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Thread: Syria under Bashir Assad (closed end 2014)

  1. #841
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Some may doubt Crowbat's postings on the situation with the Assad regime in Syria, just refound this BBC News report 'Syria: Assad loyalists concerned by rise of paramilitaries', now four days old:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-29429941

    It ends with an optimistic passage:
    Most Syrians, whether they support the opposition or government, want to see an end to the war. But only a just deal that prevented reprisals and brought to justice those responsible for war crimes would allow the dust to settle.
    davidbfpo

  2. #842
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    The insurgents have launched a counterattack on Hindarat, yesterday, and seem to have recovered at least a part of the place.

    This didn't improve their situation a lot, then the regime is still overlooking all the roads in the area, but what's interesting is that the insurgents are claiming to have captured quite a lots of 'Afghans and Iranians' too.

    Below two photos of the captured 'IRGC'... cough... 'Syrian Arab Army' troops in question.

    **********

    And in Kobane...The Daesh has breached defences on the eastern side of the town, and Kurds are now down to desperate measures, including:
    Kurdish Female Suicide Bomber Strikes ISIS
    ...A female Kurdish fighter has carried out a suicide attack in the besieged Syrian town of Kobane, killing an unknown number of fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a monitoring group has said.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a woman blew herself up at an ISIL position east of Kobane on Sunday, detonating a grenade that was in her possession, killing ISIL fighters in the process.
    ...
    ...while the Daesh is not only said to be entering Kobane from south too, but its idiots are already proudly distributing photos of beheaded female YPG combatants around the internet.

    BTW, it's ironic to read CNN's and similar reports about the 'ISIL advancing in spite of air strikes', or 'changing tactics and scattering'. Perhaps this is the case in Iraq, but a review of all CENTCOM releases about air strikes flown over Syria in period 22/23 September - 4 October 2014, has shown that the USAF, USN, and five allied air forces have flown precisely six (6) air strikes against targets in Kobane area. None of them against any target closer than 15km from that town.

    Sigh...
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #843
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    Appears the Syria SFA captured a Russian SIGINT facility that was monitoring all insurgent ops for Assad. Probably one of their most important sites outside of Russia these days.

    Embarrassing to say the least for Russian SIGINT types.

    Many had not know it was even in Syria.

    BIG - #Syria rebels captured Russian SIGINT facility in Tel al-Hara, #Deraa
    http://spioenkop.blogspot.com/2014/1...y-reveals.html … (v @oryxspioenkop)
    pic.twitter.com/dbYQ3y7g4f

    On the 5th of October 2014, the Free Syrian Army captured the Центр С or المركز س 'Center C or Center S' SIGINT (Signals Intelligence) facility (logo on top) jointly operated by the Russian Osnaz GRU radio electronic intelligence agency (logo on the right) and one of the Syrian Intelligence Agencies (logo on the left). Situated near Al Hara, the facility was of vital importance for the Assad regime as it was responsible for recording and decrypting radio communications from every rebel group operating inside Syria, making it likely the Russian-gathered information at this facility was at least partially responsible for the series of killings of rebel leaders by airstrikes.

    Translation from 3:08; ''A directive issued by the surveillance office on May 31 to eavesdrop and record all radio communications of the terrorist groups, directive signed by brigadier-general Nazir Fuddah, commander of the first center''

    The facility was recently upgraded and expanded by Russia to provide Syria and Iran with situational awareness of the Middle East. After the upgrade, which took from January to mid-February, it reportedly covered the whole of Israel and Jordan and a large part of Saudi Arabia.[1] According to the report, the upgrade was a reaction to Iranian concern of the facility being too much focused on the Syrian Civil War, neglecting espionage on Israel. New equipment and additional personnel was thus added to the base.

    It is unknown if the facility is named Center C or Center S ('S' for Syria or special), it is known there's at least one other Russian-Syrian SIGINT facility around, which likely has a similar name.

    The Russian operator of this facility was the Osnaz GRU, responsible for radio electronic intelligence within Russia's Armed Forces.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-06-2014 at 05:50 PM. Reason: Moved here.

  4. #844
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    More photos from inside of the Russian SIGINT site captured in Syria---run by GRU--no wonder Russia did not want US bombers cruising Syrian airspace.

    https://www.bellingcat.com/news/mena...ssad-regime-2/

  5. #845
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OUTLAW 09 View Post
    ...The facility was recently upgraded and expanded by Russia to provide Syria and Iran with situational awareness of the Middle East. After the upgrade, which took from January to mid-February, it reportedly covered the whole of Israel and Jordan and a large part of Saudi Arabia.[1] According to the report, the upgrade was a reaction to Iranian concern of the facility being too much focused on the Syrian Civil War, neglecting espionage on Israel. New equipment and additional personnel was thus added to the base...
    And that's making it obvious that the sole reason of Iranian presence in Syria is that of 'fighting against Islamist extremism' spread by 'Jihadists pretending to be Syrian insurgents'...?

    Ah well...

    Back to Kobane:
    YPG combatants inside Kobane run out of RPG rounds, two days ago, and that's the major reason why the Daesh managed to penetrate the southern and eastern parts of the town.

