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Old 6 Days Ago   #821
Bill Moore
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http://www.cbsnews.com/news/inside-syrian-civil-war/

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/syrian-c...tes-bob-simon/

Inside Syria's Civil War was a 60 minutes special that aired last night. Much like the Frontline special on the Syrian conflict, it is quite moving. There are many heroes in this film, but two will stand out. Ordinary people standing up in times of extraordinary challenges. It also explains why more and more rebels are turning to the Islamists. Assad's brutality seems to know no limits, so it is becoming harder to imagine a negotiated settlement with the level of hatred that has emerged. His behavior will likely result in a terrible response against the Alawites and other minorities in Syria.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...-fighters.html

Al Qaeda-linked jihadists seize two strategic bases from Syrian army after two-year siege by mainstream rebel fighters

Symbolic and perhaps significant strategically, time will tell.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 6 Days Ago at 12:19 AM. Reason: fix 3rd link
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Old 6 Days Ago   #822
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...ah well, 'strategic' is really relative here.

Ma'arat an-Nauman is 'strategic': it's a historic place at the cross-road of seven different strategic routes, connecting (clockwise) Idlib, Aleppo, Hama (and thus Homs and Damascus) with ports like Lattakia and Banias...

Wadi ad-Dayf and Hamadania bases nearby have lost their relevance at latest in June-July this year, when the last regime offensive to relieve them run out of steam when the glorious 'SAA' thugs captured Moarek - and then got busy looting it.

The 700 or so surviving regime troops that have fled these two bases and are presently trying to punch through jihadists lines to reach Moarek, about 15km south, were mere victims of regime's insistence on 'holding out to the last bullet': Iranians... excuse me: IRGC-QF that is in charge of the 'Syrian military', have long since recommended a withdrawal.

Somebody sane could now go and try to tell the JAN idiots to stop slaughtering dozens of regime troops captured when they were left behind: this is only making the rest more eager to really resist to the last bullet....

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

What is really 'strategic' here: three years of fighting by disunited insurgents, poorly and rather haphazardly supported by various powers from outside (lately the USA) have not managed what a better-supported JAN has managed now in only three weeks.

Yup gentlemen: just three weeks since the JAN has overrun the US/Saudi-supported SRF and took over all of its bases in the Idlib Province, forcing about 10,000 survivors (including their families) to flee to Turkey, the Jihadists are now on advance in this small pocket of Syria...

For orientation, see the map attached below - and keep in mind that the terrain in direction in which the surviving regime troops are fleeing is largely flat... Only 'cover' is that provided by the Ba'ath Party's... erm.... 'Syrian' and 'Arab' air force...

***********

Talking about 'poorly' or 'better' supported factors here: while insurgents of the IF are getting between 60 and 100 bucks a month, those of US-supported groups used to get 150 bucks a month - until November, when, following the collapse of the SRF, Obama cancelled all the aid provided to them....

In comparison, JAN Jihadists are cashing up to 500 bucks, those of the Daesh often much more...

Makes me wonder about several things: how comes the jihadists can get better paid than state-supported insurgents? Shouldn't somebody there within responsible circles simply get ashamed (especially considering the fact that persons in positions in question are usually very good at pocketing quite a lot of supposed 'aid')? And I have to question logic of certain people too, i.e. ask once again if being dumb in silliest fashion is meanwhile the ultimate qualification for people getting certain jobs in the DC and surrounding areas?

Namely, as explained so often before, simple maths is dictating the way of life in such poor countries like Syria: the side that pays more is more attractive too.

**********

But you know what's really 'strategic'?

A topic you all seem to have completely missed during my absence.

Namely, back in October certain Maj Gen Hossein Hamadani (ex C-in-C Basiji Corps IRGC) was appointed the new C-in-C IRGC-QF, and thus of the entire Syrian military.

And then he launched that offensive of his new military - the Basiji-like 'NDF', spear-headed by the Hezbollah and IRGC-troops - all the way around eastern Aleppo and to the north of the city.

The offensive in question went something like this: Hamedani first spent the Afghan Hazaris of the IRGC's Liwa al-Fatimum to capture Hindarat (town about 15km NE of Aleppo). These were nearly overrun and mauled in a counterattack by the IF and the Hazzm, but meanwhile Hamedani moved two brigades of Hezbollah around their flanks and punched further west. Meanwhile, his fourth brigade, the IRGC's Liwa al-Quds (primarily Palestinians) has turned south and is now approaching the Kurdish-held Sheikh Masqood district of northern Aleppo.

