If you read through all the linked material below, you might reach something like the conclusions that I have:
1. Turkey continues to allow/support re-supply and reinforcement of Nusra/Ahrar al-Sham forces in the Latakia and Aleppo princes of Syria. These forces continue to play the major role in attempts to block government and YPG interdiction of the Castello Highway into rebel held parts of Aleppo City. This is presently the only available LOC into rebel territory. As of the 11th of July the SAA Tiger forces armored brigade has closed from the north to within several hundred meters of the Castello Highway after having taken, lost and re-taken the Mellah farms area. at the same time the YPG Kurds having re-taken the Sheikh Maqsood neighborhood south of the Castello Road are also close enough to make the road unusable to the rebels through attacks by fire. The RUAF contributes mightily to this interdiction situation through more or less continuous strkes on the road in its loop from the west through the jaws of the SAA and YPG disturbance of this route into the city.
2. In response the rebels, principally Nusra Front and other jihadi groups supported by Turkey, the US and Saudi Arabia have been heavily shelling government held parts of the city using weapons and ammunition that continued to be supplied by their foreign sponsors through Turkish border control posts on the Hatay Province/Syria border. It should be noted that the government held parts of Aleppo City are the place where the great majority of Syrian civilians live.
3. Additionally, the variegated rebel groups are counter-attacking on the ground wherever they can engage. They are attacking the Tiger Forces brigade from the NW seeking to threaten the rear line of communications of the brigade enough to force another withdrawal from the high ground overlooking the Castello Highway. This worked once a few days ago and the brigade had to fight to re-take the lost ground, losing men and equipment in the process. At the same time rebel forces are attacking to the NW and SW from WITHIN the rebel held parts of the city with the evident objective of opening a new LOC to their friends outside the government area of Aleppo City by breaking out of what is now an encirclement.
4. If the rebels within the encirclement cannot break out somewhere or re-open the Castello Road as an LOC to the inner city they are certainly going to lose their foothold in the city . It will be just a matter of time.
5. At Manbij east of Aleppo, the SDF/YPG Kurd/Arab alliance have so far been unable to capture the city. This, despite heavy US air support and the mentorship of US SF. This not a good sign. Here as in the defeat of the SAA attempt to advance to Tabqa air base, a shortage of means on the ground is evident.
6. While all this is occurring the MSM in the US is trying to develop the idea that Erdogan has made a serious effort to regain Russian favor by distancing Turkey from the non-IS jihadi AQ allied rebel forces in Lattakia and Aleppo provinces. These are the same jihadi forces that Turkey has continued to help with massive assistance to the present day. At the same time, apparently to "sweeten" the appeal of Turkey's "offer" to the Russians, the US has supposedly made an offer of joint operations in Syria to the Russians, perhaps from Incerlik Air Base at Adana in Turkey. I agree with those like "b" who say that this is yet another trick like the late un-lamented cessation of hostilities.
7. Erdogan is trying to win the day through chicanery. The Russians would be well advised to demand several "pounds of flesh" at each stage of a rapprochement. with Turkey.
8. At the tactical level, it would seem logical that ground mounted surveillance radar placed on the heights overlooking the Castello Road would enable SAA artillery fire and Russian air in keeping the road closed to rebel traffic. the road can easily be cratered by Russian air and all bridges or overpasses wrecked and collapsed. In that situation, repair work should be interesting and challenging. pl
It is a major problem with the MSM that they do not realise that ‘narratives’ are only imperfectly controllable.
A headline from the ‘Mail Online’ two days ago:
‘Shocking video captures the moment two pilots are killed when ISIS shoot down a Russian attack helicopter over Syrian city of Palmyra with “US missile”.’
(See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3682404/Two-pilots-confirmed-dead-ISIS-shoots-Russian-attack-helicopter-Syrian-city-Palmyra.html .)
The comments are interesting.
It may be that the ‘Mail’ is, if not capitulating to its readers, at least making a tactical retreat in favour of their determined assault.
The Guardian seems to be doing the same. A few months ago, if the SAA had managed to block the Castillo Road, the front page would have been covered with reports that a humanitarian disaster was imminent in Aleppo. Today, nothing.
BTW, I wonder if the failure to put a block on the Castillo Road by the SAA is a conscious decision, because the effective block acts like flypaper and it’s harder for the west to portray the effective block as a siege tactic.
