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.