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09 June 2017

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notlurking

Good to see articles continue....

Gene O

What of the Shahed-129 drone shot down by and F-15? It reportedly tried to bomb coalition trainer/advisors.

JMH

I apologize for the sophomoric nature, but this is what came to mind when I read this post a la "Sh#t or go blind". Pretty much where we've put ourselves: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KEpQY2ncMLA

fred

TTG,

" Government forces have not controlled any parts of the largely ISIS-controlled border with Iraq since 2014.

In addition, Hezbollah is now able to be supplied with weapons from Tehran via an all-important land route."

So we may soon see a version, or at least stories, of an Iranian version of the Red Ball Express in operation?

eakens

Very impressive, and great news. Thanks for this. Can't wait to see who takes the credit once they are wiped out.

Hawkwood

Not just good. Made my day.

FourthAndLong

Related coverage at the NewYorker:

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/iran-extends-its-reach-in-syria?intcid=mod-latest

A bit surprised to see it in such a publication, but they do publish Seymour Hersh. The Shiite crescent is presented as a
fait accompli. So the recent terror attacks inside Iran and blockade of Qatar could be easily mistaken for act I in a US - Israeli - Saudi proxy war
versus Iran. Those three will be looking to therein redeploy ISIS, one might presume. Might ISIS agree to fold at this point ? Certainly they have no love for Iran, but is doing the USA's bidding not prohibitively unpalatable for their fighters ?

Jack

TTG, Sir

How vulnerable are these R+6 lines? Not knowing military tactics, are there normally large logistics trains to supply these frontline troops?

The Twisted Genius

Jack,

This force is probably smaller than you would think, maybe a score of pickup trucks and a few armored vehicles. It will be reinforced in time, but the logistical trains probably consist of a few Mercedes or Ural trucks. In this kind of fighting supply lines are help by scattered checkpoints and roving patrols. It would be quite fluid.

Outrage Beyond

Re: related coverage in New Yorker.

First, the New Yorker hasn't published anything by Seymour Hersh in a while. All of his recent articles have appeared in the London Review of Books.

The article itself is a mishmash of dubious claims, Zionist dog-whistles, and a barely disguised plea for US intervention.

Peter in Toronto

ISIS is just so irresistibly useful towards the Zionist foreign policy objectives that the United States has been tasked with completing. No wonder this alleged war against ISIS, being prosecuted with the full resources of CENTCOM, has already lasted as long as the Pacific campaign against the Japanese imperialists..

BraveNewWorld

With todays events can any one think of a good reason (from the American point of view) to stay in al Tanf? Sure they already have a base there but it isn't much of a base.

Poul

Are the roads good enough for heavy trucks?

One thing is to send off road vehicles across desert roads another trucks with tons of cargo. The highway is still controlled by the US proxies.

But perhaps it can force the US to abandon it's policy.

The Twisted Genius

Poul,

Barish provided a link to a video of the advance to the border earlier today. Looks like a hard pack dirt track over an excruciatingly flat desert. I've seen loaded 18 wheelers negotiate worse than that. I'm sure all manner of vehicles could roll over that track to the Iraqi border, but it's not a replacement for the Damascus-Baghdad highway.

https://twitter.com/MmaGreen/status/873225495076372481

b

Word was that the "agreement between Washington and Moscow" in this case consisted of some harsh and direct words from the Russian military to CentCom to stay away or get smoked.

It followed a day after Lavrov officially and publicly called out the activities at al-Tanf as completely illegal and rejected the ludicrous U.S. claim of some agreed upon "deconflicting zone" there.

It may well be that the U.S. has now given up on the project of capturing south-east Syria. The Russians called their bluff after the U.S. operation to divert the R6 from the east by launching a campaign to take Deraa had failed.

The U.S. soldiers on the ground never believed in it anyway.

At the end of May Jack Murphy had a Sofrep piece on the area.
https://jackmurphywrites.com/34/ut-egestas-odio-vitae-nisl-elementum/

/quote/
“Nobody believes in it. You’re like, ‘Fuck this,’” a former Green Beret says of America’s covert and clandestine programs to train and arm Syrian militias. “Everyone on the ground knows they are jihadis. No one on the ground believes in this mission or this effort, and they know they are just training the next generation of jihadis, so they are sabotaging it by saying, ‘Fuck it, who cares?’”

