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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    But there are some other good news today. The Syrian army has started an offensive in Latakia. And already in the first day, they have reached surprising advantages:

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    While different maps differ, for whatever reasons, about the location of the Idlib/Latakia border, if this border is correct, then the Syrian army has, again, reached the territory of Idlib.

    Latakia was a region where after the Russians came there was a slow but permanent advance. But then came the ceasefire, and the situation changed a little bit, with some advances followed by conterattacks, resulting finally in some losses for the Syrian army, in particular of the town Kinsabba. But during the last month, most of these losses, in particular Kinsabba, have been retaken. With the advances today, the recovery of these losses seems to be completed. At least one place, Ayn al-Hawr the Syrian army has taken the first time since many years.
     
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  3. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Reports are coming in late Friday Sept 9 that the US and Russia (US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov) have reached an agreement on Syria.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-37324872

    https://www.rt.com/news/358855-syria-ceasefire-plan-kerry-lavrov/

    It isn't clear, but there seems to be agreement by the Russians that they and the Syrians are not to launch attacks and airstrikes in designated areas where the "moderate" rebels are supposedly located. Apparently this is a geographical matter of particular designated areas, suggesting that if the rebels move outside those areas to attack Syrian government forces in areas where government forces are currently located, the rebels would seemingly be outside the agreed protection zone and make themselves subject to counter-attack.

    To facilitate delineating the respective areas, the US and Russia are to form a 'Joint Implementation Center'.

    Nusra Front forces, or whatever they are calling themselves now, are still fair game and not part of the agreement.

    There are even some hints about the various parties - the Russian air force, the Americans, the "coalition" (French, British and co.) and maybe even the Syrian AF) - might actually coordinate their attacks on Nusra and ISIS. That would require further technical coordination on intelligence sharing, IFF procedures, combat air traffic control and perhaps even combat search and rescue. (NATO air forces practice doing those things with each other all the time, the Russians are no doubt pretty adept at it too, but the Syrian SF might have trouble.)

    Lavrov says that the agreements include five separate documents.

    In Aleppo and elsewhere, humanitarian supply corridors into "all besieged and hard to reach areas" are to be organized.

    Apparently the agreements include a cease-fire to go into effect on Sept 12 and something about talks between all parties, as called for in various UN resolutions. Given that many of the rebels have demanded Assad step down as a precondition to their participating in talks, it will be interesting to see how that part goes. And given that this is a US-Russia agreement and wasn't negotiated by any of the local parties in the Syrian civil war, it remains to be seen whether the idea of the powers negotiating over their heads will anger them and how widespread their compliance will be.

    The Syrian government has apparently already been leaned on by the Russians and say that they are ready to comply. The 'rebels' are actually loose coalitions of sometimes radical Islamist militias, so getting all of them to agree to anything may be tough. The US needs to lean on those who listen to Washington, and hopefully Turkey and Saudi Arabia will do the same with those they arm and support.

    That still leaves the Turkish incursion and the Kurds...
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2016
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  5. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    Good timing for a ceasefire around Aleppo. From a military point of view, the Syrian army is in a sufficiently comfortable situation there, with safe roads all around Aleppo. The terrorists are besieged. The Syrian army hardly has the ability for a fast storm, so, there will be a long siege. To minimize the harm caused by Western propaganda, one gives access to various aid, the Syrian army does not fly there, the Russian in well-defined and coordinates ways, so forget about future fakes of bombed hospitals, chemical attacks and so on.
     
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  7. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    The Turks appear to be pushing southwards from the Al Rai area near the border towards ISIS-held Al Bab.

    Al Bab is the largest town (~50,000 population) that ISIS/Daesh still holds in the border area. Apparently they have pulled their northern headquarters out of that town on Wednesday Sept 7 and and it's now in the small village of Al Kafsah to the southeast near the Euphrates. So it looks like they anticipate Al Bab falling. Al Kafsah appears to be dangerously near the Kurds, so I expect the HQ to move again shortly.

    The last place they are making a stand in the north appears to be near Azaz in the far northwest, around the small village of Dabiq. This location has little military importance but has great religious significance for ISIS, since their prophecies say that the last great apocalyptic battle between good (their brand of radical Sunni Islam) and evil (everyone else) will take place there. That's when God and his heavenly hosts is expected to come down from the heavens to ensure their victory and usher in the end-times and God's Kingdom. So thousands of their fighters might fight to the death, willing to achieve martyrdom there. The Turks seem content to go around it.

    http://www.edmaps.com/html/northern_syria_september_9_201.html

    The Kurds are still in Manbij and its surrounding area, west of the Euphrates. They may even be expanding, taking more territory from Daesh as the latter flee the Turks. They seem to be expanding from the western Afrin enclave too, east of Tal Rifat and south of Mare. For the moment, the Turks don't seem to be trying to confront or dislodge them. Instead the Turks are trying to insert themselves to the west of Manbij, in the Al Bab area.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2016
  8. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    It seems that Turkey intends to permanently annex syrian territory .
    Correct?
     
