Syrian War Report – January 16, 2018: Syrian Army Repelling HTS and ISIS Attacks In Eastern Idlib

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The situation in estern Idlib is rapidly becoming more and more complicated for government forces as both ISIS and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) are simultaneously pressuring the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies.

On January 15, ISIS captured a dozen villages southwest of the Abu al-Duhur airbase and conducted several hit and run attacks on government troops in the areas of Uwayjat Qana and Rasm Khushuf.

Separately, clashes between HTS and the SAA continued in Niha, Abu Omar, Astan, Sham Hawa, Salloumiyah, Tal Khaznah and nearby points. Government forces launched a counter-attack to repel the HTS advance in the area and by January 16, they had regained some positions including Astan.

In southern Aleppo, government troops regained Hawbar, Abu Ruwayj and entered Marhamiyah and Tal Shahid.

According to pro-militant sources, government forces lost up to 30 fighters and at least 2 vehicles in the recent clashes, mainly in militant attacks on ill-prepared positions of SAA troops southwest of Abu al-Duhur.

The recent advances of ISIS and the ongoing counter-attack of HTS pose the threat of cutting off units of the SAA’s Tiger Forces deployed south of the airbase from their counterparts in northeastern Hama. The Syrian military is now deploying reinforcements to the area in order to prevent this scenario.

The rapid expansion of ISIS in the area also shows that more and more so-called moderate rebels paint their flags in black and joint the terrorist faction in eastern Idlib and northeastern Hama. This once again reveals the real face of the so-called moderate opposition in Idlib.

On January 15 and January 16, Turkish forces carried out multiple strikes on the positions of Kurdish militias in the area of Afrin. Turkey’s President Erdogan once again threatened to launch a military operation in the area and vowed to “drown” the so-called “terror army” which is now being formed by Washington with the help of US-backed forces under the name of the Border Force.

“This is what we have to say to all our allies: don’t get between us and terrorist organizations, or we will not be responsible for the unwanted consequences,” Erdogan said adding that Turkish forces will battle “until not a single terrorist remains along our borders, let alone 30,000 of them.”

The rift between Washington and Ankara deepens as the US is not going to abandon its support to Kurdish-dominated forces in northern Syria.

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  • Sakaramanga

    Turkey should help / join forces with SAA.

    • Richard Noel Hedditch

      But Turkey is the Jijadist scum in Idlib.

    • Rüdiger Preiss

      After all that Turkey has pulled off, who can trust them??

    • FlorianGeyer

      It would be more acceptable I think if the Turks stopped arming FSA terrorists and others in Idlib and confined themselves to restraining the Kurds in the Kurdish Cantons until a joint operation with the SAA is possible to re-establish the rule of the elected Syrian government over these areas.

      Once Idlib is cleared of the US Coalition terror gangs this would be possible and a small price for Turkey to pay for the mass destruction of Syria that they have also been party to.

      The US that is Illegally in Syria would then have a choice of fighting a fellow NATO member with a very large army or telling their military et al to pack their bags and return thousands of miles to their bases in the USA. To a fanfare of trumpets and idolisation of these military ‘hero’s’ naturally :) The Home front needs to remain in fantasy land.

    • gustavo

      Not way, Turkey is one of the main terrorists supporter, trafficker of terrorists Syria oil, Russia’s traitor by shutting down a Russia plane, and helping (supported also by USA) terrorists with high tech drons. Turkey must leave Syria, point.

  • NobodysaysBOO

    the REAL FIGHT has not started YET, that will come when (NOT IF) the Russians take the GOLAN hights BACK for the owners/WINNERS, SYRIA!!!

    • Potato Potato

      If Syria tries taking back the Golan, they should expect to become a part of Greater Israel.

      • NobodysaysBOO

        right alone with EVERYONE on EARTH!!!!

        Poooooooo rude NOISE!!!

  • @Inc2Get

    The SAA should not join forces with Turkey. Turkey is the main reason for the war, while they allowed ISIS to expand and sell oil/trade oil through Turkish border and while arming arming Jihadis in Syria, just because they want to topple Assad. Instead, Assad should not interfere in Turkish/kurdish tensions and liberate Idlib before making any rash decisions. After Idlib, he should seek cooperation from the kurds whereas they either join him as allies or face extermination from Syria. The kurds only request is autonomy which the Syrian foreign minister stated is negotiable.

    • FlorianGeyer

      For now he Turkish forces North of Aleppo are preventing a link up with Afrin that would aid the goals of the USA/Israel.

