Syria Daily, August 24: Regime’s Deadly Bombardment Near Damascus Continues

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PHOTO: Rescuers carry a wounded child after a regime airstrike on a market in Saqba, east of Damascus, on Sunday


LATEST

MONDAY FEATURE

Islamic State Blows Up Roman Shrine in Palmyra


UPDATE 1600 GMT: Syrian warplanes continued bombardment with more than 40 raids, accompanied by artillery shelling, on Damascus suburbs on Monday morning.

Aftermath of a strike on Douma:

Doctors in Douma protest for a humanitarian truce:

DOCTORS DOUMA PROTESTS

In northwest Syria, more than 30 civilians have reportedly been killed by airstrikes on Jisr al-Shughour city and the town of Al Bara.


ORIGINAL ENTRY: The Assad regime’s bombardment near Syria’s capital Damascus continued on Sunday, following a week with hundreds of deaths and two mass killings.

Syrian warplanes and missiles struck areas to the east and northeast such as Douma, Saqba, and Harasta and the southwestern suburb of Darayya. The Local Coordination Committees verified 58 casualties near Damascus, among 85 across the country on Sunday.

On August 16, at least 112 people were killed and more than 550 wounded in Douma when a vegetable market was hit by vacuum missiles. Dozens more died on Saturday from further bombing, including the destruction of a four-story building. Many of the victims were children.

A first responder, Muhammad Khobbiah, told the story of a 23-member family trapped in the rubble of the four-story block. While three were dug out, the other 20 were pinned in the wreckage:

We heard the screams of the people in the upper levels for three hours straight, unable to do anything. As the Civil Defense tried to use a winch to lift the rubble, the roof collapsed, killing all those who were in the upper floors.

See Syria Daily, August 23: Regime Carries Out Another Mass Killing in Douma

Smoke on the streets of Douma after Sunday’s attacks:

A small girl is rescued in Douma after Saturday’s assault:

Aftermath of an attack on Saqba, with bodies being pulled from the debris (Warning — Graphic):

A barrel bomb falls on Darayya:

The Assad regime has tried for years to break the rebels and civilians through sieges and airstrikes; however, the attacks have escalated in 2015. The surge may be due in part to fears of rebel advances around Damascus — this month, the opposition has advanced in Darayya and attacked regime positions in Harasta.

On Sunday, State media claimed that 11 people were slain and 60 wounded in Damascus by rebel mortars. However, activists claimed that the regime fired on the Damascus Central Prison, northeast of the capital, to kill visitors and blame the opposition.

The air force also barrel-bombed Daraa city in southern Syria, where rebels have been trying to take regime-controlled areas:

In contrast to the attention paid to the August 16 attack on Douma, international media said little about this weekend’s assault. Monday’s headlines are likely to be about the Islamic State’s damage to a Roman shrine in Palmyra in central Syria.

The Douma first responder Muhammad Khobbiah said Sunday:

With my thanks to those who convey our suffering, you cannot imagine its magnitude because you have not lived it.

Hearing is not the same as seeing.


Pro-Assad Outlets: 5 Syrians Killed by Israel Last Friday Were Soldiers, Not Civilians

Refuting the original line of State media, pro-Assad accounts are circulating photos of five troops whom they say were killed by an Israeli airstrike last Friday:

Syrian TV had maintained that the Israelis had hit a “civilian car” in the attack in Quneitra Province, near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The attack follows a series of Israeli air raids on military posts from Quneitra to Damascus Province, following the launch of four rockets from Syria into the Golan Heights and northern Galilee.

See Syria Daily, August 21: Israel Strikes Assad’s Army


Rebels Close Border Crossings in Protest at Turkey’s Operations

Rebels have closed the Bab al-Salama and Bab al-Hawa border crossings in northern Syria, protesting against Turkish operations.

The Sham Front and Ahrar al-Sham faction shut down all traffic, supply trucks. They claim that Turkish staff have blocked people’s movement and insulted managers and humiliated Syrian staff.

The rebels said the Turks do not see the Syrian side as equals: “We live at their mercy.”

Almost all supplies into rebel-controlled northern Syria, including deliveries of UN aid, go through the two crossings.


Rebel Assault on Besieged Abu Duhur Base in Idlib Province

The rebel coalition Jaish al-Fateh has launched an offensive on the regime’s isolated Abu Duhur Base in Idlib Province, with the possibility of a ground assault to overrun the complex.

Abu Duhur has long been out of use, as almost all of Idlib Province has fallen to the rebels. About 300 defenders remain.

The offensive started with shelling of the base on Sunday and ground attacks on the perimeter, especially at the southern gates. Syrian helicopters tried to drive away the attackers.

The assault resumed on Monday with artillery fire and ground attacks. The Syrian air force is again attempting to check the offensive.

A Jabhat al-Nusra video from Sunday promoting the offensive:


Syrian Military Launches Latakia Offensive, Rebels Claim It is Repelled

The Syrian military has launched an offensive in Latakia Province in western Syria, hoping to push back against rebels who have advanced through the northwest of the country this spring and summer.

