Syria Daily: Trump-Putin “Deal” — Geneva Talks, Elections, De-Escalation Zones

Donald Trump (L) chats with Russia's President Vladimir Putin at the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, Danang, Vietnam, November 11, 2017 (Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/AFP)

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump have announced a general agreement backing Moscow’s line on Syria’s 80-month conflict.

After their brief conversation on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam, the Kremlin and US State Department issued a summary which began with a focus on “their determination to defeat ISIS in Syria”.

The Kremlin said that the summary was based not on the Trump-Putin conversation — limited, because the White House had blocked the full meeting that Moscow wanted — but on a position agreed between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Saturday.

According to the statement, “the Presidents agreed that there is no military solution”, instead referring to the Geneva political talks. Invoking a UN Security Council resolution from December 2015 for the process, the Kremlin highlighted constitutional reform and “free and fair elections under UN supervision”.

There was no reference to the future of Bashar al-Assad. Two weeks ago, Tillerson had said that there was “no role for Bashar al-Assad in the government”.

Nor did the statement mention the primary talks in recent months, the discussions in the Kazakh capital Astana where the US has not been present. Russia has used the Astana talks to propel its plan of “de-escalation zones” covering much of Syria, with the formal support of Turkey and Iran, the Assad regime’s other key ally.

The statement used the template of a “commitment to Syria’s sovereignty, unity, independence, territorial integrity, and non-sectarian character”. It did not explain how this reconciled with Kurdish demands for autonomy over the areas they hold in northern and eastern Syria, nor the opposition-held territory including almost all of Idlib Province in the northwest and parts of the south including Damascus suburbs.

According to the statement, Putin and Trump confirmed the “importance” of the de-escalation zones. It avoided any reference to the pressure of the Assad regime and Iran for the recapture of opposition territory and of Kurdish areas, including oil and gas fields recently taken in eastern Syria from the Islamic State.

Putin and Trump “discussed the ongoing need to reduce human suffering in Syria and called on all UN member states to increase their contributions to address these humanitarian needs over the coming months”. The statetment made no reference to the ongoing, years-long sieges of the Assad regime, including the intensifying cut-off of East Ghouta near Damascus, which is threatening almost 400,000 residents.

Trump: “Tremendous Numbers of Lives”

Trump made no reference to any substance in the discussion on Syria, telling reporters aboard Air Force One, “We agreed very quickly. It’s going to save tremendous numbers of lives.”

He focused on his personal connection with Putin and the need to work with Russia on issues such as Syria and North Korea: “We spoke intermittently during that roundtable. We seem to have a very good feeling for each other and a good relationship considering we don’t know each other well.”


Pro-Assad Forces Try Again to Capture Last ISIS Town

Having failed last week to capture the last Islamic State town in Syria, pro-Assad forces say they are launching a new assault.

The Assad regime’s military prematurely announced on Thursday that they had completed “victory” over ISIS with the takeover of al-Bukamal in eastern Syria on the Iraq border.

However, the Islamic State posted video on Friday showing its forces destroying two armored vehicles and a bulldozer, and fighters on the streets of the town. Pro-opposition sites said the pro-Assad units had to withdraw after in-fighting between foreign militias and Hezbollah.

See Syria Daily, Nov 11: ISIS Continues Fight in Its Last Town v. Pro-Assad Forces

A pro-Assad site effectively acknowledges the setback this morning, proclaiming a fresh attack “inflicting heavy damage on the terrorist group’s defenses around the city”.

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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.

28 COMMENTS

  1. Unless there is a sudden & dramatic change of Der Tяump☭nFührer’s heart, as in it should stop ticking altogether, SouthFront seems likely to heat up after Dec. cutoff of Yanki dole money for erstwhile “revolutionaries”:
    https://tcf.org/content/report/saving-americas-syrian-ceasefire/

    Listerites are already disconsolate and can only cry into beer about “Why the arc of international politics bends, ultimately, towards Assad”:
    https://twitter.com/AbuJamajem/status/924561116289732608

    • Assadists dare not cross the Euphrates. Iranians ain’t that smart and they will try to penetrate only to be blown up by a few well placed bombs. Then they will crawl and cry back to the western side that US is an illegal warmonger imperialist that is implementing a colonialist pipeline(!) project and has no legal standing from the “sovereign” “duly elected” Mokhaberat regime. That would be music to the ears.

      Russia, not having the stomach, or the money, or the arms, are there just to stare at the Iranian charade and declare they are just happy with their base in Tartus. After all, they have no other business in Syria, a major financial sink hole. A few well placed F22, F35, A10, Predators and associated hardware in Hasakah will allow for a democratic alternative to the Mokhaberat.

