Syria declares victory over Islamic State

A Syrian army soldier removes an Islamic State flag from the historic ruins of Palmyra.

Reuters reports:

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syria’s army declared victory over Islamic State on Thursday, saying its capture of the jihadists’ last town in the country marked the collapse of their three-year, hardline reign in the in the region.
The army and its allies are still fighting Islamic State in desert areas near Albu Kamal, the last town the militant group had held in Syria, near the border with Iraq, the army said.
But the capture of the town ends Islamic State’s era of territorial rule over the so-called caliphate that it proclaimed in 2014 across Iraq and Syria and in which millions suffered under its hardline, repressive strictures.
Yet after ferocious defensive battles in its most important cities this year, where its fighters bled for every house and street, its final collapse has come with lightning speed.
Instead of a battle to the death as they mounted a last stand in the Euphrates valley towns and villages near the border between Iraq and Syria, many fighters surrendered or fled.
“There’s some fighters left but they’re few. Small numbers is all I can say,” said a Syrian army commander of the remaining militants near Albu Kamal. “Some were killed and some ran away. They went toward eastern or northern villages.”
In Albu Kamal, the jihadists had fought fiercely, said a commander in the pro-Syrian government military alliance. But it was captured the same day the assault began.
This sealed “the fall of the terrorist Daesh organization’s project in the region”, an army statement said, using an Arabic term for Islamic State.
The fate of its last commanders is still unknown — killed by bombardment or in battle, taken prisoner but unidentified, or hunkered into long-prepared hideouts to plot a new insurgency.
The last appearance of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who declared himself caliph and heir to Islam’s historic leaders from the great medieval mosque in Iraq’s Mosul, was made in an audio recording in September.
“Oh Soldiers of Islam in every location, increase blow after blow, and make the media centers of the infidels, from where they wage their intellectual wars, among the targets,” he said.
Mosul fell to Iraqi forces in July after a nine-month battle. Islamic State’s Syrian capital of Raqqa fell in October to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a U.S.-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias, after four months of fighting.
But all the forces fighting Islamic State in Syria and Iraq expect a new phase of guerrilla warfare, a tactic the militants have already shown themselves capable of with armed operations in both countries.
Western security chiefs have also said its loss of territory does not mean an end to the “lone-wolf” attacks with guns, knives or trucks plowing into civilians that its supporters have mounted around the world. […]


co-founding editor of OffGuardian (retired)

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co-founding editor of OffGuardian (retired)

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Apparently, we are on the eve of a Sunni-Shia proxy way against Iran. Maybe – or maybe not. I detect signs of a more subtle power play: to raise the price of oil. There could be the odd well in profit: but if you look at the broader social cost of production (what it costs producing nations to run their countries) they are basically subsidizing the world economy by paying for continued production (with debt.) Which they can’t afford to pay in some cases (Venezuela is currently restructuring it’s debt – with Russian help – to avoid default.)
With that in mind, this article from RT caught my eye. It’s basically fake news: sensational headline which is only negated five paragraphs in. War is “unlikely”. Correlation is not causation or collusion: but it suits the US, KSA, Russia, Iran and Israel (marginally) if the price of oil and gas rise (currently at a two year high). Perhaps a hyped Saudi-Iran-Hezbollah Cold War is just a desperate measures last ditch attempt to do what the much vaunted market cannot? A disaster capitalist induced oil shock???

Paul Carline
Paul Carline

Good apart from the last paragraph … the “lone wolf” attacks are not the work of ISIS. That’s just more spin – designed to maintain the public fear level and the . Every single alleged ‘ISIS’/fanatical Islamist incident across Europe and the US has been exposed as a false flag. We are living through “Gladio II”. The attacks have multiple purposes. In addition to the ‘simple’ aim of maintaining a high level of fear, there is the even more important motive of distracting people’s attention from what is being done, largely behind closed doors: for example, to consolidate the EU-NATO collaboration aimed at creating a European army under centralised command and control – all based on the fictions of “Russian aggression” and Islamist terrorism.
A recent “call for papers [on Deception]” issued by the “Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre” (DCDC), the MoD’s ‘think tank’, (shown on yesterday’s UK Column blog), makes extraordinary reading:
“DCDC understands deception as deliberate measures that manipulate the perception and condition the behaviour of a targeted decision maker in order to achieve and exploit an advantage. In the light of recent operational experience the UK military has recognised that military deception activities have been neglected”.
The “call for papers” was presented at a recent conference of the “Northern Group Centre for Conceptual Thinking”, involving military representatives from the UK, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Estonia, Germany, Norway, Poland and the Netherlands. It’s a clear recognition of the primary importance of being ahead of the game in the increasingly ‘hot’ information/propaganda war – waged by governments, the mainstream media, and now also by the military, which seems to have adopted the Mossad slogan: “By deception shalt thou wage war”.


Have they defeated the financiers from USA, EU, Israel, KSA and the Emirati statelets yet?
With MbS itching to waggle his $1trn Middle Eastern Willy, I scarcely think Syria is a safe place yet.
The last thing Assad and the Syrian people should do is relax and rejoice…..
They should assume Israel is about to launch incursions to steal territory for Eretz Yisrael and that the US puppet masters will continue troublemaking through a new set of proxies.


