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26 February 2016


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William R. Cumming

Any current open source assessments of Russians deployed in Syria? My estimate 20,000!


Sprinkling the FSA into Nusra hasn't fooled the Russians or Assad. See https://twitter.com/ahmed/status/703108621425479680


The ziocons are flocking to H. R. Clinton: https://consortiumnews.com/2016/02/25/neocon-kagan-endorses-hillary-clinton
Beware of this "Goldman Sachs managing director:" http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/02/12/hillary-clintons-pay-play-reality


It seems that one feature of the American overwhelming power approach to war (recent decades) is that it tends to leave a vacuum that tends towards instability. So far, the Russian approach to military power application seems less prone to instability - more measured. I have not been reading about extensive behind the SAA lines gorilla actions or in Ukraine.

Power sharing, apparently has happened with FSA and Kurds, and is something the US pursued in Afghanistan. which doesnt fit this model. Perhaps American missionary zeal - they want to be like us, so lets make them... pissed in the porridge?

The Russians learned much from the Chechen wars, will we?



IMO the Russians have no more than 10,000 in Syria and that would be a high end estimate. The air group and its support; logistics, ECM, air defense missiles, etc. are probably not more than 5,000. Advisers, trainers, Sptetznaz, another 5,000? Maybe. pl


IS continues to harass the supply route to Aleppo. Now further to the south as their northern attempt is being pushed back.


Latest progress of the government offensive north of Aleppo.



For the record, clean-up of the Khanasser-Aleppo route is continuing rather rapidly:


As per militarymaps.info, another roadblock ISIL set up is between Ithriya and Sheik Hilal, at a place called "Bir Azib Garbi". Matter of another day, at most, until that is cleared up, I reckon?

Further, SAA and allies appear to have grabbed a couple totally-not-the-same-as-ISIL insurgent posts while going to work at Khanasser, if one takes into account edmaps. First here:

and here:


Have there been noises on the insurgents pulling shenanigans like saying a party of theirs that signed up pro forma for the cease-fire is operating either at Khanasser or further down south at the Ithriya-Sheikh Hilal block? Wouldn't be particularly surprised if they would...

robt willmann

It is now more than 6 hours past high noon on 26 February 2016 in Syria, the deadline in the "joint statement" and "terms for cessation of hostilities" for the "armed opposition" (clever choice of words by the U.S.) to "confirm" to the U.S. or Russia their "commitment to and acceptance of" the terms. Well, according to one source, " `The High Negotiations Committee (HNC) confirms the agreement of the Free Syrian Army factions and the armed opposition to a temporary [!] truce from midnight Saturday,' an HNC statement said, as quoted by Reuters." And, "The HNC said that more than 100 armed groups have supported the truce agreement, and that it will circulate a list of those which have agreed later on Friday, Sputnik reported." Also, "they will respect a two-week truce which begins at midnight local time on Friday. They warned, however, that the government must not launch attacks in the name of fighting terrorism."



A "two-week truce", the opposition says.



In your opinion is the outcome of the "cessation of hostilities" in Syria a partition of the country? Assad government held areas, unicorn jihadi held areas and ISIS held areas.

Or, will all the jihadists including the unicorns get annihilated? And the Syria prior to the jihadi invasion be restored?


I did some basic calculations and came up with some 4,500 max. This includes air, air defense, intelligence, logistics and special forces, weapon trainers. Russia is unlikely to up that number significantly.

The ground troops will have to come (and do come) from Iran, Iraq and Hizbullah. To them the fight is existential. If Syria falls to Jihadis their homelands are in deep trouble.


That harassing was pretty strong today. A top Hizbullah commander and an IRGC LtCol were killed along with "many" Hizbullah fighters.

The attack on the Khanasser route is to stop or divert the forces that are attacking towards Tabqa airbase and AlThawra.

Pretty clever and so far successful but costly for IS as it is losing lots of personal there to Russian bombing.

alba etie

Big Grandma cannot be trusted; just more neocon BS ...

Bill Herschel

When is a "cessation of hostilities" not a "cessation of hostilities"? When it is a no-fly zone.

This is the last best chance for the liver eaters to destroy the Russian presence in Syria. Regroup and destroy.

