Monday, March 6, 2017

U.S. And Russian Ground Forces Appear To Be Cooperating In Northern Syria

The Telegraph: US and Russian troops patrol neighboring villages in Syria

Russian and US troops are patrolling neighbouring Syrian villages as the two countries move to defuse tensions between rival factions fighting the Islamic State in the Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

In what is the closest encounter between the two superpowers in Syria to date, both sides have sent troops into the area around the northern town of Manbij to in a bid to halt fighting between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Turkish troops and allied rebel groups.

The Manbij Military Council, an SDF-affiliated group, said on Monday that the town had been placed under the protection of the US-backed coalition following several days of clashes with Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: We know U.S. forces are in the region (see above video) .... but no video or photos of Russian forces yet. More on the U.S. presence in northern Syria in my next post.


James said...

I'm not so sure that it's a matter of Russo/US cooperation.

War News Updates Editor said...

You have a point James. The word that maybe I should have used is "coordination".

RussInSoCal said...

Trying to mitigate against "Blue on Blue" casualties. So far they (US and Russia) have done a pretty good job considering all the steel and aluminum flying around that zone.

James said...

I don't know RSC. I'd like to hear Lazslo's take.

László Mikó said...


Because this subject is not really of my taste, it's lack so to say the "action", so I do not give it as much value as it may would deserve. However if you want to know my view on it, here it is.

It was almost a week ago that I first heard about this Russian and the US convoys going to Manbij, or surrounding SDF held areas, and since I already seen photos of the Russian convoy too. About the convoys, this US one had 2 Stryker and 3 HMMWV in, and same goes to the RU one, I seen only trucks and some armored cars, but that no force, just a show off. Some says the US convoy is from the 75th Ranger Regiment, I do not know that it's true or not, but reports of them going to fight IS is just BS, IS is nowhere near Manbij. A few weeks ago there was a CJTF briefing video published, and one of the reporter had questions about US advisers and trainers in Manbij, because (i believe it was still in the Obama administration in the WH ) there were statements made that such US forces left the city already, because of some reason ( I guess political stuff, related that they training YPG units, and Turkey did not liked that), but the US commander from Iraq accidentally first denied it, then admitted, then restrained from answering to this question. The whole thing was comical, but my point is that such forces in Manbij is no surprise, maybe the US flag waving was not there, and they may not yet used Strykers, but it's the same thing at the end. I do not know how much coordination were in both forces being there, but for RU it was for the press only, and maybe to make Kurds not hate them more. But what I would be interested is how this camera crew found the time and route of this convoy, and why wouldn't they just travel at night?

But back to the point, and this area, even that it got nice media coverage, but so far the Kurds did not gave up areas to SAA on the SDF - Turkey backed Syrian Rebel frontline, to making a buffer zone and avoid further fighting and loosing of ground against the rebels. As I know Russian MD officials are in Turkey for discussing such matters, and finalising the deal of what will happen with this area. Now that, SAA have about 1-2km from the Euphrates river, and both SDF Manbij and Syrian Rebels does not share frontlines with IS, the question is really up, what to do next. Turkey claim to Manbij is not based on reality, and I find it unlikely to happen, but Russia well know what kind of ally Turkey is, and it's still better to have it on their side than on the enemy's. With recent SAA gains, and seeing SDF reaching the edges of Raqqa, it's really up to SAA to support the recapture, and this Al-Bab operation could be a very good lead to that. As I remember it was last year when SAA made an "unsuccessful" offensive from Khanasser crossroad toward Tabqa, but they ended up retreating, because with their offensive they created a pocket that was unsustainable, but if the expectation of an upcoming similar offensive happen soon, now they would have a foothold on the side of Euphrates, it's a different story.

I say we will know more after this meeting is done in Turkey, because as I see, everything is depend on what they agree of. Hope you found my assessment satisfying, James.

War News Updates Editor said...

Thanks Laszlo for your analysis. You are right about the big meeting in Turkey deciding on what will happen next Syria. (that is my 20:00 EST post).

James said...

"Hope you found my assessment satisfying, James." Yes I did Laszlo. I think you hit it right with the "but that no force, just a show off", but I think it's (the show off) linked to the conference in Turkey. I think the US, Russia, and Turkey are trying to carve out spheres of influence in post civil-war Syria while excluding Iran as much as they can. As I have said before there a lot of problems with the present Irani/Russo arrangement and Turkey makes an ideal local stick in Putin's mind to use to make them heel. A Russian/US understanding would then bring the GCC and Israel leaving Iran nowhere to turn except to Russia. However this is still speculation on my part and doesn't preclude Irani action at Hormuz and Al Bab, which in their eyes would give them great leverage.