Syria Daily, Nov 2: Insurgent In-Fighting — Jabhat al-Nusra Defeats Syrian Revolutionary Front

LATEST: Video — Fighting and Devastation in Area of Jobar and Zamalka in Northeast Damascus

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Turkey Daily: 1000s March for Besieged Syrian City of Kobane


After five days of insurgent in-fighting, the Islamist faction Jabhat al-Nusra has defeated the Syrian Revolutionary Front, pushing it out of its main positions in Idlib Province in northwest Syria.

Jabhat al-Nusra, joined by factions such as Jund al-Aqsa advanced through the Jabal al-Zawiya region, and the SRF and its leader Jamal Maarouf withdrew from its headquarters in the village of Deir Sonbol.

Jabhat al-Nusra then announced a new ceasefire with the SRF, calling on it to appear before a Sharia court — led by the Saudi cleric Shaykh Abdallah Muhammad al Muhaysini and dominated by the Islamist faction — to resolve disputes. It also said prisoners on both sides should be exchanged.

The clashes, which began on Monday between the SRF and elements of Jabhat al-Nusra in towns in Idlib Province, have been reduced by some analysts to a battle between the Islamist faction and the “moderate” insurgency:

McClatchy News Service goes even farther:

Al Qaida-backed militants Saturday stormed the base of the most prominent civilian commander in the U.S.-backed Syrian rebel force, forcing him and his fighters to flee into hiding in the Jebal al Zawiya mountains of northern Syria.

The reality is far more complex than the implied evil v. US-supported good. Tensions had been raised when the insurgency — with Jabhat al-Nusra in the lead — was pursuing a major offensive against the regime in Idlib city, and SRF was accused of “sitting on its hands”.

Some SRF fighters defected to other brigades. Maarouf then reportedly tried to get their weapons back with force, raiding homes and shelling in some villages.

See Syria Special: Amid Its Offensive in the Northwest, Why Are Insurgents Fighting Among Themselves?

Jabhat al-Nusra appears to have taken the opportunity presented by the clashes to deal decisively with the SRF, which has had tense relations with the Islamists and with other insurgent groups.

Maarouf and the SRF — though loosely connected with the Free Syrian Army — have long been accused of corruption, war profiteering, and theft from other insurgent factions. Anger was also stoked on Monday as the SRF was said to have “sat on its hands” while others fought the regime near and in Idlib.

Other groups in the insurgency called on both sides to cease fire and to accept the authority of a Sharia court in Idlib Province.

In its ceasefire announcement on Saturday, Jabhat al-Nusra demanded that Maarouf appear before its preferred court and implied that the SRF’s crimes would be exposed: “We defend the people’s lives, money and wives from aggressors…as the facts are going to be unveiled”,

A Jabhat al-Nusra fighter said on Saturday that SRF members had defected from Maarouf’s leadership: “They left him because they knew he was wrong and delusional. He left his fighters in the battle and pulled out.”

Jabhat al-Nusra also said it was boosted by defections from the Harakat Hazm brigade, which has received US heavy weapons including anti-tank missiles.

Jabhat al-Nusra attacked positions of Harakat Hazm, reportedly detaining one of its commanders, when the brigade tried to stop the Islamist faction from sending reinforcements to the fight with the SRF.

Maarouf — who had earlier denounced Jabhat al-Nusra as deviant, under Iranian control, and the same as the enemy Islamic State and/or the Assad regime — posted a video declaring his group would return to their bases: “I [want to] clarify why we pulled out of the villages of Jabal al-Zawiya. [It is] so that we preserve civilian blood because this group does not hesitate to kill civilians.”


Video: Fighting and Devastation in Area of Jobar and Zamalka in Northeast Damascus

Footage of the devastating and ongoing battles in insurgent-held Jobar and Zamalka in northeast Damascus:

The Syrian military has tried for months to follow up aerial bombardment with a ground assault to push the insurgents out of the districts.

Video: Aftermath of Regime Missile Strike on al-Waer in Homs

Claimed footage of the aftermath of a regime missile strike on the al-Waer section of Homs:

The Syrian military has been bombarding al-Waer, a crowded area which includes tens of thousands of displaced Syrians, in an effort to remove insurgents. The opposition fighters have resisted the regime after evacuating their other positions in Homs this spring.

