The US, Turkey and moderate head-chopping Idlib rebel media continue to crank up the pressure against Syria in a desperate attempt to put a stop to the quickly advancing Syrian Arab Army (SAA) forces in Idlib Province.
This ongoing Syrian offensive is truly alarming for the al-Qaeda terrorist group in control of the province, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the various moderate head-chopping Jihadist rebels allied with it, and all of their foreign backers including the US, UK, Israel and Turkey. As the past two weeks has demonstrated, this Syrian military advance threatens to liberate Idlib from the hands of these freedom-fighting head-choppers, and seriously endangers this “last bastion of freedom” in Syria, alternatively described by the US anti-ISIS envoy Brett McGurk as the “largest al-Qaeda safe-haven since 9/11.”
According to the latter understanding, the Syrian operation to liberate Idlib threatens to solve this very “big problem.”
In just a matter of days, the SAA has managed to liberate dozens of towns and villages, including the key terrorist stronghold of Maarat al-Numan, has continued to increase the length of the M5 highway under its control, has for the first time in eight years gained control over a portion of the M4 highway in Idlib, and is poised to soon control the entirety of the M5 highway from Aleppo to Damascus and be in a position to launch a ground assault on Idlib City, the single major stronghold of the entire province.
The map below shows the progress of the SAA between January 31 and February 5.
On February 5, the SAA had already begun to encircle the key town of Saraqib as it approached from multiple sides, and liberated the villages of Islamin and al-Rayyan in the outskirts of Saraqeb as it continued its advance towards the city.
By Wednesday evening, the advancing Syrian forces had launched a ground assault, and despite Turkish warnings began to enter Saraqeb, as a number of the terrorists reportedly withdrew from the city and fled away, before the SAA had completely besieged the terrorist stronghold, capturing both its southern and eastern entrances. Heavy clashes between the SAA and remaining HTS fighters is ongoing.
(Source: (@ Suriyakmaps) on Twitter, via SouthFront)
The imminent defeat of the remnants of terrorists by Syrian forces and liberation of Saraqeb, the second largest city in southeastern Idlib, is inevitable. Turkey had attempted to dissuade the SAA from taking the city, by reinforcing it with Turkish soldiers and establishing four new observation posts around Saraqeb, but the Turkish attempt to use NATO troops as human shields was ineffective at halting the Syrian advance or protecting its Jihadist proxy-forces there. The SAA had already previously encircled three such Turkish observation posts during its recent advance into Idlib.
In yet another desperate attempt to protect the extremist HTS terrorists and their moderate head-chopping rebel allies from imminent defeat at the hands of the Syrians, Turkish President Recepp Tayyip Erdogan stepped up the pressure a notch, threatening to wage war on Syria if the SAA did not withdraw its forces from the flailing Idlib democracy to positions behind all Turkish observation posts.
“We want the regime to immediately retreat to the borders stipulated by the Sochi agreement — in other words, to retreat behind our observation posts,” Erdogan said in the Turkish Parliament Wednesday.
“From now on, the violations by the regime will be retaliated for by targeting its military units as the regime responds to even the slightest violations by the oppositional groups with heavy attacks that also target civilians,” Erdogan said.
Considering that Turkey failed to respond to recent Syrian shelling of a Turkish positions being used to shield HTS terrorists, that killed between six and eight Turkish soldiers and left as many as 30 injured, with anything more than baseless claims of having carried out a harsh retaliation against Syrian positions, it is not likely that continued threats will deter the Syrians from fulfilling President Assad’s promise to “liberate every inch of Syria.”
As it turns out, this is a very big problem for the western empire, who see the removal of all Jihadists from Idlib as the largest threat to their agenda there, a grave danger to the mini-democracy posed by the democratically-elected Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad. After all, the foreign backers of these Jihadist freedom fighters don’t like the prospect of their proxies being fully defeated by the SAA, after eight years of backing them with financial, military, and diplomatic support with the goal of toppling the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
It is quite possible that Turkey’s insane acts of desperation to protect the western-proxy forces in Idlib, including putting the lives of its own soldiers at risk and in the line of Syrian fire, were in fact decisions influenced by the US.
In order to slow down the Syrian offensive, “Ankara’s first option is to seek military collaboration with the United States,” Al Monitor explains.
US Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters, commander of the US European Command and NATO’s supreme allied commander-Europe, visited Ankara Jan. 30 for talks that focused on Syria. Sources in Ankara note that Wolters’ talks with Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and Chief of General Staff Yasar Guler covered the west of the Euphrates as much as the east of the Euphrates, where the US military presence is concentrated.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also voiced his support for Turkey’s defense of HTS terrorists, harshly condemning the Syrian attack on these Turkish occupation forces as a “grave escalation.”
Besides Turkey, the US has also begun stepping up diplomatic actions meant to slow or halt the destruction of the tens of thousands of al-Qaeda terrorists and their moderate head-chopping counterparts occupying the province. On Tuesday, February 4, the US Embassy Damascus Facebook page published a message condemning President Bashar al-Assad as a “ruthless and reckless dictator,” holding Syria and her allies responsible for “the vast majority of the violence and destruction” of the western-backed terrorist proxy-war against the country, and voiced the intent to “hold the Assad regime and its allies accountable for the atrocities they are committing, some of which rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity,” the statement read.
