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27 July 2012

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par4

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/07/26/157943/assad-hands-control-of-syrias.html Assad hands control of Syria's Kurdish areas to PKK,sparking outrage in Turkey. This is getting more interesting all of the time.

Bill H

" The US will stand by and make ineffective statements like those of the spokeswoman of the Girl's Club and that is about all the USG will do."

Which, perhaps minus the ineffective statements, is precisely what the USG should do. Not that I know what I'm talking about, I just have opinions.

b

Erdogan is Nuland: Erdoğan hopes ‘sons of Syria' will respond to Assad's looming Aleppo attackTurkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he hopes the “real sons of Syria” will respond to an armed assault the Syrian regime is getting ready to launch in Aleppo.

“The regime is preparing for an attack with tanks and helicopters in the city center of Aleppo. It's not clear what's going to happen today. The foreign minister and I have been following the developments. I hope that the regime gets the answer it deserves from Syria's own sons,” Erdoğan said in response to questions from reporters on Friday in London.
Both the insurgents and the Syrian army have been building the Schwerpunkt in Aleppo over the last week.

The Syrian army will likely let every fighter in, every civilian out and then block the escape routes and fight the insurgents down.

Not simple fish in the barrel shooting but in the end the result will likely look the same.

b

Sorry for the messy format in my comment above. Here is repeat.

Erdogan is with Nuland:

http://www.todayszaman.com/news-287835-.html
"Erdoğan hopes ‘sons of Syria’ will respond to Assad’s attacks"

/quote/
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he hopes the “real sons of Syria” will respond to an armed assault the Syrian regime is getting ready to launch in Aleppo.

“The regime is preparing for an attack with tanks and helicopters in the city center of Aleppo. It's not clear what's going to happen today. The foreign minister and I have been following the developments. I hope that the regime gets the answer it deserves from Syria's own sons,” Erdoğan said in response to questions from reporters on Friday in London.
/endquote/

Both the insurgents and the Syrian army have been building the Schwerpunkt in Aleppo over the last week.

The Syrian army will likely let every fighter in, every civilian out and then block the escape routes and fight the insurgents down.

Not simple fish in the barrel shooting but in the end the result will likely look the same.

The Twisted Genius

I think this is a case of the rebels overplaying their hand. They thought they were strong enough to grab for Damascus and now Aleppo. Assad's forces astutely spotted this overreach and are maneuvering to take full advantage of it. This stands in stark contrast to the Libyan rebels' Operation Mermaid Dawn.

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2011/08/-de-oppresso-liber-operation-mermaid.html

r whitman

An armed rebellion against a ruling power is a zero-sum game. You either win or die. There is no middle ground. If you win you get to kill the former rulers or send them into exile. If you lose, you get buried in an unmarked grave.

Neither the State Dept or the MSM seem to recognize these facts.

PS

I see that Mursi didn't take long to meet with the head of Hamas. When the MB takes over in Syria will Hamas no longer need a Shia sponsor in Iran? I'm sure the Israelis are trying to figure out whether a post-Assad Syria can be deterred and convinced to value stability, but no one really knows right now.

kao_hsien_chih

Like a sort of Syrian Tet? I would imagine Assad regime is unlikely to think they lost just because the contemporary version of Walter Cronkite thinks they did...

Tyler

To quote Machiavelli: "He who raises his sword against his Prince should throw away his scabbard."

Matthew

God willing, the Syrian Army will crush these Jihadis. And then the real Syrian transition can begin.

BTW, you wrote:

" The Syrian army will likely let every fighter in, every civilian out and then block the escape routes and fight the insurgents down."

Fallujah?

Walrus

Col. Lang,

CVN 72 Lincoln is apparently in the Mediterraenean near Turkey.

If the rebels (sorry, Free Syrian Army) appear to be losing in Aleppo, what are the chances of Obama ordering the navy to create a "no fly zone" over Aleppo and deliver an ultimatum to Assad, backed up by the threat of hunting down Syrian armoured vehicles around Aleppo? All for "humanitarian reasons" of course.

Could Lincoln do it? What if they have help via Turkish air bases?

Are there any impediments to Obama doing it - apart from downed airman being paraded before news cameras?

Walrus

Col Lang,

CVN 72 is allegedly at Antalya, about 240 miles from the Syrian coast. Aleppo is about 70 nautical miles inland.

turcopolier

walrus

The pieces are in place. IMO the Lincoln battle group would not be enough. To defeat Syria's armed forces would require a lot more force over a number of months. It remains to be seen if BHO wants another war in the context of a presidential election three months away. The economy is not recovering well. Unemployment is high in some places. The JCS has positioned forces against the possibility that BHO might decide to act. Would Turkey join in the fun? You tell me. pl

bth

Realistically wouldn't Turkey have to lead this dance?

turcopolier

bth

Without their participation the whole thing would flop. pl

Alba Etie

Col Lang
If the PPK gets actively engaged with the Turkish military from territories nominally under Assad's control -would that be enough to trigger Erdogan to intervene in Syria ? We went into Iraq without Turkish help -and paid and are apparently still paying a high price for that folly . If the Turks 'go'to active combat in Syria does that automatically trigger NATO article # 5 ?