      • as

        It’s dead that the us promises to give erdogan a slice of the pies. Instead it arms his opposition the PKK. I still wonder why even erdogan believe they were in on this as a team when they give political asylum to Guleni leader as well as the NATOphile military officers that went together in the coup.

        • Margaret

          Go-o-gle is p-a-ying $97 per hour,w-i-th weekly payo-u-ts.You can also avail th-i-s.O-n tuesday I got a brand new Land Rover Range Rover from having ea-r-ned $11752 this last four weeks..w-i-th-out any doubt it’s t-h-e most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It so-u-nds unbelievable but you wont forgive your-s-elf if you don’t check it!jw141n:>>> http://GoogleDailyConsumerDayJornalsJobsReport1/easy/jobs ♥♥♥k♥♥n♥p♥u♥♥♥h♥c♥♥w♥y♥♥z♥i♥f♥♥k♥v♥u♥♥g♥♥m♥♥♥x♥♥n♥♥♥m♥♥♥n♥♥♥q♥♥♥u♥♥♥r♥♥♥j♥o:::::!ox632v:lhu

        • FlorianGeyer

          Venal people will always seek advantage wherever it is, irrespective of any morality. The legal profession and banking professions are examples or this.
          Erdogan is concerned only for his own status and pot of gold as are the majority of politicians.

    • Tudor Miron

      “kurds whereas they either join him as allies”(C) That’s if Kurds are smart enough and don’t buy into us-zio fairy tales. So far they don’t seem to show extra intelligence but that’s imho.

      • Solomon Krupacek

        kurds do what is the best for them. now america gives better guarantees then assad. this is assads failure.

        when wil you give freedom for siberian nations???

        • Bob

          No – the US and CIA give out more hard currency and weapons supplies to the YPG/SDF than they can offer any realistic political guarantees.

          • Solomon Krupacek

            usa is another chapter. of course, they use them. but for the situation, that the kurds are (mis)usable for yanks is responsible assad.

        • Tudor Miron

          Did Syberian nations ask for freedom? Visit Sybiria and ask them yourself – first they will tell you that they are Russians and I’m not that evil to suggest to offer them freedom from Russia ;) People there are simple and Taiga is huge – no one will find a little zio other than a bear or a fox.

          • Solomon Krupacek

            i visited siberia in the past. you are colonizators and uzirpers. do you pay them tribute for stolen land and raw materials???

          • Tony T.

            The only Siberia you’ve been in is the one on your TV…it’s a minor medical miracle that you haven’t chocked yet on the crap rolling out your gob

          • Solomon Krupacek

            you are simply stupid. learn first russian, loser.

          • Tudor Miron

            Which areas exactly? Would you answer my question – did Syberian nations ever ask for freedom from Russia?

    • Jonathan Cohen

      ABORTION RIGHTS IN AFRIN!

  • You can call me Al

    As a side issue, why is Al Jazeera (Qatar) slagging off the Russians on the Syrian update ?, I thought they were buddies now !!. I am just watching now and they are being pretty harsh as well.

    • Jim Prendergast

      AJ has changed.

    • Attrition47

      Al Jaz was worthless before the uprising in Egypt in 2011.

  • telemetrie

    It is typical russian behavior.

    When it is the best time to finish push on ISIS , they withdraw troops from Syria . Do you remember liberating Allepo ? Russian stopped fighting in the middle of the battle, because Americans wanted “ceasefire”. When ISIS reinforcements entered Allepo, Russians were “surprised” that “moderate oposition” broke all agreements and started fighting again. Is it russian naivity ? Is it lack of knowledge of US backed rebels and their strategy ? Is it some form of masochism ? Is it obeying some virtual “law” that will american “partners” recognize as weakness ?
    Russian strategic planning is to blame for those problems in Idlib.

    • FlorianGeyer

      You fail to see the strategic thinking of Russia that has thus far been very successful.

      • telemetrie

        yes… I saw “strategic” russian thinking in Alepo resulting in 30.000 casualties and one of the longest siege in modern history (4 years), I saw russian unability to control eastern bank of Euphrate including strategic Omar oil filed, which was transfered from ISIS to USSA/Israhell hands without any fight and effort and now I can see those ISIS troops moved to Idlib province by USSA/Israhell, where they are effectively crushing SAA advance. And meanwhile Russia is abandoning Syria and whimpering about USSA/Israhell treachery, the result of russian campaign is slowly dissapearing , because …. russians just made terrible mistake and left the arena prematurely. As I said it is typical russian behavior. I’ll not be surprised if Syria will lose Alepo to Erdogan after all this brave SAA / Russian fighting.

