“Chaos continued to rein in war torn Syria yesterday. As rebel groups issued a statement declaring a freeze in negotiations, a purported US airstrike devastated a Jabha Fath Sham headquarters in the north Syrian town of Sarmada yesterday.
“The groups have cited continued violations of the ceasefire as regime troops continue to try and advance on the strategic area of Wadi Barada.”
I added a comment which may be awaiting moderation for several days, so here it is:
Sarmada (سرمدا) is in the midst of a cluster of IDP camps, one of them Al-Kamoneh (الكمونة)* which lies on a hillside a couple of miles to the south-east of the town and was bombed or shelled in early May, the aggressor unclear. Turkey, according to several TRT World reports just before Christmas, has been busy in that camp and others erecting more accommodation, the charity IHH
heavily involved – IHH were greeting evacuees right up next to government positions in Aleppo West during the evacuation, so appear to be roaming freely in Idlib and western Aleppo governorates (doing good work, one should add). So, any bombing operations in or on the approaches to Sarmada will be close to IDP concentrations. Obama seems to be thrashing about somewhat during his last days in office: knifing Israel at the UN, trying to skewer Trump through hacking allegations, being examples. So, one simply doesn’t know what chaotic notions may be in his head about Syria, where his entire policy in that country – if policy is the word – is in the process of being rendered an empty sham by Russia and Turkey between them. Whoever bombed Sarmada would have needed pinpoint intelligence and accuracy to justify an attack in the midst of an area riddled with IDP camps and, since mid-December, Turkish charity workers and their equipment. If JFS are on the ground in that area, Turkey can talk to them, which means also that Russia can, through Turkey. They can be steered that way. The odd man out is the US. Unpredictable behaviour from that quarter seems to fit. Whatever Turkey’s and Russia’s plans are, it will suit Obama to try to scupper them, through his influence with Kurdish militants, through use of his air force or even through some dirty deal or other with Daesh or – the prime monster amongst all or any of them – Assad. Roll on January 20th.
*Name derives from cumin, though I am not certain the camp itself bears this name, even if it is generally referred to by it. I did a small study of that camp here: http://bit.ly/alkamoneh.
Comment is based more on gut instinct than actual research as unfortunately I have had to pull away from close examination of Syrian affairs due to the time involved, partly, but also because the evolving dynamics there are beginning to speak for themselves.