Various interesting developments in the news today:
- A major R+6 offensive is shaping up with a lot of Russian artillery being moved forward to support an effort to capture Jisr al Shugur in Idlib Governorate. A number of the best Syrian units are to be involved in the offensive.
- At the same time rebel forces are trying to conduct a parallel but somewhat opposite offensive to re-capture control of the Turkish-Syrian border in Lattakia Governorate.
- In spite of repeated Syrian Government statements that an effort is underway to capture the rebel held parts of Aleppo City, the Russian government says that is not so, but fighting seemingly intended to reduce the rebel held parts of the city continues.
- In the far eastern Syrian desert the IS besieged, but government held, city of Deir-al-Zor is in desperate straits. In recent days IS has captured several important parts of the city within the previous successfully defended perimeter and IS now threatens the capture of the military airfield. The Syrian Air Force military airfield there is key terrain. Without that airfield the logistical situation of the SAA and the citizens of the city would be very bad. There have been air drops of supplies into the city. Russian air force aircraft have participated along with the SAF in both the air drops and deliveries at the military airfield.
- MG Suhail al Hassan (the Tiger Man) is reported to have been switched back to the Palmyra area to take charge of a drive up the highway to Deir al-Zor to relieve the situation. Does this mean that the Syrian Government now thinks that the fall of Deir al-Zor would be a greater threat in the IO war than the re-capture of Aleppo City would be a benefit?
- All over Syria rebel forces and IS are attacking, seemingly to reduce the effect of R+6 gains over the months since the Russian intervention. Did someone blow a "dog whistle" somewhere? the possibility of pro-active collusion between IS and the rebels of all types seems excluded by the fact that IS and the others are fighting each other everywhere they are in contact, but, "is a puzzlement."
- And then, there is the matter of the devastation wrought upon vegetable markets in a couple of rebel held villages in NW Idlib Governorate. This occurred in remarkable coincidence with the "opposition" abandonment of the Geneva talks over the "issue" of Russian and Iranian unwillingness to abandon Assad. The Ghouta sarin saga comes to mind and one can only ask "Cui Bono?" Surely it is not R+6. This event should be examined closely. What is the evidence for actual air attacks? So far all the news stories about this is from opposition sources.
All of this is ample "food for thought." SST will welcome the contributions of guest authors (posts and/or comments) and those of all other committeemen (comments) to the examination of these subjects. pl