Looking at various videos of actions to the north west, it would appear that the rebels are making use of reinforced concrete buildings to provide shelter from RuAF and SAA/SAF attacks, I wonder why the Russians aren’t using the 1954 series 9000kg (20000lbs) GP bombs to pancake these structures on top of the rebels.
In the Washington Post article, the quotes from the Neocon now complaining about Erdogan appears as if the Faction is sweating the fact that maybe the Sultan had a real change of heart on Syrian regime change and will side with the Russians. If true, then the Sultan sending as many jihadis in his country to the battle field will save him some time and trouble in the future cleanup of this mess.
Do we have definitive proof that Padişah Tayyip hasn’t ordered – if not an outright stop – a significant draw-down of allowing supply-lines of insurgents to continue? Even with a draw-down in effect, it’s not exactly unlikely that they’ve still got plenty in store to fire away – for the moment.
Just last month, couple days prior to the overt signs of rapprochement, there was this bit of news in Turkish Hürriyet Daily:
“New measures in sight against LPG cylinders in anti-terror fight
A new action plan discussed by Turkey’s Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EPDK) has suggested a number of measures to prevent the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders as external parts of home-made bombs by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), daily Habertürk has reported.
In addition, a barcode system is planned to be implemented by the Turkish Standards Institution (TSE), thus paving the way for monitoring cylinders. Vendors will have to fill out a detailed form on all sold cylinders, including the date and time of the sale and the name and address information of the buyer.
Meanwhile, setting up a new electronic network system is also on the agenda to simultaneously collect and monitor the information on cylinders.
According to the report, the recycling process of cylinders will be monitored and the import and export of cylinders will be inspected or prevented.
On June 9, the Interior Ministry sent a letter to governor’s offices and security units across Turkey, temporarily suspending the sale of fertilizers containing ammonium nitrate in order to prevent access by militant groups to the substance commonly used in building explosives.
The Agriculture Ministry temporarily banned sales of fertilizers containing ammonium nitrate after car bomb attacks hit the country’s largest city as well as a town in the southeastern province of Mardin on two consecutive days.
The Prime Ministry’s press office also announced on June 10 that the sale and distribution of 12-kilogram propane cylinders will be monitored and inspected.
Nominally aimed against PKK, true, but let’s not forget that those iconic, blue gas-cans have seen wide-spread use amongst the unicorns in Syria as well…
I see it not mentioned among the points above, but how does SAA 4th Division’s advances inside Layramun industrial sector, directly west of Bani Zaid district figure in the “Greatest Battle”? Going by militarymaps.info, that advance made head-way along the Al-Mothana road past this building here, the Inbagh Factory:
Further, points have supposedly been captured at Handarat Camp by SAA & allies. That while the unicorns have no gains to show after today’s head-on charge within Aleppo city centre…does this show deteriorating C&C among unicorns directly in the city itself – a number of Fatah Halab’s higher-ups were killed at Mallah-fields in the last few days -, merely plain desperation, or both?
“Do we have definitive proof that Padişah Tayyip hasn’t ordered – if not an outright stop – a significant draw-down of allowing supply-lines of insurgents to continue?” Is there proof that he has so ordered? pl
That is splendid news. I think the “unicorns” are really largely jihadis. I would think they are desperate. More good news! I imagine that the Marquess of Queensbury’s rules will not apple with regard to jihadi prisoners. after all, turn about is fair play and what would you do with them? They will wait all the rest of their miserable lives for a chance to kill you. pl
Good! Let the neocons sweat. IMO Erdogan is not able to abandon his Islamist friends. IS and/or the AQ types will eat him if he does. He is half heatedly trying to close his IS exposed border an it remains to be seen of he can do that. pl
They have their own equivalent to the US GBU series of penetrator ord. Essentially a giant masonry nail with explosives inside. Ours did a number on the Yugoslav built aircraft shelters during Desert Storm.
I haven’t seen any of these videos you mention. But if the buildings you referrence are also full of human-shield civilians-held-hostage, then the SAA and R + 6 might not want to pancake the buildings on top of all those human-shield civilians.
The mentioned introduction of thorough registration, limitation and making it mandatory for individuals to return used gas-canisters mentioned in the article here (skipped this part here before):
According to debated measures to control the sale and to monitor LPG cylinders in coordination with the Science, Industry and Technology Ministry, citizens will not be able to buy a new cylinder without giving back an empty one, while vendors will have to demand the ID information of buyers.
