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Thread: Syria in 2018

  1. #21
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Ah, the second stage. Isee.

    Was that photo taken on the Golan Heights?

    Namely, I doubt any V-601 could get all the way to Israel...

  2. #22
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The nearly-impossible in explaining Syria's complexity

    davidbfpo

  3. #23
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    Default Shot down F16I

    Somewhere in northern Israel...
    It is from:
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-43020830

  4. #24
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    This just came in via the ACIG.info forum. I'm still trying to get the original link.

    More from one of Russian volunteers, Mikhail Polynkov

    Сходил я в госпиталь, проведал одного из выживших в той мясорубке под Хишимом.
    Что я могу сказать, если вкратце. Цифры про 600 двухсотых это не миф. Было три штурмовых отряда в среднем по 300 человек из россиян и дончан. Плюс артдивизион и бронегруппа.
    Я конечно делал запись на диктофон минут на сорок. Но чтобы не палить парня, дам все в расшифровке. Откровенно говоря, из-за такой активной пропаганде противоположного мнения, я уже и сам начал сомневаться в правдивости случившегося. И сейчас, я убедился в том, что вся первая появившаяся информация чистая правда. И откровенно говоря, мне без разницы поверят мне или нет. Те кто меня лично знают, знают так же и то, что я не способен на подлог. А остальные... если есть действительно желание знать правду, пусть навестит один из трёх госпиталей и пообщаются с ранеными. Их очень много. В вишневского, некоторые даже в коридоре лежат.
    И дорогие мои сограждане, сейчас действительно наступил момент истины. Обращайте внимание на тех, кто говорит, что всё что произошло под Хишимом это ложь и провокация.
    Translation:




    600 KIA... man, even if he cites three Russian groups 'only' - that simply can't be 'Wagner PMC' and 'ISIS Hunters' alone... Even all the three of Liwa al-Bakr's newly established 'battalions' don't number as many.

    On the other side, if there were as many Russians KIA... well, Putin can't left this remain 'unanswered'.

    *****************

    And all of that 'just because of this': The epic failure of our age: how the west let down Syria

    ...It was always a mistake to believe the Syrian conflict could be kept at arm’s length. Now, due to its complexity, longevity and transnational character, it is hitting home. Syria has permanently changed our world....
    Meanwhile, I've got a feeling that this is running out of control. Now we can only hope the two idiots in charge aren't going to turn this into a nuclear war.

  5. #25
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    MOSCOW — Four Russian nationals, and perhaps dozens more, were killed in fighting between pro-government forces in eastern Syria and members of the United States-led coalition fighting the Islamic State, according to Russian and Syrian officials.
    A Syrian military officer said that about 100 Syrian soldiers had been killed in the fighting on Feb. 7 and 8, but news about Russian casualties has dribbled out only slowly, through Russian news organizations and social media.
    Inconvenient truths?
    And some individual Russians have begun speaking out. Aleksandr Ionov, a Russian businessman working in Syria offering security and other services, said he estimated after conversations with associates in several private military organizations that more than 200 Russians might have been killed.
    Mr. Ionov said not all those killed were Russian: Some of the paid fighters came from other countries that were once part of the Soviet Union. “More than 200 is the current estimate, we cannot know the exact number yet, but most of them were Russian,” he said in a telephone interview.
    Mr. Ionov said he was speaking out because he wanted any Russians who were killed to be officially recognized for their sacrifice.
    Aleksandr Averin, a member of the Other Russia nationalist party, confirmed that Kirill Ananiev, a party member who left for Syria about a year ago, had been killed in the airstrike, noting that there were other “substantial losses.”
    “I can confirm that Kirill died on Feb. 7 in Syria, near the Euphrates River, as a result of a strike by the American coalition,” Mr. Averin said in an interview, adding that he was aware of “substantial losses” suffered by “paramilitary structures with ties to Russia.” He refused to elaborate.
    Another victim, Vladimir N. Loginov, 51, died “in an unequal fight on Feb. 7 in the area of Syria’s Deir al-Zour,” according to a statement published online by his paramilitary organization.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/13/w...yria-dead.html
    Last edited by AdamG; 02-14-2018 at 01:56 AM.
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  6. #26
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    This looks like Putler, but Washington too, are shocked by what happened, and actually lacking words: certainly having no clue how to react.

