Syraq SITREP 59: SAA and Iraqi PMU Get Hit by Israeli Strike Near Abu Kamal, Syrians Clash with U.S. Proxies Near Al-Tanf

After Israel Attacks Iraqi Shi'a PMU and Syrian Arab Army, U.S. State Department Warns Syrians Against Liberating Syrian Territory Along Israeli Occupied Golan from Jihadists

On Thursday, The New York Times published what it said were excerpts omitted from a United Nations sponsored report blaming Damascus and its Iranian ally for a series of chemical attacks in 2017-18. That same day, the U.S State Department threatened “serious repercussions” over Syria's southern offensive, which aims to recapture territory all the way up to the line of control with the Israeli occupied Golan Heights. This was the second recent warning issued by the State Dept. against Damascus liberating its own sovereign territory, citing the U.S.-Russia deescalation agreement (which never applied to ISIS or Al-Qaeda in any part of Syria) as a pretext.

It seems that if Israel or the U.S. or going to have their jihadi proxies stage a chemical attack and blame it on Assad to justify military action, the next few days are the most likely window for such a false flag operation. The renewal of previously cut off funding to the White Helmets, a British established 'G-NGO' which has reportedly participated in staging fake chemical attacks like the one in Douma of April 7, is an ominous sign in that respect.

Russia's Chemical False Flag Warning and U.S. Backed 'Moderate Rebels' Clashing with SAA Units Around Perimeter Americans Unilaterally Established Surrounding Their Al-Tanf Base

Indeed, Russia’s Defense Ministry has been warning for days of a provocation being planned by militants who shelter in the exclusion zone around the illegal American base at Al-Tanf, where U.S. proxy forces Jaysh Al-Mughawir Al-Thoura reported firefights with pro-government forces Thursday. Reports of subsequent American air strikes against Syrian government forces or militias in support of their 'moderate rebels' were not 100% confirmed as of Friday, but were picked up by Zerohedge, then the Ron Paul Report and Messianic Jew Steve Ben Noon of Israeli News Live, with all citing Beirut-based Al-Masdar News. London Paul spoke about Al-Tanf as a source of neocon-instigated tensions between Damascus and the American occupation forces on Thursday's Rogue Money Radio program.

As we've previously reported in this space, pro-Damascus Arab tribes have denounced American troops as occupiers and, after a tribal meeting in the Aleppo countryside several weeks ago, vowed to evict them and the Turkish Army from Syrian territory. The response from Secretary of State James Mattis to these threats of an anti-U.S./NATO occupation insurgency has been defiance, and a promise to keep American troops in Syria as long as the political process continues, aka indefinitely. However Mattis' Commander in Chief has previously expressed his preference for declaring victory over ISIS and pulling American troops out of Syria. Trump's cabinet led by SecDef Mattis and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford reportedly talked Trump out of a withdrawal by the 2018 mid-term elections in November.

However, as we've written before here at RogueMoney, if the U.S. stays, the risks to American personnel are real. The threat to U.S. troops comes from irregular or insurgent style warfare and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) rather than conventional clashes with the SAA. Damascus insists that the Americans must leave, but remains focused on the jihadis rather than the illegal U.S. occupation.

Eyeball to trigger finger confrontations, including an incident several days ago when a U.S. Humvee convoy was forced to turn around by Syrian soldiers at a checkpoint in northeastern Syria's Hasakah countryside, have occurred. These hostile stare-downs are likely more frequent than the public knows of and certainly are obviously not discussed by the Pentagon. As Elijah J. Magnier wrote this weekend:

When Trump agreed to keep the US forces “for a bit longer”, this decision gave an injection of temporary – but false – hope to the Kurds, thinking their fate was postponed. But for how long? Only until the US pulls out all its forces or is forced to pull out under the attacks of the “Syrian Resistance” that is beginning to gather strength in the US occupied area of Syria.

The newly announced resistance seems to belong to local tribes, mainly the “Bakkara” and the “al-Assasneh”, and other local groups ready to stand against the US forces, bringing back the memory the way the insurgency began against the US forces in Baghdad in 2003.

What the Syrian Kurds are certainly failing to acknowledge or even realise is the fact that Trump will not go out of his way to protect them neither will he put his air fleet at the Kurds’ disposal to transport them to America when the time comes to leave Syria. The outcome is predictable: when war ends, nobody wants proxies. They become a heavy burden.

-- https://ejmagnier.com/2018/06/23/the-kurds-have-lost-the-chance-to-decide-their-fate-only-damascus-can-save-them/

Artillery the god of war is about to be unleashed on the jihadists of southern Syria

So far the U.S. has not acted on the threats issued in recent days by the State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert or the notorious neocon UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. Experienced Mideast correspondent Elijah J. Magnier suggests the reason for American hesitation in striking the SAA may have something to do with the enlarged presence of Russian military advisers and troops at Palmyra, roughly eighty kilometers from the imaginary al-Tanf 'deconfliction zone' line the U.S. forbids Syrian troops from crossing. Contradicting other pro-Syrian government sources, Mr. Magnier says Hezbollah's elite Ridwan special forces are participating in the SAA offensive, contradicting reports that Russia had agreed with Israel that no members of the Lebanese Shi'a militia would participate in the southern Syria campaign.

According to Germany-based blogger 'b' at Moon of Alabama, the Baghdad operations room of the Russians, Iranians and Iraqis are closely coordinating with Damascus on the Syraq border operation simultaneous to the southern offensive. If anyone in Washington, Langley or Tel Aviv had hoped ISIS attacks on Syrian forces in the desert steppe or badiya would delay the big SAA push to the Golan, they must be disappointed.

TigerForcesDaraa.jpg

Today the amount of firepower the SAA has assembled for what may be its biggest operation of the war -- including highly mobile short range Pantsir SAMs to deter Israeli or American air strikes -- is truly impressive. See for yourself in this video from ANNA News:

The elite Tiger Forces led by Gen. Suheil Hassan have never lost a battle. This time around they are likely accompanied by more Russians than just the Tiger's 'polite people' spetsnaz body guards. If the Tigers, 4th Armored division and Palestinians of Liwa al Quds are to be turned back from victory, the Americans and Israelis will have to risk the lives of their own pilots and soldiers to save their Al-Qaeda and ISIS linked proxies. Harassing the SAA through sporadic air or drone strikes and/or letting Daesh terrorists hide behind the al-Tanf skirt won't stop this freight train. Although the Jordanians are reportedly assembling their old M60 tanks near their border, this is likely to keep fleeing jihadists out of their country, rather than to confront their not so distant cousins in the SAA. The Syrian War has truly entered one of its last decisive battles.

 Map courtesy of:  @ ArabianaINTEL  /Southfront

Map courtesy of: @ArabianaINTEL/Southfront

UPDATE 08:30 p.m. Eastern / 3:30 a.m. Damascus time

So much for Heather Nauert and Nikki Haley's bluster: Sam Heller of the NGO Crisis Group in Beirut reports that the U.S. Embassy in Amman is advising 'moderate rebels' in southern Syria not to expect the American military to intervene on their behalf. Which leaves only the Israelis, who have been in talks with the Russians for weeks ahead of this Syrian offensive, as potential spoilers acting against the liberation of Daraa and Quneitra. In other words, it's looking very unlikely that anyone is going to intervene on the jihadis behalf.