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25 April 2017

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Marko

" I also get the feeling there is nothing we would like more than for the IS jihadis to overrun Deir ez-Zor. "

I think so too. There are reports that a U.S. drone observed ISIS "bureaucrats and administrators" travelling from Raqqa to Deir ez-Zor , with the drone's job being to guarantee safe passage , I suspect.

The rest of ISIS will follow ,no doubt, as soon as we can line up enough air-conditioned buses to transport them all.

Peter in Toronto

If only the Syrians could organize a few more units like those of Suheil Hassan and his Tigers, they wouldn't have to rely on the unreliable NDF tribal militias and imported fighters.

Linked below is a collection of some of the latest footage to emerge out of the south Idlib salient, showing a truly devastating application of firepower and maneuver against the combined Jihadist forces concentrated there:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3617&v=zG68xrKy1II

Over an hour long but well worth the watch; scores of tanks and heavy weapons abandoned, corpses strewn everywhere and footage of the Jihadists being driven into open fields and picked off. A hasty route, it seems.

Not only have the Tigers and supporting auxiliaries reversed ALL of the Jihadist gains in recent weeks in Hama province, but they have pressed the offensive past lines defined back in 2015. Heavy RuAF pounding of the towns of Lataminah and Morek seems to indicate the target for the advance. If this keeps up they may even be able to seize the now infamous Khan Sheikhoun, scene of that alleged chemical attack.

Too much progress however and we may see the White Helmets prepare another carefully rehearsed and packaged "chemical attack" package, delivered to the treacherous Western media to feed their regime change narrative.

Yeah, Right

Are you suggesting that a Russian airborne division be dropped into Deir Ezzor?

If so then do Russians have the capability to do that in one hop, or do they first have to deploy the troops to Tartus and then hop from there to the besieged city?

The Twisted Genius

Yeah, Right,

Deir ez-Zor may not be the proper initial objective. If it was chosen, I would use staging airfields at Qamishli, Aleppo and T4 near Palmyra. A ground thrust from Palmyra with at least a regimental battle group, maybe two, would be better than putting the whole division directly into and around Deir ez-Zor. I think that would be a more efficient use of airframes. Remember the Russians airlifted a sizable slice of the SAA 104th Airborne Brigade into Deir ez-Zor with Il-76 and Mi-17 from Qamishli in January. Some of the 45th Spetsnaz would probably deploy directly from their Russian bases on their equivalent of our special operations squadron airframes. Air landing would be preferable to air dropping, but a combination of both would probably be operationally advantageous. I doubt the entire 106th Airborne Division could be airlifted from Tula to drop into Syria with all their armored vehicles in one lift. Their armor, APCs and self-propelled artillery and mortars are significant. Even if it could be done, I don’t think it would be the wisest way to deploy the division.

b

From Washington's perspective a large deployment of Russian troops would be perfect situation to give them another Afghanistan.

But Russia can counter that in Afghanistan itself which the U.S. also alleges but which is not yet true. Just wait for the ATGMs ... (Mattis telling Russia that it is against international law to arm insurgents is outright stupid. Doesn't he know that the world has a better memory than U.S. TV hosts?)

I had hoped for an Egyptian infantry division allied with Russia and the U.S. to take the southern Syrian border area up to Deir Ezzor and Iraq. It would be a perfect use of those Mistrals ...

Yeah, Right

Many thanks.

I assume there is little the USA could do to stop this. Short of an irrational response.

Leonardo

I don't know... it seems to me that sending so many ground troops in Syria would be a big risk for the Russians. Tens, if not hundreds, of soldiers would start coming home in body bags.
I'm not sure the Russian public opinion will support such a decision for long, even if at all.

turcopolier

b

I followed the Russian war in Afghanistan in great detail as one of the Washington end of the planning and support team for Mujahideen support (less the Sayyaf Group). IMO a Russian direct participation on the ground would not be like Afghanistan where the population was largely united in its hostility to the Russians and the small communist Afghan element in the population. In Syria, most people; Sunni, Shia, Alawi, Christian, Druze are backing the Syrian Government against the jihadis ans would look on the Russian reinforcements as welcome allies. pl

Fred

TTG,

"Looks like Trump's first foreign visit will be with his Saudi friends."

God help us. What has Saudi Arabia ever done for the US? For that matter what have they done for Trump?

The Beaver

It looks like 20 YPG fighters were killed during the Turkish airstrikes,18 fighters injured, 3 in a critical situation according to a Kurdish activist.

According to the Turkish FM , the coalition was warned about the air strikes:
https://www.rt.com/news/386194-turkey-notified-us-strikes/

plantman

Mattis has been traipsing around the Middle east rallying the allies in Riyadh, Cairo and Amman (no trip to Ankara?)which suggests that something might be "in the making".

Deir Ezzor?

Probably. But it's pretty risky for Putin.

Think of the politics. Putin needs to seem like a reasonable fellow to gain support in the EU so his pipeline deals go through. He needs allies and alliances, not leaders accusing him of war mongering.

How will the deployment of Spetsnaz look in the headlines??

It's a tricky situation for Putin, but it wouldn't surprise me to see Russian troops on the ground within two weeks. Mattis and McMaster seem to be working very fast.