    Putler announced practically 'the war is over' and ordered a 'withdrawal' of Russian troops out of Syria: then it turns out the war isn't over and they didn't withdraw. He announced a quick and de-facto easy victory: then they got killed in droves after he ordered that withdrawal - and that not while 'fighting IGIL', but while assaulting 'US allies' for war-profiteering purposes.

    All of that short of elections in Russia.

    Back in October-November 2015, and again in January 2016, he was de-facto threatening with deployment of nukes should anybody dare defeating Russian troops in Syria (back then there were deliberations that Turkey and Saudi Arabia might launch their own counter-intervention; some Saudis went as far as to talk about their country having nukes, too).

    Right now, Putler simply can't openly admit this has happened nor that dozens/hundreds of Russians were killed (even though he certainly does find it opportune to get rid of characters in question: keep in mind that many of them have served in Ukraine too). He can't counter even those Russians reporting ever more about what has happened. If he does so, he has to explain what has happened.

    ...and he can't openly attack US troops in Syria either: he knows that would

    a) end in another catastrophe, and

    b) cause a war with the USA.

    But, he can't left this unanswered, either. Thus, he's 'buying time with silence'.

    And Washington, i.e. the people lacking fresh air (see: the Pentagon) seems to have concluded they've 'went too far', kind of. Thus, there is next to no commentary, and next to no releases of combat camera videos. Seems their first impression was the same like mine, and they've concluded they're attacking a pure IRGC-force - even more so since they've had the Russian military commanders on the telephone, all the time.

    Who would have expected the latter to either not know what's going on, or to lie in such obvious fashion...?

  7. #27
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    The RT just delivered the 'Pearl of the Day' (perhaps this week, too):
    RT reporter in Afrin asks YPG fighter why he is wearing civilian clothes, he answered "to protect myself from Turkish shelling, Turkish army shells anyone wearing uniform even in civilian areas".

    At least he's sincere - although with this: every military-aged civilian casualty in the Efrin enclave just became 'extremely questionable'.

    And while they're still insisting on their 'non-involvement' in this part of Syria: guess, certain officers in diverse SOCOM and CENTCOM HQs - probably a few of the people in need of fresh air, too - have developed major stomach problems today.

  8. #28
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    Default Truth is the first casualty

    Eliot Higgins aka Bellingcat via Newsweek on chemical weapons use in Syria and the information war. He opens with:
    Since the earliest reports of chemical weapon use in the Syrian conflict, a growing community of denialists has emerged, comprising online commentators, bloggers, pro–Bashar al-Assad activists and fringe websites.This in itself is not usual. From 9/11 to the Las Vegas mass shooting, online communities have coalesced around opinions and theories about what “really happened.”
    What is unusual about this community is how their views are beginning to creep into mainstream discourse about the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and how that is being used to undermine investigations that attempt to establish the facts surrounding these crimes.
    Link:http://www.newsweek.com/what-truth-a...vilians-805264
    davidbfpo

  9. #29
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    An assessment currently making the rounds on social media, but without source citations it's just well-written RUMINT.

    Should anyone be able to connect the bullet points with sources, feel free to post those URLs.

