.
@BBCNewsnight @KirstyWark "As soon as one of us thinks about negotiating over their weapons, they'll have lost them… Just thinking about surrendering to the enemy & handing over weapons is treason.

#Turkey's observation points in the north cannot be relied on to face the enemy.”

- #HTS leader, #Jolani
@BBCNewsnight @KirstyWark #Assad media says a northwestern offensive is coming.

- First #Latakia, then northern #Hama, SW #Aleppo & #Idlib
- Bombing will be x3 stronger than #Deraa or #Ghouta
- #Russia strategic bombers & naval missiles will be used

Final preparation underway.

syrianobserver.com/EN/Commentary/…
@BBCNewsnight @KirstyWark Lots of rumors floating around about #HTS and an alleged decision to dissolve itself & integrate into a #Turkey-backed umbrella (i.e. the National Liberation Front) - to sustain de-escalation.

I’ve not heard anything to substantiate what appear to remain rumors.

#Syria #Idlib
@BBCNewsnight @KirstyWark My latest comments (from yesterday) on #Idlib & #Russia’s turn to conspiracy theories to “muddy the waters” & pave a path towards escalation.

For @MiddleEastInst:

mei.edu/content/flash/…
@BBCNewsnight @KirstyWark @MiddleEastInst Weird story of the day:

- #Russia says UK “special services” are in #Idlib, alongside a private security contractor (the Olive Group), to train (#HTS/#Nusra) “militants” to work with chemical weapons, in order to stage a false flag attack & open a path for U.S. missile strikes.
@BBCNewsnight @KirstyWark @MiddleEastInst Tensions ratcheting up in NW #Syria today:

- Talk of regime attack to begin in 24hrs
- New fleet of #Turkey APCs & tanks arrived into #Idlib
- #HTS negotiating intensively w. #Ankara on mutually-acceptable deal
- #Russia calls the area a “festering abscess” needing “liquidation"
NEW - #Turkey has added #HTS to Jabhat al-Nusra’s terrorist designation.

This comes amid #HTS’s continued refusal to agree to #Ankara’s demand that it dissolve itself and re-merge under #Turkish command, within the #NLF.
How impotent the #UN has become.

In the face of an eventual #Assad regime onslaught on 3million people, the UN Special Envoy’s advice is truly pitiful:

- Can the regime please *delay* its assault?
- If not, send civilians to live under the rule of those they fear the most.
Earlier today, #Turkey sent additional armored vehicles - this time BMC Kirpi MRAPs - into #Idlib, specifically in this case to Jisr al-Shughour, one area likely to be targeted first by #Assad & #Russia.
Amid an impeding attack on [areas of] northwestern #Syria, opposition & jihadi groups have:

- Dug extensive networks of trenches
- Expanded already sizable tunnel networks
- Deployed large numbers of artillery & MRLs along key frontlines, many concealed underground/cover.
#HTS has deployed its elite forces - including the newly revealed “Red” or “Death” Troops - to critical frontlines, including in Jabal Turkman, Jisr al-Shughour & outside Khan Sheikhoun.

In Western #Aleppo, Zinki has expanded its force through intensified volunteer recruitment.
Protesters have gathered across northern #Syria (in #Latakia, #Idlib, northern #Hama & western #Aleppo) condemning (1) #Assad & #Russia’s threats & (2) UN Envoy De Mistura’s comments yesterday.
"I actually have this boyish belief in humanity, but… I don't eeally have much to substantiate that in reality.”

- @BilalKareem’s off-cuff thoughts on the world’s disinterest in the fate of #Syria’s #Idlib province, and its 3 million civilians.
@BilalKareem#Russia softens up West for bloodbath it is planning in #Syria’s #Idlib province…

A distracted #Trump has shown no interest in toppling #Assad… He has... given Vladimir #Putin, #Russia’s president, a virtual free hand.”

theguardian.com/world/2018/sep…
Major escalation in NW #Syria in the last 2hrs: air & artillery strikes hitting opposition areas in al-Ghab (#Hama) & #TIP areas around Jisr al-Shughour (#Idlib).

#Assad & #Russia jets still circling in the air, in what could well be the opening salvo of a significant campaign.
The U.S-backed #SDF is to assist the #Assad regime, alongside #Iran’s #IRGC & #Hezbollah, in attacking #Idlib -- as they threatened to do.

Did @CJTFOIR/@OIRSpox know about this?

