Time to close the bag’s mouth at Aleppo City

Regime Campaign - Aleppo MAR 2016-01

ISW produced this map.  SST thanks them.

Now that the government life-line road to Aleppo City is firmly re-established the time has come to pull the drawstring shut an complete the encirclement of the city itself.

The Gap between the Kurdish held area in the mouth of the Aleppo Gap and the government held  area in Sheikh Najjar Industrial City appears to be about 2 miles across relatively easy ground.  Given the way the R+6 forces and the Russian/Syrian air have been fighting this should be a very doable thing.

The Syrian government has no incentive to starve or bombard the Syrian civilians in the rebel held part of the city.  The amnesty offer and Russian brokering mechanisms in place for post encirclement surrenders of non jihadi fighters (unicorns) have worked well in other parts of the country.  Jihadis can be escorted out of the encirclement and into IS held country near Al Bab or into the mixed lot of rebels in Idlib Province where they can await their fate and final spiritual "victory."

The peace negotiations will be re-started soon at Geneva.  The R+6 should get this done before that occurs.  pl


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47 Responses to Time to close the bag’s mouth at Aleppo City

  1. Laguerre says:

    Indeed, Colonel, let us hope that it is so. I find in general that maps are very generous to the Kurds. That may be why ISW suggest that future operations may be further to the west, ignoring the Kurdish enclave in Northern Aleppo, which is so close to the government lines further north.

  2. J says:

    Colonel, TTG,
    It seems that President Putin has suspended the transfer of the S300 defense systems to Iran. Iran has promised Russia it wouldn’t transfer specified armaments to the Hizbollah, however it appears that Iran tried to do a hide and sneak with the Russians and got caught with their pants down. It appears that the Russians (thanks to Mossad, and Russian AF and Intel) had the hard evidence that Iran broke its promise to Russia and transferred SA22s to the Hizbollah. Russian AF assets were able to obtain SIGINT of EXACTLY where the Hizbollah has hidden them down to the micrometer.
    Looks like a DUH moment for Tehran.

  3. Ghost ship says:

    I think the important peace discussions are taking place at the Khmeimim air base in Syria – Geneva has probably become irrelevant.
    “Kuralenko also said that Russian representatives have held 23 meeting with opposition forces since opening the Russian Reconciliation Center at the Khmeimim air base last week.
    Meanwhile a number of Syrian opposition factions proposed that a group be created to work on a draft constitution during a Saturday meeting held at the base. The meeting included members of the movement For Democratic Syria, leader of the National Conference and religious leaders from various groups, according to TASS news agency.
    Participants of the meeting agreed that according to a new constitution Syria should be a sovereign and secular state.”
    And the jihadists have turned on the moderates who have signed up for the ceasefire and Russia is trying to protect them.
    A number of Syrian opposition groups are seeking Russian protection from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) jihadists who are on the hunt for those who signed the ceasefire deal, according to the Russian military.

  4. turcopolier says:

    Ghost Ship et al
    I will say again that you must win on the battlefield before the negotiating position has meaning. If the French had not lost at DBP the outcome at Geneva would have been different. The hope for that is why Cogny was ordered by Paris to roll the dice at DBP. pl

  5. Kooshy says:

    Do you have any link to this story?

  6. elaine says:

    Can’t help but wonder how many civilian hostages ISIS has within that circle.
    Does anyone have an estimate?

  7. Dubhaltach says:

    That would a very important development if true but I’ve got severe difficulties believing a story that, as far as I can tell, was published in one single solitary Kuwaiti newspaper (Al Jarida) that subsequently got picked up by the Jerusalem Post and then Reddit. You’d think that by now other newspapers would have got wind of it.
    Unless it’s suddenly dramatically changed Al Jarida is like every other gulfie newspaper and I see no evidence that it has changed.
    The purpose of Kuwaiti, Qatari, and above all Saudi media is to act as propaganda organs for factions within their governments first and foremost with being kite fliers as an important secondary function and providing reliable and accurate news coming very far down on the list of things a newspaper is meant to do.

  8. b says:

    Martin Chulov, a journo for the Guardian and not Assad friendly, has been to “rebel” held Aleppo city some 10 times.
    Last spring he estimated 40,000 civilians being left in there.
    I regard that as the most accurate number we have.
    The government held parts of Aleppo city house about 2,000,000+ people.