Syrian troops and militia attacked near the Prophet Younis mountains on Sunday. The range overlooks the al-Ghab Plain in neighboring Hama Province, which has been the site of battles between the regime and rebels since the opposition advance in late April.

Pro-Assad outlets claim the regime forces took three hilltops, but local sources support the claims of opposition activists that the attacks were repelled.

Military analysts report that advanced Russian infantry fighting vehicles were supplied to Assad forces for the offensive, including a BTR-82A in this video:

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47 COMMENTS

  1. Urgent!

    ABU DUHUR MAY BE FALLING. REBELS ARE NOW INSIDE THE BASE

    In two posts yesterday afternoon I drew attention to rebel gains yesterday that had reached as far as the main gate and asked, “Is Good News Coming in Abu Duhour.” No one gave it much attention. Now as I go to bed I’ve noticed two tweets from two different sources with decent reliability reporting rebels inside the base itself. If they’ve gotten that far, the rebels are unlikely to stop there. I thinhk this is serious. Here’s the latest:

    Rebels took “Pilot school building” inside Abu ad-Duhur – Military Airbase–Markito0171 .

    JaN forces stormed regime Abu Dhour air base in E Idlib & controlled couple of buildings inside so far.–Stork.

    http://wikimapia.org/#lang=de&lat=35.735714&lon=37.099371&z=14&m=b … …

    People seem to underrate Abu Duhur’s importance, perhaps because aircraft apparently can’t use the base. However, the regime has continued to man the base and bomb the surrounding area heavily for good reason when you look at a man, and I’m not just talking about morale concerns should it fall.

    Look on a map to the east of Abu Duhur. If rebels take the airbase, it’s almost certain Khanassir should be next and should be easier than the air base. Taking that cuts off Aleppo by land from the regime’s core. It also enables an attack on Al Saira from the south at a time when it may be particularly vulnerable. Defense factories, barrel bomb making facities and a copter base have been located there though they may be partially damaged.

    I also drew attention to a report a few days ago that the regime had about 1,200 men assigned to defense there but Assad apparently shipped a good proportion northeast in an attempt to break through ISIS lines and rescue trapped regime forces at Kweris airbase. as he promised to do. Thus, if rebels seriously threaten Al Safira, Assad loses no matter which move he makes. He can abandon Kweres defenders to their probable fate at ISIS hands and maybe save Safira or he can do the opposite. Should he move on Al Safira, will ISIS lay off or continue to hit his withdrawing forces from the rear, in which case they’d be caught in a nutcracker of sorts between two enemies? This is going to be very interesting.

    • The main reason the regime hangs on to the disused airbase is simple, The defenders are in well fortified positions, under siege by a large number of rebels which could have been deployed elsewhere, when rebels expose themselves to attack the base ( which is relatively small area ), they come under heavy air strikes, so basically the regime sees the area around the base as a killing field and also tying down large number of rebels, there is the psychological factor too.

      • Forgot to mention like most airbases, Abu Duhur would have bunkers/shelters , where most of the defenders will be spending their time in, safe from rebel fire while a token force will be on the surface and only when a major assault is underway is when the bulk of defenders will come to surface. As a military expert I would not want to suffer heavy casualties to capture this airbase and would just fire regular daily shells and surround it with snipers and leave it be as it is , a self guarded prison.

        • It doesn’t matter the base must go. That there are a lot of attackers is no accident. They wouldn’t be there if it weren’t critical and that is the real reason the regime is trying to hang on.

          • @ Tornado . It all depends at what cost. If it is not of critical importance losing over 1000 men to overrun it’s 300 defender is not a great idea, you have to be on the ground to asses the situation.There are many people on the web saying this or that should be done, I am a military historian & expert and write articles and give lectures.

            • To Curious:

              Unless the rebels can bypass Abu Duhur to get to Khanassir (and that would be dangerous) it may be worth the one-time costs. Are you familiar with military historian Dr. Russell Weigle? . I studied under him and taught his daughter, Kathy. We are both graduates of Albright College.

              • @ Tornedo, Go ahead make fun of me, your military expertise is as good as the expertise in English language of the guy running syrian observatory human rights 😉 .The airbase is surrounded and to the east is full of rebels on the way to khansir and defenders of airbase are not blocking anything.

  2. A RESPONSE TO ROTTEN TOMATOES ON MY OWN CREDIBIITY

    Re “99% of the crap you post on your “BLOG” has no basis in fact, mostly outright lies, conspiracy theories and unproven twitter rumors and dude it’s getting old.”

    I’m at least 95% accurate on the facts. I never intentionally claim fake victories, unlike the regime types and warn where further confirmation is required.
    Note that “straw man positions” that don’t belong to me can’t be considered evidence to the contrary.