    While the Daesh is claiming to have captured half of the town, the fighting is now primarily concentrated to the area around Mursitpinar border crossing.

    Turkish Army units are now well positioned just a few hundreds of metres away from Kobane, on the Turkish side of the border, but not moving: Turkish government demands security guarantees from the YPG (which it considers a terrorist organization, because it's the Syrian-off-shot of the PKK), and its subjection to Turkish control, US/NATO decision to move against the Syrian regime too (not only against the Daesh), and few others. The YPG on the other side, said it would consider any Turkish incursion into Syria for hostile invasion, and fight against it. There are (unconfirmed) reports that most of Kobane wants the YPG/PYD to accept Turkish conditions, but the PKK representatives there refused to do so. With other words: Turkey is not going to do anything at all, despite its declarations it's not going to let Kobane fell (reminds me of Srebrenica and UN blue helmets in eastern Bosnia of 1994).

    Although precise figures remain unknown, it's quite obvious the Daesh in Kobane has suffered extensive losses, and meanwhile had to reinforce its gangs there: Chechen unit from Islamic State reportedly fighting at Kobane.

    Another Deash gang involved there should be the 'Sabri', also composed of Chechens and other Caucasians. Supposedly, this 'special forces' style of asset should have been responsible for breaching the defences of Tabqa and Base 93 too.

    This morning, AJE is reporting that the YPG managed to push the Daesh away from Mishtenur Hill - supposedly thanks to a series of 'massive Allied air strikes'. Air strikes should have happened (few were flown on 5 October too, already), and they should have hit four Daesh positions south and east of the town, but their actual results remain speculative at best.

    Here the CENTCOM releases for the previous two days:
    CENTCOM, 5 October
    In Syria, one strike northwest of Al Mayadin destroyed an ISIL bulldozer, two ISIL tanks and destroyed another ISIL vehicle. Two strikes northwest of Ar Raqqah struck a large ISIL unit and destroyed six ISIL firing positions. To conduct these strikes, the U.S. employed fighter aircraft deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations. All aircraft departed the strike areas safely.
    CENTCOM, 6 October
    In Syria, one strike destroyed an ISIL tank near Taqba Airfield west of Ar Raqqah. One strike destroyed two ISIL fighting positions south of Kobani. One strike southeast of Dayr az Zawr destroyed an ISIL tank. To conduct these strikes, the U.S. employed fighter and remotely piloted aircraft deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations. All aircraft departed the strike areas safely.
    Although plenty of UAVs - some of them armed - have been seen (and photographed) in the Syrian skies over the last few days, this is the first official citation of their use against the Daesh in Syria.

    Furthermore, Kurdpres reports that Turkey has finally left several hundreds of Kurds (and Turks?!?) to enter Kobane and go fighting the Daesh.

  6. #846
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Here some more arguments to make friends with Assad.

    Some thus might consider the following 'shocking', I know, but well, when one runs such a comprehensive CW-project, it's easy to forget some unimportant details....

    UN: Syria Declares Another 4 Chemical Facilities
    Syria has declared four chemical weapons facilities it hadn't mentioned before, a special representative of the U.N. secretary-general told the Security Council on Tuesday. The news heightened concerns that the Syrian government hasn't been fully open about its chemical weapons program.

    Diplomats said Sigrid Kaag told them during closed consultations that three of the facilities are for research and development and one is for production, and that no new chemical agents have been associated with the four sites.
    ...
    The OPCW has said the dismantling of Syria's chemical weapons facilities is expected to begin this month, and the first of the 12 facilities should be destroyed by the end of November. The global chemical weapons watchdog also has said it is still working with the government to resolve discrepancies in its chemical weapons declaration.

    Kaag also told diplomats Tuesday that an OPCW fact-finding mission found chlorine had been used "systematically and repeatedly" in attacks as recently as August, Power tweeted.

    Lithuania's mission to the U.N. tweeted: "Connect the dots: @OPCW sure chlorine used in #Syria, witnesses saw it dropped by helicopters, which only Assad has. Who's responsible?"
    ...
    Oh, and for fans of the 'Syrian Arab Army', here an Afghan colonel seen while being picked out of rubble of his HQ in Hindarat, and then interrogated by IF insurgents (don't worry, it's not graffic, just a little blood at his head):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaHFoA_tf0Y

    Funny to see a member of what so many still consider the 'Syrian Arab Army' (actually one of involved IRGC gangs) needs an interpreter to talk with Syrian insurgents.

    Except, of course, one has no clue about Arabic and considers the later for 'foreign Jihadists'...

  7. #847
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    And now it's 'official':
    U.S. officials: ISIS will capture Kobani, but it's not a big concern to us
    ...The key Syrian border city of Kobani will fall to ISIS, but that's not a major U.S. concern, several senior U.S. administration officials said.

    If Kobani falls, ISIS would control a complete swath of land between its self-declared capital of Raqqa, Syria, and Turkey -- a stretch of more than 100 kilometers (62 miles).

