Syria-Iraq War Report – October 3, 2017: Government Forces Counter-Attack In Central Syria

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Government forces are securing the Deir Ezzor-Palmyra highway in central Syria after a major part of ISIS attacks in in the area has been repelled. The main area of clashes are now east of Sukhna.

The situation near Bir-Ghabaghib and Shula has been stabilized, according to pro-government sources. However, these reports lack video and photo evidences.

On October 2, reports appeared that alleged US airstrikes hit Hezbollah positions near T-3 Pumping Station and killed seven or eight Hezbollah members involved in a battle against ISIS in the area. The airstrikes followed a large ISIS advance in the area repelled by government forces.

Army Colonel Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the US-led coalition, denied that the strikes were made by the coalition and said that its area of operations was Raqqah and the eastern bank of the Euphrates.

Some pro-opposition sources argued that the Hezbollah members were killed in a friendly fire incident by Syrian or Russian warplanes. The situation remains unclear.

East of Salamiyah, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies liberated Rubayah and Mughayzil from ISIS. Since August, the ISIS-held pocket has decreased from 3,270 km2 to 480 km2.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) advanced against ISIS near Hadin and Rubaydah villages northeast of Deir Ezzor city. The SDF progress near the Jafra oil field has slowed down because the group has to secure its northern flank if it wants to advance in the area.

In Iraq, the army and the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) have been continuing their operation against ISIS in Hawija area. Following a liberation of a high number of villages and airbase, the army and the PMU are now aiming to isolate ISIS units in Hawija itself.

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  • This has been a consistent pattern over the last year or so. SAA advances into new areas, then Daesh makes desperation counter attacks that result in insignificant gains. Following that Daesh are either rolled back or pocketed. Overall it’s a positive development, since it results in a quicker collapse of the Daesh Califake. Daesh has had better success with prepared “last stand” battles like Mosul and Raqqa.

    • dutchnational

      I agree partly with you.

      For the moment though and in this specific instance, I disagree.

      I disagree for several reaons :

      The first is that it shows a lack of good command in SAA headquarters. Tactics have not been well thought out here.
      The second is that the low level of capabilities for non crack units has been shown here very clearly. For a proffessional army very worrisome.
      The third reason is Qaryatayn. A few sleeper cells, even if aided by locals, should not be able to take and hold a city, beyond, say, a day. If reports that NDF aided IS are correct, then SAA has a whole other problem on its hand.
      Fourthly is timing. The timing of this offensive of IS is such that SDF profits by it as they are, mostly, able to continue their advances, while that of the SAA has been stalled.

      All these matters have impact. but the fourth can have dire implications.

      Commenters here see a grand conspiracy of US, IS and SDF to thwarth SAA. I think reasoning here is much simpler.

      IS knows it’s going to lose here. They can still, however, influence the way of their defeat and its consequences.

      My guess is they want to leave SDF in a relatively stronger position and an as much as possible weakened SAA. Not because they are pro SDF, but to leave the foundations for a struggle between SDF and SAA, in such a way that it will hurt both the most they can influence.

      I just hope neither SAA nor SDF will fall into that trap.

      • as

        SDF is an offshoot of FSA which is a radical insurgent group led by Al qaeda actors and groups. We’ve witnessed several times how their interest aligned like how they are in unison to accuse and vilify Assad, the gas things, white helmets, secret corridor of weapons/supplies, etc etc. On that matter SDF lost credibility about their roles in destroying the group itself just like how you said that the SDF feels perfectly fine to ignore them or even shelter them whenever it’s benefit.

        • dutchnational

          One thing one cannot accuse SDF (and YPG/YPJ before) of is them being an offshoot of FSA. There are FSA related kurds – former SAA officers and the like) that organised as part of FSA and went to KRG, where they are now called Rojava Pesh Merga and they are not allowed into Northewrn Syria by the SDF.

          Some secular, anti islamic smaller FSA groups, some also from mixed areas and containing some kurds, joined YPG in forming the SDF.

          Smaller groups of former FSA groups continue to join SDF, and also large numbers of tribal fighters, syriacs and turkmen and many arabs out of liberated areas.

          YPG (and informally YPJ) were formed before there even was an FSA, as of 2004.

          There is much bad blood between SDF and present FSA and other islamists and continued fighting on a low lever around the turkish Azaz colony.

          • as

            It’s the opposite. Due to it’s unpopularity the US forced them to be screened out and separated to push the label of ‘moderate’ opposition (which laughable since there seems to be acceptable level of violence of foreign insurgents) and it’s just happen that the Kurds is a better and popular fighting forces at least in it’s homeland. Why do you think they don’t place a sunni to led their SDF ? Simply because it became too unpopular in it’s citizens views and that led them to be harder to help in it’s mobilisation against the Syrian government.
            It is became increasingly clear why the US grab some Syrian territory and camping out on it. It’s never about ISIL.

