ANNA News has some excellent footage of recent combat in Idlib. It shows some 25th Special Mission Forces Division units on the attack. You get a good feel for the nature of the combat with small, combined arms units operating over fairly open terrain. Note the centrality of light infantry even in what can be best considered tank country. Note that this light infantry is unburdened by a 100 pounds of high speed gear, body armor or even helmets. I can relate to that. Note also the extensive jihadi trench works and underground shelters facing that light infantry. The 25th makes good use of various direct fire supporting weapons as well as artillery and aerial support.
Bad weather is grounding/limiting Russian and Syrian air support for a few days. The 25th has paused their offensive while it rests and resupplies before continuing their attacks. The 5th Corps and Liwa Al Quds are keeping the pressure on the jihadis. The SAA goal is to take both Ma’arat Al-Nu’man and Saraqib to the north. Saraqib is at the critical junction of the M4 and M5 highways.
Looks like they are being pulled along into an anvil.
Elora Danan, those jihadists are well funded, organized and trained. Years at war does that to you. They also receive plenty of support from Gulf royals and Turkey. We and our allies have provided them with modern antitank and antiaircraft missiles. I wish they were just angry and frustrated men in a mosque. Unfortunately, many are quite intelligent and capable soldiers.Then there are those who prey upon innocent noncombatants. They need to be destroyed.
TTG, simple question is – following on Elora Danan´s question – are the uniforms, outfits, weapons, etc. showing any labels or other signs, where they were made? Could Syrian government trace the origins to specific manufacturers and publicize these? the US and Russia ought to put sanctions on them for aiding jihadists.
Fanto, we, as in the USG, the Gulf Royals and Erdogan have been arming and supplying the jihadis in Syria for years. We still are. Those are US manufactured TOW missiles used by the jihadis. Those are new Turkish manufactured vehicles the jihadis are riding around in. Sure Russia, Syria and Iran can sanction us, but to what end? It would be a silly, meaningless gesture. There appears to be little interest and little shame left in the US public. There certainly is no shame in our government.
Merry Christmas, Jihadists! May you fertilize the soil of Syria for a peaceful future.
TTG— do you think 100lbs of armor and kit compromises combat effectiveness more than it mitigates injury/death? I guess what I’m asking is if it’s worth it. Realize it’s all about trade offs, but wanted your thoughts here. (Seems to me a lot of guys came back alive from Iraq and Afghanistan that wouldn’t have in previous wars due to armor. ). Do you think ground forces could potentially go back operating without armor ?
Hamza, although a difficult choice, my answer is yes. The only body armor I or my men ever wore were steel pots at most. I was taught the three second rush and how to use “the minute folds in the terrain” to protect myself. I taught my men the same. I withstood bracketing by 5 inch naval gunfire with that knowledge. Maneuver is survival. Having said that, the US Army is not going back to unarmored combat.
Re: Idlibian “moderate rebels”
^Judking by the patches, we have a “jihadi bingo” man here!
TTG, any comments about Erdogan’s apparent desire to channel part of *his* Idlibian murtads-sahavats to Lybia in support of *his* clients?
Lyttennburgh, I can think of a couple of reasons for Erdogan’s Libyan adventure. First, he’d rather have those battle tested jihadis in Libya than on his border or in his country. Second, he may have his eyes on Mediterranean oil. Lastly, he may see a friendly Libyan government as an ally or province of his Ottoman Empire dream. No matter what the reason, he’s setting himself up for another confrontation with Russia.
I assume you know the five-incher is a U.S. Navy gun. Is it a story you can tell?
Turkey is being squeezed,so Libyan oil and gas is a desperate measure.The purchase of the s400’s was the beginning of the end.The usa has cutoff oil and gas from Iran Iraq and syria.That’s why us troops were “guarding” Syrian oil.
re Second, he may have his eyes on Mediterranean oil.
He already has eyes and fingers on oil in areas around Cyprus, on which Greece as at least equal, yet very probably better rights.