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

56 COMMENTS

  1. numerous twitter sources reporting that parts Harrakat Hazzm pledging allegiance to Al Nusra,
    USA must act now to empower moderate which would intern disenfranchise extremists like Al Nusra,

    • Moderate rebel are done. This move from Hazzm must be a huge blow for the US since they vetted them from months. JAN now has TOW’S. In Syria the only credible military forces from the rebels are, unfortunately, now the islamists. The moderates are done like is the original revolution at this point. I am glad Jamal Maarouf SRF’s got trashed from JAN in idlib. Jamal Maarouf is one of the most controversial warlords in Syria, hated by most, corrupted and famous to stash weapons and never use them. Still suprise of how any western power could even look at the SRF as a partner.

      • haven’t you been tired with same old bullshit all the time

        and BTW ASSad’s forces in Handarat so far all have been foreign mercenaries, no Syrian among the killed/captured so what legitimacy does he have left if his invading forces are all afaghan/asian mercenaries

      • The war between FSA and Nusra was meant to begin after they had beaten Assad.From whats said of SRF they seem to be a bunch of gangsterz.Not sure who was in charge of vetting them.Whoever it was should be sacked.

        • Maarouf was a warlord, but he was also an original syrian rebel. He was there fighting the governement in Idlib since the beginning, I remember seeing him in videos as soon as the rebels started taking grounds in Idlib countryside.

          Also, warlords are still much better than any form of jihadists.

          The collapse of Maalouf forces show the secular rebels are being wipped off completely. Anything that is not Islamic Front (hardline islamists), Nusra (Al Qaeda) and Islamic State (worst of the worst) are being relegated to minor players in rebels’s ranks.

          • That was my point Genome. Secular rebels are on verge of extinction. Maarouf might have been an original syrian rebel but he quickly made for himeself a bad reputation between the rebels. And the SRF on the ground never managed much, Nusra is way more powerfull militarily, actually to be honest the only military strenght for the rebels remains in islamist or jihadi groups like IF or JAN.

            • The SRF actually did a lot of things on the ground.

              If the syrian army attacked Jabal Zawiyah, they would have needed 3-6 months to take it because SRF would have dedended it bitterly. But rebels groups, even secular one, have a big problems… They have no confidence against jihadists and islamists. They crumble under pressure and completely collapse in a matter of days, with fighters fleeing the fights or even defecting.

              The only one resisting a little against he jihadists are the hardline islamists (Islamic Front)

              • I remember clearly in the past other rebel comanders accusing the SRF of corruption and to stash away loads of weapons without helping much on the frontlines. Infact in last days clashes which erased them from idlib few or zero went to their help against JAN. SRF really dont have best of rep within rebel forces.

              • Other rebels fear Nusra like they feared ISIS. That’s why ISIS was able to take Azaz and rout Northern Storm brigade at the end of last year. It took all rebels uniting after multiple ISIS provocations to revolt. But it was too late, ISIS had outgrown them.

                It appear they are doing the same mistake with Nusra. Nusra isn’t their friend, it’s a little edulcorated version of ISIS. They should eradicate Nusra if they still can.

  2. “From what’s said of SRF they seem to be a bunch of gangsterz.”

    Name a group fighting in Syria now that isn’t a bunch of gangsters.

    That includes the Assad supporters.

    • The Assad family had the reputation of being a bunch of gangsters before the fighting started. Literally, not figuratively, based on the actual conduct of Assad family members. But I guess it can be argued, the fewer gangs the better.

    • For some reason it still seems that US backed gangsters are considered better than Russian backed gangsters.Because the people who support the US backed gangsters say so.Then there are the terrorists.

  3. Nusra is bullying weakened “secular” rebels factions because it desperatly need to show its strength and to make for itself a stronghold for their future emirate, in order to rivalize against the caliphate proclaimed by the ISIS.

    Nusra got decimated by the Syrian Army in their short lived Hama campaign and the syrian army is now at the gates of Khan Shaykun and Kfar Zita. Nusra was routed in this fight.

