All Bets Off In Afrin: Updated

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Posted by Bel Suave Bel Suave
Update: It's now mid afternoon, Monday, in the muddled east - Although the SAA and Syrian press appear to be announcing the imminent arrival of Syrian forces inside Afrin Canton - the YPG has just issued another denial that an agreement has been reached! This endless go round may be due to the Kurds efforts to engage the aid of the Americans using the leverage of a Syrian advance into the northern border regions which the US is "putatively" said to be wishing to hold as a zone of influence.

The Americans - in turn - have been hemming and hawing with the Turks, at the same time... one minute advising the press that they will be working 'arm in arm' with ALLY TURKEY... the next minute putting out notice of the possibility of 'sanctions' if the Turks do not back off of Afrin. Whole lot of arm twisting going on? You bet! The sticking point seems to be this - the Kurds are insisting upon a joint campaign towards al Bab... scene of the previous TSK debacle. Syrians probably feel it's a 'bridge too far.'
Stay tuned!

When The Kurdish component of the SDF forces holding the oil and gas fields near Dar ez Zor fell back to return to fighting Turks in their own neighborhood - things got rough for the SAA very quickly. Daesh\ISIL terrorists have suddenly poured out of the desert on hit and run raids which have left a Brigadier General, chief of military intelligence for the Syrian Army in the Deir Ezzor region, dead in an ambush, and remaining coalition forces under savage attack in recently reclaimed towns along the Euphrates River.

So, its a realistic proposition at last - the two 'frenemies' Syrian Arab Republic, and the YPG-defended Kurdish-majority canton of Afrin have agreed on a joint struggle against the Turkish army and its jihadist proxies. This will in turn allow for a repositioning of the missing YPG Kurds back in the south east. Some tough bargaining went into this - and don't think for a minute that the US ground command didn't have a say in it!

With Srael making renewed threatening noises - and the Turks throwing more armor into their mess in the north east, it had dawned upon the Syrians and their Iranian friends that it would be best NOT to be caught fighting a two front war. Eliminating the threat in the north, before the Turks can crush the Kurds, would seem a strategic necessity.  Somebody must have pointed it out at last!

 All forces, including the Shia Iranian militias fighting with the SAA, now in Aleppo province may be mobilized to advance against Turkish positions in the recently 'de escalated' zone there. It remains to be seen just how quickly such an advance can be made.

All that is secondary, however, to the question what - if any - air support will be supplied to this new coalition. If the Syrian air force challenges the TAF over Afrin skies - all bets as to what happens next - in the Syrian Endgame - are truly off!