August 20, Sputnik:
The Russian Defense Ministry awarded renowned Syrian General Hassan Suheil for conducting a unique operation landing troops behind Daesh's defense lines. The Syrian general said that the government troops "must raise the flag of victory" and defeat terror.August 21, Sputnik:
Russian warplanes destroyed a Daesh convoy that was heading towards Syrian Deir ez-Zor, the Russian Defense Ministry reported Monday. Over 200 Daesh militants and over 20 vehicles carrying large-caliber weapons, as well as armored vehicles, including tanks were destroyed in the strike.
Stanislav Tarasov, a political analyst and specialist in Middle East studies, told Radio Sputnik that Daesh’s days in Syria are numbered.
"The tactic of fighting Syrian terrorists is changing. The offensive continues in Raqqa. Previously, terrorists could withdraw from the besieged city via special corridors towards Deir ez-Zor. Their current attempts to turn Deir ez-Zor into an undefeatable fortress are doomed to fail. This is because the Syrian Army backed by the Russian Aerospace Forces has taken the lead on the battlefield," Tarasov said.August 20, VOA News:
After six years of civil war in Syria, markets across the Middle East are anticipating a mammoth reconstruction boom that could stimulate billions of dollars in economic activity. Lebanon, as Syria's neighbor, is in prime position to capture a share of that windfall and revive its own sluggish economy.
Battles still rage in Syria's north and east, and in pockets around the capital, Damascus, but the survival of President Bashar Assad's government now appears beyond doubt.August 20, AMN:
That is introducing an element of stability into forecasts not seen since 2011, when the war broke out. The Damascus International Fair, a high-profile annual business event before the war, opened on Thursday evening for the first time since war broke out. The 10-day event kicked off with much fanfare, with participants from 43 countries and hundreds of attendees.
The Syrian Arab Army (SAA), Hezbollah, and Lebanese Army [emphasis mine] have made significant progress in the Qalamoun region these past 48 hours, liberating more than 70km of territory along the Lebanese-Syrian border.August 18, Asia Times:
The facts on the ground in the Syrian war theater are stark.
While the Beltway was blinded by regime change, Moscow swooped in and with a small expeditionary force turned the Middle East game upside down. While Russian jets fully coordinated with an array of forces on the ground, Russian diplomacy ended up closing down all manner of war fronts and imposing ceasefires or de-escalation zones.
A New Syrian Army (NSA?), instead of those walking dead FSA, is now fully battle-tested, in both conventional and guerrilla warfare, and with morale extremely high to the point that Hezbollah now needs to deploy only a few of its officers to coordinate each Syrian unit.
Popular national units, Hezbollah-style, or even PMU-style, are being built by Damascus as the backbone of future resistance forces against any invaders, direct or by proxy.
While the CIA and the House of Saud, Qatar (which later repented) and Turkey (which later aligned with Russia) were obsessed by their regime change crusade, “investing” in chaos spread by “moderate rebels” and demented jihadis alike, Iran invested billions of cold hard cash in Syria – including paying salaries to troops, buying oil, logistical support and building medicine factories.
So apart from the ['new' Syrian Army], the ones fighting jihadis on the ground are an array of Shiite militias. They include resistance groups sometimes referred to as Iraqi Hezbollah as well as the Local Defense Forces in Aleppo and National Defense Forces uniting Alawites and Sunnis, all backed by Iranian military advisers.
Hezbollah, for its part, is even stronger today than in 2006. In a nutshell, it was essentially Hezbollah that defeated al-Qaeda in Syria.
Most of all, the divide-and-rule Takfiristan project is dead. Daesh and al-Qaeda are being smashed – and will be reduced to squalid hit and run ops. The Trump administration ditched “Assad must go” as well as CIA financing of “moderate rebels.”
Syria and Iraq won’t be partitioned. And on the Pipelineistan front – a key reason for the war – we may even find in the foreseeable future Iran and Qatar teaming up to sell natural gas to Europe.
So there will be no neocon New Middle East. Instead, the “4+1” – Russia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, plus Hezbollah – has gained the upper hand. Live with it.