Syrian War Report – October 31, 2016: Al-Nusra-led Forces Failed to Break Aleppo Siege

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As SouthFront forecasted on October 28, the Jaish al-Fatah militant coalition, led by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian Al-Qaeda branch) has not been able to deliver a devastating blow to the Syrian government forces and to break the siege of eastern Aleppo.

After the initial success based on massive usage of VBIEDs and a lack of support by the Russian Aerospace Forces (President Vladimir Putin declined the general staff’s request to deliver air strikes in Aleppo area), Jaish al-Fatah stalled in the trench warfare in non-populated urban areas. Fatah al-Sham-led attempt to cut off the Ithriyah-Aleppo Highway also failed.

The Syrian military also deployed reinforcements from the Syrian Army Tiger Forces and its commander, Major General Suheil Al Hassan, arrived the city to coordinate military operations against the joint terrorist forces. Hezbollah and Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba were set to assist to Al Hassan-led operations.

By October 31, Al Hassan–led forces, supported by the Syrian Air Force, have repelled attacks on the Minyan area and the 3000 Apartment Project, retaken the al-Assad Neighborhood and made a series of counter-attacks in the 1070 Apartment Project.

Since the start of Aleppo offensive, Jaish al-Fatah has lost about 120 fighters, 7 armored vehicles, 19 VBIEDs, 7 ‘technical’ vehicles, 2 battle tanks and 2 artillery pieces. The government forces have lost about 45 fighters, 3 battle tanks, 2 ‘technical’ vehicles, 1 Shilka vehicle.

Separately, the pro-government forces liberated Tal Qarah, Kafr Qaris, Tal Susin, Fafin, Babinnis, Tal Shair and the Infantry School from ISIS in northeastern Aleppo. The advance was synchronized with operations of the Kurdish YPG in the same area.

On October 30, the army and the NDF liberated the town of Tell Kurdi and the area of Tell Sawwan in Eastern Ghouta near the Syrian capital, Damascus. These areas had been controlled by the Jaish al-Islam militant group. The liberation of Tell Kurdi and Tell Sawwan decreases significantly the militant-controlled area near Damascus and sets a foothold for advance on Duma, the last major militant stronghold in the region.

On October 28, the government forces took control of the Air Defense Battalion hill between Deir Khabiyan and the 137th Regiment in Western Ghouta and splitted the militant-controlled area into two separate pockets. Next days the army and the NDF continued offensive operations in the direction of Khan Shih. On October 31, the government delegation arrived to the town to negotiate with members of the FSA, Jaish al-Islam and Jabhat Fatah al-Sham terms and conditions of their surrender.

Three Russian attack submarines armed Kalibr cruise missiles have joined a Russian naval taskforce heading towards Syria. The Royal Navy has been reportedly tracking two nuclear-powered Akula-class submarines and a diesel-powered Kilo-class submarine. The subs entered the North Atlantic from portsaround Murmansk and joined the Admiral Kuznetsov battle group as it sailed down the North Sea last week. The Kuznetsov and its battlegroup are now off the north African coast. The mainstream media speculates that the subs will deliver missile strikes on peaceful targets in Aleppo city.

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  • Normal Citizen

    Ahahaha! Those terrorists couldn’t even pull off a unsustainable victory this time around. They’re getting weaker and weaker while the Syrian forces get stronger and kill more of them everyday. The ending to this war might finally be within sight now.

  • Shhh

    The SAA is improving its techniques. The cost of a rebel attack must exceed what rebels are willing to pay. Its a war of attrition . But the SAA must be learning and inventing new devices and techniques to prevent being overrun. No evidence remote surveillance system and remote antipersonnel mining system is being actively used. Every perimeter should have three layers of video surveillance with remote antipersonnel mines available for each layer. The blast of each antipersonnel mine should be video tapped to make sure no civilians were in its path. The SAA losses were 3 to 1 against attacker which is ok but not outstanding . SAA needs much improvement and it is still learning .Remote antipersonnel mines,video surveillance for each perimeter , barbed wire , should make frontal assault extremely expensive . A single video camera is only 12 dollars.There should be thousands of monitors and cameras along areas subject to attack. Perhaps SAA does not want antipersonnel mines in civilian areas that are overrun by terrorist. But as long as the operator sees what is in the blast radius before detonation it should be fairly simple. Plus the decision to fire the antipersonnel mine is made based on what appears in video and should be recorded for review. Surely the SAA must be developing better defensive strategies for areas it already controls.

