" … the SAA and its allies supported by a significant number of Russian warplanes which remain in Syria are continuing active actions against terrorists excluded from the ceasefire agreements. SouthFront also received information that Putin’s decision of the partial withdrawal from Syria concided in time with a regular rotation of the aircraft involved in the Russian operation in Syria. The Russian Aerospace Forces rotate aircraft at the Hmeymim airbase regularly because of a high number of combat sorties conducted by them. By this decision, Russia is also holding an initiative at the diplomatic field. This fact is confirmed by US Secretary of State John Kerry’s decision to visit Russia next week to discuss the Syria crisis." AMN/Southfront
Hezbollah has mobilized more soldiers to help liberate the strategic desert city of Palmyra (Tadmur) after originally sending a small contingent to aid the government forces during the preliminary assault on the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham’s (ISIS) defenses. Hezbollah’s fighting prowess in this rugged mountainous/desert terrain gives them a strategic advantage over several other units participating in this offensive. Once Palmyra is liberated from ISIS, Hezbollah will likely turn their attention to the eastern slopes of the Qalamoun Mountains, where several terrorist groups have entrenched themselves near the town of Qarah on the Lebanese border.
Once again, it is my opinion that IS is collapsing in Syria and Iraq. They are starving to death as the money runs out, lost to R+6 and US air action against oil exports through Turkey. At the same time equipment and men are not coming down the reciprocal transport route from Turkey.
Hizbullah's willingness to invest more men in the struggle to take Palmyra is indicative of the continuing ambitions of the anti-jihadi alliance. A similarly aggressive effort is being made by the Syrian garrison of Deir az-Zor. IS seems incapable of halting that and a link-up with Syrian government forces to the west can be expected soon.
We await the advance of the 4th Syrian Corps into the Idlib cauldron battle. pl