ISIS/ISIL conflict in Syria/Iraq (No OpEd, No Politics)

Jura

General
first I'll repeat myself again: Nov 15, 2015

...
  1. about one month to get to the Kuweiris Airbase, and
  2. about one week to get to "M5"
while the distance is even longer for 2.

..., as for #1 above, ISIL is still about one km from the Airbase in three directions, and I'm puzzled by the advances in #2 ...
... and now show the map of the situation like three weeks after:


I recently commented on the direction #1
https://www.sinodefenceforum.com/isis-isil-conflict-in-syria-iraq-no-oped-no-policis.t6913/page-284#post-377947
EDIT adding what I found at Farsnews a moment ago, which is as optimistic as it gets :) I guess:

comes from http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940914000511

and as for #2, I'm puzzled even more than I had been those three weeks ago

 
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Jura

General
now going on with the previous thoughts
...

and as for #2, I'm puzzled even more than I had been those three weeks ago
I noticed in the "edmap" above what might be a push by Rebels against eastern part of this area, specifically

Tat (Zeraa to the west is probably Government-controlled) which is just about five miles from
Hama-Khanasir-Aleppo road (shown in yellow by Jabul Lake in top-right corner); will they try to cut it??
It had been cut before, but elsewhere, of course:
Oct 24, 2015
...
more to the south, but obviously related, the supply-road was cut

south of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khanasir ...
Plus I found, in an interesting source
http://umap.openstreetmap.fr/fr/map/desyracuse-syria-civil-war-2-dec-2015_62444#8/36.552/40.281
the timeline of previous struggles in #2 direction:
On Oct 15, a loyalist offensive ended in the control of Haddadin, Abtin, Qaddarah, tank batallion and south of Mount Azzan. A counter offensive from the rebels allowed them to control again tank batallion
On Oct 17, Loyalists seized briefly Shughaydilah before being pushed back by the rebels with heavy casualties
on Oct 18, SAA captured Wadihi after all night fighting
On Oct 19, SAA tool control of 3 hills near Khan Tuman
On Oct 19, SAA seized Sabiqiyah village
On Oct 20, they captured Huwayz
Oc Oct 22, they seized Balas, Dayr Salibah, Jawar al Jihash, Rasm ash Shaykh and Muflisah (yet not all confirmed)
On Oct 23, SAA was reported to have captured Qarassi & Hamra but a Nusra-led rebel counter attack regained both
On Oct 23, SAA was reported to have penetrated Khan Tuman village center
On Oct 31, loyalist troops were reported to seize Jumaymah, Maryamayn, Hamidiyah and Subayhiyah.
On Oct 31 - Nov 1, Jabhat al-Nusra was reported to have captured Qarassi area and Tall Huwayz
On Nov 1, rebels partially regained Hamidiyah
on Nov 1, SAA announced to have captured Shughaydilah and Tall Dadin (backed by Kata'ib Hezbollah). Shughaydilah was later retaken by rebels.
On Nov 9, SAA and allies took control of Tall Mamu, Aziziyah, Zarawi, and Tulaylat, encircling Hader from East and South
On Nov 10, SAA took control of Maryudah
On Nov 12, SAA took control of Tall Arbain and of the town of Al-Hader. In the following hours, they captured also Al-Eis further West
On Nov 13, Loyalists seized shortly Tall Hadiyah and Barqum, reaching the M5 highway, but the rebels regained both villages, as well as Rasm Sahrij
On Nov 17, the rebels took controls of some farms near Banis
On November 23, a coordinated counter attack led by Jaysh Al-Fath, Harakat Nouriddeen Al-Zinki, Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, Jaysh Al-Islam, Jaysh Al-Mujahiddeen, and FSA, achieved to control Kafr Haddad, Tall Mamu, Tall Bajir, Makhalah, and Birnah
On November 27, a Loyalist attack on al Hamra was repelled by rebels
On November 28, rebels took control of Maryudah
On November 29, rebels attempted to storm Aziziyah. However attack was reppeled by Loy. forces
EDIT
now I accidentally found a video from the town of Aleppo but ... is it year 1415? oops, no, it's December 5, 2015, Syrian Civil War
 
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Jura

General
found at NavyTimes
Saudi Arabia to host Syrian opposition ahead of peace talks
Saudi Arabia is hosting Syrian opposition groups and many of the main rebel factions next week in an effort to come up with a unified front ahead of peace talks with representatives of the government in Damascus, scheduled to begin early next year.

