"Earlier today, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) captured al-Mallah farms in the north while simultaneously cutting the rebel supply line to Al-Ramouseh Industrial District in the south. Furthermore, breaking reports indicate that government troops are storming the western section of the Handarat housing, with skirmishes ongoing near the district’s Palestine Mosque and Zuhair Mohsen School. This attack has been launched from the nearby Quarries. Now, rebels inside Aleppo city are inches from being completely encircled, thus preventing them from receiving vital supplies and ammunitions. This is due to fire control between al-Mallah farms and the YPG-held district of Sheikh Maqsoud.
https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/battle-aleppo-city-begins-syrian-army-advances-north-map-update/ | Al-Masdar News
Looks like "curtains" for the rebels in Aleppo City. pl
Does it look as if the terrorists will strongly contest the area, or will all but a few die-hards have prudently withdrawn, leaving a lot of explosive devices behind?
With no line of supply it will not be possible to hold their part of the city for very long. Expect a lot of mines and booby traps. pl
I notice this success comes immediately after we heard the roar from the Lion of District (of Columbia). Maybe a few more roars from inside the beltway will have a further motivational effects upon the Tiger Force and the other following the R+6 strategy. The borg strategy sure hasn’t done much good.
Col: The campaign must be going well because the FSA Twitter army is in full attack mode. See https://twitter.com/trbrtc/status/720518408522047488
I’m confused, though. If Assad cuts power and water to civilians wouldn’t the unicorns then call that a crime?
Colonel Lang, the most amazing untold story of this last five years of the Syrian crises is, how Mr. Assad stood up to the NATO powers, and his enemy neighbors who are NTOS’ local clientele/allies, but even more amazing is how the majority of Syrian people and Syrian Arab army stood with him, and, lastly how his real allies all stood with him. IMO this will not be only a victory just for future of Syria, more importantly this will be a victory for a newly shaping multi-polar world.
They will describe things as they wish. pl
I agree with you that Iran has gained in soft power since she has stood by her friends through the thick and thin.
Likewise, I think, the durability of SAR had been severely underestimated by her enemies. Reminds of Saddam Hussein when he invaded Iran, thinking, no doubt, that Iran is like any other Arab country.
However, I think the most consequential result of the Syrian War is the further severance of Iran (and the Shia) from the wider Sunni Arab World; something that began in earnest with the Iran-Iraq War.
EU states and Turkey have also been losers – I personally cannot think of a single thing that they have gained, or they might claim to have gained, in these Wars of Containment of Iran.
In the meantime, the soldiers of Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq and Russia learnt to work together and cooperate over several years on the field of battle.
I do feel sorry for the Arab people…
Parliamentary elections were held in Syria today, 14 April, with around 7,200 polling stations–
Commenting on the situation, the “democratically elected” governments of Britain, Germany, and the U.S. said that the election was not legitimate, did not reflect the will of the Syrian people, and the results of the election would not be accepted. The publicly stated policy of the U.S. to overthrow the government of Syria has not changed.
After hearing those comments, R+6 has no choice but to move to clear Aleppo and then push further eastward to root out ISIS all the way to the Iraq border. They have 8 months to take the rest of Syria back before there is a new U.S. president.
There were claims this week of participating elements of Iranian regular army (non-IRGC) elite forces engaged in the unsuccessful assault on Al-Eis at SW Aleppo. Appears they were successfully ambushed by JAN (Al-Qaeda). Noteworthy that NEZAJA appears to have identified this stage of the conflict as an opportunity for battlefield experience.
Interesting that SyAA and allied forces staged a feint attack in the direction of Handarat, while main objective was Al-Mallah farms.
PL & all,
Looks like R+6 has seized the opportunity that JaN and “Div 13” handed them on a plater so to speak, when they launched that hopeless counter-attack (I dare not call it an offensive) in Southern Aleppo.
