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27 January 2020


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Much appreciated.


I wonder if Erdogan made any concessions to Putin for Putin's withdrawal of mercenaries (Wagner Group) in Libya??
I suspect he might have done so.

Also, I wonder if any Iranian troops are involved in the offensive in Idlib??

Thank you for the update

The Twisted Genius

Maarat al Numan has fallen without a fight. The SAA left one road out open for the last jihadis to high tail it out of town which they did.

A Turkish Army convoy of 30 vehicles including q dozen APCs entered Syria last night on the Azan-Afrin road. They appear to be establishing another "observation point" just south of Saraqib. I doubt the 25th Special Forces Division will be intimidated as they head north on the M5, although some Russian MPs will probably now accompany the advancing forces to keep the peace.

Progress is being made on the Aleppo front as well. The 30th Republican Guards Division is now on the outskirts of Khan Touman. Capture of that town will leave the path open to cross the M5. From there the 30th and the 4th Armored Division will be hitting the jihadis west of Aleppo from two sides.


South Front is now reporting that Maarat al Numan has now fallen.


These jokers signed their final death warrant when they cooperated with their enemies at Astana in early 2017 , giving SAA+allies a free hand to wipe out ISIS from the outskirts of Palmyra to the Euphrates over that following year without any distractions. Maybe soon Jowlani and his cohorts will rue the day that they stabbed ISIS in the back in 2013. But I'm sure their gulfie masters will airlift them out before that day comes. Not so for the rank and file.

Yeah, Right

With regard to the SAA order of battle, is their any indication that they are maintaining way-undersized formations for the future i.e. once this war is over and all the Syrian refugees return then those "divisions" will be beefed up to size with new recruits in anticipation of much bigger wars-to-come?

Otherwise I fail to see the point of the Syrians pretending that their battalion-sized formations are "regiments" or "brigades".

The Twisted Genius

Yeah Right,

I'm sure the SAA units are understrength. That's to be expected. In the 70s many of our Army units were understrength. My rifle platoon never had more than 25 men. The TO&E called for 44. The rifle companies were about 100 strong. Another factor is that the SAA is modeled on the Russian structure where units are characteristically smaller than in the US.

English Outsider

TTG - thank you very much for that summary. Might I enquire - is there any information on the Uighur families in Jisr al Shughour? Did they get out?

The Twisted Genius

English Outsider,

As far as I know, there are still several thousand Uighurs around Jisr al Shughour. TIP is primarily Uighour and they have stubbornly blocked the 4th Armored Division's advances there for months. Besides where would they go? Turkey doesn't want them. Nor does China. I guess Erdogan could send them to Libya, but he needs TIP's tenacity to hold Jisr al Shighour.


Erdogan now seems more focused on Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain as well as his other occupied areas in Syria's north. That plus Libya. Almost seems like he has made a deal and sold out his friends in Idlib, you think?

Although it will be interesting to see Erdogan's reactions once the SAA gets closer to Jisr al-Shigur and his ethnic pan-Turkic allies such as the Turkistan brigade or TIP, the Tatar/Bashkiri Junud al-Makhdi, and Uzbeki jihadis.

Yeah, Right

TTG, I assume the key is to ensure that you keep a cadre of experienced sergeants. Do that and it's possible to beef up under-strength units when the opportunity (and the need, obviously) arises.

The SAA has been put through the meatgrinder for years. The surviving non-coms must be as tough as nails by now.

Many thanks for the article, it is very informative.


Yeah Right

Your assumption is probably wrong. Most Arab armies, like the IDF, have no tradition of strong NCO cadres. The officers are everything.

The Twisted Genius

Yeah Right,

It's not NCOs in particular. The need is for leaders at all levels from squad to platoon to company and beyond be they NCOs, officers or whatever. It's my opinion that leadership at these lower levels is critical to battle field success. If just one of these levels is missing, you're screwed. As Colonel Lang said, a strong NCO corps is not universal.



Yes. The IDF is descended in it initial cadres from the tsar's army and the rest of them from the Ottoman army. In none of those was a strong professional NCO corps a feature. The later British influence did not affect the bed rock cultures in these armies. As you say, it is leadership that counts, no matter what the rank.


The Islamists have abandoned Maarat Al-Numan.


The Syrian Army's campaign has a 18th century-feel to it.

Small limited offensives followed by entrenchment and preparation for the next limited attack.

A smart strategy which allows the use of your best troops in a small area with plenty of support.


i found this website nearly a decade ago while looking for reasobale commentary on what was happening in syria.
i certianly was not disappointed.
just wanted to thank you and all your contributers TTG and P. Armstrong in particular for over a decade of serving the people of your country by providing us quality level headed assessments of the world we live in.


Seems like Erdogan wants to launch an military operation into Idlib in order to stop the advances of the SAA. He said today:
"We will not allow the regime's cruelty towards its own people, with attacks and causing bloodshed.

"Turkey with complete sincerity wants Syria's stability and security, and to this end, we will not shy away from doing whatever is necessary, including using military force."'

Will he do it? Or is he just blowing smoke? I had thought he was already overextended, but that seems to be his mercenaries and not the TKK itself.

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