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23 December 2015


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It looks like R+6 have cut the M5 south of Aleppo and are positioned to attack Salma in Latakia. Considering their battlefield progress maybe they could get more volunteers to join the army.

I read a report that the jihadists were unable to get reinforcements in the battle for Khan Tuman. Sir, can the jihadists slow R+6 by focusing their manpower in built up areas?



I would expect to see a determined defense of the towns. pl


I don't think significant ground operation by Russian army is possible. I could be wrong but from the beginning of Syrian war Kremlin was strongly opposed even to participation of Russian private military contractors or ordinary citizens in this conflict.

From what I've read in some sources problems with manpower are largely self-imposed by draft rules.

Chris Chuba

BTW someone else here posted this website link before which I like to check on a daily basis ...

I've never seen a wiki like this before, it uses google maps so you get all of the familiar zoom, terrain, and city features. It looks like it was created by Russians who super impose colored territorial colors and icons on it. If you click on an icon it gives you a summary of the event, for example ...
"JEBEL AN-NUBA, 12/23/15 - CAA seized height, https://twitter.com/IvanSidorenko1/status/679604453553664000"

So it looks like they scour all of the news feeds and update the map and require that updates at least have a url link.
Recent changes to the map are highlighted with concentric circles to make them easier to find.
If there are contradictory accounts they are indicated with dotted lines extending into either rebel or govt territory depending on the nature of the disputed information. The dotted lines semantic was the last thing I figured out but it's an important detail.

If you are a Syrian Civil war junkie, it's hard not to go to this site on a daily basis even if you accept that it might take time for the information to sort itself out which is the bane of all wikis. Perhaps Jack was the one who posted it originally? Because the map was certainly indicating what he was saying about Aleppo and Salma. Of course it won't show everything just, what is out there on the news feeds both fact and rumor.

I thought this was a novel way to present live news, if historical battles were available in this format I'd pay money for that.


Colonel, TTG,

I can just see the expression on NATO'a spokesmans face.


Regarding draft rules:
Yes, I was surprised to hear from a Syrian friend that high school graduates were still easily getting deferrals from military service e.g. by enrolling at university. It seems conscription is being applied quite haphazardly: at some times military-age kids without valid deferrals are picked up at checkpoints, at other times they are even allowed to leave the country. I guess the government is trying to balance the need for manpower against the need to not piss off the population too much. But as this is a civil war, perhaps they also doubt the loyalty and thus utility of anyone who needs to be dragged kicking and screaming to his military service. Still, this suggests that they may have an “emergency reservoir” they can draw on.


"The regime nonetheless suffers from chronic shortages of manpower that render it unable to fully capitalize upon the expanded support provided by Russia and Iran."

I mentioned this danger several threads ago, as evoked by one of my Syrian students. He saw it as desertion by the Druze, leaving the Alawites alone to fight. That can't be right, as the Druze have never fought, but I can believe that only the Alawite units of the army are still in action.


Problem solved. Kurdish forces in the coalition will be increased. Lavrov has just met with the leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish HDP party. The Russians seem to be enjoying tormenting Erdogan at the moment, and there would be no better way to do that than enlisting the PKK. This would be a real advantage: for the PKK: they could move out from under Turkish military bombardment and be equipped with Russian weapons. The R+6 won't want Barzani to remain in power so since he's a CIA and Mossad asset. So bringing in the PKK makes seen for both the Russian-led coalition and the Kurdish PKK. "WIN win," as the Chinese always say.




How wise you were! what do you think would be an appropriate formula for my recantation? pl



You should be more skeptical of the tales told by your students.

As the article below notes the predominantly Sunni Syrian army's 4th Division has been fighting very successfully alongside the Shia militia of Hezbollah.




You should be more skeptical of the tales told by your students.

As the below article notes the predominantly Sunni Syrian army's 4th Division has been fighting very successfully alongside the Shia militia of Hezbollah.


I wonder if your Syrian students have told you that the non-Sunnis make up a significant percentage of the population. And there are many Sunni in Syria like the soldiers in the 4th Division who don't want their country to become jihadi central with Chechens, Uighyurs, Saudi and Turks running wild with their liver eating ways.

BTW, R+6 is making significant progress on the battlefield and grinding their way to the "kesselschlacht", just as Col. Lang and Mr. Bahzad discussed earlier. Your trolling is rather apparent.


a bit OT. There has been a lot of discussion about Russia letting slide the killing of Samir Quntar in Damascus. A week earlier, however, rockets had landed in downtown Damascus from East Ghouta. These were clearly fired by the rebels. So, my question is do these S300 or 400 systems not work for relatively low tech rockets?