The meeting is the first of its kind in the Sunni kingdom, which is a main backer of the Syrian opposition, underscoring how the internationally backed effort is the most serious yet in attempts to end the nearly five-year civil war. The conflict has killed more than a quarter of a million people and triggered a refugee crisis of massive proportions.

The rebel factions' participation points to the evolution in the position of many of them that long rejected any negotiations with Damascus as long President Bashar Assad was in power. Now they are on board to attempt a process that the United States and its allies say must eventually lead to Assad's removal — but with no timetable for it.

At the three-day gathering that starts next Tuesday in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, the factions will try to form a unified opposition delegation and a platform regarding what is meant to be a transitional period in Syria, officials who were invited said.

"We will be negotiating Assad's departure," said Mustafa Osso, the vice president of the Syrian National Coalition, the main Western-backed opposition group. "If this regime stays, violence will continue in Syria and there will be no stability," he said, speaking from Turkey. Osso will be part of what he said will be a 20-member delegation from the coalition at the Riyadh meeting.

A peace plan agreed to last month by 20 nations meeting in Vienna sets a Jan. 1 deadline for the start of negotiations between Assad's government and opposition groups. The plan says nothing about Assad's future, but states that "free and fair elections would be held pursuant to the new constitution within 18 months."

Among the nations that took part in the Vienna meeting were the United States, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. Russia and Iran have been Assad's strongest supporters since the crisis began in March 2011 while Saudi Arabia and Turkey have backed factions trying to remove the Syrian president from power.

In Tehran, Iran's deputy foreign minister denounced the planned gathering in Saudi Arabia, the official IRNA news agency reported.

"The action will divert Vienna political efforts on Syria from its natural path and will drive the Vienna talks toward failure," Hossein Amir Abdollahian was quoted as saying.

Most of the main rebel factions have been invited to the Riyadh talks, including the Western-backed Free Syrian Army. Also among the invited are two of the biggest — Jaysh al-Islam and the ultraconservative Ahrar al-Sham group that has been for months trying to improve its image and market itself as a moderate faction, said Ibrahim Hamidi, a journalist who covers Syrian affairs for the Saudi-owned newspaper Al Hayat.

Spokesmen for Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham did not respond to requests for comment on whether the groups would attend.

"The time for serious negotiations to find a solution has begun," Hamidi said.

But in a sign of the splits within Assad's opponents, no Kurdish factions have been invited, including the main Kurdish militia known as the YPG. The YPG has been the most successful group fighting the Islamic State group and captured scores of towns and villages from the extremists over the past year.

Saleh Muslim, the president of the largest Kurdish group, the Democratic Union Party or PYD, said his group has also not been invited. He said Turkey, which has broad fears of Kurdish ambitions, likely pressured Saudi Arabia not to invite them or the YPG.

"We would love to participate. The conference is related to Syria's future and we are a main part of Syria and its future," Muslim said.

Kurds are the largest ethnic minority in Syria, making up more than 10 percent of the country's pre-war population of 23 million people. There are Kurds, including Osso, in some other factions that will attend.

Among those invited is Hassan Abdul-Azim, a veteran opposition figure in Syria who leads the Syria-based National Coordination Body for Democratic Change. He said that his group will enter talks with the Syrian government "without pre-conditions."

"The fate of the Syrian president will be decided during the negotiations," Abdul-Azim said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said last month that the Syrian government has already put forward to the U.N. special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, the makeup of its delegation to the upcoming negotiations. Lavrov last week said peace talks cannot go ahead until all parties involved agree on which groups should be listed as terrorist and which as Syria's legitimate opposition.

Also ahead of the peace talks, Jordan is to oversee a process identifying which militant groups in Syria should be considered as terrorists and thus should be prevented from participating in any negotiations. That is to be completed by the time the political process between the government and opposition begins in January.

Separately, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that the world body is working to launch talks between Syria's warring parties and start a nationwide cease-fire in the country in early January. He also said he expects the third round of talks on the "Vienna process" to take place in New York but wouldn't confirm a Dec. 18 date, though that date is being considered, according to U.N. diplomats.

Also Thursday, Iyad Ameen Madani, the secretary general of the world's largest body of Muslim nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, appealed to the Syrian opposition leaders to "close ranks and make the legitimate demands of the Syrian people for change, reform and reconstruction of institutions.
source: http://www.navytimes.com/story/military/2015/12/04/saudi-arabia-host-syrian-opposition-ahead-peace-talks/76791796/
 

janjak desalin

Junior Member
I'm hoping that the direction of this latest attack, on Baradah, is an indication that Loyalist forces have, now, understood the logic of continuing their offensive towards the south south-west, and remaining in Aleppo Province, and not advancing into Idlib Province along a west south-west axis. Taking on FSA in closer proximity to FSA supply lines than to their own has resulted in a see-saw, gain-loss, pattern of battle that only forestalls their own objectives.

