How Syrian & Russian Forces Plan To Retake Palmyra From ISIS?

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Syrian government forces have repelled all ISIS attacks on the Tyas  Airbase and secured its perimeter, including the  Abadoned Armored Battalion and the Air Defense Battalion.

Now, the Syrian army, the National Defense Forces (NDF) and Hezbollah, backed up by the Russian military, are readying for an offensive operation west of Palmyra.

Most likely, government forces will make a flank attack in support of the main push to Palmyra.

If the Russian military decides to provide a major-scale assistance to government forces, it could make a series of tactical airborne assaults to propel the advance.

The Russian Armed Forces have a successful track record of such operations in Afghanistan and other local conflicts.

However, this decision will lead to casualties among Russian military personnel.

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  • qveenz

    The norh flank looks week on this plan. It will be more secure to initiate something from Al-Salamyah too.

  • northerntruthseeker .

    This does make sense.. For a direct attack on Palmyra via the highway from the west is what the US bought and paid for mercenaries are expecting….. Flanking these scoundrels and possibly surrounding them is the way to go…

  • Asil

    If such a plan could be realized, Russia can make a great show of its military capability and advertise its reliability as a partner for all countries fighting against terrorism. Due to the possibility of casualities, it is a risky move. However if Russian ground units take important part during this assault, like airborne oprations, then air support and recon operations will be unprecedented for syrian conflict and it can cause a slaughter of ISIS units. With such an operation they can easily wipe out thousend of isis units and that can change the whole campaign dramatically.

  • Karai Puku

    The key is not falling into traps.
    Use air power.
    Fast solution, like attack on Raqqa is not possible unless Syria has absolute air control.
    Consolidate free and liberated area, clean pockets, present short, clear border to the desert.
    Use air power.
    Target oil, production, transport, oil tankers. Destroy all that cannot be kept and defended.
    Tanks are useless without oil.

  • Виктор Лёгкий

    ^)

  • Xanatos

    Do we really think ISIS intends to capture Tiyas airbase now that pro government forces are rallying there? And will they defend Palmyra if they knew an offensive is coming? No, these positions are now under token forces while their main force is already on the move. I expect east to Deir Ezzor. This will free up forces for them to use elsewhere.

  • Barba_Papa

    Unless they also clear the terrain north of Palmyra and south of the Road of Life to Aleppo any push towards Palmyra will just create another vulnerable sailiant that can be cut off later again. While it pains me to see those head choppers in control of Palmyra’s antiquities there should be no more narrow front advances that are vulnerable to be cut off.

  • PZIVJ1943

    Palmyra will have to wait, please no more salients right now! . SAA #1 is to retake Tiyas crossroads and secure airbase. Maybe an an offensive against Uqayribat area to straighten out the lines. ISUS can’t be strong everywhere. Hope that Kurd advance towards Raqqa will draw some of them back up north. Deir Ezzor area must be watched with much air support, this may be their grand plan. I don’t see any good target for Russian airborne/air landing force, they would need to take airfield or link up with SAA ground force right away (that might be a huge risk). Doubt that Putin has that much trust in SAA forces.

  • Kell

    Yes im inclined to agree that leaving Palmyra until later may be a more prudent course of action, deploying forces that can be easily cut off requiring more resources to restore the status quo isnt economic.
    The SAA is in a good position right now to bring force to bear on several areas that are tying up large numbers of troops and now has the chance to mass forces and deal with East Ghouta and other pockets tying up 70 000 troops around Damascus, then perhaps Homs pocket freeing more up.
    In the mean time they could assist holding Tyas by taking the 4 or 5 ISIS held villages immediately East of Al Salamyah that have been a thorn in the side for a long time, drop the hawks down from Ithriyah and come in the back way if they are fortified, taking these will deny ISIS any poplulated (water/fuel) on the Western side of the desert making a straight defensive line a lot easier to hold and making manouvering isis units easier to pick up operating in the open desert.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/942fcdcf55837d5ff58fd2e139cdab623c9e7fb48920256c7d70dba161751e1b.png

    • PZIVJ1943

      Yes indeed! SAA taking E Gouta and Palastine camp pockets are a high priority. I have not heard much news about E Gouta in a while. The area seems to be calm right now.

    • John Brown

      No I disagree. Yes you are right about the pockets to be taken tying up large
      numbers of Syrian troops yes, but there is an opportunity with this ISIS
      offensive to wipe out this large mobile ISIS attack force and it must be taken. If not they
      will attack all along the eastern front, so Syria will not be to take out these
      pockets as you said. There will be no more ISIS force to attack, when Syria is
      taking these other pockets, once they are crushed now.

      So taking Palmyra may be the stated goal, but the real goal is to encircle and destroy this large mobile ISIS attack force, while they are out in the open, with long supply lines and no human shields.

      With total air superiority and the ability to use massive artillery bombardments,
      without worry about human shields this operation won’t take long, which is why this
      was a stupid desperate strategic mistake to make such a move by ISIS /Israel
      and Saudi.

      • goingbrokes

        Well said John Brown. You beat me to it. It is clear that if most of the IS advance is destroyed/captured they will not be in a position to mount further offensives for a while. It is a great opportunity. Access to the oil and gas fields is also vital.
        I tend to think that this assault has been in the making for a while but arrived too late. The retaking of Aleppo was supposed to take a lot longer (who would have believed in an early Christmas gift a couple of months ago!). So in effect this attack became a mistake, despite its visible successes so far. When it is beaten back, they could be pushed all the way to Deir-Ezzor. Although holding desert territory can be a big waste of resources. The SAA would benefit from a desert guerrilla force that roams at night to take out unsuspecting targets (although US satintel would probably spot them and pass on the coordinates to IS). Ah well.