    It’s true that I often reason from the facts to reach conclusions about where things may be going or how well Obama, Assad, Putin, etc. may be performing. The situation in Abu Duhur at present isn’t the first time I’ve noted something important ahead of the pack. Recall my warning, as Obama ignored for weeks the regime-ISIS collaboration that drove the more numerous but poorly armed rebels out of Deir Ezzor. I warned of severe consequences if he failed to act. You know what followed: the successful ISIS invasion of Iraq and capture of Mosul and the subsequent double cross of Assad by the Frankenstein he raised.

    It’s my conclusions, based on Obama’s horrific decisions and the consequences that followed from them that seem to tick off you and others here. The fact that Obama defenders and regime defenders share the same bed on that one speaks volumes. Nor do is spare the satire. The man deserves it. His vindictive and arrogant character, and his tendencies to mendacious ad hominem arguments when it comes to critics hardly suggest someone who should be spared or whose blunders should be treated lightly.

    As you may have noted, a majority of informed folks, including many democrats and allies, seem to agree that Obama has been a failure in the mid-east, that he has undermined our allies and national security, that he has needlessly enabled mass murder, radicalism and especially the growth of ISIS for three reasons–his blind addiction to a “Do Nothing” doctrine, his Chamberlain-like love of appeasement as a diplomatic weapon where it misfires and his persistence in fantasies assuming a change of behavior on Khamenei’s part if Obama gives away the store.

    That President Bend Over has strongly favored Khamenei and his militias over the Sunnis is a reasonable conclusion from observable facts–a conclusion widely shared among Arabs, allies and most Americans. The degree to which the guy has sacrificed everything to please Iran and continues to do so is shocking. Obama could not have done worse if he tried, most critics agree. A disgraceful president has become a virtually ally of fascism and Khamenei’s toy boy.

    So enjoy the satire because it ain’t gonna to stop so long as Obama continues to play Khamenei’s fool and genocide enabler. I recommend you read following article at Foreign Policy. Is the author lying too?

    “AMERICA’S SELF-INFLICTED WOUND IN SYRIA”

    By playing nice with Tehran and allowing Bashar al-Assad’s atrocities to continue unabated, the Obama administration is driving Syrians right into the arms of the Islamic State.

    https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/08/21/americas-self-inflicted-wound-in-syria/?utm_content=buffera80ed&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

    Michael Weisss, Tony Bedran, Michael Doran, Hassan Hassan are ferocious Obama critics but their criticism is right on. Your penchant for replacing fact based argument for ad hominem attack. Are they nuts and liars or are they right? Is Obama as bad and incompetent as they say? The guy’s mind is as closed as a clam. I say again, “If he isn’t an Iranian mole, he does his best to act like one.

    “RUSSIA’S PLAYING A DOUBLE GAME WITH TERROR”

    Even as America touts its counterterrorism partnerships with Russia, evidence points to the FSB directly feeding Dagestanis to ISIS.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/08/23/russia-s-playing-a-double-game-with-islamic-terror.html?via=twitter_page

    Iran plays the same game and used Al Queda and ISIS predecessor against us in Iraq and elsewhere when it suited. Obama knows this and cuddle up anyway. What are we supposed to make of him.

    Both Putin and Khamenei encouraged Assad to resist demands for democracy, to release 800 extreme Islamists from his jails and nurse ISIS as a ally. They feared that if democracy triumphed in Syria, they’d be next. ISIS was used as a political, intelligence and military tool against the rebels. All of this Obama knows but continues to overlook in pursuit of his Iran fantasy.

    Be honest. Have you seen the slightest sign of changed behavior on Khamenei’s part? Where is the reward for all Obama’s groveling except in his own imagination?

      • Magpie:

        YES, I voted for Obama. And yes we were conned by the sneaky SOB. However, knowing my views, is it likely that I and others like me would have voted for Obama if he had been open about his real intent on foreign policy. You know how devious he was which is why he can claim no mandate for his unpopular, radicalizing and genocidal actions now or his appeasement policies. Though we ignored a few drop clues for the most part Obama did a superb job of concealing his intent. A rare, gamble on his part, the death of Bin Laden, also helped by suggesting a backbone that wasn’t really there. Obama turns out to be a devious, contemptable, lying mother-fXucker with a secret agenda he concealed from us.

        I would think, being anti-Obama, you;’d be more than happy to share my conclusion that Obama engaged in fraud by hiding his intentions. There is where you could score real points instead of phony ones–attacking Democrats like myself who voted for the guy when he withheld things from us. The only voters you should scorn–on the Democratic or independent side–are those who still would vote for him after his virtually outright salliance with fascism in his second term.