Kunuri

OK, my turn...

Has anyone noticed the urban nature of Aleppo? First, its at a double crossroads from everywhere. 30 something miles from Turkish border as well as from the sea. Its very ancient style wealthy, full of 8 stories plus reinforced concrete apartment blocks, like Beirut, creating this maze of canyons, alleys, surrounded by your typical mud hut maze neighborhoods opening up to the countryside. This completely nullifies the effect and reason for armor in the city, the rebels are shooting them down like turkeys-pardon the pun, could not resist it...I have seen numerous, incredible footage on the internet of rebels luring in the behemoths into mazes, distracting them by small arms fire, maneuvering behind them and RPG ing them. The streets are so narrow that not even two tanks can not drive side by side, and when they do their flanks are always exposed to side streets, which are always occupied by the rebels, who can actually move from one street to the other through the buildings. And they now learned the disproportional tactical effect of snipers on roof tops. So, the armor is no good.

Airpower. Since there are no concentrations of rebels anywhere at one time for any length of time, its nothing but a weapon of terror, and it worked for a time. But the effect has faded, people are used to it by now. And the rebels are firing back at them from their technicals well positioned within the alleys. What good is helicopter fire or artillery fire if there is no one to direct it? It just creates rubble that can not be reduced anymore, but make excellent defensive positions without using excavators.

Oh, so its finally going to come down to a Hue city house to house street to street infantry fighting in the end. Please no one remind me that US Army and Marines won in Hue, but no other Army in the world would, as the Russians did not in Grozny.

And Assad's assassins are going to be slaughtered-as low as their moral is already. Just today, 100 regular soldiers on attack on the outskirts of Aleppo simply surrendered to the rebels in order no to fire on their own people, not necessarily defecting, this may come later. Also, reports of 10 tanks destroyed-before even the ground attack started-tanks meaning over here anything with tracks. But they may be, I have seen visuals of 4 burnt out T-72 s at a crossroads, in some city-and even in relatively open ground.

So this fight is for the rebels to lose, I don't think an intervention is needed at this point by anyone. Its too late anyway, but a few stingers, not modern anti tank weapons, at the hands of right people will be a game changer. Inaction from the West already guaranteed that a very conservative, maybe even loosely divided new Syria will emerge, Syrians will not forget. Turkey still garners quite a bit of good will and gratitude from the free Syrians.

I have been also observing not just the factual or tactical situation lately, but the attitudes and body language of both fighters and the regular people. People are surely terrified, but doubly determined not to go back to the bad old days. One mother whose unarmed son was killed by Syrian security forces during the early demonstrations, interviewed yesterday by a Turkish journalist was saying how devastating it was to lose her son, but still not worse that how their lives were under Assad's thugs. And in all the visual material I have time to watch, the rebels have a new intensity, they move faster and surer, hold and fire their weapons firmer, and there is some sort of coordination in their efforts, like someone always covering the back of an RPG shooter, someone feeding the AA gun ammo, and snipers always in pairs.

And about Damascus fighting, it died down now-Syrian press declaring a victory after clearing the terrorists from the districts liberated earlier. As I predicted, it was a tactical withdrawal by the rebels back into the countryside to fight another day, somewhere else, like Aleppo. Rebel losses were minimal. But they ran out of ammo and supplies, and its still too early for them to make a major move to Damacus. So, now the counterattack on Aleppo by Assad, it will fail once inside the city limits. It is really amazing to witness what a small group of lightly armed dedicated people can do to a modern army, to be seen within the context of US Constitution provisions about tyranny and the 2nd amendment.

Kunuri

Albayim and Alba Etie,

Assad pulled a fast one on Turkey by withdrawing from the northeastern Kurdish border region.

PYD is a large and loosely coordinated, long suppressed but separatist group tied to PKK operating from Northern Iraq. They captured already abandoned border posts and raised some PKK flags which had the expected effect of driving people here in Turkey into a frenzy. Upon a second, calmer look, PYD is not really that tight with PKK, and not the main or the largest political entity on that part of Syria. They are hardly a threat to Turkey and not much of help to PKK. No, Turkey will not interfere militarily here-even in Northern Iraq, which is legitimate self defense, as Turkey does from time to time-but it has never required NATO involvement.

So far there is no justification for a NATO article 4 or even 5 over the northeast Syria situation. But there is an ominous silence within the government and army, moving self propelled anti aircraft systems to the border, well documented by the press, but also armor, not so well documented- but a few slipped images here and there, which I noticed and identified as modernized M-60s on train flat cars and transporters.

So, a military incursion into Syria by Turkey is still within the cards. It would be premature now, but called for if there is a large humanitarian disaster in Aleppo in case the rebels lose, or chemical weapons used by Assad against the civilians, then I think the Turkish Army will move in. The best case scenario is, if the rebels are able to irreversibly control Aleppo ala Benghazi and its environs and declare some sort of autonomy, it is no longer Syrian territory and Turkey may then, with the support of UN and NATO move in to establish a buffer zone to care for the civilian population and refugees, Assad being forced to comply by the Russians. Then what? I don't know.

