Operation “Borders of Hatay” Turn 3 Ending situation and “Hot Wash”


Game situation on 18 January, 2017.

1.  Following Task Force Suheil’s crushing victory over advancing jihadi reinforcements on the M5 axis east of the Takhtanaz airhead,  the task force was loaded on the HETs and other trucks that had followed it and transported back through Aleppo past the Kurdish YPG  held Sheikh Maqsood neighborhood at the north end of the city and up through the Syrian Government  and Kurdish controlled territory to the north on their way to the Minagh military airfield which was in the control of the Efrin Kurds.  This cooperation was made possible by the Assad Government’s indication to the Syrian Kurds that some degree of autonomy for them would be granted in a post-war Syria.  This route allowed the Suheil Task force to reach Minagh without  further fighting and casualties.  At Minagh the Suheil Force went into national and area  reserve to refit and rest.  From this position they could move in several directions to influence future outcomes. Soldiers’ families have been flown to Minagh for family time.

2.  Some 5th Assault Corps units and the Syrian Marines invested Iblid City to control jihadis trapped within while negotiations are conducted for their surrender.

3. 5th Corps minus those units by-passed Idlib City to the east and relieved  Takfaya and al-Fu’a village while being supported from the Taftanaj airhead with artillery and air support to include SU-25 Frogfoot.   

4. As soon as the 5th Corps relieved the Shia pocket, the Russians launched an assault in echelon of two battalion tactical groups (BTG) from Taftanaz towards Al Dana some 30 km to the north. The high ground along the Bab al-Hawa Highway just south of Al Dana was taken by a battalion from the uncommitted airborne regiment of the 106th inserted by helicopter. All this was preceded by intense reconnaissance-sabotage activities of Spetsnaz teams of the 45th Brigade. The aim of the operation was to screen the flank of the 5th Assault Corps’ final push to the Bab al-Hawa crossing and to prevent any jihadi reinforcement of the crossing from northern Idlib and Aleppo provinces. The lead BTG reached Al Dana in less than 24 hours. The Russian airborne troops let unarmed refugees and jihadist supporters stream towards the border, even assisting them at times. Armed jihadists attempting to move north with the refugees were dealt with quickly and lethally. As soon as this operation was completed, Russia Today began broadcasting high quality footage of dramatic military action of the BMD-4M airborne assault vehicles, 2S9 Nona-S self-propelled mortar systems and Night Hunter attack helicopters interspersed with images of Russian paratroopers aiding civilian refugees. Correspondents reminded their viewers of the words of the incoming American Secretary of Defense, “No better friend, no worse enemy.”   

5.  Syrian 5th Corps proceeded to the north pushing irreconcilable jihadis and their supporters before them like herding cats.  From Idlib the Bab a-l-Hawa crossing into Hattay, Province, Turkey is about 20 miles as the crow flies (ATCF) or 30 mile by the route to Al-Dana.  In response to this oncoming flight of AQ connected jihadis the Turks tried to close their border except for emergency medical attention in Antakya (ancient Antioch) Syria has announced that it will allow the creation of refugee camps under UN supervision and sealed off by the SAA. 

6. In the period of this turn Iran with the consent of the Iraqi government relieved Deir-al Zor from the east with a large Iranian task force.  The US objected but was ignored. The Iranians then moved NW toward Raqqa and west to link up with the R+6 west of Palmyra.

7.  By 18 January the situation in western Syria has been consolidated by the SAR with minor pockets of resistance being mopped up.


When you come in from the field in a US Army field exercise, the first thing you do is take your vehicles to the motor pool to wash all the mud or dust from them.  The officers go to the motor pool with the men and usually stand around watching the work and discussing the just finished field problem.  It is thought that it is best to get fresh impressions while memories are still “wet.”   Formal reports and analyses are written later.


1.  The long-cherished mantra and childish belief of the Poly/Sci/IR/State Department/NSC (Borgist) establishment that war does not provide an answer is incorrect.  All of American history:  War of Independence, Civil War, Spanish American War, US War Against the Filipino People, WW1, WW2, Vietnam, etc. all demonstrate that war is often decisive in history.  For someone to believe that it is not, is simply either a reflection of what might be called over-education or a lack of knowledge of actual history.

2.  The 29 December cease fire in Syria does not affect our game play since it does not apply to IS generally and AQ connected jihadis in western Syria.