Seems the media narrative might be shaping tactical moves and reactions just as much as operational rationale. The thing is, back in February, the MSM spun message of the regime willing to turn Aleppo into another Stalingrad had probably played a role in the SAA limiting its action to keeping a lid on the situation inside rebel controlled Eastern Aleppo. Instead they focused their military action on other priority areas, where there was both a serious threat and better potential for decisive and quick victory (Palmyra, Qaryatayn).
With the rebels’ “Mexican army” now having breached the cease-fire, the narrative is a different one and contingency plans are being gradually implemented by the R+6. Already before the recent developments, Kurdish groups in the Sheikh Maqsoud district of Aleppo had gained control over the last route into Eastern Aleppo (Castello Road), thus preventing the rebels from getting any serious reinforcements and equipment into that area.
It is probably very important to the regime that the troops spearheading the operation are Syrian, and not allied foreign militias or military. Thus, we will see the frontline in southern Aleppo being manned by a larger contingent of Iranian/Iraqi/Lebanese troops, while the ‘Tiger Force’ and other elements of the 4th Assault Corps will be used to enter rebel areas and take them back.
I suspect a lot of negotiating has already taken place in the weeks prior to the current operation. JaN command in Eastern Aleppo is very aware that the grip they have on their part of town is shaky and entire neighbourhoods might fall to the regime if they are not properly “managed” with trustworthy allies. Recent frictions and infighting between JaN and FSA remnants will have been seen as a sign that the R+6 might try and drive a wedge between FSA held areas in Eastern Aleppo and JaN’s overall CC, in particular at a local level where residents are fed up with the war and thrive for basic things such as getting water and electricity supply.
The “battle” for Aleppo will not turn into a Stalingrad and will be instead as mush a psychological operation as it will be a gradual infantry push into the rebel held Eastern Districts.
Can someone remind me what type of rebels you get in Aleppo?
Are they they truce type rebels, the USA supported rebels, the Turkish supplied rebels? Or some other type.
Feel free to provide cross referenced guide book.
If you check out the Wikipedia “Battle of Aleppo” page there are three separate columns of belligerents and twenty different flags showing.
The notion of airborne infantry as “sky marines” and organizationally part of the air force was fairly common times gone by. I spent some time with the Venezuelan armed forces sole airborne battalion in the mid ’60s. They were part of the air force as well. pl
Seems indeed it was a trend at the time. The funny thing with the German “Fallschirmjäger” is that a number of ex-Wehrmacht paras signed up with the German Air Force when the Bundeswehr was created in the early 50s, in the belief they would be able to join in the airborne troops again. By that time however, it was decided that airborne units would be part of the infantry and the Air Force ended up with a bunch of highly experienced WW2 vets they didn’t know what to do with …
In France, airborne units also started off as “Groupe d’infanterie de l’air” (GIA 601 & GIA 602), as part of the Air Force, in 1936. The current “1er Rgt de Chasseurs Parachutistes” is directly linked to GIA 601 and it’s the only infantry unit whose members feature a hawk on their shoulder rank-tags, as a sign of their ancient Air Force lineage.
My older brother served with that unit in Beirut in 1983.
PB: What of these reports that another Syrian plane was downed south of Damascus?
If the Saudis/Turks/USA have given the rebels anti-aircraft weapons, how does that change R+6 tactics? Do they just use strategic bombing?
Also do the R+6 have drone capacity?
About the local forces manning the lines in Aleppo city itself, al-Masdar offers this profile as regards the segment of troops apparently allocated to Handarat camp:
“Under the tutelage of the Syrian Arab Army, the Palestinians of Nayrab Camp formed a militia called “Liwaa Al-Quds” (Jerusalem Brigade); this group would be tasked with the protection of this last Palestinian refugee camp in Aleppo.
In just under a year, Liwaa Al-Quds would became the third most powerful pro-government force in Aleppo. Liwaa Al-Quds’ military prowess made them an important ally to the Syrian Arab Army and National Defense Forces (NDF); especially, during their northern Aleppo offensive in January.