    Dair Ezor Turkey Shoot
    by "John Ringo"

    Further reporting, such as it is, on the Dair Ezzor Turkey Shoot.
    1. Sov... err... Russians built a bridge over the Euphrates which was the designated 'deconfliction line'. Why? Reasons. 'Commite of Nations' or something.
    2. 'Hybrid' force of mixed Russian contractors including multiple non-ethnic Russians (Serbs, Kossack, other non Slavics) as well as local Syrian Army 'commandos' attacked across temporary bridge. The 'Russian' side were 'Blackwater' equivalent mercenaries from a company generally called 'Wagner' which is the nom de plume of the boss. (Like if you called Blackwater 'Prince'.)
    3. Unit was partially mechanized, battalion strength. (One thing everyone agrees upon is 'about 600-700 personnel.') Had some towed artillery as well as 't-55 and T-72 MBT as well as armored personnel carriers.' (Type unknown.) Full on 'we're taking that position and you're not stopping us' full court press.
    4. Unit crossed bridge, arty deployed.
    5. Arty opened fire while most of unit was still in approach column formation. (Normal) One portion moved to flanking positions.
    5A. Minute the arty opened fire #### GOT REAL REAL QUICK.
    6. Reapers took out artillery and most of armor with Hellfire. From the few videos, pretty much before they knew what hit them. There had to be quite a few Reaper drones up or they were feeding guidance to Hellfire from Apaches (see below.)
    7. F-15E Eagles came in for clean-up and to check for anti-air defenses.
    8. Warthogs showed up just to go BRRRRRRT!
    9. AC-130 Spectre started ####ing up their day for the hell of it.
    10. To add insult to injury, B-52s which, you know, just HAPPENED to be in the area, just minding our own business, just passing by from Diego Garcia which is a few thousand miles away, on our way to... somewhere... nothing to see here... decided to prove they could drop their entire load as precision guided weapons and just more or less DID A JDAM ARCLIGHT ON THEIR ASS. At that point, more or less because CENTCOM said 'Why not? ARCLIGHT is always pretty to watch...'
    11. The whole thing being so over it was ridiculous, AH-64 Apaches basically did 'hostile Bomb Damage Assessment' and complained there were no targets left.
    12. Oh, and then the Kurds, to just really #### with these guys, released water from a dam upstream and broke their bridge. So they had to ford back with their wounded.
    13. Nobody knows how many dead and wounded. Russians are saying 'only 8 Russian citizens' but that doesn't quite cover the whole of who may have been involved. One repeated number is 200 dead (remember, mixed Syrians, Russians and other ethnics) as well as pretty much the rest of the force wounded. (Not to mention pretty thoroughly demoralized.) One Kurd wounded. Probably fell off a stool laughing to tell truth.
    14. Military hospitals in Russia are reliably reported 'overflowing.'
    This was much less a 'battle' than a message. Towards the end we had to just be pounding ground to make sure they got it.
    Messages, really.
    A. Don't ####ing cross that river.
    B. Hey, North Korea! LOOK WHAT I CAN DO!
    C. Hey, Putin, about Donbas... This is what we can do to your 'freedom fighters' (AKA: mercenaries) at any time.
    D. To everyone in general: You need to remember who's boss.
    Mattis is playing dumb. 'What Russians? There were Russians? Really? I'm seeing that in the media but I got no briefing on there being Russians in that column. Our bad. Sorry about that.'
    Then there's the fact that the strike was NOT approved by the President.
    Because he gave CENTOM the approval on things like that.
    And CENTCOM handled it like a BOSS.
    Oh, and when the forces crossed the river the Russians were informed and informed that we intended to take 'self-defense' actions.
    So they can't even say they weren't warned.
    I'm not sure we warned them we'd be using BUFF.
    This is more the sort of thing I'd expect in late summer.
    '####! We haven't expended our budget! Are there any Russians we can #### up very badly with all these unexpended munitions?'
    Last thought: It had to be ####ty being on the receiving end of that.
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  10. #30
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — The death of Russian citizens in Syria from a US coalition strike last week, which has been played down by both Moscow and Washington, has exposed the role of Russian mercenaries in the multi-front conflict.
    via
    https://www.timesofisrael.com/russia...apon-in-syria/
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  11. #31
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    U.S. forces killed scores of Russian mercenaries in Syria last week in what may be the deadliest clash between citizens of the former foes since the Cold War, according to one U.S. official and three Russians familiar with the matter.
    More than 200 contract soldiers, mostly Russians fighting on behalf of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, died in a failed attack on a base held by U.S. and mainly Kurdish forces in the oil-rich Deir Ezzor region, two of the Russians said. The U.S. official put the death toll in the fighting at about 100, with 200 to 300 injured, but was unable to say how many were Russians.
    https://www.bloomberg.com/amp/news/a...hters-in-syria

