Military Events in Syria and Iraq thread #3

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

  1. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    Good news from East Aleppo - Deir Hafer was indeed left by Daesh and has now been liberated by the Syrian army. The neigbor village Um Tinah has been taken too.

    The attack of Al Qaida in the Jobar suburb of Damaskus seems over, all the points they have taken have been retaken by the Syrian army, and the Syrian army continues what they have done before - to fight against the Qabun suburb, which this offensive has tried to support.

    Instead, the news from Hama are yet mainly negative - some more villages taken by the terrorists - but not completely negative, some two villages have already been taken back. People have expected that one has to wait three more days for the first good news, they appear already today - fine.

    About the question how long it will take to liberate Syria one can speculate a lot. How difficult it becomes to stop that Hama offensive will tell a lot about the strength of the Idlib terrorists. Daesh seems to be weakened, judging from their failure to defend itself in Deir Hafer and the quite fast victory in Palmyra. If they loose Mosul and Raqqa, not much is left. East Ghouta has been severely reduced already last year. So, it seems not that unreasonable to expect that Daesh and East Ghouta may be finished this year. And to speculate about what happens after this makes not much sense. Arabs are not that famous for their quality as fighters, they can easily switch sides if they see that they loose. On the other hand, if the Gulf States and America continue to pay them, they will continue to fight for the money. If not, this will finish in short time.
     
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  3. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    Now some maps. The first one is in Russian, but shows as the original frontline (green), as what has been recovered yesterday and this night (darker red):

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    So, this is not only one point where something has been recovered, but several. Here is another map, with names in English, with even more recovered:

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    This gives some hope that the greatest danger is over, in particular the danger for Hama itself, as well as for the Christian town Muhradah. But the moment of surprise is over, some reinforcements have already arrived, and it will no longer be that easy to attack for Al Qaida.
     
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  5. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    Almost no news from Northern Hama, which is good news for itself. There were sufficiently powerful attacks against Qumhanah, some jihadists were even inside the town, but were encircled and killed. Some new front at some other place, but without even an initial surprise success. In such a situation every day without any big success of the attackers is a victory in itself, it means, the surprise is over, the reinforcements have appeared there at least partially, and one can wait for

    Interesting news from the South: It appears that Daesh has left some regions without any fight, simply because they need fighters in Raqqa.
    https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/isil-withdrawing-fighters-southern-syria-concentrate-raqqa/
    Of course, what is left by Daesh is taken now by other terrorists, but those in the South are more moderate, some have been even supported by the Syrian army against Daesh. So, overall it is good news even if it is only a change from black to green jihadists. But what is much more important is that Daesh is now even so weak that they simply give up some regions.
     
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  7. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/breaking-isis-claims-tabqa-dam-on-verge-of-collapse/ gives information about ISIS claims about the Tabka dam: "ISIS has announced that Tabqa Dam in Raqqa’s western countryside is on the verge of collapse. ... ISIS claimed this is because of heavy US-led airstrikes and artillery bombardment. ... ISIS are not able to send maintenance teams to the dam because of the intense US-led bombings in the area. The breaking of the dam would be catastrophic to the surrounding region as well as a huge blow to Syria’s infrastructure."

    The US is known not to care about the preservation of Syria's infrastructure, so this is not completely unbelievable, even if the source is Daesh.

    Nothing new from the Hama front. Which is good news, because it is an indication that the terrorist offensive is essentially stopped. The only news are some repelled attacks, and the Salamiya-Homs highway has been secured https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/syrian-army-secures-vital-highway-central-syria/ which is relevant because attacks on this highway have been part of some support for the Hama offensive.

    What has, unexpectedly, not stopped (given that some of the forces were transferred to Hama) is the Syrian advance in East Aleppo:

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    Even with the usual temp, with four villages a day (one more village has been taken too). No heavy fights mentioned for the three villages on the map, but https://www.almasdarnews.com/articl...lling-in-east-aleppo-isil-retreats-euphrates/ mentions some battle for several hours for Rasm Al-Khamis Al-Gharbi, which has been taken after this. So, Daesh has not completely abandoned the region, but is simply too weak to defend over a long time.