Now, they have been given the imperative task of liberating the Handarat Refugee Camp from the rebel forces that expelled them in 2012 and 2013.
The battle for Handarat Camp is personal for them; many of the fighters from Liwaa Al-Quds were displaced as a result of the rebel forces.
The neighborhoods and businesses they once cultivated inside Handarat Camp are destroyed, but that has done little to hinder their determination to liberate this place they called home for decades.”
Al-Masdar also claims that a couple of the more elite formations that made a name for themselves among SAA in recent months, Liwa Suqour al-Zahra and al-Hassan’s own Qawat al-Nimr are still stationed at Palmyra. I do take note that Syria has a decades-long history of recruiting Palestinian personnel for paramilitary formations. I recently took up reading accounts by one Peter Scholl-Latour, a Franco-German war-time correspondent who worked for German TV for decades and passed away in 2014, who describes as much from observations he made in the 1970s to early 1980s. One such formation, the Palestine Liberation Army, appears to still be active today on the side of Damascus.
Al-Hassan’s taking command of different forces probably is meant to show other SAA and militia officers, such as those of the show-cased Liwa al-Quds the ropes here, then. That the temporary advance at Handarat* served as a distraction more than anything else, as noted by Mark Pyruz, was something that also came to my mind. Probable objectives: divide insurgent forces in the area between Ard al-Mallah and Handarat, further probing of the insurgents’ defences at the latter as well as encouraging those insurgents that do not fancy a last stand in Aleppo to punch their tickets out while they still can.
How desperate the situation is for the unicorns inside Aleppo-city can be garnered from bits of news like this here (with a bit of grain of salt, given the user’s outspoken bias):
“Some “rebels” who were killed in Al Mallah, #Aleppo. They keep getting younger. They can’t find men to fight.”
Couple pictures of kids posing for the camera shown, one of them in sand-coloured gear in front of a “cehennem topu”, with the logo of the Nurideen al-Zenki Movement.
Weren’t there already reports after the siege on Nubbl and al-Zahra was lifted that the “moderates” further up north were siccing child soldiers there in a futile counterattack?
*Temporary despite the personal attachment that personnel among this Palestinian militia are said to have to the place…suggests a very solid command here.
PB- from what i have read in Iranian Media you are correct ,the R+6 coalition aim/policy (IMO correctly) is for the SAA to take the credit for libration of any territory.
PB et al
The US never went down the “sky marine” route, but there were a couple of USMC para battalions in the Pacific for a while. The marine generals evidently did not like them and got rid of them quickly. Maybe they acted too much like paras. The WW2 carry overs were odd. On that Mobile Training Team (MTT) to Venezuela that I mentioned we had a USSF SFC who had been a fallschirmjager in the big war. He fought at Cassino. He thought the Venezuelans were funny but they worshipped him. In Syria, there was for a long time an Alawi militia that possessed a lot of armor. They liked to ride around on top of tanks. They wore a badge that had a death’s head on it and were called “Saraya Difaa.” As you know that means “protection companies” or in the original German “Schutzstaffel.” I looked into this interesting phenomenon and found that sure enough they had a “private” adviser/trainer who was an ex Waffen SS armored man. These fellows were implacable enemies of all things Sunni. Eventually the Syrian government decided their existence was too much of a liability and they were broken up and a lot of them integrated into the SAA. pl
PB, TTG et al
If it is true that the Regular Amy of Iran (as opposed to the IRGC Quds force)are now fighting in Syria that would seem to support my observation that there really are not enough ground troops on the R+6 side and that this reinforcement was thought necessary by the R+6 allies. From some reports it would seem that the Iranian Army had a Kasserine moment at Tel al-Eis. That is understandable. They have not fought anyone since the end of the Iran-Iraq War. they will learn the hard lessons of actual warfare. They will learn. pl
All of them?
This was Rafaat Al-Assads outfit. Brother of Hafez.
