From Elijah Magnier:
Sources in Damascus explain that the Syrian Army and its allies, supported by Russia, were carrying out a large attack on rural Idlib and had reached Abu al-Duhur airport when, all of a sudden, the military operation stopped. The entire spearhead force was moved to Ghouta. What happened?
Russia had informed the Syrian leadership of a large gathering of forces at Al-Tanf US-occupied military base on the Syrian-Iraqi borders, where tens of thousands of US proxies have received continuous military training. The Russians identified unusual military movements and understood that the US was preparing to push Syrian proxy forces to reach eastern Ghouta, linking itself with around 30,000 jihadists in Ghouta itself. This attack was planned to take place simultaneously with a diversion from Daraa, southern Syria, attacking south of Damascus so as to deceive the Syrian army and its allies into leaving smaller forces around the capital.
The US plan – said the sources – consisted in supporting its proxies and the Ghouta jihadists to reach Damascus and take full control of it. But the shifting of the military operation from rural Idlib to Ghouta spoiled the US plan to impose on Russia an enforced stay in Lattakia and Tartous confined to a limited place, and to finally change the Syrian regime. This “genius’s plan” would have spoiled all Russia’s efforts deployed through almost three years of heavy involvement in the war in Syria, and would have given the US the upper hand , just at the moment when Moscow and the Syrian Army were about to end the war, with only few more pockets left to liberate.
Russia’s hit in Ghouta broke the US plan into pieces, and imposed the withdrawal of tens of thousands of militants from Ghouta along with their families, to the north of Syria. The capital is now much safer, with the remaining area south of Damascus occupied by Al-Qaeda and the “Islamic State” group (ISIS) in Yarmouk camp and al-Hajar al-Aswad…
Mattis accepted “an honourable strike” to save his boss’s inexperienced face…
Turkish President Erdogan expressed his support and later satisfaction with the US strikes on Syria. Russia answered by asking him to deliver the city of Afrin to the Syrian government.