        • Manuel Flores Escobar

          Terrorist dont have any option..once they will be defeated in South Idlib and becauseTurkey border are under Kurdish control except Idlib province the SAA will advance there( Idlib) with the support of thousands SAA&NDF from other parts of Syria beside Shia and Palestine army!

          • Solomon Krupacek

            who will defeat?! thais undergraduated bunch of idiots called saa? they ar zero minus hundred without airforce. rabbets on fled only!

          • Eskandar Black

            So after the SAA kill all the FSA, will you finally tell me what it costs in shekels to keep you around?

          • Solomon Krupacek

            you are soooo boring wih shekels. why do not talk about shitty rubel?

          • Eskandar Black

            if you want to be paid in rubels, you cant be such a russia hating cunt.

          • Solomon Krupacek

            eat your stupid rubel.

          • Manuel Flores Escobar

            yo dont know anything about military tactics…SAA withdraw Troops to avoid death or capture soldiers during incoming terrorist offensive..but among other reason because RUAF and Iranian drones can wipe off them easily!…they dont have air defense vs accurate airstrike!

          • Solomon Krupacek

            I was professional officer, my dear. I know lot of. Not like you. And a can tell, the saa is shithill.

          • Manuel Flores Escobar

            I was in the airforce for 2 years and I´ll tell you that US forces withdraw when they are being attacking and ask for air support!..SAA have air support and now guide artillery Krasnopol and Iranian drones which can finish the task with low risks!

          • Solomon Krupacek

            your answer did not changed anything what about i wrote. saa is shithill. nothing else. one normal army would take east ghouta dancing and singing. one normal army would not fall in such disaterous situation in which is saa. one normal army would not bwe defeated by isis.

          • Manuel Flores Escobar

            USA needed 20.000 soldiers+15.000 Iraq soldiers beside all military capability( air force+helicopters) to take faluya which has the same size that east ghouta and in both case there were 1000 terrorist inside!..SAA only have about 1500 soldiers fighting there!

          • Solomon Krupacek

            saa in the beginning had 180 000 members

          • Manuel Flores Escobar

            Thas why SAA military staff seek to reduce casualties among SAA members.

          • DenLilleAbe

            of which they have lost aprox. 65 000 dead. Dead! That is a third of a once reasonable capable army. I dont think you have been an army officer, frankly. Else you would not call a fighting force that loses a third of the best mind you, but still carries on, despite embargo, and after 6 years of war is still achieving good results. You would as a former officer at least have respect for the tenacity and moral they display.

          • Solomon Krupacek

            beacuse they are shithill and not army!

          • DenLilleAbe

            Plearse learn English grammar. T is called ” an army” not army . Amy must have an article in front.
            More I can help you with , colleague..

          • Solomon Krupacek

            i am not good in english. i speak 7 lenaguages and english is only on the 6th place. but until you understand .. :)

            but thanks for correction. i will remember it.

          • DenLilleAbe

            Yes those Sunni’s were some tough guys, but an enemy that defends his home, means heavy casualties, they dont surrender.

          • DenLilleAbe

            I doubt that very much, must have been some sh*thole country then! I have not ever heard a British officer express himself in the manner you do! I have met a few, I assure you, quite well educated.

          • Solomon Krupacek

            brits are shits

          • DenLilleAbe

            I don’t generally agree. I have met some very fine and tough soldiers, both officers and rank n’ file; tough, reliable, smart and that was under heavy fire. They knew what they were doing.

        • FlorianGeyer

          I see that ISIS is largely purged from Syria and Aleppo that has citizens returning in their thousands to live and rebuild under the stewardship of President Assads elected government.

          I see no hands or heads being chopped off or people being burned alive in cages in areas controlled by the SAA.

          I see newly liberated areas where the general populations are happy to be freed from the US Coalition of Terror and live under the laws of the Syrian state and not the ‘Laws of Americas criminal warlords’.

          • telemetrie

            Well, this reminds me another situation a year ago, when SAA entered Palmyra , which they captured on March 2016 with heavy loses and casualties from Spetsnaz, just to fail keep it until December 2016, when Plamyra was lost to ISIS for the second time, so they had to recapture it againin on January 2017 with another heavy loses and utterly destroyed.
            It seems that russians are still repeating the same mistake. They just stop fighting ISIS in the middle of fight, don’t eliminate them and let them go regroup on US protected areas as “moderate rebels” and let them strike again and again and again.
            It is something whhich is deep mystery for me. May be Russians don’t want to win “easy” way, may be they want more own people killed ?