That Erdogan(‘s family) earned well selling jihadi stolen Syrian oil is another thing in that line. If he could get his fingers on Libyan oil that woiuld be nice for him since it both give him leverage on and indepencence from saudi oil sales and prices (and the dollar).
re … he’s setting himself up for another confrontation with Russia.
Here he would choose a tough nut he likely won’t crack. Putin, despite all his faults, is not an arbitrary, impatient golf loving person but a cold, rational thinker with patience.
Briefly, Putin is as an opponent much more formidable than, say, Trump who said that he would and could “destroy Turkish economy” (again). I wonder if Turkey noticed that.
In contrast, I assume that Putin telling Erdogan that if he tries tro screw him again he can put S-400 missiles or, say, Flankers up his ass likely is more convincing than Trump kicking Turkey out of the F35 project or MAGA, GAGA and utterly and totally for ever ever destroying Turkey’s ecomomy … again and again and again or whatever else.
Agreed TTG, the last thing Turkey wants are many thousands of foreign Islamist fighters arriving in Turkey long term as the SAA clears Idlib. Rotating them into Libya resolves that problem so far as Turkish soil is concerned. Turkeys exclusive economic zone deal with Libya also potentially gives Erdogan negotiating rights for any prospective pipelines from the Eastern Med to the EU. His deal with the GNA provides a seat at the top table in any negotiations to settle a future government for Libya. As things seem to stand now it will be Erdogan & Putin, each representing both their own national interests but also those of the other parties lined up behind each one of them, who will negotiate a best fit settlement for Libya. It’s going to be of more than passing interest to see how it all works out in the longer run.
Perhaps Erdogan is just sending all the terrorists to be killed in Libya by the Russians. Its better than having them all turn up in Central Asia.
TTG- may I also put in a query? I had understood that the military core of ISIS consisted of Iraqi professional soldiers from the Iraqi army that had been disbanded after the defeat of Iraq. And that the IS network was partly established in the post-war prison camps in Iraq. Is this now turning out to be too simplistic a view?
+ those fortifications, the trenches and tunnels in particular. They were extensive and the trenches seemed to have been dug by machinery, but the tunnels looked to have been dug by hand. There was a pickax lying around in one shot and the walls and roof seemed to have been dug out with such tools. This is characteristic of earlier videos taken of Jihadi fortifications in Idlib. All very far removed from the wide and concreted underground thoroughfares seen elsewhere in Jihadi fortifications.
It was said that the cement for those earlier fortifications came from a French owned or run cement factory in the North. Rumours also of heavy machinery supplied for tunneling. Does the lack of similar work here indicate that such Western support for the Jihadis has now ceased in that respect, or that such supplies have now been interdicted.
Kilo 4/11, Yes, I’m aware it’s a US naval gun and no, it’s a story I can’t (or won’t) tell… especially on the internet.
English Outsider, both the Iraqi resistance to US occupation and IS can trace their origins to the disbanded Iraqi Army and US prison camps. I think the current core of IS was educated by years of war and hardened by their firm Salafist faith.
Those trenches do appear to be machine dug. Their narrowness makes them effective. The underground shelters were hand dug. The jihadists had plenty of time and plenty of manpower to dig them. Many of those larger shelters began as natural caves improved over time. The jihadists may not have access to the tunneling machinery and cement that they once did, but their defensive fortifications are still quite effective. From a military perspective, the smaller fortifications, widely distributed and easier to conceal, are more effective than those massive underground structures seen earlier in the war.
In his book “Little America”, Rajiv Chandrasekaran describes how UK special forces fought quite effectively in the Marjah battle without body armor, etc. in the rough terrain created by the many abandoned canals from the 1950″s US Aid program that created “Little America” irrigation project. The UK special forces interviewed noted that In contrast the heavily burdened Marines had a much harder challenge in this battle and they seriously questioned Marine combat policy impacts on the marines effectiveness.
TTG & ConfusedPonderer:
Regarding “he’s setting himself up for another confrontation with Russia.”