Few 'strategic BTWs' here...

- What's left of FSyA and IF insurgents in eastern Aleppo are about 500 metres short of getting encircled and put under a siege since yesterday. And that just at the start of the winter...

- Curiously, the eastern flank of Hamadani's offensive went all the way along the areas held by the Daesh. Do you think the supposed 'arch-/sworn enemy' of the regime moved a small finger and tried to spoil that offensive but at least some nuance attacks into its flank?

- ...as mentioned above, the JAN has meanwhile liquidated the most powerful moderate (and US-supported) insurgent group in that part of Syria (the SRF), and badly damaged the second most important such group (Harakat Hazzm)... causing up to 1,000 of combatants from these two, plus some other of allied groups to defect to the Daesh...

- ...and then the JAN withdrew its forces out of eastern Aleppo, and began ramming its head against well-entrenched and -supplied Shi'a enclaves of Nubol and az-Zahra (about 35km NW of Aleppo), apparently in hope of achieving some kind of major victory against 'infidels'...

Bottom line: thanks so much Obama, the moderate insurgency in northern Syria is next to destroyed.

The US logic seems to be to drive Syrians into the hands of Jihadists and/or beast of the Daesh - and then bomb them. Fantastic idea, really: I'm sure that all those convinced that 'all Syrians are terrorists, anyway', are feeling more than confirmed now...

...this is so absurd, I cannot imagine that either Assad, or Khamenei could ever dream about Obama doing them such a big favour!

Though, one should keep in mind one thing too: this is not only the end of moderate insurgents in northern Syria, but is really the start of turning that country into a better breading ground for extremists of all sorts than even Afghanistan ever was. And if anybody thinks doing things this way is going to solve the situation in a matter of even 2-3 years, the person in question needs to consult the nearest psychiatrist. At best right now.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #823
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Silly me, almost forgot the two other 'strategic' affairs in Syria of the last few weeks....

Somebody at WINEP raped a ton of electrons at a futile exercise of 'studying' recent SyAAF ops against the Daesh: Syrian Air Force Operations: Strategic, Effective, and Unrestrained.

By side the fact that this piece is unusually poorly researched (then, SyAAF losses are usually well-documented and rather easy to track - all provided one is doing so; and the number of SyAAF losses is nowhere near '200 combat aircraft' even if one adds the nearly 50% loss of SyAAF helicopters in three years of war...)...

But, who said they are 'unrestrained'? After letting the SyAAF to bomb all of Syria back into stone-age for three years, the mighty EU came to the idea to impose an embargo on export of kerosene to Syria: EU tries to ground Bashar al-Assad's warplanes by banning fuel supplies.

Ha! I bet Assad's knees are shaking now! This is going to deliver the message! It's going to kill him...

**********

Nah, seriously now (at least I'll try, please enjoy the following with a big dose of sarcasm and some Southern Comfort too)...

To say that the Daesh is not attacking the regime, or the regime is not attacking the Daesh, would be unfair. They're so much at odds with each other, I can't say. They have a big dispute there, really.

It's about oil and gas supplies.

Namely, everybody knows, even sparrows on my roof (not to talk about all the crows there) - although there is 'no evidence', of course - that the Daesh is selling Syrian oil to the Syrian regime. But those stinking US-led airplanes bombed Daesh's makeshift refineries into oblivion, back in September and October. So, Daesh was now in trouble: it needed a new source of oil and gas it could sell to the regime.

Solution? Attack the biggest gas field in Syria - the Sha'er - which, by pure accident, of course, was held by the regime. Nobody said the Daesh-beasts know no logic.

So, in late October, they by-passed Dayr az-Zawr and drove all the way 'down' to attack Sha'er and T.4 AB. Almost took the regime by surprise, mauled the famous 'Tiger Force' of Col Sohail (Ba'ath Party Militia's 'special force'), and then became bogged down.

Of course, neither Assad nor Hamadani were happy about this treachery. Soi, they hit the Daesh very hard. The SyAAF was bombing ar-Raqqa and other places wide and far - prompting that poor gent from the WINEP to write his article, although he never got the grasp of the context.