    Deir Hafer is not marked as taken on this map, because there was not yet an official confirmation. Inofficially, there has been already information that the Syrian army is inside, but there are too many mines there, which have yet to be demined, and not Daesh yet inside. At least this is what most observers think about this.
     
  8. CptBork Valued Senior Member

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    I know, right? Everyone thinks Russia's just bombing schools and hospitals in order to destroy them, but they don't understand how much money it actually saves on the demolition stage before renovations.
     
  9. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    No, only poor Western propaganda victims believe such nonsense.

    Actually it seems there is yet some time to save the situation with the Tabka dam, and there also seem to be proposals for a ceasefire to allow repair: https://www.almasdarnews.com/articl...orces-stop-assault-isis-allow-engineers-work/

    Not much confirmed news from Hama, except for more attacks on Qomhana, again without success, but yet unconfirmed good news, some villages seem to have been liberated, in particular Maarzaf. Two mountains taken near Palmyra. And the Syrian army has started to take some of the regions in the South which have been left by Daesh. So, not all the territory goes to the "moderate" terrorists. The areas themselves are quite large, but mainly desert, so that this is not that important.
     
  10. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    Maarzaf is now officially (confirmed by the MO) under government control. So, a new map makes sense:

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    Kafr Amin is not yet officially cleared. On the other hand, Tel Samman North-West of Qomhama was liberated already yesterday (ok, there have been attacks against Qomhana today too, so it may have been lost again, who knows), and there is info that Tal Biju South-East of the Christian town Mahardeh has been liberated too. Whatever, the Hama offensive of the terrorists seems already over, and the reversal of their gains has seriously started.
     
  11. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    The SDF (Kurds) have executed what looks like an amphibious assault (!) across Lake Assad (which is about 10 km wide at the point they crossed), probably in small boats. They established a beachhead on the far bank and then advanced from there to seize the Tabqah airbase.

    http://www.edmaps.com/Battle_for_Maskanah_AlThawrah_March_27_2017.png

    ISIS are suddenly being attacked from two sides at Al Tabqah. I expect that US and other coalition air forces are providing air support for the Kurds, but Schmelzer's idea that they are bombing the dam sounds fanciful. Bombing in the vicinity of the dam, probably.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2017
  12. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    It looks like many of them were flown across the lake in US helicopters. Reportedly, there's a relatively large battalion-scale SDF force, accompanied by US Special Forces advisors. They seem to have only encountered light ISIS resistance, suggesting that the rather audacious move caught ISIS by surprise.

    (I wonder if the British will turn out to have been involved as well, since there have been rumors of British Chinook helicopters and SAS special forces arriving at a British base in Cyprus on some kind of unannounced secret mission. If that's true, this might be part of what they were intended for. Pretty clearly something to do with the coming assault on Raqqah.)

    The SDF were already near (~2km/1 mi) the north end of the dam, but their spokeswoman says they haven't assaulted it out of fear that ISIS has it rigged with explosives. ISIS seems to have started the story that the dam is near collapse and the Russian media picked it up. So it looks to me like ISIS was caught by surprise, fear that they will lose the dam, and are trying to use it as a hostage - 'attack us and the dam gets hurt'. It's possible that Raqqah is no longer receiving electricity from the dam, and assumed that since the area of the dam was under attack, the loss of electricity meant damage to the dam. (It probably just meant damage to the power distribution lines which may well have been intentionally cut by air strikes.)

    The use of US helicopters to ferry SDF fighters behind enemy lines is a new departure, as are US troops accompanying them there. That would have never happened in the past. It's an illustration of new rules of engagement.

    It's also significant that the US is committing itself more closely to fighting alongside the SDF, which definitely won't please the Turks who perceive the Syrian Kurds as a bigger enemy than ISIS. It probably won't please Assad either, since he doesn't want Syria divided between his government and an essentially independent Rojava. He probably planned to advance south of lake Assad through Maskanah to Tabqa. Nor will it please the Russians, who don't want to see US forces interfering inside what they perceive as their Syrian client-state.

