"On Sunday morning inside the eastern countryside of the Aleppo Governorate, ISIS imposed full control over the villages of Rasm Al-‘Alam and Al-Si’in after a violent battle with the Syrian Arab Army’s “Tiger Forces” and their allies from the National Defense Forces (NDF) and Liwaa Suqour Al-Sahra (Desert Hawks Brigade). ISIS launched a counter-offensive earlier this week in order to recapture several villages near the Thermal Power Plant that has become the Tiger Forces’ primary objective after linking their positions with the Sheikh Najjar Industrial District’s 3rd Zone. With Al-Si’in under their control, ISIS could breathe easy for a while because they are no longer in danger of being encircled in the Al-Safira Plains as long as they maintain control over this village.
Based on Al-Masdar details
In the Syrian Arab Army’s turn, government forces and their allies mounted an offensive toward Barlahin and captured it few hours ago." Southfront
This kettle battle will end badly for IS if they can't break out very quickly. IMO there is now a gap of about 2 miles between the mobile R+6 force moving west from the Kuweires air base salient and what is referred to on the map as the "Aleppo mainland" that is under government control.
In the south there is another impending kettle battle in the area NE of Deraa City with a column moving east to link up with government forces farther east.
At the same time the Mother of all Kettles will shortly be fought west of Aleppo city.
This effort in the west of Syria should be over in a month or so if the Turks do not intervene on the ground in strength. It continues to seem unlikely to me that they will do that and risk escalation to possible annihilation at the hands of the Russians no matter how mad Sultan Tayyip may be.
Tayyip is now denouncing the US as a faithless partner because we do not share his enthusiasm for bombing the YPG Kurds. In fact we are supporting them with GB and air assistance. This conflicts with Tayyip's desire to entice NATO into supporting him against the YPG Kurds and in an invasion of Syria with emphasis on the Mosul area which has long been an object of desire for Turkish irredentism. At the same time it would seem evident that R2P/neocon fantasy life has evolved into the entry of the fabled (very fabled) Arab Muslim ground task force into eastern Syria. This silliness is beloved of presidential candidates in the US because they are ignorant fools who understand nothing of the ME or war. And... Without Tayyip's cooperation such a project would be awkward indeed.
The contradiction in US policy among its various goals is so lunatic that I will not blame you pilgrims if you think something fishy is happening in the apparent attempts of the US to reconcile; support of Tayyip, support of the YPG Kurds and whatever it is that you would call the Arabian Army reverie. pl