“I don’t want to be responsible for Nusra guys saying they were trained by Americans,” the Green Beret added. A second Special Forces soldier commented that one Syrian militia they had trained recently crossed the border from Jordan on what had been pitched as a large-scale shaping operation that would change the course of the war. Watching the battle on a monitor while a drone flew overhead, “We literally watched them, with 30 guys in their force, run away from three or four ISIS guys.”
...
Toward the end of 2014, the CIA had less than 20 targeting officers and analysts dedicated to fighting ISIS. As of early 2016, the situation had improved little. According to several sources, the CIA simply does not care about ISIS. Using an excuse that ISIS is an army rather than a terrorist organization, they have punted the job to Army special operations—the men of Special Forces and Delta Force.

In Syria, the overwhelming priority for the CIA is what some CTC officers call Director John Brennan’s baby: the removal of the Assad regime.
/endquote/

More at Sofrep ...

Mathiasalexander

only if their fighters know about it

Old Microbiologist

On Russian news sites are stories with photos of US Army helicopters evacuating ISIS leadership from Raqqa. Interesting if true but backs up the US attacking SAA forces repeatedly in defense of both ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Account Deleted

Many thanks for the update TTG, I trust the Colonel is enjoying well-deserved R&R.

Magnier has suggested that this move, combined with US retention of al-Tanf is designed to force SAA + allies to continue to al-Bukamal. My reading of this is that it is a tactical move towards the strategic goal of a stringing out Assad's forces as much as possible - before a future attack. Retaining al-Tanf is the fig leaf so US/NATO does not need to 'invade' Syria when this happens. The window will close once the PMU close the border from the Iraqi side, but that may be a while.

SAA has just met SDF front lines near Tabqah and there is now an unconfirmed report of SyAAF strike against SDF there. Perhaps this is the plan: US now cites Assad's aggression against it's forces in the battle for Raqqa as pretext to come down hard on him. Alternatively, perhaps the Kurds have a done a deal with Assad/Putin & will let SAA move on to Raqqa & down the Euphrates.

I'd like to believe that this is encouraging news, but the anti-Assad/Iran/Russia forces are powerful. Israel seems to have the most to lose from a contiguous land corridor from Iran to Lebanon & you can bet it'll bend every sinew to stop it. I can't help thinking the point of maximum danger for the R+6/7 is yet to come.

English Outsider


Thank you for that report. That map showing the dog leg down to the Iraqi border must surely be one of the most dramatic images to come out of the Syrian war. Might I ask - 1. Does this turn the Jordanian based proxy bridgehead into a sealed enclave and does it therefore prevent a North-South proxy barrier? & 2. You mention that it might have happened with tacit consent or at least foreknowledge. Is this just another twist in the military conflict, or does it indicate that the Western coalition might still be showing willing to keep the Saudis and Israelis happy, but is in fact giving up on the goal of toppling the Assad government or of splitting up the country?

I understand that it might be too early to say and if it is please ignore my query, but to a non-military the question of what the various parties have as their ultimate goal, and how likely they are to achieve that goal, is the central one. Thank you again for your report.

Lemur

Video of pro-Assad forces setting up positions at the border:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TEBn2OOAR8

turcopolier

TTG

I have four-wheeled all over that part of Jordan/Syria and Iraq. The stony desert ground will support any sort of traffic. pl

el sid

Yeehay

Welcome back.

e

The Twisted Genius

Barbara Ann,

While I do think we desperately hope for the fall of Deir Ezzor, I seriously doubt we want Assad's forces to militarily control Syrian territory along the Iraqi border. That just blows our apparent plan to establish safe areas all to hell. Retaining Al-Tanf will become moot.

The SAA has been in contact with the YPG/SDF for months now in the Aleppo area from A-Bab to the Euphrates. There have been a few minor skirmishes, but they have been getting along fine for the most part. I don't foresee any major conflict between the two.

I definitely agree with you about all this being bad news for Israel. My guess is that is one of the reasons the R+6 moved that Russian air assault brigade into that area.

The Twisted Genius

b,

Glad to see Lavrov call BS on our de-confliction zone story. It always sounded kind of flaky to me. That excellent Jack Murphy story came out last September, but the situation doesn't appear to have changed. With the newly appointed chief of the CIA's Iranian operations Group, I bet there will be more of the same.

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2016/09/us-special-forces-sabotage-white-house-policy-gone-disastrously-wrong-with-covert-ops-in-syria-ttg.html.

The Twisted Genius

Lemur,

Excellent find. I recommend all view this video to grasp the nature of the war in this part of Syria. As I thought, the SAA and allied force consists of armed pickups and a few armored vehicles. The importance of earth moving equipment can also be noted. That's the first time I've seen an ATV (Polaris?) with the R+6. The jeep-mounted 106 recoiless rifle brings back memories. I wonder if Hezbollah brought that with them? I also noted what appeared to be a suitcase Sagger. If so, that's some old stuff.

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