Puts #Trump/@nikkihaley’s warnings into some perspective.
@CJTFOIR @OIRSpox @nikkihaley At least 16 civilians (including 5 children) were killed in today’s air & artillery strikes on opposition areas in #Idlib & northern #Hama.
@CJTFOIR @OIRSpox @nikkihaley Many of today’s airstrikes targeted areas in SW #Idlib - particularly in/near Jisr al-Shughour, Janoudiya & Bdama - areas heavily under the #TIP’s influence.

- That’s a message aimed at (1) #HTS (which depends on #TIP loyalty) & (2) #Turkey (which still seeks to dissolve #HTS).
Sources: #Turkey has ‘cleared' the National Liberation Front (#NLF) in #Hama & SE #Idlib to begin using stocks of 122mm Grad rockets & MRL launchers, which were provided several months ago & have been stored/held for use.

Setting the ground for tomorrow’s summit in #Iran.
Heavy #Russia-n airstrikes reported over the past hour targeting opposition areas around Kafr Zita in northern #Hama & al-Tamana’a in southern #Idlib.

#Syria
Crucial day today, as #Russia, #Turkey & #Iran are set to meet in #Tehran to discuss the fate of #Idlib [among other things].

I’m told #Ankara is to pitch a mass opposition demobilization; a devolution of governance to civilian authorities; and a CT campaign against spoilers.
Over a month ago, I wrote a wide-ranging guide to the situation in #Idlib & the likely consequences of a major escalation in hostilities there.

The fate of northwest #Syria is complex & multi-layered, but *hugely* consequential.

Please read:

warontherocks.com/2018/08/the-ur…
Big #Russia airstrikes in southern #Idlib & northern #Hama today, in a markedly aggressive statement amid talks in #Tehran to negotiate the fate of northwestern #Syria.

Seems #Moscow/#Assad/#Iran have already made up their minds: an offensive of some level will definitely happen
BREAKING - #Assad regime sources say the northwestern offensive has begun.

Very heavy air & artillery strikes hit northern #Hama & southern #Idlib this morning - at least 50 strikes reported, including barrel bombs.

No ground movement yet.
#Idlib has turned into a microcosm… where all the forces that gave rise to & were birthed by #Syria’s traumatic uprising are struggling in a catastrophic battle whose price, as usual, will be paid for by innocent civilians.”

Powerful, by @kshaheen:

nytimes.com/2018/09/08/opi…
@kshaheen #Russia & #Assad’s "counter-terrorism” air campaign in #Idlib is starting to escalate.

Yesterday, one strike killed a particularly potent threat to regional & international security - a young baby girl, called Umaya.
@kshaheen Amid escalating air campaign, #Turkey continues to deploy additional forces & equipment into #Idlib, and along the border with #Latakia.

Main battle tanks, APCs, heavy artillery & MRLs newly arrived into the theater.

500+ special commandos positioned across the border.
@kshaheen #pt: Lots of media coverage on NW #Syria repeats the “HTS-dominated #Idlib” line.

The reality is a little more complex than that - see this new map by @suriyegundemi_

#HTS has also never been less popular, so undercurrents vulnerable to external exploitation are very real.
@kshaheen @suriyegundemi_ When assessing #Russia & #Assad’s ongoing air & artillery campaign, note the most heavily bombed areas are controlled by (1) Jaish al-Izzeh & (2) the TIP.

Both zones are being attacked for differing complex reasons, to do with each group’s unique internal & external dynamics.
@kshaheen @suriyegundemi_ #pt: #Turkey intelligence has fostered close relations with the #TIP - using them as a key node of control vis-a-vis #HTS on one side, and AQ loyalists on the other.

By singling out #TIP, #Russia/#Assad hope to suck #HTS & #TIP back into AQ fold - completing the “demarbling."
@kshaheen @suriyegundemi_ #pt: Jaish al-Izzeh has remained a determinedly independent movement, focused geographically along N. #Hama/S. #Idlib front, controlling key portion of M5 highway.

That places them in control of valuable trade routes & makes them a key vulnerability for weakening southern lines.
@kshaheen @suriyegundemi_ There’s been some interesting media work on the #TIP lately, but in #Syria’s context, labeling them a Uighur group is missing a beat.

Over the past 2yrs, they’ve internationalized significantly; one reason for #China’s heightening concerns, as the group takes on a broader brand.
@kshaheen @suriyegundemi_ The #Turkey-backed “#Syria National Army” based in northern #Aleppo has reportedly made plans to intervene in #Idlib.