    There are a ton of googlehits for Maskirovka, but this is a decent starting point. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b050674y

    See also http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...551#post210551

    See also http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...550#post210550
    Last edited by AdamG; 02-19-2018 at 11:07 AM. Reason: Do the Babylon Maskirovka Crosswalk
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  12. #32
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    Default Syria: the shifting sands of a years-long quagmire

    The title is taken from the sub-title of an article 'Miscalculation and vulnerability simmer beneath the surface of the Syrian conflict' and accurately sums the situation.
    Link:https://www.thenational.ae/opinion/c...flict-1.704463
    davidbfpo

  13. #33
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    People used to think, assess and talk in hyperboles, thinking, assessing and talking in hyperboles, little else...

    IMHO, this is the most-sane assessment I've seen so far, and then from one of most authoritative sources in this regards:

    U.S. Strikes and Russian PMC Casualties in Syria – Fact vs Fiction

    Mind that the author - Michael Kofman - published a highly interesting 'dissection' of the Russian military strategy in Ukraine and Syria, early the last year.

    To make things even more interesting, that one is strikingly similar to conclusions from discussions on the Russian strategy and tactics in Syria we've had on the ACIG.info forum back in late 2015 (requires registration to read): VKS (Russian Air Force) - Doctrine and Tactics.

  14. #34
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    The Keystone Cops in Moscow are on the best way to deliver their next pearl in Syria.

    First a photo, and then two videos appeared in the Assadist social media, showing two Sukhoi T.50s about to land at Hmemmem AB, in Syria, yesterday.

    Meanwhile, it's official: Interfax was granted permission to publish an official confirmation.

    Now, please all quickly get yourself some popcorn and cola: this is going to be funny.

    ...erm, what do you mean with 'why'...?

    Well, imagine trying to fly combat operations over an active combat zone in our days - and then in an aircraft that:

    - has an inadequate and incomplete sensor suite;
    - has an incomplete fire-control system;
    - has an incomplete self-protection suite;
    - has no integrated avionics suite that could be considered 'operational';
    - that is powered by unreliable engines;
    - that has got no air-to-air weaponry at all (the T.50 didn't undergo any kind of integration of live weapons trials with about 160 R-77s acquired by the VKS since early 2017, while R-74 is still not in series production);
    - has underwent hardly any weapons separation testing (except for two types of dumb bombs),
    - actually lacks any kind of operational armament bar its internal 30mm cannon; etc...

    Ah yes: and then try doing your job as a pilot of such a 'stealth fighter' - in an air force with no doctrine for operations of stealth aircraft.

    *************

    Wait: thinking of it... should one get shot down in Syria, the Keystone Cops in Moscow can for once speak truth and say, 'it was an unarmed aircraft on an observation mission'... (which is what they said after their Su-25 was shot down).

    *************

    Tragically, the future target list for T.50s in Syria has already been determined. All provided one of them can find its way to Eastern Ghouta, of course:

    - Mdecins Sans Frontires (MSF): The shelling of Gouta destroyed 13 hospitals and a WHO clinic in three days.

    Actual number is at around 22.

