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16 October 2015


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i can't help but notice that there where no russian strikes outside Aleppo in your previous map.

was this the case that the current push around Aleppo is being done without air support.

do you know when the forces where moved to aleppo, and who it suggest a "plan b" because their first push stalled, or was this a big feint encircle and cut off the rebels.

Patrick Bahzad

In the previous map, I only indicated the airstrikes that happened close to "frontlines", as I stated in the explanations to the map.

The idea was to correlate the number of airstrikes in frontline areas with the probability of ground operations being launched as well.

Now obviously, there have been Russian airstrikes in and around Aleppo. A number of them.

If you read the articles that were published about the subject, you'll understand the concept of "attrition" warfare. It is not about a plan b, it is about action and reaction, sticking to your strategy, while adjusting your tactics.

Odin's Raven

Here's an article with a couple of interesting night light maps of Syria, before and now.

'The lights are going out all over Syria, but perhaps they will be re-lit in our generation'. (Apologies to the ghost of Sir Edward Grey.)



The infiltration of reinforcements into Aleppo places the jihadi/unicorns in a vise. pl



thank you for the "must-read" updates.

Im interested to know where all the equipment for this offensive came from. Do you think that it is all from existing stock of tanks and AFV's or has much of this been shipped in fairly recently?

red brick

Please keep writing/posting these assessments, Patrick.

Patrick Bahzad

Hi Martin,

Hope you doing ok ! Was gonna mail you (and I will) as soon as we will have beaten the All Blacks tomorrow evening :-)

From what I have seen, there is a lot of brand new gear in the field ... Back packs with not even a scratch on them and rifle butts that look like the weapons have never been used before. But that is an observation drawn from a non representative sample of R+5 units.

You're free to draw your own conclusions though ...



What do you think the chances are of a Soviet airborne force being used to exploit any breakthroughs are? I know President Putin has said "no ground troops unless the situation changes" but that seems like a rather large caveat to throw in.

Also I feel like I must, on behalf of my wife, tell you that you will not beat the All Blacks.

Patrick Bahzad


I don't know about Russian airborne, but there have been public statements made in August by the commander of Russian airborne forces, saying his troops were ready in case they were needed ... Go figure what he meant, I didn't get a chance to talk to him.

IMO though, it would be an airmobile operation to clear and hold border areas while the bulk of armour and infantry catches up retreating enemies, who could then get smashed between anvil (airborne troops posted on border mountain ridges, supported by attack helicopters) and hammer (heavy armour and infantry steamrolling them while as they can't cross into turkey)

Regarding tomorrow's game, your wife is probably right, but in the last two play offs we had againsf the ABs, we turned out the winning side ... ;-)

The Twisted Genius

Tyler and Patrick,

I've seen that interview with the head of the VDV. He definitely sounded gung ho about any mission, any time. Remember that the VDV units, unlike our airborne units, are mostly mechanized. I have no idea how their logistics are structured to support this. They'd probably be more effective in the open territory of eastern Syria rather than the mountain ridges of the northern borders. I have feeling that a couple of regiments of BMDs suddenly appearing in the IS heartland would cause quite a consternation. I see a heavier use of Spetznaz and small airmobile blocking forces long before the VDV is employed.

Will Smith

From almasdarnews.com

"The commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s elite “Quds Brigades” – Major General Qassim Suleimani – has reportedly traveled from the Latakia Governorate’s northeastern countryside to the Al-Safeera District of southern Aleppo in order to observe the first phase of the large-scale offensive in the Azzan Mountains.

Major General Suleimani did not travel alone to Aleppo – he was escorted by a large convoy of armored vehicles that were largely made up of Iraqi Shi’i militiamen; these aforementioned fighters have been tasked with carrying out the planned offensives around the Aleppo Governorate’s countryside."


Patrick Bahzad


Could be Spetznaz of course, but I wouldn't be surprised about some vertical air assault ... They still do BMD air drops I think ?
As a side note, we did a similar operation in Mali when we had a paratrooper unit jump over a DZ right on extraction route of AQ groups who were being pursued by our light armour. Was in a mountain pass in the Sahara and not sure if many AQ guys made it through.

