Syria Daily: Pentagon Considering Ground Troops v. ISIS


Pentagon considers deployment of US ground forces inside Syria for first time


Interview: Documenting Deaths for 6 Years — “They Don’t Stop So We Can’t Either”

The US Defense Department is considering the deployment of conventional ground forces in northern Syria to fight the Islamic State, according to officials who have spoken to CNN.

“It’s possible that you may see conventional forces hit the ground in Syria for some period of time,” one defense official said, although he emphasized that the decision must be made by Donald Trump, who ordered Defense Secretary James Mattis to present a proposal by the end of February to combat ISIS.

Since autumn 2015, most of the US military effort inside Syria has been dedicated to support of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, including airstrikes against ISIS targets and the provision of special forces and weapons.

The SDF has pushed back the Islamic State in northeastern Syria, crossing the Euphrates River to advance as far as the city of Manbij in Aleppo Province. However, the offensive has spent months outside Raqqa, the Islamic State’s central position in Syria.

The offensive faces political as well as military issues. Turkey is vehemently opposed to the Kurdish militia YPG, the leading group in the SDF, believing that it is part of the Turkish Kurdish insurgency PKK.

The officials who spoke to CNN said the idea of deploying ground troops is still not a formal proposal. The exact mission has also not been defined, and an official said other options are alsso on the table, including increased cooperation with the Russian military.

Assad Supports Trump’s “Muslim Ban”

President Assad has supported Donald Trump’s ban on Syrian refugees and visa holders entering the US.

Assad said in an interview with Europe 1 and France’s TF1, recorded Tuesday and broadcast Thursday:

It’s against the terrorists that would infiltrate some of the immigrants to the West. And that happened. It happened in Europe, mainly in Germany….

I think the aim of Trump is to prevent those people from coming….[It is] not against the Syrian people.

Trump’s 90-day ban on visa holders from seven mainly-Muslim countries, indefinite ban on Syrian refugees, and 120-day ban on refugees from the other six countries was suspended by a US Circuit Court early this month.

Report: Asaad Regime’s Recent Chlorine Attacks Near Damascus

The geolocation and verification site Bellingcat investigates claims of recent chemical attacks by the regime near Damascus.

Bellingcat reviews video and photographs, and photographs of attacks on al-Marj on January 30, injuring 11 people — three critically — and on Erbin on February 9, killing one and injuring three.

The report concludes:

It appears that Syrian government forces attacked Al Marj and Erbin, which are located in Eastern Ghouta in the suburbs of Damascus, with a poison gas that was identified as chlorine by local medical workers. Syrian government forces have been trying to advance in Erbin and have reportedly conducted airstrikes before using chemical weapons when their advance failed against the Failaq Al Rahman Brigade.

It also appears from the first incident in Al Marj that the Syrian government is using an Iranian rocket manufactured in 2016. This is strong evidence that Iran is still arming the Syrian government during the conflict, directly or indirectly, despite sanctions on Iran to prevent this. This is also a strong evidence that the Syrian government is still using chemical weapons (chlorine), even after the OPCW/UN mission in Syria which ended in early 2015.

Turkish Military Says Al-Bab “Liberated” — But Locals Disagree

Turkey’s military has declared the full “liberation” of the city of al-Bab, the last major ISIS position in Aleppo Province, by a Turkish-rebel offensive.

The Chief of General Staff, General Hulusi Akar, reportedly said on Wednesday that operations had been completed and Turkish troops were working to clear mines and explosives.

However, local sources tell a different story.

A rebel spokesman said the offensive still only holds about 40% of al-Bab, northeast of Aleppo city, after advancing over the weekend.

Islamic State fighters are “still dug-in inside al-Bab”, said Haithem Hamou, a spokesman for the Free Syrian Army faction al-Jabha a-Shamiyah, and “have not been able to advance into the city center”. He added that fighting has “never paused” over the past week.

An activist described “slow progress” by Turkish-rebel forces.

The descriptions not only challenges the Turkish military but also Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who have insisted this week that al-Bab was “largely taken under control” and that Islamic State fighters were “in the process of entirely leaving”.

The Turkish-rebel offensive was launched in early December but made little progress until the past week.

See Syria Daily, Feb 13: Turkey’s Erdogan Looks Towards Capture of Raqqa

TOP PHOTO: US special forces with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in northern Syria, May 2016

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  1. Of course, there’s no mention that either Assad, Iran or Russia will object to the presence of US ground troops, or that they are an obstacle, or that they are anti-American.
    This is not a factor in US decision making because Assad, Russia and Iran are there to obey, to crush the Syrian people so that America can maintain it’s control over Syria, as it had done since Hafiz Assad’s time until the Syrians rose up against the Assad clan.
    Obama and the democrats tried to maintain the illusion that Assad and his allies were anti-American because their strategy was good cop /bad cop. They presented themselves as the good cop to the Syrian opposition because they wanted them gradually to come back into the Assad fold, hence the transition plan of 2012.