A footnote from the MOD presentation. The two airstrikes described by the spokesman were by SU-34's. I think Russia knows that the risk is very great right now. However, the Jerusalem Post article implies that the strike against Russian forces will be by surrogates. Their sponsors will view things from the sidelines. The Russians know these surrogates very, very well.

All my opinion. Completely off topic, but now perhaps a more valuable opinion. I have previously recommended the Russian movie "White Tiger". The Tiger is a German Tiger tank that destroys a lot of Russian tanks as they race across Germany at the end of WWII. I and my family think it is as good a movie as we have seen in the past five years at least. Recall that all of modern theater was basically invented in Russia. The acting in the film is unbelievably good. Or I should say completely believable. The film ultimately is an allegory and the last scene is an echo of Dante. In addition to everything else, it is suspenseful as hell. It's on iTunes with subtitles. I recommend it again.

alba etie

IMO the cease fire is more kabuki - notice that the cessation of hostilities does not extend to organizations designated terrorist groups by the UNSC ..



"...re-consolidation of Syrian government control in some sort of political arrangement that will involve a substantial devolution of powers to regional alignments."

Isn't this devolution of power the hardest part of winning this war? How will the SAR prevent various NGOs from entering into the process and destabilizing things (as happened in Ukraine) once again?



My real number would be around 5,000. I do think some number of Russian "volunteers" is possible. pl


Jack and fred

IMO Syria will not be partitioned any more than Iraq will be partitioned but there will be a different relationship between capital and regional entities. And I DO think the jihadis will be exterminated in both countries. pl

Babak Makkinejad

The cease fire enable 97 armed formations to stop fighting. They could claim that they have not surrendered and then gradually fade away - perhaps even assisted by SAR.

It also has taken the wind out of Turkish insinuations of fighting in Syria - how can they go against a cease fire "that help save lives" and has the endorsement of UNSC?

That goes for the Gulfies too...



Sounds like ISIS will lose that attrition portion of the conflict faster than the R+6. Interesting language choices on the map. I think they've been watching too many star wars movies.


Greece: No exit (Thessaloniki, Greece—26 Feb 2016)
If this headline had appeared several years ago, it would have been cause for optimism in the context of the concerns here over a Grexit. Today it refers to the migrant/refugee situation here in Greece, the country in which I have been a denizen for the better part of the past 38 years. There are thousands of migrants that have landed here in 2016 already who are trying to leave and head to their image of “heaven on earth,” Germany or countries further north, where they have friends, relatives, or just think they see something better. For them, there currently is No Exit.
These are some of the images and numbers from today: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35667769



You're right. There's already a devolution of budgets, and therefore powers, in Iraq, as I discovered when I met the deputy governor of (Sunni) Muhafazat Salah al-Din last summer. In Syria, Asad already launched this path some time ago, when he left the Druze in peace - no conscription. The deal with the Kurds is much the same, but somewhat confused by the propaganda which insists on making the Syrian Kurds enemies of Asad, which they are not.


After Afghnistan, a lot of researches have been launched in USSR and then in Russia about " what was wrong ? "
Inquiries from army's top brass down to the level of company commanders and even platoon leaders.
The Russian doctrine was rewritten.
"In foreign countries, advisers, air power, logistic support, intelligence, spetnaz and....... no boots on the ground."
That's exactly what W.Poutine said from the beginning.
And he will stick to that for political and military reasons


Exactly, this "US agreed" cease fire will take/ took? the wind off of the Turkish / Saudi sails. Wouldn't have been possible, without the wining of the war on the ground and without the Russian air and UN suport.


"I have a few quibbles but not many. I would argue that "signature Russian doctrinal concepts" displayed are really just military common sense applying the principles of war in a modern context without distraction by the COIN delusion."

Just call it by the original name: "blitzkrieg" straight out of Operation Barbarossa. The Russians learned their lessons well.


Col. Lang:

Articles in Fort Russ have alluded to Russian volunteers. One article published at the start of the Russian military campaign reported on the death of well-known fighter in Novorossiya who was killed while fighting with a Kurdish unit in Syria. Another article (see link below), published last October, reported on volunteers from Novorossiya heading to Syria.


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