Also remember Pristina 99

The Twisted Genius


Nor would I. Those BMDs are still being dropped and the new models are damned impressive. That VDV general has every right to be Was that the 2e REP drop outside Timbuktu or some later operation? That REP drop was sweet.

The Pristina Dash. That was legendary. And that was in Russia's hollow army days.


Patrick and TTG,

I think if the VDV hits the ground the nipple twisting at the Pentagon will be heard from Alexandria. I don't think anyone would have seen that one coming.

Patrick Bahzad

Exactly, was 2nd company, 2e REP, and a few other guys (220 men in total). A vid if you interested:


TTG, PB et al

This sounds like a Grand Slam in the making, a double envelopment that may or may not include VDV troops. Jackson would be proud. This is a modern Cannae as a possibility. What do you do with the prisoners? Maybe they should be sent to...? The WH will stare dumbfounded. pl



I doubt any of the phd crowd saw any of this coming but sure hope the chiefs of staff know what the Russian Federation (and allies) are capable of. (And don't forget the PLA forces). Do you remember General Dempsey was saying about speaking with his counterparts in the Russian Federation back when Ukraine was on the front burner (and front page)? I think he might have had a good idea of their capabilities (especially with the strategic rocket forces) and helped cool off some hotheads. (just my opinion).


Slightly ignorant here, but is it even necessary to airdrop Airborne or Spetznaz? Why not helo Quds or other lesser (non-Russian) forces to the rebels rear and let them die for the cause? Are there that many Russian forces in Syria for such an undertaking? It strikes me that the rebels may break no matter whom is in their rear.

Once again, thanks for the updates and maps?

Nick Doremus

I fully confess to being a rank amateur at this sort of thing, but it seems to me that the Syrians are attacking in a rather piecemeal fashion at a variety of points without a specific and attainable objective. I get this might make sense as part of an attritional strategy, but only if you have a decisive advantage over your opponent. I'm not sure that's the case here when the rebels can blunt the Syrian edge in armor with antitank weapons and the Russians appear to lack the overwhelming and coordinated air power that might dislodge them. It seems to me that the government won't accomplish much by wearing themselves down across the map, but I'm curious to know how you think this will play out.


Wonder what' on for the Takfiries on the coming Ashour day.


Nick Doremus

I suppose you will have to wait and see if your view is truly rank. pl

robt willmann

If a new offensive on behalf of the Syrian government is happening in the Allepo area, I think that is very interesting. From the description in the post, it sounds as if the Kuweires airbase to the east is still in the Syrian army's hands and has not actually fallen to the "rebels". I am assuming that it cannot be used by the Syrian army right now. Whether it is still in the possession of the Syrian army or not, I would say that the first goal of this new military operation is to get full control of that airbase, and then clear enough of the countryside around it so that it can be safely used. By its location on the map, once that airbase becomes operational so that airplanes and helicopters and take off and land, the fun will begin.

The Kuweires airbase is right in the heart of the "jihadi opposition", and look at what a radius around it that is not even very large will cover.

Plus, the airbase, according to the map, is right there in ISIS-land. Ishmael Zechariah and his friends are not alone, as I, too, think that ISIS is not just a standalone organization of former soldiers of Saddam's Iraqi army, some Iraqi desert tribesmen, and a bunch of wild-eyed, disaffected young men who have been pursuaded through a certain interpretation of Islam to show up and fight in a war.

This looks like a fascinating development.


And what to do with all those captured TOW missiles? Maybe the Houthi rebels could find some use for them?


Robert Willman

So, you, too, believe the US conspired to bring IS into being. If that is the case I will retire from the field as I think that would have been mad even beyond the capacity of the Obama Administration. pl


Col., if The vast majority of M.E. population, the Chinese, Russians and even some Europeans think that DAESH is a USG creation, why believe otherwise?

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