Excellent analysis describing the military plan and strategy to liberate Syria, and finally bring stability to a country overrun by US backed and funded Al Qaeda groups (aka “moderate” Syrian forces) and ISIS freaks.
Via Moon of Alabama…
Someone from Texas made this excellent map of the current situation in north-west Syria.
The plain between Hama and Idleb is likely the place of a coming big Syrian attack. The Syrian army and allied positions are in red and the CIA mercenary and Jihadi positions are green.
In north Latakia, where there is currently preparatory fighting in Salma (Russian TV video with an interesting comment on Syrian troop moral). The aim is to kick the enemy northward and out of the country and to secure the border with Turkey. The area must be cleaned to prevent any surprises against Latakia and the Russian bases there. The attack should then move further to the north-east where the intermediate target is Jisr a Shugur and then along the M4 highway towards Idleb.
At the same time a two pronged attack is planned in the north Hama plain to follow along the M5 highway northward also in the direction of Idleb (2d map). There have been reports in U.S. media that recent fighting there was costly for the Syrian army as the CIA mercenaries had lots of TOW anti-tank missiles to take out Syrian armor. But the 30 tank kills the opposition reports claimed were not real. Eight TOW impacts have been confirmed and not all of those were kills. The attack by the Syrian side was not very serious yet. It was rather reconnaissance by force to find out where the enemy might have strong or weak points.
The big attack will start only when reinforcements have arrived and the Russian are able to fly more air attacks per day.
Al-haydareyeen Iraqis Forces (2000 fighters), the Fatimids Afghan forces (2000 fighters), the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (2,000 fighters) and the elite of Hezbollah (1000 fighter)
The civil airport in Latakia has been closed to civil traffic and will be used by the Russian airforce to support the upcoming attack. This is necessary as the average number of sorties a small airport with one landing strip can handle is only about 100 sorties per day. With a second active airport now available some 200 to 300 sorties/day will be available to support the Syrian army. The Syrian airforce will of cause add its own capacity to these numbers.
New artillery arrived too, mostly multiple rocket system, which in typical Russian war fashion will be intensely used against the lines of the TOW handlers.
To get an impression of what is coming here a video of some moderate intense bombing by the Russian airforce and a video, filmed from far away, of an attack by a multiple rocket system with cluster ammunition. Such intense fire inevitably “softens” defensive lines and will lead to huge losses for the defenders.
After the CIA boss Brennan visited Saudi Arabia last week the Saudis delivered at least 500 U.S. made TOW anti-tank weapons to Syria. This in addition to lots of other new supplies and munitions. Al-Qaeda/al-Nusra also sent many of its men to reinforce their defensive line in the north Hama plain.
As usual in Russian influenced war fighting the Syrian army break through that heavily defended line will be enforced by massive fire from artillery and by hundreds of air attacks. Fleeing enemies will be pursued as fast as possible to prevent the build up of new defense lines.
The above is the plan as far as I can read it. But keep in mind that no battle plan survives the first contact with the enemy. There will be unexpected losses and unexpected gains and the situation may change fast.
There is also fighting going on in lots of other places in Syria. Yesterday some insurgents in east Ghouta thought it wise to launch two mortars onto the Russian embassy in Damascus. The response came today with an intense bombardment by the Russian airforce followed by a renewed ground attack by Syrian forces. Notice that “western” media always say that east Ghouta is “besieged”. But in reality the area has always had plenty supplies of munitions and fighters which are coming in through the desert from Jordan.
Another fight is currently ongoing in the northeast of Aleppo. Some of the CIA mercenaries have lost positions there to the Islamic State and the Syrian army has used that infighting to make some gains on its own. It is now aiming (see maps) to connect its positions in north-north-east Aleppo with the besieged Shia towns of Fua and Kafraya some 10 kilometers north-west of the Aleppo outskirts. If successful this move would cut off the Syrian enemies who are within Aleppo as their supply route to Turkey would be blocked.
There is also fighting around Rastan between Homs and Hama where a cauldron encloses an unknown number of insurgents who block a major supply route. That bubble needs to be eliminated to clear the route and to allow for wider future operations.
There are several other more static fights around besieged military airports and in the Golan. The southern front around Deraa though is mostly quiet. No new mercenary attacks occurred. It seems that Jordan has joined Egypt and the United Arab Emirates in welcoming the Russian initiative and decided for now to stay out of the conflict. This split with the Wahhabi fraction of the Arab League, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, will likely widen.
The situation in Syria has cleared in that the former thousands of “rebel” groups using guerrilla tactics are now down to two or three major actors and mostly conventional fighting. This can be countered by conventional means with massive and wide ranging operations. The Russians are one of the few masters of this style (having learned it from the German operations against them). If they take the lead in planning and commanding this I am quite confident that substantial results will be achieved.
Hizbullah cleared the western front of mercenaries and Wahhabis. Russian diplomacy quieted the southern front. Now the push comes to clear the north. It will take a while. Then the east, where the Islamic State rules with few capabilities but propaganda, will be cleaned up with little effort. Syria may become whole again.