    The officials said the goals in Syria are not to save cities and towns, but to go after ISIS' senior leadership, oil refineries and other infrastructure that would curb the terror group's ability to operate -- particularly in Iraq.

    The officials said saving Iraq is a more strategic goal for several reasons, including the fact that the United States has a relationship with the Iraqi government.
    ...
    Yeah. Guess it's also in 'higher US interest' to grant the Daesh another flashy victory - and especially an opportunity to upload more videos and photos of spiked heads on the internet, to bolster its recruiting around the world.

    'Sound Strategy', there's simply no other description...

    But of course, one can't say the CENTCOM didn't try to help. Now they're sending B-1Bs to hit something in general Kobane area, as can be seen on this video showing one high above that town, yesterday:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acyIYOMBQ-8

    I only wonder why is this reminding me of the Op Rolling Thunder: perhaps because a strategic bomber is used to hit tactical targets...?
    Last edited by CrowBat; 10-08-2014 at 09:14 AM.

  8. #848
    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    Crowbat,

    I share your sentiment. Appears that the goal isn't really to defeat or destroy ISIS. '[Curbing] the group's ability to operate' by targeting senior leadership and infrastructure worked so well... in what previous wars?
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

  9. #849
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Is Kobane the next "Benghazi moment"?

    I have been pondering the likely fall of the Kobane pocket, just what is going on?

    We know the Turkish stance on joining the coalition is very conditional. Turkey appears to list it's enemies as in the order of: Syria, Turkish Kurds (PKK) and ISIS. On the basis that the use of bases in Turkey for strikes on ISIS / Syria / Iraq has been precluded, would it be correct to think overflying is OK if Iraq is the destination (for the Cyprus-based RAF Tornados) and any SOF or JTAC on the ground in Turkey or via it?

    The press has reported that air attacks in the Kobane pocket have been difficult in the absence of JTAC (forward air observers) and speculation that links with the embattled Kurds are difficult due to more than politics.

    Here is Ben Barry from IISS:
    ....the problems around Kobane illustrate "not so much the lack of a land component but the lack of any real ability to synchronise the air effort with what is taking place on the ground. There is a powerful argument for having Western special forces on the ground in the forward air control role to help spot and guide aircraft to their targets.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-29524140

    Yes this is very speculative from my armchair.

    Are we seeing a "Benghazi moment"? Repeating the imminent civilian massacre that led to a UN Resolution and a Western coalition's use of airpower to thwart Gadafy's forces advancing on Benghazi.

    This does ignore that sanctuary for 160k (Syrian Kurdish) civilians has been given by Turkey to date, though for not the fighters.

    As one Tweet today asked is Kobane a distraction from the adavance on Baghdad, now within artillery range? I suspect Iraq is not as safe for the media watching the likely fall of Kobane town from within Turkey. the media are not always facilitated by Turkey, as the BBC attested to:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-29498188
    davidbfpo

  10. #850
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Let me start with a sort of 'summary' of what's going on, especially so in regards of Turkey - where I was critical initially, but meanwhile think to understand what's going on.

    Note: this is likely to become quite a 'wall of text', so better get yourself something drinkable, and a pack of Camels too...

    In simpliest words:
    - Kobane is attacked by the Daesh, who are extremists and terrorists; I guess there is no need for any further descriptions of it.

    - Kobane is defended by the YPG: YPG came into being as an 'independent, Kurdish militia' in north Syria, and was originally under the control of the KRC (a government-like body including representatives of various Kurdish and even Assiriyan political parties). Since its establishment it was taken over by the PYD, which is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK (and largely consists of ex-PKK terrorists that withdrew from Turkey after the latest cease-fire there). The PKK was a near-Maoist group, that used to enjoy support of the USSR and Assadists at earlier times, and fought a 30-years long war with Turkey.

    Because of this, the YPG is considered 'terrorists' too.

    In the process of taking over the YPG, the PYD has assassinated, forced into submission or into exile nearly all of the KRC, to a degree where the latter is no player in the game any more. The emerging PYD/YPG conglomerate is including Assiyian/Assiriyac (or whatever the name) groups for the purpose of presenting itself as 'inclusive' and 'democratic', which it is not: the units in question are the poorest trained and equipped around, capable of guard duties only, and all are under Kurdish command.

    The PYD/YPG has completely ignored Syrian insurgents for three years and refused to cooperate with them. It was only in Aleppo that a relatively small group of the YPG sided with insurgents (they had no other choice). Elsewhere, PYD/YPG - i.e. 'Syrian Kurds' - acted either as if the war is not their business, or outright cooperated with the Assad regime. Indeed, part of their problem with the Daesh comes from the fact that these two groups are competing for Syrian oil and who's going to sell more of it to Damascus.

    And the sexy female combatants with which the YPG is scoring one PR-victory in the West after the other: most have fled their families because their parents have sold them (literaly) to somebody to marry (a quite widespread and increasing problem in that part of the World since nearly 25 years).

    Thus, these are not some 'non-religious', 'sane' and 'democratic' people there, longing for Western support. They only care about their own business. And they have - repeatedly - turned down Turkish offers for help on condition of siding with insurgents even after the Free Syrian Army has deployed one of their better brigades (the Knights of the Dawn) into Kobane to help fight the Daesh (the unit in question is still there and was quite successful in knocking out a number of ex-Iraqi Army MBTs the last few days).