    Nusra also launched a big attack against Idlib city but was quickly repelled.

    The only fight they can win for the moment is against the SRF/Hazm and secular rebels factions, because they fear Nusra and a lot of them would desert rather than fight them.

    Nusra shows its strength against other rebels in Idlib, but their recent and heavy defeat in Hama doesn’t not make them very strong players for the moment

  4. Not very surprising news on Nusra and SRF, I´d say. Showdown was inevitable from the moment US intentions became clear. Obviously plan was to create governing force in the north and basically freeze the situation until Iran agrees to relieve Assad from his post in favor for someone more politically correct. Then rebels under US thumb would team up with remaining army to eradicate radical elements like IS, Nusra and Ahrar. Don´t think it´s very surprising that Nusra does see US agents as existential threat, if they didn´t foresee this then whoever is in charge of US strategies was daydreaming.

    Seems that conflict will lead to quick defeat for SRF/Hazm, looks like other groups didn´t lift a finger to support them against aggression. Think again US folks overestimated goodwill towards these groups that were now seen as US agents; sure these groups have kind of decent reputation, but that isn´t enough when their sponsoring county has been roadblocking rebels international support for three yrs. E.g. every effort has been done to starve islamic front from getting arms and ammo from abroad. While IF does have some hardline elements and it´s significance has been somewhat declinining, it´s still swing group between moderate and hardline elements.

    If SRF and Hazm will be ousted from north US plan will be seen as complete failure. For rebellion I really don´t know, manpower doesn´t go away – the ones who still dream of Assad-free Syria will just move on to leading popular group. It´s interesting where this leads for both northern syria and also US-led anti-IS coalition.

    For northern Syria rebellion it looks like hardline Islamists will take lead now, Nusra and IF are still formidable forces for Assad to take on and it´s even possible that more uniform rebel force can better coordinate and eventually have more success than earlier. Think few things can be taken for granted; itĺl get more bloodier, they´ll go more underground and more guerrilla style than moderate ones did. Even Nusra reconciling with IS cannot be written off, tens of thousands of battlehardened civil war veterans joining IS is THE WORST scenario for anyone looking for any “peaceful” solution.

    Where anti-IS coalition now heads is also big questionmark. Can US still keep Qatar and Saudi in the leash if promises to aid rebels are no more credible? Maybe next horse to bet would be Islamic Front? I find even very idea funny though, USAF would need to airdrop arms and ammo to non-willing aid recipients 🙂 Also what happens with Turkey is interesting, so far Turks have given in to US pressure to have US agencies greenlighting arms supplies – will this still apply under new circumstances? My feeling is that Turkey is much more ok with supplying Islamic elements of civil war than idea of Assad staying.

    Sorry, was lot longer than I expected.

    • “If SRF and Hazm will be ousted from north US plan will be seen as complete failure. For rebellion I really don´t know, manpower doesn´t go away – the ones who still dream of Assad-free Syria will just move on to leading popular group. It´s interesting where this leads for both northern syria and also US-led anti-IS coalition.”

      Taken in account that the secular forces left on the ground have zero or close to zero capabilities militarily speaking, the only rebel forces left capable to try and fight out with the SAA are the IF and JAN. The IF has been lately downgraded a lot and JAN is fighting SAA and other rebel groups. So i wouldent speak of them as formidable forces at all. To be honest i think the whole rebel picture looks devastating with the regime now pushing towards Idlib and if it succeeds that might be a vital blow. Wouldent be surprised to see JAN elements continue to shift towards the IS. Wouldent bet one cent on secular rebels overturning anything in the close future.

    • Obama’s policy has been to keep the moderate rebels as disarmed as possible and then mock them for it. Why shouldn’t everyone else mock them as puppets of an Iranian mole who secretly sides with Assad? US failure to arm the rebels or to go after the regime everyone hates is killing us.

      Thanks, Obama, Ms. Rice, Tony B., Valerie, Mr. McDonough and the rest of that clam-closed, obstinate, self-reinforcing and blind crowd.

    • I think the srf vs nusra case is a very special one and should not be taken as a gauge of how any other group would due against the
      jihadist. The srf are supposedly very corrupt and enjoy little local support, Im not saying that other moderates (fsa hazm ect ) woukd beat the jihadist just that it might not be as much of a blow out.

