Govt Forces Are Advancing On ISIS-held Jarah Airbase In Aleppo Province

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The Syrian army and the National Defense Forces have liberated a number of villages in the direction of the ISIS-held Jarah Airbase in the province of Aleppo.

Govt Forces Are Advancing On ISIS-held Jarah Airbase In Aleppo Province

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  • bogdan.lupu

    Hi,
    I’d like to ask SF editorial team and contributors a simple but very intrigant question:
    Now that Palmyra is liberated and is being cleaned/secured – what do you think? does it make sense to slowly but certainly push for Deir-Ezzor from Palmyra for SAA … or, does it make more sense to secure Palmyra and pretty much that’s it on that end of the front; the push to depressure/liberate Deir-Ezzor should come from the north, from the Aleppo province?

    It seems that Daesh is retreating on all fronts… leaving only traps and mines behind.

    • Barba_Papa

      Personally while I am of the opinion that it is extremely important to relieve Deir Ezzor, to get a government presence back in East Syria, I doubt that the SAA has the offensive capability to do so in any short time. ISIS is retreating on the more peripheral fronts. Palmyra is an unimportant front for ISIS. Its attack there was like the German Ardennes offensive, they managed to hit a poorly defended front and scored some major penetration there, but ultimately it only netted them a symbolic victory and it did cost them in loss of irreplaceable hardware and manpower. In the grand scheme it gained them nothing. Meanwhile the siege of Mosul continues and the Kurds continue to make advances around Raqqa.

      The way I see it, we shouldn’t get too overconfident over the current advances of the SAA in East Aleppo province. With the fall of Al-Bab ISIS lost its main reason to hold this area, and with massive pressure in more important fronts why should they spend precious resources on holding territory that holds little interest to them now? The battles for Jirah airbase and Deir Hafer will tell us if they intend to make a stand in this area or continue to withdraw. As for Palmyra, the advance towards that city has again been made on a narrow front, which again places that city at risk at sudden ISIS counter attacks against its vulnerable flanks. A risk which would increase dramatically if the SAA were to push on towards Deir Ezzor. And turn this sector from a relatively unimportant one to a very important one. Because the SAA has limited offensive power it has to secure its frontlines before it can move on to the next stage of advance. ISIS has to be pushed out of Homs and Hama provinces first. We do not want a repeat of the Tabqa offensive which failed so disastrously last year.

      Also we should keep in mind that as the frontline shifts east it will become harder for the Russians to provide good close air support all the way from their base in Latakia. CAS aircraft need long loiter time near the battlefield to be most effective, the same with behind the frontline interdiction. The more time and fuel is spent traveling to the frontline, the less effective it becomes. That’s why air support near Deir Ezzor is and remains problematic. The Russians need a 2nd airbase in central Syria.

      • Attrition47

        One would hope that the narrow-front attack to Palmyra is deliberate this time and that the troops there are ready for an attempt to cut them off. Provoking counter-attacks, now that the Syrians have so much more air power and firepower, is a traditional tactic.

        • Barba_Papa

          I suspect the offensive to retake Palmyra was driven more by Russian political needs then actual military needs. Putin spent a lot of political capital and used the capture of Palmyra last year to paint him as a protector of its cultural antiquities. So losing Palmyra was a major slap in the face for him.

          • Attrition47

            Perhaps that’s why the US head-chopping, heart-eating rapers went back to it, when they were being thrashed at Aleppo.

      • ChiefWiggum

        Someone should make an article with your answers, those are better than most articles I’ve read

        • Barba_Papa

          Thanks! Much obliged!

    • Solomon Krupacek

      SF does not know anything.
      I think, andt this is my meaning for 1 year, they shold take arak t3 airport and the whole road 90. this is the key to hold palmyra. after that push further to east up to as sukhna. then take countryside betwenn this axis and khanasser. further southes direaction take t3 airbase and clien the territory between axis damascus-as suknah and jordan/iraqi border. finally can posh up to euphrates

      • Barba_Papa

        Thing is, the SAA has only limited offensive capabilities, limited manpower and most of it is corrupt and inefficient. It can’t do major offensives. Even its current offensive east of Aleppo is slow and methodical. In the grand scheme of things Palmyra is unimportant, and certainly not important enough to put the current offensive in the north on hold. The only reason to push forward to Sukhna is as a stepping stone towards Deir Ezzor. If that is the point and if the objective of the current offensive in the north is to drive on to Al Tabaqa then maybe that offensive has more potential in the long term to relieve Deir Ezzor then any operations around Palmyra. Plus they could potentially strike towards Deir Ezzor from Kurdish held territory in the north.

        • Solomon Krupacek

          look, i do not understand, during 5 years why did not recruite rokies?? there are 10 millio people under assad. was be no problem recruite for 5 new divisions.

          it is so loughly always to read… not enough manpower.

          • Barba_Papa

            In an efficiently run country and army you would be right. But Syria was and is not an efficiently run country. It’s a kabal of competing factions, officials and families, all played against each other by Assad, and the same applies to the military. It’s made worse that the governing elite is Alawite and the majority Sunni are not. With a hodgepodge of various other religious minorities and ethnicities making up the rest. Everybody distrusts each other and many do not want to fight for Assad and his Alawites.

            The current army is also set up in such a way that most men are not even in the army but in the NDF militias, because those receive better pay, plus you get to serve close to home. As such few if any want to serve in the SAA, which has lost a lot of manpower over the years, mostly Sunni, to the insurgents. So the NDF is the biggest force, and gets used to hold the frontlines, and locally as infantry. But they can’t be transferred to other sectors. The SAA can, it has most of the heavy weapons, but it lacks manpower as the average male of military age would rather be in the NDF, or swim to Europe. So the striking power of the SAA remains limited, and often is made worse because it lacks a good NCO corps and many officers are more busy lining their own pockets.

            There are a few good units, like the Tiger Forces and the Desert Hawks brigade. But both are ironically semi-private armies created by rich members of the Assad elite, recruiting almost exclusively from the Alawite minority. Which limits their size. The 4th Armored or Mechanized Division also has a good reputation. Others, average or worse. And from what I’ve gathered the average SAA division is not so much an actual combat division like in the West or as in Russia, but more a regional HQ. A personal fiefdom for the general in charge to run as he sees fit. And most efficiently line his own pockets.

        • dutchnational

          A drive on DeZ out of the north by combined kurdish and SAA forces out of Hassakah is something I advocated in the past months. Problem is, what is in it for the SDF?

          If Assad was inclined to “give” anything, it would have been a done deal.

          • Barba_Papa

            Well, it’s always good to have good relations with both Assad/Russians, and the Americans. After all, while the Kurds are useful to the Americans now, Turkey is probably way more important to them in the long run. Any relationship built on the idea that the Syrian Kurds and the US will be BFF’s forever is built on fantasy.

            So once that relationship cools it’s good to have options. At the very least to be able to play one side against the other. If only because while the Rojava Kurds are reasonably safe for the moment, the Afrin Kurds are very much vulnerable. For if Erdogan may come to the conclusion that Manbij is ‘zum strengsten verboten!’ for him, he may still be able to excise at least one Kurdish kanton from his To Do list.