Syria Notes – 29 July 2018


IMO the clean up of Quneitra Province is essentially complete.  What is next?

1.  Israel seems content with the SAA's re-occupation of the Golan frontier.  The SAA is operating in the UNDOF DMZ but that does not seem to bother the IDF very much and thus it is clear that there is an understanding between the SSA and IDF that the SAA will withdraw to east of UNDOF lines B & C  when they are finished with the rebels.  The Israels know that the pinprick rocket attacks into the occupied Golan are not the responsibility of the SAA and these will be dealt with by the Syrian side in order to have quiet on that front.

2.  The SAA have learned in the hard school of prolonged combat (and under Russian tutelage) that the way to fight is to organize into mission dictated task forces using the building block organizations contained within "standing" units of the SAA and Republican Guard.  The Germans created this combat doctrine.  They called these task forces kampfgruppen.  They could be anything in size from company to brigade (10 times as big).  The task forces are not intended to be permanent re-organizations since the parent units of the component parts are needed for training and logistics.  In such a system the existing headquarters of divisions and brigades are merely command and control nodes for kampfgruppen once the combat re-organization is made.  The US Army has been set up for this kind of battlefield flexibility. since the early 60s although in peacetime units are not scrambled much except in exercises.  In re Syria, the constant re-organization for combat often leads to errors in perception on the part of foreign observers.  Thus, task groups made up of parts of bigger SAA units and NDF are reported in various places at the same time.  This is quite useful for deception operations.

3.  In just this way elements of specific SAA units are now simultaneously reported as being in Quneitra Province, in northern Hama Province and norther Latakia Province.  The conditions necessary for a campaign of liberation in Idlib Province are rapidly being brought to fruition.  Kampfgruppen made up of parts of the Tiger Forces, Republican Guard, 4th Armored, NDF, etc. are all present in the north resting and re-fitting prior to action.

4.  I expect to see an offensive in the north that will include one or two secondary attacks intended to deceive the rebel "operations room," and fix its forces in opposition to these while  a main attack, probably from the south, waits to push north to Khan Sheikhoon, Idlib and farther north.

5.  The largely Kurdish SDF has now declared its intention to cooperate in this offensive as a preliminary effort leading to liberation of the Kurdish parts of Afrin District from Turkish domination.

6.  What will the Turks do?  IMO they will not do anything much if their "observation posts" are bypassed in the offensive and left to a realization of their uselessness post liberation. A commitment of substantial air defense assets against Turkish air will be necessary to success.  plp

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