    **************

    Of course, the Keystone Cops in Moscow have officially denied any kind of VKS' involvement in bombardment of Eastern Ghouta. Because of that denial, I'm now in position to present you a true sensation: an officially-confirmed Fatamorgana (a Su-34 about to strike some place in Eastern Ghouta, two days ago):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aetDL6jRdM

  15. #35
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Russia tries to pass video game off as footage of Syria, again. This time not the defense ministry but state TV.
    https://twitter.com/TheBrandonMorse/...rc=twsrc%5Etfw
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  16. #36
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    Default Six Counterterrorism Lessons from the Syrian Civil War

    Professor Daniel Byman has a good overview and ends with:
    Syria was not Iraq, Iraq was not Afghanistan, and the next conflict involving global terrorist groups will be a different one entirely. But if the United States can learn the above lessons, it might do better the next time around—or at least avoid doing far worse.
    Link:https://lawfareblog.com/six-countert...rian-civil-war
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  17. #37
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    The USA? Perhaps.

    The Pentagon - not.

    And the Pentagon is meanwhile running the US foreign politics in the Middle East.

    Their newest achievement is something people were warning about already a year ago: a group called Popular Resistance of Raqqa was formed in #Raqqa, their goal is to defeat YPG/SDF. It's mainly made of Sunni Arab tribes.

    Means: the Pentagon has finally provoked another war in the Middle East - and then another Sunni insurgency, too - and that while supporting a Marxist group considered a 'terrorist organisation' even by US laws.

  18. #38
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Exclusive satellite images from ImageSat International obtained by Fox News show what is believed to be the new Iranian base, eight miles northwest of Damascus, operated by the Quds Force — the special operations arm of Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The photos show two new white hangars, each roughly 30 yards by 20 yards, used to store short- and medium-range missiles.
    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2018/02...-in-syria.html
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  19. #39
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    As if the Pentagon would care about IRGC's deployment in Syria: the Iranians meanwhile control at least 80,000 combatants - largely Shi'a jihadists and all other possible sectarian militias - there, but Trump and the Pentagon are still doing as if 15 Hezbollah advisors in Yemen are a bigger threat...

    Talking about the logics of the 'US foreign politics' as run by the People in Need of Fresh Air (the Pentagon) in Syria, here slightly more in regards of the absurdity they've created.

    Few days ago, a surprisingly frank critique of Western behaviour in regards of the PKK/PYD/YPG-supported conglomerate in the Afrin enclave was published - double surprise - in German language: Der Westen hat die Kurden NICHT verraten (or: The West didn't 'betray' the Kurds in Afrin).

    By side that articles of this kind in German are more rare than snake's sweat: the author of that feature has nicelly illustrated how the PKK's (let's remain frank) alliance with the US and its ability conquer territory in NE Syria emboldened it into the break-down of negotiations with Erdogan.

    Yes, sure, this is something not only the Pentagon but all the other talking-heads in the USA and elsewhere in the West are going to deny: after all, this is exactly the standpoint made by the Turkish media all the time - and since years already - but lost in idiotically simplistic publications about Erdogan unilaterally 'terminating peace talks'.

    At least until now.

    Namely, The Daily Beast now came out with a similar complaint - and indeed: a complement to the above-mentioned article in German.

    Even more so: the article points out that such behaviour of the USA and the West have bolstered the Turkish paranoia against the West, and thus not only play directly into Erdogan's hands but is also helping bolster Erdogan's own aggrandizement.

    Overall, the People in Need of Fresh air can really congratulate themselves: through their super-smart, visionary politics in Syria, they have literally, 'bought one, got three wars for free' in that country.

  20. #40
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Ah yes... and for those who might wonder: yes, I'm following developments in Eastern Ghouta, too - but, covering these on ACIG.info forum only. Sorry, but simply lacking time to do so on multiple platforms the last few days.

    In an attempt to offer some compensation, here a summary of what was going on in Syria yesterday.

    Some might recall there's something called the 'UN Security Council Resolution 2401', which stipulates a cease-fire for certain areas in Syria, including Idlib? Or even that this was supported by Moscow?