      • To date SRF with Nusra and IF help is the only who has handed Daesh heavy defeat. Their military prowess cannot be thus questioned, their downfall is mainly attributable to their sponsor state (=US) overestimating SRF staying power without significant material and political support. I assume many field leaders and footsoldiers pretty much knew what was coming, it just doesn´t work so that US can pick just few candidates to support and weed out all others! US in principle painted big crosshairs to their favourite guys. In theory it could´ve worked if local population and allies of these groups could have benefited from their sponsor to (NFZ, precision bombings, intelligence, major arms supplies to joint military ops …), but with this minimal exclusive support … never.

        US was basically further fracturing Idlib/Aleppo rebellion, not sure if unraveling of this plan will end up being good thing but positive thing is that this seems to be very quick process with very few lives and ammo wasted.

  5. Sorry , the quotes didn’t appear . i try to repost the comment (please delete the previous one ) :

    EA basically endorses the vesion of fact given by some pro-Nusra activists on the social networks . But the worst of the worst is that EA claims “Other groups in the insurgency called on both sides to cease fire and to accept the authority of the Sharia court in Idlib Province. In its ceasefire announcement on Saturday, Jabhat al-Nusra demanded that Maarouf appear before the court and implied that the SRF’s crimes would be exposed:” .

    So EA wants people believe that it was the SRF which rejected the Sharia court ‘s arbitration and the righteous Nusra accepted it , in order to expose the crimes of that bunch of thieves called SRF. Actually, it’s exactly the other way around . The SRF has always accepted (for months & in the last days ) the arbitration of a neutral sharia court , and it was Nusra that rejected it . In their statement , Jabath al Nusra & Jund al-Aqsa announce the conditions for a ceasefire : “Maarouf & his followers” must appear in front of a sharia court led by Shaykh al-Muhaysini (an al-Qaeda saudi cleric ) , i.e. in front of a Nusra-AlQaeda sharia court, not in front a neutral sharia court . http://justpaste.it/hso5 This is just a provocation , since Nusra & Jund al-Aqsa perfectly know it’s a bit unlikely that Maarouf & the SRF fighters will accept to be sentenced to death by an Al-qaeda saudi guy .

    Also EA claims “Jabhat al-Nusra also said it was boosted by defections from the Harakat Hazm brigade, which has received US heavy weapons including anti-tank missiles. Harakat Hazm clashed with Jabhat al-Nusra when it tried to stop the Islamist faction from sending reinforcements to the fight with the SRF.”
    EA conveniently hides that yesterday Nusra ATTACKED Hazm movement ‘s HQs in Khan al-Subl & Khan Batekh and arrested Muhammed Ghazi, the commander of Hazm Movement in Kafr Batekh (it must be an insignificant detail ). . Probably a few Hazm fighters defected to JAN after surrendering , but nothing more .

    Of course EA has the full right to support Nusra & Jund al-Aqsa against the SRF/Hazm , but it can’t twist the facts in this way .

  6. I think that EA feels forced to support Nusra in Syria, eventough they are Al qaeda. They even published articles claiming Nusra was not really Al Qaeda, despite Golani numerous statement stating they were Al qaeda.

    Why do some western journalists feel forced to support Al Qaeda, even against secular rebels they should support? I believe that they wrote so much about how bad was the syrian governement that they now feel trapped.

    They have gone so far that when the secular rebels stopped being relevent and were sidelined, they were forced to support hardline islamists groups like the Islamic Front and even the jihadists from al Nusra against the governement.

    They are in denial, even using Al Qaeda propaganda against Maarouf, because the only other option they would have, is stopping to support the syrian rebels. After so much years, it wold hurt their feeling too much, admitting being wrong for so long is hard to do.

    • @Genome
      Some good points there.I can remember ISIS being praised by many before they were jumped by the FSA.Then Nusra bacame the cute and cuddly terror group,that would be dealt with after Assads fall.Which was supposed to be quick,as his days were numbered.Honestly,i think many commentators on many sites who backed Nusra as some kind of nice terror group,were and are,just trolls.