          • FlorianGeyer

            You should be writing for CNN. Perhaps you are :)

          • Solomon Krupacek

            he describes the truth. also you were not able to decline his facts.

          • FlorianGeyer

            Debating with you is futile Solomon. I have better things to do.

          • Tommy Jensen

            There is for certain a planned strategy, agreement or policy behind.

        • Bob

          You are missing the difference between diplomatic strategy and military tactics. The Russians have deliberately drawn the Turks into Idlib – whilst well aware the Turks are untrustworthy and trying to have it all their own way over Syria – but the Russian strategy is to wedge the Turkish and US cooperative anti-Syrian relationship. Russia is more than aware that Turkey has been the main facilitator of militant recruits, weapons smuggling, foreign training bases and foreign military control rooms against the Syrian state since 2011. But whole point of Russia engaging with Turkey over Idlib was to get the Turks and US at loggerheads and disrupt their operational cooperation against Syria – largely running out of southern Turkey. The Russian engagement with Turkey is not repeated by Syrian leadership – who publicly state their opposition to Turkish forces in Syria. This might at first seem a contradiction in the Syrian-Russian alliance, but actually it is very deliberate action. It means; that whilst the Russian’s accepted the Turks into the Idlib deescalation process, largely suspecting that Erdogan would not fulfill his anti-HTS obligations and focus on Afrin and the YPG and therefore ramp up his tensions with US, the Syrians as the sovereign state leadership remain completely in position to demand the removal of Turkish forces, having never agreed to any form of Turkish presence. There are many pieces on the table – bombing runs are not the only way to fight an adversary.

          • Attrition47

            Quite so, Ermattungsstrategie is a military-economic-politico-iplomatic process.

          • Weldon Cheek

            Well put, theres no way the russians are going to allow the huge kudos and worldwide apreciation for their military prowess and to lose the powerful image they are gathering as the peace makers and the fairness of their actions in syria to just go to waste by leaving the syrian state (who have also started to get a better and more “likeable” image over last 12 months or so) out to dry and at the mercy of these animals, besides its a massive middle finger to the U.S. erc that they are accomplishing what they are with a minimum of fuss, i say lets see what comes of this offensive and how much the saa end up holding as the dust settles and then we will have more idea whats going on, theres too much happening and its dragging all the bullshit merchants out of the woodwork,as it is id say it looks like the this could be a turning point and i doubt the russians are going anywhere soon.

          • telemetrie

            I’m afraid I have more straightforward explanation. Putin is in the middle of the president run campaign so he doesn’t need any news about KIA russian soldiers so he preferred withdraw from Syria (temporarily ?) and SAA is now paying for that decision.

          • Bob

            Putin do this…Putin do that…The Syrian Arab Army has its own command structure and its own agency – the assumption that they need Putin to do absolutely everything for them is both patronizing to their abilities and their independence.

        • robert wa

          It’s becoming increasingly difficult to understand Russian intent in Syria it’s one step forward and two steps backwards..where’s the fire and fury or the equivalent of shock and awe..not that anyone is impressed with the nonsense talk of American talking heads but it seems half hearted effort by Russia..

      • Tudor Miron

        Another one of those :) “Russia is weak! Putin is traitor!”. How many of them passed in front of our eyes during this years? No less than those that were chanting “Assad must go” :D

        • Solomon Krupacek

          see you? most of the mankind know this fact. :DDD

      • Solomon Krupacek

        you better shut up! you are advocate of undefendable.

        • Eskandar Black

          Agent Solomon, why so threatening, do they pay extra for angry posts?

          • Solomon Krupacek

            from now you belong to blocked animals.
            bye, ruskie!

          • Eskandar Black

            Oh no. How will I live without your stupid shekel commentary?

        • FlorianGeyer

          Ordering someone to ‘Shut Up’ is soooooo j£wish Solomon. :)

          • Solomon Krupacek

            british pund are much better money than russian rubel

      • Solomon Krupacek

        yup, we saw in the 20th century. nicely lost the cold war.

        you are extremly wrong gamers :))))

    • Solomon Krupacek

      perfect comment!

      • Eskandar Black

        Agent Solomon finally hired a russia hating assistant, how many shekels per post?

    • Jeff Lewin

      The SAA is not lacking manpower, and they still have tens of thousands of Iraqi militia allies on their side, besides the IRGC and Hezbollah forces in Syria.

