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20 February 2016


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The east Aleppo pocket is not all open country but a mix of a few sub-urbian villas, villages, farms and fields. The IS folks will probably sit in the houses or give up and become "civilians". It is a small area. Some 3 km to 2 km.

I doubt the 800 number. How was that determined? My first guess would be between 8 and 80. Some local militia and police would probably be enough to go after them.



The number is obviously someone's guestimate. The actual number will not be known until one can stack the bodies. surely the R+6 will search the villages and houses. Those not local will likely be stacked. "Article 4 of the Third Geneva Convention protects captured military personnel, some guerrilla fighters, and certain civilians." wiki on PWs. IMO IS, Nusra and other jihadis are not entitled to be treated as PWs in international law. I participated in the defense of a number of Gitmo detainees and in criminal cases involving Muslims accused of "material support to terrorism" but that was always on the basis of what I thougth was a false accusation (of which there were many). pl



Does it make military sense for R+6 to capture al-Bab and then meet up with the SDF forces west of Manbij and cut another IS line south?

Or are there more important military priorities?



Yes, if forces available would not be over extended. IMO the Tabqa operation is more important. pl


@Jack @Pat - There are still supposed to be some 6,000 IRCG special forces not yet committed to battle. But they will probably be used for some bigger operation.

If the Tiger Forces continue as well as they have done up to now they will be Al Bab in two or three weeks anyway. Eliminating the pocket gives some shorter lines to hold and should free enough soldiers to take that walk. It would close one of the two bigger traffic knots in the area for the Turkey-Raqqa logistic express network. Channeling the IS traffic makes it easier for the Russian air force to cut it off.

I am not sure that the SDF currently has the manpower to go to Manbij. It may move on in the east towards Deir Ezzor. There is also the political question of Turkey's intentions and the crazy U.S. policies.

The U.S. asked Russia to include Al-Qaeda in the "cessation of hostilities" because Al-Qaeda is so intermingled with the CIA supported "moderates" who urgently need a pause as they are in danger of being overrun.

UNSC resolution 2254 explicitly excludes Al-Qaeda and "entities associated" with it from a ceasefire. The U.S. committed to that as did Russia. I do not foresee Russia transgressing against that resolution.

Meanwhile the Pentagon trained Jaish al-Thuwar and the U.S. ally YPG are fighting the CIA equipped "moderates" who recently all gave bayya to Ahrar al Sham (=al-Qaeda light). This while NATO ally Turkey shells the U.S. ally YPG.

What is in the water in Washington DC that makes the people there create such situations?



I take it that you mean that Nusra would not be included in a putative cease fire. I hope that is so. Actually I am not in favor of any cease fire until the war is won and Syria re-united. Exceptions to that position would be for humanitarian relief and a pause while surrenders or transfers are negotiated. "Some 6,000 IRCG special forces" I take it these are really infantry. I have tried to explain that Washington is now ruled by a clique of Borgists who believe human history has ended and that we now are in a world in which BS is king, Er---, no, BHO is emperor at their head. If Hilly wins she will be empress of the same crew. pl



Seems to me that this will make it even easier to get electricity back into Aleppo. In accordance with our background I am obsessed with wooing the people. pl



" Er---, no, BHO is emperor at their head. If Hilly wins she will be empress of the same crew."

I'm not quite sure why you present Obama as an emperor. I would have thought he was a Morsi sitting on a NeoCon volcano, unable to control it.

I remember playing a war-game of your style thirty years ago on the Israeli situation, in which I played the US. I played an Obama style of hand, and was thoroughly outplayed.

Obama had some nice ideas, but he was too weak to impose them.

Ghost ship

South Front have a map


The area of the pocket is about 50 sq km

Chris Chuba

1. This has to rank among the worst defeats that ISIS has suffered since the start of their existence. If this is not reported in the MSM it will be yet another scandal.