  9. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    No, I don't think so. They want to prevent the Kurds from linking their Rojava statelet east of the Euphrates to their Afrin enclave in the northwest. So they are inserting their army in between. Actually occupying that territory will mostly fall to the Syrian rebel proxies that they arm, pay and support. I don't expect Turkey to annex it. They just want to ensure that forces allied to them occupy it.
     
  10. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    The ceasefire has gone into effect as of sundown Sept 12, Syria time. Reports are that the fighting fronts are quiet.

    The Most Important Players (there are hundreds of armed groups in Syria):

    The pro-government side -

    Syrian Army - was 300,000 strong before the war, now at about 150,000 due to deaths, desertions and draft dodging.

    Pro-Assad irregulars - ~200,000, called the 'National Defense Forces'. Many are Alawites, Druze and Christians defending their own villages from the Sunni Islamists. Others are ill-disciplined pro-regime thugs.

    5,000-8,000 Hezbollah from Lebanon

    An unknown number of Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

    The latter two, Hezbollah and the Iranians, have proved to be the best forces Assad has in the Aleppo area.

    The rebel side -

    Free Syrian Army, numbers unknown. This was important early in the conflict but is now splintered by internal divisions. The name is still often used as a general term for "moderate rebels" though, even though there is no coherent command or logistics.

    Ahrar al-Sham - One of the largest rebel groups in northern Syria, controls much of Idlib province and is powerful in Aleppo. Perhaps 20,000 fighters. Hardline Islamists who want to impose Shariah, they are allied with Fateh al-Sham and often fight alongside them. They have announced that they won't recognize the ceasefire presumably because of that alliance, but they don't seem to be violating the ceasefire in the early hours.

    Jaish al-Islam - Hardline Islamist, wants to drive all non-Sunnis from Syria, seemingly most powerful in southern Syria and around Damascus.

    Islamic State - Ultra hardline Islamist. Many of us would call them savages. Not a party to the ceasefire agreement.

    Fateh al-Sham - formerly known as Al-Nusra Front, the Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria. Not a party to the ceasefire agreement. Fights alongside Ahrar al-Sham in Idlib and Aleppo.

    Kurds - YPG People's Protection Units have proven themselves capable fighters in battling ISIS and the US has been quietly supporting them with airstrikes. YPG is the leading component of the multi-ethnic SDF coalition. They have kind of a grudging cooperation arrangement with Assad, though that broke down recently in Al Hasakah in eastern Syria when YPG and regime forces fought each other. The Kurds are anathema to the Turks.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/af...-rebels-Ahrar-al-Sham-reject-truce-group.html

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-3785592/Whos-Syrias-ceasefire.html
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2016
  11. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    There are at least 20 rebel groups which openly reject the ceasefire. According to https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/20-militant-groups-reject-syrian-ceasefire-agreement/ announcement was made by the Free Syrian Army but many of the groups rejecting the ceasefire are not a part of that groups umbrella, among them Failaq Al-Sham , Nour Al-Deen Al-Zanki, Jaish al-Islam, Shamia front, Ajnad al-Sham, Jaish Al-Nasr and Jaish al-Tahrir. According to https://www.almasdarnews.com/articl...ian-oppositions-refusal-implement-peace-plan/ Ahrar al-Sham is also among those who do not accept the ceasefire. The Kurds anyway have to fight with the Turks and Daesh. So, looks like nothing important remains.

    The interesting question is what follows for the relations between these groups and the US. Will the US continue to pay them, even if they reject an US-brokered peace deal? Remember that Nour Al-Deen Al-Zanki are these child head-cutters paid by the US, which the US continues to support despite this head-cutting, see https://twitter.com/Souria4Syrians/status/761248812254031872 Now they have not only beheaded some subhuman palestinian child, which seems not worth to mention, but openly reject a US-supported peace deal. This already becomes interesting.
     
  12. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    6,712
    You lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.
    By proxy, we cut the heads off of children.
    Your tax dollars at work.
    Don't it make you proud to be an american?
     
  13. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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  14. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    It appears that US special forces are accompanying the Turkish incursion into northern Syria.

    This became evident today when a group of them were confronted in the border village of Al Rai by ostensibly "Free Syrian Army" fighters who threatened violence and shouted insults. These supposedly "moderate rebels" were from from a group called the Ahrar Al-Sharqiya Brigade, apparently armed and paid by Turkey. They shouted "Allah akbar!", "Christians and Americans have no place among us!", and "The collaborators of America are dogs and pigs! They wage a crusader war against Syria and Islam!"

    The Americans seemed relaxed throughout it all, got in their trucks and drove back over the nearby Turkish border.

