The next crucial battle in Syria – Aleppo

Battle of Aleppo is a Must-win for Russia

By Pepe Escobar

October 26, 2015 ”

Information Clearing House” – “RT” –  Once again, whatever hangs in the future for Syria on both the political and military fronts depends on the new Battle of Aleppo. The city and its outskirts, with the influx of internal refugees, may be harboring up to three million people by now.

It’s always about Aleppo.Here’s what’s going on, essentially, on the ground. West Aleppo is controlled by Damascus, via the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).

Some of the northern parts are controlled by the Kurds from the PYD – which are way more engaged in fighting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh than Damascus. The PYD also happens to be considered an objective ally by the Obama administration and the Pentagon, much to the disgust of Turkey’s ‘Sultan’ Erdogan.

East Aleppo is the key. It is controlled by the so-called Army of Conquest, which includes Jabhat al-Nusra, a.k.a. Al-Qaeda in Syria, and the Salafi outfit Ahrar al-Sham. Other eastern parts are controlled by the “remnants” (copyright Donald Rumsfeld) of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), who refused to collaborate with the Army of Conquest.

Across the Beltway, all of the above are somewhat considered “moderate rebels.”

The most important recent development in the Aleppo battlefield is that the SAA – with key Russian help – has killed Jabhat al-Nusra leader Abu Suleiman al-Masri, a.k.a. Mahmud Maghwari (pictured), an Egyptian who’s been on Cairo’s kill list for ages.


Additionally, several hundred Iraqi Shi’ite fighters, under the supervision of superstar Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, have been transferred from Latakia to Aleppo.
And a roughly 3,000-strong, battle-hardened, armored Hezbollah brigade is also coming.

What is shaping up is a kind of southern offensive. These forces will all be converging not only towards Aleppo but, in a second stage, will have to clear the terrain all the way to the Turkish-Syrian border, which is now a de facto Russian-controlled no-fly zone.

The supreme target is to cut off the supply lines for every Salafi or Salafi-jihadi player – from “moderate rebels” to ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. That’s the meaning of Moscow’s insistence on the fight against all brands of terror, with no distinction. It does not matter that ISIS/ISIL/Daesh is not the main player in and around Aleppo.

For all practical purposes the whole Syria campaign is now under Russian operational, tactical and strategic management – of course with key Iranian strategic input.

The Russia-Syria-Iran-Iraq-Hezbollah coalition in Syria – also linked with the “4+1” intel center in Baghdad – stands a great chance of winning the next Battle of Aleppo if they fulfill three conditions.

1) Russian air cover coordinating with on the ground intel for all operations (that’s a given); 2) Popular support (that’s also a given; the Sunni urban population in Aleppo, mostly businessmen, support Damascus); 3) Experienced ground troops numbering at least 15,000 (on the way, considering the input from Iraq and Hezbollah).

Predictably, there’s another coalition which is not exactly pleased with the way the battlefield is shaping up.

Aleppo’s main power station, 25 kilometers east of the city, for the moment is controlled by ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. Demented as it may seem – still, the whole Syria tragedy is demented – there is an informal agreement between Damascus and the fake “Caliphate”; the goons get 60 percent of the electricity, and the government gets 40 percent. After all, everyone, even beheaders, soft or otherwise, needs energy.

So how did the ‘Coalition of Dodgy Opportunists’ – which includes Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar alongside the US – help in the fight against ISIS/ISIL/Daesh? Well, they bombed the Aleppo power plant a little over a week ago. This means bombing Syria’s civilian infrastructure – a blatantly 2003 shock and awe-style crime – whose victims are mostly the “Syrian people” so cherished by ‘Exceptionalistan’.

What happens in the battlefield in and around Aleppo in the next few weeks will be essential to define the diplomatic front. As it stands, Bashar al-Assad’s got the message from Moscow. He’s ready to discuss amendments to the Constitution and is prepared to hold parliamentary and presidential elections. But first the “4+1” need a major fact on the battlefield.

