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23 December 2015


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What precise article are you linking to. Or intent to link to?

I don't seem to be able to getting there, since the some of your link is immediately redirected to:


Should I worry?


James Doleman

I don't claim to be very knowledgeable on the subject of Russian sealift but it would seem to me that the requirements are not so high that they cannot be handled by a combination of naval and commercial Russian shipping as well as chartered sealift. the distances are not very great from the Black Sea ports and turn around times will be short. as we experienced in WW2 cruise ships make admirable transports. and then there is also air transport. pl


Flooding the fighting force with conscripts might not be the best idea. The NovoRussian forces weren't rushing volunteers to the front during the height of the fighting. Veterans have to take care of both the fighting and the new guys.



Nothing was said about "flooding the force with conscripts." pl

alba etie

Speaking of the Chinese , the Syrian Foreign Minister is on his way to Beijing to enlist the PRC in helping keep the peace in Syria after the conflict is resolved that is at least what al jezerra is reporting ..


I think because they have much less force projection capability. Their military is organized for an in-depth defense of Iran with an assumption that their enemies would largely control the air. So they have never invested in the logistical and maneuver capabilities that are a Russian (and US) specialty. Their units would be misequipped and inappropriately trained for a ground offensive far from home. They and Hezbollah have in fact committed some forces with no very decisive effects. Assad might very well be long gone without them, but their contributions are only enough to keep him from collapsing. They have shown no ability to steamroll the rebels.

I agree that this is more important to them than to the Russians, but I think their military capacities for force projection are far smaller.

different clue


Why would Israeli intelligence funneling to the Coalition Of Lawful Authority necessarily surprise you? Israeli policy is made by the majority Revisionists in power. But if many of the Foreign Intelligence Gatherers are still more-or-less legacy Rabinists, why would they not funnel intelligence to the R + 6 side? Both because they think a restored Assad is the safer longest-term neighbor and because a visible defeat for Revisionist policy might weaken the Revisionists through public humiliation? Perhaps to weaken them for a very long game of eventually being able to launch and win a civil war of some sort against them?

different clue


If ISIS were to crumble away completely, would it be revealed to have been something of an ISIS containment-dome around a bitter Old-Baathist core? If the crumbling-away of an ISIS containment-dome revealed a bitter Old-Baathist core stripped of its ISIS containment, what would that core do and how would others react to it?

(Supposing my suspicions about a "Baathist core" are in some measure correct . . . )



If this ISW evaluation is correct can we expect even greater numbers of attacks in Europe and elsewhere from sleepers with leadership from those ISIS jihadis infiltrated via the refugee stream. Would further self radicalization be expected as the ISIS forces collapse from the R+6 efforts in the next few months?


it's an analytic weakness of mine to not assume that, strictly in my own metaphor, Israelis bake pies, too. They are not all Bibi so to speak, so point taken ;)


The Khan Tuman salient did collapse rather suddenly and the Syrian side made it all the way to the M5. Now the pressure is on north of Khan Tuman in the Rashidin district directly west of Aleppo. If the Al Qaeda rebels were in a bad position from losing Khan Tuman they might be in a worse position losing Rashidin. Rashidin is at the junction of the M5 and another major road towards Idlib.


Interesting to observe that al-Nusra is leaving the southern part of Syria which will not bear well for the less capable rebels.


"In a separate development, a British-based monitoring group said the last of some 200 Nusra Front fighters operating in Deraa province in the south had been given safe passage by the Syrian authorities to leave for rebel-controlled Idlib.

Damascus agreed to the move in return for the release of Iranian officers captured by Nusra while fighting alongside the Syrian army, said Rami Abdulrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights."

Also a blow to the rebel political leadership in East Ghouta. The leader of Islamic Front, Zahran Alloush, was killed in a Russian air strike.


different clue


The sad thing is that in the days and weeks after the Rabin assassination, Peres missed his only chance to see to it that most Israelis never would be Bibi, so to speak. Peres could have called a snap election to honor the Rabin legacy and complete the Rabin mission. He and the laborists could have channeled the national majority's rage and hate over the Likudist assassination into a comprehensive disinfection and decontamination campaign to scour and cauterize the Likud presence all the way back out of Israeli institutions and governance and public life. But he didn't, and its all been downhill from there. With some false-hope-inspiring dead-cat bounces on the way down.

Chris Chuba

I just noticed that on the right navbar you can click on the icons and it will navigate you to the portion of the map the corresponds to the notification that it is associated with.

