Russian Federation has 'full political understanding' with Turkey over Idlib, Lavrov says

Larry Hoffman
August 30, 2018

It is the largest buildup in the region since the battle for Aleppo, and Russian media described it as the biggest concentration of warships off Syria since the start of the war.

DefenseNews observes that the nuclear-powered battlecruiser Pyotr Velikiy (Peter the Great) is notably absent from the flotilla.

"Using chemical weapons terrorizes civilians, so raising fear serves one goal".

Top Photo | Nikki Haley, United States' Ambassador United Nations, shows pictures of Syrian victims of alleged chemical weapons attacks as she addresses a meeting of the Security Council on Syria at U.N. headquarters, April 5, 2017.

An offensive by the Syrian government, which wants to retake the province with the backing of Moscow, would have explosive repercussions for civilians as well as for moderate rebels and radical Islamists.

Pentagon and USA officials continue pushing the gambit, setting the stage to play the "Assad is gassing his own people" card should so much as an inkling of a White Helmets allegation emerge, in an unprecedented level of telegraphing intentions for leverage on the battlefield.

Over the last week, Moscow has accused Syrian rebels of planning to stage a chemical attack in the northwestern province that would "provoke" Western strikes on its ally Damascus.

The United States, Britain, and France this week repeated warnings to Syria not to use chemical weapons in an assault on Idlib, saying it would result in Western retaliation.

In an effort to restore calm in the region and improve the humanitarian situation in war-torn Syria, three guarantor states Turkey, Iran, and Russian Federation launched the Astana process on January 23, 2017, establishing de-escalation zones.

Gen. Abolghasem Alinejad said Iran will maintain its military presence in Syria, revealing more details about a military cooperation deal Tehran and Damascus signed this week. "To be frank, the USA has absolute dominance" in the Mediterranean, and Russia's ships won't matter, said Lamrani.

But Russia's massive navy buildup in Syria can't actually stop the U.S. from striking Syria in response to the Syrian government's chemical attacks, as it has twice in the past two years.

The UK has also been implicated in supposed USA aggression in the region.

The US will likely avoid striking most of Syria's most important targets as Russian forces integrated there raise the risk of escalation, and Russia will likely then call the limited US strike a failure, as they have before.

So instead of an epic naval and aerial clash, expect Russian Federation to stick to its real weapon fo modern war: Propaganda.

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