This entry was posted in As The Borg Turns, Borg Wars, Middle East, Russia, SSTwar games, Syria, The Military Art. Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Operation “Borders of Hatay” Turn 3 Ending situation and “Hot Wash”

  1. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Many Arab leaders are livid:
    “They prefer someone who hates Islam to an administration that loves Iran,”

  2. The Beaver says:

    That’s why they are lining up to “enjoy” Trump’s hotel in DC.
    From Bahrain to Kuwait w/o forgetting Azerbaijan (Bling Bling)

  3. mike says:

    Turkish backed Ahrar al-Sham who initially refused the 30 December cease fire agreement brokered by Putin is induced to sign by Turkey. Erdogan then moves them and many of their Nusra Front allies out of Idlib province to new areas where they can fight against the PYD in Afrin and Kobane. He claims they are fighting Daesh.
    Saudi backed Jaysh al-Islam, or possibly a splinter group, continues shoot-and-scoot mortar attacks on the Russian embassy in Damascus and Syrian regime targets.
    There is an attempted terror attack in Astana, Kazakhistan during the mid-January Russia/Iran/Turkey peace talks. It fails but disrupts the talks and diminishes hope that the cease fire will last through until the 8 February talks in Geneva.
    Daesh fails in counterattack against Iranian backed Iraqi militia in the east, mainly due to US and coalition airstrikes. Coalition spokesman denies that US is providing close air support directly to militias. Claims we were only attacking targets of opportunity.

  4. Willybilly says:

    Keep your eyes on Deraa, the Golan and the Ghoutas East abd west…. the Takfiris are preparing for major action near and on Damascus anew, Deraa and the southern front, plus on areas of the Jordanian border….
    Idlib will have to wait until after all this action is taken care of…which is by next May…

  5. Fred says:

    To paraphrase the Bard: “Cry Trump, and let slip the whines of war.”
    You’ll notice it is spelled the Brooklyn way – it has an H in it. Sounds great with that yankee accent too.

  6. Willybilly says:

    *Ghoutas East and West….
    Also in the cards by next June is an excursion by IDF and Netanyahou into South Lebanon and the Greater Golan areas….looking for interdiction and disruption of battle hardened Hizbullah and SAA forces, repositioning themselves for the next war, sure to come as night and day…. Lots of fun in 2017… that’s a sure bet

  7. Pat,
    So that’s where the term “hot wash” comes from? Makes sense. One of my business guys always used the phrase, and I wasn’t sure where it came from.

  8. Laguerre says:

    In my view, this scenario is too rapid. There will be a lot of havering before a final offensive, in order to bring over as many resistants as possible.
    Then again, there’s the peace agreement brokered by the Russians and the Turks. This has the same aim of subtracting elements from the main resistance of Jabhat al-Nusra.
    The Kurds, of course, are not opposed to Asad.
    I doubt that the Russians will intervene on the ground.
    What I would see as the major factor is the increasing fatigue of Syrians with the war. I’ve already had signals of this. The father of one of my students, a major oppositionist, now just wants to go back to Syria to die. Never mind whether it’s Asad. Although I’ve only quoted one case, I think it is the way things are going.
    That is that most of the Syrians will end up making an agreement with Asad, leaving the foreign jihadis isolated.

  9. turcopolier says:

    As you know I do not agree IMO- Mass times velocity equals victory and what some poor clapped out old man thinks of that is irrelevant. pl

  10. Stumpy says:

    Key factor is/was denial of support from US Coalition. Russia put boots on the ground, locked down the sky and effectively preempted the creation of a US-led no-fly zone. As far as regime change is concerned, that clatter you hear is western governments toppling like dominos. At least it’s non-violent. War certainly does bring change, not always where expected.

  11. LeaNder says:

    That’s one of the things why Wikipedia deserves support:

  12. J says:

    Reports and pictures of NATO markings on captured weapons and ammo in East Aleppo when the Al-Nusra aka Al Qaida, were pushed out of the city by Syrian forces. The Syrians are saying that several tons of NATO weapons were found in East Allepo

  13. Laguerre,
    This scenario took advantage of a unique opportunity in Idlib province. The area just received an influx of refugees and defeated jihadis who were just as happy to fight among themselves as reorganize. Their Borg supporters would surely be quick at work reorganizing and rearming the jihadi unicorn army. The time to strike was now before the Borg was able to reorganize their jihadis.
    Whether the Russians will intervene to the extend we proposed in this scenario is in doubt. However, Colonel Lang has long said that the R+6 lacks the force necessary to fulfill an objective of total victory over the jihadis. The scenario we presented shows a way to military victory over the jihadis with a modest injection of Russian ground troops. The proposed speed of the advances is well in line with Russian, and Soviet before that, military doctrine. Even in the days of the Third Shock Army, a mechanized advance of 12 to 15 kilometers per hour was the norm. This took into account the need to stop to fire aimed shots from T-62 tanks and BMP-1 APCs. The fighting vehicles of Russian units today can fire accurately on the move. The speed of the advances imagined in this scenario are really quite conservative.