Kunuri

CVN 72 is in port in a great place in Antalya, sailors will love their shore leave and should enjoy themselves.

Its too late to create any no-fly zones or safe-zones by the West, as was not the case in Libya. That train has left the station, the free Syrians are already convinced that "they are on their own" as the good Colonel stated. The lynchpin here is Russia, all efforts should be directed towards at least to get a commitement from them that they will not support a losing Assad. And any small victory or a heroic stand in Aleppo will mean that Assad is losing. And please, not to worry too much about a sharia style Saudi state khalipahte in a post Assad Syria, they are
too smart and too close to the West not to allow another type of tyranny to ruin their lives for a few more generations.


Babak Makkinejad

Neither Turkey nor US will go to war against Syria.

There are too many unknowns...

steve g

The Russians currently have a twenty
ship flotilla in the Med. and say they
are there until at least Oct. Is this
of any strategic consequence other
than just a show of force. Some rebel
units say they might attack Tartus their
port in Syria.

Kunuri

Sorry, but I don't think "Schwerpunkt" concept applies in an irregular war. I think Mao has much more relevant terminolgy where a regular Army battles an indiginous irregular army of limited means. If it did, one would start thinking about terms like "outflanking", "double envelopement", "recon by force" etc., all are meaningless while fighting against an irregular guerilla force.

Your "barrel in the fish" metaphor against my "turkey shoot". Bet?

fred

Assad is a Syrian, he's not 8000 miles from home.

Kunuri

"When you strike at a King, you must kill him."

Roman proverb. I believe.

Kunuri


Somehow this did not get posted earlier, I am hoping a technical glitch, otherwise, oh well...

Has anyone noticed the urban nature of Aleppo? First, its at a double crossroads from everywhere. 30 something miles from Turkish border as well as from the sea. Its very ancient style wealthy, full of 8 stories plus reinforced concrete apartment blocks, like Beirut, creating this maze of canyons, alleys, surrounded by your typical mud hut maze neighborhoods opening up to the countryside. This completely nullifies the effect and reason for armor in the city, the rebels are shooting them down like turkeys-pardon the pun, could not resist it...I have seen numerous, incredible footage on the internet of rebels luring in the behemoths into mazes, distracting them by small arms fire, maneuvering behind them and RPG ing them. The streets are so narrow that not even two tanks can drive side by side, and when they do their flanks are always exposed to side streets, which are always occupied by the rebels, who can actually move from one street to the other through the buildings. And they now learned the disproportional tactical effect of snipers on roof tops. So, the armor is no good.

Airpower. Since there are no concentrations of rebels anywhere at one time for any length of time, its nothing but a weapon of terror, and it worked for a time. But the effect has faded, people are used to it by now. And the rebels are firing back at them from their technicals well positioned within the alleys. What good is helicopter fire or artillery fire if there is no one to direct it? It just creates rubble that can not be reduced anymore, but make excellent defensive positions without using excavators.

Oh, so its finally going to come down to a Hue city house to house street to street infantry fighting in the end. And Assad's assassins are going to be slaughtered-as low as their moral is already. Just today, 100 regular soldiers on attack on the outskirts of Aleppo simply surrendered to the rebels in order no to fire on their own people, not necessarily defecting, this may come later. Also, reports of 10 tanks destroyed-before even the ground attack started-tanks meaning over here anything with tracks. But they may be, I have seen visuals of 4 burnt out T-72 s at a crossroads, in some city-and even in relatively open ground.

So this fight is for rebels to lose, I don't think an intervention is needed at this point by anyone. Its too late anyway, but a few stingers, not even modern anti tank weapons, at the hands of right people will be a game changer. Inaction from the West already guaranteed that a very conservative, maybe even loosely divided new Syria will emerge, Syrians will not forget. Turkey still garners quite a bit of good will and gratitude from the free Syrians.

I have been also observing not just the factual or tactical situation, but the attitudes and body language of both fighters and the regular people. People are surely terrified, but doubly determined not to go back to the bad old days. One mother whose unarmed son was killed by Syrian security forces during the early demonstrations, interviewed by Turkish journalist was saying how devastating it was to lose her son, but still not worse that how their lives were under Assad's thugs. And in all the visual material I have time to watch, the rebels have a new intensity, they move faster and surer, hold and fire their weapons firmer, and there is some sort of coordination in their efforts, like someone always covering the back of an RPG shooter, someone feeding the AA gun ammo, and snipers always in pairs.

And about Damascus fighting, it died down now-Syrian press declaring a victory after clearing the terrorists from the districts liberated earlier. As I predicted, it was a tactical withdrawal by the rebels back into the countryside to fight another day, somewhere else, like Aleppo. Rebel losses were minimal. But they ran out of ammo and supplies, and its still too early for them to make a major move to Damacus. So, now the counterattack on Aleppo by Assad, it will fail once inside the city limits. Its really amazing to witness what a small group of lightly armed dedicated people can do to a modern army, to be seen within the context of US Constitution provisions about tyranny and the 2nd amendment.

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