Putin’s desire to get Turkey out of the NATO alliance is more important to him than who rules in Libya or northern Syria. He’ll continue supporting the LNA in eastern Libya that Erdogan opposes. And he’ll continue helping Assad to take back Idlib. But my belief is that he will not directly confront Turkey anytime soon. Of course in the long term he may get tired of Erdogan’s games. And he could probably do so without a declaration of article 5 from NATO considering all the dirty dealings he is doing in Syria and Libya. Plus there have been reports that Turkish arms are going to Boko Haram in Nigeria, but those are unconfirmed.
Ah, well yes, the Mediterreanean “Energy Triangle” (Greece-Cyprus-Israel) and beyond Egypt. Turkey doesn’t quite get its finger into the Cypriot “Exclusive Economic Zone” gas pot. …
Economic support and the lifting of the arms embargo
Al Monitor: Congress sides with Cyprus against Turkey as eastern Mediterranean heats up
Congress passed two bills Tuesday that will lend significant US support to Cyprus in its territorial and energy disputes with Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean. …
Both bills require Cyprus to deny Russian military vessels access to its ports and comply with anti-money laundering regulations before receiving US arms. Nicosia and Moscow signed an agreement in 2015 to give Russian ships access to Cypriot ports.
Meanwhile concerning the Libya/Turkey issue:
Sisi, Putin agree to work against ‘illegitimate’ intervention in Libya
That much for Egypt. Tunesia, Algeria?
about 13:30 in the video there’s a tank with what appears to be a varitation of the ww2 ‘flail’ anti-mine device. Any idea as to how effective are those are? I was under the layman’s impression that those were weight sensative so antitank mines wouldn’t blow up unless a tank ran over them; obviously I’ve no idea how much pressure it takes but it looks like they must work, or it wouldn’t be there.
Looks like a roller rather than a flail, similar to our MCRS. Too slow for use in actual combat. Probably seeking IEDs.
>Putin’s desire to get Turkey out of the NATO alliance is more important to him than
Full stop. Right here. Leith, how do you know what Putin wants? You don’t strike me as some kind of top-tier Kremlin insider. OTOH, there are a lot of punditry spilling ink/bytes all over the place, trying to “predict” what this or that world potentate “wants”.
110% out of 100% these exercises in mind reading are utter BS.
So, now, can you produce a fact-based comment, instead of fiction-based one?
Fred, that’s either a KMT-5 or KMT-7 mine roller. They’ve been in use by Russia since at least Chechenya. Other countries, including Israel, have also used them. In addition to dealing with AT mines by crushing or early detonation, they have bars between the rollers to detonate tilt rod fuzed mines like our M21. They’ve been in use for decades so I guess they work.
Lyttenburgh, thinking that Putin may not want a strong, united NATO is not utter BS. Even without a mind reading capability, that would be a pretty safe bet. I don’t recall anyone in the Russian government cheerleading for NATO.
Lyttenburgh, thinking that Putin may not want a strong, united NATO is not utter BS.
Putin was pretty open concerning NATO early in this century. Not sure if NATO, and yes, I guess that means the US as leader ultimately, was.
>Lyttenburgh, thinking that Putin may not want a strong, united NATO is not utter BS
More the reasons to keep Turkey inside 😉
What’s I saying, is that proclaiming (as many oft do) that this or that head of state “wants smth” has less to do with the actual analysis of the fact, and more of retranslation (i.e. propagating) of something heard/read/viewed, with no regard to its veracity. I.e. – its just spreading gossip, while looking dignified and all knowing.
That was just ten cents worth of armchair opinion on my part. Nothing dignified or all knowing about it. You are right that I have no clue as to what any head of state wants. But it’s an old family pastime to speculate and debate on what is going on in the world. I’m open to your ideas on the subject.
In the Swedish army infantry we practiced to daisychain two or more AT mines so the first one had no pressure trigger but the second 2-3 m further on had, the action of the mine roller would trigger first the second mine and then the first, ideally reinforced with iron plate
Drones are playing an increasing role in combat.Hate to see the day when they run on 2 legs and detonate on contact