    - For anybody with at least a trace of insight: this is therefore a 'terrorists vs terrorists' battle, with the (predominantly Kurdish) civilians in Kobane area paying the price for PYD/YPG's ignorance.

    - The PYD/YPG hates Turkey and has threatened with attacks should Turkey 'invade' Syria, i.e. if Turkish military moves into Syria to fight the Daesh.

    At the same time, they demand help and - especially - heavy weapons from Turkey... erm, sorry: what? Turkey should arm terrorists threatening it?

    - To make matters better: Assad said the same, Daesh too, and both are threatening with attacks on Turkish proper should Turkey invade. Plus, Turkey was not attacked yet (otherwise the NATO could've activated Chapter 5 of its Charta): hell, even the USA wouldn't mind Kobane falling to the Daesh either - and that's official - yet Turks 'must'?

    - I'm really sorry if I'm going to add any more 'offense against the USA' here, but I would like to stress: this is exclusively a critique of the US gov's and it's and its military's conduct of this campaign, nothing against the 'USA' as such.

    Sad fact is: this (US) government, its IC and its military are acting like a bunch of confused idiots. And that's the 'best case'. In worst case like a broken computer that needs a reset. Alone the idea of 'we're going to bomb the extremists around Syria, a lil' bit, now and then, for the next 12-36 months or so', and meanwhile 'bomb and destroy the Deash in Iraq' - is absurd. Absurd, nothing else. It's as absurd as any military strategy based on this idea. Not more needs be said about this, period.

    - Perhaps more importantly: who to hell should trust a government, an IC and a military that are waging a war on such ideas?

    Please mind, this is now 14th year of this 'war on terror', and the third or fourth major campaign of this kind, and it's all over the same again, a true de-ja-vu: nobody there in Washington, in the CENTCOM etc. nobody learned anything at all. While 'bombing' as such is no bad idea, it is simply no replacement for solutions for core issues. But instead of searching for such, the USA are back to 'bomb them'... Does that appear sane and/or trustworthy to anybody here?

    And so, the US would like to bomb the Daesh and other extremists, but don't even know where. That's why they're 'concentrating on Iraq, because there's a friendly gov there'....?

    Erm, sorry: a friendly gov controlled from Tehran and renowned for slaughtering Sunni Arabs whenever there's an opportunity?

    - Nevermind. Position of the US gov is, 'let the Deash have its fun with Kobane'.

    Yeah, great: let the Daesh win a tactical and PR-victory that are both turning it into a 'strategical victory' too - because it's so highly visible in the media?

    Is there nobody in the DC left capable of understanding repercussions alone for Daesh's recruiting if they win another 'victory'? Can't nobody connect the dots and what it would mean if the Daesh can say, 'Americans bombed us, but we won, nevertheless, nobody can stop us'?

    And so, we're coming down to the Turkish government...

    - Erdogan and Davatoglu are Islamists; that's not only their ideology, but what they and their followers are living. It's not only that one can find Daesh flags in many of Turkish stores these days, or there are thousands of Turks sending their kids to the Daesh too: earlier (already back in 2011), Turkish gov has not only forced much of the FSyA to subject itself to the Moslem Brotherhood (thus creating the rift that eventually ripped the insurgency apart), but has supported at least the JAN (if not the Daesh too). Thus, it's easy to put the blame on them and say, 'see these Turkish Islamists, they're pro-Dash and don't want to support the Kurds'.

    But, one should keep few additional things in mind: one way or the other, Turkish government was elected by majority of Turkish voters. Means, it might be 'Islamist' by orientation, but it's 'democratic' too.

    - Primary duty of the Turkish government are Turkish interests. Whatever the origins, reasons and logic for these interests might be, one of these is the removal of the Assadist regime in Syria, another is keeping the country safe from extremist Kurds with whom Turkey just ended fighting a 30-years long war. It's not as if the Daesh wouldn't matter for them, or if they do not see it as a threat (on the contrary, Erdogan & Co know very well they would not last long should the Daesh manage to spread within their country), but they can't act in any other fashion because the Daesh did not attack Turkey (at least not yet).

    Furthermore, for them (and for me too) it makes no sense at all to follow the short-sighted US strategy and do as if the Daesh in Syria is a stand-alone enterprise, unrelated to existence of the Assad regime (and few other, de-facto same regimes in the area). That's a perfectly logical, and very much 'sane' standpoint. That's why its no contradiction for them to have said, they'll do whatever is possible to prevent the fall of Kobane: they are doing so, but through diplomatic means (for example through exercising pressure upon the USA to start bombing the Daesh there; Americans wouldn't come to the idea to do so on their own).

    Plus, let me remind you: Turkey has already left 160.000 Syrian civilians pass the border at Kobane, and has about 800,000 (at least, if not 2 million as some say) Syrian refugees. With few exceptions, the Turks are taking good care of these people: they're really helping them. They're even providing medical care to YPG terrorists. But if some refugees - and some of Turkish Kurds now too - do not think this is enough and start torching public buses they're getting their dose of tear gas so they can cool down.