      Finally a joint operation between US, Russia, Assad, SDF, Syrian rebels will descend on Hatay Province divide it up – half for Assad and half for the Kurds, and send the Torkish hordes packing to squat in the 1,000 room palace – while Sultan Erdo’an cries foul and even his bazaaris will realize how they have been conned.

      • 1. By SouthFront I meant around Dara’a, the Jordanian border area.

        2. “Assadists dare not cross the Euphrates” — Er, they already have established a significant bridgehead on the East bank at DeZ, as well as having always held holding military bases in Hasakah & Qamishli which are regularly supplied by air, so that fantasy is knocked on the head.

        3. “Iranians ain’t that smart” — Haven’t you at other times claimed IRGC essentially controls SAA? In which case this comparison cannot hold.
        Anyhow, I was under the impression you are one, so you may wish to revise this rather rash statement?

        4. SDF ‘took’ the oilfields region South-East of DeZ with amazing speed and practically no fighting, also little video/photo evidence of their presence there has emerged. This unexpected phenomenon can be best explained by the suspicion that the desert tribes in those parts, who had been nominally ISIS though not ideologically attached, turned coats at the last moment and remained in possession, hoping to bargain the strategic assets back to Assad for a decent price at an early opportunity.

        5. As for the Hatay joint operation, yes, that sounds most probable.

        • The beachhead at DeZ was a mistake or an impromptu attempt, not to be repeated. It also benefitted YPG so they did not have to fight ISIS in north DeZ which is pretty densely populated.

          I am no longer Iranian, just western. Doesn’t apply to me.

          4) Even if tribes control the oil fields, as long as SAA can’t cross the river, there is nothing to bargain for. Even if SDF allows the tribe to retain possession, which is very questionable and the tribes can be easily defeated as the fields are not inside urban centers, the tribes need to export the oil and can’t do that without paying most of their profit to the SDF.

          Glad you agree with dismembering Hatay. Now please relay this plan to your superior Onkel Vladdi, so we can start planning for it. Thank you. heh

          • 1. The DeZ bridgehead does not have to be repeated, just expanded, as Assad & Co. have declared they intend once matters with IS are wrapped up.

            2. “I am no longer Iranian” — It is IMHO futile to deny one’s heritage but in any case this denial is incongruent with your oft-repeated claim to still be a Muslim, despite declared irreligiousity, due to the fact of having been so-to-speak born into the religion/culture and still having this classification stamped on some old official ID card.

            3. “just western” — It’s the first time I’ve ever heard this claim from an individual … what does it mean, and if not Iranian, don’t you claim some other nationality?

            4. I have relayed a favourable report on your “Operation Remove-Kebab [from Hatay]” to Onkel Vladdi, which he will read tomorrow morning with his breakfast grits.

            In anticipation of his bene placet in the near future, you may proceed to mass your invasion force [of one] on any convenient border to Tayyipistan.

  2. Judging by the photograph, neither of them are very good actors. Trump is making a slightly better job than Putin, who is on the verge of fits of laughter. Only a fool would believe either of them.

    • Darth Vlad has always been jolly and cheerful … especially when he thinks on the wonderful work of his Agent Orange towards shattering Yankistan into 1000 squabbling pieces, which heralds a mighty relief for the rest of the world.

      • And yet you are still utterly obsessed with the US to the point where you seemingly think or post about nothing else. Kind of disproves your own points. But keep trying. I’m sure that commie parallel universe you live in will be upon us soon. LOL. Any day now.

        • My comments cover a wide range of subjects, but naturally I do not shirk the moral duty to castigate the serial recidivist Yanki warcriminal hypocrites as necessary, which unfortunately is literally every single day.

          • Nah. If you were so concerned about “war crimes” you’d be denouncing Assad and Russia every day, which you’ve yet to do on a single occasion. You don’t care about any alleged “war crimes”. You’re pretty sociopathic in regards to actual war crimes committed on a daily basis by various horrific regimes the world over. You even cheer on their vicious war crimes from time to time. You’re obsessed with the US for purely ideological reasons as are all left wing extremists. It’s pretty garden variety saltiness. Modern day commies are so bitter and exhibit obsessive-compulsive behavior Not that I blame them since for some reason they cling to a failed ideology long since dutifully thrown on the ash heap of history by the US.

            • 1. My approach is logical and goal-oriented to the greater good of humanity, hence why I prefer to go top-down when it comes to prosecuting warcriminals, remorselessly spearing the biggest fish first, then sequentially working my way down through the pile to eliminate the whole species, whereas your bottom-up approach of having him eat all the comparative tiddlers first is merely a prescription [which you have had handed to you in the form of propaganda by the very same perpetrators] to ensure the apex warcriminals gain and maintain control of the planet indefinitely.