    • Jesus

      The only way the jihadis are able to penetrate Syrian army defenses is through suicide bombers detonating hundreds of kilos of explosives providing a shock point to attack. The Syrians should designate kill boxes attacked by artilery and air, and every time jihadis want to display their art of war, let them suffer. I think the Syrian army needs to reach a higher level of professionalism led by capable officers, employing modern warfare tactics, rendering the horde concept useless and defeatable. Syrians have to be able to fight on their own, of course the Russians will be there, Russians do not want to be enablers in keeping the Syrian army dependent on their support, when the Syrians can show full fighting capacity.

      • Shhh

        When hundreds of kilos of explosives move in VBIED they must travel betweeen buildings not trough them. The SAA had months to prepare engineered obstacles and and anti tank mines. The idea of vehicles approaching a manned check point seems like a waist of men. VBIED should be stopped by obstacle barriers and checked remotely opening the hood ad trunk through a dozen cameras before the vehicle can go to a second stop by a human. Syria should have research program for remote evaluation of vehicles by video for explosive devices. Everything should be operated remotely not in person. Clear channels that are clearly marked to prevent travel by civilians watched by video and guarded with antipersonnel and anti tank weapons are needed. There are 5000 terrorists in Aleppo. Cameras should monitor all areas denied access. I agree that the hoard concept against a modern coordinated layered defense is useless. Russia has effective weapons but many whether rifle, machine gun, RPG, shoulder fired missile are line of sight weapons. The problem with line of sight weapons is that if you can see them they can see you. The SAA has not demonstrated remote control RPG 29 that is guided by video . Instead the 500 dollar RPG 29 must be fired by someone looking at enemy who is vulnerable to counterattack with similar weapon. Remote controlled weapons could easily be set up in defensive positions and whether claymores , antitank or RPG operated remotely from bunker . The SAA needs remote weapons so that it can exchange in small arms fire with much less casualties. The attrition rate long term is devastating the Syrian army . I disagree with US drone strike program due to civilian casualties involved. However at least the US government has drone kills on video . The USA can review the video to make sure that lethal force was appropriate. Aleppo is extremely violent environment. The choices made by SAA soldiers have lethal consequences. The actions of SAA soldiers should be based on what they see on the monitor and reviewed for appropriate use of force.

        • ChiefWiggum
        • Jesus

          I am not sure if SAA has to go high tech in order to avoid bystanders the terrorists are using as human shields, PGMs from the air and ground can have a devestating effect on the jihadis with a very small CEP, avoiding civilian casualties. Russia has a number of armored vehicles that are remote controlled that can be used effectively in firefights, and to demolish reinforced positions. If Syria will get to use these weapons, remains to be seen. From a strategic standpoint, I would have no problem using low yield neutron bombs in areas exclusively held by jihadis, apart from the local population. I am of the position of dealing harshly with terrorist that fight dirty and without respect for the laws of civilized warfare. You need to eradicate the jihadi cancer totally, remove the proxy boots on the ground for the western powers, and bring Middle East to a peaceful condition.

      • Bob

        Those VBIED suicide bombs are massive bombs – the scale of explosions and violent shock waves are evident in videos from last week – clearly see the initial shock wave splay out before blast and debris cloud. The terrain at south Aleppo front lines in front of 1070 Complex and out to militant positions is quite open and difficult for SAA engineers to safely work on obstacles without being under sniper and mortar fire. The other problem is that in these recent attacks the vehicles were tracked, steel plated bulldozer, BMP and old tank chassis, so able to plough through many obstacles, they also carried two suicide drivers in case one killed. That said, vehicles crossed open terrain in daylight and if SAA had prepared ATGM Kornet teams they could have been used to destroy them in advance of their targeted areas. SAA has limited resources but prioritizing against these attacks when have knowledge they coming would save a lot of their soldiers at defensive front lines and be good for overall front line morale as well.

