IS continues to throw away reserves – 29 August 2017


"Last night ISIS launched a large-scale attack against the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and pro-government tribal forces in the southern Raqqah countryside.

According to pro-militant sources, ISIS had deployed elite forces for this advance and even achieved some gains pushing the SAA Tiger Forces and other pro-government units to retreat to the Ghanim Ali-Bishri road. ISIS units reportedly entered the Wadi Ubayd oil field area, Wadi al-Tarab and Rajm Sulayman but were not able to develop the advance further.

Government forces re-grouped and launched a counter-attack to regain the points lost to ISIS. According to some pro-government sources, government troops, led by the Tiger Forces, even did this and regained all lost points.

However, these reports were overestimation. Government forces were not able to reach the outskirts of Maadan.

On Tuesday, the ISIS-linked news agency Amaq released few reports claiming that ISIS members killed 50 SAA members and destroyed 3 vehicles as well as captured a battle tank."  South Front


What it is that IS thought it was doing last night in counter-attacking some of Syria's best and heaviest units is not clear to me.  This counter attack to the NW through the riparian villages could be made at night when stealth and surprise favors the attacker, but the sun usually rises every morning and when that happens the side that has the most weight of fire and armor typically moves forward to grind up the forces that attacked in the night.   This series of events is predictable given IS's previous experience with the R+6 forces.  So, what are they doing?

At the same time R+6 continues to carve the Uqayribat pocket in west Homs Province into smaller and more digestible pieces.  A North-south bisection is underway at the moment.  This pocket should be gone in a few days. 

This will free up yet more pro-government fighters for commitment elsewhere.

In other news, it now is clear the the HTS attempt to open a path to the IS fighters in the Uqayribat Pocket was a local  initiative for which the HTS local commaders have been rebuked and disciplined.  pl

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15 Responses to IS continues to throw away reserves – 29 August 2017

  1. AEL says:

    I wonder if the late Imperial Japanese Army can offer any lessons towards understanding ISIS mindset.

  2. Lemur says:

    There’s another pocket forming to the south of Suhknah in the last ‘bite’ of the Homs province ISIS still occupies too

  3. turcopolier says:

    Imphal-Kohima comes to mind. pl

  4. BabelFish says:

    The exact thoughts that came to my mind.

  5. blowback says:

    All due respect but I reckon the diversionary attack of the Japanese 33rd Army, or what was left of it, at the beginning of the Battle of Sittang Bend has far greater similarities. Effecting a breakout of the ISIS forces in Raqqa could have been the motive as nothing else seems to makes sense. Perhaps like the British forces at Sittang Bend, the R+6 had ISIS’ battle plans and prepared a killing ground for ISIS.

  6. turcopolier says:

    What would be the purpose of such a diversionary sacrificial attack? pl

  7. turcopolier says:

    TTG, blowback, b et al
    It has only just now occurred to me that IS may have thought they could break through up the M4 all the way to Raqqa or at least far enough to enable a sortie by the defenders. I didn’t think of that because the notion that they could sustain that under RuAF/Syrian and US coalition air attack and SAA attacks from the southern flank is just absurd. There is also a report out therethat IS families are being allowed to cross the line of contct to go to Deir al Zor. pl

  8. pl,
    I think you’re right. There must be more IS leadership and fighters left in Raqqa than just a DLIC left to fight to the end. That was a hell of a gamble.

  9. Kooshy says:

    This Syrian war theater is such a tangled, confused, chaotic situation that is hard to imagine how and when it can be untangled again, alliances can be shifting on a dime and blow away with the desert sand, IMO US relation with Turkey although both treaty allies is becoming similar to (past?) Iran Turkey relations, meaning opportunistic regardless of signed ratified NATO treaty articles. Would US defend Turkey if Turkey is invaded by Kurds?

  10. blowback says:

    To perform a miracle by rescuing the ISIS rebels in Raqqa. As a religious army, ISIS feel a deep need to have God on their side and with the way things have been going, ISIS must feel God has deserted them. What better way to get back into God’s good books than make a substantial sacrifice, kill lots of infidels in the process and have themselves a miracle. It could well be that the trigger was some ISIS member, who saw the words miracle and Dunkirk on social/conventional media and a light came among the few little grey cells he ever had and thought “that is what we’ll do, we’ll have our own “Dunkirk” moment”.
    BTW, if Raqqa was besieged by the SAA, this is the point at which the green coaches would be offered.

  11. mike says:

    Good points. Crossing the river would have been challenge, but doable in their opinion with God’s help. Timing and comms with the Daesh on the inside of Raqqah on when to make the sortie would have been key. But I believe that as Colonel Lang said previously that it was a “forlorn hope”. Or like Japanese Army banzai charges that AEL impied to above?
    If it had happened there would have been the possibility of more bloodshed between the Coalition and the R+6. Daesh fighting their way up the seams of the Coalition/Russian deconfliction line like that could easily have triggered more incidents. SAA or SAF mistakenly targeting SDF or Coalition mistakenly targeting SAA or regime militia. My take anyway.

  12. blowback says:

    Well, this might be related:
    Daesh Terrorists Dress Up as SDF to Capture Civilians Fleeing Raqqa
    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Daesh terrorists are dressing up as Kurdish forces backed by the US-led coalition in order to capture civilians trying to flee Raqqa, The Telegraph reported Wednesday, citing local residents.
    According to the report, jihadists are pretending to be as the US-led coalition-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, waving Kurdish flags and setting up fake checkpoints to capture fleeing civilians.

    ISIS from Deir Ez-zor attack through the SAA-controlled area just into the SDF/YPG controlled area towards Raqqa. ISIS from Raqqa dressed in SDF/YPG uniforms could then have literally driven down from Raqqa towards them claiming they were going to protect the SDF/YPG-controlled area from ISIS at any road blocks they came across, meet up with their ISIS buddies and all drive back to Maa’dan. Miracle delivered.
    The only problem, the ISIS forces attacking the SAA/NDF/tribal forces didn’t reach the SDF/YPG-controlled area, so the operation was cancelled but how to explain all the ISIS members in SDF/YPG uniforms in Raqqa? Perhaps put out a story like the above?

  13. blowback says:

    If Baghdadi is still alive in Raqqa, he might be in such a bad condition that the only way for ISIS to get him out is to drive him out rather than for him to walk out – could this be associated with the ISIS in SDF/YPG uniforms thing I mentioned above?

  14. Thirdeye says:

    Two rolls of the dice, snake eyes both times.
    I can think of an odd sort of logic to such moves in an environment where virtually every position defending the territorial integrity of the Caliphate south of the Euphrates has been overrun and the Syrian forces are advancing virtually at will. Defensive positioning means essentially waiting to be wiped out. Among the foreign jihadists who staked everything on the Caliphate there must be the creeping realization that they have absolutely no future. The tactic is also vintage ISIS – massive assault to break the front positions in anticipation of complete collapse and vast territorial gains. Problem is, it’s not 2014 anymore and backing up the militias defending the front positions is a mobile professional fighting force.
    There was a report reposted on one of the Twitter feeds – might have been Ivan Siderenko – stating that tactical co-ordination of the assault seemed to rapidly fall apart, possibly reflecting degradation of ISIS’ command and control ability.

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