Colonel Lang posted today a good summary of events in Syria, which may help fight off all kinds of overly excitable readers about what is going on in Idlib now. I want to mention, however, a fact of those "swarms" of Turkish drones, which, according to some very impressionable people now almost control the skies over Idlib--they don't. I am not going to delve here into the explanation of how AD works under such conditions as are in Idlib now, but, unlike Turkish propaganda and bat-shit crazy statements, the only success of those drones was one munition carrying truck (the video is shown), one armored vehicle and one motorcycle. You can watch the report (in Russian) here. Now to Colonel Lang's piece.
To the west nearly all of Idlib Governorate south of the M-4 east-west highway is within artillery fire of the advancing SAA and at the northern end of the al-Ghaab Plain the spearheads are apparently within 6 miles of the M-4. Assuming that the M-4 is the Turkish Main Supply Route (MSR) out of Hatay Province to the west, an SAA interdiction of that major road will imperil the Turkish led force around Saraqib. The Turks will then either withdraw from Saraqib or attack any SAA blockage of the M-4 or both. In classic militaryspeak, the Turks would be said to have been "turned out" of their position at Saraqib by the SAA move onto the M-4 to the west. The resulting engagement would be a desperate fight. In the midst of this situation the Russian Aerospace expeditionary force would be heavily engaged.
So, if anyone wants to add anything to this NOT based on a click bait headlines or Turkish propaganda video-compilations, or statements about killing hourly thousands of SAA's soldiers or destroying hundreds of targets, you are welcome. Other than that, I can only express my condolences to people who, based on some few-seconds long videos, experience hysterics and panic. As per this:
James Jeffrey, the U.S. special representative for Syria engagement, has been pressing the Defense Department to send Patriot missile defense batteries to Turkey to help it repel the Syrian government’s assault in Syria's Idlib province, the people said. But Pentagon officials are worried about the global ramifications of a move they see as reckless.
This kind of posture IS EXPECTED from such creature as Jeffrey, especially against the background of today's US officially losing a war in Afghanistan by signing a "peace deal" with Taliban.
U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and the Taliban’s chief negotiator and one of its founders, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, signed the agreement in Doha after more than a year of on-off formal talks. Some in the room broke out in whoops, cheers and shouts of "God is Great" at the signing. The several dozen members of the Taliban exited the room after the ceremony beaming. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also attended the ceremony, but did not sign the "Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan," under which the Taliban pledged to enter into peace talks with Afghan government officials, representatives of the opposition, and members of civil society on March 10.
Yes, Taliban was also asked: please, pretty-pretty please, be nice boys and do not immediately overthrow Kabul government once we leave. I am sure Taliban, who in accordance to statements of US military and especially US "diplomats" was constantly on the verge of being defeated in the last 19 years and should not exist by now at all, obliged and promised by crossing, ah, I mean whatever they did, their hearts and hoping to die, that they will absolutely follow the letter of this "peace deal". After all, America's great "diplomat" and strategic "thinker" Mike Pompeo assured all of us that:
Speaking to reporters, Pompeo said the United States was "realistic" about the deal it signed, but was "seizing the best opportunity for peace in a generation." He said that while he was still angry about the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the U.S. will not "squander" what its soldiers "have won through blood, sweat and tears."
It would have been widely appreciated if Pompeo would disclose what exactly US soldiers "won" in Afghanistan? Try as I might, I cannot identify a single thing which was "won" there and, quite to the contrary, I can easily identify a growing number of threats which become actualized for the region as the result of the United States sustaining a rather humiliating defeat in Afghanistan. It is clear that the mood in Department of State now is not very good, hence a bunch of lunatic statements, including in "support" of Turkey, which faces a rather calamitous future near Syria because Turkey can now officially be identified as a sponsor of terrorism at least de facto. Turkey, realistically, needs a truce badly, because the going, as was expected, proved to be not what was expected by Turks, and Turkey's Foreign Minister Cavusoglu today tried to downplay the situation when stating that Russia supports Damascus but "doesn't seem to be targeting us" (in Russian). For now, I may add. A lot will be decided between Putin and Erdogan and my gut feeling is that this time around Erdogan will have to face some very unpleasant realities.