Great stuff from Anna-News about the development of the offensive on the southern Bank of the Euphrates in Raqqa province. It well illustrates the difficulties faced by the advancing Syrian troops.
Against the background of problems with the storm itself Raqqa and high losses SDF in an attempt to break the defense of militants in urban areas (which in General follows the problems faced by the Iraqi army during the storming of Mosul), the Americans in the last month significantly increased its military presence in Northern Syria -this applies both to the modernization of the existing network databases (as a full-fledged, and various logistical units designed for military interaction with SDF/YPG) and the supply of additional batch of small arms, and various light armored vehicles and specialized engineering vehicles.
“American experts and technicians have begun work on the establishment of a new military airport between the towns of Tel Tamra and Tel Baidar (40 km west of Hasaka) to be the third airport after Kobani and Rumailan airports,” the source told BasNews on condition of anonymity.
The concentration of reserves for an attack on the position of the Caliphate in Eastern Hama and Eastern Homs is the logical consequence of not too successful attempts to directly break the defense of militants in the direction of Akerbat. Unlike high-profile successes in the South of Syria, here the pace of progress is low, the enemy has organized and effective resistance, good use of terrain and tactics of mobile groups to organize a chilling action. The forces that were concentrated in the Eastern Hama in may 2017, was obviously insufficient for the solution of operational tasks that demanded as the transfer of additional forces withdrawn from the Western areas of Raqqa province, and the Russian air support, which should facilitate the solution of command problems.
l-Masdar News has obtained rare images of an air field operated by US warplanes in the Sarrin Plains, located in the far eastern countryside of Aleppo near the provincial border with Raqqa.
The work of the artillery of the U.S. marine corps in the area of Raqqa.
In the South there is an active advance along the Syrian-Iraqi border to the Euphrates. The Americans sit at Tanf, but do not actively engage the SAA and Iranian “proxies”.
In Raqqa the SAA is close to solving the problem by cutting off its ledge between Maskanah and Tabqa. Closing of the pincers and digestion of the boiler can be expected within a week.
For the SAA, with the occupation of Resafa there are interesting opportunities associated with promotion to the Euphrates, and in terms of the deployment of offensive on Deir-ez-Zor.
From the parameters of the agreement between the US and the Kurds, we can conclude that the United States understands the threat, hence the liabilities associated with the use of Rojava to attack other countries, which implies a rejection of the very very open support of the PKK, which is waging a guerrilla war in Turkey, uses the territory of Syria and Iraq for their rear bases and training camps, which is why Turkey considers the legal Kurdish organizations as supporters of the PKK, and therefore, as “terrorists”. This is an attempt to sweeten the bitter pill for Turkey, which is extremely irritably responds to the supply of arms by the Americans in Rojava.
8 June advanced units of the SAA came in contact with the current SDF troops to the West of the Tabqa. The long anticipated meeting on the Euphrates took place.
Of course, not without various minor clashes and shooting, but in General, the process of establishing contact passed without much aggravation, although healthy competition to occupy the Caliphate’s territory was present.
The advance detachments of the SAA have actually come very close to the outskirts of Maskanah. At the same time, the line of militant detachments, which signify the front line to the south of the city, is quite vigorously being pushed back. In fact, the front itself is no longer there – the militants continue to retreat to the east, resting in separate settlements, but with a similar level of resistance, the SAA is coping well. Maskanah is essentially the last major city in the province where the Caliphate will be able to provide less or less organized resistance, and further down to the American enclave near Tabqa, the terrain as a whole favors the offensive of Syrian mechanized formations that are supported by the Russian Air Force and the Syrian Air Force.
On Friday at Raqqa was killed a 22-year-old Solider from the 75th Ranger battalion of the U.S. army, Etienne Murphy.
Moreover, there are discrepancies about the causes of death according to one version, he crashed the SUV, on the other – died during the battle with militants of the Caliphate.
It is worth noting that for a 22 years old he had quite a large number of medals and awards.
Front to the south of Jira has completely collapsed. The remaining DAESH units went to Maskah, where they plan to organize long-term resistance.
Also began the advance of the SAA in the area of the route Khanasser-Itria.
On Thursday, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies announced start of the Operation “Grand Dawn” in eastern Syria. The aim of the operation is to expel militants from the eastern desert and to set a foothold for a push to Deir Ezzor. The declaration followed a major success of government forces in southeastern Homs where they had liberated about 5,000 km2 and got a full control over the Damascus-Palmyra highway.
Yesterday, the Caliphate launched a traditional raid on the Khanasser-Aleppo road. Mobile groups of fighters moving to the North from Itria were able to take a few half-backs and roadblocks, plunder some booty and short to reach the outskirts of the road. Traditionally, the militants were able to achieve tactical surprise. However, due to the insignificance of the forces that were involved in the RAID, unlike previous invasions, which created operational difficulties for Aleppo group of the SAA, the activity of the Caliphate is purely tactical in nature and does not change the overall bleak trend for them in the strategic situation East of Aleppo.
The US and the Kurds continue in turn to expand the bridgehead on the southern Bank of the Euphrates, and continued to occupy towns in the assumption of Raqqa. The supply of equipment for SDF/YPG are continuing, in desert areas, where the actions of mobile groups, small arms and ammunition dropped from a military transport aircraft. Operations of US special forces supported by helicopters and planes with bases in Rojava. In General, everything goes in line with the old trends associated with the creation of operational assumptions associated with the assault on Raqqa. Formerly the deadline is obviously frustrated that the Caliphate can certainly burn itself into an asset, but strategically it doesn’t change anything. Winning 1-2 months is unlikely to allow the Caliphate to significantly change the balance of forces around their capital.
It is obvious that preparations are underway for hostilities against the Caliphate (the regrouping of troops and creation of strike groups requires a certain time), which we will see in the second half of may-early June. As the primary tasks is to sweep the area of the base of the Giro and promotion along the banks of the Euphrates to the administrative borders of Raqqa province + creation of prerequisites for the development of the offensive from the area Itree. Simultaneously, we can expect offensive operations to the North and South of the highway Ties – Palmyra, as well as the mounting of the strike group in the area of the Palmyra, for the ambitious offensive operations in the direction of Deir ez-Zor.
The Release of Tabqa will allow the Americans and the Kurds more actively develop operations to the South of Raqqa for its environment, so that today’s success (prepared by the previous weeks of fighting) is an important step on the road to the direct assault on Raqqa. US strategy associated with the environment of Raqqa, though with difficulty, but it works. The militants could only slow the implementation of this plan, but not to disrupt it.
Fierce clashes are ongoing between the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and ISIS fighters on the road between the town of Tabqa, the city of Raqqa, and the Tabqa Military Airbase where SDF fighters have repelled and ISIS attack on their positions between Tabqa and Raqqa.
The operation in the area of Tabqa is an important stage in the preparation of the assault on Raqqa, which theoretically could begin as early as April, although it is possible that the case will be postponed until may, when it will have accumulated enough power for many months of the campaign to assault the city itself. By the evening of 25 March began to receive reports that DAESH militants have left the airbase Tabqa and departed.