“We’ll not stand on as onlookers… We have plans to turn the tables… We have great coordination with the #NLF [in #Idlib]”

nedaa-sy.com/news/8332
@kshaheen @suriyegundemi_ Another angle here is the U.S., which has ramped up its rhetoric over the prospect of escalation in #Idlib.

I get the sense that this isn’t to protect #Idlib per se, as much as it is to pull #Turkey away from #Russia & #Iran, killing prospects for a #Moscow-designed “settlement"
@kshaheen @suriyegundemi_ A more cohesive NSC & a re-energized/empowered State Dept, plus a DOD & IC determined to sustain the C-#ISIS mission, make for a more holistic internal policy debate.

The challenge is designing a package of leverage areas to make U.S a credible player.

The black swan is #Trump.
@kshaheen @suriyegundemi_ "There are so many British fighters in #Idlib that snacks from the #UK — including Jaffa Cakes, Maltesers, Smarties & Rolos at four for £1 — are sold in at least 3 shops.”

Read: - "British jihadists must flee #Syria or fight as Idlib offensive looms”

thetimes.co.uk/article/britis…
@kshaheen @suriyegundemi_ Alleged @facebook page for #Russia’s #Hmeymim AB in #Syria has issued a stern warning to #Turkey:

- Agreement w. #Ankara stipulated max size of TSK deployment for observation posts… if this is exceeded, TSK will be treated as an “illegal foreign presence” on #Syria territory.
@kshaheen @suriyegundemi_ @facebook #Russia & #Assad have initiated a preliminary air campaign in NW Syria.

#Turkey continues to deploy more forces, seeking to deter escalation.

U.S. & Europe are preparing responses, incl. to the use of chlorine.

- My latest comments for @MiddleEastInst:

mei.edu/content/flash/…
@kshaheen @suriyegundemi_ @facebook @MiddleEastInst "Preventing the assault on #Idlib need not set back CT efforts… the international community must understand their responsibilities… consequences of inaction are immense. We cannot leave #Syria's people to the mercy of #Assad."

- #Turkey’s @RT_Erdogan:

wsj.com/articles/the-w…
@kshaheen @suriyegundemi_ @facebook @MiddleEastInst @RT_Erdogan #Turkey has been resupplying arms on/off to #Idlib groups (within the #NLF umbrella) since January 2018.

7-10 days ago, #NLF groups were cleared by #Ankara to deploy newly supplied 122mm Grads & MRLs, in response to #Assad regime ground attacks if/when necessary.
@kshaheen @suriyegundemi_ @facebook @MiddleEastInst @RT_Erdogan Apparently #Russia’s intelligence access is so deep that it’s aware of exactly when fake chemical attacks are being filmed in precise locations in NW #Syria.

And yet, when nearly the entire #HTS military command meet in #Idlib (24hrs ago), they remain untouched.

Huh. Go figure.
@kshaheen @suriyegundemi_ @facebook @MiddleEastInst @RT_Erdogan For the first time, #Turkey’s military deployed battle tanks deep into #Syria’s northwest -- this convoy drove towards #Morek in northern #Hama this morning, including APCs and [ageing] M60 tanks.

@kshaheen @suriyegundemi_ @facebook @MiddleEastInst @RT_Erdogan Extraordinary scenes across #Idlib, northern #Hama & western #Aleppo today, as pro-revolution protesters have come out in the 10,000s to declare their continued opposition to #Assad and to state clearly:

- “We are not terrorists.”

Here’s Marat al-Numan:

Pictures from across #Idlib today, as protests amass for the 3rd week in a row. This week, declaring:

- "There’s no alternative to overthrowing the regime.”

#لابديل_عن_إسقاط_النظام
#إدلب
#سوريا
#Turkey has provided substantial amounts of weapons & ammunition - including U.S.-made TOW anti-tank missiles - to #NLF fighters situated on 5 fronts across #Idlib:

smartnews-agency.com/OgN7q6
Jesus.

**1.98-2.3 million** people could be displaced if conflict escalates in #Idlib - as per new @REACH_info fieldwork.

- 674,670-767,970 IDPs doubly displaced
- 1,311,700-1,530,090 residents displaced

reachresourcecentre.info/system/files/r…
@REACH_info Syrian-American activist Rania Kisar, speaking (in English) direct from Maraat al-Numan in #Idlib - at the heart of protests today:

- “We will not negotiate, we will not forgive, and we will not reconcile with the criminal, Bashar al-#Assad."

@REACH_info Big day in determining the fate of #Idlib, as #Putin & #Erdogan meet today in #Sochi, #Russia.

