Military Events in Syria and Iraq thread #3

Discussion in 'World Events' started by Yazata, Apr 5, 2016.

  1. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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  3. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    Yesterday as well as today the Syrian army has continued its advances toward Al Bab, taking several villages:

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    namely Dayr Qaq, Tuman, Birat al Bab and Shamawiyah.

    A problem appeared: near the place where they have met the pro-Turkish forces, some firefights between the Syrian army and these pro-Turkish rebels have been reported. It seems, even Turkish artillery supported the pro-Turkish rebels, and the Russian airforce the Syrian side. As the result, a Russian bomb has hit some Turkish soldiers, three dead several more wounded. This resulted in a phone call between Putin and Erdogan with official admission that this has been done by the Russian airforce by accident and condolence.

    It is not implausible that all this was really by accident, everybody thinking they are shooting at Daesh, such things happen. But, as well, not completely implausible that at least some of this fighting was intentional. One should not forget that these pro-Turkish rebels have a long history of fighting Assad forces, and what prevents fighting is only a political cooperation between Putin and Erdogan. And, from a military point of view, it is important for the Syrian army to control the road to Aleppo. Nobody knows when the next attack against Aleppo starts, and when this happens a fast connection to Aleppo is important.

    Other things: A surprise attack by some pro-Turkish group in Latakia, looks like without success, at least yet. A special operation of SAA in Jobar against an Al Qaida headquarter, unknown but probably high number of killed jihadists.

    And a lot of fighting between different terrorist factions in Idlib. Here one can, of course, wish success to above sides. But it would be, of course, preferable if the more moderate win. Unfortunately, it seems that Al Qaida is winning.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2017
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  5. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    The battle for Al Bab is continuing. The pro-Turkish forces, afaiu together with the Turks, are entering the city again. The Syrian army has taken the last village before Tadef named Abo Taltal:

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    So Tadef is now already under fire control. But in Tadef there will be the hard defense line of Daesh.

    An interesting thing is that some Kurdish towns have signed a reconcilation agreement with the Syrian army. Among them towns Tal Rifa’at and Mennagh https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/kurdish-towns-reconcile-syrian-government-aleppo/ The town Tal Rifa'at as well as Mennagh are near the frontline between the Kurdish and pro-Turkish forces, and there have been, during the last time, some attacks on them from the pro-Turkish side. So, now the Syrian army takes control of them. Mennagh is also important for having a military airport, which can become useful in the future. So, the Afrin Kurds obtain a much better protection against the Turks, with an important part of their frontline now becoming part of the Syrian frontline. This seems very good news for reconciliation between Kurds and Syrian government in the future too.
     
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  7. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    Already the second day the Syrian army has started a new direction of attack against Daesh, namely toward the East.

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    Why this is done is not clear, there are several possible explanations. First, simply taking what can be easily taken given that the defenses are weak. Actually, it makes not much sense to defend such villages with a lot of power, given that Al Bab is under attack and Deir Hafer may be endangered in near future too. So, why not trying?

    Then, it may be the start of a greater offensive toward the Euphrat, or toward the Manbidsh Kurdish forces. This would close the way for the pro-Turkish forces toward Raqqa. If they don't want war with Russia, their only way would be through the Kurdish region, the pro-American part. An idea which some Russian guys have commented with "wish success to above".

    Or, another possibility, this is part of an offensive to take Deir Hafr, which is, after Al Bab, the last big town in that region. Last but not least, what has been taken was part of the main street from Al Bab to Deir Hafr.

    Bad news from the South, Daraa. The terrorists have started a powerful offensive, and, during the second day of this offensive, taken some buildings.
     
  8. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    The Syrian army attack toward the East continues, two villages and a hill have been taken:

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    The direction of the offensive remains unclear, but it seems now more directed toward Deir Hafr than toward the Euphrat.

    Near Palmyra, there has been a lot of fighting during the last days around the Hayyan gas fields. The Syrian army had already liberated them, but then were was a Daesh counterattack, and they have given up the gas fields themselves. Now they have been taken again: https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/syrian-army-liberates-hayyan-gas-fields-west-palmyra-2/
     
  9. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    And the Syrian army continues its advance in Eatern Aleppo, the direction is now toward Deir Hafr.

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    Yesterday, they have taken two more villages (North of the rectangle), during the night or so they have taken Shuweilekh (the rectangle) and today they have taken an important hill (the yellow circle), which gives them fire control over the nearby villages. There are also reports about air attacks against Rasm Al-Imam (East of the rectangle).

    So, actually the whole offensive looks like being directed against Deir Hafr, the big town in the lower right angle, some 5 km away yet.

    But one should not forget that there is also a strong interest in control of the canal which connects the Euphrat with Aleppo, (goes also through the rectangle). This canal is important for the water supply of Aleppo, and Daesh makes a lot of problems with this, because to get water from the Euphrat, there have to be used pumps here. To the Euphrat, there would be around 30 km, thus, yet a lot of work. In the same direction, there is also the Jirah airbase, which is also an interesting target.
     