Even US Secretary of State John Kerry, after he talked to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, has changed his tune; any political solution implies direct involvement from Damascus as well as the “patriotic opposition.”

FSA “patriots” though still haven’t got the message. Lavrov explicitly committed Moscow to help them – even after they had been weaponized via Turkey and Jordan to fight Damascus – as long as they would be fighting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. Predictably, those FSA“moderate rebels/patriots” spurned Lavrov’s offer.

Other diplomatic absurdity is the absence of Iran at the negotiating table – because of House of Saud acute paranoia. Iranian generals and advisers are a key component of ground operations, analyzing the ground intel, and the whole strategic framework in Syria.

Instead, Washington and Riyadh still insist on increasing support for those invisible “moderate rebels” – after Kerry met with King Salman in Riyadh. The State Department, for once addicted to suspense, did not specify what “support” means. It goes without saying it means more CIA training and more TOW anti-tank missiles, which will hardly be directed against ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.

The diplomatic ballet is bound to continue later this week. Just in time as the crucial Battle of Aleppo picks up.

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia. Born in Brazil, he’s been a foreign correspondent since 1985, and has lived in London, Paris, Milan, Los Angeles, Washington, Bangkok and Hong Kong.



10 Responses to “The next crucial battle in Syria – Aleppo”

  1. Aldous says:


    More US air attacks on Islamic State oil fields planned
    Rethink of Syria strategy targets IS’s lucrative financial oil enterprises

    If this doesn’t kick off World War 3, then nothing will.

    • Jennifer says:

      Jim Stone covered this – his thesis is that the US are set to destrot the oil-fields before the Russians can lay claim to them, obviously Dunford and co are not out to destroy Isil/ISIS. But he reached the same conclusion – WWiii………

  2. sovereigntea says:

    Update-Army repels ISIS attack on al-Sfeira in Aleppo, kills scores of terrorist in other areas

  3. sovereigntea says:

    Rebels Run Short of Amphetamines Beleaguered By Come Down – LOL

    Abdel Mohsen Bin Walid Bin Abdulaziz a Saudi prince and four others were detained on Monday in Lebanon in the largest drug bust in the history of the Beirut airport, a security source said.

    They were detained by airport security accused of “attempting to smuggle about two tons of Captagon pills and some cocaine,” a security source told AFP.

    “Produced in small tablets, the drug is said to have a function for forgetting pain and fear. It has been widely used in the Syrian civil war which has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. ISIS’s drug business has many times appeared in the media, while new evidence recently emerged in the Western media with testimonies of eye witnesses. It has emerged that the drugs are used not only by members of ISIS but also by members of Al-Nusra and the FSA.“

    • Jennifer says:

      We non-coms don’t realise the extent of how drugged up are the military/militias of these conflicts.

      • sovereigntea says:

        One of the earliest uses of amphetamine and methamphetamine was during World War II, when they were used by Axis and Allied forces.[35]

        As early as 1919, Akira Ogata synthesized methamphetamine via reduction of ephedrine using red phosphorus and iodine. Later, the chemists Hauschild and Dobke from the German pharmaceutical company Temmler developed an easier method for converting ephedrine to methamphetamine. As a result, it was possible for Temmler to market it on a large scale as a nonprescription drug under the trade name Pervitin (methamphetamine hydrochloride). It was not until 1986 that Pervitin became a controlled substance, requiring a special prescription to obtain.[36] Pervitin was commonly used by the German and Finnish militaries.[35][37]

