On the situation in Deir ez-Zor

January 17, 2017

I’m reposting here an article published today by Moon of Alabama, which I think deserves the widest possible readership. The article makes it absolutely clear that ISIS, which is currently attempting to capture the eastern Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor from Syrian government control, has the support of the United States military, and that the US lied when it claimed that its air attack upon Syrian army positions in Deir ez-Zor last September, in which over 100 Syrian soldiers were killed, was a mistake.

How The U.S. Enabled ISIS To Take Deir Ezzor

The city of Deir Ezzor (Deir ez-Zur) in east-Syria is on the verge of falling into the hands of the Takfiris of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). More than 100,000 civilian inhabitants of Deir Ezzor and thousands of soldiers defending them are in immediate danger of being murdered by the savage ISIS forces. The current situation is a direct consequence of U.S. military action against the SAA and non-action against ISIS.

Deir Ezzor is besieged by ISIS since September 2015. But the city was well defended by its garrison of Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and all further attacks by ISIS were repelled. Supply to the city was hauled in by air through the Deir Ezzor airport and through air drops by the Syrian and Russian airforces. Relief by ground forces and ground supplies are not possible as Deir Ezzor is more than 100 km away from the nearest SAA positions west of Palmyra and as the desert in between is under the control of ISIS.

Four days ago a new attack by ISIS on Deir Ezzor was launched and has since continued. ISIS reinforcements and resupplies had come over months despite air interdiction from the Russian and Syrian airforces. Yesterday ISIS managed to cut off the airport, where the local SAA command and its main supplies are hosted, from the city proper. It is now attacking in full force from all sides. Bad weather makes air support from the outside sporadic and difficult. Unless some unforeseen happens it is only a question of time until the airport and the city fall to ISIS.

The U.S. has condoned and/or even actively supported the imminent ISIS taking of Deir Ezzor by (at least) three measures:

  • a massive U.S. air attack on SAA forces in September 2016 enabled ISIS to take a controlling position and to cut off SAA resupplies
  • a U.S. attack against a power station in January disabled the last electricity supplies to the city
  • U.S. non-intervention enabled ISIS reinforcements from Mosul and west Iraq to Deir Ezzor in east-Syria

On September 16 2016 an hour long U.S. led air attack on SAA positions on the Tharda hills to the south of the airport killed over 100 SAA soldiers, destroyed a big SAA supply dump and several SAA tanks and artillery pieces. Immediately after the U.S. attack ISIS took the hills and has since held them. The positions allow for fire control over the airport of Deir Ezzor.

The U.S. military claimed that the attack was a mistake but a thorough reading of the investigation report of that “mistake” shows that the U.S. military attack was intentionally targeting the SAA to make a political point against an announced U.S.-Russian cooperation agreement to fight ISIS. (Danish airforce F-16 planes and drones under U.S. command had taken part in the attack. After the report was published, the Danish government pulled all air elements from its participation in the U.S. coalition against ISIS.)

Since the U.S. attack in September no significant air supplies have reached Deir Ezzor. Even helicopter landing at the airport is only possible at night and by taking very high risks. The city inhabitants and their defenders are completely cut off.

Early January U.S. airforce attacks destroyed the electricity plant at the Omar oilfield near Deir Ezzor. The plant was the last one to supply the city of Deir Ezzor. Since then only a few military generators and dwindling fuel supplies are left for medical and communication equipment.

When the Iraqi Army plans for retaking the ISIS held city of Mosul were developed and commenced in October the U.S. insisted on leaving a western corridor open for ISIS forces inclined to flee from Mosul into the direction of Deir Ezzor. Hundreds if not thousands of ISIS fighters used the corridor. The U.S. controlled Kurdish forces in north Iraq let ISIS pass from Iraq to Syria. Fearing (correctly) that an ISIS move out of Mosul towards Deir Ezzor would mean the fall of Deir Ezzor Russia and Iran intervened with the Iraqi government. Despite U.S. wishes the Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi ordered his Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU) to cut off the western exit:

Iran was not the only country pressing for the escape to be closed west of Mosul. Russia, another powerful Assad ally, also wanted to block any possible movement of militants into Syria, said Hashemi. The Russian defence ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.One of Assad’s biggest enemies, France, was also concerned that hundreds of fighters linked to attacks in Paris and Brussels might escape. The French have contributed ground and air support to the Mosul campaign.

Still, the battle plan did not foresee closing the road to the west of Mosul until Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi agreed in late October to despatch the Popular Mobilisation militias.

Despite a fast advance by the PMU from the south against Tal Afar to cut off the escape road many ISIS fighters in west Iraq were able to flee across the border and towards Deir Ezzor with their equipment in tact. They reinforced the ISIS troops now attacking Deir Ezzor. The U.S. has uncontested air superiority over west Iraq and east Syria but did not once intervene against the large scale move.

If ISIS takes Deir Ezzor it will likely kill (as it did on other occasions) all captured SAA troops and anyone it believes to have cooperated with them. The soldiers know this. They will fight down to the last bullet. But without any reinforcements and resupplies their chances are slim.

When the Syrian government besieged al-Qaeda forces in east-Aleppo the “western” media and the various “Syrian opposition” propaganda outlets were running an all out campaign in support of the besieged Takfiris. There is no such campaign in support of the civilians and soldiers in Deir Ezzor. In their few reports about the imminent fall of Deir Ezzor “western” publications even resort to outright lying. Thus claims the Daily Telegraph:

The US-led coalition, as well as the Russians, have been bombing the jihadists in Deir Ezzor for the last 18 months but have been unable to dislodge them.