        • Kell

          I think the manpower could be more profitably utilized at the moment, I think this attack was designed to distract the main Syrian force from elsewhere, I say contain and dont fall for the trap – sure harvest as many of their souls as you can especially from the air however big offensives are better elsewhere – last time Palmyra fell Isis simply melted away into the desert, same will happen again now wasting the available force of the anti terrorist coalition in Syria.
          How important are these oil fields right now?
          Important enough to delay or possibly loose a war?
          Important enough to squander 70 000 troops sitting in containment positions around Damascus?
          A hard desision for sure but one that can be calculated easily by those in the know.
          From my limited perspective laymans position I can see holding the line at Tyas, taking and holding a line due south of Ithriya uses limited troops allowing Ghouta and Homs pockets to be smashed like Allepo pocket was smashed and with your 100 000 troops go after Idlib and Isis – the timing should work in well with the Shia militias finished up in Mosul by that time and eager to help out dealing a decicive final blow to the Wahabis.

    • TS

      Wait? For what? Summer, until your IR can’t easily pick up the targets? Winter rocks, the bodies don’t stink in a day.

      • Kell

        No ones waiting sure ping em from the air but the army has more important jobs to be doing, triage or prioritization is the issue.
        If you can free up 100 000 soldures with little comparitavely time and work I know what id be doing and leave chasing hiluxes around the desert for last.

  • Jens Holm

    Well, if You make bad questions, You can get anything in answers.

    1) So what about ISIS attack and cut Assad possestions to Lebonon border and ISIS there.

    2) Do Assads have fuel for heating and fuel now.

  • Brad Isherwood

    You rest some of your military. .. ( special reward to the best an bravest)
    You however do not dramatically draw down operations as cohesion and will** get flushed.
    Your in the military….it’s part of the job duty to be in/at risk.

    Syria’s military has often become sloppy and unfocused.
    Best thing is to be on them like Grant was in 1864/65…
    The Union was also pushing the Army of the Cumberland and Army of the Tennessee and the
    Ohio on the south. ..
    Constant forward drive of recon. ..light calvary/artillery. ..then big battles.
    During WW 2 …the battle of Stalingrad.
    The USSR moved large Tank and Infantry Brigades into that fight,
    Yet many were fighting on the periphery to encircle the German Army.
    In the Stalingrad City fight…the Russian officers and command discovered that troops with
    Little combat experience to none…we’re sorted out rather quickly,
    With a percentage revealing they had the necessary mental,physical skill to fight a
    Challenging action such as Stalingrad.
    It might seem brutal…yet it creates the best soldier for the job type thing.
    One soldier with such skill and will is worth 50 who waver and cannot endure.

    Syria can now find these soldiers by putting them into different type campaign challenge.
    Anchored by key veterans ….they then push onto the enemy like The Union Armies
    Of late 1864 and 1865.

    • PZIVJ1943

      Most SAA are conscripts, and don’t want to be in battle. Read that Russia trains solid battalions, to be joined with larger SAA units. In Stalingrad, the russians used large inf. force to hold back 6th army, but held part of the bloody city. By winter the russian armies destroyed the weak Rumanian flanks of over extended AXIS force. Paulas was told to hold on for help, but army group south (the help) was fighting for survival and retreating from N Caucasas. In the end, their training was great, but the strategy was wrong.

      • TS

        yup.. and it was meant to be just that easy, you see there are no ‘maidens’ in Palmyra any more and it is cold and no heat or electricity..

      • Brad Isherwood

        On % of outcome reality in wars since WW 2.
        Attrition/loss and movement reduce an opponent till it eventually looses.
        Syria can press on several sectors and attrition the Jihadi.
        Yes…the US and GCC are supplying the Jihadi,
        Here Syria and Russia have to decide to shoot down these aircrafts. .and interdiction
        Their bases and supply routes.
        The South lost the Civil War in large % to Union Naval Blockades
        The 6th at Stalingrad also was fated under dramatic supply reductions.

        If Syria and Russia are going to let the resupply go limited challenge,
        Long war still ahead.

  • Indian Voice

    Wrong decision to attack Palmira. No benefit will come by liberating it as it is surrounded by ISIS from all sides. Instead hammer head russians should focus on liberating Idlib. Once these Nusra terrorists basterds are defeated then SAA can take on ISIS in 1 to 1 battle. Only thing required from Russia is a strategy to stop ISIS advance from east and support SAA operations against Nusra in the Idlib. I hope these hammer head russians can understand what is at stake rather than following their usual instinct.

  • TS

    Sniper grinder. Captagon is the real enemy. They (IS and the Syrian Opposition Army) have been sent there to die.

  • Jesus

    Why not attrite this ISIS force its weakest point? Air. Assigning a squadron of fighter bombers and helicopters, would expose their location and opportunity for multiple attacks. While keeping them busy running all over the desert, attack and destroy their supply and communication lines on a continuous basis. It would be good if these actions were coordinated with a no nonsense armored brigade, operating within a 150 km range from existing from front lines.

  • HoodooTexas

    The Russians and Syrians are incompetent. What success they have had in the Aleppo area is due to overwhelming localized firepower and the even greater incompetence of their opposition. ISIS is well led and organized and masters of asymmetrical warfare. If the Russians concentrate enough firepower, they will push out ISIS again but with the gross inefficiency of the Syrian Army, this concentration is going to have to be significant as to remove the threat of ISIS to Palmyra is to crush the ISIS forces in the area, not just push them back and this concentration will hurt the grand strategy. I think ISIS is quite happy to see the Syrians focus on Palmyra again as it will prevent them from focusing elsewhere.