In my opinion, the real war and especially the battle of al-Bab, revealed serious institutional weaknesses of the Turkish army, which in peacetime was not so obvious. This applies both to the training of mechanized units and command structures responsible for operational planning. As a result, for several months, one of the strongest NATO armies can’t defeat a group of militants numbering about 3-3,5 thousand men in al-Bab, with at least a five-fold superiority in manpower, not to mention the overwhelming superiority in artillery, armored vehicles and aircraft.
In January, Daesh lost a further 1000sq kilometres of territory in Iraq, and an additional 1000sq kilometres of territory in Syria. This means the group have now lost 62% of the territory they controlled in Iraq in August 2014, and 30% in Syria, as they are continually defeated on the battlefield. Key Daesh battlefield losses in January were to Iraqi forces in the Ninawa and Al Anbar Governorates, where the majority of losses were in eastern Mosul. In Syria, Daesh lost additional territory in Halab and Ar Raqqah Provinces. The majority of Daesh losses were in Ar Raqqah Province, to Syrian Democratic Forces advancing toward Tabqa Dam (Sadd al Furat).
Overall, the operation to storm al-Bab is delayed while the parties solve their problem, and if the SAA are quite clear on their operational objectives, the actions of the Turks cause much more questions as to their military planning. In the end, the elimination of al-bab group of the Caliphate will obviously take more time than expected.
Erdogan said that after the completion of the operation in the al-Bab, the Turkish army will attack in Raqqa. Given the configuration of the front line, just stepping through the territory of the Kurds.
The Kurds, in turn, expecting trouble on the part of Erdogan, are continuing to recruit battalions of new recruits in Rojava and continue operations in the area of Raqqa, in approaching the Eastern and North-Eastern outskirts of the capital of the Caliphate.
In fact, at al-Bab the Turks are trying to gnaw through the defense of “black” in the Western areas of al-Bab, gradually moving to the center of the city. The enemy provided a strong resistance from the 9th-11th February. However, the retreat from Tarifa, the Elevator and the intersection, and termination of counter-attacks, can attest to the fact that “black” began preparations for the retreat of al-Bab, for which they must hold Bza ah to preserve a corridor for the retreat, which they can use today or tomorrow night to salvage the main forces from encirclement and destruction. The abandonment by “black” of Qabasin can be a marker of acceleration of events. In General, it is a kind of squeezing of the boiler rather than the encirclement and destruction.
By 9 February, the militants of the Caliphate managed to hold the mouth of the boiler and to prevent the connection of the Syrian and Turkish forces to the South-East of Bza ah. Counterattacks to the North of Haran in the region of Bza ah slowed the progress of the SAA and Pro-Turkish militants, which allowed black to keep the communication group operating in the area of al-Bab and the main territory of the Caliphate. The neck at this stage is about 3 kilometers.
Therefore, the issue of support of those or other initiatives requires a balancing of the interests of the Russian Federation in relations with other countries. Careful policy leads to the fact that the participants of local wars, understanding the decline in the US role in the region begin to seek other points of support, going beyond the paradigm where everything depended on US..Therefore, the Afghan MPs after the songs about the greatness of the United States, turned on the record about the greatness of Russia and China, and lobbyists reconciliation with the Taliban making frequent visits to Moscow and Beijing. The world really is changing before our eyes and the echo of these changes are audible even in a backwater like Afghanistan.