For example today, the top notification has to do with the Kurds attacking towards the Tishrin dam that is south of Manbij. The notification below it shows a Syrian army offensive (they use the acronym CAA) driving from Kuweires north towards Al-Bab. I feel like a lab monkey that gets to push a button that says 'give me more crack'. They do report bad news as well, for example a few notifications below they report an ISIS offensive against the Kurds.


there is wikimapia and my maps at google maps. I think any group can collaborate to make similar maps ...


that link will show your location but if you change coordinates you can go elsewhere. Not sure how to integrate the two, but haven't futzed with it much.


ps. DOES ANYBODY HAVE IT (the above) FIGURED OUT? If yes, ADVISE????


This article from this summer says that the Syrian army got a pay raise of $37 per month plus a daily mean which would about feed one additional family member. Base pay seems to be $53-$111/month.

I'd suggest besides manpower there is something happening on the budget front. It was reported that about a week ago Soleimani went to visit Putin, and that the Russians are setting up an air escort for President Assad to visit Iran in the next week or so and that Syria's foreign minister is off to China. The agendas aren't disclosed, but I'd suggest that budgets are under discussion especially in Iran where money remains tight, defense expenditures are up and O&G is down.

If Syria could boost its pay, would its armed headcount improve?


All, Sorry for the earlier post that did not transfer the referenced links. Hopefully this attempt will work.

July speech by Assad on manpower weaknesses.

"In a striking admission, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria said on Sunday that the country’s army faced a manpower shortage and had ceded some areas to insurgents in order to hold onto other regions deemed more important.

Pasted from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/27/world/middleeast/assad-in-rare-admission-says-syrias-army-lacks-manpower.html?_r=0

Syrian Army is down from 300,000 to about 80,000 to 100,000.

"The strength of the regular Syrian army is estimated to be down from a pre-war figure of 300,000 to between 80,000 and 100,000. Fatigue, desertions and losses have taken a heavy toll, as has the sectarian nature of the conflict. That means once-loyal Alawites – the Assad family’s minority sect – are no longer ready to fight for Sunni areas but only to defend their own homes.

“Idlib fell very quickly because Syrian soldiers were simply not prepared to fight,” said one Syrian expert. “Ahrar al-Sham [one of the rebel groups] were surprised how quickly the regime defences crumbled.”

Pasted from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/01/syrian-military-weakness-russian-intervention

Low Pay Causing Moonlighting and Use of Local Militias

"...soldiers in the capital moonlight driving taxis, complaining of low wages eroded by steep price rises. Syrian officials often say that Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaida’s local affiliate, are paid far better than their own forces. Scruffy militiamen in camouflage trousers and T-shirts man security checkpoints.

Young men fleeing for Europe often say they are prompted to leave by receiving their call-up papers or being ordered to report for reserve duty.

National Defense Force

"Another factor in the decline of the regular army is the creation of a 125,000-strong locally based National Defence Force, which has been trained and paid by the Iranians, who also favour the use of Shia militia fighters from Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as Hezbollah…. "

"...minorities are flocking to the NDF to avoid recruitment into an army still comprised mostly of Sunnis. Most NDF fighters are Alawites, but many Christians and Druze have joined as well…. minorities are flocking to the NDF to avoid recruitment into an army still comprised mostly of Sunnis. Most NDF fighters are Alawites, but many Christians and Druze have joined as well…. For many fighters, the main attraction is fighting for their own home towns and the chance to accumulate extra wealth at a time when the country's economy is collapsing. Unlike soldiers, they say they are allowed and even encouraged to loot houses when attacking rebel-held areas. "I get 15,000 lira ($158) a month, and I am allowed to keep a percentage of the loot from any battle I fight in,..."

Pasted from http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Syrian-army-fighters-search-for-alternative-option-310552

Amnesty offered in July but not trusted

Mr. Assad issued a general amnesty for Syrians who have avoided military duty or deserted the security forces — provided they have not joined the insurgency against him. He has issued amnesties in the past but has yet to release thousands of political prisoners, leaving many people mistrustful of this latest pledge.

Pasted from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/27/world/middleeast/assad-in-rare-admission-says-syrias-army-lacks-manpower.html?_r=0

Pasted from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/01/syrian-military-weakness-russian-intervention

Forced Conscription and Bribery

"...In a report released yesterday, the human rights organisation said that “since the beginning of November and up to 15 December, more than 1,217 young men have been arrested for conscription into the ranks of the regime forces; about half of them have official approval to defer military service.”