          • Jens Holm

            This is not about war. This is about making a federasy based on sekular policy and helped by militia.

            The Leaders and the arriere guards for that are the most competent chosen by education, skills and hard work. And You do forget, that kurds are sekular sunnis. Its the usuak stuff filled in with ignorance and facts.

            And let me alos remind You, that more then half of the inhabitants in the SDF possestions actually are non kurds. How can it be ubpopular leaders are not kurds.

            You also agree, that a minority of Kurds support would like to join the Barzani version, which is impossible in Syria, but make them out as Leaders as well.

          • as

            Federacy you say what’s the population in city of Raqqa and northern part of Syria have to say when the SDF decides to leave the governing to tribal leader that’s just affiliated themselves with IS not too long ago ?
            Both Kurds in Syria, Turkey and Iraq have the same agenda which is ultimately an independent autonomous nation formed by stolen territory. Did you know ? The Kurds distancing themselves from that of the Muslims and their believe reinventing their own version of religion, history, and culture in attempt to raise nationalism for their future generation.

        • Jens Holm

          As long as people bring in dirt like that, You will never sove anything in Middle East. Its against all facts.

          Its even proved several times, that SDF has taken FSA look a likes at their side of the river.

          You and other loose credibility Yourself by bringing things like this again and again.

          • as

            There’s no need for SDF to be in that side of the river especially when ‘it has encountered strong resistance in raqqa’ unless their agenda is occupation of nationally strategic resources. SAA leave the Raqqa to them to sort out yet it has prolonged into months long campaign with tens to hundreds of civilians casualties in air campaign.
            You do realizes that there’s something wrong when they could overtaken SAA advance that’s beginning much earlier almost without any resistance in their advance to deir ezzor right ?

      • gustavo

        Totally in agreement, I liked your analysis.

      • gustavo

        I am afraid oil fields in Omar are lost already. Could it be a secret agreement between Syria-Russia and SDF-USA ? or is it just a very bad tactical from Syria generals ?

        • Jens Holm

          They have been for Years. ISIS got those none productive fields. Do You prefare that for SDF`s taking them, bacause SAA are so slow and ineffective.

          An No Omars still can be taken by SAA if they wish. SAA seemes to have chosen to prefare to take Idlib or something moving troops around as if they already had Omar and more to it.

          You blame SDF for that. The usuak stuff in the 10.001 excused for the adventures from the arabic deep night.

      • I agree with your 4th point. ISIS is contesting SAA advances while rolling over for SDF. Similar to 1945 in the Reich when Germans fought Soviets while surrendering to US forces.

        Your third point is that fighters with local backing cannot resist a competent army. Was the Wehrmacht competent in early 1943? The Warsaw Ghetto uprising lasted a full month against a disciplined well armed army.

        SAA has problems with some units having poor discipline and morale. This war is still being won and even the less disciplined units will fall in line.

        As for High Command’s strategies I think we are both guessing, since we lack access to the hard intel available to the General Staff and have to rely on media propaganda outlets.

      • hestroy

        LOL!!!

      • SOF

        Good analysis. I noticed that the force that liberated Deir Ezzor (shown in Anna News) was barely squad sized, and the rest waiting behind was a group no larger than a company. The SAA has suffered from a massive shortfall of capable men from a war it was not designed for.

  • Rob

    American terrorist coalition are losers.

    • Jens Holm

      Compared to what.

  • EL ZORRO

    “The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) advanced against ISIS near Hadin and Rubaydah villages northeast of Deir Ezzor city”…TRANSLATION…The UNITED STATES SDF sepoy following orders from their U.S masters will join UNITED SATES INTERNATIONAL MERCENARY TERRORIST, I.S.I.S, near Hadin and Rubaydah villages northeast of Deir Ezzor city to attack the SYRIAN ARMY.

    • Jens Holm

      The usual excuse for bein ineffective in a very systematic way stuffed with tons of propaganda covering it.

      More like a transplantations in heads then irregular translation. No facts support it.

  • Thegr8rambino

    very nice, keep counterattacking and breaking terrorist necks :)))

  • Lone Wolf

    SAA and her allies need to come up with something to neutralise the F-18 Super Hornet flying above … lol .. then they can really clash with SDF …

    • Jens Holm

      They cant. I Europe and we celebrate Chrismas where we get presents. Next time I wish peace in Your region all the peacefull men going home, leaving all the weapon to the women, and let them shoot anyone they wish.