The Syrian Arab Republic’s Prime Minister, Dr. Wa’el Al-Halaqi, issued a statement on Sunday, asserting that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Russian Air Force are preparing a large-scale offensive to liberate the provincial capital of the Aleppo Governorate from the armed groups inside. “The Russian Air Force and Syrian Army are preparing to restore security to Aleppo and Damascus; we are determined to liberate these cities from the terrorists.” Following Dr. Halaqi’s statement, the Syrian Foreign Minister, Walid Mu’allem, confirmed the joint military operation to liberate Aleppo City. Al-Masdar News
The general anticipation after the capture of Palmyra/Tadmur was that the R+6 forces would continue to make their main effort to the east along the line of operations Palmyra-Sukhna-Deir az-Zor and then approaching Raqqa from the south, southeast and perhaps west as well.
But then the Syrian Marine Regiment was transferred back to northern Lattakia Governorate where it is positioned near Jisr-ash-Shugur on the Lattakia/Idlib border.
To add to the complexity of the analytic problem, the SAA Tiger Forces armored brigade has been moved back into eastern Aleppo City where it was thought that it would take part in a de facto combined operation with YPG/SDF Kurdish forces by advancing into the Al-Bab area while the Kurds move west to the Manbij area. The objective of this combined move would, of course, be to interdict the most important IS LOC to their allies in Erdogan's Turkey.
But… Now we have these pronouncements from Damascus that state baldly that the next major objective will be the re-capture of the rebel held parts of Aleppo City. Well, pilgrims, as I have observed before the SAA's numbers are quite limited and militia allies are not of the same value as regular troops. at the same time air superiority can only do so much to compensate for a shortage of ground troops. This is so because humans live on the ground and a country consists of its territory and population, not its air space.
So, how to account for these somewhat conflicting indications? Well, perhaps these seeming inconsistencies result from ongoing deliberations in Damascus as to the direction of "strategery," especially taking into consideration the diplomatic situation and the continuing US mania for regime change. OTOH, perhaps a certain natural Levantine trickiness has combined with Russian teaching of maskirovka to produce an ability to produce effective OPSEC.
We will see. pl