    Well, not any more - and then for quite simple reasons. Namely, the Syrian insurgents there dared being as brazen as to turn against the al-Qaeda-affiliated HTS (ex-Nusra): a week ago, the Ahrar ash-Sham (AAS) and Harakat Noureddin az-Zenghi (HNAZ) joined into a new coalition - Jabhat Tahrir Souriyah (Syria's Liberation Front) - and then launched an all-out attack on the HTS. Surely, most of involved groups are Salafist by their ideology, and thus nearly all of Western observers prefer to make no difference between them and the HTS. But, sigh, there must be some - and then not only because the USA used to support the HNAZ until October 2015, and the Saudis are doing so ever since.

    Anyway, the JTS' attack was soon joined by multiple other native insurgent groups, and caused a wholesale defection of Syrian insurgents that were a part of the HTS, too. The result is that the latter was meanwhile degraded to little else but the TIP and few Russians. As a consequence, and after more than one week of bitter fighting, it's lost most of its grip on southern and eastern Idlib.

    ...much to displeasure of the Keystone Cops in Moscow (guess: much to displeasure of the People in Need of Fresh Air, too).

    Correspondingly, the Russians have 'silently' abandoned the case-fire and are since yesterday bombing Idlib again. That is: they are bombing those places now controlled by Free Syrian Army groups that sided with the JTS in its attack on the HTS. Of course, this cannot happen because Putin has ordered a withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria, back in November last year. Thus, it must be some kind of Swiss subs or something that's flying withdrawal and losing ordnance while doing that...

    For example, this Swiss sub lost one bomb while underway over Khan Sheykhoun, only an hour after the place was liberated from the HTS by the FSyA's Jaysh al-Izza - and promptly killed several civilians.

    Subsequently, and in clear violation of the UNSCR 2401 the Swiss subs extended their accidental ordnance release (guess: pilots of VKS' unarmed observation aircraft got scared by all the fighting against al-Qaida below them?) to several other places around Idlib:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MFTiUkuIr0
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uc-ntQGQcZs
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uW5nEMQeX6I

    How cynical such attacks are shows alone the fact that even Assadists acknowledge the HTS being kicked out of places like Urum al-Kubra, Taftanaz AB, Khan Sheykhoun, Anadan etc...

    Ah yes: the next area over which we can expect the Swiss subs to start losing their ordnance will be the western Aleppo.

    Reason?

    Syrian insurgent groups there declared their defection from the HTS.

    **************

    Bombardment of Eastern Ghouta was continued immediately after the cease-fire ended, at 14.00hrs local time, yesterday - and despite the offer of FSyA-affiliated groups to evacuate the HTS out of this area. The Russians not only ignored this, but claimed that 'militants/terrorists' have 'opened fire at civilians that attempted to evacuate' - and skilfully supported this by videos from Aleppo, back in 2016. In their next lie, the Keystone Cops in Moscow announced that the 'militants started a new offensive against Syrian forces'.

    Actually, it was the Assadists that attacked and claimed the capture of 'strategic areas', apparently including Hawsh Dawahirah and outskirts of Shufaniya. Gauging by photos like this one, this effort ended in another major failure ('another', because two days ago the Quwwat Nimr/Tiger Force and the Republican Guards demonstrated their 'military effectiveness' by driving into a similar ambush further south). On the contrary, it's making one wonder how many more troops can the Assadists afford the Russians and the IRGC to spend as cannon fodder there.

    Below another photo of an unarmed Swiss sub that lost its ordnance over Eastern Ghouta while withdrawing from Syria - all by accident, of course.

    Mind: Russian Su-24s are easy to recognize from those still operated by the Assadsits alone by the position of their wings. Because they are bombing with support of that super-turbo-nav/attack system called SVP-24, the Russians fly very slow, and thus with their wings spread fully forwards (top photo). Assadist Su-24s have their wings always swept to middle position before bomb release (bottom photo). Furthermore, Russian Su-24s carry drop tanks: Assadist none.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by CrowBat; 02-28-2018 at 06:58 AM.

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