The long awaited and long overdue offensive to rid Idlib governorate of jihadists appears to be underway. This operation is billed as a limited offensive along the Hama-Idlib axis with the goal of expelling all jihadist and rebel forces from the DMZ stretching from the Al-Ghaab Plain to the Abu Dhuhour Crossing.
One report from the Russian MOD claims the SAA launched this offensive to break up a planned jihadist offensive towards Hama and/or the Hmeimim airbase. That may be true, but I doubt this was meant as a spoiling attack. It was deliberately planned, deliberately prepared for and deliberately commenced on a schedule established by the R+6.
Depending on the success of this initial offensive, I can see this developing into something larger including the taking of Idlib itself and the rendering of the Turkish observation posts moot. The remaining jihadis should be driven north of Aleppo.
The offensive was preceded by heavy Russian airstrikes and SAA artillery bombardments. The SAA troops arrayed for this offensive are impressive. At least two major elements of the Tiger Force, the Taha and Tarmeeh Groups, are leading one axis. The 42nd Brigade of the 4th Armored Division is spearheading a second axis to the west of the Tiger Force. Supporting these units are several Republican Guard brigades, the 5th Corps, the 11th Tank Division along with assorted NDF and SSNP forces. The SAA advance proceeded steadily during the day capturing several towns and key heights. In the evening, the jihadists of the Jaysh Al-Izza and Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham groups launched a strong counterattack, but were beaten back with heavy losses. SAA artillery and rocket fire played a large part in defeating this counterattack. Jihadists also launched 36 rockets towards Hmiemim Airbase. Russian air defense forces shot all the attacking missiles down. As of now, the SAA advance continues.
Early rumors of Turkey abandoning one of their NW Hama OPs proved false. They just evacuated four Turkish soldiers wounded in an SAA bombardment of nearby jihadi positions prior to the start of the SAA offensive.
I recommend a daily perusal of Al Masdar News and South Front to obtain a general knowledge of Operation Idlib Dawn in the days ahead.
Thanks. I hope you will be able to continue your commentary on this op.
I will. It’s quite early, but one thing is clear. The SAA’s ability to react and recover from the jihadist counter-offensive indicates a solid, professional army. Their artillery and rocket forces should keep them going when bad weather inevitably hampers air support.
This could become important in the context of the military action:
Turkey nullifies the opposition win in the Istanbul mayoral election (blame is on Gulen as usual), which coincides with another decline of the Turkish Lira, while inflation in Turkey is already elevated, and the Central Bank is running out of foreign exchange reserves to prop up the exchange rate.
How long will Erdogan sustain and support his proxies in Northern Syria if he faces an economic slump and high inflation in the domestic economy, especially with a rerun of the Istanbul election coming up?
SAA artillery and rocket fire
Nitwit question: rockets don’t belong into the usual artillery arsenal? Or you mention it only since the rebels use rockets too?
I don’t have much time:
observation point? Anything special about the Hama OP or OPs, special from a Turkish perspective? Now? I am aware it was a center of the 2011 Syrian Spring.
The fact that the Jihadist hive that is Idlib is not the focal point of the Western worlds’ alleged war on terror is just a sad indication of how morally and politically bankrupt the leadership in America is.
Rockets are a prominent part of Syria’s indirect fire weaponry ranging from the BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launcher (MLRS) firing 122 mm rockets and the BM-27 Uragan MLRS firing 220 mm rockets. Several TOS-1s tracked MLRS are participating in the current offensive. The TOS fires 220 mm thermobaric and incendiary rockets… a most fearful weapon. Syria also developed several of their own rocket launchers. This follows the Russian model of employing rocket launchers since the Katyusha rocket launchers of WWII fame.
Turkey established 12 observation points (OPs) in the Idlib region as part of the deescalation zone agreement. A few days ago, the SAA fired at jihadists deployed close to one of these Turkish OPs. Both the jihadists and Turkey didn’t think the SAA would risk firing so close to one of these OPs. They were wrong.
ok, maybe I understand, there may be different rules in different national military formations which special troops uses them.
And/or you strictly send me back to do my own homework and take a closer look at the ‘impressively arrayed SSA troops’ that caught your attention? One or the other of have and use them, while there are artillery troops in your list that don’
Thanks TTG. About time in my opinion. I notice in the north the SAA is wisely reinforcing Hamdaniya neighbourhood of Aleppo City in case of diversionary attacks there. And in Tel Rifaat also.
Macron and the UN are expressing their concerns. But no reaction from the WH or from 1st-in-his-class that I have heard so far.
BTW the SAA is also using their Golan-1000 rockets. Reportedly 500mm and weighing 1000kg mounted on T-72 chassis. Sometimes referred to as the “rocket monster”, or as an improvised TOS-1, or as a missile instead of rocket.
Why Unhinged, that’s just…unhinged. The forces of Freedomocracy only support good terrorists. Get with the program.
It will end badly for syrians forces in jisr al shughur as it did once before.a double cross awaits.
BBC reports on this omit virtually all details. Except they do mention that large numbers from Idlib have crossed over into Turkey.
Indications that the reconciliation teams are working as usual. Khan Shaykhun mentioned in this connection. No mention yet of humanitarian corridors for hostage civilians.
BBC, Eliot Higgins, etc, claiming Syrian atrocities. Also recent mention made of Assad’s claimed chemical weapons. Hope that doesn’t indicate false chemical attacks are on the cards.