The military situation in Syria. 02.02.2017 | Colonel Cassad

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The military situation in Syria by 2 February 2017.

Deir ez-Zor.

February 1, SAA was not able to solve the problem of connection of the split parts of the enclave. Tactical successes were achieved in the area of the cemetery and the power plant, but to break through the defense fighters and unblock the road still fails. Here the enemy went on the defensive and trying to keep it profitable, the configuration of the front, which he expects to use in later offensive operations. Overall, the offensive launched by the Caliphate on 15 January came to nothing, and all significant changes occurred on 15-18 January.Further, due to the transferred reserves and air strikes by the Syrian air force and VKS RF, the situation was stabilized and the offensive activity of the militants cropped. But in strategic terms the overall situation in Deir ez-Zor during the January fighting worsened, which could have an impact in the coming months, unless of course the SAA due to active feeding outside will not be able to recover the positions near the airbase. In General, the battles here went in positional phase. At the moment the SAA does not leave attempts to oust the Caliphate from the road adjacent to city blocks.Syrian sources have reported serious losses of the enemy in the infantry.

It should also be noted the offensive activity SDF/YPG to the North of Deir-ez-Zor. Kurdish light infantry on carts took the oil station to the North of the city, creating a distant threat advancing towards Deir-ez-Zor in the North. Specific defensive positions here at the Caliphate no, but the activity of the Kurds fettered by the fact that the main forces Rozhava used for operations in the area of Raqqa.


Possible scenarios deblokady Deir-ez-Zor during the campaign in 2017. It seems that the CAA will be much easier to move through Palmyra rather than along the southern shore of the Euphrates. For Kurds, the question deblokady Deir-ez-Zor lies in political expediency and release limitations from other sectors.

Wadi Barada.

Ended the actual surrender of the main forces of the militants in the Wadi Barada. Implacable was sent to Idlib, where a raging war between the green groups. Water crisis the Syrians were able to overcome and now they have to deal with rebuilding. From a military point of view, the surrender of Wadi Barada allowed to start the long-awaited transfer of the vacant parts of the SAA and “Hezbulla” to other areas. Part of the SAA and the Lebanese moved to Contare, some sent to help troops besieging East ghouta. Something was sent to the Eastern Kalamun.The tasks of these rearrangements are quite clear – in the area of Kontari SAA will endeavour to clean at least part of the territory near the border with Israel, in Eastern Guta reinforcements can help with the operations of the district Council or Rayhan, well Qalamoun reinforcement helps to stop the activity of the Caliphate.

Eastern Ghouta.

In the Eastern Guta, the main activity of the SAA is now concentrated in the area of highway Damascus-HOMS passed by Duma, and Hazama, where the Syrians are trying to cut off from the main part of the enclave, a piece of territory with al-Asabia to gradually liberate on the model of the battle for the bulge tal Kurdi North from Rayhan. The major resistance here exert force “Jaish al-Islam”, which is hard enough soprotivlyayutsya. In recent days, the SAA lost here 1 tank, 1 BMP and about 20-30 soldiers killed and wounded.The losses of the insurgents amounted to from 30 to 40 people (in the social.networks there are photos with many killed on both sides). Overall, as expected, despite the fact that “Jaish al-Islam” formally involved in the negotiation process in Eastern ghouta with it, no one peremejaetsya and SAA as before trying to eliminate the enclave. A partial truce naturally does not lead to peace, but only allows you to free up troops from some areas to use them on others. Peacekeeping rhetoric to the public, should not deceive, the parties still prefer a military solution to the conflict.Achieved by fighting changes in the strategic balance of the Syrian war, and pave the way for real, not declarative negotiations that we could see in the case of the battle for Aleppo.

Idlib.

