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18 September 2017

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Some SAA and Hezb Spec Force crossed the Euphrates last Wednesday/Thursday. They prepared the ground on the northern side.

The pontoon bridge elements are currently used as ferries. That is fine for getting a battalion across but not for an operational force.
The main crossings (at least two are planned) will be along bridges that were earlier partially destroyed. The destroyed spans will be patched up by some improvised strictures.

The airport of Deir Ezzor has reopened. That will definitely allow for better air support as the helicopters will only be minutes away from the front.

I haven't seen any air-defense yet but that does not mean that it is not there. It would be a good insurance against crazy CentCom ideas.

The U.S. tried to get a "deconfliction" deal to keep the SAA out of the eastern oil areas north of the Euphrates but was given a polite FU. It doesn't have the force to anything significant in the area. The re-purposed formerly ISIS-aligned tribal forces only amount to some 1,000-2,000 men of dubious loyalty.

Amusing - A "western diplomat" was quoted in the Financial Times as saying: "Assad is insistent on moving into the American zone and getting the al-Omar oilfield."

"into the American zone"?!? Is that ISIS held area an "American zone"?

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