    • OBAMA’S BETRAYALS OF MODERATES HAVE DISCREDITED THEM AND JUSTIFY SUPPORT FOR AL NUSRA AND OTHER ISLAMISTS

      The priority is Assad must go. Anyone but ISIS is preferable. That includes even Al Nusra. If Obama and the USA don’t like it, too bad. The president conspired (and still do) with Iran and Assad to eliminate the choice of democracy when he chose to undermine the moderares and support a genocide-enabling stalemate. Yet they whine that rebels and Syrians have become radicalized. In fact, Iran and Assad wanted the rebels radicalized to discredit the latter. Having got their wish they whine and call on Obama to send in his air force to support Shia domination–the same air force Obama could have used when it would have made a difference after the chemical attacks. Every Sunni sees how he rushes to save Assad by massive contrast.

      At least Islamists fight Assad and are not Obama’s puppets. Everyone in Syria and every Sunni worldwide knows by now that Obama is owned by Khamenei lock, stock and barrel and is therefore a tool of Assad which explains the real reason he does not attack the regime. I’d a theocracy hating secularist but can’t blame the Sunnis for giving up on moderation. Obama, Rice and crew taught Sunnis in Syria and elsewhere a great lesson. “Viva le Empire Khmenei. Viva genocide” cries Obama and Rice.

    • And some people here wonder why the Alawites, Christians, Druzes and Shia are supporting the governement… They would all get the Yezidis treatment if they allowed ISIS to take over.

      • No Genome, it was the government that created ISIS and used it as an ally and still doesn’t fight ISIS unless attacked.

        Rephrase your sentence correctly, “And some people here wonder why most Syrians support the rebels against the Genocide Regime and its equally genocidal former ally.”

  7. The Economist takes an over-optimistic White House-like view of Iran

    “The revolution is over: After decades of messianic fervour, Iran is becoming a more mature and modern country, says Oliver August”

    http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21629338-changes-iran-make-nuclear-deal-more-likelynot-month-perhaps-eventually?fsrc=scn/tw_ec/the_revolution_is_over

    Make sure you check the link to the Economists full report on change in Iran. While I don’t dispute such changes, I think Iran–like Syria in 2011 and like Russia under Putin, missed the boat in 2009 and in an age of dropping oil prices will have miles to go just to bet back to where they were before each decided to assist the other’s crackdowns. The article also goes to far in suggested the IRCG had been tamed and curbed.

    Let’s assume, however, the article is right and Iranians manage to modernize and democractize? How will they like Russia and Syria make up for the lost years and lost opportunities? And with Iran behaving itself, will the benefits to the USA be more than outweighed by the total radicalization of Sunnis Obama, Rice, McDonough and Blinken fostered to achieve that?

      • Good article. It’s it to bad the USA’s President for Genocide plans to do whatever he can do bail out the mullocracy, and thereby help finance its crimes against neighbors and its extremist militias Even so, it’s one dimension economy remains vulnerable to low oil prices likely to get even lower. Ditto for Putin who uses such revenues to support similar crimes against neighbors.

        Iran’s potential for tourism is limited because it repels Sunnis (because of Iran’s support for Sunni genocide and suppression everywhere and because of women’s second class status in Iran where they are banned from many offices, not allowed to attend sports events and were initially forced to wear hajibs by the old reliable acid-in-the-face treatment. Western female tourists would be compelled–like Iranian women–to wear hajibs as well. The social police would see to it. There are far better places to go for vacations.

  8. I hate to say this but maybe it’s time for Syrians and all Sunnis to forget the west which has allied with Assad and Iran and join with whoever they can who is willing and able to fight the Genocide Regime. If I find myself becoming more sympathetic to the radicals, as I watch Obama and crew in action, just imagine how most Sunnis feel inside and outside Syria. Like I said, I hate theocracy, but unlike Obama I hate genocide more.

    Maybe Genome is right. Forget the moderate rebels. If only anti-democracy Islamists can prevail against the Iran/Assad/Obama coalition, they so be it. Tell Obama and the USA to go screw themselves.