    Overall: how can anybody say, 'Turks are letting people die?'

    - As next, Erdogan and Davatoglu are not as stupid as to publicly declare Daesh's activity in Syria for a 'sideshow' to what's going on in Iraq - like that bunch of amateurs and wannabes in the DC has done (and this 'for the records'!).

    - And, finally: if they are to cooperate with the YPG, they need to make sure that Kurdish leaders are coming to their senses and are seriously interested in cooperation (with Syrian insurgents and with Turkey). As mentioned above: so far, Kurds acted as if the war against the Assadist regime is not their business, and this at the cost of nobody being ready to help them. Therefore, keep in mind: Daesh's attack on Kobane is a direct result of that standpoint, and a clash of two terrorist organizations.

    Bottom line: what kind of help should Erdogan/Davatoglu provide there?

    Hand at heart: Obama can consider himself happy if he doesn't get to hear 'fu.k off' from Ankara these days.

  11. #851
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default John Kerry on Kobane: you are not a priority

    Today John Kerry had a meeting with the British Foreign Secretary in London and said the following:
    ...the US was "deeply concerned for the people of Kobani" and had conducted more strikes in the region as a result, it had to focus on the bigger strategic objectives. "As horrific as it is to watch in real time what is happening in Kobani ... you have to step back and understand the strategic objective....Notwithstanding the crisis in Kobani, the original targets of our efforts have been the command and control centers, the infrastructure....We are trying to deprive the (Islamic State) of the overall ability to wage this, not just in Kobani but throughout Syria and into Iraq.
    Link:http://www.itv.com/news/update/2014-...-not-priority/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-08-2014 at 06:31 PM.
    davidbfpo

  12. #852
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    AP has an article on the coalition air strikes in both Iraq and Syria:http://abcnews.go.com/International/...inglePage=true
    davidbfpo

  13. #853
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Sorry David, but that AP article is a precise repeat of the same nonsensical mistake all the Western media is doing: namely, that of pouring more water to the Daesh's mills.

    See this:
    In neighboring Syria, days of airstrikes have been unable to stop militants on the verge of capturing a strategic town on the Turkish border.
    This is making the Daesh appear in the public as if it cannot be even hit by air strikes. Actually, the situation is such that air strikes are 'too little, too late', and run in disjoined fashion.

    To explain what I mean, have a look at the summary of CENTCOM's (and few DOD's) releases for activity over Syria since 23 September:

    CENTCOM, 23 September:
    U.S. military forces and partner nations, including the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, undertook military action against ISIL terrorists in Syria overnight, using a mix of fighter, bomber, remotely piloted aircraft and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles to conduct 14 strikes against ISIL targets.

    The strikes destroyed or damaged multiple ISIL targets in the vicinity of Ar Raqqah, Dayr az Zawr, Al Hasakah, and Abu Kamal and included ISIL fighters, training compounds, headquarters and command and control facilities, storage facilities, a finance center, supply trucks and armed vehicles.
    ...
    CENTCOM, 23 September:
    U.S. military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Iraq and Syria, using a mix of bomber and remotely piloted aircraft to conduct three airstrikes last night and today.

    Two of the airstrikes were conducted last night as part of the operation over Syria and resulted in one damaged ISIL armed vehicle and one destroyed ISIL armed vehicle southwest of Dayr Az Zawr.
    ...
    To date, U.S. Central Command has conducted 194 airstrikes across Iraq against ISIL. Along with partner nations, U.S. Central Command has also conducted 16 airstrikes across Syria against ISIL.
    CENTCOM, 24 September:
    A fifth airstrike damaged eight ISIL vehicles in Syria northwest of Al Qa'im. All aircraft exited the strike areas safely.
    ...
    To date, U.S. Central Command has conducted 198 airstrikes across Iraq against ISIL. Along with partner nations, U.S. Central Command has also conducted 20 airstrikes across Syria against ISIL.
    CENTCOM, 24 September:
    U.S. military forces and partner nations, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, attacked ISIL terrorists in Syria today, using a mix of fighter and remotely piloted aircraft to conduct 13 airstrikes against 12 ISIL-controlled modular oil refineries located in remote areas of eastern Syria in the vicinity of Al Mayadin, Al Hasakah, and Abu Kamal and one ISIL vehicle near Dayr az Zawr, also in eastern Syria.
    ...
    To conduct these strikes, the U.S. employed U.S. Air Force fighter aircraft deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations. In addition, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also participated in these airstrikes. All aircraft safely exited the strikes areas.
    For 25 September 2014, there are no CENTCOM-reports related to air strikes against targets in Syria.

    CENTCOM, 26 September:
    In Syria, three airstrikes south and southeast of Dayr Az Zawr destroyed four ISIL tanks and damaged another.
    CENTCOM, 27 September:
    In Syria, an ISIL vehicle was destroyed south of Al-Hasakah. Also near Al-Hasakah several buildings that were part of an ISIL garrison were destroyed. An ISIL command and control facility near Manbij was damaged. An ISIL building and two armed vehicles at the Kobani border crossing were destroyed. An ISIL held airfield, an ISIL garrison and an ISIL training camp near Ar Raqqah were damaged.

