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16 January 2017

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Jack

Sir

It seems only the Russians have the capability and the motivation to save these people. Will they act?

I'm sure Brennan, Carter, et al are quite pleased with the developments on the ground. Taking out the SAA in their high ground "accidentally" has served its purpose.

Ken Macaulay

I don't know the strategic situation well enough to really understand the layout of the territory, but I would be curious to know if is the kind of situation the Russians & Syrians can turn into their advantage...

How exposed are ISIL in their new positions to air attacks?

Is there any way for the R6 forces to create a pocket & trap the attackers to decimate at their leisure?

Can the Russians turn this into a 'shooting fish in a barrel' situation - or is there too much cover in the area/civilians still in the area.

Is there an airbase near enough that they can utilise SU-25's & MI-28's from?
The Russians seem to be withdrawing SU-24's & replacing them with SU-25's: https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/report-russia-improve-military-capabilities-syria/


The Syrians seem confident & have begun the counterattack - according to Al-Masdar: https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/syrian-army-to-begin-counterattack-against-isis-in-deir-ezzor-with-russian-air-cover/


Haralambos

I wonder how paralyzed our US administration is at the moment with the transition in the works for Friday as I watch this from Greece. The current discussions/negotiations over the unification of Cyprus are at a delicate point, perhaps a deadlock. I recall following the Turkish invasion after the Greek attempt to move into Cyprus in Aug. 1974 as Nixon was on his way out. I followed that as best I could from the US. My take was that the US had no diplomatic clout to try to defuse that due to our domestic crisis at the time, although earlier flashpoints had been defused in the 50s and 60s. The Trump transition is not really comparable, but I wonder what impact that is having in attempts to integrate a response with Russia at the moment.

The Twisted Genius

SouthFront is reporting that Russia is bringing in more of their modernized SU-25 SM3 to replace some of the older models they pulled out earlier. These day-night capability planes are just what they need for CAS instead of cruise missiles and SU-24s. They'll have to use the T4 airfield to support Deir az-Zor. They best bring in all they can to keep up a monsoon of rocket fire on those jihadis.

mike

Mehr news agency out of Tehran does not seem to be worried. Or are they just putting the best face on the situation?

http://en.mehrnews.com/news/122761/Syrian-army-kills-dozens-of-Saudi-Tunisian-terrorists-in-Deir

mike

CJTF-OIR coalition aircraft engaged a Daesh unit and took out a Daesh checkpoint near Deir ez Zor yesterday. Had to be some heavy deconfliction going on as I understand the Russians conducted several airstrikes there yesterday also.

http://www.inherentresolve.mil/Portals/14/20170117%20Strike%20Release%20Final.pdf?ver=2017-01-17-062124-513

The Twisted Genius

Al Masdar News reports intensive airstrikes by Russian and Syrian aircraft yesterday and today with 85 strikes yesterday. A counterattack striking north from the airport began yesterday with some progress already. General Zahreddine was quoted as saying the morale was high in spite of recent setbacks. The military hospital reported 25 dead and 45 wounded rather than the exaggerated figures claimed by the jihadis. Al Masdar also has a short video.

Joe100

Apparently the initial assault involved some very large vehicle suicide bombs as were key to breaking then SAA defense in Palmyra. It seems that defenders in these situations lack a good weapon that can take these VIED's out before they reach the lines. I wonder if 106 recoilless rifles - using both HEAT and spalling rounds - might be an answer? These are inexpensive, probably easy to deploy and could have more stopping power than what has been available. They also could use flechette rounds against a large assault.

Even better might be something like the old USMC "Ontos" with six 106's that could fire rapidly (think even all six at once) at a single target.

Eliot

"Mehr news agency out of Tehran does not seem to be worried. Or are they just putting the best face on the situation?"

Are they reporting from Tehran, or Deir Al-Zor?

- Eliot

mike

Spam-in-a-Can is what the ONTO crew's used to call themselves. Good riddance I say.

Kurds early on were using 106's. They have found the French/German MILAN light antitank guided missile much better at taking out VBIED suiciders.

mike

I don't know. But SAA seems optimistic also.

Matthew

Eliot: That's a good point. We know that all good reporting about Syria is done by Western journalists based in Beirut. (Sarcasm).

mike

????Not following your sarcasm - Are you suggesting that Tehran bases their news reports on what western journos say???

Or is there something deeper in your comment that I am missing?

