The race to liberate Raqqa

The Syrian army also looked poised to advance into the Islamic State-held province of Raqqa for the first time since 2014, apparently to pre-empt any move by Saudi Arabia to send ground forces into Syria to fight the jihadist insurgents.

A Syrian military source said the army captured positions at the provincial border between Hama and Raqqa in the last two days and intends to advance further.

“It is an indication of the direction of coming operations toward Raqqa. In general, the Raqqa front is open … starting in the direction of the Tabqa area,” the source said.

Tabqa is the location of an air base captured by Islamic State two years ago, and the source said the army had moved to within 35 km (20 miles) of the base.

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Russia reforms 1st Guards Tank Army | Jane’s

The Russian Ground Forces has completed the reactivation of the 1st Guards Tank Army in Russia’s Western Military District (WMD) and is to form two new armoured divisions, the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced.

According to the MoD, the 1st Guards was reformed on 1 February and will be equipped with T-72B3 and T-80 main battle tanks (MBTs). A Russian tank army is typically equipped with 500 MBTs.

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The terminal phase of syria’s civil war

There is abundant empirical evidence that most of the Syrian population supports the government over the armed opposition. But for those who find this too difficult to swallow, as has been argued elsewhere, it almost doesn’t matter how people feel about the regime precisely because it is the default—it will remain in power unless and until a sufficient portion of the population actively sides with the opposition (barring direct foreign military intervention). That is, what really matters is how the Syrian people feel about the rebels–and on this point, the trends are unambiguous and highly-unfavorable:

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The Turkish 2nd Army. Invasion Force for Syria? | Southfront

Photographic evidence shows that the mechanized and armored forces being used in the internal operations against the Kurds within Turkey and Syria and also the incursion into northern Iraq, are composed of relatively modern tanks and infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs). Reports have recently been made public that over 1,000 pieces of military equipment, likely consisting of MBTs, IFVs, self-propelled and towed artillery and their prime movers, as well as trucks and light vehicles have been massing in staging areas just north of the border. Turkish military spokesmen have stressed that they have positioned approximately 30 percent of the Turkish land forces along the border with Syria.

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