The lack of active offensive operations in Northern Hama and West of Aleppo, allowed the militants to focus on the war with each other in Idlib. Proizoshedshie polarization of radical jihadists and their rallying around the warring coalitions of “Ahrar al-sham” and “An-Nusra”, is generally moving in favour of the Assad line, which is doing other parts of the front, can watch his enemies kill each other, which leads to further disconnection of the anti-Assad coalition.At the moment, “al-Nusra” in the local civil war dominates, but overall the fighting between the factions are low-intensity in nature and characterised by individual killings, ambushes, raids, without a clear front line. To give taking place in Idlib at least some meaning, “Ahrar al-sham” sent part of his forces to the borders of the Shiite enclave of Foix, showing a willingness to step up operations against the enclave.The whole thing with air periodically cover VC of the Russian Federation and the United States air force, and the Americans are bombing is not very legible, with the result that together with the militants “al-Qaeda”, and killed many civilians. The United States is already quite clearly marked, “An-Nusra” to have Affairs will not, therefore, in Idlib is the actual hunt for the leaders associated with “al-Qaeda”. Reconnaissance drones Americans fly over Idlib and identify the position of the camps and headquarters of the insurgents, after which the air force strikes on him. From December eliminated 7 field commanders and dozens of fighters.

Al-Bab.

Under al-Bab, Turkey has failed so far to storm the city, waiting until I’m from the South suit of the Syrian army who are already on the outskirts of Talifu. According to the militants to al-Baba SAA remained 7 kilometres.

The Turks, in turn, continue to attempt to surround Cubicin, but the militants still hold the projection, which threatens to turn into a mini-boiler, which will be around 200-300 fighters. Signs of withdrawal of fighters from al-Baba yet, “black” is confident enough to reflect the Turkish assaults in the heart of the city and lead to a chilling effect against SAA advancing from the South. However, seriously inhibit the promotion of the SAA, they will be able only in the area Tarifa. It should also be remembered that the SAA do not have dolzhga seek immediate promotion to al-Baba.More opportunities promises a move to the North-East, in order to cut off the grouping of the Caliphate to al Bāb from the main territory of the Islamic State. To do this, SAA needs to connect with the Turkish army to the East of Tarifa. This option is promising that under the threat environment and the further destruction of the al-girl groups of the Caliphate, the command is “black” in Northern Syria may decide on the withdrawal of the main forces on the model leaving Dubinskaja guide that will allow you to avoid a painful battle for the city.

The main intrigue of what is happening is not even that, when the Caliphate here will fail (it is inevitable), and who take al-Bab. Despite the loud statements of the Turks themselves why they are not in a hurry to storm the city. Very likely, his fate is the subject of backroom agreements between Russia, Iran and Turkey, in which al-Bab could promise to Erdogan, and to put it before the fact that al-Bab must free Syrian army. Meanwhile, in terms of who will take al-Bab, there remains a remarkable uncertainty.

Aleppo.

In recent weeks, during the onset of the SAA to al-Bab, was liberated a significant area to the North-West of the airbase Kuveyris, as well as a few dozen settlements.
Simultaneously, the SAA probes the defense of the Caliphate South of the airbase Kuveyris, indicating their intentions related to the liberation of the Dayr-Hafir. After the likely loss of al-Baba, of Deir Hafir will be the main obstacle for the SAA in promoting the Euphrates. Fighting on dannion stage going East from Jabula, about the same place where the SAA stopped in November 2015, after deblokady Kouvaris.
The crisis in the area of Khanasser as expected, turned out to be local. The Caliphate had another raiding operation, after which the “firemen” traditionally, to restore the situation. The offensive in the direction of the administrative borders of raqqa province has slowed down, so that we can say that the local poke ‘black’ some success was had. Iran now enriches suffered in these battles the losses of the unit “Liva, Patition”. To the West and South of Aleppo without significant changes.

Raqqa.

The advance of the Kurds in Raqqa expected slowed down. The Caliphate took the main force nearer the city, where he began to give more serious resistance, causing counter-attacks and be more active in using suicide bombers. The loss of the Kurds immediately crawled up, and the lack of heavy machinery at once began to take its toll. However, they retain the operational initiative and with the support of Americans succumbing to “black” to the West of the city, along the way feeling the main defense to the North of Raqqa, where is has already failed two of the attack on the capital of the Caliphate.Among active plans that can be implemented in the near future, marked detour North-East to reach the Eastern outskirts of Raqqa and take thus the capital of the Caliphate in semicircle to make it a “black” defense. Alternatively, there is the option with the crossing of the Euphrates and the capture of Tabka, to cut the communication between Raqqa and the troops of the Caliphate in Northern Syria and put a block on the way to a possible SAA offensive in raqqa province.The United States in 2016 provided the Kurds engineering technology and a pontoon Park, so in theory, the option with the crossing of the Euphrates it is possible, though risky. In General, the Kurds and the United States while engaged in preparatory operations, creating preconditions for the assault on Raqqa, which could take place during the spring-summer campaign of 2017. Much of the implementation of these plans will depend on Russian-American agreements on Syria and the course that the administration trump will choose in the war in Syria and the Kurdish issue.

