The consequences of a Russian-Syrian offensive into Idlib, Syria, against terrorists hiding there would almost certainly be a humanitarian disaster, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said to press.

US military planners believe there are better, more focused ways to go after terrorists who have taken shelter in Idlib.

“The consequences of a major offensive operation in Idlib will almost certainly be the suffering of a large number of innocent civilians,” Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford told reporters traveling with him.

A meeting in Tehran, Iran, yesterday among Turkey, Russia, Iran and the Syrian regime failed. Russian and regime forces have been building up around the enclave for days, and most observers expect the forces to attack into the area.

An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 fighters entered Idlib to hide among the hundreds of thousands of people who went to the northwestern Syria city to escape violence.

‘Disappointed, But Not Surprised’

Dunford said he is “disappointed, but not surprised” by the failure of the Idlib talks. The city was declared as a designated deconfliction zone.

“People were committed to approaching it as such,” he said. “It looks to us as if people are walking away from an agreed-upon approach to deal with Idlib.”

US military officials believe there is a more effective way to do counterterrorism operations than major conventional operations in Idlib.

The chairman said the United States was not talking about cooperating, but about using US capabilities to spot the terrorists – even in an urban environment – and take them out with a minimum of civilian casualties.

The chairman said he has not spoken with Gen. Valery Gerasimov, his Russian counterpart, since the crisis over Idlib began, and that he is not scheduled to speak with him.

18 COMMENTS

    • Steven wrote:
      “Unlike Raqqa ? Unlike Fallujah, Iraq ? The US only cares about the civilian population when it suites their agenda.”</B.

      To be fair. the US (As do all Western Nations) subscribe to the Geneva convention. Yes we may laugh and refer to the Yanks as blood thirsty planks, but the facts remain they led the way with low collateral damage weapons systems. The rest have simply followed. Now in Syria the Western nations used Precision-guided munitions in conjunction with a targeting pod. These weapon systems afford the user a very high level of accuracy which allows them to surgically strike the enemy. Yes sometimes mistakes transpire, but they still afford a level of damage limitation that has never been seen before. However to some that isn't good enough, you know these are the people who ask why wasn't that gun shot out of a gunmans hand instead of killing him. Which is why when they berated the RAF the other month regards airstrikes inside Syria, they pointed out how a VBIED which was taken out from the air saw the resulting explosion take out two people nearby.

      Anyway I digress, Raqqa was the de-facto capital of ISIS . You know that blood thirsty group of religious bigots who carved out a huge caliphate across Syria and Iraq using the bullet, bomb, knife and a lot of allah ackbas instead of the ballot box. These thugs didn't have a problem dying for the cause and their willingness to die for the cause gave them a huge advantage over those who didn't. So after it took the world 2 years to push back ISIS to their start point, we found a city area full of brainwashed religious thugs willing to die. Tell me: What would you do? send them to bed without any supper?

      Here's a few snippets that the ethical latte brigade leave out whilst shedding faux tears for Raqqa :
      1) Raqqa was the first major Syria city taken by the rebels in 2013.
      2) ISIS took control in Jan 2014
      3) They subsequently destroyed all other places of worship and ethically cleansed the city and surrounding area of non-Sunni Muslims and then encouraged the worlds umma to migrate to Raqqa to help build a new country based on acute Sharia law. Here is a newspaper article written in 2015 about the above:
      https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/telling-the-truth-about-isis-and-raqqa
      4) Hundreds of thousands of ISIS recruits flocked to Raqqa which became know as 'the hotel of the revolution'
      5) As you can see having a cuppa with the relativity new imported population of Raqqa wasn't an option for those facing ISIS, only for those sat miles away .

      Now back to the PGMs, Russia has turned around the state of affairs for Syrian regimes by the use of carpet bombing using heavy bombers using lots of dumb bombs. Instead of a targeted strike with 1 PGM, they just used flights of 6 TU 22s dropping over 24 tonnes of dumb bombs each at a time (2 flights a day with the longest non stop sustained bombing campaign being a 14 day period.

      That is how the Russians turned around the fortunes of the Assad regime in such a short time, they simply carpet bombed their way to victory.

      Funny how those who bemoan the US and its allies never mention that, possibly why they don't mention the second war in Chechnya where the Russians knocked the country back into the stoneage.

        • “The US may not use barrel bombs but they do use depleted uranium and white phosphoros”

          No they don’t since the first and Second Gulf wars where DU 120mm APFSDS were used to knock out Iraqi armour, the US has changed tack and replaced a lot of its inventory of DU ammo and replaced it with Tungsten tipped stuff. That shift is widely reported in the public domain be my guest.

          Regards White Phosphorus, is is primarily used in smoke rounds, you have more to fear from the metal casings than you do the many strips of felt which have a tiny piece of Phosphorus affixed (Felt is used as it doesn’t burn but smoulders) in which make an instant smoke screen.

          As for not defeating ISIS in Raqqa. did you even read the BBC report you likned in to. I did when it first came out, its full of misleading statements, which are exposed by these salient statements from said article:
          “The deal to let IS fighters escape from Raqqa – de facto capital of their self-declared caliphate – had been arranged by local officials. It came after four months of fighting that left the city obliterated and almost devoid of people. It would spare lives and bring fighting to an end. The lives of the Arab, Kurdish and other fighters opposing IS would be spared.