  14. Stumpy,
    I think you are correct in your identification of a key factor in this scenario. The jihadi situation in Idlib is chaotic. A violent and sustained strike would deny the Borg Coalition any chance to reorganize and re-arm their unicorn army. It also denies space for a drawn out Western propaganda campaign. As for the violence of war, look at the current situation in Aleppo City. The R+6 aggressive offensive has stopped the violence. All, except the jihadis, are much better off now than under the grinding siege of the last few years.

  15. turcopolier says:

    TTG et al
    Yes. This plan took advantage of a passing opportunity to prevent the consolidation of a jihadi redoubt in Idlib Province. To hesitate and fiddle around as is now the custom in US thinking would have accepted the permanent control of Idlib Province by the jihadis as an abscess in the side of the SAR leading probably to eventual defeat and destruction of the SAR. We introduced one small two regiment Russian airborne division and a 12 gun 152 SP battalion as reinforcements, but the big difference in strength was the 5th Assault Corps which the Russians have carefully nurtured over the last year. pl

  16. J says:

    Also reports from Yemen (via Iran Press) that Turkish transports transported scores of Daesh Takfiri to Aden International in southern Yemen. Al-Misrah news reported that the plane carrying 150 who were evacuated from Aleppo. The airport in Yemen is under the supervision of Emirati forces, who are taking part in the Saudi campaign. The Yemeni paper said that the Daesh were being transported into Turkey to receive medical treatment in Turkish hospitals.

  17. aleksandar says:

    ” Russia put boots on the ground ” is exaggerated.
    So far, Russia has stick to his doctrine elaborated after Afghanistan.
    – Air and fire support,re-equipment, resupply, SOF and military advisers.
    Add for Syria case by case review of tactital methods.
    Boots on the ground refer to presence of largest forces, ie regiment, brigade or division, that’s not the case in Syria.

  18. aleksandar says:

    False……several tons of weapons and ammo mainly coming from several Western country, but NATO in itself has nothing to do with that.

  19. J says:

    The “several western countries you cite”, those weapons ammo with NATO markings and lot numbers found in Aleppo are an abuse of the NATO mutual defense clauses, NATO degisnated weapons were not provied to NATO countries to export to outside wars outside NATO auspices like the Syrian theater.
    NATO was directly involved in the Libya debacle, and the Syrians finding NATO toys on their soil, who is to say that NATO wasn’t involved?
    Just one more thing for incoming POTUS Trump to examine regarding NATO.

  20. Will says:

    Nato is up to its neck in all theaters. ALL THE TAKFIRIS EVERYWHERE ARE NATO PROXY THUGS, lock stock and barrel. And those leading from behind are the KosherNostra in Herzliah…

  21. aleksandar says:

    Well, NATO in itself is a military alliance of more than 20 countries.About syria, art 5
    You implie that NATO has a hand in Syria, some contries does, but not all and decisions have not been taken by NATO chain of command.
    I , and having been an “insider”, have no sympathy for NATO, but don’t mix NATO with the support for takfiris. It’s akin to say that a whole team is drunk, because 3 ot 4 members are.
    Secondly, NATO marking can be found on every ammo produced in Europe and US, it’s common, even if designated to export to non- NATO countries.
    If tou want to talk about NATO responsabilties I can speak a lot about Bosnia, Kosovo,Afhnanistan or Lybia, but Syrian is out of the scope.
    Wish you a happy new years J.

  22. ann says:

    As the Syria 5th Corp heads north with its cats, a catastrophic earthquake occurs near Akyayla, Turkey, an area of the world with many Kurdish tribes. Iran responds by volunteering 10 of its CH47 Chinooks (wiki) for rescue and aide delivery.
    The YPG troops positioned at the Tabqa hydro plant inform the govt that all is well with the damn and the electrical operation, but they must leave to help their families dig out of the devastation. Iran volunteers to send its elite marines to take their place and loads those marines on the Chinooks for transport to Tabqa. It sends two of its Frogfoot for close air support one to travel near the Iranian troops coming north from Deir ez-Zur and one to stay with the troops now coming south from the Tabqa damn.
    Word has also reached the ISIL that its members are being transported through Turkey to Yemen to fight another day. The sound of 10 Chinooks traveling in formation can be heard long before it is seen. From the heights above the Euphrates at al Raqqah the rebels wait to count their number. They are told each Chinook can carry 40 men. They don’t know there are only 2-4 soldiers on each Chinook.
    The Rebels have received peace offerings from the govt. They are told that after dropping the Iran troops off at the damn, the rebels will receive safe passage on the Chinooks to be transported to the Turkish airport at Kahramanmaras (if the airport is big enough) for the flight on the AN R24 Condor to Yemen.
    This offer is for fighters who are 5 miles north of Raqqah on the cutoff from the 6 going east to the M4 within one hour. No waiting. In their haste to get to the meet, they fail to murder many civilians.
    The World, however is overflowing with terrorists. Many created by Saudi Arabia. But the Sauds are having a hard time taking care of their snowflakes driving Bugatti’s in the desert and don’t know how long they can keep pumping billions into a war they are not winning in Yemen. They certainly do not want any of these angry, deadly men back home or nearby.
    Pakistan does not want any of its jihads to return. Nor is any other country willing to accept a plane load of radical head choppers. With Kissinger back in the foreign policy news, it is decided to take a page from history and ship the jihads west of the Azores and drop them off.
    Iran is happy to provide the Chinooks with their national flag on the side which will be photographed with earthquake relief for their neighbor. And the West knows that with the media totally absorbed in the horror mother earth dishes out, there will be little notice of missing rebels.