Anyway, the SyAAF air strikes (up to 30 a day), eventually made the Daesh mad, so it launched an offensive on Dayr az-Zawr. A very interesting operation there, with two prongs: one from NE, other from SE. Led by plenty of VBIEDs, this almost overrun the local air base, few days ago. At least the regime wouldn't have a reason to claim it has regained control of Dayr az-Zawr airport - if it didn't lose it, first and foremost.

Now, the regime had its SAM-site and much of the 64th Artillery Regiment overrun when the Daesh took that hill NW of the air base, but it still found enough tubes and gunmen around to fire back a better part of that garrison's supply on chemical weapons. These were supported by about 20 Iranian- and Russian-made SSMs (attached bellow is a photo showing wreckage of a 9K79 Tochka (aka SS-21 Scarab)... apparently a variant equipped with 9N123K cluster-bombs warhead...

Result: the Daesh was beaten back with about five dozens of truckloads of dead at that posit alone, plus several hundreds of KIA elsewhere around the place and Dayr az-Zawr AB is now 'safely' in regime hands... 'thanks to heroism' of (Druze) Brig Gen Essam Zahreddine and his '104th Airborne Brigade', of course.

Who said the regime can't have its heroes in this war - even when using CWs...
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Old 6 Days Ago   #824
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...and the promised photo of the winner of this year's '9K79 Tochka/SS-21 Scarab in Syria' contest...
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Old 6 Days Ago   #825
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...but wait: the story is still not over. On the contrary: it's getting better and better!

Ever heard of something called 'ash-Shaietat'?

Yup, that's that silly Sunni tribe living all over Syria and Iraq - so often declared for 'Islamist extremists' all over the last 10 or so years, that they are fiercely at odds with al-Qaida and now the Daesh too.

Well, few years ago, somebody within the CENTCOM finally came to his senses and used to cooperate with ash-Shaietat, provide them with arms and help them in their fight against the AQI. (Don't worry: the 'US-friendly' gov in Baghdad would never do anything of that kind nowadays.)

But, since they have been overrun by the Daesh in Dayr az-Zawr area, and had about 700 of their members massacred for launching several uprisings against the beasts, back in August... well, who in the DC would ever come to the idea to provide some help to them? After all, they are 'extremist Islamists' and thus cannot pass the vetting...

And then think about all the uproar and discussions if somebody wold try to get the Congress to grant some US$2-3 billion that would be required for such an operation, and then take the CIA - or whoever else - some 2-3 years to organize and run...

And thus, instead of leaving them get massacred by the Daesh, the IRGC came to the idea to recruit about 200 of them, re-train them in Palmyra, and send them back to the frontlines in Dayr az-Zawr. As 'NDF Battalion'. Bellow the photo of the first group that arrived at the local air base, courtesy transport aircraft of the 'Syrian Arab Air Force'...
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Old 3 Days Ago   #826
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Ok... the withdrawal from Wadi ad-Dayf turned into a rout. Sort of....

As can be seen here, majority of remaining T-55s, T-62s, and BMP-1s run out of fuel and were given up (not even sabotaged; simply abandoned). The JAN, Ahrar & CO captured about 20 of them.

There are plenty of videos of troops ambushed and killed during their attempt to withdraw towards Hama.

Regime-fans report about 1,000 troops that got away (and that's all that was left of the former 11th Armoured Division), with around 100 KIA, plus some 80 rebels KIA... But, it turns out that at least 200 regime troops were captured, and fate of 'few hundred others' remains unknown....

Overall, 'total loss' in terms of equipment, and at least '30% loss' in troops...

The M5 highway between Hama and Aleppo is now definitely blocked. Means, the regime must waste plenty of fuel to haul all the supplies from Homs, via Palmyra, to Aleppo.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #827
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...ah, and according to official releases, following officers of the 11th Armoured Division are already 'confirmed as KIA':

1. Brig Gen Mou'az Waakad Abu Assaaf (Deputy CO, came from Suweida)
2. Col Wasseem Al (from Maysaf in Hama)
3. Capt Arwa Haatim Taraaf (from Baniyas in Tartous)
4. 1st Lt Mohammad Khalil (from Aleppo)

So far the only 'higher' ranking officer known to have managed it back to Moarek is Col Ahmad Afouf (from Aleppo): he and Lt Rami Issa are WIA.
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