  9. turcopolier says:

    You had never heard of the battle of Dien Bien Phu? pl

  10. kooshy says:

    Thank you for the J Post link, by their account Iran already have the A bomb since 1990s, IMO they are not the best source for Iran issues.

  11. kooshy says:

    Colonel, if you think this is unrelated to current topic please feel free not to post.
    “Turkish opposition newspaper turns pro-government after state takeover”
    Many times governments including Iran’ have closed various newspapers, but overnight to turn them a pro-government is new and only Erdo’ can do it. IMO Turkey is edging to become a corrupt party dictatorship, like old Mexican PRI party.

  12. Pat Lang,
    I have a comment and a question. Dien Bien Phu was an intelligence failure, as in “Where did all those howitzers come from?”. Do you think that, had the French established an impregnable bastion at Dien Bien Phu, the end result of the war would have been different?
    I kept track of the battle daily in the Philadelphia Inquirer and recall a nurse, the “angel of Dien Bien Phu” and strong points named after (no doubt) lovey French girls.

  13. turcopolier says:

    The French government of the day forced the command in Indochina to seek a decisive battle that would affect the outcome of negotiations with the Vietminh. General Cogny the commander in Tonkin told Arnaud de Borchgrave on the day of Operation Castor (the airborne seizure of the Valley of the Nam Dong River (DBP)) that he had been forced into this battle on terms that he knew would cause his defeat. De Borchgrave told me that himself. The French command knew how many troops the Vietminh had. They knew how they were organized. They knew how many artillery pieces they had. They knew the positions of the major formations. In spite of that the overall commander in Saigon (Navarre) ordered Cogny to carry out this operation. The model he evidently had in mind was the successful defense of a fortified airhead at Na San the previous year. The Vietminh had failed to capture Na San and had lost a great many men. The big difference between the Na San and DBP battles was that Na San was much closer to the delta of the Red River. The French held that area more or less securely and their airfields were there. Air power flying off those airfields as well as carrier aviation from ships in the Gulf of Tonkin made French success at Na San possible even though the place was isolated like DBP. DBP was farther away and the airpower needed to hold the place could not be maintained at those ranges. The French command believed that it would be impossible for the Vietminh to move the mass of artillery they possessed across the great distances and roadless jungled mountains involved from their known positions to DBP. In the event the Vietminh built camouflaged roads across the mountains to reach the battlefield with their artillery. I guess you can call this error in judgment on the part of Navarre and his staff an “intelligence failure.” I prefer to call it an error in command judgment. pl

  14. b says:

    Re: Aleppo seizure
    I am fine with keeping the bottleneck to east Aleppo city open for now. The Kurds can harass it all they want to keep the Jihadis there busy. No one will criticizes them for doing so. But would the Syrian army close it a lot of the interventionist would cry out loud and launch a new campaign about “besieged Aleppo”. The Russians would also receive new criticism.
    Right now the Syrian army and the Russians are preparing for major campaigns. That is a lot of work and needs its time. The Russian ship transports through the Isthmus are said to have doubled. A lot of new tanks, trucks and artillery are arriving. This summer the Russian aircraft carrier will be near the Syrian coast. More planes will come.
    Why bother with Aleppo now? Cease-fire talks are far off and even if successful would not solve any problem with the Jihadists.

  15. turcopolier says:

    I obviously agree with almost all of that. IMO the Kurds in the Aleppo gateway pocket and the SAA people across the way in the industrial area would not need much reinforcement to do the job and the propaganda value of the “fall of Aleppo” would be lovely. pl

  16. Babak Makkinejad says:

    That type of wishful thinking seems to have been rather common; in the defense of Singapore, in the faith in Maginot line, etc. – always dismissing the enemy’s ability or willingness to attempt the unthinkable.
    It reminds me of my school experience: “That won’t be on the exam, don’t worry about it.” followed by “that” item being on the exam, nevertheless.