“Among those arrested, nearly 358 are university students. The majority of detention incidents took place in the province of Damascus as well as the provinces of Aleppo, Hama, Latakia and Homs, according to witnesses,” the report added.

According to the NGO, “early in November the regime authorities distributed lists of dozens of thousands of young men for conscription to fight with the army, local militias, or under the command of foreign militants and circulated them to recruitment centres in the provinces under its control.”

The report explained that the lists included “the names of young people aged 25 to 35 years old, including government employees and university students, even though [these individuals] had obtained formal approval to postpone their mandatory military service.” It added that “doctors and nurses over the age of 45 years old have [also] been informed to report to regime military field hospitals.”

“After being arrested, these young people are referred to the military police headquarters then to the frontline to fight against armed opposition factions.”

According to the report, the aim is to compensate the huge shortage of manpower in the government forces, especially after a significant portion of local militias defected to European countries to seek asylum – in addition to trying to gain back land taken my militias after receiving strong aerial support from Russian forces after 30 September.

The Network added that a further reason for the recruitment drive is to solicit bribes and blackmail from youths who want to have their names deleted from these lists, thus representing a potential revenue stream for officers in the recruitment centres, Ministry of Defence and military police.

Pasted from https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/22998-rights-group-accuses-syrian-regime-of-arresting-civilians-for-forced-conscription

Changing Momentum and Conscription

One might wonder if the changing fortunes of war the Assad regime is experiencing on the battlefield with the intervention of the Russians might reverse the manpower concerns of the Syrian Army.


Here is another article from Dec 16 about the use of checkpoints in Damascus to round up conscripts and dodgers. One has to think Assad has tough trips to Moscow and Tehran begging for money, weapons and men when his own countrymen won't fill the ranks.


Chris Chuba

rjj, thank you for the description of wikimapia. I was not aware that such a generic resource existed.

Here is the map I am viewing regularly on the Syrian civil war that might be using that engine, it is definitely integrated with google maps.


I am reposting the link because when I view TTG comments, sometimes I get a nested view and sometimes I get the posts listed in date order so earlier posts can get buried or at least not seen in context.


Evolving Reorganization of Syria's ground forces

Creation of the Syrian 4th Assault Corp

A new Syrian army corp has been created around a Russian model to exploit the emerging opportunities being created by the Russian air assaults. The size of the corp is planned to be 60-100,000 though it is not near that level. The corp is presently located near Irlib. See page 13 for more information. http://fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/OEWatch/201511/201511.pdf

National Defense Forces

There are rumor that the National Defense Forces may be eliminated or almost certainly reduced. These have become increasingly sectarian and are unable to take new territory.

Heavier Use of Artillery

Given the protection from the air that the Russian air defense system provides, it looks like more Russian artillery is being brought in and will be used heavily against urban rebel positions and positions near the Turkish border.

"Moscow is convinced of the need to strengthen conventional Syrian military forces and institutions and decrease the role of militias and the regime's dependence on Iran," journalist Ibahim Hamidi wrote in Al Hayat, one of the mostly widely read Arab newspapers in the region.

One Russian military analyst believes the renewed emphasis on artillery made a major difference in the fight against anti-Assad rebels.

In a recent interview on a Russian news program, Konstantin Syvkov said more than 300 artillery pieces concentrated on a half-mile line outside of Hama produced a so-called "fire wave" that greatly aided the Syrian offensive at first. "This method consumes a lot of ammunition, but it is very effective in getting through fortifications," Syvkov said. "This allowed the breakthrough via the enemy defenses."

The biggest problem was the Syrians ran out of ammunition, including artillery shells supplied by the Russians, he said.

Reuters also recently reported that Russia might have at least one artillery brigade armed with howitzers operating in an area between the cities of Homs and Damascus.

Pasted from http://theweek.com/articles/593126/russia-bringing-big-guns-syria-literally

Iran Puts New IRGC Commander into Syria

IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Jafar Assadi. According to reports from inside the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), following the large number of IRGC casualties in Syria, especially the death of General Hossein Hamadani, commander of the Iranian regime’s forces in Syria, and injury to Commander of the IRGC Quds Force (QF) Qassem Soleimani, Khamenei who considers defeat in the war against Syrian people a lethal blow to the entirety of the velayat-e faqih regime is getting the Iranian regime and its Revolutionary Guards exceedingly bogged down in the Syrian quagmire.

Pasted from http://www.ncr-iran.org/en/ncri-statements/terrorism-fundamentalism/19701

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