To outplay Trump in Syria: Is US powerless against Putin?

America has completely lost influence in the Middle East, loosing a “deal of the century”.

Well, how is it in Syria? As usual: fighting! The government forces of Bashar al-Assad are now conducting an active offensive, the purpose of which is to oust the jihadists from the northwestern province of Idlib. The offensive is developing quite successfully – the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has already liberated the strategically important city of Maaret An-Numan and a number of other settlements. Idlib is one of the key points on the map of Syria and is especially important for the conflicting parties. Now this province is controlled to a greater extent by the terrorist groups of the Syrian Free Army (SFA), the defeat of which will mean Assad’s final victory.


Each of the warring parties has its own “patrons”. For SAA, this is Russia and Iran; for SFA, Turkey and, to a certain extent, the USA. Everyone in Idlib has his own interest, so the combat zone in this area is supposed to only expand – they have already been called the final battle for Syria. However, there is no need to speak about the complete liberation of Idlib by the government army – there are too few forces, especially in the infantry capable of operating more effectively in tanks in highlands. The task is more limited, but strategically important – to take full control of the M-5 highway, which connects Aleppo with Hama and Homs. In order to control the route, it is necessary to keep the city of Maaret en-Numan, which now includes the fighters of the elite 25th division of the SAA special forces.


The successful development of this operation is ascribed to the participation of Russian troops in it, including the use of aviation. A number of Western media, citing information from the White Helmets non-governmental organization, published data on such attacks and civilians who died. The Russian Ministry of Defense refutes this and claims, through the words of the head of the Center for the Reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria, Major General Yuri Borenkov that the air forces did not strike at civilian targets in the de-escalation zone in Syrian Idlib. In general, Russian aviation has not carried out combat sorties here since the ceasefire began on January 12, which Putin and Erdogan agreed to during a meeting in Istanbul on January 8.


It may be so, although, if you recall, not a single successful offensive by government troops in Syria was complete without the participation of the Russian air forces. It is likely that the Syrian pilots themselves, in recent years, have gained experience with their Russian colleagues and are already capable of independently solving combat missions to support ground forces from the air. What can be no doubt, and experts pay attention to this, is that it was the Russian military advisers who advised the Syrian military to change the tactics of warfare. During this operation in Idlib, air, missile and artillery attacks on terrorists were not launched from the south and south-east, as was known, but from the north-east. As a result of the formation of the SSA, they suffered serious losses and were cut off from large detachments in the south, which ultimately allowed the SAA troops to move quickly to the city of Maaret al-Numan.


In the United States, which, as far as is known, has no strength in Idlib, they did not believe in the absence of Russian military participation in the operation to liberate Idlib. Threats were launched. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Washington is ready to take “unprecedented measures” in Syria to “stop Russia.” Threats followed in relation to Damascus and Tehran, which may indicate an aggravation of the situation in the Middle East in the near future.

– The United States is following with serious concern the situation in northwestern Syria, where the combined forces of Russia, the Iranian regime, Hezbollah and the Assad regime have reportedly carried out large-scale attacks on residents of Idlib province and western Aleppo. It is reported that these forces carry out indiscriminate aerial bombardments and ground attacks, which resulted in thousands of civilians being fired on at Maaret al-Numan, resulting in nowhere to flee, – said Pompeo, accusing Russia, Syria and Iran of creating tension in the region .


It is likely that Pompeo forgot that the province of Idlib is part of the Syrian Arab Republic, and the Russian Air Space Forces are here at the official invitation of the legitimate government, which is consistent with international law. Unlike the US military, which can be considered occupiers on this land.


He could also keep silent about the bombing, remembering how the US aviation smashed whole cities and countries to shreds, in order to achieve it is not clear what goals. But this is so, by the way.


What can the “unprecedented measures” that the US Secretary of State speaks of mean for Russia? They mean the use of economic and political levers of pressure that have already become familiar. In the absence of explanations and the availability of real evidence (Pompeo used only the word “reported” in his angry speech without even telling where he got this information from) why Russia cannot fight terrorists in Syria, it looks rather strange. Such statements by Washington, according to political analysts, only indicate that the United States is concerned about the loss of its influence in the Middle East. The failure with US influence in Iran, Syria, it is not known how long Americans will stay in Iraq, the absurd current attempt of Donald Trump to reconcile Israel and Palestine, which he called the “deal of the century”, indicates the impossibility of controlling the situation in the region. Hence such a violent reaction. A common expression comes to mind: “Jupiter, you are angry – that means you’re wrong.”


Russia in the event of any demarche from the United States can also tighten the conditions for the US military contingent in Syria. By breaking existing agreements and closing, for example, airspace over the eastern part of the ATS. Assad is unlikely to refuse such a request to Putin. And the official closure of the sky over this territory will allow the Russian airborne forces, including using anti-aircraft missile systems to shoot down any flying objects without warning. For the United States, this will become a serious problem when many transportation routes are eliminated.


So it is still unknown who will benefit from such measures. And Trump in the situation in Syria looks like a lightweight boxer from a joke that receives powerful blows from a heavyweight rival and at the same time repeats: “And I’m well ahead on points.”