        The one area in which you are right is in coinnection with the extremist Chicago minister who talked about “Goddamn America.” We did too easily dismiss that. The fact that much of the hullabaloo over that came from birther and racist types known to be looking for any excuse to discredit Obama didn’t help their own credibility in making attacks. Consider also that Obama delibertly concealed in every other way his Chomsky-Counterpunch-Nation-anti-war.com goofynesss; Where was the sign of it durin his first term?
        As for his pledge to withdraw from Iraq by an inflexible and fixed date, it was not unrealistic to believe, based on the wrong assumption that Obama was normal person rather than the psychological troubled, Avictictive and dogmatic academic which he was able to hide until recently. Any “norma”l person, once in office, was likely to be adaptable where special conditions arose and common sense dictated otherwise. Obama was not normal but did a good job of faking it. Allegations to the contrary from racists and Russ Limbaugh types actually played into his hands by obscuring real issues and discreding skepticism. We now know that complaints about his high handedness, his sneering dogmatism, his rigidity, his vindictiveness, his mendacity turn out to have foundation in fact. By arguing nut-nut accusations instead of rational ones, critics did as much as anyone to aid and abet Obama’s concealment.

        With his real and radical foreign policy goals kept secret and given the tainted nature of most opposition, the choice of Obama appeared to be a no-brainer except for fans of the Koch Brothers and similar types, the KKK, white survivalists, fundamentalist theocrats NRA-controlled robots and homophobes. An obvious mass conspiracy by the GOP against the voting rights act and intended to create as many obstacles to voting as possible against blacks, mexicans and the urban poor–carried out in every state where the GOP controlled the governorship and state legislatures, also backfired by making Obama more sympathetic. Like all white legislatures in Dixiedom Repulicans everywhere scrambled to find new and sneaky ways to ban those they despised. If the target population had been pro-GOP, is there any probability these states would have claimed a “need” for such laws?
        This phenomenon was organized from the top down. It was no accident or coincidence that the GOP pushed it just after a black president had won his first term. It was also a great reason for anyblacks, hispanics, the carless and urban poor who managed to retain the vote to vote close to 100 percent against the Anti-Voting RIghts Act party, regardless of a few prominent Uncle Toms.in its ranks. Ditto for whites like myself who don’t support flat-out, politically motivated racism however it may be disguised.

        The claimed rationale (a sudden need to cope with mass voting fraud) was completely phony in the same way the South came up with plausible covers for depriving blacks of the right to vote. Thus the poll tax (“voters should have to pay for the ‘privilege”) knowing many blacks could not affor even small fees. Thus rigged literaqy test which in practice even the dumbest white hillbilly rarely failed. I recall the cartoon in which a voting registrar asks a hillbilly “How much is 2 + 2?” and then asks a black to explain Einstein’s treory of evolution. Phony excuses fool no one when you consider the timing, who benefits politically, the phony basis for the “need” in the first place and the totally GOP backing. Other tricks the GOP employed were huge ballots in essential states (Florida’s 12–page baloot) to assure long lines while at the same time proving fewer voting places in minority areas, cutting down on the days available for voiting and elminating voting on Sunday in a clear attempt to prevent black churches from aidig older or carless voters get to the polls.

        That alone woujld be a good reason to vote Obama even if all else were even, which it wasn’t. Finally there was the risk of another Scalia or Thomas being appointed to the court. That pair even attends Koch Brothers scheming sessions and yet failed to recuse themselves from the infamous decision which allowed folks like the Koch Brothers to give unlimited amounts of money and do so anonymously.

        Ordinarily I”d vote demoratic but sometimes abstain (twice) or vote Repulican (twice) in general elections. In 2014 I and and other democrats and independents who strongly disagreed with Obama’s extremist foreign policy with no legitimate mandate stayed home and it cost the Democrats dearly. This time in a presidential election and one where many GOP seats would ordinarily be at risk along with the Supreme Court, we may be FORCED to do so again. Hillary has already sold out on the nuke deal as apparently have most democrats by not insisting on one essential pre-condition for a yes vote on the nuke treaty–a pre-condition which would not affect the treaty itself. They must demand that Obama take strong action to oust Assad before Khamenei gets his $150 billion. He must also stop insisting that Putin and Khamenei get any big say in any peace settlement. If no such action is taken, if Assas is still in power or replaced by a duplicate approved by Putin and Assad as of election day, I, my wife and several friends have agreed to stay home. We are now using Arizona as a home base as we RV.

  3. LATEST FROM ABU DUHUR AS REPORTED BY PRO-REGIME SOURCE LEITH FADEL

    “Jabhat Al-Nusra Storms the Abu Al-Dhuhour Military Airbase in East Idlib”

    http://www.almasdarnews.com/article/jabhat-al-nusra-storms-the-abu-al-dhuhour-military-airbase-in-east-idlib/

    Excerpt: On Sunday afternoon, the Al-Qaeda affiliates surprised the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Liwaa Abu Al-Daher (local milita) with a powerful assault that targeted the southern gates of the Abu Al-Dhuhour Military Airbase from their positions at the nearby village of Tal Salmu

    To Rotten Tomatoes: Told yah so!

    NORTH OF IDLIB

    Ajnad al-Sham Islamic coalition launch “North Flames” battle on Kafarya & al-Fu’a N #Idlib in solidarity w/ #Zabadani –Stork.