    Assad’s already sent the signal that it’s ok – i.e. he’s told his followers to prepare for it, because if the US government is even just toying with the idea, he’s there to obey, and not one of his regime, Russia, Iran or it’s proxies will object, despite the fact that they have been pushing the anti-american idea for five years, because that was the strategy under Obama.
    Trump and the republicans however believe that a direct US presence will bring about the transition plan more effectively by freezing the fighting – the presence of the Americans on the ground will make it harder for opposition factions to mount offensive actions against Assad’s forces. Fighting Isis is just a convenient excuse, the plan will be similar to the surge in Afghanistan of Petreus. It didn’t stop the fighting or bring an end to the conflict but it temporarily allowed the US to consolidate the regime in Kabul and a political process in it’s control.
    As Russia and Iran stand to be marginalised in Syria, their trolls will be told to push a new line: not opposition to the American presence per se, but opposition to US control over the political process.
    It was inevitable that the US would send troops into Syria, I’ve said that from the beginning, But it will end in failure for them in ways they don’t expect.

      • Yup, they don’t have anything better to the same way that you don’t have anything better to do than support the slaughter of innocents, tyranny and oppression for whatever imaginary political idea you’ve been told to believe. You are all the same.

        • So, Russia grabbing Crimea was done as a big favour to Yankistan, who wanted to steal their naval base in Sevastopol?
          Russia & Iran moving into Syria to rescue Assad was done as a big favour to Yankistan, which was trying by all means to régime-change him?
          Iran kicking the Yanki invaders out and practically taking over the Iraqi government under Maliki was done as a big favour to Yankistan, which had intended to remain and drain the oil as Der Trumpenführer has perfectly accurately stated in lingo any imperialist mafioso can comprehend?
          Your pet theory has insuperable conflicts with reality and is really just a threadbare agit-prop construct of the tawagheet HouseArab losers in this conflict, who themselves are the greatest hypocrites and most grovelling slaves of warcriminal Yankistan on the planet.

          • let’s humour the cognitively less-favoured for a second.
            Stealing the base in Sevastopol, you just made that up, like they were waiting just outside with a big bag to take it.
            The US has never taken any action, and will not, to replace their monster Assad. They just told the Russians to go kill women and children because they weren’t so stupid to do it themselves.
            Funny how the Iranians forgot to close down Baghdad’s Green Zone and get rid of all those US troops when they kicked the US out of Iraq….

            • 1. LOL, no, I did not just make it up … one of the major objectives of the Yanki régime-change operation in Ukraine was self-evidently to deny Russia the use of its strategic warm-water military port. Why else would they be crying crocodile-tears over Crimea for several years since failing in this?
              2. “The US has never taken any …” — Wow, this is too surreal … I can’t even!
              3. Having secured the government and ejected the thieving illegal occupation Iran had no need to remove the few terrified GameBoyz huddled in the Embassy soiling their diapers daily … they were essentially left on display to accentuate the Yanki humiliation in defeat.
              Anyway, let me hear your theory on why the Yankis organised sanctions on Iran since 1979? It’s all been an elaborate bluff, right?

    • Trolls will eventually adapt to the new scenario by way of a new conspiranoic twist (to avoid cognitive dissonance). Assad´s supporting Trump’s ban on syrian refugees shows you the level of decadence of this supposed “anti-imperialist” axis.

  2. 1. Merkel must go … she has lost all legitimacy to lead Das Vierte Reich!
    Polls show 2/3 Germans thoroughly sick of Mutti Merkel:
    In a sign of this solid threat from Russia [natch], Ersatzmannikin Schultz is already being smeared as the New Hitler Trump by her desperate chums:
    Not much will change though, as being a spineless Européon is his principle qualification:
    2. Meanwhile, arrogant Yanki pigdog Mattis issues ‘ultimatum’ to quivering Européones:
    If the crawling EU-pack had any balls they’d declare this character persona non grata and inform the Pentagovernment it has 3 weeks to get its shit packed and out of Europe.

  3. “We dream of a place on Earth to call our own,” says Bassam Ishak of the Syriac National Council of Syria. 6/20/2015

    New Northern Syrian Democracy Faces Turkish Opposition 1/31/2017

    World should build a ‘Christian home’ in Iraq’s Nineveh Plain, says religious leader 7/11/2016