The US must have forgotten that Assad is the democratically elected President of Syria, winning the last election with 90% of Syrians’ votes.
Strange how, when the US does the very same thing they accuse Syria of doing, and kill scores of innocent civilians in air strikes targeting al-Qaeda terrorists, it is considered a legitimate and necessary act of war crucial to the ongoing ‘war on terror’, even though these air strikes are carried out thousands of miles away from their homeland, against terrorists who have never attacked their country, and who are in most cases actually armed and funded by them. But when Syria kills civilians in the process of targeting these same al-Qaeda terrorists which they have never supported in any way, on their own territory, who are constantly attacking and killing their people, it is considered to be a ruthless and reckless war crime against humanity!
For example, just in recent days, a US drone strike campaign against al-Qaeda terrorists in Yemen, which were coincidentally armed with US weapons, has killed numerous innocent civilians. The hypocritical double standard could not be more obvious.
And never mind the countless atrocities carried out by the US-backed al-Qaeda terrorists and moderate head-chopping rebels, many of which have been openly flaunted on camera, including use of civilians as human shields, indiscriminate targeting of civilians throughout the country, attempted genocide of the Christian and Alewite minority populations, starvation of civilians in rebel-held territory, repeat use of chemical weapons including in November, 2018 in a shelling of Aleppo that injured over 100 civilians, the murder of civilians for use in staging chemical attack hoaxes as proven took place in April of 2018 in Douma, and more.
Forget that the entire so-called civil war was started by the US during operation Timber Sycamore, with the CIA funding, arming, training, and sending their Jihadist proxies into Syria to destabilize and topple the Assad government; it is Syria who is responsible for the vast majority of the violence of the war waged by the western proxy-armies. Or so we are led to believe...
Later in the same day, at 4:17 pm, the US Embassy Facebook page updated their cover photo to read ‘Idlib’, in a clear show of support for the terrorists.
Then on Wednesday they published another message, harshly condemning the “assaults on Idlib,” and promising the “U.S. will use all of its power to oppose” the “normalization” of the government of democratically-elected Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Mike Pompeo had already protested the destruction of the “largest al-Qaeda safe-haven since 9/11” last week, towards the beginning of the Syrian offensive aimed at doing just that, in another clear show of support for the HTS terrorists and their moderate head-chopping rebel counterparts.
Furthermore, the US, UK and France called an emergency UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday to address the issue of the Syrian “assault of Idlib” and related “crimes against humanity” it is accusing Syria and Russia of intentionally committing, and will use this narrative to push for the imposition of yet another ceasefire to delay destruction of their proxy-terrorists there.
The US, UK, France and the entirety of mainstream western media rely primarily on the claims of the UK-founded, US-funded, award-winning, organ-trafficking White Helmet rescuers and professional chemical attack hoaxers, who just so happen to only work in terrorist-occupied territory, as well as other moderate head-chopping rebel propagandists and Jihadist media outlets, for all the information and claims regarding Syrian and Russian targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure in Idlib used to accuse the Syrians and Russians of committing war crimes against humanity.
According to the White Helmets and these various Jihadist media outlets whose claims are blindly repeated in western media, Russia and Syria only ever target civilians, and never the terrorists. Yet somehow they still manage to defeat the terrorists in every such area of attack, without ever hitting a single terrorist, weapons cache, militant headquarters, ammunition depot, or even a single militant vehicle! Every single Russian and Syrian airstrike on Idlib without fail intentionally targets hospitals, schools, bakeries, markets, civilian homes, children, civilians fleeing the slaughter, bird breeders, book clubs, and sometimes even White Helmet centers, but never the militants. NEVER!
Or so we are led to believe by the humanitarian organ-trafficking White Helmet Jihadists, whose latest tweet on Wednesday likens the Syrian and Russian armies to a “killer virus,” describing “Putin and Assad” as “an epidemic killing innocent civilians.”
The White Helmets release an awful lot of video footage of their award-winning ‘rescuers’ carrying bodies to vehicles, and showcasing dead ‘civilians’ entirely wrapped in cloth so their identity cannot be verified, but rarely do they ever actually document any of these alleged strikes targeting the civilians. The ‘dead’ bodies could be dead militants, they could be civilians killed by the militants, or they could be fellow White Helmets playing dead for the filming as a ruse, as has been documented in the past. They could in fact be civilians killed or injured by Syrian or Russian airstrikes, and even still that doesn’t prove it was intentional targeting of civilians, as civilian casualties is a horrific reality of war, and of fighting al-Qaeda terrorists, as US airstrikes in the region continually remind us.
But the White Helmets and other pro-militant media counts on you blindly accepting their claims at face value, and buying into the idea that Assad and Putin’s one and only goal in Syria is to kill as many civilians as they possibly can.