Tiyas.

In the area of Tiyas continued sluggish the occurrence of the SAA, which last week expanded a zone of control around the base and tries to advance in the area of the intersection of roads in the direction of Kuwaitis-Gazal.

Simultaneously, South of the airbase and to the East of al-Qaryatayn, SAA and “Hezbollah” pushed back the militants into the desert, trying to secure the southern flank of the group, which should move in the direction of Palmyra.The Syrian command quite sensibly decided that pulling narrow the intestine and along the route of Ties-Palmyra is very risky and you can easily get hit in the flank, trying to first secure the flanks, and to harass the rebels, then to have a more favorable position to move to Palmyra, simultaneously creating defensive positions in the vicinity of the oil fields to the North of the road and under cover of the blow from the desert to the South. Quickly move to Palmyra there is can not wait, first you have to solve a number of local operational challenges.The initiative again passed into the hands of the SAA and to say that Syrians here have already fully recovered from the December defeat. The Caliphate, however, are being engaged in the active defense to do more he would have to remove troops out of Deir ez-Zor or Raqqa.

Kalamun.

Fighting continued in Eastern Qalamoun, where the SAA after a transfer of reinforcements to oust the Caliphate in the village of al-Rummo and ward off the militants to the desert. In the nearby enclave of “green” said that they, too, begin an offensive against the Caliphate, which in fact resulted in the occupation of a piece of the desert and abandoned positions of the Caliphate, whose troops retreated to the northeast. The Syrians were deployed in the occupied territories for more defensive Midfielders to cover key roads.Overall, despite the high intensity of the fighting, the fighting is unlikely to affect the overall situation, although the increase in the load on the operation can be done as a green enclave, and promotion along the route to the North-East, in the direction of Palmyra, to secure the southern flank of group of the SAA in Eastern HOMS. For this back to take the village of al-Barda and the adjacent crossroads.

Results.

Overall, while the political platform of the campaign 2017 has not yet been determined (the peace talks is stuck, the US position is reformatted, there is no clarity with the Kurdish question, do not clear the parameters of the deal Russia, Iran and Turkey), the parties continue to work on improving their positions for the spring campaign of 2017. At SAA, in principle, things are going well, except for the issues with Deir-ez-Zor.Initiative on the firmly held, the supply of weapons from Russia and volunteers from Iran, training the new army corps, which equips Russia, the release of additional forces at the surrender of “green” enclaves, will expand the ability of the SAA to conduct offensive operations during the spring-summer campaign. The transition of Turkey to the role of the companion Russian-Iranian coalition, and the civil war between the “green” fighters, as well make things easier for Assad.

The Kurds as a whole continue to improve their position in the provinces of Aleppo, raqqa, Hasaka, Deir ez-Zor, creating a more solid ground for talks on their role in post-war Syria. They were forced to accept the fact that connect with Afrin will not give them a full and Kurdistan along the border with Turkey will not work. Now they like many are waiting for clarification of the US position on the Syrian and the Kurdish issue for the Kurds is particularly important, as is the United States at this stage are the main supplier of weapons to the Kurds and the main lobbyists of their autonomy.Russia is taking this into account, hence the proposals for the federalization of Syria associated with the emergence after the war of Kurdish autonomy within Syria. This question will play an important role in Russia’s negotiations with the United States and Turkey, plus do not forget about the fact that Assad has shown little interest in the federalization of Syria. But this is a debated issue.

The position of “green” continues to deteriorate. The internal strife and change of position of Turkey, made it impossible for their military victory and now they are hanging on the threads of Turkish and Saudi supply, in fact have included in the post-war government of Syria, is increasingly becoming a bargaining chip in bargaining with foreign participants in the war, or dropping at full margins “bad terrorism”, which leads to the fact that “al-Nusra” and, at the same time bombing and videoconferencing Russia and the United States air force.It is “green” in 2016, suffered the most painful defeat and their prospects in the campaign of 2017 is very vague.