    MORE BAD ECONOMIC NEWS FOR RUSSIA

    Brent Slides Below $45. Ruble hits near 70 vs USD as morning arrives over there.

  4. “Monday’s headlines are likely to be about the Islamic State’s damage to a Roman shrine in Palmyra in central Syria.”

    True. The BBC news site doesn’t mention these massacres, even in small print.

    If it was the IDF bombing Gaza, there would be big headlines every day.

      • There is a lot of pressure on the americans for a NFZ from the arabs and the Turks, Assad recent slaughter may be what that will tip it over the top.

        • The Turks won’t help the yanks unless nfz, I actually put it more likely than not that within the next 2 weeks some deal will be made regarding nfz.

            • I am just trying to give people here some hope, that’s all. If more isis attacks outside syria ( Europe or USA), the american will take the nfz deal in order to wipe out isis.

    • He’s been slaughtering continuously for 4 years, a relatively small rise in death toll won’t change anything. Unless you get a rerun of Ghouta or a slaughter of a similar scale, it won’t happen, and even then I’d hold my breath.

      • The US is absolutely not going to establish a NFZ. Claiming it to be a morally good thing to do isn’t a compelling enough reason.

        Not to mention that there are currently a host of other issues worldwide that are far more important to American interests, and domestic politics in the US will not support any sort of overt intervention in Syria. Americans have been seeing images of massacres for years, seeing another one tomorrow isn’t going to make Americans pay anymore attention to Syria.

        As for “pressure from the Arabs”, while Syria might on a relative basis matter more to Americas arab allies than it does to America, short of maybe Jordan (a minor player regardless) Syria is not any of the Arab powers main concern at the moment. They all have significant issues to deal with currently, especially the Saudis who are burning through their cash reserves at a rate proportionally similar to Russia.

        Find a new silver bullet to solve what you want solved.

        • Also, if things remain similar to how they are currently in the world/Middle East, it doesn’t matter who gets elected post-Obama. None of the candidates with current layout would enact a NFZ at the moment either, and most likely will not come 2016.

    • Curious – hate to spoil the hope, but there is little to no chance of an NFZ – partly because Turkey’s concern is not to stop the killing but to see what it can get most out of Syria for the master charlatan Erdo’an, the deep state, and the rich Islamic merchants backing them.

      Turkey by itself has the airpower to implement an entry-level NFZ. But there is little interest in that.

    • Why not a massive cruise missile strike instead of a NFZ? 24 hours and the bulk of Assad’s air force is destroyed along with most of his anti-air missiles and radar systems. Cost effective too.

      • Because of the same factors that make a NFZ unlikely at best, you aren’t going to see a cruise missile strike. If anything, a NFZ is more likely. The repercussions and world views on a cruise missile strike would be much more severe than a small NFZ.

        It’s not an issue of capability. No one doubts that the U.S. could wreck the majority of Assads military capacity pretty quickly, and with little direct risk to the military assets that would be involved. (Though you are a fool if you don’t think there wouldn’t be other repercussions, some of them long term) Syrias air defense network is in shambles, large parts have been destroyed or overrun, other surviving installations have seen personnel transferred to more pertinent positions given the civil war. The air force has been worn down and is overtaxed.

        The real issues aren’t capabilities, it’s a lack of will (and not just on Obamas part, but anyone’s, including the general public), the presence of numerous more pressing issues elsewhere, and the lack of a compelling reason for the U.S. to eliminate Assad at the moment (humanitarian reasons do not count as compelling enough, they would have to get significantly worse). If tonight america launched an wave of air and missile strikes that crippled Assad, how would America’s position be improved tomorrow?

        If anything, having this war continue is a positive for America as it gives the U.S. a card to play in relations with Iran and Russia, a place the U.S. can easily ratchet up or down pressure.

        Point is- no NFZ, no air strikes, not from the U.S, and given the current circumstances, that will be the case even if Obama resigns from office tonight.

  5. Even if Assad nuke his cities, there will be NFZ. Implementing a NFZ over a country which virtually has very small amount of natural resources is illogical. Man, Iraq has one of the largest Oil reserve, so you are interested getting them protected. If tomorrow someone says Syrian desert has large Lithium deposition all our Free world will be mad to Protect Civilians and take overnight action as they did in Benghazi, Libya. Humanity? Red-line? WMD? Feck you….

    • I write as strong critic of Obama and his inaction, as you know. Obama’s opposition to NFZs and his covert and continuing protection of the Assad Regime is rooted in his personal ideology, not oi, as you suggest. Obama is driven by the the ideology of Counterpunch, of Anti-Warl.com, of Nation magazine, of Noam Chomsky, Oliver Stone Juan Cole, etc–all conspiracy driven. Obama is a True Believer. Thus if Syria were a major oil producer, those guys would even more strongly oppose action.; Same goes for Obama.