As Burhanettin Duran writes on Wednesday in the Daily Sabeh, in a piece entitled “Europe, U.S. must save Idlib”:
Hardly a day goes by without the Bashar Assad regime bombing hospitals, schools and bakeries in Idlib.
Which, if true, leads one to wonder just how exactly there are even any hospitals, schools, or bakeries left standing in Idlib to be bombed at this point, considering these air strikes have been taking place for nearly two years now, on a semi-regular basis in between ceasefires and in response to terrorist attacks during the ceasefires, and “hardly a day goes by” without them.
The author of this propaganda piece continues:
The message is clear: Assad and his backer Russia are determined to conquer Idlib step by step, in an attempt to seize control of what remains of the de-escalation zone; even if it means killing scores of civilians and pushing the locals toward the Turkish border.
As if to “conquer Idlib” is somehow wrong for the Syrian Army, considering it is legitimate Syrian territory being illegitimately and illegally occupied by an internationally-recognized terrorist group, which regularly carries out deadly attacks on Syrian civilians.
Like just today, when a terrorist shelling of an Aleppo neighborhood targeting civilian homes murdered four innocent Syrian civilians including one child, and injured seven more. But this crime against humanity is not mentioned by Burhanettin Duran, or the White Helmets, or any of the other moderate rebel propaganda pieces published today pointing out the Syrian and Russian so-called criminal targeting of civilians in Idlib, because none of them truly care about the lives of Syrian civilians, only the Jihadist cause of the moderate rebels who enjoy murdering Syrian civilians in Aleppo. Such attacks are a regular occurrence, and are never mentioned by these ‘humanitarian’ media outlets, which in actuality function as de-facto terrorist propaganda outlets.
There are many such propaganda pieces that have been published recently, and they are all pushing the same narrative: That evil Assad and the Russian death machine are intentionally killing as many civilians as they can in Idlib, and western foreign intervention is needed to come to their rescue.
As Tom Rohan wrote in a piece on January 16 published in the Washington Examiner:
The Trump administration should confront Vladimir Putin and Bashar Assad's escalating slaughter of Syrian civilians.
It's a newly urgent concern in the face of an escalating Syrian-Russian offensive in Syria's western Idlib governate. Breaching a ceasefire brokered by Turkey, Syrian and Russian warplanes on Wednesday launched dozens of airstrikes. One attack on Idlib's al Hal Market killed at least 19 people, injuring many more.
This targeting of civilians is absolutely deliberate.
These propagandists always forget to mention that every single time it is the terrorists who first violate these ceasefires, provoking the Syrian response which they then cry about as a human rights violation. In this case it was the massacre of over 40 Syrian soldiers in a massive attack by the NATO-sponsored terrorists, but of course neither the lives of Syrian civilians outside of Idlib nor of Syrian soldiers matter to such ‘humanitarians,’ who seem to care only for the lives of those in terrorist-occupied Idlib.
There is also no way to prove the baseless claim that the targeting of civilians by Syria and Russia is always intentional, and this is quite an absurd claim, considering Syrian civilians overwhelmingly support the SAA, and consider the Russian military as their savior from the brutal terrorists, which rescued Syria when Damascus was about to fall at the peak of the terrorist reign.
Of course any plea for foreign intervention against the advancing Syrian forces in Idlib is a plea for the best gift the terrorists in Idlib could possibly dream of.
As the terrorist propagandists plead for foreign intervention from the US or Europe to stop Syria’s liberation of Idlib from the hands of terrorist control, while Turkey is threatening to attack Syria, and the US has stepped up its anti-Syrian propaganda in the last few days, the White Helmets are reportedly busy planning to stage another false flag chemical attack to be blamed on Assad and used to garner the western intervention against Syria which they seek. Video of the fake chemical attack has reportedly already been filmed, and is scheduled to be released on social media platforms in the near future. If and when that happens, such a scenario could push Turkey to launch airstrikes against the Syrian Army, which it has already threatened to do, and like always would provide the pretext needed for a large-scale attack on Syria by the US, UK, and France.
In the meantime, without waiting for any such provocation to provide such a pretext, Israel just carried out a series of unprovoked missile strikes against Damascus, from which most of the missiles were intercepted by Syrian Air Defense Forces.
Syrian air defenses, after midnight, responded to an Israeli missile attack that targeted the vicinity of Damascus and the southern region, shooting down most of the missiles before reaching their targets.
SANA reporter said that the Israeli aggression was carried out on several waves as Israeli enemy aircraft launched several missiles from over the occupied Syrian Golan and southern Lebanon targeting al-Kiswa area, Marj al-Sultan, Baghdad Bridge and South of Izraa.
Just another day for Syria. It is unlikely that any amount or combination of western pressure, Turkish threats, and Israeli aggression will turn the tide of the war and keep Syria from defeating the western-backed proxy-terrorists, even with the aid of yet another staged chemical attack to blame on Assad. But that clearly doesn’t mean they aren’t going to keep trying, until there isn’t a single terrorist left in Idlib to defend.
Top photo taken from SouthFront’s Syrian War Report for February 5 - “The Last White Helmet of Idlib” - recommended for both a concise summary of the situation and a good laugh: