Military Events in Syria and Iraq Thread #4

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Just to add maps about the advances of the last days in Idlib:

Essentially nothing new in Idlib. That does not mean that nothing happens there, there is small-scale fighting in the same area of the South-East of Idlib. So, yesterday some small air defense base was taken by the Syrian army. It is located East of Um Tinah, which is on the map above in the area marked yellow (disputed). At the other end, the North-West (the mountain region where the front line is yet in Latakia) one village has been taken by the Syrian army. During the days before, there was a large attack by the terrorists, which had taken several villages, but not for a long time, once the reinforcements had arrived, the villages were taken back.

There are good news from the Kurdish areas in the North. First, there has been a claim by the PYD that the Syrian army has been given control over the border crossing point Zemalka. This is what should have been done according to the agreements reached, in this sense, this would be nothing unexpected. But having the control over this border crossing point and having it only promised in some future are quite different things, and this border crossing is a quite important one for the Kurds, because it is the only one which was on both sides under Kurdish control, it was the connection with the Kurdish parts of Iraq.

The other important thing in the Northern part is the realization of the agreement of the Russians with the Turks. The most interesting part is that it presupposed that the Syrian army gets control over the whole M4 highway. Some part of it was taken by those pro-Turkish gangs, and it was not clear at all if giving these parts to Syrian army control would work. But it seems to work.


A first part, up to some Silos, was given to the Syrian army 1. of Dec., today they have reached Mabroukah electrical station:


This is already approximately half of the part of the M4 controlled by the pro-Turkish gangs. That means, the agreement seems to work and to be realized on the ground step by step.
The M4 part East of the Euphrates is now completely under Syrian army control. This is now confirmed officially:

This has happened in a completely peaceful way, so that the Turkish-Russian agreement about this region seems to work.

A good time to post a general map about Syria:


The map is not completely clear about the subdivision between the Syrian army and the Kurds (SDF). It is, in fact, far from clear what is the real situation between them, how much cooperation is there, and how much destructive US influence returned after Trump decided not to withdraw completely and to share some of the stolen oil income with the SDF (of course, if they don't cooperate too much with the legal government). These are mainly diplomatic games, which are played behind closed doors. There is also a large difference between the military control of the roads and the administrative control of the towns and villages.
Found an interesting map about the location of Russian and US bases:


I have doubt about the situation in the North-Eastern end, given that there was sufficient evidence about the Syrian army controlling the Turkish border.
Last night the Syrian army has started an offensive in the South-Eastern part of Idlib.

Attacks starting from two fronts, and already today they have taken seven villages at the Southern front and four villages at the Eastern front. Such fast progress on the first day means the defense is quite weak.
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Found a map with the advances yesterday using English transcription:

The villages Halba (Western part of the Southern front) and Sayyadi (South of the Eastern front) have been taken.

To counter the offensive, the IS has started an own offensive in the desert West of Deir Ezzor and takes some block posts on the road to Deir Ezzor.
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Progress continues:

This map shows that Halba has been taken, but this remains unconfirmed. What has been confirmed is a counterattack of Hatesh based on a suicide car against Ar Ruffah. But the suicide car was hit by the defenders before reaching the village.

Later, Harran and some other villages East of Halba have been taken, so that the initial picture of two different fronts from South and East disappears, what has been taken today is essentially part of the region between them:

This map does not confirm that Halba has been taken too, but even without it, these would be four villages (together with As Sayadi) taken in one day. So, the temp remains impressive.
The village Abu Sharji (it is in the East of the map above) has been taken, also, following Qatrah and Al Bustan, the village Al Heraki, visible in the Northern part of the following map:

The other interesting point visible here is the Turkish observation point. It is already visible from the Syrian frontline, so it will be encircled in a short time. One suicide vehicle has reached one of the villages and has exploded inside the village.

PS: Actually even more villages are claimed to be taken: Farwan, Saekiyah, Al Burj, Qarati, Haluba, Abu Habah, Maysruneh. The frontline now looks like

They are now attacking Al Tah, the SAA has, it seems, already entered this town.
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Al Tah has been taken by the Syrian army, and there is contradictory information about the town Baduseen West of it.

Much greater success on the part North of the map above, namely Suman, Al Makki, and Jarjanez have been taken, so that the Turkish observation point is now completely encircled:

North of this, three more villages have been taken. So, it appears that already towns like Al Tah and Jarjanaz are given up without serious defense. Jarjanaz is already 6 km from Maarat al Numan, the most important town in Southern Idlib remaining under terrorist control.

The usual way to take it would be to encircle it and to wait until most of the fighters run away, as in Khan Sheikhun and the towns South of it. Given the weak defenses in comparison with the last campaign, I would not wonder much if it would be simply given up without much defense too. Nonetheless, my bet is that it will be encircled first, in the usual way - that means, leaving one road for those who want to run away.
Yesterday the terrorists have started a powerful counterattack and even reached some partial success. The Syrian army has already taken the village Ghadgah and was on the way to take Talmenes when it started, and the SAA had to leave Ghadgah and go back to Jarjanaz from Talmenes. Similarly, after taking the village Barsah North of Farwan, they had to leave it and as well had to leave Farwan. Farwan and Basrah seem now back under SAA control, about Ghadgah there is contradicting information. On the Southern part of the front, the Tiger forces have not only stopped that counterattack without giving up anything, but started to advance further. They have taken parts of the M5 highway under control and attack now villages on the Western side of the M5.
Yesterday, there have been negotiations initiated by Turkey, either only about taking over Maarat al Numan and some villages around it without fight, or even about stopping the whole offensive giving the Syrian side most of what they want - full control of the big roads M4 and M5, with a buffer zone of 7 km. This would leave under pro-Turkish terrorist control the town Idlib itself, Anandan (problematic because close to Aleppo) and some otherwise not very interesting area near the Turkish border. The M4 and M5 road would be controlled by the Russians. Another speculative variant of the Turkish/Russian agreement about the Turkish presence in Syria is this:


Whatever, the negotiations were not successful, the fighting has started again.
Today, a large part of a road toward Maarat al Numan (the yellow line) was taken.

The map also shows in the Northern part some villages which have been taken there during the last days.
Russia uses its veto to deny UN food aid to 4 million Syrian civilians:
To quote the article:
The resolution drafted by Belgium, Kuwait and Germany would have allowed cross-border humanitarian deliveries for a further 12 months from two points in Turkey and one in Iraq. But Russia, an ally of the Syrian government, wanted to approve only two Turkish crossings for six months and had proposed its own draft text.
The council then voted on the rival Russian draft resolution that would have approved the two Turkish crossing points for six months, but it failed with only five votes in favor, six against and four abstentions.
So, following the Russian and Chinese veto, one crossing point from Iraq was closed for UN food. Following the Western votes, also all other crossing points were closed.

BTW, UN supplies have been well-known to be full of weapons for the terrorists. It is very simple: If it is UN supply the Syrian army has no right to look at them, thus, they have been used to send weapons to all those enclaves. Once this was clarified, they have stopped such things. Transporting food to such enclaves was never a problem.

Once the disagreement was about the Iraq delivery route, it means it was about a US attempt to get a cover for smuggling something. Probably oil.
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So the UN supports Al Qaeda while Turkey apparently now opposes them, is that the excuse we're going with now for starving 4 million civilians? Much simpler answer: most Syrian civilians are more interested in US relations than Russian relations via Assad, thus Russians like Schmelzer don't want them to eat.
Here CptBork answered the original variant of my answer, which was quite different from the edited one. Whatever:
So the UN supports Al Qaeda while Turkey apparently now opposes them, is that the excuse we're going with now for starving 4 million civilians? Much simpler answer: most Syrian civilians are more interested in US relations than Russian relations via Assad, thus Russians like Schmelzer don't want them to eat.
No, Russia and China vetoed only the use of a particular entry point from Iraq. It was the West, who rejected the Russian alternative proposal, which would have allowed the continuation of UN food delivery to Idlib from Turkey. So, this US game did not care about those living in Idlib at all. Even if this would be about food delivery, it would be food delivery for those now living in the US-occupied oil fields, who have lived and will continue to live until US occupation ends from stealing and smuggling oil.
Once the Douma false flag attack was discussed here in detail, it seems important to give here information about the recent developments. Namely, there have been leaks which prove that OPCW has essentially lied about the results of their investigations:
The Western media are, as one would expect, silent about this scandal. So, after this, OPCW is discredited completely as a US-controlled entity which is ready to lie once the US wants to hear such lies.

The question is which scandal is greater - the Wikileaks about the OPCW lies, or the scandal that the Western media remain completely silent about these leaks.
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Still no explanation why Assad and Putin took more than a week to let inspectors view the site despite UN arrangements with the rebels to allow it in, nor why the child interviewed at the Officer's Club was taken onto restricted military grounds to do his interview. But sure if you look past the obvious, you can prove just about anything, like "Russia is a respectable country not filled with garbage and dumb people."
Still no explanation why Assad and Putin took more than a week to let inspectors view the site despite UN arrangements with the rebels to allow it in,
Once the Syrian side would have been responsible for attacks against the team, they first had to secure the area.
nor why the child interviewed at the Officer's Club was taken onto restricted military grounds to do his interview.
The interview was done in the garden of the house with the Officer's club inside, and was in no way restricted military ground. This was visible on the pictures of the building. No control at the entry of the garden can be seen. The entry into the Officer's club is restricted, with a check inside the building.

The garden is simply a nice place in the center, not too much people so that one can make such an interview, and the journalist simply liked this place, plausibly because (without having access to the officer's club himself, he often has to meet officers, so that this is a natural meeting point with them.

The "still no explanation" is a lie, I have explained that at that time too.
Actually, the interest has shifted to the Iraq. The US has finally decided to start a war, against two states at once, Iran and Iraq, by openly admitting the murder of high ranking official persons of those states.
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