  17. ambrit says:

    Sir; I am wondering if a better use of the Aleppo Pocket would be as a drain on Jihadi manpower. The propaganda value would be high, especially inside Syria I would surmise, but shouldn’t the degradation of IS capabilities take precedence? To the East, IS could have a chance as a plain old guerrilla force. Airpower isn’t going to get everyone. However, being pinned in a defensive position in Aleppo almost guarantees destruction.
    As far as the Kurds are concerned, their long running battle with the Turks is legendary. However, what about the Kurds and Iran? There are lots of Kurds in Iran I’ve read, and the Iranians have had their own ‘problems’ with them. (Non assimilation problems?) What have the Iranians said, if anything, about their views on the idea of a de facto Kurdistan?
    Thank you for an excellent site.

  18. elaine says:

    40,000 civilians…I wonder how many have Stockholm syndrome or real sympathies. I recently saw something on tv about a large shipment of “IS uniforms” being confiscated, since when do these jihadis have uniforms? How would an invading force be able to
    identify the sheep from the wolves or would this just be a massive

  19. turcopolier says:

    Seal the pocket off and negotiate from that position of strength. “Sotckholm Syndrome?” You are fantasizing. p

  20. aleksandar says:

    Genevieve de Gallard;
    I have met her long time ago and even if she was a non-commissioned officer, all generals were calling her ” Madame”.

  21. aleksandar says:

    Looking at the map seems that a lot of ” moderate rebels ” north of Hama have joined the truce. Could help SAA to move faster to Idlib ?
    Seems also that the SAA is preparing a large military operation to liberate Al Tabqua.
    Any information about that ?

  22. Akira says:

    If I was the Israelis I would be a whole lot more worried about the T-90 tanks that have already been seen in Hezbollah’s possession:

  23. Fred says:

    I expect we will see the propaganda rise domestically too, especially after seeing the puff piece on the Canadian Prime Minister on 60 minutes tonight. 25,000 Syrian “refugees” settled in Canada recently. Just how did they manage to screen them?

  24. elaine says:

    Colonel & b, I’ve watched man on the street interviews coming out of
    Aleppo where the people would say, “There’s no jihadis here, there’s no
    rebels here…why are we being bombed?” & the camera would pan to a broader
    screen shot & you could see families casually strolling down the
    avenue to a make shift market past a back drop of totally bombed out buildings. The interviews all seemed surreal with cut-aways to bombed out
    elementary schools with little kids drawings & flowers painted on the
    remnants of walls.
    So I guess I’m suppose to believe all these thousands of people are
    rebel sympathizers or rebels & upon negotiation will be welcomed back
    into Syria. It’s hard to imagine but I will try.

  25. Charles Michael says:

    The resurected “moderates” or FRA are said to be taking control of Raqqa neighborhoods according to almasdar:
    While landestroyer offers a quite different view:
    March 7, 2016 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO
    Indeed one can see on AlMasdar news a picture of the flag brandished. Do we have a case of true false-flag ?
    Should we dare the connection with the seized shipment of new uniforms ?

  26. LondonBob says:

    Seems like, as forecasted by Isreal Shamir, the next target is Palmyra. Al Masdar news is now claiming this, as well as the deployment of the Tiger Forces to that front.

  27. Barish says:

    Apparently, SAA and crew are currently set on ripping the veil from MSM’s eyes as to the alleged “collusion” with ISIL that they are falsely accused of by said outlet-collection:
    All the while, as per militarymaps.info, YPG/SDF are inching closer to establishing a land-link with the SAA-holdouts in Deir-Ezzor.
    Tough times for the MSM-narrative that banked on ISIL being “invincible” and the “Anti-ISIL” campaign taking “years if not decades”.

  28. turcopolier says:

    I saw that reporting. It was on CNN. The reporter had been brought to government held Aleppo by the Syrian Army after having first filmed in Damascus with government approval. Those scenes were filmed in the government held parts of Aleppo. The market goods came in over the road the government holds open to the south. That is the same way the reporter got there. As b reported there are about 40,000 people in the rebel held area of Aleppo City. There about 2 million in the government held part of the city. IMO, the rest of the city is low hanging fruit. pl

  29. jld says:

    A recent map of ISIS which, however, seem to be missing a few bits of SAA progress here and there.

  30. Barish says:

    SAA progress against the unicorns in the uniformly white area, you mean?
    Of course, one thing this map doesn’t deny is that there is next to no definite unicorn stand against ISIL, it’s the Syrian Arab Republic holding the line and making gains against the ISIL-lot. As well as those pesky Kurdish heretics that dare practice a modus vivendi with it.

