I've read similar reports, the most recent is included in the video, below (although the number reported, therein, is 600):[...]I also read yesterday in various outlets, that some 3000 rebels in Homs have agreed to abandon and transfer out, from the last district of the city that they were holding. Has this been confirmed?[...]
Additionally, it supports my analysis in response to your assertion, that same day, that:[...]One common theme, in all this worth adding, is that this strategy makes more sense from a political perspective rather than a military one. I mean by this, that this looks like moves to end this conflict via political means, rather than through bitter military struggle to the end, at least as far as the rebels are concerned.
Regarding my above quote, substitute Idlib for Aleppo and the reported agreement is consistent with the first part of my prediction, at least.[...]Additionally, consistent with your prediction of a political settlement, I anticipate that in the course of the Aleppo campaign, as regime coalition forces gain the advantage, the regime may offer FSA coalition forces (Syrian nationals) safe passage from Aleppo Governorate to Idlib Governorate with the understanding that the FSA coalition will be allowed to maintain Idlib Governorate, and Idlib Governorate only, as a base in which to consolidate, and from which to negotiate. [...]
Okay, now, don't get carried away! I will concede that my predicted northwest Aleppo envelopment seems less likely, now, than does your predicted northeastern envelopment. We all know that you've had your star(s) for a long time, and, even in all your modesty, a chest full of medals, as well (or was that a leg full?) Nevertheless, I must challenge your persistent interpretation of the southwestern Aleppo campaign as a diversionary theater.[...]Given that only a few days earlier that the rebel defences had been smashed and local forces routed, it seems as though a lot of rebels have come in from other places and that the places they have left are likely to be the border regions now coming under very heavy pressure. Part of me does wonder if the South Aleppo push was largely diversionary, to achieve this very important objective.
The conglomerate of Islamist factions in northern Syria known as “Jaysh Al-Fateh” (Army of Conquest) was on the offensive in the southern Aleppo countryside for almost two weeks before Hezbollah returned to the province in order to help propel the Syrian Armed Forces and their Iraqi counterparts to recapture lost territory.
On Thursday morning in the Aleppo Governorate’s southern countryside, the Syrian Arab Army’s elite 4th Mechanized Division – in coordination with Hezbollah, the National Defense Forces (NDF) of Aleppo City, Harakat Al-Nujaba (Iraqi paramilitary), Kata’eb Hezbollah (Iraqi paramilitary), and Firqa Fatiyyemoun (Iranian/Afghani paramilitary) – launched a counter-offensive to recapture Tal Dadeen, Ja’eera, and Tal Bakara after the Islamist from Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, Harakat Nouriddeen Al-Zinki, and the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” captured them last week.
Following a violent series of firefights with the Islamist rebels, the Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Division and their allies imposed full control over Tal Dadeen and Ja’eera after killing several enemy combatants from Harkat Ahrar Al-Sham, Jabhat Al-Nusra, Liwaa Suqour Al-Sham, and Harakat Nouriddeen Al-Zinki this morning.
In addition to their success at Tal Dadeen and Ja’eera, a long contingent from Hezbollah launched a powerful assault on the Islamist rebel defenses at Tal Baraka, where they were immersed in a fierce battle for control of this hilltop village; this assault paid off, however, as the Lebanese Resistance imposed full control over this site in southern Aleppo.
With Hezbollah back after a short leave, the Syrian Armed Forces are poised to capture the ICARDA Agricultural Facility that is situated along the strategic Aleppo-Damascus Highway (M-5 Highway); it is currently under the control of Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and their counterparts.
Since October this year, heavy clashes have broken out between the US-backed People’s Protection Units (YPG) & Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on the one side and Islamist rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Islamic Front & Jabhat al-Nusra on the other hand. 2 days ago, ISIS fighters seized upon the confusion and captured the villages Kafrah, Ash Shaykh Rih, al-Ball and Jarez. However, rebels managed to recapture the latter yesterday leaving ISIS some 10 kilometers East of Azaz.
