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Mini World War in Aleppo Region of Syria, Race for Raqqa

Next Cold War Roundup 2-15-16

The Munich Security Conference, which turned into a summit for negotiations and discussions on the broadening and escalating Syrian war, concluded with an agreement to work on cessation of hostilities and humanitarian aid for beseiged areas — an agreement that few have confidence will change the situation.  If anything, a large further escalation is anticipated, and has been promised by Turkey. Turkish forces are shelling both Kurdish and Syrian forces across the border into Syria in the northern Aleppo area and threatening to invade.  Saudis and allies are also threatening to invade with the intention of taking Raqqa, splitting Syria in half, and removing Assad. Both sides now race toward Raqqa.  Washington Post journalists accurately call it a “mini world war” in the Aleppo region.  There is widespread alarm that it could turn into a full scale world war.


_ South Front reports that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) along with the Golani Regiment, National Defense Forces (NDF) and Palestinian militia “Liwaa Al-Quds” are pushing toward al-Taqba air base held by ISIS in the Raqqa region as the “Race for Raqqa” intensifies. The Russian air force is doing air strikes in oil fields near Raqqa.

_ Elijah Magnier of al Rai Media with quotes from a high-ranking officer in the Damascus joint operations room (Russia, Syria, Iran, Hezbollah coalition).  The Saudi faction wants to split Syria into two parts, Gharbistan and Sharqistan, like a post-WWII Berlin.

_ Reportedly, there are a lot of Russians deployed in Palmyra.


_ The fight for the “strategic village of Tal Rifa’at in northern Aleppo” (Tell Rifaat, Tel Rifaat, Tel Rif’at, Tal Rifaat) involves the Syrian army and allies, Syrian Kurds (YPG) , Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and rebel groups fighting in this area al Nusra (al Qaeda), Ahrar al-Sham, Free Syrian Army (FSA), Levant Front (Jahhat al-Shamiyah) and Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki.  Washington Post calls the battle “a mini world war in the fields of Aleppo” with Russian warplanes, Iraqi and Lebanese militias, Iranian advisers and an “assortment of Syrian rebels backed by the United States, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar” fighting them.  Plus the Kurdish forces “allied both to Washington and Moscow taking advantage of the chaos to extend Kurdish territories.”  ISIS also holds some territory in this region.

_ Peter Oborne spent a week in government held part of Aleppo, including Sunnis, who supported Syrian government, and wonder why the UK is siding with the “terrorists” and see the “rebels” who came in as foreign invaders. (Video report here.)

Munich Conference

_ The Munich Security Conference (videos available here) concluded on Sunday with mostly pessimism about the chances that the agreement to work on a truce in Syria will succeed.

_ John McCain publicly rejected the Cessation of Hostilities agreement that John Kerry and Sergey Lavrov announced days earlier at the Munich Security Conference. McCain was accompanied by Joe Lieberman at the conference. For this and other reasons, the “Syria ceasefire faces galactic challenges.”


_ Tues. Feb. 9, DIA Lt. Gen. Stewart said that the large operation to secure Mosul would not happen in “the next year or so.” He said they might begin some isolation operations but the “extensive” operation to take and secure it would not, in his view, happen this year.

Sunni Arab Troops Deploying to Syria

_ “The United Arab Emirates has agreed to send special forces to Syria to train rebels fighting the Islamic State.”

_ Pepe Escobar writes about the “Syrian Sea of Hostility” and  “cessation of hostility” task forces and agreements where nobody is actually ceasing hostilities.

_ Saudi Arabia sending fighter jets to Incirlik air base in Turkey. There is disagreement on whether these jets have started arriving yet (Turkish officials deny).


_ Turkey’s shelling of Syrian Kurds YPG continues for the third day on Monday.


_ VP Biden told YPG Kurds to stop advancing in northwest Syria and taking territory near the Turkish border and told Turkey to stop shelling the YPG.  In a phone call, Biden assured Turkey’s prime minister that the US would work with Turkey to keep routes to Aleppo open for “humanitarian aid.”  These routes are also supply routes for ISIS, al Qaeda and “rebels” backed by Turkey, the CIA, Saudis, etc.



Assad Interview With AFP

_ “Assad said he backed peace talks but that negotiations do ‘not mean that we stop fighting terrorism‘ […] It makes no sense for us to say that we will give up any part.'”

President al-Assad speaks to AFP on Syrian and regional developments


Northern Iraq / Kurdistan

 SITREP from South Front

_ Biased toward the Syrian army but useful SITREP


Amiri Baraka (right) | Photo by Vatroslav Miloš
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Joanne Leon

Joanne Leon

Joanne is a blogger with focus on issues of war and peace, a mom, engineer, software developer and amateur photographer.