    To conduct these strikes, the U.S. employed U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy attack and fighter aircraft deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations. In addition, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates also participated in these strikes. All aircraft exited the strike areas safely.
    CENTCOM, 28 September:
    In Syria, two airstrikes near Dayr ar Zawr destroyed one ISIL tank and damaged another. One airstrike in northeast Syria destroyed three ISIL armed vehicles and an ISIL Humvee. U.S. and partner nations conducted airstrikes on four ISIL-held modular refineries and an ISIL command and control node north of Ar Raqqah; although we continue to assess the outcome of these attacks, initial indications are that they were successful.

    To conduct these strikes, the U.S. employed U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy fighter aircraft deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. In addition, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also participated in these strikes. All aircraft departed the strike areas safely.
    CENTCOM, 29 September:
    In Syria, one airstrike near Dayr ar Zawr destroyed one ISIL armed vehicle while another destroyed an ISIL anti-aircraft artillery transport vehicle. U.S. and partner nations conducted two airstrikes on an ISIL compound and an ISIL-held airfield in northwest Syria near Aleppo. Two airstrikes were conducted on ISIL compounds near Ar Raqqah, while two other airstrikes struck an ISIL training camp and ISIL vehicles within a vehicle staging area adjacent to an ISIL-held grain storage facility near Manbij. The storage facility was being used by ISIL as a logistics hub and vehicle staging facility. Although we continue to assess the outcome of these attacks, initial indications are that they were successful.

    To conduct these strikes, the U.S. employed U.S. Air Force aircraft deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. In addition, the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Jordan also participated in these strikes. All aircraft departed the strike areas safely.
    (to be continued...)

  14. #854
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    CENTCOM, 30 September:
    In Syria, two airstrikes near Dayr ar Zawr destroyed an ISIL armored vehicle and an ISIL armed vehicle. Five strikes in northeast Syria near Sinjar destroyed one ISIL artillery piece, one ISIL tank, three ISIL armed vehicles, two ISIL facilities, an ISIL observation post and struck four ISIL fighting positions. Three strikes near Mazra al Duwud near the Syrian/Turkish border, destroyed one ISIL artillery piece, damaged another, and destroyed two ISIL rocket launchers. One strike northeast of Aleppo destroyed four ISIL-occupied buildings. All aircraft departed the strike areas safely.
    CENTCOM, 1 October:
    In Syria, three strikes near Kobani destroyed an ISIL armed vehicle, an ISIL artillery piece, and an ISIL tank. All aircraft departed the strike areas safely.
    ...
    To conduct these strikes, the U.S. employed U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy fighter aircraft deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations. In addition, the United Kingdom also participated in the Iraq airstrikes. All aircraft departed the strike areas safely.
    DOD release, 1 October (see bottom):
    As of 1 October, U.S. and partner nation attack aircraft have flown over 1,700 strike sorties in support of operations against ISIL targets in Iraq and Syria using over 800 munitions against 322 targets.
    CENTCOM, 2 October:
    In Syria, one strike near Kobani destroyed an ISIL checkpoint. Another strike in Syria, north of Sinjar Mountain, damaged an ISIL tank. One airstrike west of Raqqah destroyed an ISIL tank, while one strike east of Aleppo struck multiple ISIL facilities. To conduct these strikes, the U.S. employed U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy aircraft deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations. In addition, the United Arab Emirates also participated in these strikes. All aircraft exited the strike areas safely.
    CENTCOM, 3 October:
    In Syria, one strike south of Al Hasakah destroyed an ISIL garrison, while one strike southeast of Dayr Az Zawr destroyed two ISIL tanks. Two strikes north of Ar Raqqah struck two modular oil refineries and an ISIL training camp, while another strike northeast of Aleppo struck an ISIL occupied building. One strike against an ISIL artillery piece west of Ar Raqqah was not successful. To conduct these strikes, the U.S. employed U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy aircraft deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations. In addition, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also participated in the Syria strikes. All aircraft departed the strike areas safely.
    DOD, 3 October:
    ...Operations against the so-called Islamic State continue apace with 334 airstrikes against the terror group, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters at the Pentagon today.

    Those airstrikes, the admiral added, are causing the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to change its tactics.