      Also, Russian naval forces are still protecting the airspace of western Syria, and Russian aerospace forces are still providing air support.

      I am not optimistic about Russia engaging Coalition forces in eastern Syria, however, they seem to be going for the diplomatic option there.

  • Attrition47

    Hmmm, the Syrian salient is looking a bit like the Scottish Corridor. Now that the US head-chopping, heart-eating rapers are committed the Syrians can afford to shift troops from other areas to counter them.

  • robert wa

    I never understand Russian policy in Syria..its becoming obvious Russian government doesn’t to want an end to conflict in Syria and is just as happy for perpetual combat..becoming more like Americans/Israel in war profiteering and
    testing stratgric military capabilites..becoming suspicious of intent of there involvement and long term goals…They don’t seem to be willing to stand up to heavyweights or American/IsraelI proxy’s..as much as I personally loathe and abhor israhell and there agenda there not afraid to mobilise and be proactive..Russia are militarily and morally on the right side but never seem to push the advantage..??? Can anyone see Israel in the same position letting a group of adversaries leave a battle field as isis were in a deal last month ?

    • Solomon Krupacek

      the soviet/russian politics in ME was always such ambivalent. hiw big allied is syria, if long years does not help the friend?? usa made cento, ussr/russia never made block. always kapt distance from friendly arab countries. this hal-hearted mentality is the main reason of fall of russians in history. this mentalty is present in all their life. you only dont know them and dont know this. this mada in vietnam – finally this russian politics pushed them back to americans; no zionist action, but simply russian stupidity – in Cuba. after 1990 they absolutely shit on cuba. on north yemen, avrican, south-american friendly countrie. only russians are able to go under zero level with their big ignorancy.
      but … look at other things. they made rocket Energiya, space shuttle Buran. Eeach other nation would show them proudly in museum. Russians not. they let the rost and go topieces. russians do not respect own things. lot of people hate me that i write these true things, but it is simply reality. And this is the key to understand them. This is, why are they losers. This is why do you not understand them, becuse they have this rare pathologic mentality, with which normal peiple from other nations do not count. so it is.

      • ilme

        Sad that your hate makes you blind. Of course you very well do know what happened in the 1990s and why things couldn’t be other than they were, yet you are incapable of presenting that knowledge in a neutral form but bend the truth so you can try to spread your hate.
        Judging from your surname this is because your country was under Sowjet occupation. That were bad times, but there is no need to blame russia today for what happened in the past. It’s not like the US or EU are any better, you just never had any experiences with them. Ask South American countries for their experiences with Russia on the one hand and the US on the other hand. You’ll get exactly the opposite point of view than yours.

        • Solomon Krupacek

          i was an officer of warsaw pact. i know such tings about russian foreign and military politics, what about you have no idea. and i saw fall the sick russian system. this is not hate guy, this is diagnosis of russian politics.

          • ilme

            Again: you very well know why Cuba was let fallen in the 90ies, why there was no Founding to keep the Burans. And you diagnose Sowjet thinking of the past and sell it as Russian thinking today.
            Are germans still Nazis for you or did you manage to let go there?

          • Solomon Krupacek

            there was enough money. and if you were right … why not later???

            you are nad man. you know, you lie, and you contibue in lying.

          • ilme

            Maybe I am mad but to lie is not my style. Enough money you say, in Russia in the 90ies, when soldiers didn’t even get their wages. When basically all developments of new arms stalled. That were dark times for the country, why should they found other nations at that point? Cuba had been responsible itself to not take this money for granted and prepare accordingly.

            If you don’t like Russians fine you for sure have your reasons for that, no need to distort things. Or where do you see the country had enough money back then?

            And why should they found other nations now without getting anything back? That was one of the reasons the Sowjet Union collapsed.

          • Solomon Krupacek

            russia until today pisses on cuba and vietnam. pissed laso on syria. only childish huffiness was the help to assad for maydan.

            you know nothing about russians!

          • ilme

            Well I think we can stop the discussion here, there is nothing that can make you see things different than you want to see them. But you are only hurting yourself with that hate inside you.

          • Solomon Krupacek

            no hate. cticial view. and i dont trust russia. they are liars and betrayers. syria is the exact example.

      • Jeff Lewin

        Putin does not just make instinctive decisions, but he seems to do the minimum to defend Russia’s interests abroad, while attempting to Russia’s domestic struggles with poverty, negotiating for access to US and European markets.

        This has not been a total failure with regard to trade, as the EU has begun to resist the latest round of US sanctions.