  10. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    The Iraqis appear to have started a new offensive against the western half of Mosul that ISIS still holds, pushing from the southwest under cover of artillery and US air strikes. If this map is to be believed, they have made quite a bit of progress on the first day.

    http://www.edmaps.com/Iraq_Battle_for_Mosul_February_19.png
     
  11. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    It appears that the Iraqis have attacked the town of Abu Saif immediately south of Mosul airport. (See the map in the post above.) Airstrikes were observed Monday morning then ground forces moved in. (Counter-terrorist police and regular army. In Iraq, the special police are often better and more dogged fighters than army conscripts.) Reportedly the Iraqi troops control part of Abu Saif, but the Iraqis' main attention is on a hill nearby that overlooks the approaches to the airport.

    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/0...-into-isis-held-southern-outskirts-mosul.html

    Small numbers of US troops in armored vehicles were observed moving forward with the Iraqis. That's a change, since under Obama US advisors were typically restricted to headquarters and were kept away from the fighting. Apparently Trump has authorized them to advise smaller forward units even if that increases the risk of US casulties. I'd guess that some of the Americans might also be forward controllers to designate air and artillery targets to increase their accuracy. (Artillery and air can deliver ordinance with an accuracy of centimeters, if they know precisely where to aim.) Defense Secretary Mattis is apparently in Baghdad and he says that Americans are "very close" to the fighting if not actually in it.

    It's unclear how many fighters ISIS has left in West Mosul. Did they commit most of their men to trying unsuccessfully to hold East Mosul, or did they conserve most of their forces? The expectation is that they will put up most of their resistance in the older parts of the city closer to the center, where streets are narrow and it's difficult to move vehicles, especially large armored vehicles. That suggests lots of infantry street-fighting in narrow alleys, something the Iraqis might not be very good at.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2017 at 5:34 PM
  12. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Reports that Abu Saif and the strategic hill immediately to its west have been taken. (There is still the sound of gunfire coming from the town.)

    The Iraqis are reportedly assaulting the Ghazlani military base north of the hill and immediately west of the airport. Taking the base would leave the airport surrounded on two sides (south and west) with the Tigris river the third side (east). Apparently the Iraqi and their 'coalition' allies hope to use the airport as a staging area in the future for the coming battle of West Mosul.

    https://southfront.org/iraqi-forces-storming-al-ghazlani-military-base-south-of-mosul/

    Here's more on the changing role of US troops in the Mosul fight.

    http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-mattis-iraq-20170220-story.html
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017 at 12:07 AM
  13. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    The Iraqis appear to be consolidating the roughly 30 sq. miles they've already retaken on Mosul's southern outskirts and are moving up forces to attack the airport (perhaps in the next few days). They haven't taken the Ghazlani military base yet. (The base is a huge complex of barracks and training areas, but is largely deserted now because it's been the target of countless 'coalition' airstrikes. Basing ISIS fighters there would just expose them to air attack.)

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-iraq-mosul-idUSKBN1601VT
     
  14. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    The Syrian army continues its progress against Daesh in East of Aleppo. During the last three days they have liberated three villages in the region North of Deir Hafr:

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    Rasm Haml Iman,Ma'azah and Maborah. This opens another direction of a possible attack against Deir Hafr, from the North. But, again, it may be directed toward the East, to reach the Euphrat or the Kurds in the East.

    A new development is that the Syrian army has liberated a Western suburb of Aleppo:

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    This suburb Aqrah was controlled by Al Qaida. It seems, the Syrian army has not done much during the last time to allow the terrorists to kill each other in their infights. But this cannot last for a very long time, and the suburbs of Aleppo have to be liberated to secure Aleppo itself.
     
  15. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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  16. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    The Iraqis have entered the Mosul airport's sprawling grounds and have retaken the runways, though fighting still seems to be taking place around the airport buildings. Some news media are reporting that the Iraqis have taken the airport in its entirety, but that may be premature.

    The Iraqis have also entered the Ghazlani military base and reportedly hope to have it under control in hours.

    Thirdly, Mosul's main electric power plant is under attack and the Iraqis hope to have it under control soon.

    Reports say that US special forces advisers in armored vehicles are present with the Iraqis at the airport, within clear sight of the battle and attack helicopters strafing ISIS positions. (Are the helicopters US or Iraqi? The photos I've seen show Mi-24 Hinds, which suggests they are probably the Iraqi air force though the US special forces have been known to use these large and capable Russian attack helicopters themselves in places like Afghanistan where they are available.)

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-iraq-mosul-idUSKBN1620HI

    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/0...ke-runway-at-mosul-international-airport.html
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017 at 6:27 PM
  17. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Reports that the Turks and their "FSA" allies have taken Al Bab, Bizaa and Qabasin. Some reports say that there's still fighting in these towns and they haven't been completely taken, but something big seems to be happening there.

    http://www.edmaps.com/html/al-bab_february_23_2017.html

    In Mosul news, the Iraqis seem to have consolidated their hold on the Mosul international airport, after optimistically announcing its seizure yesterday. Lingering ISIS holdouts are being rooted out after most the airport's ISIS defenders pulled back into west Mosul.

    http://www.voanews.com/a/iraqi-forc...-controlled-strongholds-in-mosul/3736556.html

    Perhaps knowing that the Iraqis hope to use the airport for supply flights and to operate helicopters, ISIS seems to have pretty much trashed the place before they left, blowing up buildings and runways.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017 at 5:49 PM

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