International Military Review – Syria, Feb. 8, 2016

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Last weekend, the Syrian government forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces, predominantly Kurds supported by the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces launched a joint offensive in Northern Aleppo. On Feb.7, the Kurdish troops secured several kilometers of the Gaziantep-Aleppo road and captured the town of Deir Jamal. The SAA also reached this crucial supply line from Turkey after an intense battle with the terrorists near the contested villages of Bayanoun, Kafr Naya, and Hayyan. Meanwhile, the Kiffin village has been liberated by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). According to reports, the SDF and the SAA have set up a joint checkpoint near Kiffin which is a clear evidence of the cooperation.

We remember, the Kurdish YPG has announced it’s going to launch a military operation in order to connect Afrin with Kobane and Hasakah. This gain will be hardly possible without a support of Russian warplanes and the pro-government forces pulverizing the terrorists’ manpower which could be used to prevent the Kurdish offensive.

Meanhwile, the pro-government forces secured the Ezaz-Aleppo road and liberated the town of Mayer. This road was formerly used by the terrorists to transfer their forces and hardware.
In a separate development, the SAA took control of the town of Ta’ana in the Eastern part of Aleppo province. It is close to the industrial region of Sheikh Najjar.

ISIS and Jabha al-Shamiya terrorist group, defined by the US as a moderate rebel group, has reportedly signed an alliance in Northern Aleppo in order to prevent the advance of the SAA and its allies. It’s reported that the groups concluded a cessation of hostility, opening “borders”, supply oil to rebels, exchange prisoners. It isn’t clear how these groups will coordinate military actions in the area.

Separately, militants in the Aleppo province set a coalition called ‘Jaish al-Halab’. It includes such groups as Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Jabhat Al-Shamiyah, Jaysh Al-Islam, and Jaysh Al-Mujahiddeen and also aims to oppose the Syrian forces.

More than 500 new recruits gathered in central Latakia, having passed a basic training course to joint the Syrian forces. They are now awaiting deployment. According to the province governor, Ibrahim Khodr Salem, this is the fifth set of volunteers.

On Feb.7, 133 militants laid down arms and turned themselves in to the Syrian army in the towns of Talbiseh and al-Rastan in the Homs province. In the very same time, the SAA advanced against the ISIL militants in the Eastern part of Homs province and deployed forces around the town of Quaryatayn. The final storm of the town is expected in the nearest future.

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  • EL ZORRO

    “ISIS and Jabha al-Shamiya terrorist group, defined by the US as a moderate rebel group, has reportedly signed an alliance in Northern Aleppo in order to prevent the advance of the SAA and its allies. It’s reported that the groups concluded a cessation of hostility, opening “borders”, supply oil to rebels, exchange prisoners. It isn’t clear how these groups will coordinate military actions in the area”…Not a problem, the U.S/TURKEY will provide the equipment and logistic, they are working together and in coordination(terrorists supporters).

    • First Lastname

      Yeah there’s that, plus the Saudis are reportedly planning to deploy troops to Syria by the end of March, with their Sunni alliance, including Turkey.

      I fear the SAA will be caught in a pincer movement, and I don’t know if Russia will be willing to bomb Saudi positions, although Russia is conducting readiness drills along their Southwestern borders.

      Could those drills be in preparation for a potential NATO incursion after the Russians are forced to bomb Saudi/terrorist positions?

      • Ole Johansen

        Russia can just “sell” Syria some awesome weapons to deal with the monkeyboys from Saudi Arabia. They are no longer needed by the US, so they better stay calm and drop this stupidity. Their soldiers are useless anyhow.

        • First Lastname

          Yeah, they Saudi army has good weapons, but they can’t do much more than kill civvies in Yemen. But still, 150k of them going up against the SAA would put a stop to the gains Syria has been making, and will require air superiority (currently held by the Russians) to regain the offensive.

          Hopefully they do like you say and just let the Syrians use Russian equipment, like they have with some of their T-90s, but somehow I find that scenario unlikely when it comes to cruise missiles and jets.

          • Sergio Gonzalez

            The issue with Syrian ground forces, currently, is the lack of modern and reliable equipment.
            They are extremely battle-hardened troops defending their homeland against International Terrorism, but there isn’t lack of “TOW” videos taking out SAA machinery and armored vehicles.

            As you said, Russia can be the supplier of such needed modern equipment, but I’m afraid that it’ll take time, and unless Iran, Iraq and Peshmergas step up their game against the insurgents, Syria is going to be in a vulnerable position.

            On the other hand; Syria is somewhat politically-protected by Russia, as said nation being oficially invited by the sovereign goverment of Syria -Mr. Assad-, so that any country openly declaring war and invading Syria will be also taken as a hostility towards Russia… and you’d think most countries don’t want to be involved in full-blown war against Russia.

            Anyways, let’s hope that the Saudis keep themselves busy fighting Houthi forces, and that Turkey keeps their hand full with the Kurds and the ever-stopping wave of “refugees”.

          • Mistr Jan

            Good point. The activation of the russian “South Army Circle” is a clear signal to anybody that unapproved by Damascus intervention to Syria will be strongly suppressed and invaders destroyed. Only a stupid would march to Syria under that conditions.

          • Sergio Gonzalez

            Exactly. But there’s still something that itches me.

            If I recall correctly, somewhere within last month, SouthFront reported that the US anounced that an Airbase within the Syrian borders was to be set up (On kurdish terrotory?) and that combat sorties from the “coalition” would be sent from there. And ground forces would be deployed.
            I really don’t want to believe in that, because, you know.. It can totally just be US propaganda, but if it were to happen, nobody knows where this will end.
            One of the possible outcomes is that the US forces somehow eventually set up the base, but they don’t get the permission from Syria or Russia to perform combat operations.
            Thus, the US-led coalition will openly state something like “Russian ministers say they’re fighting terrorism, but they don’t want an international coalition to help” to try and convince people that Russia is on the “bad” side, which will only help to spoil the whole situation even more.