Ghostship

I can't help but wonder if this is a Hail Mary effort by ISIS to remove the SAA from Deir Ez-zor before Friday. While I really doubt that any part of the US miltary had anything to do with this, it wouldn't surprise me if ISIS' paymasters in Qatar and Saudi Arabia pushed for this with the preliminary strike against Palmyra and then the T4 airbase to make life difficult for the RuAF and SSAF, and the cutting off of Damascus' water and gas supplies by Al Nusrah and ISIS respectively to distract attention, with the intention of disrupting next week's peace talks in Astana which a number of armed groups have agreed to attend without any preconditions, a real nightmare for Doha and Riyadh.

kooshy

Tasnim News is reporting (from syrian military sources) SAA' Republican Guards as well as Hezbollah forces have been deployed to reinforce DZ with heavy air support by Syrian and Russian air support, apparently most of fighting is around airport. Report is in persian with some detail of fighting in the DZ theater.

https://goo.gl/Nuq9Dl

b

Bad situation. Since the U.S. bombed the SAA off the Tharda hills in September, ISIS has held that important position. It has thereby fire control over the Deir Ezzor airport. No re-supplies/reinforcement are possible.

The electricity supply is down since the U.S. bombed the last working power station in the area in early January.

Russia probably has a para brigade that could jump onto the hills, clean them and then reinforce the SAA on the ground. High losses would be guaranteed in such an operation. Decent anti-air support would also be required as the U.S. military can not be trusted at all (see September "mistake" attack). This would be a very high risk, all-in move by the Russian government and is unlikely to happen.

A ground campaign by the SAA would need to pass through some 150 km of ISIS held desert to reach Deir Ezzor. The supply lines would be very vulnerable to ISIS or U.S. interdiction. The forces needed for such a ride are currently bound in the west to defend against constant "moderate rebel", al-Qaeda and ISIS attacks.

Both plans would still not solve the resupply problem for the 100,000+ civilians and the soldiers until the airport is fully repaired and safe.

The situation is pretty much hopeless. It is just a question of time until supplies run out and the fight is lost.

ISIS will then inevitably slaughter any SAA soldier it will find alive and any civilian that cooperated with them.

A chance might be a phone-call away after Trump is inaugurated. A strict order by the President to the Pentagon to support the Syrian/Russian fight for Deir Ezzor by all means with a priority on shutting down the ongoing ISIS reinforcements coming from Iraq to Deir Ezzor. (Coordination over and in Deir Ezzor would have to stay in Russian/Syrian hands.)

Some hard guarantee by Trump that the U.S. will stop all attempts to establish its "Salafist principality" or a Kurdish proxy entity in east-Syria or west-Iraq could probably induce the Russians to provide additional ground elements to Deir Ezzor. But could Trump be trusted? And would he have control over the Pentagon and especially the rogue Central Command?

kooshy

Most like chips for bargaining at Astaneh negotiations later this month or next.
New that i just read, Zarif Iranian FM just announced we have not invited US and don't want US at negotiation table in Astaneh. Other news is that US will be an observer at Astaneh.

Ghostship

I think he's referring to the quality of western journalism about Syria because most of the western journalists report from Istanbul and Beirut and rely on social media and "activist journalists" or terrorist propagandists as they should more correctly be called for their information. Most of the real independent journalists in rebel-held areas have been scared off and all that are left are rebel supporters.

Ghostship

Just imagine the howls of indignation and cries of treason from the neo-cons and interventionist liberals such as Samantha Powers if Trump did that on day one.

zak

These "guided missiles" are pretty well armored, not easy to take them out while moving at high speed. A paintball type of gun might be more effective than an assault rifle.
Though not sure why the defenders cannot put ditches, sand walls and mine fields around their strong points.

turcopolier

b

Yes, unless some strong reinforcement is put into the place by air it looks like capture by IS is inevitable. When that happens I predict a notable silence in the Western media over the bloodbath that will occur. pl

mike

Based on T-Rex's testimony I do not believe a Trump administration will abandon the PYG. I hope so anyway.

As for your US backed salafist principality, that is patently Assad agitprop.

PS - American and coalition air are already bombing Daesh in and arounf Deir Ez Zor and have been for months. No need for Trump to change anything there.

mike

I get that. But what does that have to do with reporting out of Tehran????

Peter AU

With what has happened, it is doubtful the central command is rogue.
The deal Kerry signed up to with Lavrov was for the purpose of causing the Russian air defences to hesitate for the crucial period of time required for the attack on DE.
All working in lockstep. Obama, Kerry, Carter, Pentagon.
Deception...

mike

Colonel -

The Syrians, Russians and Iranians do not share the view that capture of Feir ez Zor by Daesh is inevitable. They seem fairly optimistic.

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