International Military Review – Syria-Iraq battlespace, Dec. 16, 2015

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In the past three days Russian warplanes have destroyed six illegal oil production facilities and seven truck convoys with oil and oil products in Syria. On the whole, Russian aircraft have destroyed more than 1,200 tanker trucks of militants transporting crude oil and oil products since the start of the operation in Syria.

Last few days the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Hezbollah have conducted military operations in the area of the strategic town of Al-Zorba fighting against Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, Al-Nusra, Liwaa Suqour Al-Sham and Harakat Nouriddeen Al-Zinki. On Tuesday, pro-government forces made gains at the western flank of the town. Thus, the loyalists are spreading militants too thin in order to expose the most vulnerable parts of their positions. The same approach was used in the town of Al-Hadher last month.

In North Latakia, the SAA supported by the NDF, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) and Muqawama Souri took control of the Al-Nuba Mountains after week long clashes with Al-Nusra and its allies. This allows the pro-government forces to cut the terrorists-controlled areas which border Turkey.

Russia has supplied a large cargo of military and arms aid to Iraq as part of the growing anti-terrorism cooperation between Moscow and Baghdad. According to the reports, a large number of the Russian-made armored vehicles have arrived in the Iraqi port of Basra.

Turkey has withdrawn some troops from Mosul. On December 10, Turkish President Recep Erdogan refused to withdraw the Turkish troops from Mount Bashiqa. However, Ankara withdrew forces and armored vehicles from the camp on December 14, but Turkish PM Davutoglu noted some trainers would remain at Bashiqa because of a “new arrangement.”

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