That’s why the KSA essentially kidnapped Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and forced him to make a resignation speech in which among other things he blamed Hezbollah and Iran for his resignation (because they were supposedly working together to assassinate him). There’s a strong likelihood that Israel and Saudi Arabia are colluding to destabilise Lebanon and Hariri’s forced resignation is one step towards a regime change project that will create chaos in Lebanon with the potential to spread to Syria and Jordan.
Possibly at the same time the KSA may invade Qatar as a sideshow and seize all of Qatar’s assets including Al Jazeera to distract media attention away from a joint Israeli-Saudi invasion of Lebanon.
Brandon Turbeville “Leaked Documents Reveal Israel Attempt To Capitalize On Hariri Resignation; Possible Collusion With KSA”
To achieve all this and more, the KSA needs money which is why Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered the arrests of hundreds of members of the Saudi royal family and the seizure of their assets (running into the hundreds of billions of dollars).


Wouldn’t a KSA attack on Qatar just cement the Turkey-Iran alliance? The only thing keeping MBS alive in the land of the blood feud is the loyalty of his military: is he going to commit them to another war they cannot win? Particularly with the discontent and expense (reputedly $200 per month) of being bogged down in Yemen. A joint invasion of Lebanon would seem limited by geography? I could be wrong: but if MBS wants to build a $1tn futuristic NEOM metropolis and go solar by 2030 – can he afford another war?


You’re assuming that MbS thinks rationally like you and me.
Behold! – MbS bought a yacht for $550 million which cost its original owner $330 million.
Who the heck was laughing all the way to the bank at the thought of selling his yacht second-hand for more money than he paid for it?


KSA is bust: not quite – but relative to how most people think they are swimming in money: they’re not. They have a negative GDP, have spent most of their $$$$ forex reserves to compensate for the low price of oil, and had to issue $100bn bonds last year (unheard of.) Add to that, they have decreased demand from two of their major clients. The US has its own (faux) shale revolution: and Russia has replaced them as China’s major supplier (unless they take Yuan in payment – which they are being pressured to do.) Why do you think MBS is floating Aramco? Or confiscating $800bn from the Princes? If his economic vision is NEOM on the Red Sea, bordering Jordan and Egypt – an “alternative” node on China’s OBOR – that would require stability in the region to attract investment. MBS is panicking, he has created a lot of bad blood, he is facing an existential crisis. The truth is, Jen, no one knows how this will pan out – but I think war is the last thing on his mind.


We don’t really know what or how MbS thinks – I just pointed out that he bought a second-hand yacht for MORE money than its original Russian tycoon owner paid for it when he should have bargained him down!
This episode might suggest that MbS is impulsive and does not think through the possible consequences of his actions before he acts. His arrest of Saad Hariri and forcing him to resign as Lebanese Prime Minister, his so-called “anti-corruption” drive that will antagonise his family and lose their support for any other initiatives of his, and his war against Yemen (which will now devolve into a blockade – and genocide of – the people living in northwestern Yemen) are of a piece with his hasty super-yacht purchase.
War against Yemen was the first thing on MbS’s mind, why would war against Lebanon be the last thing then?


I don’t know, Jen. It seems the genocidal bastards exit strategy from Yemen is to open up the areas round Aden that are controlled by the illegitimate Hadi government: whilst blockading and forcing disease and famine on Houthi and AQ controlled parts (approximately 70%) of the country. I presume he thinks that saves money on bombing them to death. The fact that sways me is that he has just purged the US-Wahhabist terrorist sponsoring faction (among them Bandhar “Bush.”) It seems as though he is on a cost cutting mission: looking to fund his “reforms.” Other factors include that the US-UK-EU seem to be telling him to back down: eg Bojo calling for a “sovereign and independent” Lebanon. Above all, don’t underestimate the economics. The Aramco IPO keeps getting postponed: I speculate because their finances are gutted (or else, why sell it?) The threat of war raised the price of oil to $62 a barrel: a two year high – something OPEC and Salman’s strategic alliance with Russia failed to do. Maybe he is more (psychopathically) rational than we think???


I forgot (Jared Kushner’s ) upcoming Palestinian “Peace Deal.” That should ensure stability in the region (unless you are Palestinian, Syrian, Lebanese, or Iranian!)


“The fate of it’s commanders is unknown …” – weren’t they flown out by US Special Forces last week???

Eric Blair

The sad thing is if I stood on a busy street corner and asked passers-by which countries they think deserve credit for defeating ISIS a vast majority would say “the United States” or “NATO (aka ‘coalition’ forces)”.
And now that ISIS is finished as one of the West’s most brutal proxy fighting forces, the nefarious plans the US, Israel and the KSA are cooking up to keep the pressure on their self-created emenies will be put into action. And they won’t stop terrorizing the region until they are stopped by force or a severe economic crisis.
Syria, Iran, Russia, Lebanon (Hezbollah) and Iraq are interested in a stable region of sovereign nations that are free of subversive foreign meddling, war, imperial apartheid states and resource thievery via the IMF/World Bank. This horrifies the imperialist West and its client states in the region.


Don’t worry, Eric, to this day the Western World still credits similar “US-Led Alliance” for crushing the Nazi Wehrmacht. Read “Adolph Hitler — My Part in his Downfall”, by Spike Milligan. Or, for a general treatment of mass psychology in modern mythopoeia, read “Flying Saucers” by Karl Jung.