    It seems that the word 'moderate' means something vastly different in Syria than it does in Washington DC. One wonders whether, apart from the Kurds and perhaps Assad, whether there are any secular Syrians in that country. So much for the much-hyped and vastly-overidealized "Arab spring".

    Why is the US continuing to support "the rebels", trying to destabilize Syria and promote anarchy there? What possible good is that doing? I don't think that the US should support Assad, who is too brutal and dictatorial. (Let the Russians do that.) But the US really needs to re-think its support of "the rebels".

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/201...orced-to-run-away-from-us-backed-syrian-rebe/

    A Kurdish source comments

    http://aranews.net/2016/09/turkey-backed-rebels-syria-threaten-massacre-us-troops-calling-infidels/
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2016
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  15. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    The fucking US "coalition" in Syria has now directly attacked the Syrian army, killed 62 soldiers, 100 injured, near Deir Ezzor. After this US preparation, Daesh started to attack. So, the US is now ISIS airforce.
     
  16. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    The US has admitted that it was 'coalition' planes that struck the Syrian army positions. Apparently those in charge of targeting believed that what were being hit were ISIS positions. They say that the attacks were called off as soon as they learned (presumably from the Russians) that the people being hit were Syrian army.

    The Russians say that 2 F-16s and 2 A-10s were involved. While many 'coalition' air forces fly F-16s, to my knowledge only the USAF has A-10s.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-strike-idUSKCN11N0SC

    Reportedly the Syrian army is conducting operations in the area, expanding the area they hold, and the Americans seem to have been unaware of their advance in that particular area and believed that the position they hit was still occupied by ISIS.

    This is why the US-Russia 'Joint Implementation Center' that's to be created is so important. There needs to be a mechanism to share intelligence such as up-to-date targeting information.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2016
  17. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    Oops
    We have now openly attacked a sovereign government.
    War crimes tribunal anyone?
    .................

    The Latest on the conflict in Syria, where the U.S. military says it may have unintentionally struck government forces. (all times local):
    12:45 a.m.
    The United Nations Security Council has scheduled an emergency meeting for Saturday night at Russia's request to discuss a U.S. airstrike that Moscow says struck Syrian government troops battling the Islamic State group.

    The council meeting was scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. (2330 GMT).

    Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova says Moscow is demanding "full and detailed explanations about whether this was deliberate support of the Islamic State or another mistake."

    Zakharova was quoted by the state news agency Tass as saying that "after today's attack on the Syrian army, we come to the terrible conclusion that the White House is defending the Islamic State."

    .......................
    well then?
    Do they air these meetings on tv?
     
  18. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    Did anything of substance come out of the "emergency security council" meeting?
     
  19. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Has anything of substance ever come out of any UN meeting?

    It sounds like a lot of bluster to me. Russia is angry that their allies were hit by US air strikes yesterday. France pointed out that the Syrian AF launched four air strikes on rebel held parts of Aleppo yesterday as well, which they said also violated the cease fire. There have also reportedly been Syrian airstrikes on the rebel enclave of Rostan, in between Homs and Hama.

    Russia is still trying to suggest that the US is intentionally flying air support for ISIS which is ridiculous. They also make the more substantial point that if the US error was accidental, it illustrates the danger of the US refusing to coordinate with the Russians on things like target selection. (The Russians obviously have much better information on where the Syrian army is at any moment.) But my understanding is that the US and Russia are to create a Joint Implementation Center after the cease-fire has held for seven days. So presumably that air coordination is coming.

    Both sides are complaining that aid supplies aren't getting into east Aleppo, with both sides accusing the other of holding it up by failure to have their Syrian clients guarantee safe passage for the shipments through areas they control.

    The biggest long-term threat to the cease-fire seems to be the problem that the rebels were supposed to separate themselves from Nusra/Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, and most show little sign of doing so. Fateh al-Sham continues to attack the Syrian army with the rebels fighting alongside them. So if Syrian government forces attack back, they are accused of targeting "moderate" rebels. The separation of the rebel forces was meant to eliminate that problem.

    http://www.militarytimes.com/articles/syrian-army-regains-areas-lost-to-isis-after-us-led-airstrike
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2016
  20. Schmelzer Valued Senior Member

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    The ceasefire is over, the Russians have declared that a one-sided ceasefire by the Syrian side alone makes no sense, and the Syrians have declared that the ceasefire is finished.
     
  21. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

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    Except there never was a one sided ceasefire and that's the problem. Syria and Russia never lived up to their agreement.
     
  22. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

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    Do you really think there was anything of merit in Russia's temper tantrum?
     
  23. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    Temper tantrum?

    You trying to color the evidence?
    The us and britain committed an act of aggression against Russia's ally.
    "Oops it were a accident" without sharing more information seemed pretty lame.
    By expanding the event to the security council and press, they made it undesirable for the us and allies to commit the same "mistake" again.

    Do you really think that our air farce is that incompetent, or would you prefer the incident to be seen as an act of illegal overt aggression?
     

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