In all likelihood, #Erdogan will reiterate #Turkey’s determination to counter terrorists in #Syria’s northwest, thereby buying more time & upping the ante on #HTS internally.
@REACH_info #pt: #Turkey knows it can’t risk fighting #HTS as a whole, given the resulting chaos that'd ensue. It also knows all of #HTS is unlikely to agree to a dissolution or subjugation under the #NLF.

What #Ankara seeks is a break-up of #HTS - something becoming more likely over time.
@REACH_info The recent stop/start threat of imminent escalation in #Idlib, paired with #Turkey’s active diplomacy w. #Russia, the U.S & non-HTS armed groups have compounded pressure within #HTS hugely.

Big questions being asked these days & major internal divisions over its existing stance.
@REACH_info Within #HTS itself, sustaining ties with #Turkey is becoming an increasingly untenable position to take/defend - trust in #Ankara is dissolving fast.

Beyond #HTS, Al-Qaeda loyalist circles are piling on the pressure, accusing #HTS & #Jolani of working with apostates (Turks).
@REACH_info Despite some *localized* calls by #HTS commanders to leave #FSA protests alone across #Idlib on Friday, lead figures in #HTS’s Shura Council were infuriated when those same protests featured #Turkey flags.

Abu al-Fateh al-Farghaly even issued a fatwa banning them, as “secular":
@REACH_info For the past 12 months, #HTS leader Abu Mohammed al-Jolani has sought to tie together an increasingly untenable religio-political agenda:

- Remaining dedicated to Salafi-Jihadism, but strictly within a national context & while engaged in talking to foreign nation-state govts.
@REACH_info #pt: Until now, that stretched agenda has protected #HTS from possible internal & external threats, but the more heightened the threat, the less sustainable this “pragmatism” becomes.

The implication? Something’s got to give - #HTS’s internal durability faces a serious threat.
@REACH_info So in short: When you hear #Erdogan & other #Turkey officials express a determination to fight terrorists in #Idlib, this -- #HTS’s severe internal differences -- is the dynamic they’re seeking to exploit.

Watch this closely in the coming week or so - something’s got to give.
@REACH_info Interesting move by #Putin & #Erdogan:

- #Russia & #Turkey have agreed to create a 15-20km -wide “demilitarized zone” separating opposition & pro-#Assad forces. #HTS, AQ & other extremists must vacate the zone.

In other words: enhanced de-escalation for #Idlib.
@REACH_info #pt is v. interesting; it could actually work… but it’s not a “solution.”

More than anything, this gives #Turkey more time (& more leverage) to manipulate conditions in #Idlib & to further exacerbate #HTS’s internal divisions & work towards separating acceptable/irreconcilable.
@REACH_info The ball's in #HTS’s court now.

- If #HTS resists, it’ll face big problems from #Turkey & its #NLF partners.

- If #HTS submits & leaves the zone, it’ll spark a major internal crisis threatening the continued unity of the group.

Smart move by #Ankara & a patient one by #Moscow.
@REACH_info This new #Turkey-#Russia DMZ agreement will face several immediate implementation challenges:

- NE #Latakia, under influence of small AQ-linked jihadists
- Bdama-Jisr region, under #TIP control
- Al-Eis area, SW of #Aleppo, under #HTS influence.

All will resist demilitarizing.
@REACH_info This map by @Liveuamap shows the rough outline of the #Turkey-#Russia “DMZ” in #Idlib.

I’ve added blue zones, which'll present early challenges for implementation - all of which have actors who’ll resist leaving
&/or withdrawing heavy weapons.

Not also: Jisr is left untouched.
@REACH_info @Liveuamap There are spoilers aplenty in opposition NW #Syria. What’s most likely to happen in the next 24-48hrs?

- Probing attacks by small jihadi units in NE #Latakia.
- Unclaimed drone attacks on #Hmeymim.
- Possible large-scale terror attack in heart of regime-held territories.

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More from @Charles_Lister

Sep 21, 2018
My goodness: here's a prime example of policy advocacy on #Syria based either on ignorance, or [hopefully not] malign intent.

This is *riddled* with inaccuracy & misinformation.

@steelejourno says the West should force an opposition surrender in #Syria:

theguardian.com/commentisfree/…
@steelejourno #pt: @steelejourno says the US, UK & #France are “less honorable” in seeking to delay #Syria & #Russia’s “success” in regaining territory.