The Caliphate retreat but never surrender. Many opponents of the regime Baghdadi from all sides have imposed a “mini-Empire pure Islam”, clenching around the ring. In February 2017 the strategic position of the “black” bleak – lost Eastern Mosul, part of the forces cut off West of Kirkuk, al-Bab is half-encircled the Kurds and the Americans come from the North and West to the capital, good luck with the surgery at Palmyra and Deir-ez-Zor to help maintain shattered the military prestige of the Caliphate, but they do not solve the main problems associated with the resumption of SAA operations against the Caliphate.Black lose in numbers and equipment of their opponents. They can kill a lot of Syrian, Iraqi or Kurdish soldiers to carry out a successful counteroffensive, terrify attacks, bombings and arranging bloody executions in the rear, to maintain the loyalty of the population on its territory. But it looks like the prolongation of the struggle with the inevitable end which will be long, painful and bloody. Yes, we can talk about the high quality of the infantry of the Caliphate and the effectiveness of the tactics of Shaheed-mobile, but the reduction of the territories of the Islamic state as much clearly demonstrates the current trends.War on the Caliphate are gradually losing. But it is worth remembering that with the death of the regime in raqqa, the Caliphate will not disappear. To combat the many wilaya and cells on the territory of other countries will last for years.

Turkey in December and January has experienced a kind of cold shower when after the initial success of the operation “shield of the Euphrates”, its army, which is considered one of the strongest in NATO, are unable dobitsya success in operations under al-Bab. Serious losses in men and equipment left by militants trophies, demoralization controlled by militants, the inability to fully fulfill the tasks set by the political leadership, all this is a serious blow to the prestige of the Turkish army.The Turks made some org.conclusions and gradually withdrew from shapkozakidatelskih sentiment with which they engage in the Syrian war, which they, too, learned something.

The main problem nevertheless, Turkey decided between Kurdish territories was put the block and the threat of the creation of an independent Kurdistan has decreased. Along the way, Erdogan was able to return to the great game in Syria, at the time defected to the side of Russia and Iran, with whom he now enters into various transactions designed to ensure that the interests of Turkey in Northern Syria.

The US now stand at a crossroads. On the liabilities side, they all of Obama’s policies in recent years and its many failures and mistakes. In the asset – the desire of Russia to normalize relations and the Kurdish question.

At this stage, US actions in Iraq are associated with support of the offensive of the Iraqi army and Peshmerga against the Caliphate, and in Syria – bombing “An-Nusra” and support of operations of the Kurds in the area of Raqqa.

Trump until instructed to develop a plan for “defeating ISIL”, to be submitted in March. By this time, should be known first results of the consultations of the US and Russia on Syria. So the US involvement in the Syrian war is likely to remain inertial for some time. Major changes will follow in the spring.

Russian-Iranian coalition, at this stage, on the one hand continues to feed the Syrian army with men and equipment, while private participation in hostilities remains dosed. At the same time made diplomatic moves to consolidate the successes of the 2016 campaign-year attempts to conclude a separate peace with Turkey, and its Syrian minions, which will allow you to end the Syrian civil war in favor of the Russian-Iranian coalition. If Turkey in principle prepared in certain circumstances to facilitate this, Saudi Arabia and Qatar oppose such a development. The position of the US and its satellites remains unclear because of the change in Washington. Therefore, in the further actions of Russia and Iran will remain a certain dualism – they will continue to provide an opportunity for Assad to wage war and win it, and at the same time will tend to the conclusion that suits their world, where Moscow and Tehran will have a decisive impact on shaping post-war Syria. The main parameters of the kind of world sought by Russia and Iran:

1. Syria remains contiguous. No “free Kurdistan” no “Iglinski republics”.

2. Syria remains secular. No state of Sharia. No domination of the Shiites or Sunnis.

3. Syria must federalised in the framework of the reform in a democratic Federal
Republic, taking into account the interests of the Kurds and part of the “moderate opposition” that it is necessary to establish internal peace.

4. Of course Assad remains in transition and can participate in presidential elections. He will win or not is another question.

5. Russia and Iran maintain its military and political presence in Syria.

How they got it, shows the campaign in 2017.

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