      Hole #1 in the “oil explains everything” cliche. By contorted logic, it pops up even in situation where not a drop of oil is available. Example; Appealling to the nutso left to get their backing for genocide, propagandists for Russia and Milosevic claimed “we invaded Kosovo because of oil” and humanitarian considerations had nothing to do with it. Yet Kosvovo had no oil. Counterpunch, Chomsky and anti-war.com fell for it. Example: We heard the same in Afghanistan where supposedly 9/11 was merely a minor motive. Yet where was the oil we were supposedly after. Example: Vietnam. We heard the same claim as if a wrongheaded application of the “lessons of Munich” had nothing to do with it. Where was Vietnam’s oil?

      Hole #2: If oil were he motive, why why not just slaughter everyone and take what we wanted (exactly what a Putin or Khamenei would do). That brings to the next “hole” in which we distinguish why your thesis applies in some cases and not others.

      Hole #3: The oil motive thesis fits only if you accept what the West learned to reject after World War II as globalism made war and the acquisition of forced based empires stupid and way too costly. Only fools like Milosevic, Putin, Khamenei seriously believe that crap whch is why they’ll commit any crimes to take and hold on to empires. All it has done and costinues to do for those who persist in this old fashioning thing is to cost them far more than they could possibly get out of it, oil or no oil.

      Global economies have changed everything by assuring access to all simply be paying the world market price which is determined by supply and demand. By tacit mutual agreement, no one interferes with anyone’s access to buy. Markets are open to all. These days no one but a fool would go to war when you can buy oil at far less than the cost of waging war to seize it, then waging more war against asymetical guerillas afterward, and possibly being forced into direct war with other nations whom you cut off from supply. The cost of that is incredibly high. Where’s the profit? Buying is so much easier and–in an age when new technoogy has driven down oil prices–vastly cheaper.

      All of these rebutalls are rational argument. The problem with conspircy theories is that it’s like arguing over religion or the existence of Gods. Both rest on the truth that you can’t prove the negative. Therefore II confess: i cannot prove ABSOLUTELY disprove your conspiracy theory. Nor can you disprove that there isn’t a world made of green cheese 100 million light years from here because “anything’s possible.” The fact that one cannot disprove negatives beyond resasonable doubt thus explains why prosecutes are not obliged to prove guilt absolutely. Like such a prosecutor, I rely on overwhelming evidence, common sense and Occam’s razor to reach the conclusions above.

      Can oil sometimes be a prime cause of war? Yes but clearly only when a country decides to seize oil instead of buying it and thereby denies other access. Adding to the cost of conquest or of retaining what has been conquered afterward, is the probability that the victor will also face war, direct or by proxy, with outside nations hostile to the takeover. The West and USA have long understood that. Putin and Khamenei are ignorant men who have yet to learn that lesson and about to find out. If not for Obama, they’d have found out long since because, instead of catering to Iran and begging Khamenei to behave, we could have done to Iran what China and Russia did at low cost to themselves in Vietnam.

      • I had thrown a hypothetical reason why NFZ had not been implemented. Yes there were many places USA intervened where you can not find clean water (Somalia) let alone oil! Yet, from recent memory: Would French or British fighters would be so fast to reach Benghazhi sky should Libya did not have such wealth? Of course USA or other wont hijack an oil filed, but Haliburton does something and did something which is kinda robbing. My Q is if there were oil in Syrian desert, would not the scenario be little different? Again hypothetical, yet it is a valid Q. Proving the intent to go into a war (Gulf War 1, 2, and may be 3 now) is not that difficult whether we can prove/disprove the existence of GOD (I am sure God would not be able to do that, because how God would know whether he really exists while non-existence has no reference point or existence itself..bla bla). Anyway, Obama is reluctant because he sees how politically and economically America had been fatigued by several non-sense wars his predecessors Mr. Bush Sr and Jr waged and continued! Anyway, Red, I always appreciate your insisive comments. Thank you very much.

    • ForSyria – Lithium is a cheap metal and a very abundant metal (30th most abundant element on earth). The largest source of Lithium is in the oceans and easy to extract. Lithium-ion batteries require minute amounts of lithium to begin with. Besides, who would want to invest billions of dollars in Syria and put that money at risk, when you can get unlimited Lithium from Central Asia and South America at a fraction of that investment?

      And it took years to overcome the objection of mainly leftists to intervene in Bosnia, where it has no oil or any other valuable raw material.

  6. Can anyone confirm the news that both Kweires airport (to Daeesh) and ABU DUHUR airport (to Nusra) have both fallen right now? If so doesn’t that mean the SAA risks being pincered/envelope by both Nusra and Daeesh simultaneously? Doesn’t that make their exit all but improbable?

    • If true (further confirmation needed, I expected both bases to fall but not this fast. That would create real risk to both regime forces, its resident loyalists and rebels alike. It would confirm that not only are the regime’s defenses near Al Safira weak but even weaker than I thought. A double victory gives more credence to the following analysis which I wrote BEFORE the news. Even the rumour of such twin events suggests that I was right about the importance of the campaign below.