The brothers fell out in the early 80s after the president fell ill. There was a near coup or a whisper campaign of a near coup, depending on which side of the story you hear. All of the officers of the Serayaa were retired once the President got better. Rafaat lives in Spain now.
my grand-dad told me the Syrians had hired a number of ex-German/Nazi military or Intel ppl (at least 50 of them) around 1948, obviously.
Some were former SS, SD (intel), some Paras or pilots from the Luftwaffe. Might even explain why they went the way of the “Air Marines” German style until fairly recently.
Alois Brunner would be the most (in)famous example, but there were others. A few of them had fatal accidents during the Algerian War of Independence, but Brunner survived even the letter-bomb Mossad sent him.
I believe they sent in members of the 65th “Airborne Special Forces Brigade” (65th NOHED). I’m not sure about the reason they putting the army into the rotation now, instead of just IRGC.
It’s difficult to make a call as I have no idea whether the total Iranian manpower on the ground is going up, down or remaining the same.
Might be because they announced a few weeks ago they were pulling out parts of the IRGC, and decided to give regular army some fighting experience as well. Maybe the Iranian JCS wanted a piece of action for their guys as well, or maybe there is indeed shortage of ground troops so that they had to bring in different units, in order to milit exhaustion and attrition among limited number of IRGC with fighting experience.
Given it is an Iranian Special Forces Brigade though, my guess would be, they want them to get more experience. I don’t expect an increase in Iranian or Iranian backed forces, unless there is a buildup of rebel groups again.
Yes all of them.
Their political and religious and intellectual leaders caused the Arab people to be cut off from the core state of their civilization & culture.
It is like if leaders of Romania or The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia decide that France was their enemy – over a 30 year period – and do all their could to hurt France.
Not for Arabs are leisurely strolls in the streets of Tehran or Tabriz, sigh-seeing by the Caspian Sea, visiting the famous palaces and mosques of Iran etc.
The 4 SF Iranian soldiers died during a counter offensive by the Al Nusra and other rebels, together with 14 Afghans volunteer soldiers.
Some more details here:
What do you think of the rumor kicking around the German uberkommando Otto Skorzeny worked for the Mossad after the war?
Well, the Unicorns say they will now agree to govern with Assad’s “technocrats.” See https://twitter.com/dmitryzaksAFP/status/721058279288385536
Mighty big of them.
How long before they agree to let lovely Asma Al Assad join the cabinet?
I don’t understand the part about how the majority of the Syrian people have stood beside Assad??
The Saraya Difaa were pretty scary guys as one could suddenly encounter them while driving around Syria.
ISIL to the rescue?
The one place that’s definitely named, Burj al-Atshanah is located here:
It would probably be useful to have a physical road-map on hand to verify what the place’s name actually is…otherwise, might burj, “tower” refer to some nearby guard-post?
At any rate, it’s interesting to note that ISIL springs into action here right when the second round of the Geneva talks are kicking off and the unicorns in Aleppo city receive a severe beating. Although the advance towards Khanasser appears to be not quite as rapid as back in February, so perhaps a sign of somewhat better preparedness of defences on that route?
Just over this weekend, the Iranian parliament, passed a law that allows for exemption of military service for all draft dodgers if they have passed the 8 year mark of being AWOL and are willing to pay a hefty fine. It certainly does not seem that the country has too few a soldier. Maybe there are not that many who want to go to Syria though.
Hafez was the only one who was willing to cut into his own flesh, by combating Saddam. He shut down their oil pipeline and limited their export dramatically.
At the time, he told that in the future, there will be a day that Syria will need the assistance of Saddam’s foe and today, that debt is being repaid. It has really nothing to do with expanding influence or countering other peoples expansion. It is simply returning a favor.
Barish: Clearly, ISIS can’t get it done. Hence, the FSA whining. See https://twitter.com/lrozen/status/722059485720748033
I have no idea whether the total Iranian manpower on the ground is going up, down or remaining the same. Great review!