"The Syrian army’s Tiger Forces, Liwa al-Quds, the National Defense Forces, Hezbollah and other pro-government formations have been continuing advance against al-Qaeda linked militants (Jaish al-Fatah/Fatah Haleb) in the Syrian city of Aleppo.
Government forces are developing the offensive in the areas of Zebdiyah and Bostan al Qasr.
There are also reports that Liwa al-Quds and Hezbollah have made significant gains in Sheikh Saeed. But they have to be confirmed.
All “ceasefire proposals” sent by militants yesterday were reportedly rejected." South Front
If you look at today's map you will see that this is the "concentric attack" that I forecast for the developing offensive once the citadel area had been reached and cleared. The jihadi controlled pocket is shrinking by the hour. The rebel position is quite hopeless and many of them have either fled or are trying to disappear into the civilian population of the pocket.
I am informed that the US and Turkish side in negotiations with the Russians and Syria over the details of some jihadi surrenders in Aleppo have now hardened their position and are effectively arguing for surrenders on "terms," i.e., evacuation to Idlib without disarming and without any screening of people surrendering. The import of these "terms" would be an ability to create a propaganda message that the rebels were not really defeated, and that they agreed to evacuation to save "the people" from further suffering. The Russians and the Syrian government have declined to grant such terms.
If this difficulty persists, there is every reason to think that in the words of the Russian MoD, the pocketed jihadis will be "eliminated."
IMO the Center of Gravity of the non-IS rebellion is now in Idlib Province with its open passageway to Turkey at Bab al-Hawa. IMO a major diversion of available R+6 forces to al-Bab or Deir al-Zor would be an "unforced error."
IMO Russia will press Turkey not to advance further into Syria and Erdogan's need for Russian sponsorship in a re-alignment of economic blocs will make that pressure effective. pl
The Syrian Government should offer no green buses to the remaining Jihadis. I think that because the Govt has been so generous in offering exit deals so far, the Jihadis in Aleppo mistakenly thought that option would always be there. They probably rejected the previous deals because they figured they could wait longer and leave later.
In my opinion it would deal a massive blow to their long term strategy if the remaining militants were all killed or captured.
In your opinion, will Trump deploy US troops to E Syria to defeat ISIS and secure future US bases?
No. He will avoid such entanglements and in fact we do not want bases in the ME. They are a waste of money. pl
Demands for “terms” and “ceasefires” at this point are reminding me of this guy (start around 2:50).
Assad cannot afford to look weak at this point, and I’m quite sure he knows that. Whatever he does, the Western media will make him out to be the bad guy, so there’s not a whole lot to be gained by offering overly generous concessions.
My suggestion: just try to keep the total death toll low, make sure to video everything in case the jihadis get the idea of staging a massacre while they kill off their human shields. That’s about the only victory possible for them at this stage — the propaganda victory.
After it’s over and the prisoners have been captured, very surely the jihadis will pretend to be civilian. I would be checking who among them has eaten within the last day or so and presuming those are the militants. The people who are genuinely starving are very likely genuine civilians.
I agree with your assessment that the R+6 must put their main effort on Idlib and their LOC through Bab al-Hawa. With Aleppo gone, Turkey and the Gulfies will now focus on the Idlib jihadis. That jihadi road to Turkey must be cut. The al-Bab and Palmyra fronts can’t be ignored, but economy of force operations should hold those fronts for now. IS is making a concentrated effort at Palmyra today. Russia moved four more attack helicopters to take on the jihadis there.
The Turkish halt of attacks on ISIS in al-Bab, on order from Russia, has the bad side effect that ISIS has now personal free to attack elsewhere.
Currently a new ISIS offensive is underway to isolate and attack Palmyra. The SAA will probably need to send some serious units there. The ones holding the ground now are only able to delay attacks but not able to seriously attack themselves.
… are effectively arguing for surrenders on “terms,” i.e., evacuation to Idlib without disarming and without any screening of people surrendering.
To my knowledge this is the usual offer from Assad: straight to the bus (with light weapons) and off to Idlib. Certainly how it was done in Daraya.
Screening is only necessary for the amnesty programme for fighters (and some male civilians), to have a legal settlement for “reconciliation” (about which we don´t hear much).
Rumours are “rebels” demand to be transferred to northern Aleppo countryside under Turkish control. Very unclear what that means. Allegedly Idlib is already overcrowded with rebels … This might make sense for some factions who participate in Euphrates Shield (Fastaqim, Zenki), but certainly not for JFS/Nusra or Ahrar who have their base in Idlib.