Russians Embedded in Syrian Military


From Patrick Cockburn:

Some 200,000 Kurds have fled from Afrin over the past few days, many suspecting that they will never be permitted to return…

Tillerson declared that the US would not only stay in Syria – something it had promised Turkey would not happen once the battle against Isis was won – but would also seek the departure of President Bashar al-Assad from power and the rolling back of Iranian influence. These were ambitious and unrealistic aims, but they were enough to bring Turkey and Russia together…

President Putin withdrew the Russian air umbrella protecting Afrin, enabling the Turkish air force to bomb at will. This was decisive: the YPG are determined and experienced soldiers but they have no air defence or heavy weapons and knew they could not win.

From Elijah Magnier:

In the last two years, in every single Syrian brigade or division, Russian special forces have been present, coordinating military operations on the ground and all air strikes…

The main control and command base is also led by Russian generals in connection with the military operations room in Moscow. This is where planning, information gathering and attack orders are given to the forces operating in Syria…

This is why the Russian generals have met with the YPG Kurdish leaders on several occasions, to communicate Damascus’s will to control the Afrin enclave on the condition that the Kurds hand over the administration and all the weapons in possession of the YPG…

The Syrian Kurds wanted to believe – like the Iraqi Kurds – that the international community would play a positive role in protecting Afrin and that they would not be betrayed…

Russia and Damascus understood from the contacts between Afrin and al-Hasaka that the YPG leaders would have preferred to abandon Afrin to Turkey rather than hand it over to Damascus…

The Kurds have managed to face a single possibility: to migrate where the American forces are present and where they can offer protection to the occupying forces in the north-east of Syria…

Moscow has sided with Ankara, giving Turkey another chance to stand among the superpower’s allies and managed to make a serious step forward with one of the largest NATO members…

[T]he speed of the battle led by Syria and Russia, has offered the government of Damascus an obvious victory over the jihadists in the Ghouta, expected in the coming weeks…

The Kurds of Afrin, not convinced to remain under the government of Damascus, have left the territory that is not their property to Turkey and used their people as human shields…

Erdogan is an indispensable actor that Moscow needs to stop the war in Syria.

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