              2. ““To initiate a war of aggression is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

              We must make clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it. And we must not allow ourselves to be drawn into a trial of the causes of the war, for our position is that no grievances or policies will justify resort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy.

              If certain acts of violation of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them, and we are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.

              Do you understand anything from the words of your compatriot, Robert H. Jackson, Yanki prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials?

              • None of the bullshit you posted refutes anything I said. I’ll take that as an admission that I’m absolutely right. If anything you just confirmed it.

                “Hypocrisy is not a way of getting back to the moral high ground. Pretending you’re moral, saying you’re moral is not the same as acting morally.”-Alan Dershowitz

                You call it going for the ‘big fish’. I call it hypocritical bullshit.

              • If you can’t see the gross hypocrisy in your ‘logic’ then I don’t know what to tell you. I mean you basically ignore and cheer on various war crimes committed by regimes you support(despite your laughable denials) because you can only focus on one particular country whom you consider to be the worst violator? Your deafening silence on Assad’s horrendous crimes speaks volumes about you and what little principle you actually have. And you cheer on the North Korean who is probably the most brutal regime since Hitler and Stalin. So don’t even bother trying to convince me you’re actually concerned about war crimes. You’re just spouting a bunch ideological driven drivel and trying to troll. But hey you enjoy those freedoms provided to you by the western country you live in even while waging an ideological crusade against the west. I think you wouldn’t be so smug if you lived in one of these places you seem to admire so much. Perhaps one day you’ll join us in the 21st century.

            • Well said Kevin. And to add some salt to his wound — Barbar failed miserably to make the transition to post-Marxism and cultural-Marxism that other communists and the new generation of commies have made and who have picked up some traction. Barbar is so orthodox in his outlook that he has missed the boat, while he could have been a lot more relevant today fighting for gay rights, LGBT power, Black Lives Matter, support of hijab as resistance to colonialism, and engaged in race baiting. Can’t teach new tricks to an old dog. Woof woof!

              • What you are describing is typical ‘identity politics’ as employed by the pseudo-Leftist tails of the Democratic Party in Yankistan as yet another tool to endlessly divide the working-class and thus continue to easily rule over and plunder it, and here is a study of the results from the Obomber years illustrating the socially noxious result:
                https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/10/07/pers-o07.html

                Naturally there is every reason why I would be against that.

            • 1. “you basically ignore and cheer on various war crimes committed by regimes you support” — I defy you to show one instance where this has occurred.

              2. “because you can only focus on one particular country whom you consider to be the worst violator” — It’s which, not whom, but in any case I never said that, it’s just that there is in the current information-marketplace already a severe glut of NATO/HouseArab/Netanyahudnik-sponsored warmonglerish hypocrites focussing on the perceived misdemeanours of their enemies, such that my voice would be wasted there chirping along amongst the parrots of power. I OTOH, apart from the top-down prosecution principle already explained, also believe that régime-change begins at home, in the warcriminal ‘West’, hence the motto “Everyone has a part to play … Rome wasn’t burnt in a day”. Call it a division of labour if you will.

              3. “Your deafening silence on Assad’s horrendous crimes speaks volumes about you and what little principle you actually have.” — Assad did not want or start this war, as well you know, and the greater moral fault for all the ugly results lies with those who did, because, as you failed to appreciate above, “To initiate a war of aggression is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

              Compared to those serial recidivist warcriminal aggressors, first among which is your employer, the Yanki Pentagovernment, he is a small fish indeed. However, I agree he could face some legitimate charges after the major warcriminals have successfully been found guilty and hanged with all legal form. Where and when do you suggest we can schedule those initial proceedings?

              4. “you cheer on the North Korean who is probably the most brutal regime since Hitler and Stalin.” — DPRK has to a large extent been made into what it currently is by the warcriminal actions of Yankistan, however, it is still a long way off equalling the Yanki post-WWII record for brutality and according to international law is perfectly entitled to have nuclear for self-defence. What is your problem with that?

              5. “So don’t even bother trying to convince me you’re actually concerned about war crimes.” — I have never done so and don’t intend to start now, hence no worries on that front.

              6. Yes, I will fully enjoy my freedoms, and without having to thank any lousy bunch of warcriminal hypocrites for them either. Cheers, Buddy!

              • It’s super awesome how you do something then deny you did it as if everyone else is too stupid to know different. Bravo! Really channeling your inner Trump. I mean it kind of comes off as narcissistic, but whatever.