Matt

Maybe a stupid question but here it goes.....

If a "safe zone" for jihadi's is created, wouldn't that make it easier to kill them?

L'Akratique

Seems he wants to build a hotel in Jeddah.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-saudi-arabia-911-business-deals-a7038991.html

Phil A

Petrodollars, of course!

Alaric

So where are the Iranians? I expect they will also increase boots on the ground to counter this latest neocon thrust.

Marko

It might be hard to tell when Russian troops are deployed to Syria , if this story is any indication :

"Three Russians dressed as Syrian soldiers arrested by Lebanese Army"
Al-Masdar News - 25/04/2017

BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:20 P.M.) – Three Russians dressed in Syrian military fatigues were allegedly arrested by the Lebanese Army while trying to cross over from Syria, the Daily Star claimed this evening.
The Lebanese Army has not issued a communique to corroborate this claim by the Daily Star.
If these men are in fact Russian military personnel, this would be the first time that any foreign troops authorized by the Syrian government have crossed into Lebanese territory.

turcopolier

TTG et al

IMO the size force you contemplate would be a good down payment. The 106th Guards Airborne Division has two infantry regiments with their vehicles and a Spetsnaz brigade is inherently a light force. Two MRDs (mechanized divisions) plus the airborne force are what is needed. pl

Morongobill

While we have 3 carrier groups steaming toward North Korea and a possible war there, now just might be the perfect time for the introduction of Russian ground troops directly into the fighting in Syria.

Babak Makkinejad

TTG:

I think this statement is inaccurate:

"America is trying to block the path of the “Shiite crescent” from Syria and is preparing the ground for a “new Middle East."

It would be accurate if the word "is" is replaced by "was".

I think the strategic game in Syria is over and Fortress West and her local allies are acting on the margins.

For this reason, I also do not think that the Russian Federation will introduce the level of troops that you are suggesting into Syria.


By the way, I think it ironic that the clarity that Condoleezza Rice was talking about has finally been realized:

We are facing, with clarity, the face-off between the Party of Ali and the Khwarej in the Levant and the Persian Gulf.

I fail to see what strategic gains have befallen the Turks, the Gulfies, the Pakistanis and the Afghans - they all have significant "Party of Ali" minority populations and an emotionally charged religious confrontation only serves to erode their cohesion as functioning states and countries.

Lurker

The prophet Daniel predicts an end time king(dom) that claims exceptional and supreme status among the king(dom)s of the earth (the word usage here is adamah not eretz). Forgetting the God of gods, the God of his fathers, he will instead be dedicated to serve the god of forces (militarism?) and warmongering (Mars? Pentagram?). He will not even respect the desired of women ( apostacy from Christ?). He will magnify himself, blaspheme and do as he wishes for a time. He will even prosper excedingly until meeting his ultimate destruction. He will overturn (regime change?) almost all of the kingdoms of the glorious land (Middle East?) (here the word usage is eretz) and North Africa (using ISIS, false flags and deception?) including Lybia, Egypt, Ethiopia but will spare Moab, Edom and Amman (Jordan?). Towards the end times he will be troubled by bad news from the (far) East (North Korea?) and from the North (Russia?). He will be furious and try more destruction (59 tomahawk salvo in Syria and Moab bomb in Afghanistan?). But the king of the North (Russia?) will come at him like a whirlwind with chariots, horsemen and ships and the king of the South ("South" China Sea?) will come at him with a pincer movement. He will then plant his tabernacle in the midst of the Seas (a powerful armada?). Read Daniel 11:36-45 & Ezek 28:2&8 to know what is in store for him

Eric Newhill

Matt,
We can be stupid together as I was pondering the same thing. Get them all in one area with the promise of safety, cordon it and then light up the entire zone with everything we have (+ Russia, et al). Why not?

Fred

Phil,

Right. How many of those do you get in NYC real estate?

Fred

L'Akratique

".. could be related to a possible hotel ..."

Could be is such a nice phrase, especially in a year old article in the British press.

confusedponderer

Marko,
"this would be the first time that any foreign troops authorized by the Syrian government have crossed into Lebanese territory"

I'd be sceptic on this. Just because they say so doesn't make it a fact or truthful. It could be just another narrative. Folks who follow a policy of 'Hezbollah and Assad must go' may just make something like that up.

Thinking of that, the Saudis, beyond for example supporting ISIS, iirc have a couple friends in Lebanon. They would have the means/money to make something like that up, and they'd apparently have a motive.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/iraq-crisis-how-saudi-arabia-helped-isis-take-over-the-north-of-the-country-9602312.html

ISL

for those who need to look these things up but are too busy (as I should be):

MI-17 is a transport helicopter (to 36 persons, 2 tons internal, 2 tons external) that can be outfitted with weapons.

http://www.russianhelicopters.aero/en/helicopters/military/mi-817.html

Ilyushin Il-76 is a heavy transport airplane (140 troops) - 40 tons at 5000 km, and includes EW protection. It can take off from unpaved, short runways.

http://www.military-today.com/aircraft/ilyushin_il76_candid.htm

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