    To defeat the West’s and Iran’s War on Sunnis the extremists who are the only ones who can do the job will bet supplies from the open market bought by other Sunni regimes also at risk from Obama’s support for Shia dominance and Sunni genocide.

    • ahhhhh RT this is what us sunni arabs have been feeling for years its real catch 22. Assad is a genocidal mass murderer who must be stopped even if it means siding with unsavory characters such as nusra.

      • I have the luxury of living in USA where I can express my true feeling that both assad and the jihadist are bad guys (assad being much much worse) however people living under the genocidal regimes barrel bombing do not Im afraid they must side with the lessor of two evils.

    • This is nothing like Taqba.

      I don’t think ISIS can hold Sha’er. They were kicked out a few month ago by a superior force.

      • How can ISIS attack Tiyas by surprise?. Nobody notices hundreds of figther and heavy equipment moving across the territory?. Someone please explain me. Thanks.

          • Ok. But…there´s no surveillance?. So basically Assad has one of his most strategic airbases stuffed with ghanima and completly unguarded from the sand dwellers…

            • ISIS likes to move (and attack) at night which neutralizes opposing airpower substantially. Let’s hope they wipe out the Genocide Army once again. Let’s hope ISIS faces the same fate down the road but it will take longer. Assad has united most Sunnis worldwide against him. So has Obama by openly joining the war on Sunnis and admitting he has no use for indigenous rebels. Assad and Khamenei are Obama’s kind of guys.

  9. WITH PRO-DEMOCRACY MODERATES SUCCESSFULLY ELIMINATED, SYRIANS MUST PICK WHAT IS BEST FOR THEM EVEN IF IT IS Al QUEDA

    Democracy, civil liberties and a western economy are no longer on the table, having taken a final blow yesterday as Obama watched. To Syrians in 2011 those ideas sounded great . Knowing that, Assad an Iran cleverly released extreme Islamists from their jails in 2011 and worked to revive ISIS as Obama watched and did nothing. In the final days of the moderates, the USA became an informal ally of the Iran-controlled Assad Regime and our air force an appendage of the Syrian Air Force. Obama’s inner circle always urged as much and recently they’ve been more open about it.

    Deprived of weapons, mocked repeatedly and double crossed by time and again by Obama and his in-crowd, the pro-democracy rebels could not be more discredited or have less appeal. The final blow came when announced such grass roots suckers would play no part in his New Syria. He intended to replace them with a new puppet army that would take a century to construct, have no falling and never fight his beloved Assad regime.

    A top Obama assumption shared with his allies Khamenei and Putin, was that with the moderates gone, Syrians would have no choice but to flock to the Genocide Regime that killed hundreds of thousands. It is far more likely that Syriays will do what is in their self interest, not that of Obama or Iran, based on who is least tainted. From best to worst, their remaining choices (all anti-democratic) look like this: The Islamic Front (IF), Jabhat Al Nusrah (JAN), ISIS, and the Genocide Regime. The latter is doubly tainted having committed 100 times more war crimes that the next closest competitor (ISIS) and because it is the only one who is totally indebted to foreign powers (including the USA) for its continued existence. That it is the only secular choice may count plenty for ignorant Americans in their comfy homes but not with most Syrians. If you were a Jew in Hitler’s Germany, or an inmate of Stalin’s Lubyanka would you be grateful that your torturers were secular, not religious?

    Until the very end and resisting any advice from anyone outside his closed circle, Obama insisted the regime must stay. Not only would he not arm the rebels but they’d have no role in his “New Syria” as they waiting outside the door while he, Iran, Putin and regime insiders decided their fate. Obama even told Sunnis he planned to keep Assad’s worst intelligence organs (the Mukbarrat) and give them a major role in any future government. His political settlement would guarantee any future Assad replacement would allow Russia and Iran a major role in the country where they did so much to assist genocide and destruction.

    The one thing Obama and his advisors never had was foresight.

    • A LEAKED DOCUMENT REVEALS HOW DEVIOUS REGIME TRAINING FOR INTERNET DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGNS CAN BE

      http://syria-cyber-warfare-intel-leak.pen.io/

      ASSAD’S SYRIA TRUNCATED, BATTERED BUT DEFIANT

      http://bigstory.ap.org/article/cbdbd465996349d8a3e7fb66b6ada4d7/assads-syria-truncated-battered-defiant

      IDLIB

      Most of southern Idlib province now under control of Jabath al Nusra JN- collapse of moderate rebel forces continues.–Markito0171.