    Here's the overall situation in north Syria -

    http://www.edmaps.com/Battle_for_Northern_Syria_March_28_2017.png

    Here's the situation around the dam -

    http://www.edmaps.com/html/maskanah-althawrah_march_27_20.html
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2017
  13. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    In Hama, the Syrian army starts to attack, today several hills have been taken:

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    The two hills in the South are, clearly, important for the defense of Hama itself as well as Qomhana, which was attacked a lot during the last days. The Bizam hill in the North may become more interesting in the future, because it may be the start of encircling the whole Northern Hama region along the Hama-Idlib border.

    In East Aleppo, the advances against Daesh continues too. Now the Syrian army seems to start the encirclement of the Jirah airbase:

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    And now Deir Hafer has been officially entered by the Syrian army, says https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/pictures-syrian-army-enters-deir-hafer-first-time/ with fotos from Syrian soldiers inside. That means, the Syrian army has now also complete control over the M4 highway up to the Jirah airbase. We will see how they continue - as usual by almost encircling the Jirah airbase and waiting until Daesh runs away? This is most probable, because the airbase itself is known to have good defense structure, thus, to take it would be much more difficult than to take surrounding villages and advance.

    At other places only minor changes, some houses in Jobar, some hills near Palmyra.
     
  14. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    Quite good day in Northern Hama. The hills taken yesterday have given something today, four villages in the region between Tal Shiya and Tal Saman and West of Tal Saman have been liberated today.

    There was also some quite heavy fighting around an army position known as Nr. 50, with Al Qaida attacking it heavily, finally taking it, but losing it again after a counterattack. Similarly, there has been a quite heavy attack in the Northern part, around Kernaz. Finally it ended without any gains for the attacking terrorists too, but where were intermediately claims about some village they have taken. Not clear if this was wishful thinking or an intermediate success which has later been lost.

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    So, time for a first summary: After 9 days, the big offensive has not only already been stopped, but the gains in the main attack direction, against Hama, have been already reverted. The attack has not had much influence neither on what happened in Damaskus (were all terrorist gains from their Jobar attack have also been reverted, and the Syrian army continues what it has done before, namely to attack Qabun), nor on East Aleppo, where Deir Hafer itself as well as the whole Deir Hafer plains have been liberated.
     
  15. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    Wow, I start a short summary, and immediately the situation changes. Ok, not really a necessity to correct something - even a new map is not necessary. Simply all the terrorists advances in the Western part - the blue area on the left - is now again red, controlled by the Syrian army. At least all the villages in this area, as well as the road Hama- Mrharda, which has already been reopened.
     
  16. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    The Syrian army has also taken the small village and the checkpoints North of Maharda. So, the small remaining gain North of Maharda is reverted too. The marked hill on the border has been taken too, actually there is fighting in the village Batish, so the gains in the Western part are really completely reversed, and they already start to liberate new territory.

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  17. CptBork Valued Senior Member

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    You dismiss my claim as nothing more than Western propaganda. Please show me one good reason why I should believe you and your sources rather than MSF, the United Nations and all the other international agencies who say hospitals and schools have been systematically bombed from the air, along with the overwhelming visual evidence. Otherwise I'm reporting your crap to the mods as propaganda, you've had more than enough time to blog for Putin here.
     
  18. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    Why should I? I'm quite comfortable with you discrediting yourself by openly believing NATO propaganda. It is not my problem, but your problem, if you believe in "last hospitals in Aleppo destroyed by Russian airstrikes" https://southfront.org/how-many-last-hospitals-russia-led-airstrikes-destroyed-in-aleppo/

    You are free to report whatever you hate to see. And the forum moderation is free to delete information which it does not like to see here. I understand very well that not everybody likes to read that the terrorists which have been paid by their own taxes do not succeed, so that their taxes have been wasted. Bad luck. But I think some readers here, as well as some of the moderation, is quite comfortable with getting some information about the actual events in Syria, and are also quite happy if the terrorists of ISIS and Al Qaida are hit.