Tensions between Kurdish militias and Islamists have grown in recent years but this battle represents the first large-scale skirmishes witnessed between the parties in the province of Aleppo. 4-5 days ago, the opposition managed to advance West and recaptured the villages of Ibana, al-Kisha’ar, Malikia, Shawarghet Elarz and Tatumrash from the YPG during an offensive launched from Azaz and Menagh Airbase.
This loss of land is largely explained by YPG fighters from Afrin gaining little to no experience since they captured the region in 2012 due to a frontline stalemate. However, they have called upon reinforcements from Ayn al-Arab (Kobane) and Hasakah to launch a counteroffensive enabling them to take the strategic border town of Azaz. These reinforcements are yet to arrive as they must endure a risky journey across hostile Turkish lands.
Meanwhile, the Russian Airforce keeps pounding Islamist fighters of both the Islamic State and opposition, thereby siding with Kurdish forces. The YPG has stated ambitions of connecting Afrin with Kobane to the East. However, to do so they must first capture a huge area stretching across Azaz and Jarabulus.
As rebels see their forces engaged on a wide range of frontlines, most recently in Northern Aleppo, they find themselves in danger of conceding both the strategic town of Azaz along with the narrow strip of land that splits the Shi’ite towns of Nubl and al-Zahraa with the government-held land in Aleppo. Arguably, Azaz remains the most important rebel-held border crossing with Turkey and thus must be defended at all costs.
On Thursday morning in the Aleppo Governorate’s northern countryside, the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) continued their massive offensive to seize the imperative border-crossing from the rebel stronghold of ‘Azaz to Turkey, striking the Islamist rebels of Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, Jabhat Al-Shamiyah (Levantine Front), and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) at several villages.
ISIS was successful in northern Aleppo the day before, seizing the village of Kafrah from the Islamist rebels of Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and Jabhat Al-Shamiyah before they advanced to Baraghitah and Sheikh Reeh.
Unfortunately for the Islamist rebels of Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, Jabhat Al-Shamiyah, and the Free Syrian Army, ISIS was only beginning on Wednesday – the terrorist grous’s massive assault would follow the next day, when they seized two more villages near the Turkish border within the Aleppo Governorate.
With ISIS only a few kilometers away from the strategic city of ‘Azaz, the forces loyal to the Turkish-backed Syrian Opposition are in serious trouble as they continue to fight two different forces on two different flanks.
This whole debacle began when the Turkish-backed Islamist rebels declared war on the U.S. backed “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) in northern Aleppo; this was then followed by a war between the Islamist rebels and ISIS.
On Wednesday, December 2, 2015 in the early afternoon, the French fighters hit a weapons storage site and manufacturing of improvised explosive devices (IED) operated by Daech in Tall Afar region in Iraq..The raid was conducted by Mirage 2000, which took off from the proposed Air Base (BAP) in Jordan. The targeted objective was destroyed.This is the second time in the Chammal 48h00 forces involved in strikes on sites where Daech assembles engines that allow it to conduct suicide attacks and trap the roads.
The aim is to weaken Daech aiming its military capabilities.This raid is part of the effort phase of the coalition to consolidate control of the logistical axis for linking Mosul to Syria.MARKLaunched September 19, 2014, the Chammal operation is mobilizing 3500 soldiers. Alongside the coalition, it combats the terrorist group Daech in Iraq and Syria.
