BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:00 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and their allies are preparing to launch the second phase of their northwestern Syria offensive. The first phase, which concentrated on the last areas under the control of the militants in northwestern Hama, paved the way for the Syrian Arab Army to reach the Jabal Shashabo area and the jihadist-held Al-Ghaab Plain.
The second phase of the offensive will concentrate on the Al-Ghaab Plain, which has been disputed since the Jaysh Al-Fateh offensive in the Spring of 2015. In order for this offensive to be successful, the Syrian Army will also need to capture the key mountaintop town of Kabani, which overlooks much of the Al-Ghaab Plain and the nearby city of Jisr Al-Shughour. This offensive will likely be successful if they can expel Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and the Turkestan Islamic Party from Kabani. (AMN)
An almost 17 minute ANNA News video with English subtitles is attached to the AMN article. It shows the terrain over which the Tiger Force fought and the nature of the combat. I could relate to the infantry leader exhorting his men to spread out as they advanced on the jihadis. That’s a constant chore of the infantry platoon leader and squad leader. I found the drone footage especially interesting. The jihadis were being spotted and picked off whenever they moved. I don’t know if it was due to armed drones, drone guided artillery shells or air strikes, but it sure as hell was working.
The jihadis continue to launch counterattacks in attempts to retake territory now occupied by the Tiger Force. Each time they are repulsed with heavy casualties. Turkish-backed jihadis from the Euphrates Shield group have reinforced the jihadis already in northwestern Hama and have taken especially heavy casualties. These jihadis have been withdrawn from the front line.
To the north, the 4th Armored Division is still trying to take the mountaintop town of Kabani. They tried three times so far and were repulsed three times. Wisely, the SAA is not willing to take massive casualties to take objectives. This is something I noticed several years ago before the Russians fully committed to assisting the SAA. I think it’s a desirable trait of a well trained, well disciplined and effective army. The SAA has reinforced the 4th AD with a group from the Tiger Force. Russian and Syrian airstrikes continue to hit the jihadis in and around Kabani. The SAA will take the town and will then have fire control over the northern al—Ghaab Plain and the city of Jisr al-Shugur. The jihadi positions will become untenable. The Tiger Force with then have a relatively easy drive north to Jisr al-Shugur.
One wonders why the jihadi’s dont fade back into Turkey. The handwriting is (at long last) on the wall.
ISL, Turkey doesn’t want them.
What you have described is much what I had expected as a first move way back when SST ran its war game. I looked at the area in some detail and, at the time, they had been moving up the M4 and had secured some of the heights over looking the plain from the west. They also had water problems and needed control of the Hama pocket dam.
How secure is the Hatay boarder, if the SAA pressure keeps driving them back how able are the Turks to stop them slipping over the border?
This is all great news TTG, thanks for keeping us well informed!
Does not appear that either Turkey or the US MSM is doing anything other than complaining loudly about the situation in Idlib. Or have I missed something? Should we be anticipating another false flag chemical attack attempt, or has that lame strategy been put to rest there?
JJackson, the jihadists are being supplied over that border and cross it for rest and refit regularly. However, a wholesale migration of armed fighters over that border would probably be contested. I think it would become uncomfortable at a minimum to downright miserable for both sides.
It already Happened two days ago. Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham or HTS on the southern edge of Kabani accused the 4th Division of using chlorine gas against them during a rocket and artillery barrage on the 19th.
Right on schedule Syria is doing the One Thing that guarantees US intervention: ta da – chemical weapons!
Thanks John Bolton. This tune is even more irritating than “send in the clowms”
Fred, Eugene…. ROTFLMAO…. and the Borg ‘cried wolf’ again… it’s a bit sad that I find this so amusing. There’s a reason the “clown world” meme has been taking off on YouTube and elsewhere. “the character is associated with the term “honk pill,” which is often described as an absurdist alternative to black pill nihilism allowing a person to appreciate the humor in an absurd universe, interpreting existence as a cosmic joke.” https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/clown-pepe-honk-honk-clown-world
Turkey may not want them until they are sufficiently reduced in number to be used elsewhere in specific Turkish theaters, and physically and mentally wrecked enough to be compliant.
Then, they may find themselves washed, fed and rebadged as some anti Kurdish force.
The talking point for every expert trotted out on cable news is how ‘Hezbollah is propping up Assad’ as part of the anti-Iran narrative. The implication being that if we stopped Iran then Assad would fall. They are totally ignorant that the Syrian army (and local militias) are a competent fighting force.
I’ll just attribute this to laziness. They heard someone else say it, it sounds good, and no one in the MSM will accept everything they say without question.
Even more dastardly is the original.
TTG – might I ask – why no ground attack aircraft/attack helicopters, at least in what I saw.
EO, I’ve seen footage of Su-25s in action, but no attack helicopters. That doesn’t mean they’re not in action. I imagine they’re there. In other news, the jihadis have managed to recapture Kafr Nabudah today after days of relentless attacks. The latest assault involved nine VBEIDs. The Tiger Force withdrew, but quickly counterattacked and is now in the town. The jihadis are taking heavy casualties. Artillery and air strikes are hitting the jihadis hard as thet attempt to pour in reinforcements.
PRC90 – “they may find themselves washed, fed and rebadged as some anti Kurdish force.”
Already happened: in Afrin and in the Euphrates Shield triangle. Plus Erdogan has been sending Syrian Turcomen jihadis in Kurdish towns and on Kurdish farms in SE Turkey for several years now to push out Kurdish families off the land.
Going by the videos coming out, HTS has been equipped with massive numbers of Kornets. This compares to the flood of TOWs that gave the SAA grief two and a half years ago.
Turkey might concede north Hama, but this fight is going to take a while.