Hezbollah and the Syrian Army Capture Baradah Village in Southern Aleppo
from: http://www.almasdarnews.com/article/hezbollah-captures-baradah-village-in-southern-aleppo/
By Leith Fadel on December 5, 2015
On Saturday morning in the Aleppo Governorate’s southern countryside, the Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Mechanized Division – in coordination with Hezbollah, Harakat Al-Nujaba (Iraqi paramilitary), the National Defense Forces (NDF) of Aleppo City, and Kata’eb Hezbollah (Iraqi paramilitary) – imposed full control over the village of Baradah after a series of intense firefights with the Islamist rebels of Jabhat Al-Nusra (Syrian Al-Qaeda group), Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, Harakat Nouriddeen Al-Zinki, and Liwaa Suqour Al-Sham over the last 48 hours.

According to a battlefield journalist embedded with the SAA’s 4th Division, the Syrian Armed Forces and their allies seized the village of Baradah after advancing from the recently captured hilltop village of Tal Al-Arba’een.

This advance has paved the way for the pro-government forces to progress further south towards the Idlib Governorate’s northern border, where the Islamist rebels of Jabhat Al-Nusra, Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, Harakat Nouriddeen Al-Zinki, and Liwaa Suqour Al-Sham are deeply entrenched.

For the fourth consecutive day, Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Mechanized Division, Hezbollah and their Iraqi allies have encountered fierce resistance from the Islamist rebels protecting the strategic hilltop village of Tal Bajer, which is situated to the south of the imperative town of Tal Al-‘Eiss.

Currently, clashes are ongoing between the pro-government forces and the Islamist rebels at Tal Bajer; if captured, the Syrian Armed Forces will be one village away from reversing all of the Islamist gains in the last two weeks.
As this strategic map that I posted on Nov. 4 illustrates (to some degree), a south south-western axis achieves the objective of gaining access to the alternate Hama to Aleppo highway system that would shorten supply lines from the coast to Aleppo considerably. Additionally, an offensive in this direction would stretch FSA supply lines farther away from M4 and M5 highways and their numerous links to the Turkish border, thus reversing the present strategic situation.
The deep/blood-red indicates territory anticipated to be taken in the southwest Aleppo offensive. The grey indicates territory anticipated to be taken in a subsequent northwest Aleppo offensive.
-1.jpg
 
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SampanViking

The Capitalist
Staff member
Super Moderator
VIP Professional
first I'll repeat myself again: Nov 15, 2015



... and now show the map of the situation like three weeks after:


I recently commented on the direction #1
https://www.sinodefenceforum.com/isis-isil-conflict-in-syria-iraq-no-oped-no-policis.t6913/page-284#post-377947
EDIT adding what I found at Farsnews a moment ago, which is as optimistic as it gets :) I guess:

comes from http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940914000511

and as for #2, I'm puzzled even more than I had been those three weeks ago

I think you need to understand what exactly the maps are showing and how that fits with the reality of the battle tactics being used on the ground.

I think the first thing to clarify is that the lines on both maps show the boundary of undisputed government control, rather than a WW1 style front line. Those lines may have come into being in those areas where there had been years of stalemate, but Government forces have broken these lines and there is not going to be a never ending succession of equally solid fortifications behind them.

Contested in this situation means that the presence of enemy forces are not fully removed and that these are areas in range of enemy artillery. How much any of this contesting is based on enemy groups occupying hill tops and settlements and shooting at each other from their or if there are mobile roving groups looking to get the drop on each other is anyone's guess.

I do get a sense that on both the Aleppo fronts that the numbers of Government troops are currently quite low. I read that as a deliberate policy of resting, either to renew the offensive (as alluded in the Hezbollah news yesterday or as part of redeployment to a new front.

The pictures that I have seen of Kuweires Airbase show that it has been very badly damaged during the siege and that before it can start operating as a Regional control centre; let alone as a functional airbase, it will need very substantial repair. I would take it as a given that Engineers are on site and doing what they need to do to get it operational again on either level.
In the meantime, I am sure that it will being utilised as a major firebase for heavy artillery and that this is why there is a very large surrounding area marked as contested.
What is also clear is that the Government forces have taken control of nearly all the major roads in the vicinity of the base that many ISIS forces to the West and North of Kuweires are in serious danger of being isolated and surrounded. I expect to see the Rayyan pocket empty out very quickly and for Government forces to push East to Dayr Hafir to seal the isolation of the ISIS areas adjacent to East Aleppo.
This would be consistent with preparing the Eastern Flanking movement around Aleppo, through Al Bab, that would aim to surround the city (Aleppo), link with the YPG and government enclaves to the North and close the A'zaz gap for good.