      Big defeat for Obama and sycophants. They gave rebels enough to surive but not to win but could not figure out that enemies who benefited from no such restrictions would have no such disadvantages, assuring certain consequences. Obama’s mentally challenged crew hasn’t made an intelligent strategic decision since 2011. Why? Because they start from bad premises and refuse to examine th latter.

      TIYAS AIR BASE

      It is the regime’s biggest air base and looks likely to fall. According to Paradoxy, ISIS Bad Guys have posted dozens of IDs of killed Genocide Army troops online. See his tag on twitter for the picture.

    • An american who applauds Al Qaeda just because he doesn’t like Assad…. Have you forgotten what all Qaeda did to the World trade center, a fully civilian target with thousands dead?

      Are you really american?

      • I also find it disturbing that someone who claims to be a American can thru his BLOG here at EA bash the U.S. government and call the president vile and disgusting names for all the world to see. I suspect these terrorist groups take comfort from his posts.
        Don’t forget to vote Tuesday.

        • What names? Hamlet? His Impotency? Mr. Dithers? Ally to Genocide? No apologies. If the shoe fits, wear it. Obama richly deserves them all. And having supported genocide and stabbed the rebels in the back repeatedly makes him a scumbag in my book. Throw in the fact that he “lied” to all of us who voted for him in 2012 by concealing his true intentions because he KNEW they’d be unpopular. Then the sleazeball turns around and claims a “mandate” for policies we would never have approved if he had been upfront with us. In Syria and Iraq, Obama’s police is “reward those responsible for horrific crimes, and punish those fighting to protect the victims. Do not in any case stand up for the victims.”

          And I’m supposed to respect that simply because Obama holds (and stinks up) the presidential office. Like Nixon he has disgraced it and even worse. Nixon at least had one major accomplishment in foreign affairs. Obama is the ultimate Mr. No Load, an arrogant $%#$. He would reward those responsible for genocide and to punish those who resisted such crimes. By your argument, Russians should support Putin in the Ukraine and against other neighbors, Americans should have stuck by Nixon after Watergate, Germans should have remained loyal to Hitler, etc.

          As for terrorists “taking comfort” from my posts, not so or only to the extent that in describing essential Syrian feelings they conform with reality. It is from Obama’s actions and those of his allies (Assad, Khamenei, Nasrallah and other Shia militia) extremists shoud take comfort.

          PS. You wouldn’t be a White House staffer defending, like General Keitel, every horrific move. Only the most hardcore stick by Obama today. Democratic candidates are funning from Mr. Genocide like the plague.

      • Yes, Genome I’m really American and I hate Al Queda but I’m trying to see it from the point of view of the average SYRIAN and what’s best for Syrians not the USA or the West. What has Al Nusrah done to Sunnis compared to what the regime has done to them? Be serious! Sunni’s and Syrians are supposed to take the side of America just because Al Queda killed 3,000 mainly Americans and destroyed building while an American president collaborated in a genocide campaign that bombed most of the country, targeting civilians especially, murdered over 250,000 and raped and tortured 100,000 hundreds of thousands.

        Has Al Queda done that to Syrians? No. For Obama to insist on keeping the regime in action and to deliberately promote statemate in order to prevent a rebel victory is outrageous on Obama’s part. How would Americans feel if China or Putin backed Al Queda that way as Obama does? The US under Obama and his crew shows no sympathy whatsoever but cries to Syrians “look at by boo-boos.” Syrians now say SCREW AMERICA and we owe you nothing. The USA under Obama is every bit as guilty of Putin, Assad, and Khamenei for those deaths, gang rapes and torture. That’s how Syrians see it and they are RIGHT to do so! Obama is sort of like the getaway driver. He can make all the overt speeches he wants condemning Assad but one people see is he has become Assad’s Grand Protector and backs up the War on Sunnis. If he didn’t want rebels to be driven into the arms of Al Queda he shouldn’t behave like Al-Maliki even while condemning the latter for what he does. Obama has been totally biased and one sided toward the Assad regime.