          “The SDF didn’t want the retreat from Raqqa to look like an escape to victory. No flags or banners would be allowed to be flown from the convoy as it left the city, the deal stipulated. It was also understood that no foreigners would be allowed to leave Raqqa alive”

          ““We didn’t want anyone to leave,” says Col Ryan Dillon, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, the Western coalition against IS.

          “But this goes to the heart of our strategy, ‘by, with and through’ local leaders on the ground. It comes down to Syrians – they are the ones fighting and dying, they get to make the decisions regarding operations,” he says. While a Western officer was present for the negotiations, they didn’t take an “active part” in the discussions.

          “The coalition now confirms that while it did not have its personnel on the ground, it monitored the convoy from the air.”

          In otherwords it was the SDF (The actual people fighting on the ground) who set the agenda and not the Yanks. Whilst the article does state that, it goes well out of its way to muddy the waters in which to try and level the blame at..the US.

          • Steven
            DU is still used by A-10s and American Abrams (exports are only sold tungsten ammunition) tanks also C-130 gunships that may encounter armor.
            Also depleted uranium has been unfairly maligned. If it is as bad as the typically hyperventilating green-lobby says it is multiple US Military bases would be glowing in the dark. All of the supposed birth defects the Iraqis reported in the 90s and early 00s are more likely due to lack of proper nutrition during the period of sanctions and destroyed infrastructure. Along with the Iraqis having a much higher rate than western countries of marriages between 1st and 2nd cousins.
            As for white phosphorous? Would you prefer air strikes or every room getting it’s dose grenade and bullet. War isn’t a pretty affair unless you haven’t noticed.
            Fallujah? You mean where the US Military wanted to place it under siege. Then were undermined by President Bush who refused to allow the barring of NGOs and thus food from reaching the city. Because of his concern that forcibly barring NGOs based in Europe would cause the UK and other European members of the coalition to lose their shit. Even of those organizations were actually providing supplies (and they still do) to insurgents. This meant that instead of besieging the city it had to be stormed.

        • Finally, the UN instigated a report on the use of DU after the the first Gulf War. They came to the conclusion that the use of the DU in iraq didn’t constitute a risk. Hey I’m only reporting what they stated:
          Public health and environmental concerns

          Various international organizations, including the World Health Organization, have undertaken studies on the potential effects of DU on human beings and the environment.

          The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) continues to review the latest information in scientific literature on the effects on humans of internal exposure due to inhalation or ingestion of uranium, including DU. UNSCEAR has concluded that no clinically significant pathology related to radiation exposure to depleted uranium was found (See A/71/139).

          In studies in which the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was involved, the resulting radiological risk to the public and the environment was not significant in situations where depleted uranium is observed in the form of localized contamination of the environment by small particles resulting from the impacts.

          However, in the situations where fragments of, or complete, depleted uranium ammunitions were found, there is a potential risk of radiation effects for individuals who come into direct contact with such fragments or ammunitions.

          This risk can be mitigated by national authorities through conducting such simple countermeasures as the collection, storage and disposal of such fragments.

          Nevertheless, in a post-conflict environment, the presence of depleted uranium residues can further increase the anxiety of local populations. The results of the radiological assessments conducted by IAEA in cooperation with UNEP and WHO provide the basis for public reassurance.
          https://www.un.org/disarmament/convarms/more-on-depleted-uranium/

          Now I’ve known about this report for years. Funny how it doesn’t get more mention.

  1. A real risk of not only a humanitarian disaster, but the real chance of terrorists escaping to mainland Europe in any planned large scale evacuation of the area.

  2. Russia are involved with Iran the big isis supporting nation . My God when the yanks decide to take a big country over like gulf wars fighting real armies it was done and dusted in weeks .. Russia even with the aid of the Syrian army can’t defeat a few rebels . This business in Syria shows just how weak russia are the only have one real weapon propaganda ..

    • Yep I agree ,for example the T-14 tank is only going to be produced to a total of 100 as Russia cant afford to produce any more according to Janes defence.

    • That would be Iran’s religious enemy. A terrorist is often simply another terrorist however in this case they like to bomb each other almost as much as they do others.
      As for Russian involvement in Syria? Not really a good comparison to American interventions in the Middle East and Latin America. Russia has only supplied air support (a fair amount to be sure), resupply of war material consisting of everything from rifles, tanks, and artillery, to boots and uniforms and training of the Syrian Army. The Russian ground involvement has been confined to a relatively modest ground deployment for SAR and Base Security. Other than that they deployed some Spetsnaz for special operations and hired a few PMCs for additional support of the Syrian Army and logistics.
      So actually they have done pretty well considering the continuing Western and Turkish support of rebel factions. Such as the latest Free Syrian Army (Turkish incarnation) and the US, French and UK backed Syrian Democratic Forces. Then their are the terrorists masquerading as NGOs aiding civilians like the White Helmets.

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