        • Jesus

          You would think that ATGM nests would be deployed interdicting approach avenues used by the jihadis. 2 launchers and several reloads along with a heavy machine gun would have been sufficient for a strong nest. Having 6-8 such nests deployed properly for providing interlocking fire coverage should suffice.

          • Bob

            Of interest – just seen video that Al Sham militants using their TOW’s to target SAA’s Kornet’s located on rooftops of south Aleppo military academy.

          • Jesus

            My consideration was to have these nests in low profile areas concealed by terrain features, and having actual data processed by UAV patrolling above.
            Being on the roof of a building gives you better panoramic view, however, it is not an ideal defensive position.

  • Gabriel Hollows

    Fumigation is almost completed.

    • me_

      southfront is lying again. Al Masdar talks about Al Assad being under rebel control as well as parts of Minyan. At least check your sources with the regime lol

      • Marko Ivanišević

        Al Assad is not all under terrorist control (most of it is) and street fights are in its west parts.Check your sources.

        • me_

          no you check yours. cause al assad is completely under rebel control go to al masdar and check

          • Marko Ivanišević

            I dont inform myself only on AlMasdar, or from Leith Fadel tweeter account.

          • me_

            i did that as well

  • Shhh

    Soldiers need accountability.Non line of sight weapons like drone strikes do not threaten the operators. However ,line of sight weapons require the enemy to be fired upon when they are in line of sight. When the soldier sees the enemy with rifle or RPG the enemy sees him and can fire back. The fear of death by soldier exposed to direct fire makes for hasty decisions that often include killing bystanders. Hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed in Vietnam war . The SAA has panicked soldiers just like every other army including the US army. When video of battle occurs the video of wounded and killed can be reviewed to make sure no unnecessary damage was done to civilians. Damage to civilians upsets the locals and creates more militants. Often a military will not know who the reckless hot heads are in their own command killing civilians because no video exists. Of the 140 killed by SAA today in Aleppo we do not know how many were civilians . What is worse is the SAA lacks video proof that all those killed were attackers . Just like all armies the SAA soldiers will call every kill legitimate whether it was or not. SAA soldiers who kill or fire irresponsibly can not be removed by their superiors who have no evidence of their poor choices. Responsibility occurs when video evidence of threat occurs before an individual is attacked. Remember in war the enemy does not get a trial and a hearing . At least hope the enemy had a video showing that they were a threat to others at the time they were killed. Everyone in battlefield and especially a battlefield with civilians needs justice. Where there is no justice there is no peace. Support use of video on battlefield whenever possible to justify use of force.

  • Jean de Peyrelongue

    t is impossible to understand why Puttin turned down the request by the Russian military to resume the attacks on terrorists. Is Putin doing some arm-twisting on al-Assad ? Is he doing this because of some secret agreement with Erdogan ? What is Putin is waiting for ? It is obvious that Putin will not help Syria with Israel or Turkey having already invaded Syria, but one could have expected him to help getting rid of all the kinds of terrorists acting in Syria. It does not seem to be true. It is not by giving-up Syria that he will get a better deal with the Anglo-Zionist Empire.

    • Lord Humongous

      I suspect several things are at play here.

      1. Recent addition of MANPADS by the head choppers.
      2. International politics and U.N. perception of Russian bombing in Aleppo.
      3. Assads forces are going to have to eventually stand and fight without Russia saving their ass every time.

    • Bob

      Putin seems to operate on Sun Tzu school of thought – never do what anyone expects.
      But he also juggling priorities – he appears to be playing nice with Brussels in immediate short term, while the negotiations currently going on over ending EU case against Gazprom. Where they are basically about to cease a five year long anti trust case against Russia’s gas company in EU courts, and Gazprom will avoid the whopping fines that were part of case. The case is heavily politicized to put it mildly – but resolution could see beginnings of normalisation in EU/ Russia economic relations. Putin seems willing to delay action in Syria to deal with this, as is Russian national economic priority.

  • Lord Humongous

    The Egyption military is coming in on the side of SAA. This war is going to go South quickly for the head choppers! May they burn in Hell.