Original published by newsli.ru; translated by J.Hawk
Recent reports have revealed the details of the successful Syrian Arab Army (SAA) offensive to break the encirclement of Shia enclaves where 35 thousand people have resisted for almost four years in isolation.
Cities of Nubel and Az-Azra, like the legendary Deir-es-Zor, are symbols of the Syrian war, places where the local population and SAA forces have withstood multi-year sieges.
Shia enclaves could only be resupplied by air, and their situation seemed hopeless prior to the SAA offensive with Russian air support. On February 1, a large-scale SAA offensive began in northern Aleppo which led to the lifting of the siege on the two towns. They are already receiving humanitarian aid overland, though there are still skirmishes on the outskirts.
The operation’s success was guaranteed not only by mass application of Russian airpower, but also of modern Russian armor. We are talking of the T-90 tanks which spearheaded the assault. Russian military instructors were able to quickly retrain Syrian tankers and deliver 15 of the vehicles to SAA’s 4th Mechanized Division. SAA sources indicate the suffered no losses, even though the militants are offered large bounties for destroying.
The militants claimed that they destroyed a Russian T-90, it happened in December of last year, but all of these reports turned out to be false and videos–fakes, which were since deleted from the militants’ web sites.
The operation resulted in the encirclement of 5,000 militants east of Aleppo. They continue to resist, which means that operations in the area will continue and the T-90s still have a lot of work ahead of them.