The new measures will also not allow businesses to hold more cylinders than necessary, with firms that do not obey the rules being fined accordingly.
would be an indication of a first step in the Turkish bureaucracy towards controlling the flow of that particular “dual-use”-item.
And then, to my bafflement, I read this just now:
“No reason for Turkey to fight with neighboring countries: PM Yıldırım
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said that there is no reason for Turkey to have disagreement with its neighbors, expressing that the country’s intentions are to improve its ties with countries in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.
Speaking at the AK Party’s Politics Academy event in Ankara, Yıldırım said that Turkey intends to mend ties with all the countries in the region including Iraq, Syria and Egypt to spread peace across the world.
“We had strained relations with Israel, which could return to normal after receiving an apology and compensation. However, the essential condition for us has been improving the condition of Palestinians so, we refused to settle for a deal without a step on this matter”
Yıldırım said the current agreement providing tons of humanitarian aid to Gaza City is a result of Turkey’s determined stance on the Palestinian cause.
Commenting on relations with Russia, Yıldırım said that Turkish and Russian people have been discontent with the crisis between the two countries and the Turkish administration has taken steps to normalize ties after seeing the public’s reaction.
“We will continue to improve ties with our neighbors. There is no reason for us to fight with Iraq, Syria or Egypt but we need to take our cooperation with them further, the prime minister said. […]”
It’s an item in various outlets of the Türkçe Press as well:
“Başbakan Yıldırım ‘sinyali verdi’: Suriye ve Mısır’la kavga etmemiz için çok neden yok
– Prime Minister Yıldırım gave a signal: there isn’t much of a reason for our quarreling with Syria and Egypt
Finally recalled venerable Kemal Paşa’s saying “Yurtta sulh, cihanda sulh”? Good.
I agree with you that Erdogan has not stopped supporting the jihadis, and is merely trying to bamboozle the Russians into thinking he has. I doubt if they will be taken in, though.
When a man sits at the pinnacle of power for so long, he loses touch with reality. There is no one around to point it out to him. I think the Sultan is in that state of illusion. I eagerly await Reality hitting him on the head one of these days soon.
SWMBO calls that the “great man syndrome.” pl
Your point “Erdogan is trying to win the day through chicanery” is right on. Here are a few more data points:
1-tayyip is trying to play Russia against the Borg. Three facts: a-The Russian sanctions have truly wrecked his economy; b-The message conveyed by the Ataturk Airport Bomb is not yet clear; c-his rapprochement with Israel is not playing well with his real base.
He has now fielded two new gambits:
i-Amnesty for illegal funds abroad: all such money, irrespective of amount or origin can be brought back to Turkey no questions asked, and then be legitimized through the Turkish banking system.
ii-Turkish Citizenship will be offered to all “qualified” Syrian refugees: I interpret this as an attempt to buck up his voting block, and a means of currying favor with Merkel & Co.
It will be interesting to watch this game play out. My hope is that he will drown in his own excrement.
“It’s almost worth a Great Depression to learn how little our “big men” know.”
This reminds me of a quote I read a few days ago of a line from the play “History Boys,” by Alan Bennett. The character Mrs. Lintott says, “History is a commentary on the various and continuing incapabilities of men. What is history? History is women following behind – with the bucket.”
Meanwhile our dear friend DIA Director James Clapper has refused Speaker Paul Ryan ‘s request to deny Mrs Clinton her presumptive nominee intel briefings,due to her extremely careless handling of classified information that FBI Director addressed in the Congressional hearings last week — ( Sigh ) Liar protecting damn liar …
Watch at 1:40, 2:24, and 3:09.
The buildings in an industrial area look uninhabited.
ii-Turkish Citizenship will be offered to all “qualified” Syrian refugees: I interpret this as an attempt to buck up his voting block, and a means of currying favor with Merkel & Co.
A cynic might suggest this is a ploy to allow Turkey to recover its “lost” lands in northern Syria by stealth. Give Syrian Turkmen Turkish citizenship so when they return to Syria at the end of the conflict, Erdogan can do a “Sudetenland” on Syria probably with the Borg’s connivance (cf., Kosovo).