  31. A says:

    S-300 is becoming outdated. There were voices going up to continue the law suit against Russia for breach of contract (for which they were convicted as far as I can recall) and have them repay the pre-payment and interest. The danger is lower now anyway and that would be the correct course of action.

  32. A says:

    The “problems” with Kurds is not based on ethnicity but rather “Don Corleone”-type (who is going to cash in on trans-border sniffling or “tax” their underlings) or generally disavouwed & discredited political-ideological standpoints about Marxism and Communism.
    As you know, the Kurds consider themselves to be decendants of the Median Empire (just visit their capital in Hamadan). They are independent “Mountain people” as are the group, the Lur Kouchak and Lur Bozorg. In this setting, like in Afghanistan, each valley wants it’s own King. This attitude is changing, partially due to the following condition ions:
    The Saddam’s invasion of Iran along side the Western boarder, Saddam’s behavior towards his Kurdish minority, collaboration of Kurds in defense of Iran with the central government, change of structure of Iranian government from tribal (I am not talkin ethnic but tribal, E.g. Ghajar, to Pahlavis) to nationalist Irnian and later religious ISLAMIC, mainly Shiite (with obviously less emphasis on ethnicity) allowed for better integration of ethnicities.
    The brake lines in Iran are drawn between Central and Peripheral, the big cities and the smaller cities and villages, Westoxicated segment of the population and traditionalists, see Babak’s past posts. This is also valid for the Kurds.

  33. fasteddiez says:

    I am not aware of the screening procedures, but they have only allowed families to enter Canada. That, if anything would decrease greatly the chances of a Cologne style assault on women.

  34. turcopolier says:

    One should remember that a Muslim man with one wife may still be “shopping.” pl

  35. ambrit says:

    Thanks. It is one of this sites’ strengths that it has comments from people ‘on the ground’ to educate people like me about the realities of the situations in other places.

  36. LeaNder says:

    Colonel, I am sure it was mentioned before, and if anywhere then here. but I suppose I wouldn’t have recognized the acronym. Yes, since I wasn’t aware of it before.
    Thanks for your response to WPF III below.
    I recall Arnaud de Borchgrave as among one of the few sane voices in the post 9/11 universe.
    May he rest in peace:

  37. LeaNder says:

    as far as I am concerned, we still don’t know what “exactly” happened here in Cologne.
    If I recall correctly by now we have beyond 1000 complaints, about half of it concerning some type of sexual harassment. Considering the fact that the police here in Cologne is updating on cameras and surveillance, I would assume that much of it cannot be proved or disproved one way or the other. …
    On February 26, there will be a new report by police. I know the station/cathedral environment quite well, and admittedly, find it hard to believe that 500+ such cases happened there. … But I’ll sure check the report.

  38. LeaNder says:

    In other words 2% of the Aleppo population. Not considering that some of them “may” be “held hostage” in their own neighborhood.

  39. turcopolier says:

    Arnaud was a great man and a good friend. In his office at CSIS he had a lot of photos on the wall. One of them was of him standing next to General Cogny at DBP the day the French airborne captured the place. He had been Cogny’s house guest in Hanoi and the general asked if he would like to go to see the action. That is what is called ACCESS. pl

  40. LeaNder says:

    I accept that statement. I once wished I had a camera with me, encountering this proud man with his wife packed like a mule behind him. Notice, I never had a chance to see a similar image around here and I shop a lot in one of the central Turkish quarters in Cologne.
    But 500 cases of sexual harassment taking place in a not too big space in front of the Cologne station next to the Cathedral in a somewhat limited time frame, I may be wrong about that – no doubt – let’s see – admittedly feels somewhat odd to me.

  41. Fred says:

    That does zero to reduce the risk of another San Bernardino.

  42. Matthew says:

    LeaNder: The new story line focuses on the “spontaneous” pro-democracy and anti-Assad demonstrations in rebel areas.
    My guess is the R2P crowd now will argue that this “democracy” needs safe zones. How long until these “democracy zones” claim they cannot be bound by a Syria-wide plebiscite?

  43. turcopolier says:

    It does not matter how much self-deluded blather the Borg comes up with. The other side are not going to accept it. pl

  44. fasteddiez says:

    Thanks for the information, I hope you post the reports.

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