Putin said something on Saturday:
"We see how efficiently our pilots and intelligence agents coordinate their efforts with various kinds of forces - the army, navy and aviation, how they use the most modern weapons," Putin was quoted as saying in a speech.
"I want to stress that these are by far not all of our capabilities," he said. "We have more military means. And we will use them - if need be."

Also, Elijah Magnier reported some weeks ago that Russian ground forces would deploy. I think I remember him saying they would be used to hold ground in the northwest but looking through his blog (English version of his Al Rai articles) I can't find that specific statement. Maybe he said it on Twitter, or maybe I'm not remembering correctly. Here are two entries on Russian ground forces:

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

Possibly they don't want to lose an entire generation to the war. That'd be good social planning. Just a possibility.

FB Ali

Recently, there was some puzzlement expressed when an Israeli strike killed a Hezbullah leader in Syria. (What were the S-400s doing?)

The Saker has an excellent piece on this subject. It also covers the (more important) subject of Putin's position in Russia, and how much leeway he has to pursue his own policies.




What is the military strategy behind splitting the R+6 force in southern Aleppo to attack north towards Aleppo and to attack south towards Idlib? Is it militarily important to take the big towns of Aleppo and Idlib?




According to some researchers, all is not well inside ISIS, they have been frought with defections, as their Caliphate is more window dressing than substance.

“If they don’t like someone, they just behead him”: why ISIS fighters quit


I told you the story that a turkish coworker told me? She insisted that there was virgin birth, because her aunt had had told her, and then added that, alas, said aunt also had been divorced unfairly. Still cracks me up.

Word of mouth carries too great a weight with some people IMO, and a lot of them happen to come from the Middle East. Well, in fairness, the story of the aunt also suggests that the Middle East appears to have it share of sceptics, too.


what is not solved is the Turkish reaction, or the Gulfie reaction for that matter.

The Turks have agency. They are geographically ideally positioned and bloody minded enough to play a spoiler role. That Su-24 shootdown did throw a wrench into the gears of an emerging French-Russian alliance against IS, though, thankfully, it seems to have only delayed it.


Still, Erdogan is the wild card here and needs close watching. I find it implausible that he will just sit by idly and watch, while gtrinding his teeth, how all his achievements unreavel and his jihadi friends and Turkoman Muslim brethren (often the same) die under R+6 onslaught and expect him to do nothing.

The only thing keeping him from lashing out must be intense US, NATO and Russian pressure.

Since, to my surprise, Israel, despite their support for Jihadis in northern Syria, has also played a role in funneling intel to the Syrian government (It seems their policy is not less shizophrenic than America's) they so far seem content to take out Hezbollah targets of opportunity and even seem to have toned that down somewhat. They are less likely to be a spoiler.

Then there are the Gulfies, who, too, have agency. They could be a spoiler. Perhaps that odd 'alliance air strike' targeting Syrian troops which neither the US nor any of their western allies owned up to was some indication of that. That may have been a UAE, Qarari or Saudi air strike. I wonder whether what might cure this last bunch of folks would be the downing of a flight of their toys; they never had to operate in a hostile air space and are used to impunity.


I forgot to spell out the most obvious point explicitly: The Turks loathe and resent any strengthening of any Kurd that is not rented by them and regard that as a threat i.e. strengthening any Kurd they don't control increases the likelyhoods of a Turkish reaction.


The Russioans are getting better by the minute:

"General of the Army Valery Gerasimov presented information [to France] on continued stealing of Syrian national resources, the proceeds from which are used to finance IS, as well as on Turkey's role in this process," the ministry said in a statement."


I can't wait for Lavrov asking at the UN how many billions Turley has stolen from Syria (idea: would not a UNSC statement that this is a fact oblige Turkey to reparations?).

In any event, I'd expect the Russophobes and the Borg to then rush to Erdogan's defence, asserting something along the lines that that statement was typical hyperbolic and misleading Russian propaganda given that Turkey only stole several hundred millions.

Seamus Padraig

"I expect that we will see the direct intervention of Russian ground forces in the next months."

Why not Iranian? I think Syria is even more vital for them than it is for Russia.


Seamus Padraig

that as well, but if I were the Russian in charge in Syria I would want to have at least a motorized rifle division equivalent to use as my ultimate maneuver reserve. Once you commit to a plan of action the means to alter the operation lie in your reserve of fire (air and artillery) and maneuver troops. pl



They need to clear Aleppo. The material and symbolic value of the Syrian Army itself doing that would be something like having Leclerc's 2nd French AD enter Paris first. at the same time they are setting up a great battle in the Idlib area where Russian firepower will play a big role. They must think they have enough force to do both. I am curious as to what the combined C2 structure is for all this. pl

James Doleman

Do the Russians have the sea-lift to deploy a MRD and then supply it?

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