The Chammal strength ensures the training of Iraqi forces fighting in Iraq Daech; it strikes the terrorist organization with its air power in Iraq and Syria.The force is composed of twelve fighters of the Air Force (six Rafale, Mirage 2000D three and three Mirage 2000N), a maritime patrol aircraft Atlantique 2 and since November 23, 2015, the Battle Group (GAN ) - PA Charles de Gaulle, FDA Chevalier Paul, MDTF La Motte Piquet PR Marne, Belgian frigate Leopold I - whose carrier air group consists of 18 Rafale, Super 8 standard modernized 2 Hawkeye, and helicopters. On 26 November 2015, the furtive light frigate (FLF) Courbet joined the Chammal device in the Eastern Mediterranean
... and today thismost recently at the briefing held by the Russian Ministry of Defense purportedly the evidence of a Turkish-ISIL oil-trade was presented: ...
comes fromThe recent allegations put forth by Russia on Turkey – Daesh oil trade, which also involved Syrian and Iraqi Kurds, were denied by Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials.
Sherko Jawdat, the chairman of the KRG Parliament's Energy Committee, said on Thursday that the oil tankers shown in the aerial photos and footage presented by Russia as evidence of the alleged trade are in fact carrying oil from the KRG to Ceyhan terminal in southern Turkey.
Russia's Defense Ministry earlier alleged that oil tankers loaded in Daesh-held territories are passing from territories controlled by the KRG and PYD to reach Turkey. As the arch-enemies of Daesh terror organization who suffered the most casualties in battles, both the KRG and PYD are receiving military training, ammunition and arms from both the U.S. led coalition and Russia. The claims came right after a Russian SU-24 bomber breaching Turkey's airspace was shot down by Turkish jets on November 24.
Speaking to Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency, Jawdat said the tankers belong to the KRG and Russia's claims are far from being true.
"Our Natural Resources Ministry has earlier announced that hundreds of tankers are carrying oil from KRG to Turkey. Oil is being shipped to Turkey with tankers and it is not a secret" Jawdat said.
Furthermore, the KRG spokesman Safin Dzayi said his government is saddened by the Russian accusations, and added that the oil flowing from the KRG to Turkey does not belong to Daesh, who the Iraqi Kurds are actively fighting. "Russia's explanations are based on wrong sources. We strongly reject Russian accusations," he said.
Dzayi explained that the oil extracted from the Duhok and Badinan regions is largely shipped to Turkey through pipelines, and the remaining amount is being shipped with tankers.
The KRG spokesman emphasized the role of Peshmerga fighters in the fight against Daesh. "Peshmerga is the leading force fighting against Daesh. Is it possible for the KRG to directly or indirectly sell the oil benefiting Daesh? Can the KRG mediate Daesh's trade? Such an allegation cannot be explained with reason or logic," Dzayi said.
Dzayi added that the KRG and Russia have good and friendly relations and Russian oil companies operate in the region. "We hope that Russia will revise its information over the matter," he said.
In a conference held in London on Wednesday, the KRG's Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami said that Daesh is an important obstacle against KRG's oil exports, which would have reached about one billion barrels per day in the absence of the terrorist organization in the region.
The wise take all news media reports/accounts with a pinch of salt, at least. Nowadays, a dash seems more appropriate (any cooks out there will appreciate this!). All news media outlets are either bound or constrained by politico-economic interests, even if they would prefer not to be. Nevertheless, we can only evaluate their accuracy by considering their content.I would say take the above article with a pinch of salt. [...]
Notice the care I took to include and emphasize the necessary qualifiers.The next two weeks should allow us to assess, to some degree, the veracity of the "news" outlets I will post below; if the pace and coherence of regime offensive operations in Aleppo Governorate improve considerably, evincing improved logistical support, we can conclude both that the following reports are generally accurate, and, by extension, we can infer the general accuracy of some of these outlets' other reporting.[...]
Does not look like the UK will initiate/participate in any direct military action anytime soon.
I was just watching the debate in the house of commons, parliament voted against a motion for military action against Syria.
I'm surprised actually, +1 for democracy in the UK, many here thought it was dead.
Cameron recalls parliament in hope of support, only to get a 'no' vote thrown back in his face, talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
And if the Americans do not get British support, it will be another political blow to Obama and the US.
At least the defeat lasted two years!