I keep an eye out for articles in open source on trucking patterns, especially oil trucking in the Turkish, Syria, Iraq area. With the exception of one article about Iraq truckers having to briber their way across Iraq in June there hasn’t been a single useful article or even reference to Syrian IS oil trucking. The Russians which made such an issue of Turkish oil imports have been dead quiet as well. This is like the dog that hasn’t barked.
I’m not sure what to make of this. One possibility is that the trucking routes between IS and Turkey shut down about 2 months ago as simply being not worth the risk for independent truckers. Another possibility is that the Syrian government has started buying again from whoever controls the eastern O&G fields. Forth, perhaps actual army and militia units have devolved into local racketeering operations as has occurred in Iraq. This might partially explain the very poor coordination of actions among Syrian military forces. A fourth possibility is that the currency collapse in May signaled a mighty last gasp of economic activity in Syria. However if that were the case I’d guess we’d be seeing a final immigration wave which we are not…. So why have all parties gone quiet on the IS oil trading meme?
And right now, Senator Bernie Sanders is on television endorsing Hillary Clinton for president.
An oil convoy was bombed by the Russians two days ago in Idlib province, Syria. A prominent Al Jazeera journalist was killed in this attack
Supposed to be at Iraq-Syria border, depicting tanker trucks bombed by Russian Air force
That is true as far as it goes but without men, we would all be in the caves still.
Thank you for sending the links.
Yes, he was a great entertainer…
Thanks. Good catch on JAN in Idlib province. Let me know if you see anything from IS in the east. I’m finding nothing.
Also good catch. Note though main cargo tanks appear to not have burned and side saddle fuel tanks imploded but did not burn which would suggest they might have been empty.
Here is best and only article I’ve found in six weeks which is excellent and from Cockburn of Independent regarding Iraq trucking. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-mosul-baghdad-anbar-raqqa-iraq-syria-a7062346.html
A couple of key points, it costs $7K USD in bribes to move one truck from Baghdad to al-Asad Air Base. Frozen chicken at $1 USD in Turkey costs $4 in Iraq. A $5 pair of Turkish jeans cost $40 in Irbil. A lot of food being imported from Iran. Trucking routes and sectarian check points sound like something from the middle ages.
“simply being not worth the risk for independent truckers”.
The tanker truck traffic on highways transiting Osmaniye, Turkey is miniscule compared to a year ago. RuAF has taken ~3000 such trucks out of service.
Quite a few of Syrian Turkmen are Shia- they got no help when previously attacked. tayyip is not a “Turk” except when it suits his convenience. A pox on him and all his supporters-past, present and future.
To your point, looks like IS is shifting teapot refineries to Iraq. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/07/07/satellite-photos-show-isis-installing-hundreds-of-makeshift-oil-refineries-to-offset-losses-from-air-strikes/#comments Note the referenced WaPo photos are almost within artillery range to recent US/Iraqi Army advances SSW of Mosul.
What I have been wondering is if the flow of cash to Turkey via oil trucking has essentially ended in recent months not just to bombing but to the strategic moves of the Kurds, US, Russia and Syrian government. Southern trucking is important to Turkey. Could this be playing a part in Erdogan’s recent weathervane-like policy shifts.
“like something from the middle ages”
Per the Makkinejad Theses, as Western-created states atrophy and disintegrate, those areas would revert to type.
We have witnessed it in Afghanistan, Congo, Somalia, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, all of Western Sub-Saharan Africa.
In the ripeness of time, such areas could expand to include all of Central Asia, all of North Africa, and much of Africa excepting a few such countries as Senegal, Ghana, South Africa.
Even India and Pakistan are not immune, in my opinion; nor are the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Peace is an absolute minimum requirement for the continued existence of most of the world’s countries; war is almost like lighting a fuse to their destruction; in my opinion.
Huge expose’ of al Nusra in Syria. Use of UN vehicle as VBIED was new to me.
Where did they get the hummvees from, trade with ISIS?
One description from that link’s exposé I find highly ironic:
“BMP AMB-S used [by Nusra] as a VBIED against Liwa Shuhada al-Yarmouk [pledged allegiance to ISIL] in southern Daraa. [dated November 2015]”
Very useful listing at any rate to prove just how essential a backbone Nusra is to the “revolution”, thanks.
BREAKING: ‘Turkey signals normalisation of relations with Syria’ (The Guardian)