    By the way, about bombing civilians:
    https://www.thenation.com/article/u...ay-now-be-killing-more-civilians-than-russia/
    I doubt the thesis that there is a difference between what Obama was really doing and what is Trump really doing now, but given that Trump is enemy, one can now write about it.

    Actually nothing new yet from the Hama and East Aleppo fronts. The agreement about the evacuation of Al Waer, the last suburb of Homs yet controlled by Al Qaida, seems to work, today a large portion of terrorists as well as civilians who prefer to leave have left the town toward Idlib: https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/third-wave-jihadist-rebels-leave-homs-bastion-idlib/ It is known that some of those who had left other enclaves toward Idlib, following similar agreements in the past, have participated in the Hama offensive. So, one may ask why does the Syrian government make such agreements, which transfer fighters to Idlib, where they can start attacks against the Syrian forces? Wouldn't it be much better to fight them in the enclaves, isolated and without much support from outside? The problem is that in this case one would have to fight in towns, with a lot of civilians inside, and, moreover, heavily prepared over several years with fortifications, tunnels and so on. Then, not all the fighters leave to Idlib, many use the possibility of amnesty to lay down their weapons. So, it is only a part which goes to Idlib, while one would have to fight them all without such agreements. And, then, encirclement is costly, one needs much more Syrian army fighters to encircle such an enclave than fighters inside. So, even this strategy has added fighters to Al Qaida for attacking, it has also added fighters to the Syrian army reserves, which have been able to revert these attacks
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2017
  19. CptBork Valued Senior Member

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    Because this place isn't a blog for you to simply re-post Russian propaganda, that's why.

    The various "last hospitals" quoted in those reports appear to be located in different regions of Aleppo, not just the city itself. Furthermore, multiple temporary hospitals were established during the fighting which were subsequently destroyed, and most of the reports are quoted from individuals on Twitter or re-synthesized information- only a few come from original news sources.

    I asked you for evidence contradicting MSF, the UN and multiple independent accredited news sources and organizations from around the globe, which you dismissed as "Western propaganda" for fools. In response, you merely sent me to a blog that re-posts Russian propaganda, and that's why I'm now going to report you and alert the mods to your misbehaviour.

    Yes, I hate seeing lying Russian SOB's posting rationalizations for ongoing genocides and attempting to undermine discussion of democratic freedoms and human rights.

    That's not how it works here. It's not the moderators' job to clean your chin up while you lap away at Putin's balls. They're more prone to deleting the posters themselves and leaving their garbage behind so everyone can see why it was done.

    I don't like seeing you label moderate rebels and their supporters as terrorists and using that as an excuse to murder their families, while avoiding fighting the actual terrorists you claim to be fighting whenever possible.

    JamesR already came here recently to warn you about the forum's propaganda guidelines. I think it's time to have another look and see whether you've moderated your behaviour since then. My feeling is that you should be suspended for a few days or a week as a starting point, and it should escalate from there if you don't learn your lesson, even if you go off crying to Putin and begging him to nuke this website's servers in Canada.

    A reasonable compromise might involve moving your blog to the pseudoscience section where it belongs alongside your other theories, since evidence is not something you prioritize when arriving at your conclusions.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2017
  20. CptBork Valued Senior Member

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    Just a followup to my previous post. The Southfront propaganda video Schmelzer linked to inaccurately attributes Twitter posts from November as having been made in July (a common KGB tactic these days). Several of the quoted posts were furthermore posted within short timespans and likely referred to the same hospital bombing incidents. In any case, Twitter is not a news organization, nor is Southfront.
     
  21. Bells Staff Member

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    Mod Note

    Schmelzer, you were advised by an administrator of this site about your propaganda and treating this thread like your blog. You were also admonished about your very vocal support of a repressive and murderous regime.