To the South, the signs of lack of manpower are obvious and so the Government have consolidated along the high ground and centred on Al-Hadher, which I understand affords a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside and makes it a free fire zone and where no doubt very heavy casualties is being inflicted on the rebels; clearly stalled, counter attack.
Here again I would guess that Artillery is the main tool of damage. Russian Airpower is limited and it seems mostly being used along the Turkish border. Given the obvious manpower shortages around Aleppo, it seems likely to me that also rested or rotated Government forces are also being deployed to the Turkman mountains to push along and isolate the rebels on that flank as well.
I suspect slowish progress now until a second Airbase is operational for the Russians, so the sortie rate can be raised and more areas covered.
 

janjak desalin

Junior Member
[...]And use also aircrafts as Super Tucano or Scorpion etc... but can be short for range less the Scorpion or F/A-50, Yak-130 and others also it is ridiculous in general as for weapons to use high performance fighters bombers designed for high-intensity conflicts !
You don't have to sell me on the Super Tucano; I'm already sold; it's perfect for this context! You do know that the French Air Force is sitting on quite a few Short Tucano's, don't you?o_O
;)
 

janjak desalin

Junior Member
I think you need to understand what exactly the maps are showing and how that fits with the reality of the battle tactics being used on the ground.

I think the first thing to clarify is that the lines on both maps show the boundary of undisputed government control, rather than a WW1 style front line. Those lines may have come into being in those areas where there had been years of stalemate, but Government forces have broken these lines and there is not going to be a never ending succession of equally solid fortifications behind them.

Contested in this situation means that the presence of enemy forces are not fully removed and that these are areas in range of enemy artillery. How much any of this contesting is based on enemy groups occupying hill tops and settlements and shooting at each other from their or if there are mobile roving groups looking to get the drop on each other is anyone's guess. [...]
If this is directed towards my comments, I think I understand, very well, what the maps indicate, both explicitly, to which you refer, and implicitly, to which I refer. You've consulted the EdMaps site just as I have and you've seen the areas of "undisputed government control" in this theater increase and decrease rapidly in previous weeks. This is not the case in the Kuerires, Dayr Hafir Plains offensive, is it?

What this implies, to me, is an overambitious offensive in the face of a better supplied adversary. Put simply, a wasted, and wasteful, effort. The fact that even pro- Loyalist biased reports are now celebrating the re-taking of towns first taken weeks ago, as in the article posted above, are sufficient evidence of this. My questions, what strategic advantages were gained and how were Loyalist forces supply lines shortened by these actions? The first answer, we are not privy to the considerations thereof (although I could venture a guess). The second answer is simple; they were not!

Attempting to cut FSA access to M5 was a logical objective. Attempting this at a point at which FSA had a significant logistical advantage was not the logical method for achieving this objective. Nevertheless, given the momentum at the time, and not having concrete knowledge of FSA re-supply/reinforcement capabilities, it might have seemed worth a try. Now that FSA's significant logistical advantage has obtained, and concrete knowledge of it acquired, I'd suggest that the most efficient method of diminishing this advantage is the logical next step. As I stated in an earlier post, put-off any Idlib Province offensives until Aleppo, western Hama, and Latakia Provinces (and the supply lines therein) are secured.

However, all we can do is to offer is pre-operational conjecture and post-operational critique!


As shown, previously, here is the road that should be Loyalist forces primary objective in southern Aleppo:
index.png
Notice the distance from M5 and Turkey!
 
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SampanViking

The Capitalist
Staff member
Super Moderator
VIP Professional
I was actually replying directly to Jura. (which is why I was quoting his post)

I agree with you that a push directly south of Alleppo of the sort that the capture of Baradah (Buridah on Edmaps?) makes perfect sense in creating a far more secure supply line into Aleppo, plus a much shorter journey into the city itself.

Just to add, that another reason that I believe a flanking movement is coming from the East of Aleppo is because this will move through territory held by ISIS and therefore will be very difficult for other powers to obstruct or complain about its progress and that it will only take a small (albeit strategically critical) area of rebel territory north of city, right at the very end.
 
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