      WHY AN ABU DUHUR–KHANASSIR–SAFIRA-AIRPORT CAMPAIGN IS ESSENTIAL FOR REBELS

      Two developments make such campaign ideal now–the upcoming Coalition air assault on ISIS in the north and the regime’s ongoing attempt to save Kweris airbase with reinforcements from Al Safira. Whether or not the rebels intend to take the city or merely to cripple the regime’s ability to make trouble while rebels engage elsewhere, the move makes sense.

      It is essential to keep the regime overextended on all fronts. Therefore, attempting to take Aleppo fully would could hamper for too long rebel offensives elsewhere. Why not defang the regime for now and finish it off later? Cutt off resupply by land and air and bombat capability must inevitably shrink. Yet the regime would be forced to provide combat and supply missions or risk humiliation. That translates to less missions elsewhere.

      In the north and east, rebels must retain sufficient troops to tie down regime forces and take advantage should any defenders withdraw towad Al Safira. Should ISIS be pushed back by Coalition bombing, that should be do-able. Closer to Al Safira I can’t see how any regime forces presently involved in a counteroffensive against ISIS can disengaged easily. The rebel campaign aginast Al Safira would put them at risk of getting sandwiched between ISIS and the rebels no matter what choice they make.

      On the fall of Abu Duhour and Kweris Airport

      I expected the regime to lose both airbases but not this quickly. If true, it shows how weak the regime really is and how vulnerable Al Safira appears to be. More than ever it confirms how essential the rebel offensive I mentioned is and why they must speed things up.

      WHY AN ISIS VICTORY AT THIS POINT WOULD BE A WHOPPING GAME CHANGER IF CONFIRMED

      1. ISIS supply lines all the way from Raqaa to Kweres would be open.

      2. We could expect a few hundred executions and related anti-regime demonstrations by loyalists back home.

      3. Theoretically ISIS could take advantage to go after the rebels north of Aleppo (risking Coalition aircraft) or make the far smarter choice since the roads to both ISIS and its defense factories and Nayrab airport would be wide open and opposition minimal. . ISIS could easily beat the rebels to both objectives especially if only Kweris has fallen and rebels are tied up in Abu Duhor. ISIS would not only be closer to both objectives but would likely have more forces available should it move quickly.

      4, Even assuming the rebels have taken Abu Duhor, could they get to Al Safira in time especially if regime resistance slows them down.

      5. Consider past rumors of Assis abandoning Aleppo (and loyalist civilians with it) to ISIS, it would be more important than ever that rebels take Khanassir now. If Assad even attempts such a scheme, loyalists on the coast may demand his head.

      6. On its own I can’t see how the regime could hold on to either Al Safira or Nayrrab airport IF ISIS has taken Kweris and IF ISIS moves quickly o attack and reinforce in that case. Unless loyalists want to die or experience forced conversion and sexual slavery. I don’t know what kind of forces the rebels (mainly JAN) have have available in Abu Duhor but probably not enough on their own either. Conclusiion: if the reports are true, it would likely take the combined forces of the regime and rebels to thwart further ISIS advances. in the southeast. Regarding Nayrab airport, the regime would have to shift forces southward and eastward with rebels in those areas assenting. The best available option for loyalist forces would be surrender and alliance with the rebels regardless of any orders to the contrary from Damascus..

    • I haven’t seen any reports even mentioning such an event so far on twitter but I’m still looking. What is your source? Even if not true i enjoy speculating on what impact it would have, especially if ISIS were to take Kweris while rebels are still tied up in Abu Duhor.

    • RESEARCHING REPORTS ON THOSE TWO AIRBASES

      1. Closest I’ve found to any such claim so far is this from Al Ladqani: “Kweris & #Abudhuhur taken out simultaneously in a week.. imagine that.” The confusion could be caused by his use of the past tense when talking about what he’d like to see. As for the JAN fighter who claimed “no action at all” maybe he meant today only. Yesterday there reports of fighting and rebel gains from many sources not known for fake claims. Also regime reports of air and copter attacks there suggest something was up.

      2. All I’ve seen when I research Al Duhor online are endless regime posts of the Zabadani type reporting endless victories. No claims at all from rebels today. That’s why when they do claim a victory it has more credibility. As for the ”

      3. Reports say Kweris air base troops have been dying in tens almost every week…Might be extinct any time–Intel Syria

      4.Death of nine officers, including a colonel in a new attack by the “Islamic State” on Kweris airbase–Terrorism Analysis

      SYRIAN REBELS: TURKISH INTELLIGENCE TIPPED AL QUEDA TO US TRAINED FIGHTERS, ENABLING THEIR KIDNAPPING

      http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/world/middle-east/article32206167.html#storylink=cpy

      IRANIAN & HEZBOLLAH FORCES SUPPOSEDLY CRUSHED ALAWITE PROTESTS AGAINST THEIR INVOLVEMENT

      https://yallasouriya.wordpress.com/2015/08/24/syria-latakia-hezbollah-and-iranians-have-crushed-demonstrations-by-alawites-in-the-coast/