  23. J says:

    Happy New Year to you as well.
    Had a glass of Gluwein to celebrate the New Year.

  24. Pundita says:

    Colonel and TTG, Just saw this; looks like they know it’s time to hi-tail it out of Idlib City. The report has a pix of one looted office. I see they left the flooring but they’ll probably come back for that.
    Syria: Terrorist Groups Speed up Looting Idlib’s Infrastructures, Gov’t Assets
    Sun Jan 01, 2017 2:15 [local time]
    TEHRAN (FNA)- Militants continue to transfer infrastructures and government properties in Idlib province to the Turkish market to sell them there at very low prices, news websites affiliated to terrorists disclosed.
    The websites reported that militants have disassembled the railway between the stations of Mahambel and Bashmaroun by bulldozers and have transferred them to Turkey on heavy trucks to sell them in the Turkish market at very low prices.
    Another militant-affiliated website disclosed that unknown people have been stealing the vehicles of the Red Crescent in Idlib in recent days.
    The website added that at least eight vehicles have been stolen and two warehouses of the country’s Red Crescent have been ransacked by unknown individuals.
    On Friday, terrorists of Ahrar al-Sham and Jund al-Aqsa engaged in serious clashes West of the town of Kahn Seikhoun in Southern Idlib, killing or wounding several fighters.
    Ahrar al-Sham and Jund al-Aqsa suffered major losses after they clashed with each other fiercely in Kafr Ein intersection near Khan Sheikhoun.
    Jund al-Aqsa fully joined Fatah al-Sham Front (previously known as the al-Nusra Front) after its differences with Ahrar al-Sham grew up in recent months.

  25. mike says:

    Pundita –
    Yes, it appears the Syrian regime and the Russkies are leaving Idlib to stew in its own juices. Meanwhile the US led coalition just conducted airstrikes there to take out Abu Omar al-Turkistani, a commander in the Fatah al-Sham Front. He had been supported by Erdogan so this will further drive a wedge between Turkey and the west.

  26. turcopolier says:

    humor me and use just one name. to do otherwise is confusing. So, on the basis of reporting as of 2 January you conclude that the jihadis will be left to enjoy Idlib Province. Well, we will see but IMO opinion if the R+6 do that they will eventually lose the war and the Syrian Government will be destroyed. pl

  27. mike says:

    Colonel –
    R+6 may well decide to take advantage of the bedlam now ongoing in Idlib province. Or not? Many Kurdish sources suspect they made a deal with Erdogan to let him evacuate his proxies from there before going in. I take it all in with a grain of salt. No telling which way it will go.

  28. Pundita says:

    Mike, I don’t know how you drew that conclusion from the FARS report I posted; it looks just the opposite to me from that report; i.e., that the militant groups believe the SAA coalition is coming after them in Idlib.
    I think that’s the importance of the FARS report; it suggests that the Iranian military has good reasons to believe that the bad guys are decamping en masse from Idlib City.
    I find that to be stunning news, although it comports with this war game that the Col. and TTG put together, which was why I sent them the report. It’s as if they had a crystal ball because if you go back and read Sam Heller’s report on Idlib, which if I recall was published near the end of Nov., these terrorists had really settled into Idlib. Now suddenly they’re ripping up railroad ties and carrying off the light fixtures.

  29. mike says:

    Pundita –
    My conclusions came not from the FARS report that you posted. They came from other reports of regime pushes against rebels in other parts of Syria. Plus from the many Kurdish twitter accounts and websites that are telling of being attacked by Turkish proxies that had come out of E. Aleppo.
    If Jihadis are leaving Idlib, IMHO it is due to a deal by Putin & Erdogan.

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