No significant U.S. air attacks have been flown against ISIS forces around Deir Ezzor at all. All attacks flown by the U.S. in the area have been against Syrian government troops or their supporting infrastructure.

The U.S. official rhetoric about fighting ISIS is not supported by observable facts on the battle field. One can only conclude that the U.S. military does not only condone but supports ISIS in gaining control over Deir Ezzor despite the extreme high risk for anyone left in the city.

This [is] likely to further the larger long term plan of installing a “Salafist principality” in western Iraq and eastern Syria that creates a justification for the U.S. military to stay in the area to “fight ISIS” and which can be activated against the Syrian and Iraqi government whenever convenient. U.S. President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry have both admitted that they earlier allowed ISIS to grow in Iraq and Syria for exactly such political purposes.

2 Responses to “On the situation in Deir ez-Zor”

  1. Megan M Says:

    well, I’m glad you have been following it enough to know what is really going on. do you know why you have been following it? (I mean, did God draw you to this for a reason?)

    I clicked the ‘about’ link on the blog page to see about this person and here is what it said:


    Hello. My name is Peter Gilbert. This blog is largely an attempt to get some writing done on a book on which I am working, a translation of some of the treatises of John Bekkos, who was Patriarch of Constantinople during the years of the Union of Lyons (1275-1282). Because I agree with many of Bekkos’s views, and because he is not now in a position to write in his own defense, I am attempting to do some of that work on his behalf, by allowing him to speak English.

    As for myself, I am 51 years old, single, with degrees from St. John’s College (Annapolis), from Oxford University, and from the Catholic University of America. I taught theology, patristics, and Old Testament for three years at an Orthodox seminary (the Akademi Teologjike-Hieratike «Ngjallja e Krishtit») in Durrës, Albania, and for seven years I taught at St. John’s College, Santa Fe, NM, which has a great books, interdisciplinary curriculum. In 2001 I published a book of translations of poems by St. Gregory of Nazianzus: it is titled *On God and Man*, and published by St. Vladimir’s Press. During the fall of 2010, I taught World Religions at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. Currently, I am teaching an on-line course in Eastern Christian Studies through the Distance Learning Program of the Ukrainian Catholic University’s Ecumenical Institute, and working part-time at a bookstore. I live in New Jersey.


    Some of the above information is now dated. I now live, not in New Jersey, but near Cleveland, Ohio; I work as a teacher at the Lyceum School ; and I am now 52 years old. I also am posting to this blog pretty infrequently these days, due to the workload at the school. But I still hope to get my translations of Bekkos published one of these days.

    Here is from the webpage of the school where he now works:

    *Dr. Peter Gilbert*

    Dr. Gilbert received his Ph.D. from Catholic University of America , for a doctoral dissertation titled *Person and Nature in the Theological Poems of St. Gregory of Nazianzus*. His major field of study was Greek Patristics with a minor in Latin Patristics. In 1985 he received a B.A. (M.A.), University of Oxford (Pembroke College) where he majored in theology. In 1981 he received a B.A. from St. John’s College , Annapolis, Maryland in liberal arts (Philosophy and mathematics). St. John’s College is the original Great Books College in the United States.

    Dr. Gilbert has most recently taught an on-line course in Eastern Christian Studies through the Ukrainian Catholic University , Lviv, Ukraine and was Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies at Seton Hall University from September – December 2010. From June 1998 – June 2005 he taught at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the sister campus to St. John’s Annapolis. In his seven years of teaching at St. John’s College, he taught all four undergraduate seminar classes (twice-weekly discussions of classic texts in philosophy, theology, history, or literature); freshman and sophomore (Greek), and junior (French) language tutorials; mathematics including Euclid, Ptolemy, Apollonius, Descartes’ algebra and calculus; laboratory, including biology (both observational and theoretical), chemistry, and the atomic theory; he has also taught music theory. Since 2005, he has been working on a book about John Bekkos and has translated a number of his writings from Greek into English.

    Maybe we should start praying the chaplet of Divine Mercy for him? And for anyone who has been deceived who is open to receiving the truth? Jesus said, “All who are on the side of Truth listen to my voice.” (I think the Greek is more literally “all who are of the truth listen to my voice” – which I take as…if we are seeking it, even if it is difficult and there are a tangle of lies and confusions out there, we can find it if we persevere. Which is what I am doing about headcovering (don’t laugh), another topic altogether).

    If nothing else, the Lord is sharing the pain of His Heart with you. : (

    Jesus, we trust in You!!!! Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

    I’m so glad you know about what is true in all this, because I had no time or will to do the horribly difficult job of sorting through all that. I forgot your dove’s name. What was it again?

    Let us hold peace in our hearts, in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary

    On Tue, Jan 17, 2017 at 9:09 PM, De unione ecclesiarum wrote:

    > bekkos posted: “I’m reposting here an article published today by Moon of > Alabama, which I think deserves the widest possible readership. The article > makes it absolutely clear that ISIS, which is currently attempting to > capture the eastern Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor from ” >

  2. bekkos Says:


    I’m not sure I “know what is really going on”; I am simply following the news on this issue as best I can, and the news indicates that the United States government has been lying about its role in Syria and has been committing war crimes. These crimes are of such a magnitude that I feel compelled to say something about them; not to do so would, I think, make me at some level complicit in them. If you feel like saying a chaplet of Divine Mercy, I would suggest that you do so for the 100,000 people of Deir ez-Zor who are without electricity and are on the verge of being murdered, raped, and enslaved, thanks to our tax dollars and the actions of the American government.


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