      Demonstrators in Tartus and elsewhere were paricipating to a demonstration condemning the iranianmilitary intervention and political intervention in Syria, were forced to disperse by both the iranian revolutionnary guards and Hezbollah’s members aided by NDF militia (viewed as an Iranian-trained equivalent to Hezbollah). If this report is true, there seems to be increasing opposition to Assad and to the Iranian presence and increased decision making in this war. That’s gotta demoralize Hezbollah called out to put it down.

      https://www.facebook.com/elDorar.alShamia/posts/904869472939095

    • If this article is correct, then relations between americans and the Turks is really terrible, with this kind of backstabbing, hard to see how they can work together to fight isis.

    • Though at least a few statements in the article are BS, particularly:

      He said that support is likely both ideological and tactical. Noting that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s political party also espouses Islamist goals, Tamimi suggested “Erdogan and his allies would ideologically be sympathetic to Islamist groups.”

      You can say a lot of things about Erdogan but to imply that his ideology is similar enough to invoke sympathy for SJ groups is beyond retarded.

      • There is intense and tactical rivalry between the Islamists of Turkey and the Wahhabists of ISIS. But that does not mean they cannot cooperate in many cases, and that their vision of a theocracy is not shared. Erdo’an sees ISIS as an opportunity to spread Islamic power and Islamism, and he will take advantage of that. Ideologically they are much closer together than to any secularist, or liberal.

        So what you quoted is actually pretty true. Turkey has not hampered the activities of ISIS in Turkey, up to the very recent. And he does not say their ideologies are similar. He says they are sympathetic, in light of the common enemy (western liberalism and democracy). We know that Turkey is close to JaN, and al Qaeda offshoot, and so you can see that they would have sympathy for jihadists.

        I have been saying this for a while now, that Turkey happily deals with the Islamists of Syria at the exclusion of moderates. Now we see that it is being reported by the mainstream press.

        @Curious – you have to understand that Islamism is a postcolonial ideology where roots of all evil is traced to the west. The issue is not Turkey but the Islamist AKP party that wishes not to help the Americans on Syria, despite Saudi insistence.

        • Erdogan is a politician, not an ideologue. His dealings with islamists is purely pragmatic, and so is his pandering to the more conservative strata within his country that’s prone to be swayed by giving himself a slight islamic flavour. Note “pandering.” He’s not an islamist himself – not until he and his party make abolishing Turkey’s status as a secular state and implementation of some form of shari’a as their party platform. The best way to describe him is as a conservative authoritarian.

          Erdo’an’s daughter Sumaye joins ISIS. Why should he bomb ISIS?

          I always claim that PYD propaganda is among the worst in the region. Let me showcase it for you.
          Let’s google “Erdogan’s daughter joins ISIS”. You can trace back that claim to two articles. The first one is Veterans Today and the second, slightly milder accusation of running a covert hospital dedicated to treating IS fighters originates from an “anonymous nurse” that was interviewed by none other than the Centre for Research on Globalization, aka globalresearch.ca

          Please put PYD sources under intense scrutiny. They’re worse liars than IS, on par with Baghdad Bob.

          • AKP is the Muslim Brotherhood of Turkey. They have a long history of Islamism. They would gladly implement Sharia, if they could. That is why they wish to turn Turkey into a caliphate by changing the constitution.

  7. Aleppo: NEW REBEL ASSAULT ON AFI INTELLIGENCE BUILDING IN ZARAA OFF TO A STRONG START?

    Supposedly it opened Monday with a tunnel bombing with rebels reportedly killing at least 50 regime defenders overruning the regime’s first line of defense. The link below contains a report on the attack as well as video showing the spectacular tunnnel bomb explosion.

    https://www.facebook.com/elDorar.alShamia/posts/904869472939095

    PHOTO: Regime thug who burnt rebel bodies got killed in Khalidiyah.

    https://yallasouriya.wordpress.com/2015/08/24/syria-aleppo-he-burnt-rebelss-bodies-and-he-was-killed-in-khaldiya/

  8. To curious: Where did my post make fun of you?

    PS. I skipped the Y on Weigley.

    If your info is correct (ie., the rebels can circumvent Abu Duhur and are doing so), then I”d agree with your original point–there’s no reason at all to take Abu Duhur or suffering any serious casualties trying to do so. The base isn’t usable by air and would have lost its strategic value.

      • Re; “You did and you know it.” Read my post again at the very bottom of this page. Show me exactly where I did so.

        • @RT

          The “small” problem I have with claims that the rebels took the southern gate of Abu Duhour – Abu Duhour doesn’t have a southern gate.

          @Curious boy

          I would disagree on your assessment of the base’s importance. If you look at the road network in the area, you will notice two roads important for supplying the forces that would be attacking the Aleppo corridor actually skirt the base.

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