    Kirby briefed on the situation in Iraq and Syria and the coalition that is building against ISIL. He said there have been, to date, 248 airstrikes in Iraq and 86 in Syria.
    ...
    DOD, 4 October:
    In Syria, two strikes, south of Ayn al Arab destroyed an ISIL armored personnel carrier, an ISIL vehicle and struck a small ISIL unit. Two strikes east of Ayn al Arab destroyed an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL building, three artillery positions and struck a large ISIL unit. Two strikes southeast of Dayr Az Zawr destroyed one ISIL tank and one ISIL vehicle. One strike southwest of Ar Raqqah damaged Taqba Airfield. One strike west of Ar Raqqah destroyed an ISIL artillery piece. One strike south of Al Hasakah destroyed an ISIL depot and logistics complex. To conduct these strikes, the U.S. employed fighter and remotely piloted aircraft deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations. In addition, the Kingdom of Jordan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also participated in these strikes. All aircraft departed the strike areas safely.
    CENTCOM, 5 October
    In Syria, one strike northwest of Al Mayadin destroyed an ISIL bulldozer, two ISIL tanks and destroyed another ISIL vehicle. Two strikes northwest of Ar Raqqah struck a large ISIL unit and destroyed six ISIL firing positions. To conduct these strikes, the U.S. employed fighter aircraft deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations. All aircraft departed the strike areas safely.
    CENTCOM, 6 October
    In Syria, one strike destroyed an ISIL tank near Taqba Airfield west of Ar Raqqah. One strike destroyed two ISIL fighting positions south of Kobani. One strike southeast of Dayr az Zawr destroyed an ISIL tank. To conduct these strikes, the U.S. employed fighter and remotely piloted aircraft deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations. All aircraft departed the strike areas safely.
    CENTCOM, 7 October
    In Syria, two airstrikes west of Al-Hasakah successfully struck multiple ISIL buildings, including an air observation building and staging areas. Another airstrike northeast of Dayr az Zawr successfully struck an ISIL staging area and an IED production facility. One airstrike south of Kobani destroyed three ISIL armed vehicles and damaged another; another strike southeast of Kobani destroyed an ISIL armed vehicle carrying anti-aircraft artillery. Two airstrikes southwest of Kobani damaged an ISIL tank; another airstrike south of Kobani destroyed an ISIL unit. One airstrike southwest of Rabiyah struck a small group of ISIL fighters. To conduct these strikes, the U.S. employed U.S. Air Force attack, fighter and bomber aircraft deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations. In addition, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also participated in these airstrikes. All aircraft safely exited the strike areas.
    ***********
    ***********

    My count (and please feel free to correct me):

    - that's 113 'strikes' flown between 22/23 September and 7 October against targets in Syria.

    Arguably, most of fighter-bombers carry more than two PGMs nowadays, so they can hit more than one target per 'strike'; B-1Bs many more. But, in total, this still means: _only_ 113 strikes were flown against targets in Syria in three weeks, only 14 of which (I hope I don't have any 'doubles' here) have hit any kind of targets in Kobane area. That's less than 1 air strike a day against the Daesh in Kobane area.

    And with this, the point of this post: no, it's not so that 'days of airstrikes have been unable to stop militants on the verge of capturing a strategic town on the Turkish border' - but serious effort in Kobane area began only two days ago and thus could not have had any kind of effects upon the Daesh so far.

    Thus, instead of babbling nonsense and spreading de-facto pro-Daesh PR, the author should realize that that until two nights ago, the US and allies barely touched the Daesh in Kobane area.

    Well: if one is not attacking the target, nobody can expect the target to start showing any reaction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    Funny to see a member of what so many still consider the 'Syrian Arab Army' (actually one of involved IRGC gangs) needs an interpreter to talk with Syrian insurgents.

    Except, of course, one has no clue about Arabic and considers the later for 'foreign Jihadists'...
    Actually the interpreter speaks more correct Persian than the POW.

    Regarding the two pics of "Iranian POWs," the one on the left's phenotypic characteristics appear to be Hazara.

  16. #856
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default For a moment read about Syrian refugees

    With our pol-military outlook sometimes the civilian dimension, so here is a long piece by Joshua Hersh 'The Lessons of Atmeh', a refugee camp in Syria just over the Turkish border:http://www.vqronline.org/reporting-a.../lessons-atmeh

    It is sub-titled:
    In one of the harshest camps for refugees of the Syrian conflict, even the best intentions can backfire.
    Long term such camps, inside and outside Syria, pose a huge problem for everyone. Logistics aside, when peace does come - will the people return home?

    No-one, especially the host states, will want the camps to become pernament, like those for the Palestinians.

    I am aware that some NGOs have thought about this and supported basic planning and training.
    davidbfpo

  17. #857
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    Default Joshua Landis and "The Great Sorting Out"

    A recent interview with University of Oklahoma professor Joshua Landis re: his comparison of the contemporary Levant to interwar Europe: http://youtu.be/_-roW5Y7vbw If you take nothing else away from the video, you'll at least learn that Jerry Seinfeld has a family tie to Aleppo.

    Landis's take is that the Syrian conflict is not one in which political boundaries will be redrawn, but rather one in which demographics will be violently resorted (i.e., ethnic cleansing).
    If you donít read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. Ė Mark Twain (attributed)

  18. #858
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Kobane, Kobane, Kobane.... (and 'bad ally' Turkey, of course)...

    Everybody is talking about Kobane as if it's the only place in Syria where there is combat. Actually, it seems the YPG and FSyA in Kobane have stopped the Daesh onslaught on this town. That is: the Daesh is now in control of two thirds of Kobane, but unable to advance any further.