    • This cannot be a serious reply, Al Qaeda and IS is more than happy to wipe you out if you show any resistance to the ‘caliphate’. Life will be much worse under them than even the regime. You are aware that ISIS and Al Qaeda are terrorists, that is not a figure of speech that is a fact. Even though Assads regime act like terrorists it does not make Al Qaeda and ISIS better terrorists.

      • ASSad is much worse terrorists

        heck at least ISIS and al quaeda fight for a (twisted) ideology but ASSad terrorists fight for a person , namely ASSad himself , now that is even more psychopathic and worse

      • Re: Life will be worse under JAN that the regime.

        That’s hard to imagine. ISIS would be just as brutal and tyrannical except worse in the area of social freedoms. On Jan, Syrians are supposed to take your word for it that JAN would be worse than the regime. Seriously? JAN has been a thousand times better behaved that either ISIS or the Genocide Regime which is why–with Obama have done what he can to eliminate the moderate rebels he has always scorned, JAN is the best choice after the Islamic Front. How is it even arguable that the Genocide Regime should get preference. If ISIS and JAN were out of the picture, its a coin toss between Assad and ISIS. Both are horrifically bad. JAN looks downright civil be comparison to either. So what’ so controversial about preferring JAN over Assad? Just because Obama would prefer the reverse rebels are supposed to please the SOB in the White House who torpedoed them? Choosing the regime over ISIS would REWARD Assad’s crimes and Obama’s collusion in them.

    • In summary, assad has won, there are only some western acceptable rebels on the Jordanian border and thats not much.

        • Assad has won nothing. This is a victory for the Islamist rebel faction who will get stronger as rebels desert to it or JAN, rather than the far worse Assad regime. Time to give up on that scumbag in Washington. That’s not too strong a term for a president who supports genocide against Sunnis and has allied us with Assad and Khamenei (ie., the American-killing, hostage taking, blower up of marine barracks).

    • Almost 4 years have passed and the only thing that has changed is that Assads days are not numbered anymore.Old age will probably get him in the end.Still same crap that Assad is a bigger terrorist than ISIS and JAN.Who exactly is Assad a threat to by the way?Terrorists in Syria? Good.Assad a threat to west? No.ISIS and JAN a threat to west? Yes.So they must be eradicated like vermin.

      • “Who exactly is Assad a threat to by the way”

        Go back before the war started, he’s been arming Hezbollah for years including with the missiles they’ve used to attack Israel, was almost definitely complicit in the assassination of Rafiq Hariri; armed, funded and sheltered the Islamist groups in Iraq that eventually formed the Islamic State as they were killing thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of US and Allied troops, and sheltered various Palestinian terrorist groups such as Islamic Jihad and the DFLP.

        His government also tortured thousands of Syrians every year and killed between several hundred and several thousand Syrians each year. (See, for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_al-Qamishli_riots).

        But they weren’t westerners so who cares, right?

        I’m sure there was a perfectly reasonable explanation for those hundreds of tonnes of chemical weapons and the Syrian nuclear weapons program.

        • Basically thats right.When Hezbollah flies a few planes into Twin Towers killing my countrymen or bombs Bali killing more of my countrymen then i will care.

  10. No offense intended to anyone but I’ve noticed in the couple of months I’ve been following the comments here that EVERYTHING is a monumental event that will completely alter the course of the war.

    SAA takes Handarat – Aleppo is doomed. FSA advances in Western Ghouta – Damascus is about to fall. JAN is about to capture Idlib. The IS is abotu to take Kobani – with the connivance of the US and Tureky.

    Except, Handarat ends up back in rebel hands (as of last time I checked anyway), the offensive south of Damascus stalls out, Idlib remains in government hands and not only has Koani not fallen but Turkey just let Iraqi Kurds with US-supplied heavy weapons transit their territory.

    Now it may be that Tiyas airbase is going to fall – but Taqba and earlier Taftanaz fell without altering the overall course of the war significantly.

    So you’ll forgive me if the SRF being pushed out of some village I’ve never heard of despite following the war in some detail doesn’t seem all that significant.

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