                As for your completely batshit assertion that the US has somehow committed “war crimes” against North Korea, you really should read a book. Actually the opposite has happened. North Korea has attacked South Korea and the US on numerous occasions and yet neither party has ever retaliated in kind. The most recent being when North Korea launched an entirely unprovoked attack on the ROKS Cheonan killing 46 sailors. I can only imagine your incessant blathering and whining if South Korea had launched such an attack. But I’m actually glad you openly support horrific regimes like the one in North Korea. It speaks volumes about your character and complete lack of any sort of moral compass as if that were in dispute.

                I have a tough time reading the rest of your typical self-involved pathetically US obsessed drivel. You really need to get a girlfriend or a hobby aside from supporting war criminal dictators while laughably pointing the finger at others. This also isn’t english class. That just makes you look even more pretentious.

              • Don’t have the time or the inclination to dig through your tortuous commie sermons on here. You’d just deny it all and attempt to spin it anyways.

              • Says the conspiracy theorist. LOL. I’m not scrolling through your drivel to look for stuff I know you said. Tough shit.

              • Conspiracy theorist? Prey link to where I have advanced any such thing.

                In fact I am usually the one busting up such lazy logic-looping with sensible, fact-based speculation, as my Great Justice Theory on JFK* demonstrates:
                https://disqus.com/home/discussion/wsws/newly_released_documents_point_to_state_cover_up_and_complicity_in_assassination_of_john_f_kennedy/#comment-3589779509

                * You may alternatively refer to it as “The Karma Conspiracy” if that will help.

              • LMFAO. Do you even write your own posts? You seem not to know what you say. Well, for starters I’m still waiting on ANY credible evidence that the US was involved in the Turkish coup that you claimed they were behind. And that’s just one of your rambling conspiracy theories off the top of my head. At this point your constant denials and spin attempts of things you’ve said is just pathetic. You keep asking for links comfortable in the knowledge that I don’t want to dig through any of your zillion obsessive self-involved commie posts. I’m starting to think maybe you need to read what you write because evidently you suffer from some form of commie amnesia. Was it not also just that you tried to spin another laughable conspiracy theory to justify Iran’s taking of political hostages? FFS just stop. You’re not slick or clever.

              • A.) Re. Turkish Coup … patience, Grasshopper, there may be no hard evidence just yet but, based on the circumstantial recent history of Turkey and Yankistan, it was always a cinch to deduce the latter had to be behind the 2016 attempt given that:

                1. It had fully supported all previous coups in Turkey since it joined NATO.
                2. It had fully supported the 2013 Egyptian coup against Morsi, a fellow Muslim Brother of Tayyip’s.
                3. Tayyip’s failure to properly toe the Yanki line in Syria had made him a danger to NeoCon designs for régime-change there and/or for utilising the Rojava/Iraqi Kurds to launch a new [proxy] war of aggression against Iran.
                4. On the night in question the Jonkharrie hedged his bets for several crucial hours, calling for “stability”, the classic Yanki code-word for any dictatorship to their liking, as opposed to supporting his ostensible ally Ergdogan … until it became clear the effort had backfired horribly, at which point he belatedly piped up through grinding teeth with a poorly-mimed “support” of “the legitimate elected government”. For comparison, both Russia and Iran had unambiguously done so immediately when the news first broke.
                5. It is unthinkable that the “secular” [meaning more loyal to Yankistan than their own Patria] Turkish putschists would have proceeded without a firm assurance from the Pentagovernment that the day after their movement had succeeded the other 28 member armies of NATO would not, led by Yankistan, literally march into Turkey to reinstate the rightful ruler Erdogan to his throne, as they remain obligated by their mutual defence treaty to do.
                6. Blabbermouth Michael Flynn could not contain himself from enthusiastically applauding the violent demise of the AKP “Islamists” while it seemed to be progressing smoothly, betraying the institutional sentiments of his more circumspect Spook-Establishment peers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vonsvzp2FEE
                7. Yankistan has ever since complained bitterly while being forced to watch as all their moles, agents and 5th-columnists are mercilessly rooted out of the Turkish Armed Forces, intelligence services, bureaucracy and media, unable to disguise their screaming butthurt that there is from hereonin and forever no chance for a do-over.

                Just for fun, though, prey marshal your competing argument/circumstantial evidence which will persuade any objective observer to believe Yankistan had nothing to do with it and did not know of the plot in advance? I’ll wait …

                B.) And what’s this you say about a “laughable conspiracy theory to justify Iran’s taking of political hostages”? As per our standard procedure, prey link to wherever that happened.

        • An ad in the Moscow Times shows some very nice gulag chalets for sale in Siberia – next to frozen windswept lakes with grizzlies roaming and close to where glorious ditches need to be dug. Comes complete with shovels and pick axes. Why wait till they ship you to the gulag? Get a dacha next to the forced labour camps now while they last and minimize your commute time! Why use the woods as your toilet and bathroom when you can have private outhouses shared by only 100 inmates?

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