    Look dude, we don't particularly care if you fawn over Assad and Putin. What we do care about is that you stop with the propaganda. Your posts read like mouth pieces for propaganda snuff pieces advising the followers of what 'dear leader's' are up to. Change the countries and politicians involved and it could be from the North Korean state sponsored news. Enough already. If you want to start a blog where you can spam it, then knock yourself out. This is not the place for it.

    Please read the section of the rules in regards to propaganda. What you are doing in this thread reeks of it.

    Not only are we not "comfortable" with it, we have also had to address this in the last few pages, only for you to ignore us entirely.

    Cease and desist with treating this place like your personal blog and posting propaganda crap on this site.
     
  22. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I started this thread in hopes of following actual events on the ground in the Syrian civil war. I have no interest in other people moralizing about who they think the good guys or bad guys are. (I have NO respect for or interest in any of your moral opinions, about anything). This thread was intended to be about objective facts, about real physical events on the ground.

    I guess that I conceive of the Syrian civil war as kind of a giant chess-board, with many players with different capabilities, alliances and interests. I'm interested in observing their moves.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Realpolitik

    Regardless of which faction we as spectators adopt as our favored protagonists, their chances of success or failure are still going to be dependent on real-life events and conditions.

    I have no problem with what Schmelzer is doing. His reports and maps have always seemed factually accurate. We've often discussed them. I like the guy. I disagree with some of his neo-cold-war rhetoric (I'm far more pro-Western), but his rhetoric is no worse than the extraordinarily hostile and abusive political/moral posturing and ranting that occurs in every one of Sciforums political and social issues threads. (Often with the active and sometimes trollish participation of the moderators.)

    This thread has vastly more educational content than any of those threads. Somebody reading this thread and its predecessors from the beginning could get a very good picture of the ebb and flow of battle across Syria during the last few years.

    The fact that some of you hate Russia while Schmelzer seemingly likes it, is largely irrelevant to what's really happening in Syria.
     
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  23. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    Hm, let's try if there were such links in July. I start with the first one of

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    What I find is https://twitter.com/RudawEnglish/status/758611554657005568 Which, twitter claims, was posted 28. July. So, even if there would have been somewhere an error about the date, what would the point of falsifying it, once there anyway have been such twits in July?

    I have asked in #529 for a link to this "section of the rules in regards to propaganda" and received no answer. Ok, given that this accusation was repeated now, let's see:
    What does this have to do with the information I give here about the military events in Syria? The information I give is about what happens in Syria. There is no aim to proclaim some superiority - instead, the aim is to give information about the actual events. Ok, I believe that the secular Syrian government is superior to the rule of islamic fundamentalism as proposed by Daesh or Al Qaida, but it this is not the topic in this thread. I'm not at all preaching anything in favor of Assad, which is, imho, simply the least evil in that war. The same holds for other politicians too - I'm a libertarian anarchist, and reject all government as inherently evil, so there is in general only a question about less evil government.

    If you object that I name military organizations which fight the Syrian government "terrorists", and talk about "good news" if the Syrian government has some success in its fight against these groups, then, please, describe precise rules. Which organizations I'm allowed to name "terrorists"? Those accepted by the UN as terrorist organizations? Or, as usual, all organizations which fight, with military means, the government of the country? Can you give me a list of organizations I'm not allowed to name terrorists, or where I'm forbidden to name it "good news" if they loose in the fight with the government? A question to you in some sense similar to the one asked by the reporter in https://twitter.com/Souria4Syrians/status/761248812254031872 - I would simply like to hear some clear criteria.

    If you have some other objections, beyond naming some possibly US-supported groups "terrorists" and a success of the government against such groups "good news", please details, with a quote as an example.
    I would also like to hear a clarification which type of behavior on my side is forbidden behind the IMHO meaningless accusation of "treating this thread like your blog". Maybe I'm not allowed to post something until somebody else posts something? Again, I have no ability to create a discussion here, I can only post what I think is important for the topic "Military Events in Syria and Iraq".
    Can you support this imho nonsensical accusation with some example, and some explanation why you think so?
     

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