        It was widely distributed across German military ranks and divisions, from elite forces to tank crews and aircraft personnel, with many millions of tablets being distributed throughout the war for its performance enhancing stimulant effects and to induce extended wakefulness.[38] Its use by German Tank (Panzer) crews also led to it being known as Panzerschokolade (“Tank-Chocolates”).[39][40] It was also colloquially known among German Luftwaffe pilots as Stuka-Tabletten (“Stuka-Tablets”) and Hermann-Göring-Pillen (“Herman-Göring-Pills”).[37] More than 35 million three-milligram doses of Pervitin were manufactured for the German army and air force between April and July 1940.[41] From 1942 until his death in 1945, Adolf Hitler was given intravenous injections of methamphetamine by his personal physician Theodor Morell.[41] In Japan, methamphetamine was sold under the registered trademark of Philopon by Dainippon Pharmaceuticals (present-day Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma [DSP]) for civilian and military use.[42] It has been estimated that one billion Phiporon pills were produced between 1939 and 1945.[42] As with the rest of the world at the time, the side effects of methamphetamine were not well studied, and regulation was not seen as necessary. In the 1940s and 1950s, the drug was widely administered to Japanese industrial workers to increase their productivity.[43]

        Amphetamine was given to Allied bomber pilots during World War II to sustain them by fighting off fatigue and enhancing focus during long flights.[4][7] During the Persian Gulf War, amphetamine became the drug of choice for American bomber pilots, being used on a voluntary basis by roughly half of U.S. Air Force pilots.[44] The Tarnak Farm incident, in which an American F-16 pilot killed several friendly Canadian soldiers on the ground, was blamed by the pilot on his use of amphetamine.[45] A nonjudicial (UCMJ Article 15) U.S. Air Force hearing rejected the pilot’s claim.[46]


  4. sovereigntea says:

    For days now, an Israeli General captured inside Iraq has been interrogated by what is assumed to be Iranian Revolutionary Guard advisors with the Shiite militias that are currently holding him. From Veterans Today:

    “The Foreign Affairs High Representative at the USA Parliament and Secretary General of the “DESI” European Department for Security and Information Ambassador Dr. HAISSAM BOU-SAID confirmed that Iraqi popular Army captured an Israeli officer whose name is Yussi Elon Shahak, based on the Intel provided by the “US international Parliament and European Department for Security and Information.” The officer’s rank is Brigadier and his military No is Re 34356578765Az231434.”

    Even though statements made during his interrogation have been released to the public including a blanket admission that ISIS and Israel’s intelligence service, the Mossad, have been deeply integrated for years and that IDF advisors provide both intelligence and command and control functions for Islamic State military forces, the western press has chosen to censor this story.

    Instead, President Obama, part of a “magic triumvirate of the unstable” which includes both Netanyahu and Erdogan, has leveled charges of using poison gas against Syria’s President Assad.

    Obama’s charges, made in light of recent revelations that President Erdogan of Turkey as ordered renewed supplies of Sarin gas for ISIS and al Qaeda/al Nusra forces inside Syria, are clear signs that President Obama is no longer in control of his own faculties nor is he likely in control of America’s military forces in the field either.

    Over the past two weeks, two separate American attacks on the city of Aleppo have damaged that cities power system and knocked out water purification systems. These leave a city of 2.5 million dependent on untreated water from the Euphrates River, known to be a source of cholera.

    Confirmations from sources at the Pentagon indicate that this was indeed the rationale for the attacks by American planes from Incirlik Air Force Base in Turkey, attacks cited by Russia’s President Putin as “strange.” We are also told that these attacks were planned and executed by American field commanders no longer under command of President Obama and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
    First appeared:

  5. sovereigntea says:

    Ukraine: Ripping Western Aid to Sponsor Terrorism

    Mon, Oct 26, 2015

    Chaosistan, Middle East, Phenomenon of Terrorism, Ukraine

    Ukraine: Ripping Western Aid to Sponsor Terrorism

    Past weekend the CyberBerkut team revealed another story, shocking in its extraordinary cynism even for today’s Ukraine. It turned out that the top Ukrainian Interior Ministry officials are abusing Western military assistance, designated to reequip and strengthen the Ukrainian National Guard (internal police forces). They organized an international traders’ chain to secretly reexport these arms to the Middle East where they would most likely appear in the hands of Saudi-linked radical groups operating in Syria and other hot spots.

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