    On the contrary, the Kurds and FSyA are meanwhile launching counterattacks and recapturing some points. That is at least according to the SOHR, the YPG killed 13 Daesh yesterday while retaking two checkpoints in Kobane, and overall, the Daesh should have lost 42 idiots during the fighting there.

    Ironic about the situation is that there are thousands of Kurds fighting for the Daesh too (i.e. there might be more of them fighting for the Daesh but for the YPG). Here a - warning: GRAFFIC - video of YPG and Deash-Kurds massacring each other:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJDjtKUQHRo

    More importantly...

    Syrian regime continues its offensive north of Aleppo, attempting to clear insurgents from the area around the Infantry School, north of this city, and complete the encirclement of insurgents by reaching Nubol and az-Zahra - two regime-controlled Shi'a enclaves NW of Aleppo, presently supplied only through a - what else - Kurdish-held parts of NW Aleppo Province.

    This offensive began the last week, and is almost completely run by the IRGC and Hezbollah: the NDF is only providing tank- and artillery support. After exploiting withdrawal of the JAN from some of local positions, this operation had quite some success early on. Meanwhile it was stalled after reaching Hindarat: the IF counterattacked there and temporarily captured the place, but then lost it and is now holding out on the outskirts, as can be seen on this video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7cBXy0TarE

    Another example of IRGC-combatants captured by insurgents at Hindarat appeared meanwhile in form of this video: this bloke says he served a sentence for drug-smuggling in an Iranian jail, until the IRGC offered him to go fighting in Syria for a pay of US$600 a month (almost as good as that of IRIAF pilots!):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHzKvwXLY7E

    Elsewhere in Syria: the regime - that is: several IRGC-run brigades - have managed to overpower the last defenders of Jobar. This place was under a siege and continuous intensive attacks by elements of the Republican Guards (meanwhile largely suplanted by the IRGC) for more than two years. With this, the insurgent-held parts of Eastern Ghouta are now completely encircled and under a siege too.

    Except for plenty of Iraqi Shi'a, the IRGC has lost one of its officers there: Maj Jabar Drissavi was KIA a few days ago. He was the second-highest IRGC officer KIA in Syria so far (after Maj Gen Abdollah Eskandari).

    Further to this, at least according to the article here, the Hezbollah should have suffered a loss of no less but 840 KIA and 2,400 WIA in the war so far - and this not only during the fighting against Syrian insurgents and the JAN in Syria and Lebanon, but in Iraq too.

  19. #859
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Some interesting developments there in Syria of the last 24-48 hours...

    It's ironic to say that recent US attacks on makeshift refineries run by different Arab tribes in Daesh-controlled parts of Syria seem to have quite a fascinating effect - but upon the fuel reserves of the Syrian regime, not those of the Daesh.

    Namely, they do see to have near-interrupted the flow of oil to regime (via the pipeline from Dayr az-Zawr to Homs). That means: the near-permanent fuel crisis of the regime (obvious in quite a few cases since mid-2012) has been significantly increased - indeed to a level where this is felt in the public there is now a major fuel shortage in Syri: Cold Winter Coming: Syria’s Fuel Crisis

    As next... while everybody is blaming and damning Turkey for not providing any kind of help for the YPG (and FSyA) fighting the Daesh in Kobane, slowly, very slowly, indications are trickling in about Turkey actually very much doing what it can. It's not only that Turks report their local hospitals have treated at least 605 (another source said 620) YPG combatants WIA since the start of Daesh's attack on Kobane (including a number of PKK-terrorists sought for by the Turkish authorities, between them two 'commanders'). Or that the Turks don't mind a new YPG HQ that is on border crossing to Turkey. Lately, they have left in a US liaison team to meet Kurds and thus there is now a direct link between the CENTCOM and the YPG, resulting in YPG providing HUMINT and the CENTCOM not only significantly increasing the number of strikes, but these becoming effective too.

    According to CENTCOM releases for 12 October, 13 October, 14 October, and 15 October, US, RSAF and UAEAF planes flew 51 air strikes against targets in Syria, primarily against the Daesh in Kobane area.

    Correspondingly, today we're going to read plenty of news like this one: Islamic State militants are retreating in parts of the strategic Syrian town of Kobane, a Kurdish official has said.

    Indeed, this combination of air strikes and cautious advance by the YPG and FSyA seem to have pushed the Daesh into the eastern outskirts of Kobane, perhaps even forced them out of the southern part of the town. This morning there are rumours (this report by WP is one example) that the Kurds and FSyA are actually in control of 80% of the place and have even recovered Mt Mishtenur, on the eastern side of the town.

    With this, chances of the Daesh capturing Kobane are de-facto nil.

  20. #860
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    Default Thousands of Kurds are fighting for the Daesh

    Crowbat a question about the Kurds. Two days ago you posted this:
    Ironic about the situation is that there are thousands of Kurds fighting for the Daesh too (i.e. there might be more of them fighting for the Daesh but for the YPG)..
    IIRC this theme has appeared elsewhere, which came as a surprise to me.

    I appreciate the Kurds across the regional borders are not a unified mass and recall a small number have supported the violent jihad before, IIRC when in Iraq years ago.

    Why would thousands today support the Daesh?
    davidbfpo

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