Russian-Syrian success in the high-stakes Idlib offensive would give Tehran a major victory and renewed footing in Syria. This would torpedo the US-Israeli campaign to drive the Iranians out.
After a series of aerial bombardments, the Russian-Syrian-Iranian offensive to gain control of Idlib, the last rebel stronghold in Syria, is ready to go, having meanwhile gained the valuable increment of Hizballah fighters. After returning home from the Syrian battlefields, these Lebanese Shiite fighters were given fresh orders over the weekend to return to Idlib and Hama.
Last month, US National Security Adviser John Bolton spent four days in Israel mapping out with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Israeli generals a joint military strategy for destroying the Iranian military presence in Syria . However, full Russian-Iranian partnership for the Idlib operation injects a new factor into the equation: Its success would consolidate Iran’s grip on the country with solid Russian support.
The stakes in Idlib is so high that for the past two weeks, the US and Russia have been massing large-scale naval and aerial might in the eastern Mediterranean opposite Syria and Persian Gulf waters. British and French forces in the region are on high alert in case they are called on as back-up for a potential US military move in Syria. Moscow last week warned that for any attack by the three Western allies on Iranian/Syrian forces taking part in the Idlib offensive, Russia would hit back at pro-American targets in eastern and northern Syria. In the line of Russian fire, therefore, are the Syrian Kurdish SDF and YPG militias.
US forces in eastern Syria were placed on standby as a signal to Moscow that attacks on the Kurds would encounter the US military in action. On Saturday, Sept. 8, as these tensions peaked, Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint US Chiefs of Staff, briefed President Donald Trump on his operational plans in Syria.
Full article: Putin is ready go all the way against the US in Syria. Where does this place Israel? (DEBKAfile)