  4. An interesting article (see below link) I’ve come across today from warontherocks, it’s about how Russia strategises and fights it’s wars from Ukraine to Syria:
    Excerpt from the above article: “In the Russian view, force must be used cheaply, deniably when necessary, and with emphasis placed on retaining agility, which requires holding the bulk of its forces in reserve…force is meant for coercion rather than conquest.This approach stems from a healthy fear of commitment that could result in overextension, quagmires, and offer opportunities for opponents to counter..”
    This would explain why Russians unexpectedly escalates then quickly scale-downs it’s operations in places like Syria. This according to the article writer is deliberate. How the most interesting aspect of this article is the comment below.
    “On the battlefield, the Russian military’s plan is simpler: Maneuver to contact and annihilate the enemy with face-melting firepower. Understanding this, the Kremlin prefers to use regular forces in burst mode, both to prevent combat losses and avoid uncontrolled escalation once they shift into the high gear. ”
    I hope rebels understand this. It’s irrelevant if rebels hide amongst civilians or evacuate civilians in an area they want to defend, the moment rebels stay in one location for more then 48hours the Russian will flatten their neighbourhood/town. This is why rebels should not only opt for mobile guerrilla warfare (where rebels move from a location quickly after over-running it) in multiple (ie fighting in more then one neighbourhood/town/area in one day) but that in order to fight such a mobile warfare effectively rebels will have to make most of their army entirely mobile. Or give the troops manning the ambush/raids on regime positions greater mobility. What do I mean by mobile? Mobile (ie not fixed in one area but can be quickly moves from one theatre to another – this would require all light artillery to be mounted on vehicles, all mortar and light-machine gun units be given their own transport, giving all assault troops into a motorbikes, giving all battalion units 4/5 BMPs, mounting TOWies on dune-buggies) multiple small-units (battalion – 350+ men that each have their own ammo and fuel wagons that will supply them for 3 weeks then after which they must seize their own from the regime) that only fight short (ie no more then 48 hours) sharp (ie uses it’s ammo and men in a very focused/concentrated way to reach a very specific objective – this could be a check-point or building) raids on enemy positions that can be quickly isolated or infiltrated (or better still both) on multiple fronts. The success of this approach relies on stealth (which rebels can acquire through night-offensives and greater use of camouflage), speed (not only because their units have fewer logistical needs, due to their smaller size, so can mobilise quicker but also because their units, including the light artillery units, are mounted rebel can move from one area without being slowed down) and shock (so as long reconnaissance and infiltration of regime positions is done properly rebel’s would be able to attack unexpectedly all the time). Finally’s here a kicker – rebels have a superiority in ATGM (and expertise in IEDs) which means regime can’t ever be mobile in areas rebels have a presence in.
    The above topic aside, apparently the Russians have now created an armoured dune-buggy that can launch rockets:
    Anyone still doubting my idea that rebels should welding their ATGM on top of dune-buggies? If the Russians are considering doing it then it makes sense to try that idea no?

  5. #National: This news highlights why rebels should regularly target for permanent capture/destruction important regime infrastructure “Syria planning on reducing electricity rationing to 4 hours off-2 on, with the goal of going to 3-3 around May.” – Jacm212
    #Hama: “Regime warplanes fired thermobaric missiles at #Morek and #Taybat_al_Imam.” – CombatChris1
    As I’ve mentioned before – A) if regime indiscriminately targets civilians living in rebel-controlled areas rebels should permanently destroy oil/gas/water pipelines that supply regime-controlled areas. B) If regime escalates conflict in a province then start mass shelling (but using drones to guide such shelling) the airbases in that province so regime can’t bring in re-enforcements to that province. C) If regime uses civilians as human-shields then rebels should capture senior regime officer from Republican Guard/Hezbollah/IRGC, tie a captured blind-folded senior regime officer to a lamp-post on top of a building that is booby-trapped or to a lamp-post with hidden land-mines buried around him and then hide a rebel sniper nearby so when regime troops arrive there next day not only can those booby-traps/land-mines be activated by rebels but rebel sniper can also pick off any regime troops who escaped from first mine-trap. D) If regime besieges a rebel area then switch-off the water/gas supply to regime areas. E) If regime troops regularly attempt to infiltrate rebel areas then lure those regime troops into a mine-trap or mined-building. F) If regime imprisons women and children from rebel areas then launch a special-ops against a senior regime officer the next day. G) If Russian/regime jets targets hospitals in rebel neighbourhood hen target regime check-points with a VBIEDs that has a hand-cuffed regime-officer as a passenger in that VBIED. H) And if the regime EVER EVER targets Syrian Sunni communities for FORCED DISPLACEMENT/ETHNIC-CLEANSING again then destroy every single refinery in Latakiya (starting with the one Baniyas) and Hama (including the one at Ebla). For every brutal regime action rebels should give an effective reaction.
    #Deraa: Hilarious and revealing (ie lack of resilience of regime troops in the area) if true “al-Binyan al-Marsus Operations Room: regime forces refuse orders while considering full withdrawal & image of final position #Manshia” – badly_xeroxed
    It’s moments like this that infiltrated troops (ie secretly rebel troops wearing regime uniforms) can be extremely useful (ie covertly encourage regime troops to disobey orders and retreated unexpectedly/without-permission) to rebel cause.

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