- They seek to enable a meaningful political process, in which there’s an opposition entity to sit at the table. I’d say that is honorable.
@steelejourno #pt: Here, @steelejourno says UK, US, France & "Gulf Arab monarchies” want ceasefires to protect rebels, not civilians.

In #Idlib, nothing could be further from the truth. None of those countries have *any* ties to rebel groups in #Idlib, who only equal ~0.5% of the population.
Read 10 tweets
Sep 20, 2018
Absolutely extraordinary.

#Syria’s air defense systems have no way to determine “friend” from “foe.” #Russia doesn’t export that tech.

Within a complex & unpredictable environment, that raises the risk to civilian aircraft
significantly.
#Israel says #Syria’s air defense fired “dozens” of anti-aircraft missiles from several batteries across the country over the space of 40-mins… *after* #IAF planes had returned to #Israel.

One took down #Russia’s IL-20.

timesofisrael.com/syria-fired-mi…
To me, this looks like messaging more than a truly dramatic change in reality/dynamics:

- S-300s already deployed in #Syria.

- #Israel (& US) uses encrypted radar/GPS; less vulnerable to counter-measures

- #Russia has been “jamming” for 2+ yrs.

- #Israel fires most from Med.
Read 5 tweets
Sep 17, 2018
BREAKING - Likely #Israel airstrikes just hit a scientific research center - reportedly linked to the SSRC - in #Latakia.

#Assad regime air defenses were allegedly activated in multiple provinces: #Latakia, #Tartus, #Homs & #Hama.
Mabrouk #Assad - your invincible air defenses shot down an aircraft!

... a #Russia IL-20 reconnaissance plane was shot down over #Syria tonight - amid #Israel airstrikes in #Latakia.

#OwnGoal

Tonight’s developments vis-a-vis #Israel & Russia are a pretty big deal.

It would seem #Israel may have acted without giving #Moscow prior warning = big challenge to their prior arrangement.

Or, #Russia did know, but got attacked by their errant ally in #Damascus = humiliating.
Read 7 tweets
Aug 22, 2018
Fascinating work by @HaidHaid22 - looking at initiatives (or a lack, thereof) by the #SDF & the #FSA to reconcile/rehabilitate/reintegrate #ISIS detainees in northern #Syria.

Really important backgrounder:

icsr.info/2018/08/20/rei…
@HaidHaid22 #pt: According to @HaidHaid22’s work for @ICSR_Centre, one’s decision to join #ISIS in #Syria was driven primarily by x4 factors:

1. Financial benefits
2. Protection
3. Military capacity
4. Ideology

Less than 20% of recruits joined for ideological reasons.
@HaidHaid22 @ICSR_Centre #pt: @HaidHaid22 raises a number of important questions for @CJTFOIR & its #SDF partner:

- Surging strains on the #SDF's makeshift prison network holding 1,000s of #ISIS prisoners, raises risks of eventual #ISIS attacks, aimed at replicating #Iraq’s 2012-3 “Breaking the Walls.”
Read 4 tweets
Aug 20, 2018
Here, a @UKLabour MP praises a notorious conspiracist who says meeting Bashar al-#Assad was her "proudest" moment.

She's justified incendiary weapons & barrel bombs on civilian targets; suggested 9/11 was a false flag; Zionists rule #France & the #CharlieHebdo attack was fake.
@UKLabour Extraordinary.

@UU_University invited notorious conspiracist Vanessa Beeley to lecture on “War Reporting.”

Her claims were so outlandish, the students walked out & boycotted the course, calling it “a propaganda camp.”

news.postimees.ee/4511277/top-un…

(PS - Look at the pictured slide)
@UKLabour @UU_University #pt: Among Beeley’s claims at @UU_University:

- @hrw is run by a secret “Jewish organization called the #Washington elite.”

- #Russia only promotes international peace

- #Syria’s opposition "tear pregnant women in half, betw'n cats”

- All media (e.g. @guardian) are govt tools
Read 4 tweets
Aug 17, 2018
Images of White Helmets weeding and cleaning the exterior of a Church in #Idlib appear to have terrified the pro-#Assad community.

Nothing short of hysteria coming from the regime loyalist crowd over the last 12hrs. #Syria
This “veteran correspondent” is losing it.

#Syria #Idlib
St. Joseph’s Church in the village al-Quneya - the one cleaned by White Helmets - in west #Idlib suffered substantial damage when it was bombed by #Assad regime forces in April 2013.

So much for being the protector of Christians & #Syria’s minorities.

Read 5 tweets

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