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28 July 2016


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I do not expect any universal rebel surrender or amnesty in Aleppo. I do expect various factions independently attempting to "cut a deal" with the Syrian Army. The first group to do so will have an advantage (a chance at survival). The last group holding the bag in Aleppo loses everything. Maybe the renaming of JN is a first step towards such an action.

If this is happening look for a general cessation of hostilities as talks start, local rebel on rebel attacks, shifting of unit boundaries, changes of unit commanders and other similar activity.


Update 1: A little after the 1:25 mark in this Southfront.org video, it's reported that the opposition is massing forces south of the city for an attack on Al-Hadher (pan-zoomable map centered on it here, http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=35.988841&lon=37.057915&z=12&m=b&permpoly=15652880).
This was one of the key gains of the regime's offensive in the area in October-November 2015.

The wildcard here are the SAA forces deployed there. Formally or informally, the area south of Aleppo seems to be roughly an Iranian AO, with a assortment of Shia militias from Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan, and a very shadowy "65th Special Operations Brigade" from the regular Iranian Army (https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/iranian-special-forces-arrive-aleppo/). In the past, these foreign Shia militia units have generally been what ww2 Germans called "conditionally capable for defensive tasks," i.e. liable to buckle under a strong attack, and generally unable to counter-attack. It was collapses by these units that allowed the rebels to recover some important towns in this area in May (http://www.agathocledesyracuse.com/archives/776). If Hezbollah (see update 2 below) units present to backstop these militias, then the rebel offensive will probably not succeed, but Hezbollah units apparently committed to fighting in Aleppo, so unclear to me whether they also have a presence south of the city.

Update 2: Hezbollah units important in SAA pincer that's closing the pocket from the south (refer to again http://www.agathocledesyracuse.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Aleppo-28-July-2016.jpg), http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950505000645. This makes the significant advances achieved in such built-up areas significantly more understandable. Besides quality of Hezbollah infantry, it's had a fairly long and positive experience of working in cooperation with armor from the 4th Mechanized.

Trey N

Brunswick's excellent reply seems to have answered all your concerns. The only thing I can add is that I seriously doubt the "rebranding" will hinder Russia from continuing to bomb the living hell out of the liver-eaters, whatever they choose to call themselves....


The US to send in 3000 SF for Raqqa battle?


"US President Barack Obama ordered to send 3,000 special forces for an operation at the Syrian city of Raqqa, the Sky News Arabia TV channel reported, citing the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, Brett McGurk.

McGurk noted that ater the liberation of Manbij which is considered the main transport hub of ISIS, the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa will become the next target. He also added that Barack Obama has ordered to deploy “3,000 Special Forces soldiers for this purpose.”

Kurdish / Arab infighting hampering SDF?

"Then, the US and the SDF stuck under Manbij. Furthermore, a fighting between the Kurds and the Arabs has started inside of the SDF. The Kurds blamed the Arabs for cooperation with ISIS supporters (for example, Arab SDF units allegedly allowed ISIS suicide bombers to enter into the rear area of the Kurdish troops). The fighting with heavy weapons lasted for three days."



I don't know what is meant by Special Forces here. There are no more that 5,000 Green Berets (true US Army Special Forces) These are deployed all over the world and to use them as assault troops wuold be a terrible waste. Maybe Rangers from the 75th Ranger Regiment are included in that number. They ae organizationally under JSOC and are assault infantry. JSOC SWAT team guys like SEALS and DELTA would similarly be wasted as assault troops. Maybe here are some marines in this total. pl


It's not the R+6 I'm worried about.

It's the Borg trying to sell "us" on the rebranding, that I worry about. 4 months of haliographies by the NYT on the "moderate" al Sham could have an effect on US/NATO policies after the election.


Russian Foreign Ministry emphasized today that no matter re-branding they still will be hunted down and eliminated. Link in Russian:


different clue


Thank you.

different clue

Trey N,

Good. I hope they can be too killed off to be recoverable if Clinton gets installed. Because if they seem the least bit revivable, the Clinton Administration will do its desperate best to revive them. Pray the R + 6 can wipe them out so totally before Inauguration Day that there is nothing left of them for a President Clinton to save.


Reports today about rebel infighting in eastern Aleppo. It looks like you were spot on about various factions looking to cut a deal.


Kurdish/Arab tension is inevitable in this region given the separatist intentions of the Kurdish leadership. I have heard via Syrian friends that the Kurds are limiting movement of local civilians in the Menbij-Tishreen area. Those who left their homes in the region to avoid earlier fighting are allowed back on the condition that they remain there and cannot leave again.

Some see this as a preventative measure against Daesh intelligence gathering; others see it as the thin end of an ethnic-cleansing wedge.


Another end game is in the making in East Ghouta. The Army of Islam and it's allies are slowly being squeezed.

Latest map.

from january

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