The distracted (and often corrupt) US news media doesn’t seem to make much effort to report on international issues that do create ripples worldwide. They are focused on how much they hate President Trump and his efforts to make America great/safe/prosperous once again. They’re driven by ratings and in a sense, have created the largest reality TV show in history, starring President Trump to drive those ratings (and earnings) even higher. While the 24 news cycle responds to tweets and are driven into a froth of anxiety and hatred, which they try to pass on to viewers, there are other things going on in the world.
Lately, some of my blogging focus has been on Syria because so many national and international actors are playing on that stage.
The Turkish Army in all its majesty, is still trying to take Afrin, a small but strategic city in Syrian Kurdistan. Their goal is to kill all Kurds, even though the Kurds haven’t done anything in Turkey to warrant such hostility. President and strong man Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is using the invasion of Syria to try and mask his problems at home by rallying the people to the Syrian War against the Kurds. It flopped, but the Turkish Army is still there, unwilling to lose more tanks and men, but unable to sustain the loss of face that retreating back to Turkey would mean. They have a Kurdish tiger by the tail. Difficult to hold on, dangerous to let go.
Israeli aircraft attacked targets near Damascus. Israeli combat aircraft struck a Syrian military position in a rural area near Damascus on 7 February. The Syrian army said the attack triggered Syria’s air defense system which destroyed most of the incoming missiles.
The statement said several missiles were launched by the Israeli jets from inside Lebanese airspace at 03:42 a.m. local time. “The general command of the armed forces holds Israel fully responsible for the dangerous consequences of its repeated, aggressive and uncalculated adventures”.
In Jerusalem, Israel’s military spokeswoman said, “we do not respond to such reports”. According to Haaretz, the Israeli missiles targeted a “research center” in the town of Jamrayah, just north of Damascus.
Syria said this attack was the second in three months against the facility, which press sources describe as a military research center. Haaretz reported it is a rocket and missile development center.
In the area occupied by the US Military, US aircraft killed an estimated 100 pro-government fighters in the Euphrates River Valley after some 500 armed men, supported by tanks, rockets and artillery, began firing at a headquarters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). A US military spokesman said the US acted in self-defense because US soldiers were in the area. He also said the US maintained continuous communications with Russian forces, also in the area, to ensure no clash with the Russians. The US said the Syrian attack injured one SDF soldier.
The Russians are not directly helping the Syrian and allied forces recover territory liberated by the Syrian Democratic Forces, whom President Assad called traitors for working with US forces. More clashes are likely because Assad said he intends for his forces to recover all Syrian sovereign territory. The Russians, however, are not risking casualties or mission creep. Nevertheless, the security situation is chaotic and dangerous.