2. I am a bit confused about the geography. Is this actually part of Aleppo or is this a suburb? I am assuming that all of the frantic caterwauling about the impending 'encirclement of Aleppo' that we keep hearing about is west of here with the FSA / Al Nusra / Ahrar al-Sham brigades. If this pocket is actually part of Aleppo then it would be inexcusable for it to not get coverage in the MSM.

In any case, this is a great victory for the SAA over an ISIS only opponent and it should secure Kuweires air base for some more serious operations once this pocket is eliminated.


Ghost Ship

Thanks. Keep feeding us date please. pl



IMO like a lot of Europeans you have an unreasoning esteem for Obama. I see him differently as a willing pseudo-emperor riding the R2P/neocon beast in service of his vision of the future of humanity. pl


Never underestimate the stupidity of bureaucracies, particularly where turf is concerned.


Perhaps the better analogy is that he is riding the R2P/neocon brahma bull in a rodeo- hanging on, but not really controlling where the bull goes.

It will be interesting to see how the Western MSM handles the closure of the East Aleppo pocket; my feeling is that most of the press has no understanding at all of what this feat really means.



IMO the boss of the process in fact as well as title. Why run the man down? His true feelings show in his inability to bring himself to attend Scalia's funeral. pl


The pocket is east of Aleppo City. b described its geography pretty well in the first post.

Reuters has some laughably weak coverage of SAA's "advance against Islamic State in Eastern Aleppo," giving no idea of its significance. They used SOHR as their source.


Unlike you and your correspondents here, BHO has never had any truck with physical reality. Applying Hanlon's Razor, ""never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity". He's people smart and reality blind.

It seems to me BHO has no idea or interest in what happens in the real world and since becoming a Nobel Laureate/Emperor, the reality served up on his plate each day has been cooked in the biggest kitchen run by the most disingenuous chefs in the world. If he entered the White House with no sense of reality, he would have to be a genius of the first order to have developed one there! I'll grant he's preternaturally smarmy and clever, but also so loosely tethered to reality one can hardly expect him to have empathy for the affected or insights into the brutal catastrophe of the real.

Someone with the moral creativity to imagine the consequences of his decisions would never have the narcissism necessary to win a US election.



The United States is in an untenable position. Its three allies in the region want the regional holy war to continue not a cease fire. Israel to eliminate Hezbollah. Turkey to kill Kurds. Saudi Arabia to continue to sever the Shiite Crescent. Also, elements in the US government want to continue to use of proxy Islamist forces to destabilize Eurasia in order to loot it. Right now there are only two paths. Negotiate a cease fire; tell the Sunni alliance to stand down - don’t invade Syria and ally with Russia to eliminate the Islamic State and bring peace to the Middle East in order to return the refugees home. The alternative is the Middle East religious conflict escalating into a nuclear world war.


And I meant to add, thank you for one of the best news sites on the web!
Thank you!



We are not a news site. We are an analysis site. pl



I woo the people, not for nation building but rather to advance a victory in what I see as a righteous fight against medieval barbarism.pl



would it be correct to presume that the Syrian government is using its 2nd line troops and militias both to the clear captured areas and to bring in aid to the civilian population now liberated? It seems to me that would be a natural part of the strategy in ending this war against ISIS (and the unicorns of the FSA). Along with restoring the electricity they are turning the lights of civilization back on as it were.

The Twisted Genius


Tau dat, brother. If I was king I would have publicly and unequivocally declared war on IS and its allies and would have aligned all our regional actions around that declaration. IS must be destroyed and the ground, figuratively speaking, salted.

The Twisted Genius

Well said, Fred.

different clue


Why support a cease fire? A cease fire is just a trick to buy time for the Global Axis of Jihad to re-support and re-supply its jihadis so they can keep fighting.

The proper thing to support or at least wish for would be for a total R + 6 victory over the rebellion and a full restoration of legal Syrian government authority over all of Syria, using any means necessary and convenient to eliminate any seeds or spores of rebellion for the next few decades. That will give the SAR time to rebuild its internal strength and power so it can crush and destroy the jihadists when they try it again in 40 or 50 years.

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